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Terran Life/Spaceport (Exile's Song reading notes)

by Thomas Edsall

Terran star ships travel by making jumps in space. A person who makes ten trips may go through one hundred jumps. The trip between the planets Thetis and Coronis consisted of sixteen jumps. (ES2)

Travel in space can cause space sickness. Hyperdrome is a drug that can prevent space sickness (if one is not allergic to it) and is given by injection on star ships. (ES1)

3rd class travelers on star ships use thrust couches on ships with multiple couches in one compartment (twelve in one case). These couches have restraints. (ES1,2) There are both third class and steerage class on star ships. (ES4) [also first class is mentioned (ES2), presumably there is also a second class]

The air on Star Ships is considered to smell bad by Margaret Alton, regardless of whether she travels in first class or third class. (ES2)

There is a loudspeaker in the travel compartment for the purpose of making announcements such as what planet is being arrived at and disembarkation instructions. (ES2)

Passengers disembark to change flights at Thendara Spaceport (ES6) Darkover is a transfer point for cargo and passengers. Few passengers leave the spaceport. (ES18) Passengers disembark directly onto the tarmac at Thendara Spaceport (ES10) [at least third class do, possibly a better exit is provided for first and second classes, one hesitates to speculate on how steerage passengers are discharged]

There is a cluster of buildings across the tarmac from the disembarkation point. These buildings appear grim and forbidding to Margaret Alton. (ES10)

Disembarking passengers go to the Administration for processing and to get their luggage. This luggage is packed in biodegradable packing plastic. This plastic is used for goods going to class D worlds to avoid providing usable trash. (ES11)

Persons leaving the spaceport leave the Administration building to open area between Administration building and gate to city. The spaceport is lit with electric floodlights. There is a concrete block wall between the city and the spaceport with an archway. There is a Terran guard at the archway. (ES11)

Young Darkoveran males sometimes wait outside the gate to carry bags for visitors. They dress in tunics, trousers, and calve length cloaks. (ES12)

It is not usual for women living in the Terran sector to leave the sector and venture into the city of Thendara beyond the buildings of the port. (ES55)

Other worlds mentioned: Thetis, Conoris (ES2), Wolf (or Phi Coronis Four)[are Wolf, Coronis, and Phi Coronis Four all the same planet?], Saganís Star, Quital, Greenwich (ES6), Relegan (ESa tropical planet) (ES9), Rigel Nine (ES20), Delphin (ES28), Zeepangu (ES37), Ceti Three, Vega VI (ES65), Vainwal (a pleasure planet) (ES26), Zeepangu (EShas a castle that covers several square kilometers) (ES90), New Hispaniola (ES146), Tau Ceti V (ES289), Mantenon (ES320).

Arcturian kinship is complex. (ES266)

The Amhax on Mantenon had a musical system worth studying despite a culture described as primitive. The practice of paying a brideprice is used there. Marguerida Alton had forty head of blue two-tailed curly horned cattle offered for her. This was considered a very high amount. (ES320)

On the planet of Thetis paper is made from seaweed. This paper is used to produce fine books. (ES224)

Scholar Uniforms are black with turquoise trim (ES1) [are scholars state employees? Or just scholars from the state university? Or do all Terrans wear uniforms?] The tunics of male scholars are buttoned. (ES34)

There is an University on Coronis (ES4) [apparently the main state supported university in Terran space] Most reading at the library at the University was done from discs read on a computer. (ES224)

Terran equipment mentioned: com booths, vid-decks (ES9), holo pics (ES50), language tapes (ES7),tiny recorder with a stack of blank discs (ES31), learning discs (ES85), information discs and computer databases (ES7), refreshment machine (dispenses coffee in one case)(ES106), telefax (a form of communication)(ES93), vid-dram (something one watches) (ES129), airplanes, helicopters (ES331), air cars and slidewalks (on Terra at least) (ES133), skycabs (ES11), motor vehicles (ES11).

The Terran Empire has sometimes used force to protect its citizens on non-Empire worlds. It has sometimes used this intervention to overthrow planetary governments when it was deemed desirable. Imperial Marines are sometimes used for this. (ES323-324)

A Terran who loses items on a Class D world will have to engage in extensive form filling and filing as a result. (ES15)

There is an institution called Rothschild and Tanaka Moneychangers whose function it is to exchange currencies used on the different worlds. The University branch only had about twelve standard credits worth of Darkoveran money. (ES18) Based on the exchange cited later (ES53) this equates to about four reis.

There is a chaplain available in the Terran sector. He dresses in gray, at least for funerals. (ES76)

Terran uniforms are standardized and intended for use on all planets and all climates and in all cultural environments. This often does not work well and the clothing proves to be unsuitable for the climate or culture or both. (ES55)

Margaret Alton is an Imperial citizen. There appears to be some antagonism in the Terran Empire between those citizens from Terra and those from other worlds. (ES86)

The Terran Empire tries to impose its idea of democracy on other planets. (ES127)

The Expansionist Party has won a majority in the Federation Government for the first time in two decades. (ES86) It won control of just the lower house of the legislature. (ES336) The Terran Federation has a two house legislature. The lower house called the Commons makes policy, the upper house or Senate puts checks on it. The Liberal Party, which believes that each planet should choose its own form of government had previously controlled both houses. Now the Liberals have just enough votes to block the Expansionists in the Senate. There are other minor parties. The Expansionists believe the Federation's needs and desires takes precedence over those of any one planet. (ES337)[How are elections run? On what is representation based? Darkover has one seat in the Senate and one in the Commons. Is this the norm or does the number of seats vary according to a planets population or wealth?

Terran bureaucrats sit behind desks. (ES75) These desks can be made of metal. (ES106) Terran bureaucracy has on- line computer forms, discs with information on them, multiple clerks and desks. Desks can have computer terminals on them as well as a printer concealed within the desk. Flimsies printed by this printer come out a slot in the top of the desk. (ES109)

Darkover is not a popular post with many Terrans. (ES104)

The Head of the Ethnology Office on Darkover is located in room 411 and is headed by Brigham Conover.(ES110) Conover has a Darkoveran wife and two children by her. (ES114) Along with others in the Terran and Darkover Governments he is engaged in a conspiracy to conceal as much important information about Darkover as possible, especially as regards Laran. Senator Alton is involved in this conspiracy. (ES109-114)

The Terran Headquarters Cafeteria serves tasteless food. (ES115)

Major Thelma Wintergreen is said to have worked to destroy the accomplishments of the Bridge Society. (ES118)[It appears that at least some of the personnel employed in the Terran administration have military rank. It is not clear if this applies to all personnel working there.]

There is a com center in the Terran Sector (or at the headquarters) for the sending of messages between worlds. (ES124)

Immunizations are normally administered by Terrans for visitors to other worlds. (ES190)

Rejuvination treatments are available in the Terran culture and can greatly expand the human lifetime. (ES8)

A Medkit is standard issue for all traveling Terrans at this time. It contains a variety of antibiotics, dressings, bandages, and foam splints for broken limbs. Most of the medicine is in the form of small squares of gauze like material. These patches are sticky on one side and are applied directly to the skin. One of the medicines supplied is a euphoric that eases pain and brings a deep dreamless sleep. (ES213) The foam splint comes with instructions. (ES326) It has a tab that causes it to inflate. (ES331) The medkit has had items added to it since an earlier time. (ES330)

Terran genetic engineering can produce teeth that do not rot and arteries that do not clog. (ES347) Cancer was eliminated by genetic engineering so long ago that no one now knows how to treat it. (ES406)

Horses travel poorly in space and are transported to few planets. (ES261)

According to Rafaella the Terrans came to Darkover a hundred years ago. (ES271)

Gala Manataral lived two hundred years ago on Tau Ceti V and wrote poetry still being read in the present day. (ES289)

A book on herbs by Culpepper is still in print from pre- space faring days. (ES289)

Aldebaran Black Mountain Coffee is said to be of such exceptionally good taste that drinking it is almost a mystical experience. (ES299,301)

There are popular musicians in the Terran Empire who can achieve great popularity and have hit recordings. (ES146)

Terrans put instructions on everything. (ES326)

copyright 96-99 Thomas Edsall
HTML version by Fabrice Rossi (

source file (Last modification: Wed Apr 21 17:21:45 1999)