Messana has a rotational wobble that is almost in synchronization with its yearly revolution. As a result, both the northern and southern hemispheres lean toward the sun for long periods. As time passes, Messana "stands straight" for awhile, with neither hemisphere predominantly toward the sun, and then slowly flips to the other side. This cycle takes 500 years to complete, during which first one hemisphere and then the other is covered in glacial ice. In these periods, the people of Messana migrate back and forth, pushed and pulled by the glacial flow. Messana's Northern hemisphere is currently buried under several kilometers of glacier, swept by raging winds and blizzards throughout the year.
If not for the abundance of gennium-arsenic ore in Messana's mountains, the planet would have little attraction. The largest mines are near Troll Gate, Pale, and Biger. Four more to the north are currently buried under a kilometer of ice. These will reemerge over the next 200 years as Messana tips back on its axis.
The southern hemisphere is also cold, but not frozen. It has several large bodies of water including the deep sea, Lake Ta-Me-Ta, Lake Odin against the glacier wall, and the shallow green Lake Ho. All these freshwater seas have plentiful sea life. (The sea life, too, migrates. Past glaciers have left channels between the northern and southern lakes. When one lake begins to freeze, the fish follow these channels to a warmer home.)
A race called the Lorrainus inhabited Messana about six thousand years ago, leaving behind evidence that they were large, bear-like mammals, with humanoid stance and gait.
The Lorrainus, traces of whom have also been found in Pembroke County, numbered close to a billion on Messana. They built several large cities and had an advanced transportation system. Toward the end of their civilization, they carved imposing fortresses out of titanium and stone. Mass graves discovered by Baufrin explorers indicate a deadly war and then the Lorrainus abruptly disappeared. All that remains today are the huge fortresses scattered over the surface of the planet.
A joint Baufrin-Human team surveyed the world in 3098 and discovered gennium-arsenic ore, precipitating a rush for buried treasures. In the face of fiercely independent miners and other entrepreneurs, it took some time for the Commonwealth to enforce law on this world. An uneasy peace eventually prevailed, however.
Then came the Snow Plague. Most mines shut down, and Messana's CAF garrison was disbanded. By the time the KessRith arrived, only a handful of Royal Navy ships rose to face them. The entire campaign for the planet lasted only four months and cost the KessRith less than 800 lives in sporadic fighting.
The KessRith hated Messana's bitter cold. They added to the Lorrainus fortresses currently above the ice, huddling within them for warmth. Mining and most other necessary operations were left to their Baufrin slaves.
The unrest that broke out in Shannedam during the period 6300-6500 never erupted on isolated Messana. As world after world tore free of KessRith control, however, the Commonwealth turned its attention to Messana's laser crystals.
The 344th Commonwealth Relief Force arrived in the Lorrainus system intent on driving the KessRith from the planet, only to discover that the KessRith were already off Messana and falling back toward Keserdal County. The ensuing space battle lasted for 14 days, ending only when the last functional KessRith vessel entered T-Space.
Messana's ores make the planet as valuable to TOG as it was to the KessRith and still is to the Commonwealth. Because it sits so close to the Keserdal border, the CAF knew Messana would require a stout defense. In 6810, the 34201st Renegade Infantry Legion and several other units arrived for that purpose.
The Renegade commander, Lyndica Thurston, based her defenses on on the Lorrainus fortresses. While refitting and reinforcing them, she discovered extensive tunnels that connected the fortresses even when the surface was icebound. These would allow her to shift troops secretly and to strike where TOG least expected.
TOG made its move against Messana in 6824. Careful to avoid damaging the orbiting laser crystal-processing facilities, the TOG Navy deployed a strike and infantry legion in the northern ice fields. The northern hemisphere was less defended, but it was also colder. The cold attacked man and machine alike, hampering TOG's advance. Now a brigadier general, Thurston planned to hold TOG in the bitter northern reaches, where supply requirements and weather worked against them.
Attempts by TOG to take Kingly in 6825 failed utterly. The 30995th Strike Legion (The Vipers of Hibbing) advanced on the city, only to encounter fire from the elite 56977th KessRith Armored Legion. Both units were mustered in Hibbing County 50 years earlier and they hated one another. Forced into an inferior tactical position, the TOG legion had to withdraw.
Three months later, they moved against the Biger fortress, garrisoned by Vauvusar Marines of the 8434th Battalion. Just as the TOG forces reached the suburbs of the city, heavy laser fire, coordinated with bombardments by the 1151st Interceptor Wing, pinned them down from the rear. After ten days of fighting, TOG forces pulled back in a hasty retreat.
The fortress northeast of Kingly, defended by the 34201st Renegade Infantry Legion, became the next focus of attack. Eight months of fighting gained no ground against the well-defended Renegades. TOG then turned its attention to Pale, but once again the 56977th drove back the 30995th. Finally, in 6829, TOG concentrated its forces against Kingly once more. A bitter storm held back air-cover, and as the KessRith armored legion withdrew, handed the CAF it first defeat in the campaign.
Kingly is currently the TOG base of operations. The TOG High Command has opted to avoid the fortress complexes northeast of their command post and are currently making a slow push to take Pale. Those fortresses, under the command of the Renegade 34201st Legion, have shown no sign of yielding.
TOG has a much better grip on the system's spaceways, as the Royal Navy feels the strain of a supply corridor contested for more than 200 light years. Adding to that, TOG has completed work on an orbiting fighter facility over Lyttle, giving the 194th Aggressor Wing a permanent base of operations against Messana.
Crystals are still being mined, but few are being processed. Though TOG has carefully avoided destroying the larger factories over Messana, they have kept most shuttles from reaching the factories. Yet even if the Commonwealth shuttles could get to the processed laser crystals, what could they do with them? It is almost impossible for a ship to safely transit the corridor of patrolled space back into the safe regions of the Commonwealth.
TOG knows that these facilities are full of stockpiled crystals, but also knows that they will self-destruct if they fall into hostile hands. The TOG commanders have made several attempts to seize a factory, but none has been successful. Its latest attempt on the Allied Pharmaceutical Plant destroyed the factory and took the lives of more than 100 TOG marines.
Baufrin/Human survey team finds traces of G-A ore.
TOG attacks. Struggle continues through 6825.
TOG attacks again.
TOG attacks intensified; they make small gains.