Maris

This the 'capital' world of the 'Galactic Empire' (All space operas need some kind of galactic empire, right?)
Maris is very technologically advanced, and has several space elevators which connect up to a huge man-made ring that acts as a space station, space dock, what-have-you.

Cosmology

The representational, if not actual center of the galaxy, Maris, the capital of the Interstellar Empire of United Planets orbits a class F star. It's day is roughly 17 hours long, and it's year is 721 days long. It has no moon. Gravity is .8 earth. The atmosphere is thin, and in almost constant agitation.

Geography

There is only a small population on the world proper. The vast majority of Maris' population inhabits its ring, a vast man-made structure in geosynchronous orbit of the planet. What population is on the surface tends to cluster around the great space elevators that link to the ring, at regular intervals around the equator. These habitations focus mostly on the few industries that do better in an environment of absolutely stable gravity, or that require vast stretches of open space... agriculture, and various sporting and other recreational pastimes. The strong winds on the surface make aerial wind-surfing a particularly popular, if not particularly safe, pastime.

Races and Culture

As a political center Maris is very cosmopolitan in many ways... except, of course, way out in the boondocks of a desert world, where the locals discourse in disgruntled absolutes about how the universe ought to be run. Maris locals are all volunteers, (Maris has no native population,) but Maris' surface is extremely hostile to many species, including Hworill (too windy), the K!tukuk and Muayib (too dry), and Zthiir (too cold)... meaning that only humans are found with any sort of regularity on Maris' surface (and even they don't seem to appreciate the weather much.)

'Upstairs' on the ring the intelligent races interact in a carefully engineered environment that isn't comfortable for anyone, but is none-the-less livable, and species specific 'home' habitats can be found at regular intervals along the ring, each habitat a city in and of itself, where the many cultures of each species meet and clash.

History

Maris was discovered early on by a Hworill space faring culture who hadn't discovered wormhole travel yet. Before it could be scheduled for further development or investigation, they ran into some human explorers that did have wormhole travel, and Maris was mostly forgotten. It's name was pulled out of the archives by the fledgling Empire of Planets as a likely location for establishing a center base. The enormous engineering challenge of the docking ring was undertook as much as propaganda as for practical purposes. It's completion took two centuries, and to date it is the only contiguous planet orbiting ring known. The ring was considered such a triumph that it became the official device of the Imperial house.

Economics and Politics

The 'shining gem on the coronet that is Maris' extraordinary marvel of engineering and technology is the Imperial Palace', a self contained environment attached to the ring, that is home to His Imperial Majesty, Her Imperial Majesty and the other members of the Imperial family. The Grand Consuls each have an official residence, smaller 'jewels' set evenly about the circumference, and frequently the centerpoint of the largest of the rings' home territory for that associated race.

The Imperial Powers are pretty much completely nonexistent, and the empire is 'ruled' by a vast bureaucracy. Supposedly a 'meritocracy' with promotions based on ability, any organizational structure so large has it's share of inefficiencies and over-runs, but the organizational 'mission statement' involves doing as little as possible with the smallest amount of resources, and they frequently manage to achieve that.

Each planet in the empire actually rules itself, and the Empire itself is only expected to oversee and interstellar affairs. In order to carry out this duty there are four main branches of government.

  • The Diplomatic Arm. Specializing in interspecies and intercultural relationships, this arm is responsible for seeing that all hundred-or-so planets of the Empire continue to talk to each other.

  • The Research and Exploration Arm. The distribution of information is an important benefit of joining the empire. Although 'research and Exploration' sounds like an active charter, much of what is done is actually the acquire and redistribution of the efforts of the individual worlds, which is under the direction of the Imperial Library, and the Free People's Media Broadcast and Broadband Distribution Collective. However some projects are granted direct charters from the Empire itself, (usually because of their inherent interstellar nature), the two largest of these are the 'Planetary Search Project' and the 'Space Objects Investigatory Institute.'

  • The Enforcement Arm. Otherwise known as the Imperial Enforcement Agency. It has a number of branches, the most high profile of which is the Space Patrol, who acts, as much as possible, as a peacekeeping force in open space, and, by special charter, in systems with inadequate local enforcement that would otherwise attract disreputable elements. Other branches are the Counterespionage branch, the Palace Guard (Imperial Security), and the much feared Legal Branch.

  • Logistics and Distribution. This is the part responsible for the day to day running of the government, overseeing Imperial possessions (including the planet of Maris) and collecting and distributing revenues. Logistics and Distribution is rumored to be run by the universes largest and most technologically advanced computer brain, and that's why its unbelievable collection of departments and subdepartments hasn't completely fallen into chaos yet. At any rate, L&D limps along mostly doing the job it has been given, although never quite managing to do so to anyone's satisfaction.

The Imperial Government does not tax it's 'subjects', it merely charges membership fees, and licensing fees to cover the cost of the services it provides. 'Member' Planets (and member governments on non-member planets) get a membership discount on all licenses, in return for paying a yearly fee, and ratifying the 'Interstellar Articles of Polite Behavior between Planetary Governments, and other Bodies of Authority', and agreeing to abide by the precepts contained therein.


 

 
Quote from Sails of Everwind
 
'Sentients that arenít sure they ever existed have trouble remaining on the steady side of sane'
 
-- about the Cultivators Terrence Wysorickovitz
 
 
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com