Campaign of the Month: January 2012
Star Trek Late Night
- Planet Name: Earth
- Class: M
- Moons or Rings: One moon (Luna)
- Gravity: 1.0 G
- Climate: Standard atmosphere, 67% hydrosphere, moderate temperature
- Demographics: Billions of human natives with a smattering of alien permanent residents
- Civilization: Open and expansive, directly governed by UFP (republic)
- Resources: Industrial goods, precious metals, agricultural products
Earth, the prototypical Class M planet, is the homeworld of the Humans and also the home of UFP and Starfleet headquarters. As such, it is the nerve center of the Federation. Some would also say that Earth is also its heart and soul, since the Humans’ long history of intramural conflict has at last taught them the value of peaceful cooperation between races.
Earth is the third planet of the Sol system. It is located in Sector 001 of Alpha Quadrant, near the border with Beta Quadrant. The system also lies close to the border between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
Earth sets the median climate standard for Class M planets. Temperatures in the polar zones almost never rise above freezing and are inhospitable to life. Both north and south sub-arctic zones are also hostile to life, but plants and small animals exist here. Humans also live in sub-arctic zones, but only with the aid of sophisticated shelters, and they have never populated these parts of the planet very densely. By contrast, temperatures around the equator are often too hot for comfortable Human habitation during the summer, and until the advent of Earth’s weather control network in the 23rd century, violent storms threatened the equatorial tropics. However, this has not prevented dense Human populations from forming in tropical areas. In fact, many Humans who live in regions closer to the poles make brief seasonal migrations to the tropics during the winter. Most Humans agree that sub-tropical regions provide the most suitable climate for permanent habitation. Earth’s population is concentrated in its sub-tropical belts, and most of its great civilizations have emerged in the sub-tropics.
By tradition, Earth’s landmass is divided into seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia/Oceana, Europe, North America and South America. Of these, Antarctica covers the planet’s South Pole, and although it is heavily mined for natural resources, it has very few permanent inhabitants. North America and Europe are the most heavily industrialized, with Asia running close behind them in terms of economic development. The highest point on the planet, the peak of Mt. Everest, is located in Asia, just north of the Indian subcontinent.
Earth’s hydrosphere is divided into seven large bodies: the Arctic Ocean (which covers the North Pole and is frozen over with a thick ice cap year-round), the Arabian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Of these, the Pacific Ocean is the largest. It surrounds the entire continent of Australia and the islands of Oceana. The lowest point on the planet, the Marianas Trench, is also located in the middle of the Pacific.
Humans are famous among other starfaring races for their curiosity and adaptability. The former quality has driven them to explore as much of the Galaxy as they can reach, while the latter has enabled them to establish themselves in a wide range of environments and master many different tasks. Either way, they have come through the glory and infamy of their history to become the Federation’s dominant race.
Since helping to inaugurate the UFP in 2161, Earth has had no world government to speak of, and its remaining nation-states have seen their sovereign rights and powers fade into irrelevance. Their traditional heads of state serve little more than cosmetic purposes, and some states no longer even bother to field one at all. All residents of Earth and all extraterrestrial settlements that have traditionally fallen under Terran colonial authority are governed by the UFP and are subject to Federation civil law. Old national currencies have also faded away, and all economic activity is measured in Federation Credits. Traditional languages still survive in literature and song, and as objects of study and archaeo-linguists, but Federation Standard is the generally recognized first language of Humans.
Earth is one of the Federation’s charter members, and as such, Humans have done their best to encourage peaceful interaction between the Galaxy’s intelligent life forms. They don’t always succeed, but as they like to say, “At least we tried.” Indeed, one could say that just about the entire history of Human civilization is a chronicle of failed attempts to get along with itself until, at last, humanity got it right.
For roughly 6000 years, Humans organized themselves into separate political entities based on tribal identity, loyalty to a great leader, democratic (but ultimately vague) conceptions of nationality, or some combination of the three. These entities, whether they called themselves empires, kingdoms or nations, fought each other as much as they cooperated with each other, competing for living space, natural resources, and other forms of political and economic advantage.
Many of these wars had disastrous effects on the local or regional level, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that warfare proved calamitous on a global scale. Dramatic advances in industrial technology pioneered in the previous century allowed the planet’s major nation-states to develop truly destructive weapons, produce them in large numbers as well as mobilize the manpower to deploy them, and project them across vast distances. Two such wars resulted in hundreds of millions of military and civilian deaths between 1900-1950, and the second conflict also saw the Humans deploy for the first time weapons based on nuclear fission.
The experience was sobering enough to produce a temporary lull in widespread conflict, as well as the Humans’ most serious attempt at world government to date, known as the United Nations. Founded with great hopes, the United Nations ultimately failed because it had no real power to curb the sovereign rights of its member nation-states, and exerted little influence over powerful private interests.
The latter fact became painfully obvious in the 1990s, when a privately funded team of scientists used genetic engineering techniques to produce a group of Humans who were physically superior to the average run of the species. These carefully bred Humans came to believe that their superior abilities gave them the right to rule over others, and in a superbly orchestrated series of coups, they quietly and anonymously took control of the Earth’s 40 largest nation-states. The most powerful of them, Khan Noonien Singh, secretly reigned over one-fourth of the planet’s population at the height of his power. However, these “supermen” quickly fell out with each other, launching a calamitous economic war (known as the Eugenics War) even more destructive than the two major conflicts of the first half of the century. In 1996, after four years of catastrophe, the ruled rose against their rulers, reestablishing their former national identities and exiling Khan and his cohorts into deep space.
The resurgent nations of Earth quickly resumed their old rivalries. In 1999, philanthropist Optimo Basilius embarked on a very different kind of private venture, sponsoring a project that took 2,000 volunteer colonists from the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China and sent them into deep space. Basilius hoped that these representatives of the planet’s two most powerful nations would find a new home where they would cooperate with each other. These would-be pioneers disappeared from view when Earth’s next great catastrophe destroyed the tracking system that was following them, and their fate remained a mystery for over 200 years.
That next great calamity began in 2053. Most contemporary accounts of that period, known ever after as World War III, were lost and the historical record remains fragmentary. Based on existing evidence, historians have deduced that the war was largely provoked by Colonel Jamison Green, a former United States Military officer and failed Presidential candidate. Green engineered a grave crisis to throw the American government into chaos, thus allowing him to launch a coup and seize the power he could not gain through legal means. Using his connections within the American military chain of command, he launched unauthorized nuclear weapon attacks against other nations, provoking a global conflict that ultimately took 600 million lives.
The war plunged the Humans into another dark age, in which advanced civilization survived only in pockets. It took the legendary scientist and inventor Zefram Cochrane to revive his race’s fortunes. In 2063, he and his assistant Lily Sloane propelled the Humans into the interstellar age when they developed Earth’s first warp drive engine from a modified Titan V rocket. The warp signature from Cochrane’s ship, the Phoenix, alerted a passing Vulcan vessel to the existence of an advanced civilization on Earth. The Vulcans promptly initiated first contact, marking the first formal contact between Humans and an alien race. (Prior contacts with Vulcans, Ferengi, and Devidians were all cloaked in secrecy or unnoticed by Humans of the time.)
As their philosophers and social scientists had long predicted, this momentous event forced a radical shift in how Humans viewed themselves. Knowing for certain that a Galaxy rife with other intelligent species surrounded them, dominance among their own kind seemed less important than cooperation with their own kind in the name of unity. This new philosophical paradigm gave Humans the impetus to rebuild their civilization and launch a new age of interstellar exploration.
In 2149, Human scientists invented the first functional transporter device, and in 2151 the Enterprise NX-01, a prototype starship capable of warp 5, launched from the San Francisco Shipyard. In the early 22nd century, conflict between another Human starship, the Endeavor, and a Romulan vessel sparked a war between Earth and the Romulan Star Empire. The Romulans’ superior warship design gave them an early advantage, but Earth’s shipyards ramped up production, eventually giving them an offsetting numerical edge. The war ended after Human forces inflicted a decisive defeat at the Battle of Cheron. The armistice established a neutral zone between the Romulan Empire and what later became Federation space.
In 2161, delegations from Earth, Andoria, Vulcan, Tellar and Alpha Centauri met on Epsilon Eridani and drafted the conventions that founded the United Federation of Planets. From that point on, Human history becomes virtually synonymous with that of the UFP. Although Earth’s population remained predominantly Human, continual interaction with other races and its central role in the Federation also created pockets of permanent alien residents, with the largest centered around the Federation Council in San Francisco.
As the most important homeworld in the Federation, Earth remained largely insulated from the interstellar conflicts that raged elsewhere in the Galaxy. The arts and sciences flourished, and the planet became a living advertisement for the benefits of peace, prosperity and Human ingenuity. This state of happiness was interrupted, however, by the Dominion’s last great throw of the dice in the Dominion War – the dramatic Breen raid in 2375 that blasted Starfleet Headquarters and reduced much of San Francisco to rubble. In another dramatic move, The Empire attacked Earth in 2384 destorying most of the continent of Asia and killing over 8 Billion people. These two attacks have pushed many humans into a militaristic and dictatorship mindset.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Even before Humans colonized Mars, they established a presence on the Earth’s only satellite, Luna, in 2050. The nascent Lunar settlement provided a safe haven during World War III, and saw a surge in population during its first decade from war refugees. By the 24th century the moon hosted a population of 50 million Humans, all of them living in domed settlements, devoted largely to mining, industrial production and hydroponic farming. The largest population center on the moon is Tycho City, which is located in and around the bowl of the Tycho Crater. Tycho City is the seat of the colonial government, which fell under the direct jurisdiction of the Federation when the UFP was founded.
The Borg invasion of 2369 put a scare into the moon colony, as residents participated in regular civil defense drills and hoarded emergency supplies. Fortunately, no violent incidents were reported. The most notorious incident from that time occurred in the settlement of New Berlin, where jumpy civil defense volunteers reported sighting a Borg cube, only to have their supervisor determine that they’d spotted a Ferengi trading vessel.
On the Earth itself, the scenic and cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, located on the west coast of North America, is the nerve center of the UFP. The Federation Council chambers and administrative offices are located here, as are Starfleet Headquarters and the main campus of Starfleet Academy. Both Starfleet HQ and the city at large took severe damage in the Jem’Hadar raid at the end of the Dominion War, but reconstruction began almost immediately.
The office of the UFP President is located in Paris, one of the major cities in western Europe. It is housed in a sleek skyscraper on the banks of the River Seine, within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower. The site was once occupied by the Champ de Mars, where the 19th century dictator and would-be conqueror of Europe Napoleon Bonaparte used to review his soldiers. The UFP chose it quite deliberately, not just for its beauty but for its historical significance, replacing a landmark that celebrated war with one dedicated to peace and mutual understanding. The UFP also believed that its executive branch ought to be located halfway around the planet from the Council in order to preserve its independence, out of earshot of the constant cacophony of the Council chambers.