A Few Notes About Things Kelsorian
Kelsor 7 is technically a moon rather than a planet, since it orbits Kelsor 6, which itself orbits the bright B2 star Kelsor, six times the mass of Sol. But Kelsor wouldn't be an inhabited system at all had that B2 star not captured a brown dwarf and its satellite. Its natural planets are two gas giants, orbiting close in, a few small rocky worlds, and thousands of asteroids.
Although it is tidally locked to Kelsor 6, the eccentric orbit of Kelsor 7 results in extreme libration that exposes two thirds of the surface to radiation from its primary at one time or another. The atmosphere, close to Earth's in density, absorbs enough heat at perihelion to sustain livable conditions at aphelion, and circulate some of that heat to the "dark" side of the planet.
It takes the equivalent of about 2.38 Earth weeks for Kelsor 7 to orbit Kelsor 6, and 2.35 Earth years for them to orbit Kelsor together. For convenience, Kelsorians have adopted a standard day of 25 hours, so that an eight-day week (periastron to apastron) takes 200 hours and a Short Year (periastron to periastron) 400. The Short Year is also called the Long Day, because it tales that long for Kelsor itself to make the circuit of the sky as seen from Kelsor 7. Kelsor provides nearly all the visible light, but Kelsor 6 is the source of nearly all the heat.
Kelsor 6 eclipses Kelsor at periastron, leaving the planet bathed only in the ruddy glow of Kelsor 6. Such eclipses interrupt the day-night cycle of the Long Day.
Native life on Kelsor 7, consisting mostly of red and purple vegetation, evidently evolved while Kelsor 6 was in deep space, long before the brown dwarf was captured by Kelsor. The ecology never developed any higher forms than the equivalent of insects. The Kelsorians could have terraformed their world, but chose to leave the native life alone, and restrict Terran-derived life to their settlements.
Population, Economy, Culture
Humans settled this Kelsor 7 early on, but used it lightly the population is only about a hundred million. The original settlers were refugees from Belside, a neutral planet destroyed by the Aurean Empire. Belside was known for its science and technology, and its culture became the foundation of Kelsor 7, which soon attracted natural scientists and engineers from a number of worlds who sought a haven from the Great War.
Although they regarded pacifism as an ideal, the Kelsorians realized that their world was defenseless. Among those who became the first settlers were the inventors of the Quantum Electric Drive, drawing on the quantum energy of space itself. Without the QED, interstellar travel would still be extremely slow, despite wormholes, because the travel time from planets to wormholes and back by conventional means of propulsion would be months at best.
Kelsor 7's monopoly on the Quantum Electric Drive is the foundation of its economy and defense. QED modules are sealed in such a manner that they cannot be disassembled or analyzed, even by supremis, without self-destructing. The Enlightenment, the Empire and other powers alike are dependant on Kelsor 7 for both original and replacement modules in their ships. None of them want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, and therefore they respect the world's neutrality.
Revenues from the QED have enabled Kelsor 7 to carry on an exploration and survey program devoted to the discovery of new wormholes and new planetary systems, studying their stars and planets and, if any such planets be inhabited, establishing cultural relations and trade. QED revenues have also enabled the Kelsorians to develop their own defenses, through construction of warships and arming them with weapons purchased abroad and/or reverse engineered on Kelsor 7 itself. Some of the warships are fully armede and manned; others are Quaker warships – only lightly manned. Like the QED modules, the Quaker warships are considered top secret.
Nearly all Kelsorians are of human descent. The humans make up a polyglot community of diverse racial and ethnic origins. There are a few groups that are distinct, most notably the Alecans of African descent, originally invited as mercenaries but later serving in any number of civilian pursuits. Most of the humans, whatever their race, are thoroughgoing secularists. But there are also the Christla (Krist'la), an eccentric offshoot of Christianity that parallels the teachings of Teilhard de Chardin while also observing the strict morality and sacraments of traditional Catholicism.
Citizenship is by birth or invitation only, and invitations are extended only to those considered able to make a true intellectual contribution to Kelsor 7. Because some of those invited are fugitives from their own worlds, the Secretariat has made allowances for them in the Four Questions that are asked at the time of formal naturalization.
Q: "What is your true name, and whence come you?"
A: [True name and planet of origin]
Q: "By what name and world of origin shall you be known to us?"
A: [The same, or assumed name and planet of origin]
Q: "What do bring to us?"
A: "My mind. My hands, My heart."
Q: "Do your come to us without reservation, forswearing allegiance to any other world or polity?"
A: "I do."
Most Kelsorians are formal and circumspect in their everyday lives. They follow customs such as the dual honorific (Sir and Scholar, Dame and Engineer), related to occupation, rank or calling, and focus on their work and established relationships. As a safety valve, however, they are allowed to "go wild" during Long Day/Short Year festivals, especially at the time of the eclipse, when the brownish red glow of Kelsor 6 has erotic connotations. Offworld, separated from family, they are allowed to form shipboard liaisons. It is considered bad taste to discuss these back home.
Kelsor's government is called the Secretariat, and is elected by direct democracy (votes cast online), with a mix of representation by territorial-institutional constituencies (mostly the same; people tend to live where they work, in functional communities.
There are several divisions:
Home Affairs (civil administration, courts and the like)
Industrial Affairs (concerned with everything from QEDs to food and clothing)
External Affairs (includes diplomacy, trade and the military)
Educational Affairs (science, research, exploration)
The Survey Service comes under the Educational Affairs division, and has its Cultural, Biological and Physical departments, which are represented on ships by the Culture, Biology and Physics sections.
The ships used by the Survey Service are either their own or on loan from the Military Service of the External Affairs division. Because journeys of exploration can lead to dangerous situations. scholars are assigned military ranks while serving on board and can be required to perform military duties in dire emergencies.
But between missions, or while working at their institutes, they are civilians. Alisa-zar Kim'Vallara is one example. On ship, she has a military rating, and is addressed as Dame and Ensign or Dame and Lieutenant, depending on her rank in different stores. At home, she was Dame and Scholar in her early years, later Dame and Mentor when she became a top advisor.
The Kelsorian Calendar.
Short Years are the orbital period of Kelsor 7 around the brown dwarf Kelsor 6, which provides heat but hardly any light. Long Years are the orbital period of Kelsor 6 around the primary sun Kelsor, which provides light but hardly any heat to the distant home of the Kelsorians.
1 Earth Year = 21.6 Kelsorian Short years
50.76 Short years in Long Year
1 Kelsorian Long year = 2.35 Earth years
1 Kelsorian Short Year = 2 Kelsorian weeks
1 Kelsorian week (the perihelion) = eight days
1 Kelsorian day = 25 hours
400 hours in 1 Kelsorian Short Year
720 hours in 1 Earth month
8,640 hours in 1 Earth year
20,304 hours in 1 Kelsorian Long Year