Colony Worlds of Earth, 3

Completing the series.

 

Letter-Designated Planets and Others

All children are now taught that Earth has twenty-three Colony Worlds. This is true. Yet humans are found on far more than only 24 planets! To be a ‘Colony World’, three criteria have to be met: there must be, or must have been, a sizeable civilian population; the planet’s atmosphere, gravity and so forth must be such that humans can survive outside of specialised habitats with minimal equipment (though Malaspina is pushing the boundaries here – humans may be able to breath on Malaspina, but the intense cold makes survival there difficult); and the planet must be ‘free and undominated’, which is to say ruled by the Protectorate. Most planets fail to meet these criteria. These planets are nonetheless recorded in official lists, with both ‘native’ names and official alphanumeric designations.

A grey area, however, does exist. Some planets are not properly ‘Colony Worlds’, yet are populous enough, or otherwise significant enough, to merit special attention. These planets are designated with simple, memorable letters, rather than the automated strings of minor ‘settlements’ and ‘stations’ or the roman numerals of Colony Worlds. The current Letter-Designated Planets are:

C Venus: currently the largest human population outside of Earth, at around 1.4 billion. Not considered a Colony World because all settlement must take place within sealed floating structures.

A Ashford, Y Empyrea, J Janaloka, VK Vilonika: these four LTPs are the most significant of a large class of tholin-mining sky-colonies, all located on small gas giants. Planets rich in tholin are attractive places to settle, due to their low energy costs, and dozens of such settlements exist, mainly associated with tholin-mining in the star system of a larger established colony. These five, however, have grown beyond that, becoming significant habitations in their own right. Economically, this settlements are distinctive for their low energy costs but high material costs, which encourage lifestyles that are at once decadent and austere. Ashford was humanity’s first civilian settlement outside the solar system; Empyrea is the largest of the sky-colonies other than Venus itself. Ashford has a population around 200 million; Empyrea, 400 million; Janaloka, 150 million; and Vilonika, 60 million.

L Lapita, T Teouma, and other Lapitan planets: the Lapita movement was/is an ideological movement for mass human colonisation of the stars, around two centuries old. Its initial zeal has long since tarnished, but Lapitan colonies remain numerous and distinctive. Most are cloud-worlds much like Venus, though a few, like Teouma, are terrestrial – Teouma is a boiling-hot, dry world with a toxic and anoxic atmosphere, but comfortable gravity, and extensive, airtight settlement. Lapita has a population around 200 million, Teouma bears another 100 million, and the smaller Lapita worlds contribute another 250 million.

W Wisent, E Eremis, SC Scipio and TR Triumph: the Exodus did not only see mass migration to the Colony Worlds – it also saw populations transported to several LDPs. These four are the most important of these – Eremis (originally a settlement for would-be hermits) and Triumph (founded during the Exodus) are cloud-worlds, while Wisent is a toxic terrestrial world, and Scipio (originally a military base) is a low-atmosphere planet with settlement in tunnels bored into the soft rock. Populations: Wisent 200 million, Eremis 100 million, Scipio 60 million, Triumph 40 million

P Pax and R Roanoke: two colonies founded in the late 24th century in co-operation with thaugomur. The theory was that these human-majority colonies would benefit from thaugomur protection and spending, and in return would provide resources and a base for military endeavours (i.e. against vnaorn, and hence to the benefit of humanity) to thaugomur, a species with superior technology and resources but a dislike of colonisation. Unfortunately, problems arose after the Invasion – Pax and Roanoke refused to acknowledge the new military government, and instead gave shelter, with thaugomur support, to political refugees and dissidents. Pax has a human population of around 25 million (and around 15 million non-humans), while Roanoke has a human population of around 60 million (and around 15 million non-humans).

Other settlements: around 100 million on another dozen or so small Letter-Designated Planets, and maybe 10 million more in small settlements.

                Captive and Dissident Populations

Many humans do not live in human settlements. There are two groups of these: dissidents and captives.

Dissidents are those whose ancestors were living outside the human dominions at the time of the coup d’etat, or those who have fled the Protectorate to join them. The largest communities are the populations of the human-thaugomur colony worlds, Pax and Roanoke, and settlers from those worlds. Smaller communities have grown up from old diplomatic stations. Around 100 million dissident humans live in thaugomur dominions, and a further 10 million elsewhere.The largest communities outside thaugomur dominion are groups living under ieed or diophel dominion, and the old diplomatic community living under the nlawul.

These numbers are dwarfed by the captive population, however. Descendents of humans abducted by vnaorn raiders and occupiers, they have multiplied rapidly in organised breeding programmes; some serve as prey for hunting and killing, others as servants. Yet vnaorn society, though often brutal by human standards, is nonetheless meritocratic and largely race-blind, and many humans and their descendents have risen to positions of freedom, or even of power, among the vnaorn – indeed, it has been reported that one leading ‘vnaorn’ general in the most recent war was in fact a human. The total human population under vnaorn dominion is around 3 billion; of these, perhaps 100 million have yeoman status or higher.

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