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haalha

General Information

The Fiah homeworld is named Haalha. It is slightly smaller than Earth, but similar in mass. The planet’s heliocentric orbit follows an elliptical course, reaching perihelion (closest proximity to its sun) at 1.17 Astronomical Units, and aphelion (greatest distance from its sun) at 1.39 AU. A Haalhan day lasts a little over 27 Earth hours. A Haalhan year is approximately 377 Haalhan days, or 424 Earth days, long.

Haalha’s sun is named Ahyaal. Ahyaal is orbited by six planets, with varying characteristics; other than Haalha, none of these planets are capable of sustaining life. Haalha is the fourth planet in the Ahyaal system, meaning that three other planets orbit the star more closely than it does.

Haalha is orbited by two moons, one slightly larger than Earth’s, and one substantially smaller. The larger moon, Yee, orbits further out, while the smaller moon, Yan, orbits closer to Haalha. Due to its icy surface and frequent volcanic and cryovolcanic eruptions, Yee has a cloudy, blue-grey appearance with occasional dots of white. Yan, being rocky, dry, and airless, looks silvery-grey.

From space, Haalha appears mostly grey, with streaks of white and dark grey; this is caused by the planet’s heavy cloud cover and stormy conditions. Its atmosphere produces the same light-scattering effect as Earth’s, resulting in a similar blue colour; however, this is only noticeable along the planet’s curve, where the atmosphere above the storm clouds can be examined clearly. Thus, when viewed from space, Haalha’s atmosphere creates the illusion of a subtle ring of blue light, like a halo, around the planet’s surface.

Laws

As the Fiah homeworld, Haalha’s laws and procedures are heavily shaped by Fiah social dynamics. Though this influence is most obvious in Haalha’s legal terminology, it also subtly and fundamentally informs the values, procedures, and priorities of virtually every formal system on the planet.

In Haalhan society, certain jobs cannot be legally undertaken without formal recognition from a government-sanctioned training facility. This process is directly comparable to the licensing requirements maintained by many Earth nations, though Haalha goes one step further by using a unified bureaucratic framework to efficiently keep track of any given citizen’s qualifications.

Interestingly, the Vaa Srruk living on Haalha have had little observable impact on its laws, despite their centuries of peaceful cohabitation with the Fiah; instead, the supreme majority of Vaa Srruk appear to have voluntarily integrated into Haalhan culture and adopted it as their own. It is commonly accepted that this dynamic stems from a sense of loyalty and/or camaraderie between the two species, first established during the Exodus that rescued the Vaa Srruk from the Hlurcht Monarchy, then carefully cultivated by social and political leaders from both species.

Occupations and Titles

When a citizen proves himself a competent practitioner (usually, but not always, by completing a government-approved training program) in a regulated field such as piloting or medicine, he is placed in one of three categories, each identified by a specific title. The Haalhan government will sometimes award a title in recognition of existing experience; this is primarily intended to allow skilled immigrants to work without spending years reviewing what they already know. The rights, privileges, and responsibilities granted by a given title vary depending on the profession to which it applies.

  • Fledgling means that a citizen has acquired and demonstrated all of the skill and knowledge necessary to be considered competent in his field, but has not demonstrated a strong grasp of advanced principles or a respectable body of experience. In general terms, the Fledgling title denotes a level of accomplishment similar to that of a skilled apprentice. In most fields, this entitles one to carry out various basic, low-risk tasks without supervision - for example, a Fledgling Healer may perform simple operations and provide emergency care similar to First Aid.
  • Full-fledged means that a citizen is fully qualified and proficient in his field. Since this title identifies its bearer as a self-reliant professional, the criteria for advancement from Fledgling to Full-fledged are often quite stringent. Possession of this title allows a practitioner to independently pursue employment in his chosen field, or to serve in an appropriate branch of public service - for example, a Full-fledged Healer could work as an independent healthcare provider, or he could join an emergency response team and work alongside the Protectors.
  • Elder refers to a highly accomplished, exceedingly skilled practitioner. A matter of tremendous gravity, the decision to name an Elder cannot be undertaken by sanctioned trainers; this title may only be granted by an appropriate branch of the Haalhan government, and involves both lengthy deliberation and intense scrutiny. To be named an Elder is to be publicly recognized as a master in one’s field - in many professions, Elders automatically qualify as trainers, giving them the right to bestow Fledgling or Full-fledged titles at their sole discretion. This title is an enormous mark of respect, and its bearer can (and should) expect the deference of nearly anyone else in his field. It is also commonly seen as an investment of trust, bringing with it a responsibility to contribute both to Haalhan society and to the advancement of one’s field.

Haalhan law covers many regulated fields of expertise, only some of which are listed here. Each occupation can cover a broad range of specializations, but always demands a certain baseline skillset - for example, any given Full-fledged Healer could be a surgeon, a nutritionist, an eye doctor, a neurologist, or any other type of medical practitioner, but all Full-fledged Healers are trained to provide first-response treatment for common injuries (in both Fiah and Vaa Srruk patients, no less), in addition to complete professional competency in their chosen specialization.

  • Pilots are citizens trained to safely operate aircraft. For cultural reasons, Pilots of any kind are very highly regarded; the admiration a Haalhan Pilot receives from the general public is similar to that received by professional athletes on Earth. Despite its attractiveness as a means of earning recognition, a career in piloting is a daunting prospect - Haalha’s tumultuous skies are not forgiving of mistakes, so a would-be Pilot must complete a great deal of highly intensive training simply to be recognized as Fledgling.
  • Space-Pilots are citizens trained to safely operate spacecraft, including Dodge-capable ships. To begin training in preparation for becoming a Fledgling Space-Pilot, one must first be recognized as a Full-fledged Pilot - a significant endeavour in and of itself. Space-Pilots are permitted to operate a variety of civilian ships, and may pilot normally-restricted craft with permission from the appropriate authority. They also enjoy greatly relaxed restrictions on the types of spacecraft they may legally own, though they are still forbidden from owning or operating most ship-mounted weapons.
  • War-Pilots are citizens trained to take spacecraft into and out of ship-to-ship combat. It is generally not possible to become a War-Pilot without being recognized as a Space-Pilot first. War-Pilots are primarily trained to adroitly maneuver their ships through danger, but are also made competent in the use of a wide variety of ship weapons. In addition to their eligibility for various military assignments, War-Pilots are permitted to own certain restricted technology (mostly weapons and other combat-oriented systems) and may even legally work as mercenaries, provided they fully and transparently cooperate with Haalha’s strict laws regarding military contracting.
  • Navigators are a unique class - they are drawn from the ranks of Space-Pilots, but given vastly more and greater responsibilities. A citizen must possess exemplary piloting skill, extensive education in a huge range of subjects, immense dedication, and absolute commitment to the core values of Haalha’s culture before he will even be considered for Navigator training - and only a fraction of those considered are ultimately accepted, at which point they face years of unbelievably grueling training.

This is because each Navigator must bear one of the heaviest responsibilities imaginable: the safety and well-being of not only a capital ship, but the lives of each and every one of its many thousands of occupants, from veteran crew members to passengers and children alike.

What’s more, the Haalhan government entrusts the Navigators with its greatest and most important missions, up to and including the legendary Exodus - an undertaking so indescribably vast that it has only been done a handful of times in all of galactic history. Where the people of Haalha celebrate their Pilots, they regard Navigators with almost mythic awe. Ironically, few Navigators are even interested in such adulation, as selflessness and humility are essential qualities for candidacy - if a Navigator’s ship faces destruction, it is his duty to stay aboard until every other living sentient is safely evacuated, even if it means being left behind to die alone.

  • Monitors are specifically trained to act as counterparts to Navigators. A Monitor is somewhere between a supervisor, an aide, and a second-in-command; he is expected to challenge, strengthen, and temper his Navigator, all while maintaining order and efficiency on their ship. Every Navigator is paired with his own Monitor as soon as he becomes Full-fledged; in the vast majority of cases, the two of them will remain full-time partners until one of them retires or dies.

The process used to match a Navigator to his Monitor is as much art as science - to work well together, the two of them must become respectful colleagues, like-minded equals, and, ideally, inseparable friends. A Navigator should prize his Monitor’s counsel above that of any other person in the galaxy; in turn, a Monitor should have enough faith in his Navigator to defer to his judgment, but should also respect him enough to be bluntly honest with him at all times.

Because of the unique nature of this assignment, any two Monitors are likely to have wildly different skillsets. Monitors are chosen specifically to complement their Navigators - for example, a Navigator with a mild disposition and a slow, methodical thinking process might be paired with a gruffly assertive, quick-thinking Monitor to ensure that he was never at a loss.

  • Crew-Leaders are formally trained in the organization and management of relatively small teams. This profession is centered exclusively around leadership skills, so every Crew-Leader will also need recognized experience in his team’s line of work. Establishing recognition as a Crew-Leader is not necessary for most managerial positions - this particular job category is specifically intended to qualify promising citizens for leadership positions in other regulated fields. For example, anyone can lead a team of workers, but only a Crew-Leader who is also a Protector can lead a team of Protectors.
  • Healers are doctors, medics, and other practitioners within the medical field. All prospective Healers become fully competent emergency medics before being recognized as Fledgling. To become Full-Fledged, a Healer will obtain formal training and education in his chosen specialty, then prove his skill through a variety of practical trials and scholastic tests.
  • Ship-Menders have undertaken specialized technical training focused on the maintenance and repair of spacecraft. This field combines a solid practical understanding of various engineering principles, extensive practice and familiarity with common ship systems, and impeccable proficiency with the standard guides and equipment used in spacecraft repair. It is incredibly rare for a Ship-Mender to possess such encyclopedic knowledge that he can diagnose and repair any given system by rote; this is why all Ship-Menders carry, and are extremely competent with, highly sophisticated computerized guides capable of efficiently assisting the user in virtually any ship repair operation.
  • Diplomats are professional representatives, intermediaries, and negotiators. They study the attitudes and traditions of a wide range of social, political, philosophical, and religious groups, the better to establish rapport and avoid miscommunication. Not all Diplomats are envoys or ambassadors; many work as high-profile merchants, crisis negotiators, or other experts in the art of persuasion. Most large spaceships employ at least one Diplomat to act as counselor and mediator for the crew.
  • Explorers are citizens trained to use the proper methodology when investigating unexplored planets. They are taught to think logically, observe the subtlest details, avoid needless risks, refrain from unnecessary interference, create the minimum possible impact on foreign worlds, and so forth. Most Explorers are also trained in at least one other applicable field, such as an Explorer Space-Pilot, an Explorer Healer specialized in xenobiology, or even an Explorer Guardian charged with safeguarding the mission against unexpected threats.
  • Protectors are the police and public peacekeepers of Haalha. Their duties include enforcing planetary law, protecting citizens and visitors from harm, preventing and/or defusing violent conflict, and rendering aid to any endangered person. Protectors are permitted to carry restricted equipment related to their duty, including restraint devices and stun weaponry, but are not exempt from the global ban on the majority of handheld deadly weapons. These public servants are instilled with iron discipline and immense patience; they are also trained hand-to-hand combatants and expert grapplers, possessing excellent proficiency in the use of locks, takedowns, and submission holds to safely subdue an agitated citizen without injuring him.
  • Guardians are the soldiers of Haalha. They are trained to be effective and deadly in nearly any form of battle, from ground warfare to zero-gravity combat, and are skilled in the use of many kinds of weapons, armour, and battlefield equipment. Since most Haalhans find it difficult to reconcile their culture’s reverence for life with the sad necessity of deadly violence, the Guardians have developed an odd culture of martyrdom - if it is never justified to murder a sentient being, but is sometimes necessary to do so, then one must acknowledge that even the most fundamentally good person sometimes has no choice but to commit a terrible evil; by taking up arms, the Guardians not only protect their fellow citizens, but spare them from the murderer’s guilt by taking it all upon themselves. Haalhan society closely mirrors this philosophy in its attitude toward the Guardians; most Haalhans view their soldiers with a conflicted mix of respect, gratitude, pity, and irrational fear.

Communications

Constant storms make satellite-based networks impractical - instead, they use a global network of powerful broadcast stations, calibrated to send narrow-beam comms to stations in range so as not to clutter everything up with background comm static. This global network is controlled, subsidized, and sustained by the government, and is generally made available for everyone, though the gov’t reserves the right to snoop (less privacy in Fiah culture)

haalha.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/11 19:10 by ran