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Bensonia was the fourth planet in the Votannis star system, located in Federation space in the Alpha or Beta Quadrant. It had a single moon and was one of two class M planets in its system. It was home to both Orion and Human colonies.
Bensonia was once the homeworld of a race of beings known as the Trunes, until it was settled by the Orions, who founded the prosperous Colony of Votannis. With Orion guidance, the Trunes rose to an advanced civilization.
However, during the turbulent period of the Reverse, a terrible civil war erupted on the planet, shortly after Emperor Arnet the Thoughtful took the throne on April 30th, 1154 CE (reference stardate −9/5404.30). The massacre there killed over 40 million people in total, including 23.1 million Orions. The Trunes were wiped out and only a small number of Orions survived. These were the very darkest days of the Reverse. Since the weapons used during the war were primitive slug-throwers, and not overly destructive, the planet was left with mostly intact ruins. These gave later Orions, Human settlers and other visitors a telling insight into Orion civilization at its heights, though they had been plundered several times since.
- There appears to be an error in the chronology surrounding Arnet's rise. This article reverses the dates for clarity.
The Orion leader Mighty Golenz and his family later sold the planet to the Benson Development Corporation for 7 million credits paid by Luther Benson, on reference stardate 1/2706 (c. 2200). It became known as Bensonia and the world was developed for Human colonization.
During the late 23rd century, many of the settlers were in favor of opening the third planet in the Votannis system, Hodunk, to colonization. This demand was not due to overcrowding on Bensonia, but a desire to keep criminal elements from gaining control over the neighboring planet. This was refused on the basis of its Prime Directive protection. Bensonian colonists ignored this and settled Hodunk anyway, but remained away from the native inhabitants. The researchers on Hodunk filed a protest to the Federation Council, where the matter sat under consideration.
Bensonia was a rare example of a Federation colony established on Orion terms. By the late 23rd century, about 98% of the population was Human, with the remainder being Orion. The inhabitants were known as Bensonians.
The colony made a healthy profit off the ruins, via the hostels, tourist outlets, and equipment rental shops which surrounded them, as well as the fee charged to any would-be explorer. The funds collected were used to protect the ruins from later generations of "culture poachers".
Bensonia had a cool temperate climate, a thick class M atmosphere and a 29-hour day. It had a total surface area of 897,221,000 square kilometers and, with 31% land mass, a total land area of 278,138,510 square kilometers. About 37% of its makeup was normal metals, 8% was radioactive elements, 3% was special minerals, and it had trace amounts of industrial crystals and gemstones (FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge)