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Old October 11th, 2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Playing in a First Contact ATU

This milieu deals with a single world on the edge of the wilds, starting from the point in which it achieves manned spaceflight until it discovers jump and makes contact with the Ziru Sirka.

Call the world Gaia, and assume it's an Alternate Earth that's somewhat similar than ours, but different enough to excuse the changes, sweeping generalizations, and errors I'm liable to make in sketching out an Earth.

Emerging from its first world war, one which involved some limited nuclear exchanges.

The world is just familiar enough. An alternate Earth in many ways: continental drift took different courses, so populations spread and mingled differently, but the same themes are present -- the tensions of Nation or People, safety or sacrifice, reserve or expression. I'm trying to find a way to paint a caricature of some of our cultures in these terms on Gaia. For example, Columbia is a secular-pluralist culture, Kostanay is a nationalist-secular culture, Sind is a spiritual-pluralist culture, Riga is a reserved-secular culture, and whatnot.

In all, I'm looking at 12 possible cultural stereotypes:


The adventures are about how far humans will go to put themselves in danger's way in order to acquire something. It works with politics, exploration, patrol, piracy, espionage, blockade running, bounty hunting, prospecting, mercenary, construction and rescue (you vs a hostile environment).

Name:               Gaia
UWP:                A867979-9
Trade codes:        Hi
Importance:         +2
Economic extension: A994
Cultural extension: 7B5B
Nobility:           E
Bases:              NS
Zone:               none (Green)
PBG:                313
Total Worlds:       7
Allegiance:         Na
Stellar data:       G0 V
The system has a human presence: a colony on Ares, outposts on the moons of Iopatrus, mining in the asteroid belt, that kind of thing.

Elusive alien ruins, stellar phenomena, prototype equipment and ships, prospecting, surveying habitable worlds, and small wars extending into space.

Hermes X210000-0

An inferno world; whatever atmosphere it might have is just due to gasses being thrown off of the primary. Things melt here.

Kythira X7C0000-0

A hothouse world with plenty of atmospheric volatiles. The atmosphere is in the process of burning away in a most disagreeable fashion. If it had had enough mass it might have been a gas giant, but it isn't.

Gaia A867979-9

0.95 AU.
A lightly-scorched but verdant world, snug in the habitable zone. It is about 70% water, mostly saltwater oceans. It has 5 continents, a major island chain, and (currently) 3 billion people. It used to have more people, and was a bit greener, but its first world war (TL 8) involved a limited nuclear exchange, subsequent proverbial Hard Times, and a long period of Time Out. They've slowly built their way back up to Pop 9 and TL 9.

6 major port cities are Tula (Columbia, secular-pluralist), Araucania (Patagonia, expressive-spiritial), Barnaul (Sawahal, expressive-pluralist), Sikarta (Kostanay, nationalist-secular), Pesht (Riga, reserved-secular), and Jubbulpore (Sind, spiritual-pluralist). There are 5 others.

Ares F642774-8

1.25 AU
A mineral-rich desert world along the outer edge of the habitable zone. It has wide plains separated by deep rifts. On the plains, the atmosphere is thin, with a taint; in the rift valleys the air pressure is thicker. In both places it is breathable with a filter (and a compressor doesn't hurt). More than fifty million people live on Ares; their domed colonies have been established on the plains, with some terraforming stations and agricultural communities in the rifts. Robotic craft in the asteroid belt search for ice asteroids to nudge towards Ares. Archaeological expeditions have begun analyzing newly-discovered ruins of a million-year-old city.

6 major port cities represent 5 sponsoring entities on Gaia.

Iopatrus LGG

2.75 AU
A huge ringed gas giant in orbit 5, and the primary resource for fuel in the middle system. Its atmosphere is close enough to the primary that it can be a bit touchy at times. It has a dozen or so large moons big enough to be considered planets.

Asteroid Belt F000671-9

5 AU
A source of raw materials for industry, this belt is being worked by a dozen companies and scores of independents. It's also a convenient source of fuel and raw materials for a mostly automated observatory complex.

Kronos MGG

10 AU
A medium gas giant. It's atmosphere is more reasonable than Iopatros, but it's less conveniently located than Iopatrus for fuel. It also has a number of large moons. If it had rings, they were swept long ago.

Varuna SGG

20 AU
A small gas giant. It's cool and dark, with a few significant moons. It has a pale, thin ring system.

40+ AU
Various small, unexplored chunks of ice and rock stretch out to 100 AU, beyond which lies the Oort Cloud.

Historical Sketch

The people had an early development similar to Earth's: civilizations rising in fertile areas in powerful city-states, with localized city-against-city conflicts yielding into a period of regional conquests, empires, and collapses, resulting in a multistate world.

-30,000. Neolithic/Chalcolithic Complex City-states sprung up, traded, warred, and collapsed in thousand-year cycles. Successful consolidations produced long-lived, sprawling empires. A wide variety of hostile, carnivorous flora and fauna kept humaniti on its toes.

-9,900. Bronze Age More of the same, except with bronze tools. Same spread of flora and fauna.

-5,200. Iron Age More of the same, except with iron tools. The taming of the land's more nasty flora and fauna began around this period.

100. Age of Sail More of the same, except with extensive and complex naval elements thrown in. The nastier sea creatures were documented during this time by survivors. Increasingly, the most notorious of the carnivorous creatures were brought to extinction, while some few were tamed or retained in zoological parks or reserves. This process was completed before year 600.

600. Industrial Revolution and Mechanization The industrial revolution lasted about a century, with Mechanization following quickly afterwards. It was this time that the first manned rockets were launched into space, and included a landing on Pryteni -- Gaia's smallest moon, a mere shard 50km across.

+800. Nuclear Age This period of time was followed by the flowering of an atomic age, accompanied by integrated circuits and the first true computers. Renewable power sources allowed a degree of sustained, independent operation, and competing interests set up stations on both of Gaia's moons. Satellites and robotic probes explored the rest of the system.

+900. Nuclear Exchange and Exhaustion Regional conflicts finally came together in an unfortunate opportunity, and a world war with a limited nuclear exchange bombed most of the world back to the pre-industrial stage, and (perhaps) triggered a Little Ice Age which followed quickly after. Famine and disease due to the loss of agricultural output and poor living conditions, and continued conventional fighting by various splinter groups ensured a long and painful regression and recovery period.

+1200. Emergence Finally new nations climbed out of the wreckage of the old, built new cities, and started reaching out.

+1400. Expansion The discovery of gravitic drives initiated a great effort by nations and corporations to colonize and/or exploit resources on Ares, Iopatrus, the asteroid belt, and other places; this in turn sparked the creation of a private merchant marine service, usually drawing personnel retired from military branches or government services. The number of ships in private hands explodes.

+1500. Early Interstellar Researchers out past the asteroid belt perfected jump theory and tested the first jump-capable ship: a vessel that was mostly fuel tank. In-system jump makes the entire system easily accessible.

+1600. Present The Gaian Scout Service is incorporated, and the first interstellar missions are dispatched. Decades of refinement has brought the jump-1 drive within reach of interests private or public, commercial or governmental. Tanker and rescue ships are retrofitted for exploration, and the market for external fuel tanks explodes.
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Last edited by robject; October 24th, 2010 at 04:23 PM..
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