Prologue

Excerpt from Abandon all hope – Welcome to Astrokaszy a documentary on life on Astrokaszy produced December 3058. Commentator Dr. Mike Hanjahov takes the viewer on the roller coaster ride of twists and turns that leads us to life in the present on Astrokaszy.

After the fall of the Martian Hegemony, things on Astrokaszy descended back into dark times where lawlessness and criminals ruled. Violent crime became the norm and the lack of civilized legal system created an environment where the wealthy, and socially deviant, could indulge in their uninhibited fantasies. The few sultans and caliphs that did exist used their militaries and hired mercenaries to secure their positions and create small fiefdoms, each competing to become the darkest den of depravity.

Since none of these "kings of the desert" could agree on a formalized central system of government, the result was sadly predictable. Much like the problems faced in the Inner Sphere, they would engage in skirmishes from time to time, but neither of them possessed the ability to overthrow the others. Fear of attack, or being overthrown from within, prevented even the most powerful of the sultans from committing any real force to an attack. Also, none of these leaders ever possessed enough wealth to hire a force large enough to win out over their counterparts. (One exception to this was the Ajam war, circa 3055. The supplementary documentary from this series titled prisoners of fate – the Ajam conflict, covers this topic in-depth.) In addition to these facts, rumors have circulated that the very powerful criminal organizations on Astrokaszy also played a key role in this continued instability.

It is commonly held that the leaders of these organizations, known as "Khalifat of Tazi" to the locals, had no interest in the creation of a central government. They considered the instability essential to their continued operation. At the time it was rumored that these "Khalifat of Tazi" used their considerable influence to spread constant rumors of plots against each of the ruling sultans and caliphs. These rumors would usually revolve around either internal uprising movements or plots from other leaders. Whether these allegations were true or not, these rumors of unrest proved to be quite effective at keeping the local leaders from engaging in anything more than a simple raid. But, as with all things on Astrokaszy, this precarious balance would not last longer than a few years.

As is often the case in the Periphery, particularly in Astrokaszy's history, any sign of wealth or opportunity draws unwanted attention. In this case, the unwanted attentions of Pirate Ivan Vondrasek.

While the exact origins of Ivan "the despicable" Vondrasek and his pirate band, Prince's Bane, are not known, their reputation, is well known, and feared, throughout the region of the Periphery. It is thought that the depravity on Astrokaszy had finally reached a point in 3057 that it caught the eye of the ruthless pirate.

Avoiding Astrokaszy City, Ivan Vondrasek and his band choose Paradise City, then ruled by one of Astrokaszy's most powerful and benevolent Sultans, Omar Bin Amar. Vondrasek had at his command a full battalion of BattleMechs along with supporting conventional troops, and while these forces were only at or below 3025 technology standards, as measured by those in the Inner Sphere, he vastly out gunned the Sultan, and indeed the collective forces on Astrokaszy at the time. Living up to his reputation he destroyed half of Paradise City during his invasion, without apparent cause, and then proceeded to execute all members of the ruling families. He also managed to find and execute all the "Khalifat of Tazi" and their respective organizations within the city. He then formally announced the creation of the Vondrasek Protectorate.

Without the forces to stop Vondrasek individually and out of tremendous fear of their new neighbor the remaining Sultans and Caliphs put aside their differences and formed the first central governing body in over 10 years. In a strange twist of fate, it is recorded that it was the "Khalifat of Tazi" who arranged the meetings between the leaders and presided over the proceedings.