8 Apr 2016

Colony Base 182 - The World

Flipping back to Colony Base 183, as last seen two weeks ago, I have the overall setting laid out if not fleshed out.  The Commonwealth is huge, so I will have to leave areas under-developed and undeveloped for now.  I don't need the entire Commonwealth mapped out. just the colony's "local"* area.  Time to get some thoughts out.  World building is nice to have, really.  The Elf's Prisoner suffered a little in execution because I was making up the world as I went.  With colony's planet as much a part of the cast as any character, I really do need to figure out what's there.

The first question that comes to mind is who is doing the colonization.  The Ministry of Colonization, through the Exploration Service, has a mission to assist all colonies within the Commonwealth.  Not all colonies are initiated by the Commonwealth, though.  Many are settled by another world, one that either needs the space for its population or the resources of the new colony.  There isn't much of a difference for the colonists; the Commonwealth and their home planet are distant compared to the day to day needs of living.  The key difference is representation in the Commonwealth.  Worlds with a population under one million do not get representation at the Sector House of Commons.  Commonwealth colonies receive a minor noble in the House of Lords, typically a knight elevated to baronet and given a fief on the world.  Worlds colonized by a member of the Commonwealth are represented by the parent government and may or may not have planetary representation.  With Colony Base 183, I want the colony to be from one planet and not the Commonwealth.  That should give me another source of conflict as requests need to go to both the Ministry and the parent world's government.

With the ownership worked out, I now need to figure out what both the colony and the parent worlds are like.  Traveller's Universal World Profile, or UWP, comes in handy here.  While the UWP tends to paint in broad strokes, it's enough to jog my memory when needed.  In the game, the UWP is generated randomly, but the benchmarks will allow me to choose the values I want.  Because I have the equivalent of a Scout Base already on the world, the titular colony base, the minimum starport I can have is D, or poor, the equivalent to an airfield with minimal facilities for light craft only.  The colony is smaller than Earth, about 9000km in diameter, with a thin atmosphere.  It does have surface water, about half the world is covered by oceans.  The permanent population, excluding the Exploration Service's people, is non-existent at the start, but I will have a thousand colonists arrive.  Government type is Colony, natch.  The Law Level is the tricky bit.  Longarms - rifles and shotguns, regardless of the type of ammunition - are needed to protect homesteads.  Sidearms - pistols and the like - are discouraged, but with the colonists spread out, will be difficult to limit.  Heavy weapons, like fusion guns, are out of the question.  The UWP is thus D655365.  That leaves the Tech Level, which I am going to leave alone for now.  It's a mix, thanks to the base, but manufacturing capability is non-existent.

The parent world could be fleshed out here.  Its starport is far better, class A, or excellent, along the lines of Heathrow Airport.  The world is industrial, heavily populated with almost no room to expand, with a polluted atmosphere.  It also has heavier restrictions on weapons, banning even longarms.  For now, the UWP is A444A97-15.  Turns out, that's the home of a count, so he's someone to bear in mind during writing.  The parent world can't be close, for the sake of added problems and to get the feel of being on the frontier.  I'll place the world about four parsecs away; just out of the way without being too far.  Messages to the homeworld will take at least two weeks, assuming the Exploration Service dedicates a ship.

The logistics of colonization come next.  There isn't just one thousand colonists inbound; they need supplies to get them started on the world, including shelters, seeds for crops, and food until the first crops are ripe.  Not all of the colonists will be farmers.  Some will head out to the hills to prospect for valuable minerals.  Others will set up shop.  The Exploration Service has already done the preliminary surveys for both the main settlement and potential farms.  Most of the assigning of lots has been done prior to the colonists boarding their ship.  No plan ever survives contact with reality, though.

The main settlement, which still needs to be named, has several pre-fabricated buildings being used by the Exploration Service's researchers.  One is set aside for the scouts assigned to keep the peace on the colony.  The settlement is some distance from the starport, far enough so that landing ships don't disturb residents and that disasters don't destroy the town.  Homesteads not in town are further out, using fertile land in a former flood plain.

Now for the technology, at least the day to day items.  The colonists won't be relying on animal power; no room on the ship for livestock.  Genetic samples will accompany the colonists and the Exploration Service will grow livestock from that.  Cloning and artificial meat seem to be the order of the day for getting through to the first year's harvest.  Farm equipment is bulky, even if broken down into parts.  Tractors don't make the best selection for going to town, so homesteaders will need something to bring back supplies in.  Grav vehicles are available through the Exploration Service, but maintenance may be problematic.  Could be a potential source of drama, though.  The Exploration Service also has tracked all-terrain vehicles at its disposal for when the weather makes flying dangerous.

I am toying with the idea of making a map, of the main settlement and starport if nothing else.  It will take time, so the map is low on the priority list.  There is still six months before I need solid details for the world, but the above will do.  Next step, to be detailed later, is the cast.

And since I did mention the possibility of pictures, here's one!

The cute compels you to keep reading.  (Photo by author.)

* Local being, at most, the county it's in.

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