Help: Common Knowledge
THINGS THAT EVERY PILOT KNOWS
About life in general...
About life as a pilot...
- Known Space is the sphere of space that humanity has explored, roughly centered, for obvious reasons, around Old Earth.
- Humanity has expanded to many worlds within Known Space, and has built several large space stations for various purposes.
- Several alien artifacts also exist, and almost seem to have been left on purpose. One of these, The Torus, is settled by humans too.
- Very few worlds and space stations are independent, but rather have banded together into groups reflecting their common interests. These groups are known generally simply as "alliances," and are roughly equivalent to what sovereign nations were on Old Earth. There are five alliances currently recognized in Known Space.
- Generally, each alliance maintains a "pilot corps," which is a special group of citizens granted licenses allowing them to operate starships for the benefit of their alliance. The pilot league is civilian, but alliances also maintain a separate military presence in space.
- Other types of civilian pilots exist, such as traders and corporate employees, but "civilian pilot" is generally understood to mean a certain class of government-employed pilot with a very large scope of duties.
- Every person in Known Space is a citizen of whichever alliance they were born into (with the exception of unregistered persons). Switching citizenship is rare.
- Most citizens are not pilots and rarely leave the world they call home. People from other alliances, and by extension the pilots that interact freely with these people, are not entirely trusted.
- The currency in Known Space is the credit: a unit of electronic currency. Of the currencies that were in use immediately before the Standard Credit, the U.S. Dollar and the Euro come the closest to being equivalent to its value.
About the alliances...
- Pilots have a special relationship with their alliance. They receive vast sums of money and the opportunity to go into space, in return for making money for their alliance and a lonely existence with most of their rights as citizens stripped away.
- Pilots of most alliances must pass a course from a flight school before being granted a license. This takes about two years. Mutuality pilots have no formal licensing requirement, though 9th Fleet pilots are granted an equivalent to a license.
- Pilots are distrusted by the average citizen, not only because of their frequent contact with other alliances, but also because of their vast wealth, which can destabilize local economies on some planets.
- Pilots are barred from visiting most locations on a planet, even, often, their former homes.
- Even though pilots earn vast sums of credits, they are in fact paying roughly a 95% tax rate, the vast majority of their earnings going to their alliance. This is the price for the ability to fly in space.
- Because pilots are so wealthy, many stores where pilots shop inflate their prices by a factor of several thousand.
- Because becoming a pilot tends to cut one off for other people, pilots in general tend to be loners, and only rarely engage in long-term relationships. Pilot families are rare.
- Alliances consider their pilots extremely valuable and have done their best to make starships as perfectly safe as possible. Each starship has a rescue pod that will save the crew in the moments before destruction. Failure of these rescue pods is extremely, almost impossibly rare. The only known instance of rescue pods not arriving at the landing pad in the past 150 years is during a handful of the fiercer battles of the Outsider War.
- Most pilots will be regarded by the average citizen as something of a scoundrel, and are likely to be depicted thus by the media whenever the chance arises. Heroism is recognized too, however, and some pilots can become minor celebrities, almost household names, especially aces and particularly renowned office-holders.
About Known Space and its planets...
- The League of Old Earth Democracies, or League, is considered ancient and traditional, descended directly from the pre-colonization governments of the homeworld. It is also considered by many to be overburdened by its old laws and massive wealth.
- The Alliance of Extrasolar Unions, or AEU, is the result of humanity's initial colonization effort during a period of great exploration and discovery.
- The Egalitarian Alliance of Sentients, or EAOS, is in fact only a human chapter of a much larger Galactic EAOS. It was formed on the advice of text-only communications left behind in the massive alien artifact known as The Torus, but the purpose behind these instructions remains unclear. The EAOS currently attracts many of the finest minds in Known Space. Enemies of the EAOS believe that its superior technological capabilities have given the alliance a certain air of elitism, and a degree of power over other alliances disproportionate to its size. The EAOS' permanent citizens in fact maintain dual citizenship with their alliance of origin. The EAOS has no pilot corps of its own, but rather appoints exceptional pilots from other alliances.
- The Confederation of Fringe Worlds, or Fringe, has its origin in the second great wave of colonization. These are the most recently settled worlds, and the poorest.
- The Sovereign Mutuality of Disparate Freemen, or Mutuality, is the mostly recently recognized alliance, only acknowledged after offering aid during the Resistance. It has its origin in a group of so-called "unregistered" people, who lived outside Known Space and had allegiance to no alliance.
- Other isolated groups exist, such as the Spinward Clans and Feng Wo Collective, but these are not formally recognized alliances and tend to be lumped together under the label "unregistered," just as the Mutuality was not so many years ago. These are, however, individual and distinct cultures.
- More specific information can be found in the Alliance Themes help file.
- The most populated planets of the League are Old Earth, Mars, Luna, Centauri, Vesta, Callisto, in roughly that order.
- The most populated planets of the AEU are New Earth, Hyperion, Telex, Bikura, Endymion, Aenea, in roughly that order.
- The most populated planets of the Fringe are Chetumal, Candelaria, Ars Magna, Cardenas, Champoton, Tenosque, Tikal, Ticul, Pital, Frontera, Ardsley, in roughly that order.
- The EAOS has no planets, but people can live on The Torus and the Residential Structure.
- The Mutuality also has no planets, and people live on an unknown number of large space stations.
- The Jinu were encountered first. They are vaguely humanoid and friendly to humans. They have somewhat more advanced technology than humans. Humanity was cut off from contact with them during the Outsider War, and they have not been heard from since.
- The Outsiders were encountered next. They are unfriendly beings with an insatiable desire to control everything around them.
- The Interstellar Federation of Species is also known, but they have not yet been seen in the flesh. They are enemies of humans and Jinu.
- The Galactic Egalitarian Alliance of Sentients is one or more unknown alien species with highly advanced technology. The human alliance called the EAOS was formed based on text-only communication with the discoverers of The Torus.
- The Children of the Sun are a client species of the Outsiders, often called Battle Thralls. They are superficially dinosaur-like beings with a strange crystalline exoskeleton. While many remain committed to fighting humans on the Outsiders' orders, a sizable faction is negotiating with the human alliances in the hopes of allying and achieving independence.
- Other unknown alien species are sometimes encountered in deep space, or at least the evidence of them, but virtually nothing is known of them.
About the recent past...
- Immediately after the Outsider War, starships were much more poorly designed than they had been in the past, with all Jinu technology and even much human technology now lost.
- Starship technology and industrial infrastructure is beginning to recover, making larger starship models and more advanced technology more common, but much is still lost, sometimes replaced by cruder alternatives.
- Wormhole jumps are once again quite violent for the people inside, without the Jinu stabilization technology.
- Chainguns (created by the Mutuality) and plasma minicannons (created by the EAOS) are new weapons created during the Outsider War.
- A capital ship is considered to be any ship large enough to require a crew; i.e., larger than a battlecruiser. An individual capital ship tends to be a well-known name among pilots, as only a small handful of capital ships are produced per each class. For instance, everyone knows that the Leviathan is one of the very few juggernaut-class capital ships ever built.
- Juggernauts had crews numbering in the hundreds. Carriers could theoretically be run with a skeleton crew, but fully crewed would have around a hundred. Battleships had a crew numbering anywhere from twenty-five to fifty.
- Larger ships generally required Jinu assistance to build. Notable exceptions include the Renegade-constructed battlecruisers, and some later-model battleship-sized ships (which tended to be overall inferior to a battlecruiser).
- Juggernauts required Outsider intervention to construct.
- The Outsider War affected everyone in the past decade, with the vast majority of humanity's resources once being fed directly to the Outsiders. The Outsiders succeeded in breaking in the collective spirit of humanity, and nearly everyone alive feels this to some degree.
- The whereabouts of the great juggernaut "Leviathan," a hero of pre-War battles against the IFS, are unknown. The ship has acquired an almost mythical status in the years since the last sighting.
- Several capital ships were constructed by the Coalition prior to its disbanding. At least one was fully completed and flown in battle, only to be apparently stolen by unregistered pilots upon the Coalition's abdication.
- Capital ships smaller than carriers, generally classified as battleships, were produced by the Coalition and the alliances. These ships were universally warships, as opposed to carriers, which had a more logistical position. Few of these exist, and none are space worthy.
- Many of these capital ships lacked advanced technology such as subwarp, improved interdiction subsystems, long range lasers, etc.
- Reconstruction is well underway these days, though there is still much to do. Experts predict that it will be decades before the collective economy fully recovers. The Outsider occupation was an apocalyptic event, and its effects will resound through history even if the Outsiders suddenly vanish right this moment.
- Despite the lingering threat of the Outsiders not so far away Rimward, many consider that fight to be in the past, and political maneuvering and infighting has dominated Known Space for the past few years.
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