This was the planet that for many years Alasdair Geddes called his home, since his mother Morag had been born on the planet, and had often returned to it during the course of her family's travelling. In spite of being located within a Core Worlds system, Jura is rather a backwater planet, resembling the Scottish Hebrides in appearance.
Physical Description Edit
Jura is an ocean planet, with most of the limited land being taken up by a large continent in the northern hemisphere. Other, smaller islands are present in the southern hemisphere. The climate is temperate, and cold temperatures are to be experienced year round. Thus it is important to wrap up warm when visiting the planet.
Weather on the planet is characterized by long, sunny periods, separated by short but severe rainstorms. The surface of Jura contains rolling hills, dense forests, lush fields, vast seas, beaches and mountainous peaks, as well as a vast southern ocean.
Jura has two moons, named Coll and Tiree. Coll is an uninhabited desert moon, which appears yellow in the Juran night sky. Tiree, meanwhile, has been terraformed, and is now an ocean moon, which appears blue in the night sky. This moon is home to several tiny islands, only a few of which are inhabited. However, Tiree is also orbited by a space outpost, which houses one of the largest populations in the local area.
Jura's capital city, Calpa, lies on a bay on the southern tip of the northern continent. Other important settlements include the coastal resorts of Cairnablair and Craigblane, the valley towns of Glengorm and Glen Dora, the lakeside (or loch-side, to use local terminology) town of Loch Cidhe, and the quiet fishing village of Kyle Abbin. Kyle Abbin is typical of many such villages on the planet, and is especially noteworthy because it was where Alasdair Geddes used to live whenever he visited Jura.
Although colonization of the Antares System had already gotten underway shortly after the Stellar Exodus of 2100, the planet Jura was not discovered and colonized until the mid-2150s. When it was, it was by a group of settlers from the Scottish space program, who set up camp on the bay that would later house the capital city of Calpa.
Naming the planet Jura, after an island back home on Earth, the colonists began to adopt a culture very much like that of the Scottish Hebrides. They reverted to the traditional clan system, with various old Scottish clans being resurrected on Jura. One such clan, the Baldwins, sailed out one year into the southern ocean, and discovered a pair of large islands, the westernmost of which they staked a claim on immediately. Over the years, this island would become known as Abbot Baldwin Island, and the clan still owns the island to this day.
Over the next few centuries, Jura's importance to Antares grew, with its cultural history somewhat paralleling that of the Hebrides. One of the most important and well known developments in Jura's history was of its crofting and fishing industries, and during the late 26th Century, people began immigrating to the planet en-masse, to soak in the Scottish atmosphere, and help sustain the industries.
When the Stellar Federation took control of the Antares System in the early 27th Century, they left Jura more or less alone, with only a few major changes here and there. One of these was the integration of a major railway network across the continent, and on the two southern islands. The Federation merely planned the routes and laid down the infrastructure, leaving the matter of day-to-day running in the hands of the locals.
What resulted was what was then one of the most incongruous extraterrestrial railways systems in populated space; it opted to use steam power, rather than more modern methods. The locals argued that steam was easier for them to work with, as coal was plentiful, and a steam engine could keep things going in a hypothetical nuclear strike. Thus the Federation ended up agreeing to keep the steam trains on Jura, and were actually inspired to introduce steam to other systems across the Galaxy on the same ideas as the Jurans had claimed.
Another effect of the Federation's minimal interference was a sudden influx of Gypsies and other travelling folk from across the Galaxy. The Federation had made attempts to persecute these communities, who didn't fit in with their ideas about how people should conduct their lives. Jura was seen by these travellers as a place of refuge, and when the first groups arrived in the mid-2740s, they added considerably to the population, either travelling around the planet or performing seasonal work for the locals.
In spite of being designated as a Core World, Jura has remained very much out of the public eye since its initial colonization, with two notable exceptions being the first two Galactic Wars. During the First Galactic War (2914-2919), Jura became famous for being home to several famous regiments of the Stellar Federation Military, which were known collectively as the New Black Watch. Their Scottish brashness and fiery temper are thought to have been the main factors in their helping to win many battles, and eventually the War altogether.
The Second Galactic War (2939-2945) was pretty much the same story for the people of Jura, but they ended up playing a far bigger role in this war. Because of the large amount of isolated land on Jura, it was chosen as a training ground for soldiers trained in conventional warfare. The planet saw another massive increase in population, as troops from all over were transferred in for training.
Many of these soldiers grew to like the general atmosphere of the place, and after the War ended, many of them moved to Jura permanently, some of them having formed strong relationships with local women. This was the case with the parents of one Morag MacCrimmon, her father being a soldier from Procyon II, and her mother being one of the local gypsies (insofar as a gypsy can be called local).
Morag herself was born on Jura in 2947, and spent most of her early life on Abbot Baldwin Island, where she would travel around with her family, performing seasonal work around the various small villages. She ended up not leaving the planet until she turned 19 in 2966, when she met and fell in love with one Hunter Geddes, who was then starting out as a freighter pilot on Procyon VI. After going easy with each other for some time previously, and saving up enough money between them, the two of them got married, purchased a ship, christened it the Clan Geddes and took off to start a new life travelling the Galaxy. They would still return to Jura every summer they could, but for the most part Morag remained away from her home planet.
Life went on in a peaceful manner for the rest of Jura after Morag departed. After a slump during the 2960s, the planet's economy picked up again during the 70s, when new deposits of iron, coal and slate were discovered. However, this was never allowed to overly complicated the lives of the locals, who carried on in very much the same way as they'd always done.
During that same time period, however, there was a growing tendency among the younger population to try and get away from this way of life which was, they felt, rather too simple for them to leave their mark on the universe. Many young people began to try and get off Jura, while those that couldn't leave tried to spice things up back home. One of the results of this was the coming of the rock music scene on Jura throughout the 60s and 70s, when various Juran bands made it very high in the Galactic Charts.
However, even this new and interesting side of Jura couldn't prevent the planet from being dragged down with the rest of the Galaxy during the economic slump of the 2980s. Unemployment had become a major problem on Jura, which was further exacerbated by strike action at mines, pits and quarries around the planet. Countless families relocated off Jura to try and find work elsewhere, but the remaining population stood firm, and started to work to reverse the slump.
They eventually managed it in the late-80s, long before any similar recoveries on other planets. Things started to pick up again, and many families who'd moved away soon moved back, to make a new name for themselves on their home turf. Life was still relatively simple, but now the Jurans had become more receptive of outside influence. This was within reason, of course, and in the mid-90s, a now-famous campaign rose up to ban the Stellar Federation's testing of nuclear weapons on Jura. The campaign succeeded-just-and the Federation abandoned their plans for Jura, instead carrying out the tests on Atrabiin (the aforementioned weapons were those later used in an attempt to end the Sorados Civil War).
Nowadays, Jura remains a quiet planet, and this quietness is appreciated both by the locals and by tourists, who often come to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern society. Indeed, many people who visit often end up returning permanently, having been lured back by the natural beauty of the planet, its rich history, and everything else Jura has to offer.
The population of Jura has a relatively small variety of species, largely comprised of those from Scotland and other similar countries. Because of the planet's backwater nature, the people of Jura are naturally given to a peaceful, simple way of life, which has gone almost uninterrupted since the initial colonization.
Employment on the planet can be classified by a small number of categories: farming, mining and quarrying, brewing, and oil and gas extracting. These industries provide the bulk of Jura's exports, with a few smatterings of other businesses alongside, such as the manufacturing of small, hand-crafted goods.
The Jurans can appear strange at first; either quiet and reserved, or loud and eccentric, and one's perception of the planet depends on which of the two is first encountered. However, the Jurans are a kind people, who won't hesitate to help out a friend in need, however great the personal cost may be.
The most notable family native to Jura is the Geddes family, with husband Hunter, wife Morag, and children Valerie and Alasdair. Despite being travellers, Morag and her family would try to return to Jura every summer they could, and according to son Alasdair, those were the best summers of his entire life. It has yet to be seen what it was about life on Jura that made Alasdair long to return some day, but no doubt when we do see it, it will be as wonderful an experience as he makes it out to be.