atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4211: I'm going to talk specifics.

So in my SF universe, there's this thing that's kind of funny, and I have to talk about the specifics of this thing for you to understand what makes it funny.

When I was constructing the basics of my world, I was using stars that had names, which is a mistake, because only the brightest stars have names--and the brightest stars tend to be A- or B- class stars. Now, these are hot stars and a planet orbiting one of those stars would be basically uninhabitable. You can't really manage to live on a world where the sunlight fries you dead in a matter of minutes.

"In ten seconds you can get more burn than a winter in Key West, and five minutes would kill you." That's Patricia Wynant "Peewee" Reisfeld describing the sunlight of Vega at the surface of Vega V, home of "the Mother Thing people". (Have Space Suit--Will Travel, by Heinlein.) Vega is in the A spectral class, A0V to be exact. It's among the hottest of the A spectral class stars (hence "A0") and it's a dwarf star (which is what the "V" means).

The star Alcor is also an "A", but it's an A5. It emits less ultraviolet than Vega does, but it still pumps out a hell of a lot more UV than our star does. Its visibile light luminosity is about 13 times greater than the sun; I have no idea what its bolometric (total luminosity) runs, but the visible luminosity of a hot star is often much lower than its bolometric luminosity--and a hot star's UV output can fry a planet even if its visible luminosity is nothing special.

But there are ways around it, and as an A5 Alcor can be "saved" as the primary for a colony world, so I worked on it.

The remarkable feature of the Alcor system is that it has three heavy planets in a Klemperer rosette, each with a trio of moons orbiting each planet in another Klemperer rosette. The planets themselves are largely uninhabitable, having too-high gravity fields; the moons are approximately earthlike. But only "approximately".

They tend to be cold and cloudy. The clouds keep the sunlight off, because there's still too much UV, and "cold" because they're on the outskirts of the star's habitable zone (such as it is) to diminish UV still further. Not all of the moons are habitable, either, because some of them failed to have climates which are conducive to near-constant cloud cover.

The heavy planets are rich in mineral wealth, though, and at the time the place was colonized it was just possible to build habitats with gravity reduction systems such that humans in genetically-modified bodies could live and work in these places. The gravity at the surface of these worlds is about 8g, and inside the habitats it's about 4g. These places were natural for being a maximum security penal colony, and that's what happened. The moons were for ex-cons and non-cons.

After the first major interstellar war was over, the Alcor system became an ordinary colony, but one that was built on the place's foundation as a penal colony. Much of the old system remained in place (like the surveillance system and diminished civil rights) even as the place was democratized.

Perhaps twenty years after the end of that war, the Unity Party came to power and socialzed the place, and rapidly turned it into a totalitarian government. They changed the name of the place; it used to be called "The United Democratic Worlds of Alcor", but afterwards, when the totalitarian commie creeps are in charge?

The "Socialist Free Worlds of Alcor". AKA?


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