March 30, 2006

Satellite 15 Spec


Satellite 15 is a moon orbiting the third planet of the system orbiting the star Alpha Centauri; the first star system to be colonised by settlers from Earth when their population growth became too large for the planet to support. The orbit of S15 is peculiar in that the same side of the sphere is constantly pointed at the sun, so one side is constantly shrouded in darkness, and the other receives all the light from the sun. the dark side of the planet is virtually lawless, and in between the two are the Shadowlands, a place of perpetual twilight and uncertain legality.

The Name

Satellite 15 is so called because it was the 15th planet to be colonised by humans. “Planet” in this case referring to any lump of rock in the galaxy capable of supporting life, be it planet or satellite.

The Rest of the System

There are seven planets in the Centauri system, and all but the two closest to the sun are inhabited. S15 orbits the planet third closest to the sun – Belaria, from which it imports the majority of its food. They also share a government and legal system. The two have always operated as a unit, though the rest of the planets of the system are self governed, and their moons operate independently of their planets. A long war has just finished between the sixth planet and one of its four moons, S18. Peace negotiations are in progress but the situation is still volatile; comparable to the Irish troubles.

The Dark and Light Sides – a Brief History of S15

The dark side of the satellite, it was realised early on, was useless for any kind of farming, even under artificial lights. However, the discovery of large iron deposits meant that a thriving mining and steel industry sprung up. The Light side of the moon became used as a residential area for miners and their families, however when the dark side steel started drawing in the money, the light side went upmarket. A new institute of technology opened, and the light side soon became a very fashionable district, and the haunt of the rich and famous. Relations between S15 and Belaria were good; the satellite, incapable of growing enough food to support the population traded steel for food. Many of the Belarian dignitaries lived on S15, and the Belarian embassy was located there. The Girl Who Looked Up is set at one of the embassy balls at this time.

However, gradually the iron deposits that brought so much prosperity were extinguished and the fortunes of the satellite took a turn for the worse. The dark side of the satellite fell into a decline as the old mines and factories began to close. It soon became a haven for the less reputable elements of society. Criminals flocked to the satellite as once the rich and famous did. Eventually, as the underworld grew, the dark side of the moon became almost impossible to police, giving rise to the popular expression “The law only reaches as far as the light.” The story Trick and Tyler is about two police officers who decide to enforce their own brand of justice, tracking a killer to the dark side of the moon.
Relations with Belaria started to become strained at this time. S15, despite a reduced population, still did not have the agricultural capabilities to produce enough food to support itself, and continued to import from Belaria. As the Belarian government was still based on S15 the prices were kept as low as they ever had been, however, the corresponding trade in steel that once flowed the other way and balanced out the Belarian economic losses in the agricultural sector had ceased. S15 was now considered by the majority of Belarians to be an unprofitable drain on the planet’s resources, and political upheaval of some kind, possibly resulting in a breach between the planet and its satellite, is brewing. A revolution perhaps is on the cards.

The Stories

Must be based on Satellite 15 or Belaria, but can be at any point in their history (or indeed future).
Should not include alien life.
Should be from a genre other than sci-fi eg, Trick and Tyler is a film noir, The Girl Who Looked Up is a love story. If you have seen the TV series Firefly, that manages to be science fiction, but in the style of a western. Something like that.
Should be compatible with the other S15 stories.
You can borrow characters from other authors for cameos in your own story – in fact that would be cool to have some cross over, but please consult the original author first.
Tag all stories “S15” in your blog and please send me a copy.

Note on Technology

Different periods in S15’s history will have had different levels of technology. The earliest times, those when settlers were first colonising the planet had technology similar, only slightly more advanced, to our own. In later times more will be invented, but try and keep inventions plausible.

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