Thursday, January 12, 2017

"New Year" Swarm

Calendar Years are a little bit of a complex issue in the Post-Fall world. Earth's standard year, the amount of time a full revolution around the sun, is still considered a fairly standard measurement of time, and while geocentric has the advantage that most transhuman cultures can wrap their head around it. Additionally, once you get out beyond Mars, most objects have a very long orbital period - thus rendering their "years" particularly long and not very useful for celebrating or marking time. The LLA officially follows the standard Gregorian calendar, though some have proposed Lunar calendars as there are no seasons for those orbiting the Earth. The Venusian and Martian calendars are of practical length to mark and keep, and are observed by locals - on Mars because seasonal tilt actually matters, and on Venus marking a year is less time than marking a local day. As 44 Nysa has an orbital period of almost 4 standard years, some have tried to get an "Extropian" calendar going, but little success other than as a basic marketing tactic. Some outer system moons have developed local lunar calendars based on twelve "months" of complete rotations around the host planet - but similarly these are of little note besides some local celebrations and attempt at neo-culture. Cultural calendars like the Chinese, Hindi, Islamic or Jewish Calendars are observed by cultural adherents throughout the system.

And, there is one group who claims to observe them all. The "New Year" Swarm is a Scum Swarm who wander the cosmos, under the oath to celebrate every new year, regardless of calendar, and hopefully celebrate it where it takes place. Founded by a mixed bag of evacuee cultures, the swarm was founded under the idea that it's members were so glad that they has survived and that others had too, they wished to celebrate the diaspora of Transhumanity and all her cultures. They've hit several new years in the Inner System, and are currently working their way beyond the main belt to hit the Jovian new year, though the Jovian Republic is somewhat concerned. Easygoing, convivial and celebratory even by Scum standards, New Year is a remarkably positively regarded enclave - probably because they are incredibly accepting and multicultural (and alcohol flows like water wherever they go). While they cannot physically hit every year due to scheduling concerns, they keep rigorous time to celebrate years internally, and usually ship or egocast a few members to the orbital body in question to pipe back XP of local conditions or celebrations. They also make decent trading, as for their many new year celebrations they produce in-house a number of alcohols, foodstuffs and "traditional" knick-knacks in addition to the ever-popular fireworks.

The Swarm's LaFrance rig is called Zodiac, and features a wide variety of mobile ships and modules for many different parties, prep for parties and individual crafts - as well as conventional recreation. Brand New Day is their primary scum barge, which is where a lot of the swarm members live, and has the most open "common" area where celebrations take place and much trading with groups they pass by is done. Two repurposed cargo haulers make up the rest of the bulk of the swarm, Red Door and Resolution - which act as supply storage, makeshift habitation or passenger space and handle most of the Swarm's manufacturing and micrograv agriculture needs. Various tugs, salvage ships and long range shuttles accompany the swarm, with names relative to specific calendars (Like Gregorian, Martian and Venusian) or named for various date-keeping holidays (like Chunjie, Rosh Hashanah or Calennig). There are also a few informal societies and collectives on the Swarm. The Timekeepers handle maintenance and ship logistics, keeping everything fueled and operating on schedule - and are remarkably uptight and precise by Scum standards. The Shambalan Alchemists are a collective of VFX nerds, chemists and demolitions experts responsible for coordinating the signature fireworks and other visual displays. Let Them Eat Cake handle feeding everyone and mostly operate out of Resolution, while Wheel of the Year are the social angle - coordinating with visitors and sending emissaries out to visit other celebrations and maintaining the Swarm's rep on @-list.

Plot Hooks:

  • Spurred on by wine snobs on the Mesh that their Champagne isn't really Champagne (because the Champagne region is destroyed), the New Year Swarm seeks to send some scavengers to Earth to recover French soil so they can develop proper Champagne.
  • The Jovian Republic is trepidatious about the swarm approaching for the new Jovian Year. As relaxed as they are, this is not normally how they operate, so JR has sent an interdiction fleet to "wave off" the Swarm.
  • The "master alchemist" has made what he thinks will be the most brilliant and complex firework ever. He has since passed out drunk and lost his formula notes somewhere in the sprawling tunnels and connector tubes of Zodiac and needs someone to retrieve them.
  • Back-channels on the Swarm have tried to gather radioactive materials for some project - alerting security services. But, it is not a terrorist plot, but rather plans to build a new precision atomic clock. 

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