|Cascom : Castra II|
|Affiliation||United Empire of Earth|
├ Castra system
└─ Orbiting Castra (star)
Only Castra II is suitable for habitation. The UEE military designated the planet as Castra Command, which was shortened to Cascom — an unofficial name that has stuck, much to the dismay of some current politicians. The military terraformed the planet as fast as possible. Some scientist today even say possibly too fast, suggesting that the escalated speed at which Cascom was made ready is to blame for its pronounced cloud layer.
The military wanted to construct an ideal defensive position, so they dug in to the top of Mount Ulysses to build the city of Sherman, making it both superbly secure and breathtakingly beautiful. This fortress city, situated above the clouds, has earned the nickname "Island in the Sky." Upon seeing Sherman for the first time, Admiral Kumasi Klein famously said, "It's the city of my dreams. Picturesque and protected by big guns."
Since Sherman was under government control for centuries, it remains a sterling example of state-sponsored architecture. The oldest government buildings in Sherman reflect the austere Hennowism style that was prominent during the city's initial construction. When Monumentalism was championed by Imperator Messer III, Sherman's skyline was updated to reflect the style. Today, Sherman's historic architecture remains as one of the primary reasons to visit the city.
Ever since the military opened the system to Citizens and civilians, Sherman has searched to define its cultural identity. For centuries, living on Castra II was an assignment, not a choice. People from every corner of the Empire spent time there, but few put down roots. When the system opened up, industry became the planet's most obvious new resident. Although companies like Kruger Intergalactic injected new life into the planet, they did little to give it a new identity among the masses of other imperial worlds.
That changed in 2833 when the planet elected Andre Novoselov president. President Novoselov worked closely with the business community to attract more residents to Sherman. For years, businesses had struggled to find enough employees to fill available positions. Together, they launched pro-Sherman promotional campaigns on planets around the Empire. One of those campaigns resurrected the "Island in the Sky" motif and featured the iconic image of the mountaintop city sitting above cloud cover sparkling from the light pollution of cities below. For the first time, the Empire saw Sherman as more than a military outpost or industrial park. It was President Novoselov's hope that he would see Castra II earn representation in his lifetime, but sadly his transition from President to planetary Governor never came to pass, and the planet has yet to earn its senatorial seat.
President Novoselov's push to populate the planet worked. As more people arrived, so did a wide variety of service industries to meet the increasing demand. Sherman became a melting pot of high-end stores, restaurants and hotels, intermixed with businesses geared toward middle-class and blue-collar workers. In many parts of the city, people in designer suits and those in graphene-toed boots shop, dine and live in the same part of town.
Recently, Cascom's cheap real estate and scenic views have become a popular home for retirees. In an effort to attract a younger crowd, Sherman has promoted its beautiful, mountaintop location as the 'verse's premiere extreme sports destination. For a while, paragliding above the clouds was extremely popular until numerous amateur paragliders landed on military installations and forced the city to impose a ban on the practice. Even if paragliding has been prohibited around Mount Ulysses, there is more than enough awe and adventure awaiting anyone who visits Castra II.
When Castra II was finally terraformed, Ivar Messer had already ascended to the newly created position of Prime Citizen. He wasted no time allocating resources to build up Castra II as a source of reinforcements for the military at Hadrian as well as a staging area for an invasion into Xi'an territory, should the opportunity ever present itself.
When the jump point to Oya system was discovered near the end of the 26th century, Castra ceased being a secondary base; it was now on the front line. Long-range bombers would circle the jump point toward Oya, waiting for a signal to push into Xi'an territory and blast their targets. When Castra's jump to Tohil was discovered, it was another way into the UEE from Xi'an space. The Imperator whipped this fear of attack up to cut off civilian traffic into Castra entirely.
When the Messers fell, military tensions turned to diplomatic relations. Tohil and Oya became part of the Empire when the Perry Line was divided into the Transitional Systems. Very quickly, the military on Castra discovered that they weren't the front line anymore. In 2789, the military scaled back their presence to reopen the system for civilians, even repurposing most of the military structures for public use.