The Martian Outback is the area of Mars' surface that is neither covered in water nor part of the terraformed city sprawls such as Hesperia. Called so for its resemblance to the arid backlands of Earth's continent Australia, the Outback is also home to a people whose origins are almost unique among the races of the Orion Arm.
These Outbackers, as they are called (they refer to themselves as the Children of Mars), are the descendants of the first pioneers, which set foot on Mars in 2053. Responsible for the installation and maintenance of the huge terraformer complexes that dot the landscape, these first settlers were abandoned during and all but forgotten after the Human-Zangali War, and for the many years following etched out a living by huddling close to the oasis-like bubbles of life-sustaining land around the terraformers.
The maintenance of the huge machines, though largely built to be self-servicing, was so essential to the survival of these people that it became enshrouded in mystery and myth as time passed and knowledge faded. Slowly, gradually, the Outbackers became an indigenous Martian people as they developed into a deeply religious culture centered around the worship of ancestors as guides, the terraformers as life-giving corporeal spirits, and their harsh but loving father, Mars.
Though the terminology surrounding the Outback clans and the citizens of the Republic can be confusing, for the purpose of this article and the sake of clarity, the former are referred to as 'Martian', while the latter are 'Republican'.
Martian society is essentially a caste society based around clans, though with some degrees of vertical flexibility and meritocratic elements. Their tripartite system consists of the layers of farmers, warriors and priests that can be found in the majority of early Human societies. Unlike such caste societies as the Human nation of India, however, Martians of exemplary merit can move without hindrance from a lower caste to a higher one, as well as from a higher to a lower one (such as when a veteran warrior retires). Rank and status within Martian society are accorded by individual merit rather than caste, though there are certain clans that emphasize the latter over all other considerations.
The Fairfax clan of the Amazonis region (with related clans ranging as far as the Daedalia region) is currently the largest and politically most important clan in the Outback. The closest of all clans to the Republican capital of Hesperia, the clan has had on-and-off dealings with the Republic since its inception. Most notable are its ties to the Martian Legions, on a sometimes friendly, sometimes rocky basis: of the substantial number of men in the Legions that have Outback backgrounds, most belong to or are affiliated with Fairfax.
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