Sorvatan is a garden world located in Sigurd's Cradle.
Approximately 3,000,000,000 - local population primarily consists of batarians and asari, with significant salarian and turian minority demographics that mostly come from offworld. Population is divided between multiple corporate states on the planet’s surface and has no single unified planetary government or single coherent racial composition. Most cities are generally very cosmopolitan.
Originally founded by Lymean Interstellar, which went bankrupt and dissolved in the wake of the Reaper War, individual cities on Sorvatan have since been bought up by different offworld corporate interests. Sorvatan now stands currently divided between megacorporate city-states. The planet boasts a significant tourism industry, and the standard of living is high for corporate citizens and other residents, despite a high crime rate that stems primarily from local cartel activity.
Sorvatan is the only exporter of Lesha, a plant-derived stimulant drink. The Lesha plant and the drink that is made from processing it are wildly popular across the Terminus Systems, with inroads presently being made into Council Space. Its sales make up the majority of the corporate interest in Sorvatan, with approximately 45% of the planet’s collective GDP being made from Lesha alone.
This is unfortunately also the primary cause for the planet’s high crime rate and the constant skirmishing that takes place throughout Sorvatan’s jungles; crime syndicates, both local and from offworld, have capitalized on the appeal of the Lesha plant and the ease with which it grows on Sorvatan. Fortified plantations operated by slave labor and guarded by armed gunmen are common throughout the planet’s wilderness, and the trade of smuggling ‘Leash’ (a slang term referring to Lesha when it is harvested by slaves) is as big of a trade as the legitimate Lesha business.
Corporate security operations to eliminate cartel plantations are frequent and an open secret among the citizenry, and the planet’s wilderness is one massive warzone caught up in endless low-intensity warfare between corporate mercenaries and cartel enforcers. Corruption in the corporate state customs agencies is commonplace, facilitating the darker side of the Lesha business, as well as the sapient trafficking trade that fuels it. Despite this, the crime rate on Sorvatan is primarily composed of cartel activity. While non-cartel crime is frequent, it is deemed a lower priority and is less destructive as a general rule.
Due to the environment of Sorvatan, it’s rife with unique flora and fauna. This draws many tourists looking to explore ‘untamed’ jungles and life. In truth, the locations tourists are actually allowed to visit are far from untamed. Segments of jungle deemed ‘safe’ for tourism, in most cases fenced or walled off from the rest of the real jungle, are a focal point for the parts of Sorvatan’s economy that aren’t dominated by the Lesha trade.
Each of the corporate colonies has its own share of high-quality vacation resorts, some of which are even priced at a rate one might consider affordable for a middle-class vacation in the postwar galaxy. Manicured beaches and gigantic spas are par for the industry. However, the high crime rate of Sorvatan extends to kidnapping of vacationers for ransom by local cartels, and the occasional assassination of a visiting VIP. Mercenaries seeking work as competent bodyguards are in high demand despite the planet’s ostensibly safe status as a resort planet, and security is encouraged by most corporate governments. An unofficial ‘kidnapping insurance’ policy is also highly advised for most visitors.
Government, Corporations, and Planetary Trade
Sorvatan being divided between multiple corporate states, the planet lacks a single unifying governing body. There is no priority placed on any kind of planetary unification; the majority of the corporations on Sorvatan are looking out for their own interests very openly, to the point where the occasional skirmish between mercenaries who have strayed into rival corporate territory is not unheard of. This rarely snowballs into a major intercorporate incident or protracted war effort, due to the general hands-off policy regarding engagements in the wilderness and the inherent cost of a prolonged campaign.
Despite this state of affairs, there is ongoing trade in certain locally manufactured goods between individual corporate states, often carried out by convoys of hovertrucks traveling overland with mercenary protection. Corporate Lesha plantations, by necessity, are also in the wilderness outside the corporate cities, and at frequent risk of cartel attack. As such, offworld shipping for Sorvatan’s primary industry is dependent on the ability to move bulk Lesha cargo by truck from the corporate plantations to the spaceports in the cities, through hostile terrain that is filled with armed attackers that might strike at any moment. The risk of overland travel brought on by cartel activity lends truckers a sort of gutsy, tough folk-hero status among Sorvatan’s working class. This is the primary reason the Lesha Wars have received any kind of media attention at all, and more than one shootout in the jungle has made the news because ‘the driver talked.’
Offworld corporations that control at least one city on the planet include Avari Agriculture, Tefgro Macrofarming, Diamantina-Floros, and several dozen other Terminus corporate entities, but one local presence of note is the Free Sorvatan Consortium, a former subsidiary of Lymean Interstellar that survived the Reaper War, became a full corporation in its own right, and changed its name postwar.
In regards to planetary defense and orbital security, each megacorp employs their own corporate privateers to police the planet’s orbit and nearby space. Clashes between privateers are common and written off as engagements with local ‘unidentified’ pirate bands to avoid triggering a corporate war and subsequent MAD scenario. These privateers are intentionally given an unwritten license to do as they please to everyone else so long as their corporation’s shipments and passenger transports to and from Sorvatan go unmolested.
The exact composition of each corporation’s privateer forces vary from month to month, but the vast majority of privateer outfits contracted by each megacorp tend to consist of corvettes and frigate-class vessels of varying sizes, with a handful of cruisers among them. Mercenary warships are also commonplace, but rarely will home-grown corporate fleet assets be deployed to Sorvatan by any of the megacorps with significant offworld interests.
Planetside military assets are equally varied, with corporate security forces largely being equipped to engage local cartels and criminal organizations. Milspec hardsuits, automatic and heavy weapons, and gunship support are the norm, but rarely are heavy assets such as tanks and APCs deployed to fight the cartels that dominate the planet’s wilderness because Sorvatan’s dense jungle terrain precludes the use of the vast majority of heavy armored units. Light vehicles such as armored skycars and hovercraft see frequent use.
The structure of each corporate state’s military forces is different from company to company. Home-grown corporate paramilitary units generally maintain a defensive posture in each city and serve a primary function as state police while PMCs and freelancers handle the war in the wilderness. Mercenaries are almost exclusively contracted to serve as the megacorps’ actual soldiers in the ongoing shooting war with the cartels across the planet. These ‘auxiliary scouting units’ conduct reconnaissance, offensive operations, escort missions for any overland shipping, and search-and-destroy patrols. Often these special task forces operate with minimal corporate oversight or concern for established rules of engagement, although policies on punishing transgressors vary from state to state. Orbital assets such as privateers are brought in to operate in conjunction with elements on the ground as heavy support on an irregular basis during certain missions.
Sorvatan’s crime rate is almost entirely borne from the massive amount of cartel activity in the jungles and corruption in the customs agencies; anything non-cartel related primarily consists of petty crime and intermittent gang activity in the cities, and while there is quite a bit of it, the important part to most security units is that cartels are generally kept out of the cities. Due to most corporate security forces being stretched particularly thin handling cartel-related threats, a lot of the smaller criminal outfits go mostly ignored or strike a deal for the sake of keeping the peace. Most non-cartel activity is a combination of gangland violence, piracy, and the occasional kidnapping or assassination of a visiting vacationer.
Pirate activity around Sorvatan is mostly nonexistent due to a combination of ‘carrot and stick’ policies by the corporate city-states that run the planet. A large number of pirates have launched attacks against corporate shipping in the past to their own detriment. Any attempt to interfere with Sorvatan’s core commercial interests - tourism and the Lesha trade - is retaliated against with overwhelming force. Most everything else is largely ignored.
Combined with a very loose legal code for Sorvatan’s security in orbit and the surrounding system that allows for much activity to go completely ignored, this often results in pirates either becoming corporate privateers or leaving Sorvatan quickly, with very little interest in any kind of middle ground. A handful of pirate bands stick around for a time and prey on independent freighters before eventually moving onto greener pastures, but rarely will any pirates remain in-system for more than a couple of weeks.
The planet is the alleged home of the cryptid known as the Jungle Crawler. Supposedly this is a mantis-like creature the size of a small building. Exact descriptions vary depending on location, but it's believed to be something that lurks away from the corporate colonies and goes after people when they stray too close. The only footage of the creature in circulation is frequently dismissed as a series of hoaxes, and most of them are indeed from questionable sources.