Tallav – the Planet


The rainbow hills of Tallav in Shane: Marshal of Tallav (photo is real mountains in Danxi China)

Tallav is one of the few planets discovered that is ideally suited to human life. Terraforming was not required. Xenobiologists were employed to integrate Tallav’s ecosystems with essential elements of Earth’s ecosystems. The fee to colonize this gem was high.

The colonization rights were purchased by a large group of extremely wealthy women who had united around the concept of establishing a matriarchal society on what would essentially become a gated community planet. Land and its use would be owned and controlled by the founding mothers. Men would not be allowed to own property or take part in governance.

A two-tier society was established. The aristocracy was made up of the founders and their families. All others were brought to the planet to work. Industrial development was prohibited on planet. The planet was divided into large estates, many reached only by shuttle. The estates were semi-autonomous providing the essential needs of those who lived and worked there. Trips to Cahernamon, the sole city on Tallav, provided the rest.

Initially there was little to no movement into or out of the social strata. Tenants and servants on the estates were paid, but it was impossible for them to save enough to buy their way up in society. A merchant class developed in Cahernamon. These women, often third or fourth daughters, were either funded by the aristocracy or willing to go without to start a very humble business. After several generations of mother to daughter inheritance, some had the wherewithal to buy an estate. Estates came on the market due to lack of an heir or the owner’s financial insolvency.

The descendants of the founding mothers wished to maintain their status as the upper crust, so a distinction between founding families and the gentry became part of the class structure, although there was no legal distinction made.

Most who owned estates had holdings offworld that provided the wealth needed to keep Tallav operating as a bedroom planet for the wealthy.

The role of aristocratic men in society was limited. The heavy lifting was done by estate tenants and servants. Aristocratic men were to focus on pleasing their wife, run the household on the estate, and oversee the nurture and education of their children. Many relied on nannies, governesses, tutors, and boarding schools. Well-trained servants could keep a household running smoothly, so out of boredom many men took up hobbies. Horse breeding and racing being a favorite occupation for some while others immersed themselves in gaming.

Soon after colonization, it became apparent that some younger, unmarried men required an outlet for their need for physical aggression. Boxing, wrestling and other such activities were deemed too provocative. Debate ended when agreement was reached to found the Tallavan Marshal Service. The ideal, to serve and protect, flowed nicely into the pattern they wished to establish of service to women.

Young men could choose to attend the Marshal’s Academy once they finished their education. After one year of classes and hands on training, they graduated and became probationary marshals, moving up in the service as their abilities allowed. The decision was made, not without qualms, to make this a male run organization.

Limitations were placed on who could serve, when, and where. Because the Marshals were essentially replacing the Federation Bureau of Investigation, they required offices throughout the region. Clerical staff and other low-level employees could be drawn from the population of the planet where an office was located. All others must be from Tallav.

An unmarried man could remain a marshal for life. His status changed if he married. Marriage to a Tallavan woman meant he had to leave the service until his children were raised. Once a man’s children were raised, he could return to the Marshals usually serving in a management capacity. Most did not return.

When serving offworld, some men found non-Tallavan women they wished to marry. This presented the problem of where they would live. The matriarchal council felt allowing such couples to return to live on Tallav presented an array of possible stresses to intricately balanced Tallavan society. Therefore, they forbid these couples to live on Tallav. From fear that too many would choose to marry offworld and remain a marshal, they added a proviso that the man’s mother must officially approve the marriage. Her approval allowed the man to remain a marshal offworld. Her disapproval cut him off from all aspects of Tallavan society including service with the marshals.

Not all female descendants of the founders felt animus towards men assuming positions of power. The matriarchal council during Shane’s time includes a few such women. The use of political machinations and control of the arenas where societal opinion was formed or imparted allows the matriarchal party to maintain its power. Within some families, men were allowed top-level management in family business affairs. When such arrangements became known, those families were often ostracized from polite Tallavan society. The most notorious scandal occurred when the matriarch of one such family decided to sell her Tallavan holdings and move her entire family offworld. By Shane’s time all but the most fanatical matriarchists accept men working outside the home.

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