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Highlands World: Culture and Politics

Names of the Highlands   ⤵

Highlands World - not Highland's World! The term Highlands World - the name the inhabitants gave the structure of thirteen asteroid bodies is a plural designation. It is not proper to use a possesive apostrophe in the name. It is a world of Highlands - not a world belonging to Highlands.

During the training days prior to emergence, the triamon referred to the various Highlands by an arbitrary letter nomenclature in an East to West, North to South order. The largest of the asteroid bodies was given the letter A. The northern body of the next pair was designanted B, the southern C and so on. Later, during the first year of exploration, the explorers decided to name each of the worlds with a name starting with the letter designation. Thus, the highland that Triamon had referred to as world A became Aurora and so on. At first there was controversy about the selection of the names, but eventually, after the lockout, the people who choose to settle each world made a consensus decision about the names. The early settlers (ie: the original crew) initially settled only Aurora, Caleara, Fermi, Giardin and Kensau. There were a few people who settled the frontiers of the other bodies but they tended to be isolated solitary settlements, not all of which survived. As the population grew, other worlds were settled by larger groups and a name was agreed upon.

Historical Political Divisions   ⤵

The thirteen entities of Highlands World are divided into twenty political units, including the eight airliners. There are six kingdoms, one theocracy, three republics, one shogunate, and one organized anarchy. The eight airliners operate independently and might be thought of as independant city-states, each with its own style of government.

Although it confuses the terminology, each of the planetoids of Highlands World considers itself to be its own world. However the complex engineered ecology and interdependent mechanics of Highlands World makes it convenient to consider the entire assemblage to be, in fact, a single world. A single world of “Islands in the Sky or Highlands.”

The six kingdoms (Aurora, Caleara, Dekada, Hanife, Jakobee, and Kensau), are ruled by hereditary monarchies and vary in the degree to which they are medieval in nature. The theocracy (Ilium) is ruled by an archbishop – usually called the High Bishop. The three republics (Berlan, Fermi, and Lorenza) likewise vary in nature, with two being representative democracies and one (Berlan) being a dictatorship. The shogunate, (Edo) in spite of using a term associated in history as a hereditary dictatorship, is more like an elected (though not democratic) autocracy. The organized anarchy (Giardin) can actually be described as a government by ad-hoc consensus rather than a disorganized system of anarchical chaos. The thirteenth world, (Midsea) is a duchy of Aurora and ruled over in absentia by the Duke of Midsea.

The eight airliner city-states are also diverse in governmental structure. One, (Blackliner) was essentially under the varying control of three warlords. Blueliner, Grayliner, Goldliner and Redliner are the most democratically ruled, with elected legislatures or councils and regularly elected chief executive offices variously termed Mayor, Governor, or Chairman. Greenliner also terms itself a democracy, but its chief executive office has been held by the same autocratic family for five generations. Brownliner and Purpleliner are stockholder corporations with CEOs and a board of directors. The Whiteliner which succeeded the Blackliner designation re-established itself as a resident owned corporation with a democratic type government.

Conflict between the various political entities has occurred but tends to simmer rather that erupt into open conflict. Because invasion of another world is virtually impossible the conflicts are primarily about trade agreements and commerce rather than territory. And seldom involve actual combat.

It is impossible, however, to discuss the political nature of Highlands World without referring to the Church (Church of Accession) because, with the exception of Edo and Giardin, resident Bishops of the Church representing the Archbishop of Ilium maintained a powerful presence on each world and maintained and enforced their own sets of laws and customs.

Highlands World economy, currency and coins   ⤵

When reading any of the accounts of life on Highlands World it is important to remember that its economy is very different from that of other human worlds that are part of the human milleau. As with any free-floating economy, demand and availabity of a resource dictate the cost. On Highlands Word at the time of the crisis stories, a good guide to relative costs might be to factor that the average daily wage or earnings for semi-skilled work and for most merchant owners ranges between 3 and 15 golds. Many unskiled positions earn less than a gold per work day. Average monthly rent or loanpayment for a small home might be anywhere from 30 to 75 golds.

The two basic coins in cir\culation on Highlands World are the silver and the gold. The silver is slightly larger than a U.S. dime. The Gold is slightly smaller that a U.S. quarter. The silver is slightly less pure than sterling silver, the gold has a steel core encased in 12 karet (approximately) gold. If you equate a silver to a U.S. quarter then a gold (worth 100 silvers) is roughly $25 USD equivilant. The 750 golds that Julyae inherited in Perilous Straits can be understood to be about roughly $18,000 USD.

Most coins are minted by the Church on Ilium. Many private mints also produce clones of the official coinage. Whether as a recipient, you accept these independant coinages at face value can be a matter for negotiation.

The Church of Accession   ⤵

If Highlands World can be said to have had a central government prior to the formation of the Convocation, it was the Rule of the Archbishop of Ilium and the Church of Accession. The Church grew out of the claims of some second generation groups that developed their own mythology of how Highlands World was created and settled. It is unclear how these stories originated - especially since there were at the time many original settlers who knew the actual facts. Several theories of conspiracy have been put forth, but the most compelling theory is that Jorge Anderson, a member of the original crew started the rumours with the intent of creating a society with himself as the dictatorial leader.

Highlands World in Crisis:

Imminence: (Volume I)

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Endeavour: (Volume II)

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