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1022h, October 22nd 2019

1022h, October 22nd 2019 is a log tagged with The Okaga, economics, and writing. It was released on Oct 22, 2019.

The Okaga is my science fiction setting, focused around the HCS Okaga, an interstellar vessel that patrols the galaxy.

The setting is meant to be relatively “hard” sci-fi, but set in a far-off future. The Okaga goes at about a fifth the speed of light, at maximum speed, and can’t really go off its designated course. It still takes about a decade for the ship to get between systems. Once there, it does what it can to help facilitate trade between systems.

The core notion of the fiction is to spell out what an egalitarian sci-fi future could look like, mostly. But, that leaves the question of what stories to tell with it?

The exposition should give a feel for the ship and its crew, explain the society they live in.

Act 1 would be them arriving at a planet and finding… what sort of situation?

I’d like for it to be relatively non-catastrophic and like, not so much an exploration of grand conflict, but of kind of, examining what a functional galactic confederation would look like solving problems like treating emergent diseases or blights.

So, the Okaga arrives in a system carrying its crew, lots of supplies, and settlers.

The first order of business would be bringing up delegates from the surface, to discuss with them how to allocate the supplies brought, and then maybe a sort of “job fair” where communities try and persuade immigrants to join them?

There’d be the distribution of resources then - an opportunity for piracy and corruption, and settlers moving into their new communities. I’m imagining some sort of shuttle that brings people to the surface, and then parachuted packages for the goods.

This would largely keep the crew of the Okaga busy, organizing all this. And as I said, perhaps there’d be a blight affecting a domestic grain, and a new disease - perhaps the latter was introduced by the last patrol ship, and so the drama is in coordinating communication with that ship, despite them being ~20 some years away.

The biggest conflict could be an attempted hijacking of the Okaga by pirates in the system…

I’ve just had another notion, for a different story, of a planet that’s part of the Okaga universe, but after their most recent patrol ship arrived, the signalling arrays that propel these ships1 fails, so the ship becomes stuck in orbit.

What would a planet that was part of a galactic confederation look like, as it becomes aware it’s become cut off from that community? It’d take a while before they realized they wouldn’t be able to repair the arrays themselves, and then literally another 15 years before they’d realize that maybe another patrol ship isn’t coming. There’d be a long period of denial that’d slowly transition into acceptance, as folk came to accept they’d been cut off. Without the signalling arrays, the outer community can’t see them existing, but they should have record of their existence. Did something happen that caused them to be forgotten? They’d be able to continue to see the other systems’ signals, but would have no way to respond.

So, exposition: the Okaga arrives in a system and does the sort of stuff I’ve outlined above.

Act 1, signalling array breaks. No - is sabotaged. Pirates in the system raid the Okaga for the supplies they carry to repair signalling arrays, and then flee the system, destroying the arrays behind themselves. The Okaga is left behind, trying to repair the arrays without supplies, and coming to accept that this is their home, at least until another patrol ship comes.

Act 2, the crew of the Okaga - and population of the planet - are now 30 years past the array’s sabotage. They’ve given up on the galactic community coming to rescue them, and are instead making the Okagan crew a part of the system-wide community. (How big is the crew of the Okaga? Probably 2-3k, including colonists?) The big debate is whether to send the Okaga out under its own propulsion, in the hopes that it’ll be able to reconnect with the galactic community in ~50 years or so.

Act 3, it’s a long while after the sabotage, the Okaga has been dismantled and its parts and crew integrated into the system’s own culture. However, without support from the galactic community, there are large blights affecting primary crops, and other issues caused by basically homogeneity and monocultures. The society resolves this by applying the confederacy’s means of organization on a smaller level, encouraging cultivation of local crops and other decentralized research into themselves.

In the conclusion, a patrol ship finally pulls into the system, and is amazed to find a society that is doing really well, relative to others. It brings up questions about whether the Confederation is really doing good work by propping up these systems, if it needs to change its methods, etc. It looks like the government of the confederation is willing to change itself, immediately, based on these observed benefits. At the same time, there is a heavy interest in exploiting this system for its new crops and appropriating their innovations for the benefit of the Confederacy, as-is. The story ends on these contrasting tones.

Hey, that’s the first plot I think I’ve come up with that I like, in a long time, and I think it even properly gives me room for the sort of allegorical probing that I like my writing to have.


  1. The ships are basically giant solar sails that are pushed by orbital lasers in each system, aimed out toward other systems. [return]