the Outworlds


Some would say the Outworlds survived the Shattering of the Hegemony more easily because they had less far to fall. Others would say that it is because the Outworlds had already gained a measure of independence before the Hegemony destroyed itself, so the chaos that the Linked Worlds dissolved into failed to bleed past Gateway. Still others would say that the Outworlds are settled by a hardier, stronger breed, who stayed together under stresses that the softer inworlders were unable to tolerate. In any event, for whatever reason, there is no arguing that the Outworlds have kept their loose alliance together while the inworlds have fragmented. The Outworlds themselves are situated in the Omphalos Dust Nebula, close enough together that sublight travel between habitable planets is possible without devoting a lifetime to the prospect. However, travel off of the known routes is dangerous and only the most experienced (and profit-seeking) pilots will try it, in search of new worlds. If the Outworlds could be said to have a capital, it would be Crux, from which jump gates connect to most of the other systems. However, Crux in no sense governs the other outworlds, though planetary representatives do gather there to arrange treaties --- or, as most Outworlders would describe it instead, come to agreements between neighbors. The Outworlds are neighbors rather than allies, with many understandings but few legal contracts.

Date and Time

Timekeeping among multiple systems is difficult to keep synchronized, given the disparity in local planetary rotation. The current method of timekeeping dates back to the Alliance, and nearly everywhere uses it from historical inertia. ``Year'' and ``day'' are local terms, dependent on planetary rotation and revolution. Places with inconveniently sized days may also have something like a local ``cycle'' to keep track of workday-sized chunks of time. ``Hour'' and ``minute'' are standard terms (there are sixty minutes in an hour). Also standard terms are ``tick'' (twenty-four hours) and ``zed'' (365.25 ticks). Local time would generally be something like ``Winter 15, 14:30'' --- most places have month-like chunks, and local time which counts from 0 (midnight) to whatever number of hours the day ends at, truncating the last hour before midnight to be an arbitrarily short number of minutes. Standard time is of the form 1873.178.13.09 AS (zed, tick, hour, minute). The date, as of when you were last paying attention, was 2778.073.12.00 AS.


While the metallic currency of the Inworlds (Asters) is often used when dealing across worlds or with complex situations, the people of the Outworlds are more prone to the barter of goods and services than the maintenance of actual currencies. Though the more organized of the outworlds do support paper/metal currencies for their own populations these are often difficult to convert and almost impossible to use offworld.


The lingua franca of both the inworlds and the outworlds is Integral, an elegant language which allows for enough shading of meaning to write poetry, and enough precision that legal documents can be written in only a few pages and understood by normal humans. Most outworlds also have a local dialect, which is comprehensible to outsiders when spoken slowly, but is otherwise difficult to follow (Language skills are one point. A true language, such as Tinooranthi, requires eight levels for full fluency; a dialect only requires three levels.). Nonesuch and Crux do not have local dialects.



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