Coriolis: A Brief History and Terminology Guide

Zenith heralded the dawn of a new era – and the Horizon blossomed once again. Three dozen star systems, linked by fate and by the will of the Icons, wandered together towards a brighter future. But as the Emissaries arrived, the happy days drew to a close, and the Dark between the Stars slowly came creeping back.
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silverfoxdmt73
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Coriolis: A Brief History and Terminology Guide

Post by silverfoxdmt73 » Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:50 pm

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE THIRD HORIZON

A thousand cycles ago the first generation ships were launched from Al-Ardha towards the distant stars. Among these ships two, the Zenith and the Nadir, were launched towards the star Dabaran. At slower-than-light speeds, the great arks were to travel hundreds of cycles through the emptiness of space before reaching their destination.

Soon, however, a number of portals were discovered in the vicinity of Al-Ardha. These portals led to a network of interconnected star systems, collectively called the Horizons. This gave rise to the exploration and colonization of the First and Second Horizons. Little factual knowledge of that era remains, but it's a fact that at one point in time a bloody war began between the imperialistic First Horizon and the independence-seeking Second Horizon.

About five hundred cycles ago fortune seekers, religious dissidents and rebels were the first ones to arrive at the newly discovered Third Horizon. None of them had any love for the empire-builders of the First Horizon, or any means of competing for resources in the rapidly overcrowding Second Horizon. These Firstcome laid the foundation for the Third Horizon of today, colonizing the larger systems, building magnificent cities and creating a free and tolerant new order. It was the Firstcome who introduced the Third Horizon to the Icons and the Dark between the Stars, the largest religion of the region today. It was a civilized era. There was peace and commerce between the peoples, cultures flourished and evolved. But like all good things, the peace couldn't last forever.

How and why the Portal Wars began, no one really knows anymore, but the enmity between the first two Horizons spilled over into the Third Horizon. After a long and bloody campaign, the peoples of the Third Horizon managed to push their enemies into the Odacon system, where whole fleets and eventually the entire system were destroyed. The Third Horizon emerged victorious, but the portals back to the older Horizons collapsed, cutting the Third Horizon off forever. The portals connecting the systems of the Third Horizon still worked, but trade diminished rapidly. Many cultures became planet-bound. Thus began the Long Night, an era of darkness, isolation and decay.

It was in this period of time that the Zenith, launched from Al-Ardha a millennium ago, finally reached the Dabaran system, while its twin ship, the Nadir, was lost in the darkness of space forever. The crew of the Zenith were astounded to find that mankind had already colonized the system more than five hundred cycles earlier. Moreover, thirty-six linked star systems were home to a myriad of scattered outposts and colonies. The crew eventually put their ship in orbit above Kua, debating the future of the failed colonization effort while the colonists were kept in stasis. The captain family, the Quassars, proposed to carry out the mission despite the new situation, while others, led by the Yriedes family, argued that everyone should be free to decide for themselves – the directives were redundant and thus, the contract void. A third faction within the crew lost patience as the discussions dragged on, and woke the colonists from stasis on their own.

Complete disorder seemed imminent, and the captain of the Zenith responded to the threat of mutiny by offering all crew and colonists the choice to go wherever they pleased and to bring with them the resources they needed for survival. The Quassar family themselves descended to the planet below and founded a colony there. The remains of the Zenith, meanwhile, became the basis for the construction of Coriolis, a giant space station dominated from the very beginning by the Yriedes clan and their faction, the Consortium.

The Consortium began opening the trade routes again, with Coriolis station becoming a place where the Firstcome groups, long isolated from each other, could meet and interact with the newcomers, the Zenithians. From their remote headquarters, possessing strange knowledge and mythical technology to back up their ideological strength, many factions sent representatives to Coriolis. With few exceptions, they all bought seats on the station's political council to try and influence the fragile, reborn Horizon to their factions' benefit. This became the foundation of the Council of Factions.


CURRENT AFFAIRS

The political landscape of the Third Horizon is dominated by two large opposing camps - the conservative and deeply religious Firstcome and the materialistically pragmatic Zenithians.

The Firstcome venerate the Icons and value strict adherence to moral codes. They are often seen as stubborn, inflexible and incapable of compromise. There's no clear leader among the Firstcome factions, but the most influential among them are the Church of the Icons and the Order of the Pariah. The Church is the largest religious organization in the Third Horizon, combining ancient beliefs with modern influences, seeking to unify all under the banners of a single faith. The Order of the Pariah, meanwhile, is a strange amalgam of philanthropy and fanaticism. Their Samaritans work with sick and the poor on Coriolis, while their Martyrs relentlessly hunt down religious dissidents in their home system, Zalos. Other Firstcome factions include Ahlam's Temple, an old cult focusing on the systematic exploration of the mysteries of experience and the senses, best know for their inimitable courtesans; the mysterious Draconite philosopher warriors with access to leading edge technology; and the Nomad Federation, a collection of families, clans and alliances unified by a nomadic way of life and the largest fleet in the Third Horizon.

The Zenithians, meanwhile, have a clearcut leader in the Consortium, the most powerful faction in the Third Horizon. It consists of a number of large corporations dominating trade, manufacturing, media, science and colonization, aiming to consolidate all power in the Third Horizon. The Legion is comprised of a diverse collection of mercenaries and armed skippers, gathered around the remnants of a fleet squadron from the Portal Wars, acting as the Consortium's military ally. The aristocrats of the Zenithian Hegemony, descendants of the Quassar dynasty and the elite of the Monolith on the planet Kua, work to increase their political, economic and military might. Smaller Zenithian factions include the Free League, which is a union of free traders organizing the small actors on the otherwise Consortium-dominated market, and the Syndicate, an underworld network with a handful of families and their respectful gangs controlling organized crime across the Horizon.

THE CORIOLIS CALENDAR

A standard Coriolis cycle (CC) is 336 days long, based on the time it takes Kua to orbit its star. Each cycle is divided into nine segments, each named for one of the Icons. Segments are 37 days long, with three additional annual holidays after the third, sixth and ninth segment: the Founding, the Pilgrimaria and the Cyclade.

1. The Messenger
2. The Dancer
3. The Gambler
The Founding
4. The Deckhand
5. The Merchant
6. The Judge
The Pilgrimaria
7. The Traveler
8. The Lady of Tears
9. The Faceless One
The Cyclade

Each segment is divided into four nine-days novenas called the novena of grain, the novena of water, the novena of light and the novena of incense. Days of the novenas do not have names of their own. Thus, you might say "The second day of water, segment of the Deckhand", or abbreviate it to "2 water Deckhand" in written form.

The final 37th day of each segment is the day of settlement, of the day of accounting, when ship loan payments and other bills are paid.

Note that the words week, month and year are not used in the Coriolis setting.

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silverfoxdmt73
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Coriolis: A Brief History and Terminology Guide

Post by silverfoxdmt73 » Wed Jun 15, 2022 8:05 am

TECHNOLOGY IN THE HORIZON

The Third Horizon is full of technological marvels, from the primitive shepherds’ flutes found on Zamusa to the advanced grav belts the Miran dancers use. The most basic technology is called primitive, found generally on the fringes of civilized space, in the lost colonies or with certain planetside nomads. The technology that came with the Zenith is called ordinary, and the same goes for most of the Firstcome tech. Spaceships, exo shells, and grav crafts are ordinary technology. The technology necessary for portal jumps, such as stasis beds and complex ship computers, is called advanced technology. The advanced tier also includes the different life lengthening inventions, such as bio sculpting, body part cloning, and certain cybernetics.

EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY

Inhabitants of the Third Horizon interact with ordinary technology every day, using devices such as tags, transactors, communicators, and tabulas. Only primitive tribes and backwater colonies lack this sort of tech.

ITEMS EVERYBODY OWNS

Some items can be found everywhere in the civilized parts of the Horizon. Beggars and slummers aside, most people have somewhere to live and
food on their plates, plus common items like tags, transactors, and whatever gear they need for their profession.

Transactors and tags are common methods of payment on Coriolis, on space stations, and in larger cities. The difference between the two is that
a transactor is locked to its owner’s biocode while a tag is anonymous, only protected by a numeric code. Direct transfers between bank accounts are of course available in hubs like Coriolis, but other methods are required when one is out traveling. If an even higher level of anonymity is required, one can use physical birr, printed by the company banks, the factions and some of the royal courts.

Birr are used for small purchases – using large sums of cash will look suspicious, and some systems have outlawed it all together. To gather information, take notes, or just to read the Bulletin’s news, merchants and other wealthy people use tabulas instead of actual paper.

A tabula is a tablet in mimetic glass that can be operated by hand or using a fancy stylus pen.

TRAVEL AND SPACESHIPS

Travel, once reserved for a select few, is now blooming across all the systems. Planetside transportation varies between the worlds – people use river barges on Kua, shuttles on Dabaran, and trains on Sadaal, for example. Before the Zenithians opened up the Horizon again, there were only a handful of spaceships in operational condition, and they belonged to larger powers such as the Order, royal courts in the fringe systems, or to ruthless corsairs. Interplanetary trade was rare and existed in only a few systems. The new era is boiling with free traders. The most heavily trafficked route is that between Mira and Dabaran, a trip the bulk haulers make regularly each segment. Big cruise liners with thousands of stasis beds follow the same route, but not as often, maybe once per triad. Yachts, pleasure sloops, and emirs’ cruisers carry rich passengers between safaris and exotic shopping on distant worlds, but the masses travel for business or for their faith. Pilgrims make up a large portion of the Horizon’s travelers.

COMMUNICATION

To communicate in a city or on a station, most people use messengers, or communicators if they can afford them.

Space stations have relay transmitters onboard that make sure all communicators can reach each other, as long as their users have the identification codes necessary to find the intended receiver. Newer cities usually have enough relays to make communicators fairly reliable, although the variation between cities or systems can be big.

Supposedly, Lord Yionid pas-Dasmaku had to wait three whole days to get an audience with the matriarch of Mira because his communicator was unable to reach the guard towers in the Icon City.

TERMINALS AND THE NET

On Coriolis and in cities with a strong Consortium presence, you will find the Bulletin’s terminals, connected through the encrypted infonet. Notable exceptions include Karrmerruk on Zalos, the City of Prophets in Alburz, and some of the more conservative dars on Dabaran. The infonet can also be used by computers, tabulas, and advanced transactors for information sharing, data storage or birr transactions.

The Syndicate has just started to realize that the infonet is a new arena for profit making. Apart from the infonet, smaller networks using power lines or relay towers exist in the modern districts of Algol, Mira, and Dabaran, as well as on larger space stations such as Djachroum. These networks are usually less reliable than the Bulletin’s infonet. The Algolan Zou bank was declared bankrupt a few cycles ago after an overload in the AYM network fried the intelligence that administered all of the bank’s transactions.

NEWS AND COURIERS

News has always been distributed by word of mouth in the Horizon. Nomads, merchants, or tarrabs all spread the news on their travels, albeit for different reasons. The larger cities have newspapers, either in printed form or on tabulas. When the systems began communicating again, the free traders were the first to start spreading news and rumors between systems, but it was the Bulletin which really organized interstellar communication when it started supplying the portal stations with their probes. Their ownership of the probes also means that they are the ones who determine which news to spread. The probes go through the portals, and relays on the other side transmit the data to new probes by the next portal, and so on. This way, the news is spread through roughly one system per day, at least along the route between Mira and Dabaran.

Farther out, where the portal stations are less secure, information is usually recorded on tags and carried by free traders or the Ermes Courier, the Bulletin’s own courier service. Sending mail is generally a slow affair. With a chain of free traders eventually getting from sender to receiver, a package usually takes a week, sometimes a whole segment, to arrive at its destination. For speedy deliveries, one must hire a fast courier vessel, an Ermes ship perhaps, or one of the many other players on the courier market. Couriers are costly but fast, usually making it through a system in two days.

BIRR AND BIRR

Birr is the currency of the Horizon, but is actually several different currencies mixed together. Electronic transactions are equal everywhere, but physical money – bills, Miran Icon coins, Algolan gem spheres – vary in worth depending on where you are. Locally, cash money is generally equivalent to tag-based birr, but this may not be true when you travel to another system.

The peddler Erbulas learned this the hard way when he tried to purchase Kuan lumber using Algolan gem spheres – in the end he lost his ship, and the spheres became ballast on a river barge.

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