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Author Topic: Info Pern & Pernese History, Summarized  (Read 2066 times)

Offline Southern Records

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Pern & Pernese History, Summarized
« on: January 23, 2014, 11:20:54 AM »

This Earth-like planet bears three continents, four major oceans, and a large number of islands. The largest continent, the Southern, is noted for large areas of grassland and jungle, as well as high tectonic and volcanic activity (probably due to the two moons, although this increases with the coming of the Red Star). The Northern Continent, in contrast, is relatively infertile composed primarily of 'shield' bedrock and is the most tectonically stable landmass on the planet. Not much is known of the small Far Western Continent, as it has never been explored.

Pern is noted for its high incidence of cave systems, particularly in the Northern Continent. This feature heavily influenced the development of human society on the planet, as humans forced to take shelter in these caves eventually developed an intricate culture associated with cave-dwelling in a feudal society at a medieval to Renaissance level of technology.

Pern is relatively lacking in most major metals. Nonetheless, sufficient deposits of petroleum and metals exist to supply a high-technology agrarian society, though not a high-technology industrial one.

Although Pern has four major oceans, the only ocean of major concern to most inhabitants of Pern is the Southern, which separates the Northern and Southern Continents. Few expeditions have explored the Western and Eastern Oceans to either side of the main continents, and the Ring Sea is known only from satellite observations.

The plants best-known to humans residing on Pern are those that are useful. There are several types of plants which are edible to humans, including the redfruit tree, which produces a red, plum-like fruit, and the klah tree, whose bark is infused like coffee into a stimulant beverage reminiscent of chocolate, coffee and cinnamon. Native medicinal plants include dragon's tongue, which produces a gel similar to aloe; the Needlethorn, whose hollow thorns can be used as hypodermic needles; Numbweed, a strong analgesic plant that is made into a cream after boiling it in large pots for 3 days that numbs small wounds completely, and dulls larger wounds; and Fellis, which produces a juice used as a soporific drug.

Most of the plants introduced by Pernese colonists are providers of food, fiber or medicine. Most grains, vegetable crops, and fruit trees were imported to Pern, as were a wide variety of herbs and fiber plants such as flax and cotton. Notably, the Pernese lack cocoa and coffee plants.

The native dragonet was genetically engineered using advanced high-tech Eridani techniques, such as a mentasynth enhancement, by settlers into the much larger and more intelligent dragons.

The original Pernese settlers brought a wide variety of animals (transported in coldsleep or as ovum and sperm to be bred in the revived birthing stock) and plants with them when they originally settled the planet. However, due to both the disastrous threadfall and the natural Pernese landscape, some animals never adapted at all. Deer and other forest-dwelling animals did not fare well in Pern's warm, tropical climate. Other animals required "genetic adaptation" but survived in some form or another. One type of genetic adaptation needed was the altering of the digestive processes of animals like cows to allow them to digest the boron-heavy grass successfully and without ill-effects.

The Pernese circa the Ninth Pass of the Red Star tend to categorize animals by use more than by species. Herdbeasts are animals kept in large numbers for meat or leather, and include bovines, ovines and caprines (which became the standard Pernese terms for cows, sheep and goats). Milchbeasts are the same species as herdbeasts, but kept for milk. Draybeasts are donkeys, oxen or draft horses. Runners are a particular breed of horse developed by the Pernese, a riding/racing beast vaguely analogous to the Anglo-Arabian. Burdenbeasts may be donkeys or llamas.

Cats and dogs, called felines and canines, were kept for pest control or, in the case of dogs, as herd or guard animals.

Pernese History, Summarized

Pern was explored and cleared for colonisation by an EEC team, two hundred years before colonisation. This is in keeping with McCaffrey's themes of space exploration and colonisation to escape from a polluted and over-crowded Old Earth, explored in many of her different series.

The Exploration and Evaluation Corps team spent ten days assessing the planet. They recorded geographical, geological, botanical, ecological and zoological information in a variety of locations. Despite the beauty of the planet, the EEC team were puzzled by a repeated random pattern of circles of bare dirt which they observed across the whole globe. Eventually they labelled the planet with the acronym "Parallel Earth, Resources Negligible" -- i.e., insufficient to support interstellar commercial investment.

In the novel Dragonsdawn, Pern was colonised by settlers originally from Earth, Earth's Moon, and the colony at Alpha Centauri. These people had lived in a technocratic society recovering from a war with an alien race. The colony was led by Admiral Paul Benden and Governor Emily Boll, who had both been key leaders in the war. The 6,000 colonists wanted to return to an agrarian society with a low level of technology so badly that they were prepared to take a fifteen-year one-way journey to an isolated part of the galaxy to do so.

Less than a decade after the first colony was established, the settlers discovered that their chosen planet was subject to periodic attack from space by the destructive Thread, a spaceborne spore that destroys organic substances on contact. This was responsible for the mysterious bare circles noted in the EEC report. Unable to retreat from the peril, the settlers developed methods of combating the Thread. A small indigenous lifeform, the fire lizard, was discovered with remarkable adaptations against Thread: flight, teleportation, limited telepathy, and the ability to chew phosphine rock and generate bursts of flame. Kitti Ping, a scientist trained in genetic manipulation "upgraded" these into full-sized, flame-breathing, telepathic dragons who were able to sear the Thread before it could fall to the ground. Dragonriders became a vitally important and highly respected profession, especially after a mass migration to the northern continent, where they lived in Weyrs. As time progressed, the settlers forgot their Terran origins.

In the weeks following the first Thread attack, the colonists debated sending a homing capsule to Earth, asking for help. The colonists demonstrate the independence and bravery that is typical of Pernese in deciding to fight Thread alone. A small segment of the community disagreed and sent an SOS beacon into space to catch the attention of passing ships. Some fifty years later, a battle cruiser passed by the Sagittarian sector on a search for alien incursions and noted that the Rukbat sector had been flagged for investigation by passing ships. The captain on board authorised a rescue run.

On arrival planetside, the dispatched shuttle ran a scanning pattern, but failed to notice the new settlements in the northern hemisphere, as these are situated in deep cave systems to protect them from Thread. In the southern hemisphere, the shuttle found the original settlement buried under volcanic ash, but a faint beacon still pulsed in the southern mountain range. The crew found a small settlement there who believed they were the last survivors of the original colony, thanks to the ravages of Thread. They are evacuated and the Rukbat system is interdicted, ensuring that Pern will remain undisturbed in the future.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 01:44:40 PM by SanctifiedSavage »
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