Solar Systems, Worlds & Ships in Minoan Space
Here's descriptions of worlds by solar systems, to include government(s) and people(s) within each solar system. I've also provided information about ships, military and otherwise, that have been mentioned in the Major Ariane Kedros Novels.
Consortium of Autonomist Worlds (CAW)
Because the Consortium was started by voluntary colonists, the Autonomists tend to be independent “can-do” sort of people. This independence is shown in their Bill of Rights and Constitution, both of which are modeled after an old Earth representational republic. The seat of government for CAW is in Alexandria, Hellas Prime, but it is a republic of semi-autonomist planetary governments, each of which manages local regional governments. Every governing level is representational.
Consortium laws and procedures now fill massive, legal tomes but there is still a fierce adherence to individual freedoms, privacy, citizen rights, and a free market. Because of this, CAW’s economy didn’t suffer as much as the Terran League’s economy during their long war.
The seat of government for CAW is the city of Alexandria, Hellas Prime, in the Hellas system. This was one of the earliest systems colonized by humans, once they could use the Minoan convergence zone called Zakros. The Hellas solar system was first accessed from the Zakros buoy in 2029 using ships, equipments, and crews that would eventually form Generational Ship Lines.
Hellas Prime, Hellas system
- Description: Hellas Prime is the biggest habitable planet in its system, and one of the six prime worlds of the Consortium. Port Alexandria is geo-synchronous above the city of Alexandria. From the port, one can go to the space elevator and take a safe, sedate, and long trip to the surface. If one needs to get to the surface of Hellas Prime quickly, there's always the Reuseable Re-entry Vehicle (RRV), in this case a Reuseable Re-entry Orbital Capsule (RROC-110-4M, which is shown in the picture). This mode of getting to the surface is called "taking a rock," because the RRV drops like a rock and when it's in dense enough atmosphere, it'll deploy its wings out to become aerodynamic (that's if you're not on an old one with weakened wings—good luck). On this planet resides CAW’s governmental seat and AFCAW headquarters. Development is highly controlled, resulting in a beautiful environment with a high cost of living.
- Planet Type: High Technology, High Population, Rich
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Alexandria
- Nearby Space Stations: Athens Point, one of the largest commercial space habitats in CAW.
Hellas Daughter, Hellas system
- Description: Large habitated moon that orbits Hellas Prime and has little natural atmosphere, but resource-rich soil. Location of an AFCAW weapons development and testing complex, as well as AFCAW's First Strategic Systems Wing headquarters. Domed cities with precious-metal mines are highly productive.
- Planet Type: Vacuum, High Technology, Industrial
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: N/A
- Nearby Space Stations: Karthage Point (military, location of an AFCAW Naga Squadron)
Konstantinople Prime, Konstantinople system
- Description: Temperate climate with shallow oceans, but this large planet doesn’t lend itself to a variety of plant or animal life (perhaps because it has no moon and no tides to push evolution). Location of the largest university in the Consortium and the planetary economy is highly dependent upon high tech R&D, plus plankton farming.
- Planet Type: High Technology, Rich, Industrial
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: University
- Nearby Space Stations: Ephesus Point, Thera Point (military)
New Damascus, Suha system
- Description: Dry mars-like planet, but with a better atmosphere and a molten core (has magnetic field to ward off radiation). A large industrial area that supports several commercial and AFCAW maintenance facilities.
- Planet Type: Desert, High Technology, Industrial
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Zara
- Nearby Space Stations: Industrial Point
Nuovo Adriatico, Cassini system
- Description: A garden-like agricultural planet where the population is tightly controlled (immigration is tough). This planet had such versatile and changeable plant-life that agricultural R&D has produced many new crops through both cross-breeding and genetic manipulation. Several bio-tech companies have laboratories here. This planet feeds much of the Consortium through their agricultural exports. There is also an un-named moon about the planet, with a small colony and space telescope.
- Planet Type: Agricultural
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Paradise
- Nearby Space Stations: Vitalia Point
Pelagos Major, Pelagos system
- Description: Sometimes just called Pelagos, this water world has many recreational facilities set in its mild climate belt. Many high tech companies have headquarters on this planet. Although this isn’t a prime world, it had strategic importance during the war because of several major orbital shipyards and the headquarters of Pelagos Spaceframes, Inc.
- Planet Type: High Technology, Rich, Water World
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Forest Bay
- Nearby Space Stations: Tripoli Point, Pelagos Point (military, home of AFCAW's Seventh Strategic Systems Wing, with a Naga Squadron)
Terran League Worlds
Suffering through the Yellowstone extinction event cost the Terran League in terms of general wealth. The side effects were high taxes and the loss of citizen rights and privacy. Having started as a centralized but non-representational government on Earth, Yellowstone forced the seat of Terran government to move to Roma Rossa, Mars. It’s still very centralized and the closer a citizen lives to Mars and the Sol system, the better off they will be in benefits and quality of living.Their centralized government lead to bureaucracy, inefficiency, and often draconian measures to ensure control in all regions. There are six regions run by six Overlords (who must pass a general vote of confidence from their State Princes every 8 years), but control gets lax on poor and unproductive planets. These are called “fringe planets” and their technology level is usually lower than the average
Earth (also Terra), Sol system
- Description: The population on Earth is now very low. Not many people are born there, nor do they live many years there. Laborers on the surface keep the protected synthetic biomes running, but workers are changed out every six months. Some universities are still in operation, but they’re excruciatingly expensive to attend and students cannot bring their families. A few government and university officials who are allowed to bring their families to the surface.
- Planet Type: Ice-capped, Rich
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Earth One
- Nearby Space Stations: Zhou Station, Sol One, Inina Station (military, Terran Space Force)
Earth’s Moon, Sol system
- Description: No atmosphere, no magnetosphere to protect from radiation, but significant mining and manufacturing occurs in protected or underground habitats.
- Planet Type: Vacuum, Industrial, Asteroid (low gee)
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: N/A
- Nearby Space Stations: MicroCrys Station (zero gee manufacturing)
Mars, Sol system
- Description: Mars has a thin atmosphere, with significant mining and manufacturing at the poles. At this point, it's heavily populated and the seat of government for the Terran League. Also headquarters for the Terran Space Force and Terran Bureau of Investigation (TEBI). Mars is where most of the solar system's jobs are and it has larger population centers than "mother planet" Terra. All habitats provide earth-like atmosphere and radiation protection, often built underground.
- Cultural Note: Anyone born and raised on Mars can speak and sign Martian patois, which is a combination of sign language, motions, and slang. It combines basic somaural skills with less subtle hand signals. The best computer translators that can be bought can only do a 50% translation of Martian patois. Somaural masters can defeat most translator and surveillance software that employs visual and audio pattern recognition.
- Planet Type: Desert, Industrial, High Population
- Main Orbital Platform/Ports: Mars One, Two, and Three
- Nearby Space Stations: Firebrand Station, Sol Two and Three
Saturn’s moon Titan, Sol system
- Description: Titan is about 50% larger than Earth’s Moon, composed of rock and water ice. Dense nitrogen atmosphere with methane, ethane, and other organic compounds. Inhabitants on surface live in protected habitats
- Planet Type: Ice-capped, High Technology
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Titan One
- Nearby Space Stations: Sol Four
Teller’s Colony, Coombs system
- Description: A cold, dead planet that still orbits its sun and rotates, but with no magnetosphere to protect from radiation. Has significant deposits of deep ice which support the inhabitants, who all live underground. The Terran Space Force (TSF) has located a large weapons arsenal here. As for the entire Coombs system, it's a rather dismal place without any temperate planets and a dying sun.
- Planet Type: Vacuum
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Teller’s One
- Nearby Space Stations: Coombs One, which also has a small ship maintenance facility.
Kwan Colony, Dubois-Zaman (D-Z) system
- Description: A water world that has basically collected the dregs of society. In New Atlantic (or Nouveau Atlantique), which is the biggest city, gangs run operations on the streets while the government bureaucracy looks the other way. It’s also home to a legendary weapons dealer—but hey, at least he boosts the economy! Note: Kwan Colony is considered a fringe planet and has lower that normal technology levels and established organized crime.
- Planet Type: Low Technology, Poor, Water World
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Kwan One
- Nearby Space Stations: Dubois-Zaman (D-Z) One
Hedley Colony, Cataclysm system
- Description: An earth-like world, a little warmer than earth and with less variety of plant and animal life. It’s claim to fame is not its weather, however, but its position at the interior of the Cataclysm system. This solar system got its name from an event that must have happened many millions of years ago. Outside the orbit of Hedley's Colony is a huge orbiting asteroid field shaped like a doughnut. Beyond that is the system’s only other planet, a gas giant. The best guess by brainiac scholars regarding the asteroid doughnut’s origins is that many rock-like planets collided or tore themselves apart. This seems unlikely because estimates of total field mass is approximately 100 times the mass of Terra. The asteroid torus cross-section is elliptical, 150 by 200 kilometers.
- Historical Note: this is the only solar system taken from the Terrans by the Autonomists during the war. It took many months and ships and lives. Hedley's Colony was heavily used by TSF during the war because they thought no one would be crazy enough to try to conquer this system—too many places for resistance forces to hide. However, Directorate of Intelligence special operatives, one of whom was a very young Lt. Edones, established a fifth column and took down Cataclysm defenses from the inside. Soon after that, the Ura-Guinn system was cut off from civilized space by a Consortium temporal weapon. Cataclysm was traded back to the Terran League during the Pax Minoica treaty negotiations.
- Planet Type: High Technology
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: Hedley's One
- Nearby Space Stations: Cataclysm Two is close to Hedley’s Colony, while Cataclysm One is above the orbital plane of planets and close to the system buoy. Once CAW took over the system, this station was renamed “Hellmouth” (Terrans use such unimaginative names).
New Sousse, Kaltenegger system
- Description: Considered a “super-Earth” because it’s more than three times the mass of Terra, it's still habitable but a bit warmer than Terra. This was one of the earliest systems to receive an N-space buoy after First Contact, but the planet wasn't popular to most colonists who could afford to go some place more temperate. The newly unified planetary government (soon to be called the Terran Expansion League once they gobbled up the other governments in the solar system) decided to subsidize the colonization of New Sousse by sending disaffected groups/tribes/peoples who wanted to leave Terra but couldn’t afford the transportation and colonization costs.
- Warning: this planet is classified a Red Zone for those of Terran Franko-Arabian, French, or Brazilian descent. Previous (2075 UT) use of Minoan genetically-targeted bioweapons requires DNA testing of immigrants. It is also considered a fringe planet and has lower that normal technology levels and established organized crime.
- Planet Type: Agricultural, Poor
- Main Orbital Platform/Port: New Sousse One
- Nearby Space Stations: Explorer One, which hosts several R&D laboratories and has a normal technology level
Solar Systems Under Generational Ship Line Sovereignty
The Generational Ship Lines have temporary sovereignty over a solar system they've opened. When they feel the solar system has been developed enough by the major financers of the mission, they negotiate a turnover to either the Consortium or the League. Sometimes these negotiations take years, particularly when there is mixed backing (both from Consortium and League). During the war, this haggling had to be handled delicately. The Generational Ship Lines are considered neutral regarding nationalities; after all, they only want to earn their investment back. All the ship lines have plenty of lawyers on staff and travelling on missions. All their lawyers have to be well versed in international, Consortium, and League law.
There are other solar systems under temporary generational sovereignty, but this is the one where the events in Vigilante and Pathfinder occurred. The G-145 mission was planned and launched around 2083. Even though the Generational Lines maintained neutrality during the war, the missions were financed solely by one side or the other, and this one was primarily financed through Autonomist commercial entities. When there is little government investment, the final jurisdictional control is negotiated (basically, sold by the Ship Line) two to three years after the system is opened. Usually there are only a couple choices to be made, based upon economic viability and tax base: whether to become a self-governed system or not, and whether to exist under Consortium or League jurisdiction. Since alien (non-Minoan and non-human) ruins and technology have been found in G-145, to include a buoy for N-space navigation into alien solar systems--one can expect significant conflict over the governance of this system when the time comes.
In general, G-145's sun is similar to Sol. All planetary orbits are in the same plane. The major planets are three "rocks" and three gas giants, one just within the inner system and two far out in the outer system. The inner and outer system is divided by a meteor belt. Significant bodies/artifacts in this system are:
- Of the planets, only Sophia II has Gaian-based life, although the planet is currently going through an ice-ball stage and the lifeforms are struggling to exist under the ice. There is evidence that the previous alien inhabitants of this system were attempting to terraform Sophia II.
- Laomedon is the inner-most gas giant. Tithonos is its largest moon, while Priamos is second largest. Priamos is the location of the alien ruins--the first indication humans have found of another Gaian-based intelligent species (the Minoans hint that they are not the product of evolutionary/devolutionary processes).
- So far, the major habitats in the system are the Pilgrimage III, a scientific orbital platform above Sophia II, a mining facility at Tethanos, and the Beta Priamos Station (above Priamos, providing access to an elevator down to the alien ruins).
- The most important find in G-145 was the alien "artifact," later proven to be an N-space navigation buoy. Like Minoan-made buoys, it's fixed in space, located in the planetary orbital plane, between the orbits of Laomedon and Sophia II. Being fixed means that it is anchored in N-space; it doesn't orbit the sun in real-space, it can't be moved, and yet it manages to stay at exactly the same real-space distance/angles/coordinates with respect to its sun. How is this possible? Well, if mundane humans understood this phenomenon, they wouldn't have to buy navigation buoys from the Minoans, would they?
Ships: Mentioned in Ariane Kedros Novels
About Ship Technology
By now, most vessels have smart armor just to ensure safety against the possible foreign object damage inherent in space travel. The use of aerogel, specialized ceramics, and "directional" polymer shielding makes modern space travel/habitation safe and radiation "neutral," similar to what could be expected on a planet, protected by a magnetosphere and heavy atmosphere. Humans can't create windows that won't let radiation through, so space ships, particularly N-space-capable ones, don't have windows (some habitats have shutters that only open under certain conditions).
One sensitive human issue is that pregnancy doesn't mix well with space, in particular, gravity other than one gee. On space habitats, natural pregnancies must be registered with emergency response teams, so pregnant women can be evacuated if the gravity generator fails for a long period. Generational ship crews, who must operate for decades without normal gravity, can only safely grow fetuses inside artificial wombs—hence the somewhat impolite, but accurate, name of "crèche-get."
- Aether's Touch: Owned and operated by Aether Exploration (majority owned by Mr. Matthew Journey, Peacekeeper). Registered out of Athens Point, Hellas system. As most second-wave prospector ships that go in after a solar system is opened by a Generational Ship Line, Aether's Touch is highly customized with extra sensors and antennae. The ship is N-space-capable.
- Bright Crescent (AFCAW): A medium-weight Fury Class Cruiser, N-space-capable, fitted with swarm weapons and kinetic missile tubes, typically for use with the Champion or Assassinator missiles. Registered out of Karthage Point, Hellas system. Mission Commander: Colonel Owen Edones. Operations Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Lydia, replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Aquino in late 2105.
- Candor Chasma: Requisitioned by Terran State Prince Parmet (under League Overlord Three) for dignitary transport. Registered out of Mars, Sol system. It's an N-space-capable retrofitted Gladiator (MIL-8440), used by the Terran Space Forces (TSF) during the war for reconnaissance, special operations insertion and extraction, etc. Now registered as an unarmed TM-8440 (rail guns, rail gun slugs, and chaff are not considered weapons). It can be operated in real-space by a crew of two to five, depending upon the type of travel. The number of passengers can vary, but more than twenty would become uncomfortable.
- Pilgrimage III: Owned and operated by Pilgrimage Ship Line, which is a business, a family, and an independent sovereignty, all in one. One of the largest generational ships ever built, the Pilgrimage III can support a population of fifteen hundred, although they recorded their population somewhere over 800 when they opened G-145. Like all generational ships, they are not capable of nous-transit (dropping into and traversing N-space). When they reconfigure for habitat mode, however, they can maintain artificial gravity through an N-space connection.
- Pytheas: According to Matt (Pathfinder), "it's the tightest, best-equipped, third-wave exploration ship around." The third-wave exploration ships are always custom-made and this one was commissioned by Leukos Industries. Its cost is three orders of magnitude (that's 1,000-times, for the math-impaired) the value of Aether's Touch.
- TLS Ming Adams: This Terran League ship comes under the authority of Overlord Six, who doesn't command as wealthy a set of solar systems as Overlord Three. This is an older Atlantic Class frigate, with less powerful weapons than the Defender Class ships. Hailing out of New Sousse, it arrives in G-145 to pick up prisoners (Pathfinder). But the questions on everyone's mind is whether it's truly operated by Terran Space Forces (TSF) or irregulars, and whether it violates the Status of Forces Agreeements made with the Generational Ship Lines.
- TLS Percival: This Terran League ship is operated by Terran Space Forces (TSF) assigned to Overlord Three. It's a Defender Class frigate, faster and more maneuverable than a cruiser like the Bright Crescent. Since one of its missions is grappling and boarding, it has short-range weapons and carries more troops than a cruiser.
- Venture's Way: Owned and operated by Custody and Comfort Shipping. Registered out of Pelagos Major, Pelagos system. This ship is a mid-size, N-space-capable, civilian vessel designed by Pelagos Spaceframes, Inc. Other than the part this ship plays in Abram Hadi Rouxe's dark plot (Vigilante), there is nothing unique about it.
An explanation to readers: when I was first published, I referred to space-faring vessels as “she,” the way I would refer to naval ships. I was, however, behind the times and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS, otherwise known as the copyeditor's bible) says we must use the neuter case such as "it" for all vessels, naval or otherwise. Since I did not have the authority to flout the CMS, I ground my teeth and acquiesed.