Mishi IV is the fourth planet in the Mishi solar system in the Aridia region. It is the homeworld of the Ni-Kunni people. The planet is arid and inhospitable, with very little surface water. The several oceans it possesses are noted for their extreme salinity, making them unsuitable for human consumption. Despite the harsh conditions, geological evidence points to a much less hospitable past, with evidence of some terraforming in its recent history. The planet is resource pour, leaving many questions as to why it was chosen for settlement.
Roughly 19 billion years ago, Mishi IV coalesced out of the solar nebula. As it cooled, several small bodies of water formed on its surface and a thin atmosphere formed around it. The planet was harsh and rocky; there is debate as to whether the planet would have been classified as a barren world, or if it barely met the requirements to be called a terrestrial world.
Regardless, the planet's conditions were suitable for minimal amounts of primitive life. Microbial fossils date back roughly 15 billion years. These microbes gradually thickened Mishi IV's atmosphere, but similarly are believed to be responsible for the extreme salinity of the planet. Around 10 billion years ago, multicellular life began to take hold. The earliest were little more than pond scum able to tolerate the briny water, though eventually simplistic animals and plants managed to emerge.
Eventually, the land was breached, though it seems unlikely life was especially bountiful there. Records indicate most life was small and short-lived, with life cycles that were tied to sporadic rainfalls and brief periods of wetness. Several different dominant species evolved and then went extinct during this period, with the most successful being a squat reptilian predator roughly the size of an adult hand that dominated for about 250 million years.
Roughly 20,000 years ago, several large, icy comets impacted Mishi IV within a span of several years. The likelihood of several events occurring in such a quick fashion is incredibly low, leading to conclusion that they were the beginning of a plan to terraform the planet. The date of the last impact roughly corresponds with the collapse of the EVE Gate and first records of human habitation.
The comet impacts caused massive extinctions across the planet, but it also thickened the atmosphere and added a significant amount of water to the planet. It is estimated that anywhere from 40% to 80% of the planet's current water supply was provided by these impacts. However, because the planet remains relatively dry, it is surmised that the terraforming was never completed and further impacts had been planned by the early colonists.
The exact reasons for the settlers choosing the planet as the site of their colony is unknown. The planet has little valuable resources, making it unlikely the colonists wished to exploit it financially. The most prominent is that the settlers were religious extremists looking to start anew in a new world. This theory posits that Mishi IV was selected as a place free of temptation and full of hardship, forcing the settlers to be of stern moral fiber.
Regardless of the reasons for its colonization, Mishi IV was suddenly home to a large population of humans. These were the ancestors of the modern Ni-Kunni. Life on the planet was difficult, as the landscape was still changing from the aborted terraforming attempts. Natural life was scarce, though it rebounded significantly after around a thousand years, eventually giving rise to several larger land species which became important to the Ni-Kunni's ancestors for food, labor, and trade.
When the EVE Gate collapsed, the civilization on Mishi IV collapsed completely. Cut off from vital resources and left with a partially terraformed planet, the early settlers were unable to cope. Populations turned to in-fighting over the dwindling resources, eventually leaving them fractured and scattered. With little fresh water, few edible local species, and swaths of infertile ground, the settlers nearly died out.
Small groups managed to survive, however, by assuming a nomadic lifestyle. By abandoning the half-finished settlements they had established, the people gradually lost all knowledge of their prior glory. Stories were passed down through the generations, but as knowledge faded, these tales became twisted with legend and embellishments to become little more than fables.
Gradually, as the conditions on the planet stabilized, the descendants of the survivors were able to reestablished primitive civilizations. Due to the harsh conditions and scarce natural resources, they were slow to develop and evolve. It took thousands of years before the first cities reappeared on Mishi IV and from those eventually rose more complex societies.
However, the civilizations of Mishi IV would not naturally progress beyond the beginnings of an Industrial Revolution.
The 51st Exploration Corps, a detachment of the Imperial Navy, arrived on Mishi IV around 1000 years ago. They immediately began the process of the Reclaiming, enslaving large portions of the population and eliminating those who were deemed unworthy.
After pacifying and enslaving the population, the Amarr began to settle the planet themselves. While the planet was less hospitable than many others the Amarr had encountered, the prospect of controlling a new source of slaves enticed many Holders to bring their households to the planet. Similarly, treasure hunters, convinced that the planet had been settled for a reason, over-invested in exploiting the planet's limited resources. While many of these investors lost significantly in their investment, it did bring growth to the planet and catapulted it into a modern era.
Today, much of the planet has been ceded back to free Ni-Kunni. The majority of the population is of Ni-Kunni descent, with several Ni-Kunni Holders overseeing the planet's administration. A few small enclaves of Amarr monks make the planet their home; these religious grounds remain the only areas of the planet not subject to Ni-Kunni authority.
Mishi IV is economically under-developed. It is far from the core of the Empire and is distant from trade routes. Several wealthy Ni-Kunni merchants have proposed plans to inject vitality to the region and the planet, including the completion of the planet's terraforming, but none have yet come to fruition.
Mishi IV is typically characterized as a dry, desert world by outsiders. In some senses, this is true, as the planet has roughly 40% ocean cover, far less than the majority of terrestrial worlds, and features little rainfall. However, overall, the planet is quite temperate and has a large range of climates. The equatorial region is quite hot year round, regularly reaching 360 K or more. The planet has polar regions, but because of the limited water, the ice caps are small.
The majority of Mishi IV can be divided into three biomes: actual desert, dust plains, and arid steppes. Deserts tend to dominate the equatorial regions and are mostly uninhabited. Little life survives in these areas, which often do not see rainfall for years at a time.
The dust plains are more scattered and tend to fill the gaps between mountainous areas and the oceans. As with the deserts, they are very dry, though they often see seasonal rainfall that can turn an area wet and teeming with life for several weeks.
The steppes are the most diverse of areas on Mishi IV, with much of the planet's vegetation and animal species. Similarly, most of the planet's cities are situated in this biome, particularly clustered around permanent lakes and rivers that provide year-round sources of fresh water.
The planet also has scattered forests which provide limited amounts of timber. Many of these were destroyed by the Amarr following their conquest of the planet; those natural forests that remain are protected reserves.
To the surprise of many, the planet even has a few jungles. Though they are small, they are teeming with life and contribute disproportionately to the biodiversity of the planet.
Flora and Fauna
Most of Mishi IV's native life is confined to the planet's brine oceans. Species that live in the oceans are specially adapted to survive the extreme salinity. This additionally makes many of them unsuitable for consumption by non-native species, as the salt concentrates in flesh and is difficult to extract. The oceans are dominated by arthropods, with fish and reptile species being rare and often near the bottom of the food chain.
On land, the reptiles are the dominant native life forms. These fill the majority of ecological niches, with several apex predators growing to the size of adult slaver hounds. Several species have been domesticated by the Ni-Kunni and are used as livestock and beasts of burden. Arthropods and small mammal species fill out the biosphere. Mishi IV has no native avians, with flying reptiles filling their evolutionary roles.
For the most part, plants are small shrubs, grasses, and cacti. A large number of flowering plants have developed extremely spicy fruit, which is reflected in Ni-Kunni cuisine. In the scattered forests, trees are small and possess extremely dense wood, though they rarely grow large enough for it to be economically useful.
Despite being a prominent homeworld, Mishi IV ranks near the middle on the list of most-populated planets in the Empire. The vast majority of the planet is inhabited by free Ni-Kunni, with small populations of True Amarr, Khanid and Minmatar. The Holders governing the planet are among the very few Ni-Kunni Holders in the Empire. These Holders tend to be less affluent than their True Amarr fellows, and consequently own relatively few slaves in comparison. Thus, compared to most worlds throughout the Empire, Mishi IV has barely any Minmatar or other slave races.
The majority of the inhabitants are poor commoners who make their livings are artisans and laborers. Because the planet is poor in both resources and trade importance, traders and merchants find it an unattractive place to do business. While local needs are accounted for, businesses make modest profits compared to more affluent portions of the Empire.
The vast majority of inhabitants live clustered in the scattered cities. Some free Ni-Kunni have adopted nomadic lifestyles in imitation of their ancestors, though most agree that their lives only superficially resemble historical fact.
Mishi IV is a poor world with a stagnant economy. The planet possesses little in the way of material resources, with little in the way of heavy metal deposits. Thanks to its dry atmosphere and relative age, the planet does have a large number of fossil fuel deposits. However, these are deep within the planet's crust and the demand for fossil fuels is small cluster-wide.
Coupled with the poor and undeveloped nature of Aridia as a whole, Mishi IV is one of the poorer planets in the Empire. The planet has little exportable wealth, and imports tend to be limited to basic necessities such as water and food. Because of the harsh climate, the planet must rely on imports to sustain its population, putting a strain on its economy.
Several wealthy Ni-Kunni merchants have put forth plans to improve the economic situation on the planet. Most center around completion of the planet's terraformation, in order to enable local agriculture and water supplies to meet and even exceed local demand. However, none of these plans have proceeded past planning stages, and any proposal would need to be authorized by Imperial authorities, many of whom do not believe improving the planet is worth the cost.
The Mishi system is nominally under the domain of the Kador Family. However, as the system is separated from the rest of the Kador domains by quite a distance, it has been left mostly to its own devices locally. Control of the planet is split between several Holder families of Ni-Kunni descent. These Holders are less wealthy and are on the lowest rung of the Amarr nobility and are thus considered nothing more than minor actors in the Empire's politics.
Several wealthy Ni-Kunni merchant families wield almost as much power on the planet as the Holders. Though they are legally commoners, and thus have far fewer rights and privileges, their greater wealth give them significant influence over the Holders. They are still bound to follow the Holders' directives, but at least one Holder family has been ruined after antagonizing the merchants. The Holder suddenly found all his businesses dried up; his rivals on the planet eagerly gobbled up his holdings following his fall.
The planet, much as with the rest of Aridia, is considered of little consequence to the Empire at large, and tends to be ignored by Imperial officials. While this gives the inhabitants a fair degree of freedom not often seen in the Empire's core worlds, it also contributes majorly to its relatively poor stature. Efforts to improve the planet economically and socially tend to fall on deaf ears.
The official name of the planet in Imperial registries is Mishi IV. The ancestors of the Ni-Kunni called the planet by many different names, depending on their tribe and local language. Many of these names were religious in nature, meaning they have been deemed unsuitable for use in the modern Empire. While there is occasionally some push to change the planet's name to something more distinctive, there is much disagreement on what name would be appropriate, and thus little concrete has been decided.