Thursday, June 07, 2012

Another World (Not A Soap Opera)

Here is something I wrote for the Private Universe Project before I decided to write a novel.

No doubt someone will be offended by one or more of the exogeological references.

This planet is an in sector stand in for Smade's Planet. Which was originally created by Jack Vance in his Star Kings series as the most boring place in the Universe.


B-546675-A (Traveller Universal Planetary Profile)

Starport: B (Repair and overhaul FTL and in-system vessels, build in-system craft)
Diameter: 8000 KM / 5000 Miles (Surface Gravity 0.625 G)
Atmosphere: Thin, tainted
Sea Surface: 60%
Population: [still working on that part]
Government: Balkanized (Multiple governments)
Law Level: 3 (There are problems with this concept in the rules)
Tech Level: Ten (Two levels above the current US standard)

Vance is the terrestrial satellite of a large gas giant planet which is barely orbiting within the life zone of a red dwarf primary. The planet is named for its discoverer, Sir John Vance, an Australian astronaut in the employ of the Freya Project.

The world is tidally locked to its primary, which fixes it rotational period to its orbital period. There is one continent, which is directly facing the gas giant primary, several large islands, and a subcontinental mass opposite of the main continent.

The main continent is dominated by virtually uninhabitable New Tharsis Plateau at its center. The plateau in turn is dominated by the cluster of giant shield volcanoes similar to ancient volcanoes found on the planet Mars in the original Solar System. One of the odd effects of the plate tectonic forces on this planet is that the plateau essentially rotates around the most central and massive active volcano on the planet, which in turn is directly under the position of the gas giant primary in the sky. This volcano has been named Mount Olympus for the obvious reasons.

One of the other effects of the rotation of the New Tharsis Plateau is that there is geological evidence that parts of the continent have detached from the plateau region and crunched back into the central landmass at a different relative position. And it appears that this has happened several times in the last billion years.

On the other side of the world a powerful geological hot spot and a tectonic expansion ridge has generated a subcontinental mass consisting of three large islands and several smaller islands. The central and newest island over the hot spot, called Fireland for obvious reasons, has been described by an exogeologist as, “Iceland on steroids.” The relative newness of the landscape and the near constant volcanic activity has precluded any permanent human settlement on the island.

The northern island in the group, now known as New Greenland, split off the primary mass about a million years ago. Although there is still volcanic activity the island has been opened up for human settlement.

The southern island in the group, New Albion, appears to have split off in the within the last one hundred thousand years. The narrowest part of the channel between it and Fireland is roughly 1500 meters wide and is impassible to waterborne craft. Because of this there are some exogeologists who have argued that New Albion and Fireland should still be classified as a single land mass.

Another exogeologist has jested that someday this group of islands will grow up to become a continent.

Also notable is a large island in the north polar region of the world. It is completely frozen over and thus unsuitable for human settlement. It was named Bullwinkleland by the initial survey team. The origin of the name is not commonly known.

The atmosphere is thinner than the terrestrial standard. The pressure at local sea level is roughly equivalent to the air pressure at the site of Denver on old Earth. While filter masks or other aids are not required to breathe the constant emission of dust and gases from the major volcanoes caused the former Federation authorities to rate the atmosphere as tainted.


Human settlement of this world began with the establishment of a forward support base on the surface by the Freya Project. The landing field and adjoining settlement would grow into the present starport and the city of Vance. The city is often called V-Prime by the locals in order to distinguish it from the rest of the world in general.

The second settlement on Vance is New Lowell, named for the Lowell habitat on Mars in the original Solar System. This was established by the Freya Project as a “practice colony” and as a place where the Mars born members of the “core group” of Freyan colonists could adapt to higher gravity and living in an open environment.

Although Vance Prime and New Lowell were established as separate colonies a guidebook published on Earth before the Yellowstone Event linked the two settlements as a single colony.

Because a larger than expected number of participants in the Freya Project opted to remain on Vance a third settlement was established for them. This was named Alice after Alice Keller March, the founder of the Freya Project. In local slang the city is sometimes known as A-Prime.

In a move that has since been identified as a major error the Freya Project sold settlement rights to five other groups in order to further exploit the world and to raise funds in order to support the primary settlement of Freya.

The five additional colonies were:

Vermillion, which was settled primarily from Northern Minnesota and Upper Michigan.

New Albion, which was settled primarily from the British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand.

New Greenland, which was primarily settled from Iceland with additional colonists from the other Scandinavian nations.

Burnham, which was primarily settled from the southern Lake Michigan region.

New Tahoe, which was primarily settled from California and Oregon.

The erroneous guidebook published on Earth listed the eight above settlements as The Seven Colonies. In spite of the demise of the publisher in the Yellowstone Event this name has still stuck to this day

Even though Vance is separated from the rest of the Human Diaspora by a three parsec gap some refugees from the Yellowstone Event did eventually reach this world. Most of them settled in the five non-project colonies and have impacted local politics on the planet to the detriment of everyone.


In the wake of the dissolution of central authority resulting from the Yellowstone Event the three colonies established by the Freya Project declared independence and together established the Federal Republic of Vance (FRV). The other colonies were invited to join as per the terms of their colonization agreements but have all declined the offer.

A group of Earth central government officials had taken refuge on March, the primary world of the Alpha Centauri system and had declared themselves to be the new “central government” of the Human worlds.

On both Freya and on Vance the newly appointed “governor general”sent out by the new “central government” was frog-marched back to the jump-ship that brought him to the planet and ordered to depart or else. The ship carrying the “governor general” of Vance subsequently landed at Burnham and its special passenger declared that city to be the new capital of the planet. The “governor general” then declared the FRV to be in rebellion against the new “central government.”

The other non-project colonies on Vance have declared their submission to the new “governor general.”

Needless to say there will be some minor changes if I decide to write this world into the narrative.