15 Apr 2016

NaNo Prep 2016 - Colony Base 182 - The Settlement

Continuing from last week's worldbuilding, I have a world (UWP D655365-7) and colonists inbound, but they have nowhere to live.  While, technically, they will be building their homes and settlements, I do have a Exploration Service base already on the ground, with a limited starport.  As decided last week, the colonizing world is heavily industrialized.  It needs to import foodstuffs and raw materials.  Colony Base 182 is on a world that can support agriculture.  With the low number of colonists arriving, limited mining can be done in areas that aren't ideal for farming.  Farms and mines do need support, though, and that's where this week's focus will go.

In story, all this work has been done over a few years by both the Exploration Service and the colonizing world, determining the best locations for both the starport and the first town.  There will be some space between the two locations; a catastrophic accident at the starport shouldn't wipe out the main settlement on the world.  The settlement should also be in a location where farming can be maximized over the course of a year without being a toil for the settlers.  No one is building a town in a swamp this time*.

For the starport, I want the area to be sheltered with access to a bay or cove to allow for water landings and for refuelling.  Starships won't be able to land on a beach, though, not without sinking into the ground, so some sort of hard bedrock base near the bay is needed.  Since I'm creating the world, sure, it's possible.  After all, ice ages here on Earth have scoured the ground, revealing bedrock and depositing the soils hundreds of kilometres away.  Earthquakes and tectonic movement has also forced ground to rise to the surface.  An inlet caused by an ice age, with the soil desposited as islands just offshore should be theoretically possible**.  The starport can be placed there.

The settlement, though, needs river access.  Early shipping is easier using rivers until roads can be created.  While the colonizing world does have anti-grav vehicles used in day-to-day life, the colony itself cannot rely on transportation that, when it breaks, needs weeks or months for a new part to arrive.  Boats make it easier to transport bulk when there aren't roads of any sort.  The settlement is further north, at the mouth of a river.  The researchers and surveyors already have reseidence set up there, with early lots already marked out.  It'll take time before permanent buildings are erected; the surveyors are using prefabricated cabins that will be removed once the colony is up and running properly.  Even the town's meeting hall is a prefab building.  Warehouses have been built along the river for future use.  An administrative building has been granted a lot with some work installing the foundation already started.

While most of the colonists will be farming, not all will.  The settlement will have a number of services needed by the farming community, including a general store, recreation, administration, and repair services.  The admin building is already started, handled by the colonizing world for the most part, and will have licensing and government services available.  The Exploration Service will have a portion of the building to handle mail.  A lot has been set aside for the general store, awaiting the colonist who has bought the initial rights.  With a small settlement, competition isn`t possible, so the store has a regulated monopoly.  Once the colony is self-supporting will competition be opened.  Recreation includes the meeting hall, where films will be shown weekly.  The inevitable bars/pubs/saloons will open, keeping the story's main character busy corralling drunks.  Speaking of the main character, her office is also in town, still just a number of prefab buildings arranged together.  The Exploration Service isn't expecting a rash of violent crime that would need heavier prisoner facilities.  Worst case, the accused could be kept in cryo-stasis while awaiting transport to the colonizing world for trial.

The starport may have the only permanent facilities.  The colonits will be coming in cryopods, so a medical facility is needed.  The facility will double as the colony's hospital in the early years; while a distance to go from the town, flying in emergency cases from area farms and mines won't make much of a difference in time to the starport.  The Exploration Service base also has permanent buildings, to house transient scouts.  These facilities aren't extensive, but will provide some comfort for the spacers.  There's also a building acting as air- and space-traffic control.  Since expected levels of traffic is low, the building has communications gear and radar/LIDAR with satellite link-up to watch local space for inbound and outbound vessels.

Now to work on the logistics of getting one thousand colonists and their belongings sorted out and pointed in the right direction.  Even if it was possible to thaw out all of the colonists at once, the confusion and chaos that would cause would be a massive headache for the personnel already onsite.  While the colonizing world, determined last week to be a bureaucracy***, may have a list of who gets brought out of cryo-stasis first, errors happen.  Not only that, but the people on-site may have a better idea of who to thaw first, based on medical and logistical determinations.  The colonist whose belongings are easy to get at may be the first to leave, despite being in the bottom third of the list.

* Thus avoiding the weather issues Ottawa has, such as extreme temperatures and high humidity.
** Says the author with a high school understanding of geography but university levels of physics.
*** Government type 9, Impersonal Bureaucracy.  Doesn't mean that there aren't elections, but the system is set up to run on paperwork, no matter who is in charge.

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