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Caldathro is the homeworld of the beetle people, a species of intelligent insect similar to stag beetles in appearance and roughly the size of horses. It, like all territory inhabited by the beetle people, is controlled by the British Space Empire. The principal form of art and entertainment on Caldathro is dung-rolling, at which the beetle people excel - largely because nobody else is willing to own up to having ever attempted it.


The planet is slightly warmer than Earth but lacks most of Earth’s resources, and a large amount of its surface is taken up by rocky desert. It is nominally ruled by a slug-king, who resides in Scatia, its capital city. Visits to Caldathro by Imperial personnel are fairly rare, since it has few natural resources and all its buildings are made of plop.


In the early stages of the Space War, Caldathro was annexed by the Democratic Republic of Eden, which captured the slug-king and performed a degrading act upon him with a probe on national television. Resistance to the invasion was headed by Major A P Wainscott, who trained the Caldathrians in irregular warfare in return for their entry into the British Space Empire. The Edenite garrison was subsequently demolished by a vast ball of dung rolled from the nearby Mount Malodorous, “freeing” the planet to become part of Greater Britain – which Imperial commentators have described as “winning twice”. The major is a popular folk hero and many lumpy statues have been built in his honour.

Since then, as part of the general war effort, a large number of beetle people have gone on to serve with the Imperial Army, against both the Ghasts and Yull. Although fearsome at close range, the Caldathrians cannot handle firearms and tend to be used as bearers and, occasionally, steeds. Several have served with the Imperial Engineers, where their skill at dung-rolling has resulted in them getting a big pat on the back.