Image from Steve Bowers

Orwell - Data Panel

SystemStar's Name: Norton
Stellar Type: K3 (Norton is a relatively old example)
Distance from Sol: 1954 ly
Location: Near NGC 6885, in Vulpecula
Mass: 0.8 Solar
Luminosity 0.3 Solar

1) Machin - massive and hot Euarean world
2) Orwell - terrestrial natural garden world
3) Meyermann - minor iceball; center of much of the volatiles industry
4) Susi - major gas giant; heavily industrialised
5) Wirt - gas giant
6) Zdenka - small gas giant
7) Zu Chong-Zhi - gas giant
OrwellDistance from Primary: 0.53 a.u.
Insolation: 1.06 times Earth's
Diameter: 12,833 km
Density: 1.1 Earths
Mass: 1.19 Earth
Gravity: 1.13 G
Air pressure: 1.12 atm
Axial Tilt:
Length of Day: 16h 54m 22s
Length of Year: 0.43 Earth's (223.67 local days)
Tidal Effects of Norton: 5.4 times Sol's effect on Earth (tides 1.7 to 4.7 times Earth's)
Average Temperature: 30° C
PopulationPopulation by World (millions)
Orwell: 1091
Circumference: 2230
Julia Aurore: 30
Yazhi: 60
Tirela: 20
Strand: 20
Aegle: 0.01

Population by Clade (percentages)
Cyborg: 22%
Su: 19%
AI: 19%
Human Baseline: 18%
Vec: 11%
Rianth: 5%
Virtual: 3%
Provolve: 2% (mainly enhanced dolphins and manatees)
Xenosophont: 1%
Image from Steve Bowers

The Orwell system is the capital system of the Chronos Cluster. It was colonised in 5502 by a colonisation fleet from Criw-Ta, a Cygexba client world. Criw-Ta was at the time going through its most baroque bureaucratic phase, and the colonists largely left in order to escape the stifling gerontocracy that held the power and limited all initiative. They named the main world Orwell as a reference to the ancient anti-bureaucrat, and the rest after famous people in Criw-Ta and earlier history.

The population is mixed, with a notable baseline minority beside the large su and cyborg contingent. Many AIs and vecs have also settled in the system. As the rest of the Cluster was colonised many discontents emigrated, but after a few generations their prosperous descendants often returned to visit the old ancestral home. Together with the occasional immigrants from the Cygexba volumes this contributes to the system being a melting pot of beings and ideas. Over its history a metropolitan culture has developed, accepting mixed-clade relations and fairly radical clade-shifting.

Orwell's government is a close derivative of the First Federation: a parliament of representatives with AI decision support and a federal division of power. It keeps the system peaceful but doesn't interfere unduly with business (especially after the QDG coup), instead working more on the long-range development of the system and cluster.

The status of Orwell as the leading or at least central system of the Chronos Cluster has varied extensively over its history, but due to its location and the Tianzi wormhole it is always an important system. Extensive catapult launches are done from the Aegle volumes and the industries of Susi supply much of the cluster with useful tools and devices such as Orwellian consoliders, naughtyboxes or pan-malplons.

The orange light of Norton produces the distinctive Orwellian turquoise sky. Orwell has two small moons, Winston and Julia (34 and 84 kilometres in diameter respectively), orbiting 240,000 and 430,000 kilometres away. Due to their small size Orwell has periodically shifted between high and low inclination axial tilt (controlled by a resonance with Machin) the last billion years; in the past this led to regular and long ice ages, but they ended 200 million years ago.

Orwell is a fairly old world, although it is still geologically active. However, the slow increase in luminosity of Norton means that the planet will enter a runaway greenhouse effect within 30-40 million years. In order to manage this problem, resources for long- and short range biosphere maintenance are being collected in the mighty Biosphere Maintenance Fund, one of the major political influences in the system.

70% of the surface is water, with four main continents called Steina, Sitarski, Shair and Sevre. Between them are extensive archipelagos and shallow seas teeming with native life. Especially notable are the bamboo seas near the equator, where a local bamboo-like species of floating plants with weighted roots and buoyant stems forms dense undulating forests on the water.

The weather is more hot and humid than on Earth, with spectacular tropical thunderstorms in the afternoons in the tropics. Most baselines and cyborgs prefer the temperate areas if they go outdoors, as the equatorial regions are too hot and humid for them, while warmth-loving superiors and vecs inhabit the tropic karsts and archipelagos. Since most of the population lives in well air-conditioned and climate controlled indoors environments this is less of a restriction than it might have been on a more sprawling planet.

Orwellian life is roughly terracompatible. Plants tend towards having large blue-green leaves and long hollow stems housing symbiotic animals. Since carbon dioxide is fairly limited they also complement air by breaking down carbonate rocks, creating the amazing biokarst landscapes of Steina and Shair. Animals exist in all sizes and shapes, often involved in complex symbioses with different species of plants. Several taxa of animals are deeply linked with plant taxa. Their co-evolution has lasted for hundreds of million of years. Animals protect and support their "parent plants", sometimes attacking other plant species.

City on Orwell
Image from Steve Bowers

In order to minimize ecological impact, building on Orwell is highly regulated and only allowed in designated areas or exploiting low-impact methods. Most cities tend to build vertical; kilometre-high but very thin skyneedles pierce the clouds, and continue as groundscrapers beneath the ground. Some cities are mainly subterranean, while the three largest cities Achaia City(Sevre), Keet Seel (Steina) and Pravdo (Sitarski) are built around the foundations and length of the three beanstalks that extend to orbit. Having an above-ground apartment with great view is regarded as a sign of status.

Surrounding Orwell is Circumference, the main orbital band. This is where most of the Orwell population lives, with easy access to the planet and other habitats. Most of the government functions are here, in the Arc of Jahe complex. Another important "location" is Hirai Modulus, the main upscale AI neighbourhood in the nets.

Other major population centres in the system:
Julia Aurore - Station complex in, on and around Julia. Headquarters of the QDG. 30 million inhabitants of all clades.
Yazhi - Orbital around Susi, a major industrial centre.
Tirela - Moon of Susi, inhabited mainly by vecs in the energy business and the Tirela clade of radiation resistant su.
Strand - Wormhole and terminus facilities located 400 AU from the star.
Aegle - catapult volume above the ecliptic plane, administered from Aegle 1-5, space stations in high inclination orbits.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 22 November 2000.