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Archer

The Federation's colonies

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   Earth is the most important place in the UCF, but it isn’t the only inhabited planet within its borders. Earth still remains home to nearly ten billion people – more than on any of the colonies including Mars. Dozens of colonies have been established ever since the Cherenkov drive was invented, which allowed the humanity to expand beyond its home system. Time needed to travel between the stars was reduced to months, and further refinement of the Cherenkov drive reduced it to days and hours. The distance to Alpha Centauri , for example, can be crossed in 30 hours and the distance to the farthest colony from Earth is covered in two weeks.

   In many ways, the life on the colonies is the same as it is on Earth, but in some other aspects it’s completely different. The colonies are all entities of the Federation and in no way are autonomous. They each have their own history, culture, habits - these are linked to the Federation and lean upon its culture and laws. For example, each colony has its own laws, but they are stacked on top of the legal system and laws of the Federation – with some minor exceptions. 

   Quality of life differs between each colony, but still, some things are shared between all of them.

 

Communication:

 

   Cherenkov drive made it possible for ships to cross large distances, but the communications were not affected by this magnificent invention. The closest colonies to Earth, located in the Alpha Centauri system, are four light years away. It takes eight years to send a message to Earth and get a reply. Obviously, this could not stand. Therefore, SICON ships that make patrols and ship supplies to the colonies also act as postal workers, ferrying data cores full of messages, letters, FEDNET broadcasts to and fro. This measure however, only mitigated the problem, but did not solve it completely. 

   Finally, Dr. Hans Guilder was able to adapt some of the theories that led to the creation of the Cherenkov drive to wireless data transmission, making a breakthrough. SICON immediately constructed a network of relay stations across Federation space to allow the government to work more effectively.

   The Guilder wave, as this new method of communication is called, is still only half as fast as a Fleet ship, and there’re limits on the amount of data that can be sent. As such, the Guilder wave is mainly used for military and government business, though the wealthier members of the Federation can also pay for the privilege of using it.

 

Supplies:

 

   All colonies in the UCF are well supplied with all the essentials. Like on Earth, no citizen or civilian will ever go wanting for any of his basic needs  -  provided he continues to contribute to the society of course. However, a major part of goods the colonies receive must be imported across space.

   As a general rule with some minor exceptions, each colony in the Federation has limited production capacity. To put it simply, each colony does something good, and does other things worse or doesn’t do them at all. For example, Zegama Beach provides nothing but entertainment for the people and therefore everything the colony’s denizens require must be shipped there. The Federation supplies its people with everything it needs, however at the same time, it doesn’t supply them with anything they don’t need. This causes many colonists to live a relatively Spartan life and make do with just the basics; it’s because many luxurious items are simply unavailable on the colonies or are much more expensive than on Earth.

 

Benefits to colonization:

 

   To recruit colonists, the Federation Colonisation Commission appeals to the sense of patriotism, sense of adventure, and sense of monetary value, which has proven to be the most useful of them all time and again. Every colonist who agrees to enlist into building a new colony receives certain benefits. In the case of Zegama Beach, this benefit was an opportunity to live there and be among the first to claim the land on this paradise world. When recruiting colonists for less desireable worlds, the FCC offers something else. For example, for the colonists of Shoreridge III, an agricultural planet, a plot of farmland varying in size was offered for each family. For the mining colonies the benefit is a stake in the mine’s production – relatively small (as the majority of ownership is sold to a corporation or retained by the government), but sufficient to provide additional income to a family. Additionally, monetary compensations are often offered to the potential recruits. They range from nothing for worlds like Zegama Beach to as much as 1000 pounds per family member for colonies like Wolf Run.

   It’s worth nothing that only the original colonists receive such benefits, as the Federation does not endorse people joining existing colonies and receiving a share while virtually doing nothing to deserve it as opposed to the families of the original colonists pulling most of the weight of setting up a colony on an alien world, strictly speaking. There are instances in which the FCC will offer incentives to join an existing colony, but they’re rare and should be considered exceptions for a general rule. Usually, the FCC offers them to the potential colonists if the population of an existing colony falls below the quota needed for it to be maintained independently.

 

Who joins the colonies?:

 

   People from almost all walks of life choose to give up their lives on Earth and take to the stars as the newest colonist of the United Citizens’ Federation. However, the vast majority of colonists are recruited from the less affluent ranks of society. Primarily, these people are looking for something new, be it money, opportunity or adventure. They are the labourers of Earth, the low-level corporate employees, the disaffected and sometimes even the criminals.

   Criminals have a long and storied past throughout history for helping form new colonies, though it was seldom a matter of choice. Unlike those nations of the Earth of old, that would ship their criminals en masse to some blighted rock in the middle of the ocean, the Federation Colonisation Commission recognises that they still have valuable contributions to make to the Federation, particularly to those colonies that have had difficulty attracting residents. Obviously, murderers and the like are not considered for colonisation but one of the benefits offered to prospective colonists is a clean slate.

   Any criminal who has not been convicted of any crime more serious than, for example, a burglary, may petition to have his sentence commuted to colonisation. The petition is carefully considered and the applicant is subjected to psychological and sometimes even psychic screening. If his petition is successful, he is freed and becomes a colonist, though he still must check in with the local law enforcement of his new planet every month if he wishes to remain free. In addition to his newfound status as a colonist, the former criminal has all record of his crimes officially expunged (though obviously a copy is kept).

   Criminals who become colonists are in no way entitled to the same benefits as other colonists. They do not receive land on an agricultural world, they do not receive a stake in the mine of a mineral world and they certainly do not receive any monetary compensation. Virtually all criminals who have applied for and been approved for colonisation have become valued members of their colony. With almost no recidivism observed in these colonists, the idea of colonisation as a form of rehabilitation has become widely accepted in psychological circles.

   Despite this compelling evidence, the vast majority of colonists are not criminals and indeed have never been in trouble with the law in their lives. As mentioned above, most colonists are drawn from the lower economic strata of society, honest men and women who hope that joining a colony will provide a better life for them and for their children than they could find on Earth. The agricultural colonies like Hod, Iskander and Shoreridge III are the most popular choices for such colonists. There, they have a much better chance to escape the small, utilitarian Federation-supplied housing complexes of Earth and have the opportunity to own land and breathe freely, even if it is under an alien sky.

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placeholder for restricted/unofficial colonies

the list of colonies will be expanded later on, refer to orwell's thread for now

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