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Friday, September 30, 2011

Law and Law Enforcement in the 94 Ceti System

Peacekeepers and Enforcers

No society survives long without a generally respected set of laws. To ensure that laws are respected, they must be enforced in such a manner that the perception within the society is one in which the system is seen to operate consistently. Whether the laws are fair or not is of a lesser importance to the members of that society in comparison to the expectation, that given the same situation, the law will produce the the same or near same results each time. The Council on Avenir makes the laws in use within the 94 Ceti System. The Council along with local temporary Tribunals see to the maintenance of the law.

A secondary requirement is the inculcation in the majority of the society's members of a mindset that accepts that the law will successfully be applied by the forces representing order whenever the need arises—that basically, “you can't get away with it.” In most societies, there is a percentage of the populace who, for whatever reason, disbelieves this. Through most of human history, this percentage seems to have hovered around 10 percent. The peacekeepers and their enforcers exist to deal with this 10 percent.

Peacekeepers throughout the system work as plain clothes investigators and command uniformed enforcers. On Avenir and in in other large population centers, the Investigating Peacekeeper is in charge of all facets of an investigation including oversight of assisting peacekeepers and and enforcers, preparing cases against suspects, and seeing to the carrying out of sentences involving capital punishment. In these settings, most peacekeepers specialize in one or more areas of criminal investigation such as homicide, robbery, corruption, etc. In the field, a peacekeeper travels a circuit of his assigned area and dispatches enforcers to keep order, investigate crimes, and apprehend suspects. The peacekeeper is then responsible for empaneling a three person tribunal, prosecuting the accused, and insuring that the accused receives a proper defense. The accused has the right to appeal the verdict to the Council on Avenir. The best analog of this role of the peacekeeper would be the Texas Rangers of 19th century North America (both during the Texas Republic period and after statehood). For the use of the peacekeeper's enforcers, the best analog is the Federal Marshals and their Deputy Marshals operating in the Indian Nations (later the state of Oklahoma) in the late 1800s.

Enforcers, with their gray uniforms, are trained at the Academy on Avenir. On the habitat and in population centers, they fulfill a role reminiscent of the patrolman or bobby found throughout Europe, North America, the Indian Subcontinent, and the Pacific Rim in the 20th century.


Revenue Service

The Revenue Service is charged with the collection of duties and taxes, the maintenance of trade, and the safety of intra-system shipping. To do this, the service operates a number of revenue cutters whose duties include inspection of all space-going vessels and cargoes, rescue outside the sphere described by the orbit of the asteroid Assisi (within this sphere, rescue is a concern of the peacekeepers), and the suppression of piracy wherever discovered.


Punishment

Punishment of crime takes a number of forms. Depending on the local circumstances, fines, humiliation, incarceration, and corporal punishment may be levied. In the case of capital crimes, three forms of capital punishment are in force. In the jurisprudence in effect on Avenir, those convicted of a capital crime are allowed to pick their own punishment from a selection of three:

  1. Death by spacing.

  2. Exile to Eclectia as a bug hunter for the rest of their life (a quota of kills must be met or the convicted person is remanded to one of the other two sentences).

  3. Transformation into a cyborg and labor for the rest of their life.

Those convicted adjudged by the Council to be of too much of a danger to their fellows are sentenced to the first.

Introducing the Shouhei Fiko Stories and My Self

Some of you may have been reading the adventures of a young Enforcer named Shouhei Fiko. He is a young man who had the good fortune to be selected for the Enforcer Corps. This gives him the opportunity to leave the miserable conditions of Adagio on Eclectia's surface for a better life. The "good fortune" turns into a sham when Shouhei learns the truth of his appointment.

I will not spoil the fun. You will just have to read the stories to find out the full story.

My name is Joseph H. Ficor. I am originally from Illinois state in the US. I currently live in Niigata, Japan, with my beautiful wife, Kiyomi, and my son, Shouhei.

Grace's project gave me the opportunity to immortalize my little buddy in print. Please keep a look out for more Shouhei stories.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writing With A Pseudonym

The question for me has always been, will I ever be able to simply follow the rules and fit in? But if the truth be known, I love seeing the world from a slightly different angle -- makes it all seem so much more interesting. :)

Yes, I've written a couple of stories here using a pseudonym, but to maintain anonymity, primarily because I want to see how the pseudonym-end of things works, I'll not tell you who I am in the collective - male or female, young or old. Shall we allow my strange sense of adventure to ride out, please?

Some of you know me, and for those who don't, I'm a multipublished author, of mainly print magazine articles & poetry, having nearly 100 articles to my credit, including reprints. I'm also putting the finishing touches on a weird little book of lyric essays, which includes a dash of memoir and a few pieces of poetry thrown in for variety. It truly is unique. (And the jury's still out on whether that's a good thing or a bad thing ... :) )

My favorite genres are creative nonfiction and poetry, but I've also been exploring (and loving) the world of slant or fringe fiction: the psychological, the skin-crawling, the mess-with-your-mind type of stuff, though I'm not a fan of horror or supernatural thrillers.

Besides having a husband and grown son, and a small acreage with animals and fruit trees, I'm also the maven at the indie house, Port Yonder Press. As an aside, Grace and I, both small press owners, enjoy a little playful banter occasionally on my blog. Feel free to join the fun at the Clipper and Comet Pub (from the "pub"lishers), here.



I love the linked idea behind Avenir, and am currently in the process of writing my own set of linked stories, but they'll be placed firmly here on earth, the way I generally prefer them. Though I must quickly add that I've been fascinated watching the evolution of this little experiment of Grace's, and must now find time to get more involved with it. I can't wait to see where it all goes!



~Chila Woychik

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Eclectia System

The Eclectia System of 94 Ceti A (“The Whale”) is made up of the planet Eclectia (which Avenir orbits) , its moons, Sheba and Quatermain, and a cloud of smaller bodies. Eclectia, discovered 7 August 2000 AD (old style), circles it's primary at a distance of 1.42 AU (Earth) and a period of 535 days (Earth). It masses 1.68 that of Earth.

One of the more striking features of Eclectia is the extremely high speed of its axial precession. While all known planets' axises wobble around slowly describing a circle, the ends of Eclectia's circle so fast as to seem to be attempting to orbit in their own right.

The causes of this are Eclectia's twin satellites, Sheba and Quatermain. At one time, the two bodies composed a single smaller planet that the colonists refer to as Sheba. It is postulated that when Sheba was captured by Eclectia's gravitational field, the smaller planet was torn apart becoming the pair of present satellites and a huge number of fragments. Judging from the still hot cores of the two major bodies and the fact that so many fragments have not been pulled in by the planet and its two fragments, the destruction must have been very recent. A second reason that the pieces have not coalesced has to do with the interaction of the five major gravity fields (94 Ceti A, its partner 94 Ceti B, Eclectia, Sheba, and Quatermain) that war with each other. Finally, there is the problem that Sheba and Quatermain, while generally on the same side of Eclectia at any one time, are in orbits that find them approximately 23 degrees from each other. That the plane of their orbit is tipped 41 degrees to Eclectia's equator induces the wobble in the parent's axis of rotation.

During the preliminary long range survey upon Avenir's entry of the 94 Ceti System, it was believed that Eclectia had only one satellite which was christened “Sheba.” To the embarrassment of the astrophysics team, the mistake was discovered upon closer approach. While there was a call by the team leader for the two bodies to be referred to as “Sheba I and II,” this was shouted down by the rest the team. After several days of discussion, argument, threats, and (allegedly) bribery, the smaller satellite was named “Quatermain.”

Neither satellite retains an atmosphere and the thinking is that if the united Sheba had one to begin with, it must have been quite tenuous. Both bodies are rich in minerals. Sheba seems to have retained the heavier elements such as Cadmium, Gold, Iridium, Molybdenum, Lead, Palladium, Platinum, Silver, Tantalum, Tungsten, and Uranium. Quatermain plays host to lighter elements like Aluminum, Beryllium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Germanium, Iron, Lithium, Magnesium, Manganese, Nickel, Tin, Titanium, Zinc, and Zirconium.

A great number of ore bodies are found among the staggering cloud of fragments moving within the planetary system. These are collected and “herded” by the “cowboys” and are delivered to various sites for smelting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Origins

Hey there. Y'all know me, but I might as well put it here again for anyone who joins up new. I'm the founder, owner, managing editor (and nearly everything else) of Splashdown Books, where I publish fine speculative novels to my own exacting standards. Several Avenir authors are also Splashdown authors, and I'm sure they'll tell you all about their own books when it's their turn.

I came up with the idea for Avenir Eclectia in November 2010 at the instigation of Kristine Pratt, who was telling me about a themed non-fiction book she was considering at her own press Written World Communications. 100 authors would write a one-page article each, but all would share a common thread. I got to thinking this could be done with fiction, and the rest is history.

At the same time I had been following a couple of story blogs - one vignetted serial, and one multi-author and random - and liked some of their aspects, so I adapted the best of what I saw there into what we now use at Avenir. I wanted our posts to be short and easy to digest on the run, and I wanted a rich storyworld for authors to dip into.

Of course, knowing me and Splashdown, it had to be speculative, and I tried to get a bit of everything as I constructed the first bones of the storyworld. There would be a space station for the science fiction people, a planet with giant bugs for fantasy, and supernatural sea creatures for the horror writers. And I love to see how everyone has developed it from that basic premise!

My own story threads here involve Ave, an orphan on Avenir Station (and named after it) who can sometimes feel the voices of the whales from the planet below; Tennant, a miner on the apocalyptic moon Sheba; Maddie Vlox, alehouse owner in Adagio, a large hunting settlement near the coast; Eleon McManus, a submarine driver based in undersea Zirconia; and his friend Gryphon Silt, the last historian and the only one left who has any vestige of knowledge about Old Earth and the origins of the generational ship called the Avenir, which became the hub of the present station. Perhaps, in future, these people may all meet and become far more important to each other than it seems ;)

As for my other writing - I have two novels out, working on my fourth right now, I'm a regular contributor at Digital Dragon Magazine, plus I have several other short stories in various ezines and anthologies including the upcoming Underground Rising with the illustrious Frank Creed, The Book of Sylvari with the fantabulous Chila Woychik, and The Cross and Cosmos with the amazing Glyn Shull (and respective friends and cohorts all around). You can check out all that stuff in more detail at my author page here.

Thank you again, everyone, for joining me on this incredible journey. It's gone way beyond my wildest dreams, and it's all because of you. And someday in the not-too-distant future I'll be packaging up a print anthology and complete ebook version of the Avenir Eclectia History Vol. 1. Can't wait!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

94 Ceti

The orbital habitat, Avenir, circles the planet Eclectia which in turn orbits the star 94 Ceti A (known to the locals as “The Whale”), one of a binary star system in the constellation Cetus or the Whale (seen from Earth in the southern skies). The secondary star of the system, 94 Ceti B orbits the primary at an average of 151 AU (Astronomical Units).

94 Ceti A is a yellow-white dwarf star belonging to the main-sequence and has a spectral classification of F8V*. It's partner, 94 Ceti B (known as the “Twin Whale” or just “Twin”) is a M3V red dwarf. That 94 Ceti A had a planet orbiting it was discovered 7 August 2000 AD (old form).

* A word about stellar spectral classifications:

Star are classified by their color and size. The color of a star gives an idea of its temperature. The color of a star is denoted by a letter as follows:

O Blue

B Blue-White

A White

F Yellow-White

G Yellow

K Orange

M Red

The letters run from hottest to coolest. A mnemonic used by astronomers runs: “Oh Be A Fine Girl/Guy, Kiss Me.”

The number in the designation denotes how close the star is to the next coolest type. There are ten units between each type. Thus, 94 Ceti A is 8 tenths of the way to being a “G” type star (Sol, our star is a yellow G2V type star).

The “V” in the designation is actually the Roman numeral for number “five.” This denotes that 94 Ceti A and 94 Ceti B are both dwarf stars or main-sequence stars like our Sun. (94 Ceti B is 3 tenths of the way to being a type “L” brown dwarf. While “L” does not appear as part of the mnemonic because of the brown dwarfs' discovery long after its invention, certain elements among the community have suggested adding the word, “Languorously” to it.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Inside

Greetings, Avenir Collective! Here follows a special message for all historians and potential historians. If you've stumbled in here not knowing what it is, check out the Avenir Eclectia main site.

This supplemental Avenir Eclectia blog exists for us all to introduce ourselves, talk about our story threads, and discuss issues of worldbuilding, character sharing, and overlaps between stories. All Avenir authors will be sent an invite to post to this blog. (If you're an author and didn't get one, let me know and I'll sort it out). It's not a must - you don't have to join in, but I think it could provide some useful synergy as we continue to write and work on our various corners of the Avenir world.

It will also be a place to elaborate on background information which you can read to help with your stories. If you want to, you can give teasers for where your story arc is headed, or ask questions about any matter that might be uncertain.

A couple of notes on posting:
  • Please use flexible language when talking about future developments: not "this WILL happen" but "this COULD happen" - as some things will no doubt need tweaking to align with existing lore. In other words, suggestions should be worded as suggestions, not statements.
  • For your first post, please introduce yourself, add a photo, describe what other writing you do, etc - and also tell us about your Avenir stories (with a link to your tag on the main site), your vision for them, and why you like being a part of Avenir Eclectia, because that always does good for me to hear ;)
  • Before posting, please check the schedule (available under "Edit Posts") and set your post up to go live on the next available day (available under "Post Options" > "Post date and time"). This will keep posts to one each day. We don't want to overload anyone. If you are writing a lot of posts, space them out by a few days so others can pop theirs in between. Oh, and it runs on NZ time, which as everyone knows is in the future, so stuff will go up before you expect it. Please set post time to 10:30 PM if you remember.
  • Please also dive into commenting on the posts there, and help to shape Avenir's future! I reserve the right to tweak posts if the concepts morph by the time we've settled matters in the comments.
  • For further posts, please feel free to write any background to your stories, related setting and culture descriptions, thoughts on the continuing story arc - basically anything relevant that is not included in the stories themselves. Of course you'll want to be careful about spoilers.
  • Technical issues? Contact me.
I also recommend subscribing by email. In any case you will want to bookmark it as a resource to refer to when writing.

This page is subject to change.

Thanks everyone for being a part of this crazy ride, and helping me make the world of Avenir Eclectia a rich, deep place for readers and writers to lose themselves in!