Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Library Data: Coturnix Inc Update 002

Datestamp: 166-1105 1505

Connecting to server...
Authenticating credentials...
Credentials confirmed - starship computer, BARONESS GRANTHAM

Transferring update requests....
Downloading entry 1 of 101,673...
** Right, I'm off to the bar, I'll check in with this later - Jeremiah **

Here's some more Library Data for the Traveller game I'm running.  A mixture of things we've established in game and things I've had percolating away in my head.

Autodoc: Class of robotic surgeon, humanoid in structure from the waist up but with a blocky bottom that precludes movement.  Standard Autodoc designs come equipped with Intellect/1 and Medic/2 software as well as a variety of in-built surgical tools.  Memory clips can expand their knowledge to allow them to treat various different species or deal with the virii of a particular world.

Autodocs are popular mercenrary companies or explorers planning on operating on the outskirts of society.  Surgeons and other medical professionals can be negative towards them, arguing they depress wages for medical professionals and are not capable of the more intuitive decisions a doctor must make..   ** I've named ours Dennis. - Chomsky**

Church of the Stellar Divinity: Religion practices on several worlds in Kline sub-sector, especially on Rouern.  Central tenant is that all stars are gods and if a sophont worships his sun and follows the teachings of the church, his soul will acquire spiritual mass and upon his death will be drawn into his sun, where it will join with the deity.
The church is popular in the Imperium, where it makes few demands on a worshiper's life and doesn't compete with the government. "

This church is popular in the Imperium, in part because its strictures are fairly light and do not greatly interfere with a persons life.  However, the branch on Rouern is much more extreme and believes the stars are not brother gods, but enemies; people from other stars are cosmically opposed, and contact with off-worlders is therefore forbidden to all except a faithful few.

Curson: Planet in Kline sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 3113.  Universal World Profile C580310-9.  This arid desert planet is wholly owned and administered by Ling Standard Products, for whom this is essentially a giant mining operation.  A team of around three thousand reside in the sole settlement, which is built around a Class C Starport.

The dense atmosphere and minimal hydrosphere makes this world unwelcoming to life - no creatures larger than 0.3m survive, with rodent-like life somehow ekeing survival in the rocky and dusty plains. Some water can be drilled from beneath the planet's surface, but most food and drink has to be imported to keep the outpost functioning.

Huge tracked vehicles patrol the desert, sifting the sands for resources to take back to the factory for processing and shipping off-world.  The team are mostly left to their own devices and "law enforcement" is simply a case of government governance - landing ships can expect little customs checks.  ** True enough, they left us in peace - Cat. **

Dolphin, Uplifted: Sophont species uplifted from Terran stock.  During the early days of the Solomani exploration of space, they genetically engineered their already intelligent native cetacean life to create Tursiops Galactis, a species designed to explore the oceans of distant worlds.

Compared to their wild brethren, dolphins have increased neural connections and small manipulating fingers on their fins.  These fingers are adequate for utilizing machinery such as keybords but for fine manipulation Dolphins require the use of wearable mechnical arms or "waldoes".

Dolphins are one of the few non-Solomani species that the Solomani Movement regard as almost equals, with the Dolphins having a reputation of heroism for fighting with the Solomani Marines.  Most of them live in enclaves on Solomani worlds but there are some water worlds wholly possessed by Dolphins.

Droyne (Language): See Oynprith

eHex: See Hexadecimal

Far Trader, Type A2 - A common design of 200 ton interstellar vessel, based on the common Free Trader hull.  While running costs, cargo space and accomodation is smaller than on a Free Trader the Far Trader is designed for Jump-2 and so can make further interstellar journies in less time. 

Far Traders are usually in private hands, shipping goods beyond the Mains and to the backwaters of a sector.  Their speed makes them ideal for chartering to ship time-sensitive data or cargo.  Most designs have ten staterooms and six low berths installed.
Hexadecimal: A base-16 counting system.  Digits are usually rendered as 0-9 then A-F before moving onto the next unit - for example, hex-B represents dec-11 while hex-12 would represent dec-18.  This system was developed for use by computer programmers as one digit can cary the data of four binary digits.

The various reports of the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service traditionally record their data in hexademical ratings for each category- this is an artifact of the early days of space exploration when computing power and transmission lengths were more limitedt.  The Scout Service currently use a variant known as "eHex" in which numbers above 15 are still rendered with letters = so eHex-H is dec-18.  This allows them to keep fitting their databursts into a small space.

Humaniti: Group name for the several species that all share ancestry with the Solomani and the Homo Sapiens of Terra.  This includes the three major races of Solomani, Vilani and Zhodani as well as around forty or so minor human races.  Humaniti is the most widespread species of any in Chartered Space, by virtue of the three Major Races each possessing their own interstellar empires.

Evidence suggests the races were spread across the galaxy by another race, usually referred to as The Ancients, about three hundred thousand years ago.  Some of the human races evolved separately when they reached new environments, while others seem to have been genetically engineered by the Ancients.  The likely purpose of this diaspora is greatly disputed. ** Didn't I read recently a theory that the Ancients were in fact Solomani who got into space, set up colonies and then regressed back to TL 0? - Cat ** ** They espouse this theory on Solomani worlds, yes.  This theory is what we in the Imperial science world "total bollocks" - Nandi **

Most of the branches of Humaniti are capable of interbreeding, though in some cases the offspring are mules.  Large chunks of the population of the Third Imperium are a Vilani/Solomani fusion and without genetic testing (or giveaways such as the presence of specific blood types/skin colours) it is not always possible to identify the precise lineage purely on sight.

Hundred Diameter: A central principle of astrogation, the gravity force from any stellar object will interfere with jump travel a distance up to one hundred times the diameter of the object.  Therefore a planet with a diameter of 12,800km, will interfere with jump travel up to 1,280,000km away from it's surface.  Ships whose jump route would cross a hundred diameter or 100D will find themselves ejected prematurely into real-space.

Jump Drive: The mechanism by which craft move faster-than-light in Charted Space.  Jump Drives are rated from 1 to 6 - this number is how many parsecs the ship could travel after spending a week in jump space.  Progressively higher rated drives require higher Tech Levels to build/maintain, cost more to build/maintain and use higher amounts of fuel in operation.

A Jump Drive pushes a ship into Jump Space - a unique pocket universe that encompasses the ship and it's immediate environs in a small bubble and collapses when the ship re-emerges in realspace.  Regardless of the distance traveled, a ship spends around one calendar week in Jump Space before emerging - higher rated drives can travel further but not faster.

Jump Drives trace a "jump line" between the start and end points of the journey.  This line cannot pass within any noteworth gravitational force or the interference will drop the ship prematurely out of jump: see Hundred Diameter.  Few ships carry fuel for more than one jump at a time, so materializing early usually means a slow journey in real-space with sub-light drives to the final destination. ** I don't get why gravity fields in the middle of the realspace route would matter. It's not like there's any correspondence between either universe in any other case - Chomsky.** ** Every first year struggles with this in Astrogation. Read Lt. Millar's "Little Black Box". - Jeremiah**

Ling Standard Products: MegaCorporation conducting business across the Third Imperium.  Originally and still principally a mining firm, it has now branched out into many divisions including (but by no means limited to) manufacture of electronic equipment of all sorts, ground and air vehicles, starships and starship armaments systems, drive systems, power systems, computer systems and software, small arms, and a variety of other items.  Their investments in Kline include ownership of the mining facility on Curson and production of the popular LSP Autodoc

Main: A grouping of stars, all of which are within 1 parsec of another in the group.  Due to this proximity a Jump-1 starship can travel between any two stars in a main.  Such craft make up the majority of all privately-owned interstellar craft so the bulk of all trade is within the stars of a mains.

Melody: Planet in Kline sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 3114.  Universal World Profile D5578C8-6. Earth-like conditions have helped the population grow to over four hundred million people.  The population are ruled by a Charismatic Oligarchy who promise to keep them peaceful and out of interstellar life - the Class D Starport was once rated higher but has been neglected in recent years

Melody's ecosphere contains a host of transplanted animals and plants which are farmed but for little surplus - were it not for the dense atmosphere precluding plant growth, this would be prime agricultural terrain.  As it is, the produce is mostly for internal consumption, though poultry and game are exported in notable quantities.

The government of the People's Ruling Committee of Melody - comprised of a seperate civilian and military councils as well as a supreme court - has strong popular support, despite the high law level which includes limits on off-world news and technology for private citizens.  The Solomani Rim War left big scars of then people of Melody and the government remain nervous - rumours abound of secret defence projects several tech levels above the local Tech Level.

The language family of the Droyne.  Due to the isolation of the different communities most of the Droyne cultures have notable differences in speech, but their alphabet and grammar form is usually very similar to their kinsmen.  Often the native tongue of other species such as Solomani/Vilani settlers has bled into the local language.

Oynprith languages usually have thirty six characters, six vowels and thirty consonants.  Much as some languages give words genders, Oynprith gives words castes much like the Droyne.  In particular this makes pronouns awkward to learn, as there are seven different forms of "I". "The" and "he/she/they" - one per caste plus an uncasted version.

Some leniancy is given to outsiders but use of the wrong caste term for someone else can be taken is an insult, especially using the uncasted to describe an adult. ** What do they use for aliens, then?  Uncasted? - Dor ** ** Sport, actually, which confuses them when they have to say "They (the sport) are pregnant" - Nandi **

Ramli: Planet in Kline sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 2913.  Universal World Profile C7B5114-A.  Ramli 's harsh environment precluded full-blown colonisation, but Delgado Trading have a small presence here and their dozen or so staff members legally administer the planet on behalf of the Imperium.

Ramli's environment is amongst the most extreme in all of Kline sub-sector.  A corrosive atmosphere, an hydrosphere tainted with inflammables, an ecology of underwater titans and a total lack of any usable foodstuffs leave it an unforgiving home for Terran standard life.

Delgado Trading maintain a base here, however, for the purpose of extracting hydrocarbons from the water supply for refinement into fuels.  The process is mostly automated and the teams at the refinement plant are mostly there for routine maintenance and troubleshooting.  ** I suspect this isn't where the popular kids get posted - Chomsky **

Rouern: Planet in Kline sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 3213.  Universal World Profile D5568DC-4. A religious dictatorship, Rouern is ran by a branch of the Church of the Stellar Divinity whose stringent legal code prohibits interstellar visitors outside their starport. 

Rouern has low atmospheric pressure but is otherwise a habitable planet for Terran standard life.  Native flora and fauna co-exists with extra-planetary transplants and the ecosphere is highly varied.

The Thearch of the Church of the Stellar Divinity on Rouern is the head of the government, ruling from The Floating Palace.  The Thearch claims descent from a prophet who coined the "Rouern Heresy" and this branch of the church is highly isolationist.  A quasi-religious police force known as the Attitude Police ensure all divinely mandated laws are adhered to.

Scout Ship, Type S: The ubiquitous starship of the Imperial Interstellar Scout Ship, this 100 ton ship's wedge-shaped hull can be found in every corner of Charted Space.  The ship has four staterooms.  Designed to explore beyond the Imperial Core, the Jump-2 Drive means it can easilly travel off the beaten track.

Scout Ships are designed for endurance and to be easily maintained away from the Imperial Core.  If all the staterooms are filled then the small quarters will prove very claustrophobic and the atmosphere can end up particularly unpleasant.  Some ex-Scouts receive the ships on extended loan, though they are a poor choice for ferrying freight or passengers commercially due to the cramped conditions and minimal cargo space.

Sol: Star in Sol sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 1827.  Stellar class G2V.  Sol's third planet is Terra, the ancestral home of the Solomani and ultimate origin point of all Human and Vargr.  For the last hundred years this area has been under Third Imperium jurisdiction.

Terra's sister planets have been heavily colonized over the millenia since the Solomani first crossed the stars and almost every planet or moon has some sort of habitation.  In particular, Terra's moon Luna and fourth planet Mars have seen substantial terraforming with populations in the millions. Several interstellar metrics are based on Sol - for example, Gas Giant size is measured compared to Jupiter.

Sophont: Any lifeform of sufficient intelligence to be considered part of a culture; species in possession of personhood.

Tech Level: A measure of technological achievement, as rated by the Survey Branch of the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.  Often abbreviated to TL, each technology level represents an order of magnitude greater capability than the last across the three measures of technology: labor enhancement, quality improvement, and achievement of impossibilities

Not all cultures invent and advance technology in the same order so TL is a vague description.  Certain key technologies, however are considered benchmarks for each TL: for example, nuclear fission is usually invented at TL 6 while the first Jump Drives are a sign of a culture about to transition from TL9 to 10.

The Imperial average Tech Level is TL12, with the maximum in Chartered Space very rarely exceeding TL15.  Note that a planet's Tech Level reflects the baseline technology of the populace and exceptions can exist - a TL 5 planet may only be able to make slug rifles but the government may still be able to equip its elite units with TL9 Laser Rifles purchased off-world.

Terra: Planet in Sol sub-sector, sector co-ordinates 1827.  Universal World Profile A867A69-F.  Former capital of the Solomani Confederation before it was seized at the end of the Solomani Rim War in 1002.  Terra is currently under direct control by the Imperial Army, though much of the day to day civil service is in civilian hands.  Planetary population at last census was ten billion, not including stellar habitations or the large colonies on Luna and Mars.

Terra was the planet on which Humaniti first evolved, before the great diaspora three hundred thousand years ago.  It has a rich and vibrant ecosphere, with huge chunks of life that evolved alonside Humaniti and are therefore safe for consumption.  Despite it's high tech industrial base, Terra still has a strong agricultural export industry.

The Solomani insurgency is substantially less of a threat than it has been in previous decades and the current proposal is for Terra to go back to civilan governance, albeit still under Third Imperium rule, by 1109.  Terra's economy features a large amount of tourism, being the third most popular destination for off-world holidays after Capital and Vland.

Travellers Digest, The: Periodical published in Deneb, Deneb Sector of the Third Imperium.  Mainly distributed in the Coreward sections of the Imperium but some copies do circulate in the central and rimward regions.  Famous for its travel writing, in which journalists write about the many and varied corners of Charted Space.  ** Akidda was a journalist for this.  He's going to be make me famous! - Bekhap **
Universal World Profile: The standardised report given to every planet in Charted Space by the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.  The main date Universal World Profile, or UWP, is eight characters long followed by Data Extensions as required for further detail such as the planet's cultural statistics.

A UWP takes the following format: (Starport)(Size)(Atmosphere)(Hydrosphere)(Population)(Government)(Law)-(Tech Level).  For example, Curson's UWP is C580310-9.  Each category has it's own rating system - Population represents orders of magnitude, for example, so Curson's Pop-3 means a population in the 1,000s. 

Univeral World Profiles give a top level overview of a planet, but further details should be sought in the Data Extensions or Library Data to confirm specifics.  Note that the last full galactic survey was a century ago so UWPs for rarely visited planets may be wildly out of date.  ** In particular, "religious dictatorship" don't meant nothing if you don't know the religion involved. - Chomsky **

Uplifted: An animal that has been modified to achieve the status of sophont.  This process usually involves enhancement of thinking facilities, improved vocal chords to allow speech and modified digits for fine manipulation.

Several Terran species were uplifted by early Solomani space explorers including Dolphins and Apes.  Vargr were possibly uplifted by the Ancients from Terran canines, though this is a contentious theory.  ** Uplifted apes?  Isn't that just humans? - Bekhap ** ** A bit racist.  Also a bit true. - Dor **

Vargr Sexuality & Reproduction: Vargr are technically fertile at all points but each adult undergo  annual "heat" in which they become substantially more interested in sex and more fertile.

The Vargr gestation period is usually four months. Most litters have only two young but litters with as many as five pups have been known. Pups are born blind and deaf, completely reliant on their parents to care for them for the first four months until their senses develop.

Mounting and full sexual intercourse can be connected to pack dominance amongst Vargr, including same-sex activity.   This does not have the same connotations for them as other species and they would not identify as heterosexual or homosexual based on these actions.

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