House Beruna: Rulers of Beruna Province in the Par'tha Expanse
Values: House Beruna has been a lesser house for several centuries. It relies on its ore-rich systems to provide income, and has established a university system it hopes will someday rival that of Tinall Academy. House members tend to be quiet, polite, and educated in the disciplines of history, the arts, and science.
High Lord: Lord Galen Merrick has resided in his position for nearly 30 years. A former Dean of Beruna University, Lord Merrick is a brilliant man, possessing degrees in a variety of scientific fields. He is a master computer programmer with an analytical flare.
Unlike his predecessors, he is content with the house's position in the sector. House Beruna has become the crucial house that holds the swing vote. As part of the Larokon-Barahn alliance, its pull gives the triumvirate majority in the Great Council.
Description: House Beruna has always been a lesser house and seems destined to remain one for quite some time. Its mining economy has provided it with a steady and stable source of income, but it has never had much to splurge on extensive spinets and huge military fleets - investments necessary to rise to greater house status. It is also isolated from the rest of the sector by powerhouse House Larokon, which makes expansion into other areas of the sector out of the question.
Panos and Herm Industries - the largest mining megacorporation operating in the Expanse - is based in Beruna Province. It controls most of the mining in the province, and because of the income it brings into the province, its officials have a lot of pull with house members.
Geological analyses predict that some of the most ore-rich worlds in the province will begin to tap out within two centuries (they have been mined for thousands of years already), and house leaders have begun looking for ways to diversify. Manufacturing firms have been lured to Beruna from other sectors with very attractive offers, and the investment has begun to pay off as Beruna's tax base rises.
Perhaps Beruna's most successful experiment was the opening of Beruna University two hundred years ago. By offering subsidized salaries far above and beyond anything else being offered in the Expanse, the university was able to attract some of the best and brightest professors and researchers from the sector - including from rival Tinall. The university is known throughout the sector for its excellence, and has enrolled the sons and daughters of many house nobles who cannot bear to send their children to a Freeworld for their educations.
Allies: House Beruna is allied with Larokon and Barahn, mostly because it depends on the goodwill of these houses for its imports and exports. Beruna would prefer not to be involved in political plotting, and of the three houses is the least likely to let the alliance affect its dealings with other houses.
Enemies: Again, House Beruna has no outright enemies. At least, none that would say so to a House Beruna member. However, due to its position in the triumvirate, House Tadere and Lanaxa are noticeably cool toward it. Until Tadere can woo (or force) Beruna away, this relationship will probably stay the same.
Assets: Beruna has many ore-rich worlds, which it leases to PHI and other mining companies. The university also brings it a lot of credits from the rest of the sector. House Beruna has always felt a need to sink its resources into the university, not the military. However, current leadership is contemplating a gradual buildup, just to keep options open.