A skeletal population
Iraq’s second largest city was once a bustling trading hub. Now, it’s almost unrecognizable. Before ISIS seized control, Mosul was home to 2.5 million people. Hundreds of thousands fled as the extremists began to enforce their violent rule, which included public beheadings and the enforcement of sharia law.
That number has risen dramatically in the years that followed, culminating in a daily mass exodus of around 10,000 people in recent months, according to UN estimates.
Since the coalition-led offensive to regain control of the city began in October, more than 860,000 people have fled from their homes, according to the World Health Organization, with hundreds of thousands of people now living in refugee camps for the internally displaced or outside Iraq altogether.
Eastern Mosul fell in January before a second phase, aimed at clearing ISIS militants from the western part of the city, launched in February. The coalition’s final push brought fighting that pushed 566,000 people from western Mosul out of the city in just four months.
- People flee warzones.
- There’s good coin in helping those with cash to flee.
- If you can’t pay, there’s no room in the cargo hold for you and yours, never mind the cabins or the low berths.
Stellar Reaches is set in 993 Imperial, during the sprawling Solomani Rim War. At the moment, the tide is just beginning to turn against the Solomani, so they will soon learn the hard wartime lessons the Lesser Races has already been taught.
The fighting in the Empty Quarter is far more low-key, against pirates seizing the opportunity of the absence of the Sector Fleet (redirected to assist the major war effort).
Moreover, the interstellar tribes of the region are willing to give a hand to their brethren on other worlds, with Muslim freighters willing to help impoverished Muslims, Vilani corporate traders waving fees for Vilani families, Bwap financiers willing to give generous no-interest, unsecured loans to Bwap creches in need of assistance, etc.
No family, cultural or religious network? I refer you to point 3, above:
If you can’t pay, there’s no room in the cargo hold for you and yours, never mind the cabins or the low berths.
The Empty Quarter does not play nice.
Fortunately, there is no mass interstellar migrations going on in-sector at the moment: space pirates are a pain, especially for low-pop and/or low-tech worlds, but there’s a huge gap between gangs of interstellar thieves (even the bloodthirsty ones), and a race-driven interstellar war backed by quadrillions of credits and trillions of sophonts.
The Enlightening Graphic (a.k.a. The Money Shot) is below. Especially note the timeline: this is in thousands of people fleeing Mosul per week.
“That’s a lot of stuffed cargo holds. Assuming that the freight is paid for, of course, and the life support holds out.”
“It’s better for the ship’s reputation if the refugees actually survive the trip.”
“Some captains worry about their reputation. Others just pick up the fast cash, make sure to cut expenditures to the bone, and move on.”
“‘Cut expenditures.’ That’s one way to put it. Sure you weren’t Corporate PR in a previous life?”
“War reveals what men are really made of. And not just the men in uniforms, either.”