The Ganaraajy Arjun (Task Force Singh)

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 02:50 pm
gridlore: Old manual typewriter with a blank sheet of paper inserted. (Writing)
[personal profile] gridlore
Beginning to gear up for the marathon slog that is NaNoWriMo. I'm doing a lot of background work, material that probably won't be in the book, but is essential for building a story in a setting that makes sense. To that end, I'm detailing the government and culture of the state that controls Task Force Singh. The main change is I'm getting away from Star Empires, because what a tired out trope that is!

The Beta Hydri system was settled roughly 300 years before the book's starting date, by way of a huge colonization effort headed by India. The effects of climate change and the ravages of the Warpox epidemic (a weaponized form of smallpox released in the 2060s by an unidentified group) was leading to mass famine. Volunteers from across southern Asia begged to be included in the mission. All told, over 5 million refugees were packed into colony ships and sent out.

The rigorous conditions on the poorly-maintained ships heading to their new home, named Arjuna after a mythical hero from Indian folklore, led to the creation of a strict hierarchy and a strong work ethic. Shelters needed to be dug and fitted out, vast hydroponic farms put into operation, and a million other details worked out. The colony thrived with an isolated oligarchy running things.

Power has concentrated in the hands of the Jagirdar; landed nobles who ruled through sheer economic power. The Jagirdar were the captains of industry and governors of the vast warrens of worker housing. A strong patron-client system grew as the Jagir houses provided for and protected the workers in their territories, while the lower class agreed to support their patrons nearly without question. As the colony grew to exploit both the resources of Beta Hydri and those of nearby stars, conflict among the Jagir houses grew to near warfare. Finally, the leading houses came to an agreement to form a new government based on wealth, a plutocracy with some nods to a representative government.

Today, the Ganaraajy Arjun (Republic of Arjun) controls sixteen star systems besides the home system of Beta Hydri. The government is headed by a Prime Minister. This official wields wide executive and judicial powers but holds his office at the pleasure of the Gomed Hol, the legislative body made up of Jagirdar representatives. Earning one of the 250 seats in the Onyx Hall is simple: you bid for it. Powerful families will place a dozen or more of their clients and relatives in Gomed Hol to further family interests. A seat is held until a challenge is made for it by an interested party.

The people are represented in the Samsad (Parliament), which is based on population. Currently, the Samsad seats 573 voting members and numerous non-voting observers from the colonies. The Samsad is where legislation is proposed and passed, although the Gomed Hol can veto any bill with a simple majority vote. This has led to legislative gridlock and blocked any attempt at reform.

Members of the Samsad are elected from regional councils, which are elected by the people. One of the greatest issues on Arjuna is the growing demand for direct representation and more regional power. The Samsad is considered too remote, with each member speaking for an average of 3 million citizens.
The Prime Minister is charged with appointing officers to the various ministerial posts and running the day to day operations of the state and government. Prime Ministers are usually chosen by the party with the majority in the Samsad, or by coalition vote. Prime Ministers remain in office at the pleasure of the Gomed Hol or until his party falls out of the majority and a new Prime Minister is called for.

There are several unofficial political parties in the Republic and many small factional groups. The major players are:

  • The Expansionists. They support a strong central government and expanding the Republic. Currently, they hold a slim majority in the Samsad with strong support in the Gomed Hol.

  • The Traditionalists. A conservative, religious party dedicated to returning to old Hindu ways and promoting religious unification under one faith. The more radical members want a return to the caste system. They are partners with the Expansionists in the current government.

  • The Unionists. Their main platform is full membership in the Republic and full citizenship for those living on those worlds designated as colonies and ruled by appointed governors.

  • The Democracy Now Party. They demand the dismantling of the current state and full suffrage and free elections under a new constitution. They hold a small number of seats, but are quite vocal and vote as a solid bloc. They tend to support the Unionists, but the latter seems to be embarrassed by the antics of Democracy Now supporters. This faction has been linked to terrorism in the past.

  • The Consolidationists. Bitter foes of the Expansionists, they advocate spending precious Rupees on building infrastructure and improvements in the territories already controlled by the state and improving the lot of the citizenry.

  • The Isolationists. They fight defense spending and expansion tooth and nail. Once the strongest voice in the Samsad, they've lost dozens of seats over the years and are now a distant third after the Expansionists and the Unionists with almost no support in the Onyx Hall. Natural allies of the Consolidation Party, they break on several issues, so a true union seems impossible.


As I said, almost none of this will show up directly in the book, but it will help me build characters and tensions inside the task force. And if I get to a second book, I can see it being a more political novel focusing on the aftermath of the war shaking out in the defeated Ganaraajy Arjun.

I need to make myself an icon of this phrase.

Friday, September 22nd, 2017 12:21 pm
havocthecat: angry christina ricci with a chainsaw (feelings kill them all)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Never try to mean girl at a Slytherin.

I just need to find a good picture. Suggestions?

People keep making the mistake of thinking that just because I'm nice, I'm a pushover. Or gullible. Or both.

That is...beyond hilarious as a concept.

Fuck everyone today.

(Work issues, though I've run into the same idea outside of work, I suppose. I will elaborate when I'm not vaguebooking on a work computer on a work network.)

The sudden return of 90+ degree heat is unpleasant.

Thursday, September 21st, 2017 08:24 am
havocthecat: angry christina ricci with a chainsaw (feelings kill them all)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Not because I dislike the heat, because I unironically like 90+ degree hot, humid weather, but because it's given the ragweed fresh life. I'm sneezing non-stop.

My brain has been interrogated.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 11:48 am
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
[personal profile] gridlore
It has been said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I mostly agree with that, it's another variant of "know yourself" and other such truisms making it clear that you need to be in touch with yourself before you can make it anywhere.

I would like to point out that I did pretty well as a blissfully ignorant soldier and truck driver, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here. For the last few weeks, starting literally the day after we returned from Burning Man, I have been having my brain stretched by my neuropsychologist.

These evaluations and tests run the board from the kind of surveys that ask you about your feelings to tests of my ability to retain information to my critical thinking abilities and perception. The results, just from where I'm sitting, have been interesting.

Also exhausting. I leave these sessions feeling wrung out. Some of these tests are extremely hard, forcing me to really push my brain to manage them. Thinking can be hard work, especially when you are forcing yourself into areas that don't work so well due to some traumatic incident. Like a stroke.

So what have I learned just from my observations? My ability to retain and recall information is crap. I forget things really fast or lose them entirely in moments. This is even more pronounced when it comes to numbers. I simply cannot hold numbers in my head. This helps me understand why I am so bad with handling money these days. I can't keep the idea that we only have X to spend when I'm looking at an item that costs Y. Trying to keep those two figures is too much for me, so all I see is Y, and forget that X even exists.

This is why I ask Kirsten for permission to spend any money that isn't cash-in-hand. Even a five-dollar download for Civilization VI has to be cleared through her. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since I think it's good to have one person being the final word on a family's finances, but it can be annoying. I'm a 52-year-old guy who needs permission to buy a book. But we deal with it.

While my ability to retrieve information is shot, I am much more likely to recall information if I'm prompted. We've done several exercises where there were lists of words in pairs. Trying to just remember the words was almost impossible. But when prompted with the first word, I was usually able to give the correct response. Same goes for the long lists of single words. Trying to remember them was a wash, but when asked for them by a category, like "vehicles" or "furniture", I was suddenly able to remember far more of the words than when just asked for the list.

I've also done many tests designed to examine my reasoning. Mostly puzzles and following directions. I'm happy to say those features seem to be working well. But again, when numbers come in I start to flounder. I suspect that my life-long troubles with math have only been made worse by the stroke. Thank Halford for calculators.

Where does this leave me? I'm not sure. I'm waiting for Dr. Dahl to score my last few assessments to see if we need to do a few more to nail down my exact diagnosis or if we are ready to move ahead with a treatment plan for my depression and hair-trigger emotional swings. I'm good with either path. To me, the important thing is moving forward.

But oddly, the most telling thing about my psyche that I've learned about in these past weeks didn't come in a nice office, but at Burning Man. I've volunteered with the Porta Potty Project a few times. It's a team that does education about how to keep the 1,400 blue rooms on the Playa in good shape, goes around to make sure that each john has toilet paper, and locks off the ones that have been vandalized or, um, desecrated beyond usability. This year, I learned that we might become an official part of the team that runs Black Rock City, and I might be able to drive my truck as an official vehicle to do the necessary work at the banks that lie in the deep Playa.

The way the concept of being able to drive in an official capacity again hit me is hard to describe. I spent nearly twenty years in the transportation industry, most of that as a truck driver. Even if it is just driving a couple of guys and boxes of toilet paper around, it will mean being a driver again. It will mean being part of a team. It will mean I have that part of me back if only for one week a year.

Here's hoping it happens.

For the Highlander fans who didn't already know this.

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 01:01 pm
havocthecat: methos from highlander (hl methos)
[personal profile] havocthecat
In case anyone doesn't already know:

[community profile] hlh_shortcuts.

(I mean, I didn't. There might be someone else who doesn't?)

The joys of parenting as a history nerd.

Monday, September 18th, 2017 08:36 am
havocthecat: a magical tree (feelings tree magic)
[personal profile] havocthecat
We were reviewing the kidlet's U.S. history project on Colonial Virginia, which involved Jamestown, and I took it kind of farther than his teacher did. (I do that a lot. History is broadly expansive.) Also I got to explain that Captain John Smith was an asshole, and I got to whine later to Mr. Havoc that I really don't like Pocahontas (the Disney film), not because I don't like Pocahontas (she was awesome), but because John Smith was an asshole, not a romantic lead.

You have no idea how much my dad told me about John Smith and Jamestown when I was a kid. You really have no idea.

So I also learned that the kidlet didn't know why the Church of England formed, and this all culminated in my explaining to him that Henry VIII wanted to get remarried, the Pope told him no, and the Henry said, essentially, "Screw you, I'm the King of England! I'll start my own church!"

It was a glorious moment. I love being a parent.

I'm so out of everything that has been happening

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 08:43 am
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Other than major news incidents, which are mostly weather-related these days. Okay, not really, but I'm not getting into politics right now. I'm not in the right headspace to handle that.

Please tell me how you're doing! What's going on in your life?

Things in my life after the kidlet's bar mitzvah have mostly been terrible and I'm not ready to talk about them yet, which is why I haven't been updating any of them yet. Distract me from that, please.

I'm so far behind on my tv-watching that I'm just now getting to the Supergirl finale. One spoilery quibble with the first half of the finale that relates to U.S. Constitutional law. )

I'm very much enjoying everything about Supergirl otherwise, at least. I haven't even touched on my summer tv watching yet. It's been that kind of summer.
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