The Leitjeif Horror was fresh on the minds of the delegates to the Third Beleran Council. To justify awarding the world of Giabellant to the survivors, they amended Article 56 of the Beleran Declaration to allow recognition of oppressed minorities as Protected Tribal Entities. This had the unintended consequence of awarding numerous secessionist groups their own homelands. Some of these secessionists couldn’t resist raiding their corporate neighbors. This led to a series of bombings on Brightsummer and something resembling an all-out rebellion on Spume. The Conklin Decision of 37 clarified that PTEs were not entitled to imported technology, nor indeed to any significant technology at all. The aggrieved corporations happily rounded up the troublemakers, stripped them naked, and dropped them in the middle of brand-new reservations surrounded by filament wire. As the starving wretches showed up at the gates to beg for food, they were presented with employment forms. The specter of Secessionism faded into history.

Protocol Enforcement didn’t seriously expect anyone to petition for PTE status in the wake of the Conklin Decision. They hadn’t counted on the Neoprimitivist Movement. Founded by Bella Seinch in 48, the movement proclaimed that the only escape from the moral and spiritual corruption of corporate culture was return to a stone-age existence. Thousands of self-proclaimed Neoprimitives petitioned for PTE status and happily marched off into the wilderness. Many dragged themselves back to civilization weeks or months later. Some simply vanished. A few actually succeeded in creating viable Neoprimitive cultures.

Most worlds with suitable biospheres now host Neoprimitive reserves. Each such reserve generally has a number of “tribes” in residence. These so-called tribes usually consist of bands of twenty to fifty adults plus assorted children and infants. These stone-age hunters and gatherers are free to adopt whatever customs, laws, and rituals they wish so long as they remain on their reservations. Protocol Enforcement maintains trading posts where Neoprimitives can trade handicrafts for medical care and other necessities. Those who wish to leave can apply for corporate employment.

Neoprimitivism isn’t an easy lifestyle. The highest technology you’re permitted consists of a bow and stone-tipped arrows. Panimmunity may protect you from disease, but it won’t stop parasites, predators, broken bones, and simple starvation. Life expectancies average about sixty. Females get two children each, and maybe a third if Protocol Enforcement is feeling generous. Neighboring tribes might raid your camp and slaughter you in your sleep. And if you show up at the trading post looking for employment, don’t expect a very good job.

The oldest of all Neoprimitive reserves is the world of Refuge, which was once called Giabellant. Refuge was awarded to the survivors of the Leitjeif Horror, a program of genetic manipulation and forced breeding designed to develop militarized psionicists. The collapse of The Consolidation left thousands of Sidhe on a decaying station. They were transported to Refuge and have since lived as nomadic tribes on its vast subequatorial plains. Refuge is generally off-limits to everyone except Sidhe.

Ever since the days of Bella Seinch, humans have had romantic notions about how great it would be to get back to a simpler lifestyle, or as she put it, “to become one with nature.” Some recruits are filled with religious conviction; others are psionic dabblers, or Apocalyptic survivalists, or simply rugged individualists. Most give up when they discover the full scope of the inconvenience and unpleasantness of the Neoprimitive lifestyle. Some remain, and over time a population of about a half-billion human Neoprimitives have gradually accumulated throughout the Conglomerate.

Thall Neoprimitives also exist. Although a very small percentage of Thalls have any interest in joining Neoprimitive society, those who do so tend to remain, and those who remain tend to successfully raise families. Thalls simply seem better adapted to the rigors of Neoprimitive life than humans. Also, most Thalls have strong reasons for wanting to stay: every new recruit brings new stories of Human Supremicist oppression and corporate exploitation. Most Neoprimitive Thalls have an intense dislike of humans; many would die before they’d return to civilization.

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