Jackson's Whole is a planet in the science fiction series "The Vorkosigan Saga" by Lois McMaster Bujold; its name comes from Jackson Hole, a valley in Wyoming originally called Jackson's Hole. Originally a hijacker base, Jackson's Whole evolved into a government by a series of interlocking crime syndicates known as Houses Major and Houses Minor, the distinction being based on wealth and influence. The heads of the Houses Major claim the title of "Baron". The wife of a Jacksonian Baron is styled a "Baronne", in the French usage, not a Baroness. Presumably, the female leader of a House Major would also be a Baronne.
Conventional morality does not appear to matter to the planet's power brokers. Anything and everything is for sale on no other consideration than price. Nothing is illegal, provided one can pay for it. Furthermore, the judicial system in Jackson's Whole is based on a system of "bids" where anyone can purchase justice on a strictly offer-and-demand basis: any party can purchase an arrest form for any individual. The accused party is then forced to outbid the prosecutor in order to get either bail or an acquittal.
Jackson's Whole is ultra-capitalism at work. Ordinary people are valued by their usefulness. There are no rights except those one can purchase. An individual who does not live under the protection of one of the Houses has little survival prospects. The society's closest thing to a sacred institution is "The Deal": agreements, even handshake deals and verbal agreements are honored as written contracts.
The planet seems to be colder than most inhabited planets in the Nexus. Although there is an Earth-like atmosphere and thus plenty of photosynthetic life, the typical weather involves snow and ice. This is another reason individuals do not do well on the planet, as they need a sturdy, heated structure in which to live.
Jacksonians in the Vorkosigan Saga
Lord Mark Vorkosigan
Miles Vorkosigan's illegally cloned brother, created by House Bharaputra for Komarran rebels.
Another Bharaputra creation, an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) prototype for a super-soldier with tremendous strength and deadly claws and teeth. The project was cancelled and all the prototypes (except Taura) soon died of premature aging, as a long lifespan was not considered a useful trait. She was rescued from captivity and joined the Dendarii Mercenaries. Her life was prolonged as much as possible, but she still died when she was only around 30.
A collective of clones whose progenitor, Dr. Lilly Durona, was created by the father of Baron Ryoval and Baron Fell, to be a brilliant, and completely controlled and faithful, scientist to work in his House's labs as a body modification expert. Upon the death of the Baron, Lilly teamed up with Baron Fell and together the two escaped and set up the Durona Research Group to provide biomedical services and biological weapons research to House Fell. To fill the ranks of the group, she created about 30-40 clones of herself, all named after flowers, plus a number of male near-clones, all named after birds. However, the Duronas worried about their uncertain future and plotted their escape. During Mirror Dance, when Mark Vorkosigan kills the rival Baron Ryoval, Mark makes a Deal with Baron Fell, exchanging time-critical key information about House Ryoval for a substantial amount of cash and the Duronas' freedom. They begin a new life on Escobar with their own lab, the Durona Group, which is jointly owned by Lilly Durona and Mark Vorkosigan, with Lilly in charge of the lab and Mark running the business side of the enterprise. One of their chief goals is to create an alternative to the Jackson's Whole business of transplanting the brain of an elderly client into their cloned body, discarding the clone's brain. Lilly Durona becomes the first human trial for an experimental rejuvenation technique when her extreme age causes her death to approach. Mark Vorkosigan later orders Raven Durona to head up a new branch of the Durona Group on New Hope II/Kibou-daini, to start a new cryo-revival business and use the planet's store of millions of frozen patients for a larger test sample of the youth-rejuvenation drug used on Lilly Durona.
Canaba is a brilliant genetic engineer and Taura's creator. The Dendarii Mercenaries were hired to help him defect from House Bharaputra to work for Barrayar. He also provided them with information about a secret Cetagandan project. Dr. Vaughn Weddell is his cover identity on Barrayar. He resurfaces in Memory, where Miles makes use of his expertise in proving that Simon Illyan was deliberately infected with a memory-chip–eating virus.
Product (originally labelled as L-X-10-Terran-C) of a Cetagandan genetic project to create telepaths; the project was contracted to House Bharaputra. His story is told in Ethan of Athos.
Tej and Rish
These sisters are major characters in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. They were part of the ruling family of House Cordonah, but became refugees after a coup.
A genetically engineered amphibian person, originally created as part of the crew of an aquatic ballet, he is cast aside when the House that created him is acquired by force by House Ryoval. He plays a key role in helping Miles Vorksigan unravelling the central mystery in Diplomatic Immunity.
Barons of Jackson's Whole
A notorious arms dealer, whose given name is Georish Stauber. He prefers to live on a space station near a jumppoint. Despite being a dealer in many horrifying weapons, he is considered to be one of the most reliable and least problematic Barons. He is the half-brother of Baron Ryoval. He narrowly escaped Ryoval's purge of his family, in which Ryoval killed his other brothers and turned his sisters into sex slaves in his own brothels. Fell then went to work for another house, eventually working his way to the top position. He refuses to undertake the brain transplant procedure, fearing he will die due to sabotage by a rival.
Genetics and Medical Specialist. Notorious for performing the "Brain Transplant Procedure" involving the raising of a clone to young adulthood, followed by the transplant of the progenitor's brain into the clone, killing the young individual, and 50 percent of the time, the progenitor as well. The procedure is banned on all other planets in the Nexus. The Baron's wife, Baronne Lotus, is a renegade Durona who was scheduled to have her brain transplanted into a clone when circumstance, in the form of Miles and Mark Vorkosigan, intervened, taking her clone away with the rest of the Duronas.
Sick and twisted, this minor House Baron develops custom made slaves for the sex trade. In attempting to carry out revenge on Miles Naismith for something done by the Dendarii Mercenaries, he abducts Mark Vorkosigan by mistake. Mark, a trained assassin, is eventually able to kill Ryoval, literally with both hands tied behind his back and stark naked to boot, but not before Ryoval has inflicted terrible psychological damage that causes Mark's psyche to split into multiple personalities.
Ryoval's assets were taken over by House Fell, with Mark holding Ryoval's personal code ring as hostage in the Deal that allows him to negotiate freedom for the Duronas.
Baron and Baronne Cordonah
House Cordonah controls one of Jackson's Whole's jumppoints. The Baronne is half-Cetagandan and the Baron is Komarran. They have 10 children. The House was traditionally regarded as an unofficial Cetagandan ally until the Cordonahs were ousted from power by another House. They receive Barrayaran support in retaking control and become a covert Barrayaran ally. One of their children marries Lord Ivan Vorpatril (Captain Vorpatril's Alliance).
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