The second of three posts talking about human settlement in a SF setting.
The Third Phase: The Exodus Worlds
After the Invasion came the Exodus. A devastated Earth could not feed its people, and although the most important approaches to this problem involved internal migration and the redevelopment of destroyed infrastructure, considerable resources were dedicated to the (largely symbolic) objective of shipping refugees out to new worlds. At first, however, this desire was largely stymied by the recalcitrance of many of the existing colony worlds, which refused to accept the establishment of the Protectorate. While sizeable numbers were shifted to Degama and Nikitin, and within the solar system itself to Venus, and some also to icy Zheng, the real solution to this problem was the rapid development of new colonies. Thanks to the size of the migration, and to their age (the Exodus Worlds are all now a little over a century old), they have attained considerable size and some local flavour, but are more homogenous than the older worlds. Modern Degama is in some ways essentially an Exodus World, despite tracing its roots to an ancient colony.
Resident Population: a little over 1 billion
History: originally an inviolable nature reserve for the study and preservation of the planet’s spectacular native lifeforms. This policy was ended during the Exodus, when Fa became one of the largest recipients of Earthican migrants.
Natural Attractions: settlement on Fa is limited to a handful of high plateaus and mountain ranges, where the air is thin and cold enough to be pleasant. In the steamy lowlands, native lifeforms thrive, including the incredible four-winged ‘dragons’ and the semi-intelligent ‘corbies’.
Artificial and Social Attractions: Fa has a large rural population, a legacy of the hurried nature of its founding (colonists were dumped on the surface with enough materiel to survive, but no arcologies were built to welcome the newcomers – the city of Tianlong has developed naturally, over the last century, and indeed a sizeable percentage of its population still lives in tents), and of the psychology of its first migrants (in the aftermath of the Invasion, people became more frightened of dense urban areas, so vulnerable to alien attack). The Homage of the Corbies is a spectacular ceremony in which the native creatures worship and offer gifts to the human leaders, who they appear to regard as divine beings.
Capital: Atrevida (but largest city Maquinna)
Resident Population: around 600 million
Natural Attractions: the inverse of Fa – most of the planet has a frozen semi-atmosphere, but settlement is possible in a number of deep, narrow, ‘trenches’, often adjacent to towering mountains – above the city of Atrevida towers the Bustamante Range, forty thousand feet above sea level, with its peaks (including Mount Bustamante, the tallest mountain on Guerra) another ten to fiften thousand feet higher.
Artificial and Social Attractions: like Fa, Guerra has a sizeable rural population; unlike Fa, its urban population is divided between dozens of small cities.
Capital: Alpha-Penglai (but largest city Eta-Penglai)
Resident Population: a little under 200 million
Natural Attractions: Xu is a small ocean world, with indigenous microflora.
Artificial and Social Attractions: as on Fa and Guerra, on Xu initial settlement was dispersed and primitive. In the case of Xu, however, this meant not tents but boats. This pattern of life has continued – the vast bulk of the population of Xu still live on small boats, each boat carrying between a dozen or two and a thousand or two passengers. The cities that do exist have relatively small permanent populations, and extensive mooring facilities to support a transient population of sailors stopping by to restock and repair.
Resident Population: around 150 million
Natural Attractions: Nehsi is known as a ‘sand-bank’ world, because very few of its landmasses rise more than a few tens of metres above sea level, and there are extensive tidal areas. In inhabited areas, these have been planted with reeds.
Artificial and Social Attractions: as Nehsi was the final Exodus colony, its settlement was a little less rushed, and more focused on cities (although to some extent many of the more urbiphobic Earthican settlers did spread out as soon as possible). Nehsi likes to think of itself as ‘the forgotten Colony’ – it has relatively little trade with Earth, and prides itself on its more relaxed lifestyle.
Phase Four: Residual Worlds
As Earth recuperated after the Invasion, the need for mass emigration lessened – and at the same time the defeat of the Free Colonies opened up the old worlds for migrants. But colonialism has a long lag time, and several worlds had already begun oxygenation. Eventually, these were settled one by one, but none have grown to rival the older colonies in size, nor do any seem likely to do so in the near future.
Resident Population: around 50 million
History: at first primarily populated by refugees from Hong
Natural Attractions: millions of glacial islands – but most settlement is in temperate areas near the equator.
Artificial and Social Attractions: an unusual socialist society has developed on Nansen
Resident Population: a little under 100 million
History: founded as a refuge for White mutineers, with a sizeable percentage of its early population coming from planets other than Earth (particularly Battuta and Barsauma).
Natural Attractions: a watery planet, but scattered over with uncountable volcanic and formerly-volcanic islands – most islands tend to be steep-sided with dramatic cliffs.
Artificial and Social Attractions: Montecorvino considers itself dedicated to liberty and egalitarianism – it even has a meaningful, functioning democratic system.
Capital: City Capital
Resident Population: a little over 50 million
History: the only colony not founded from Earth, but from another colony – in this case Burton, in the same system. Speke was founded by religious dissenters.
Natural Attractions: an arid moon of a gas giant, with unusually low gravity.
Artificial and Social Attractions: Speke is dominated by Clearsensers, and is essentially a theocracy, though the Fleet intervenes to ensure a modicum of religious freedom for dissenters.
Resident Population: around 25 million
History: Rustah was one of the first habitable planets discovered. However, as it is a desert world of minimal resources, its colonisation was long delayed, and originally only military.
Natural Attractions: Much of the rock and sand on Rustah is a strikingly vibrant orange colour, as is its sun.
Artificial and Social Attractions: Rustah’s culture is surprisingly vital; its two chief characteristics are its dedication to the military and its market-focused individualism.
Resident Population: 10 million
History: shares the same system as Guerra, and a sizeable minority of colonists originated on that planet.
Natural Attractions: a large, gelid, briny water-world; the only ‘land’ is made of ice and stratified evaporites, and the temperature is a long way below freezing.
Artificial and Social Attractions: Malaspina is a hard place to live, and appeals to those who seek a lifestyle that is both rugged and co-operative.
Phase Five: The Young Colonies
During the later 25th century, Protectorate policy turned against new colonisation – it was felt that creating more inhabited worlds was creating too many hostages to fortune, and thinning out the military deployment too greatly. Nonetheless, colonisation has proven a hard drive to curtail. Four colonies have been founded in the last forty years – all of them piggybacking on existing military deployments.
Resident Population: 25 million
Natural Attractions: a varied, Earth-like world, though with less ocean, and a little warmer (there are no icecaps).
Resident Population: 10 million
Natural Attractions: a high-obliquity planet in the same system as Azambuja; most of the planet is is permanent ice (in the tropics) or alternates between extreme cold and literally boiling heat (the northern polar regions). Settlement, however, is on a large archipelago in the southern ocean, where the climate is permanently moist and balmy.
Resident Population: several million
History: Kamsky was a military base for many decades before Lord Protector Ameganvi finally allowed civilians to settle on it.
Natural Attractions: exotically unpleasant. Gravity is high, and Kamsky’s highly eliptical orbit plunges the colonists into years of ocean-freezing frigidity and twilight followed by years of sweltering heat.
Resident Population: several million
History: currently the youngest Colony World, having been settled only a decade ago.
Natural Attractions: almost all of Infante is ocean – settlement is on the single, small continent.