Station Keeping: The Historical Moment

Welcome to this week's somewhat late edition of Station Keeping I'm sorry about the confusion this time. We'll return to our usual schedule next week. This episode was fun for me, it gave me a chance to explore story telling from an historical perspective, which is something that I think is pretty nifty. With luck this won't be the last you see of Prof. Tiltsten, and I hope that this essay will help explain some of the questions that you might have about the station and our story.

The Necessity of Hanmist Studies, Part I

by Professor Jonathan Tiltsten

Unlike some other pivotal moments in the development of human colonial efforts on other worlds, many documents survive from the period just before and during the occupation of a space station in-orbit of the rim-world "Hanm." Though in retrospect it is widely accepted, and obvious to many scholars of post-League political organization that the events on Hanm Centre were very important, if not key in determining the organization of human government for the next hundred years; at the time, the key actors in this milieux were not only unaware of their coming role in history, but also the importance of their moment. First a letter from the papers of Commander Eli Banner, the first commander of Hanm Centre, written shortly before he departed for Hanm:

Sometimes I think I'm getting too old for field assignments, but it's better than getting fat and old behind a desk core-side, a lowly commander would never get chosen for a relativity cruise cycle [1]. But I'm basically unattached, and I have some experience in the field, but who knows anyway. This time period never did suit me, and it'll be interesting to see how the world looks on the other side. A of a long flight; not that the core will matter very much out there I trust. I just hope I get a chance to come back someday.

At the same time, the leaders of the civilian government on the colony world Hanm knew that change in the status quo, at least for their people, was imminent--and strictly speaking, it was--their opposition was to the league presence on Hanm Centre, not, in their mind, to the entire League, as it would later become. [2] Or the interstellar political status quo of the previous thousand years. Indeed it we now think that it would have been at least a generation on Hanm from the time that Eli Banner departed the core-side world until he and his convoy would arrive on Hanm.

This is an excerpt from an editorial circulated by early "Hanmist" [3] shortly the Navy confirmed that it was sending a high level operations convoy after Commander Eli Banner left the core for Hanm Centre.

Above all, I would like to express my objection to the fact that the outpost currently under-construction in high orbit of the planet will be operated and governed by the League's Navy. While an easily accessible space outpost in this part of the galaxy is not inherently objectionable, I would like to locate my resistance to Hanm Centre not in terms of resistance to the League at large, but rather in acknowledgment of the fact that the Civil authority on Hanm was not--according to the public record--consulted by the League authorities, and furthermore, the fact that the station is not to be administered or overseen by Hanmish authorities. Indeed, there is no reason that it can be directed and administered by the civil authorities on Hanm, who would surely be the best suited given their experience with the region.

As we can see, the seeds of the "Hanmist Separation" movement were significantly more modest than the militant movement that would follow in their name. In an age where the technology of space travel had paradoxically brought time and history to a virtual stand still, it took by the standards of the day, only a paltry handful of years for the Hanmist movement to sour. Though from our contemporary perspective this may not seem particularly remarkable, it must have been--particularly to the then unknowing Eli Banner.

"Historical Moment" was written by, `tycho <>`_, the creator of `TealArt <>`_ and [Station Keeping]("). He is a student and knitter by day and a science fiction writer by night, you can read his work elsewhere on `TealArt <>`_ and at `~/tychoish <>`_.

[1]Key leaders of the League and Navy during this era were frequently cycled on and off interstellar flights to help provide continuity with the League's longer term missions on outer worlds. This kept some level of stability, but meant that policy changed back and forth as various leaders came on and off the cruises.
[2]In fairness, it is only in retrospect that we can make this claim, in a lot of ways, Hanm Centre was of a guilded age of a dying empire of sorts, and the accomplishments of the station and it's crew though too numerous to list here, were not typical of any late imperial project.
[3]"Hamnism" refers to the political movement started on Hanm (that quickly spread to other large rim worlds) that advocated independence and separation from the League, the policies of continued colonization, and distant centralized government.
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