The Deseret System includes a hot F5 system primary star, and seven planets. The outer five of these are gas giants, two of which have moons large enough to be of interest for very minor human settlement in the form of research or mining colonies. The inner two are rocky worlds, the inmost of which is a scorched, airless rock similar to Mercury. The second planet is the most populated, a desert world with a few lakes in low-lying depressions, around which irrigation agriculture is a major industry. Mining settlements scattered in the rocky and sandy deserts around these fertile lowlands produce metals and ceramics for export, as well as hosting large solar power facilities. The planet has two moons, both of which are military reservations hosting protected command centers for the orbital defense network.
Deseret was a minor Drakat outpost (and thus with a Drakat name not easily transliterated into English) conquered by the Earth Federation in the late 2160's. Around the same time that the Third Vatican Catholic sect was sending colonists to nearby St. Michael's Star, a group of Mormon Fundamentalists who favored polygamy and theocracy bought out the colonization rights and began human settlement on what was renamed Deseret. Founding their capital of Port Joseph Smith on a fertile lowland area near one of the rare lakes on this driest of human colony worlds, they began to prosper. However, a Bug attack in early 2194 very nearly overran the colony, and the decimated survivors began seeking new settlers who were not necessarily Mormons.
Early in the Third Civil War, Deseret was conquered by the Jurvain in an overwhelming surprise attack, and remained under Jurvain control until the Earth Federation was able to liberate the system a few years later.
After the Caal Invasion, Deseret sided with the Holy Terran Empire in the Ascension War of 2265. Although the planet was lucky enough to avoid any human-on-human fighting, during the closing stages of the war another major Bug attack again decimated the populace, especially when a Hive Ship crash-landed near the center of Youngstown, the second-largest city on the planet. Controversially, Commodore Viktor Molotok ordered the Mass Drivers of his flagship turned on the city, destroying the Hive Ship, the Queen it was carrying, and quite possibly saving the rest of the colony... but killing two million human colonists in Youngstown and the other Bug landing sites he bombarded from orbit. Molotok volunteered to be Court-martialed for the incident, expecting his decision to be vindicated, but he was eventually sentenced to death eleven years later, after a prolonged and politically-charged trial and appeals process. The sentence was commuted to a form of banishment, with Molotok being sent to lead the Fifth Fleet, an armada of obsolete ships manned mostly by other prisoners, in further battles with the Bugs out in the Arachnid Quarantine Zone.
The population today of 30 million people is only about 10 percent Mormon or Mormon Fundamentalist, and is scattered over dozens of settlements, mostly involved with agriculture in the fertile lowlands or mining in the open desert areas. Two million people live in Port Joseph Smith, still the capital and largest settlement. Ongoing efforts to terraform the planet to increase the water content of the ecosphere include a program to crash water-rich comets onto an enormous Impact Zone, a rectangle four thousand miles long and a thousand miles wide along the planet's equator opposite the capital. No settlements or human activity is allowed in the Impact Zone, for obvious reasons.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The planet is of course named for the original Mormon colony in Utah. Not only is this a reference to the Port Joe Smith incident in the Starship Troopers movie, but storyteller Marcus is an avid student of Mormon military history and theology in general (mostly to debunk it, but then he's not a complete idiot). Youngstown, of course, is named after Brigham Young.