Joi, 61 Ursae Majoris III, is the single human-habitable planet in the star system. It is one of the most Earthlike of the colony planets settled to date, although as with all worlds it also displays notable divergences from the Terrestrial “norm.” A garden world, Joi is a veritable paradise that has attracted settlers from five different nations.
- Name: Joi
- Distance from Primary: 0.77 au
- Size: 16,990 km
- Core Type: Rocky
- World Type: Garden
- Gravity: 1.05
- Escape Velocity: 11.8 km/s
- Atmospheric Pressure: 1.03 ATM
- Average Temperature: 20 deg C
- Water Presence: 58%
- Atmospheric Composition: N2 78%, O2 19%, Trace 3%
- Satellites: (Name, Size, Core Type, Orbit Radii, Density, Bases)
- Blanche: 3,896 km, Rocky, 15, 0.5, none
- Argent: 2,030 km, Rocky, 20, 0.6, none
- Or: 6,112 km, Rocky, 60, 0.4, none
- Halbinsel (Germany); Date Established: 2241; Population: 2,907,000; Capital: Raumhafen; Bases: Scientific; Facilities: Orbital Terminal, Orbital Defenses, Scramjets, Fusion Plant, Farming
- Elysia (Independent); Date Established: 2248; Population: 3,650,000; Capital: Bonne Chance; Bases: none; Facilities: Orbital Terminal, Scramjets, Fusion Plant, Farming
- New Cornwall (Britiain); Date Established: 2254; Population: 287,000; Capital: New Falmouth; Bases: none; Facilities: Orbital Terminal, Solar Power Satellites, Catapult
- Tosashimizu (Japan); Date Established: 2257; Population: 2,507,000; Capital: Uwa-Wan; Bases: Military, Scientific; Facilities: Orbital Terminal, Orbital Defenses, Scramjets, Fusion Plant, Farming
- Lubumbashi (Azania); Date Established: 2280; Population: 400,000; Capital: N’bako; Bases: none; Facilities: Orbital Terminal, Farming
Joi’s is actually beyond the optimal life zone for an earth type planet, but several factors maintain climactic conditions comparable to Earth. It has a period (“year”) of 188.39 days, and has three moons. There is little tidal activity as the moons are not as massive as their Solar counterparts. The rotational period (“day”) of Joi is 28 hours, 48 minutes.
Joi’s hydrosphere covers only 58 percent of the planet’s surface area. It is fairly typical in composition despite the presence of alien salt compounds in the sea water. The planet’s cool climate has resulted in a glaciation rate of nearly 25 percent, locking extensive amounts of the hydroshpere into oversized polar ice caps. The planet is much less geologically active world than Earth, with only 7 percent of land surface area being mountains. Most of the surface consists of slowly rising lowlands and large steppes inland.
Colonists from five different space-faring nations have settled in various enclaves on the land masses. For the most part they get along peacefully, although relations are in some cases still strained since the recent War of Elysia Independence, fought from 2285-2291 A D.
A species of “reptiles” under study by the Japanese are anything but the cold-blooded, sluggish specimens some would expect; they are warm-blooded animals with high metabolic rates, large brains, rudimentary hands, and a definite potential for future evolution to sentience One controversial Japanese scientist maintains that they are sentient, having taught over 1800 words of Japanese sign language to a captive beast. Efforts by fringe groups to classify the region where these animals are thickest as a protected reservation are being strongly resisted by all the colonial governments, not just the Japanese, who stand to lose the most. Predictably the former French colony has been vocal in suggesting the total withdrawal of all humans from the continent in question; they can do this since none of the animals have ever been encountered in or around Elysia.
Five different nations have planted colonies on Joi. Each one has its own unique characteristics, and each a distinct local identity that has led, on more than one occasion, to serious disputes among them. Even now, with nationalism supposedly dying out and the time-worn excuses of Earthbound competition long since rendered obsolete by the limitless resources of the stars, humankind has managed to learn very little On this planet named for joy, the mistakes of the past could easily return to haunt the future once more.
The German Colony
Although the French were the first to survey Joi, it was a German colony ship which established the first colony on a long peninsular projection into the oceans of the northern hemisphere. Their settlement is generally called Halbinsel (or Peninsula) rather than the official name, Landeplatz-Frederich Der Grosse.
Halbinsel covers an area of roughly 4,000 square kilometers, much of it being the city of Raumhafen. Extensive farming lands surround the city. The Germans have a fairly large orbital defense station placed in position over Joi dating from the Franco-Bavarian crisis a decade ago, and it is a potent factor in the politics of Joi.
The colonial government operates with a typically German efficiency. There is very little input from the colonists themselves; they instead answer to an Earth-appointed governor. In addition to the colony proper, the Germans maintain a separate research outpost on the distant world of Hiver.
The ex-French Colony
France arrived on Joi less than a decade after the Germans, settling on the large island (or small continent) of Elysia. At that time Franco-Bavarian cooperation was at its height, and the French and German colonial administrations cooperated in many key areas.This cooperation fell apart over the last quarter-century; by 2291 the German policy of “hostile neutrality” on Joi helped turn the tide in favor of the Elysian rebels.
Elysia proper covers an area of roughly 5,000 square kilometers of some of the most lush land on Joi. Chaos still prevails in this newly independent nation, which is tying hard to adapt to the concept of independence. A lack of spare parts and trained technicians have left Elysia unable to operate the old French orbital terminal and the fusion power complex near Bonne Chance with full efficiency.
The rebellion grew out of a number of factors and was helped along by short-sightedness, corruption, greed, and opportunism. It first flared up a local peacekeeping force fired on a crowd protesting the French government’s rumored plans to tamper with the planetary ecology in the interests of keeping up with the aggressive efforts of the Japanese at Samurai Bay. The incident escalated into all-out conflict. France was exhausted by the Central Asian War and could not afford massive intervention. The guerrillas were also strongly supported by Manchuria and German agent provocateurs. Before the guerrilla conflict at 61 Ursae Majoris was fully resolved, German forces were striking at France in the War for German Unification.
The Provisional Government that took the official surrender of the last French garrison troops in 2291 remains in control. Promises to draw up a constitution and elect a popular government have so far been postponed indefinitely. The government is by no means a tyranny; if anything, its great weakness is that it is made up of honest, sincere, patriotic men who are having trouble coming to grips with the realities of power.
The British Colony
Britain came to Joi in 2254, six years after the French, yet they maintain today one of the smallest of the colonial presences on the planet. The British have been mounting the settlement of their colony, known as New Cornwall, in an extremely slow and deliberate manner. This tiny colony is the most technically advanced and progressive of all the groups present on Joi. Rapid expansion is expected in the years to come, now that a sound and well-planned colonizing effort has been put in place.
Although the total colony covers less than 1,000 square kilometers, it features some very sophisticated facilities. The British have built a catapult complex for orbital interface with their terminal and lease the use of both to the Azanian colony of Lubumbashi just up the Fal River from the main British town, New Falmouth. They have also put up an efficient solar power satellite which provides far more power than they presently need; it is expected to meet the energy requirements of the colony for the next century (at least) even under projected heavy colonization quotas.
The Japanese Colony
Japan settled Joi in 2257, shortly after the British arrived, and in contrast to the former colony, chose to commit a massive effort to build up as quickly as possible. Located on the isolated, smaller continent, the Japanese colony is known to the majority of the planet as Samurai Bay. The official name for the colony, however, is Tosashimizu.
In 43 years the colony has grown to over 4,000 square kilometers in size. The Japanese on Joi are aggressive in their colonial expansion. They were the first to introduce Terrestrial crops and livestock on a large scale, much to the horror of environmentalist fringe groups who predicted the doom of the entire, unique Joian ecosystem. Japanese policy has been largely isolationist, but with distinctly hostile overtones where the Germans are concerned. Among other things, the Germans and the Japanese on Joi are currently disputing the ownership of a large and unusually mineral-rich island which lies squarely between their two colonies. The Japanese are also extremely distrustful of the German support for the Elysian rebellion and have built up their military strength in the aftermath of the guerrilla victory.
The government of the Japanese colony is rigidly authoritarian, following traditional Japanese lines. The colonists continue to follow the old Japanese ethics of total commitment and obedience.
The Azanian Colony
Lubumbashi, the youngest of the Joi colonies, is still more of a pioneer venture than a full-fledged colony. Spread over an area of 3000 square kilometers, it is the only colony which is not built in a coastal area, depending on traffic down the broad, easily navigable Fal River through British territory for contact with the sea and other colonies on the planet. British/Azanian relations are particularly good; the Azanians lease the use of the British solar power satellite, their orbital catapult, and, until recently, their space terminal as well.
Recently an Azanian terminal facility entered independent service, but it is still used on a comparatively limited basis The Azanians have been anxious to catch up with the older, more established colonies on Joi. Because of this they, like the Japanese, were eager to import Terrestrial life forms to supplant the local sources of food. Their farm production has already climbed to nearly half that of the German colony, despite the fact that the Germans have six times Lubumbashi’s population to work with. Food exports from the Azanian colony now top those of all the other settlements, and during the Elysian famine of 2292-2293, it was food from Lubumbashi that kept their colonists from dying in droves.
Joi is one of only three worlds to contain an Azanian colony. In typical Azanian fashion, the administration of the colony is largely independent of any central control; a Colonial Coordinator has been appointed to advise locally selected government officials on matters pertaining to Azania’s interests, but his position carries no actual administrative power or authority.