1. CharlestsWhitfield
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    CharlestsWhitfield Member

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    Space Travel and Security

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by CharlestsWhitfield, Feb 4, 2014.

    I'm probably going to give away more than I would like, but I really need advice.

    I'm writing a science-fiction novel where military and ordinary people can travel in outer space. The problem is, I can't envision where someone would leave there space craft should they want to step out and go somewhere on the planet. A number of possible solutions pop-up, but I end up finding problems and to me it just doesn't flow well

    Rule: Space craft are not allowed to land in the city, you can't just land in front of the place you want and get out.

    Possible Solutions:

    1. They can dock there craft at a space station and take a smaller craft down (a transport craft if you will). They can take a bigger craft with a lot of people down to the planet, when they are finished and want to leave the planet, they can take the same transport craft back to the station, and then obtain the craft they came with in the first place.

    Problem: You have to believe that overcrowding never happens and that there is always space available to dock.

    2. They can land at a ship yard on the planet.

    Problem: Overcrowding never happens? I just don't buy it, when the planet allows people/aliens to come and go as they please overcrowding can happen from time to time.

    The next problem I have is, I just can't comprehend how no security check is done on people/aliens who are traveling from one planet to another. I've been throwing around ideas on how this could be done, but it just seems no matter what ideas I come up with, it can be exploited. I was thinking a sort of force field to surround the planet, or senors to detect ships.

    Thanks in Advanced.
     
  2. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily: maybe a plot complication could be exactly that there's a longer waiting line than the protagonist would like?

    Not necessarily: maybe it could be plot-relevant that the protagonists and antagonists have to exploit holes in the security to get past the overcrowding you mentioned earlier? That way, it's a 3-way conflict between the protagonists, antagonists, and the red-tape instead of a 1-on-1 conflict, and whichever side gets past the red-tape the fastest (legally or otherwise) will have the advantage?

    A problem for the characters is not necessarily a problem for the readers/writers ;) Don't worry about making their lives too easy.
     
  3. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's pretty standard in space-oriented sci-fi (and GREAT that you're writing this) that, when a ship approaches an inhabited and tech-savvy planet, they are picked up on the planet's monitor screens and forced to reveal their identity and intentions. If they are granted entry, they would normally leave their ships in orbit and travel down to wherever they want to land on the planet in a small 'ship to shore' craft—one they own themselves.

    You say they can't just park in front of a building ...well, hey, you can't always do that on earth either, can you? Presumably the planet's cities will have parking lots for transport craft?

    I presume there is somebody telling them the coordinates for where they need to 'park' in orbit AND when they get down to the planet. As far as overcrowding, that could be part of your particular plot, and something you work with to make it plausible.

    I don't know. It's possible of course, but I don't think it's necessary for everybody to dock at a space station first, then travel down to the planet on a space bus. Unless the planet is populated by a very paranoid group of whatevers.

    I presume the planet's security system will have a way of enforcing their rules. Either police forces to block entry to the planet's subspace, should the approaching ship be unwelcome. Or a way to detect anyone trying to sneak through.

    By the way, why is it always 'planet.' Don't these sci-fi planets ever have 'countries,' like here on Earth. Countries that maybe don't all have the same rules and regulations regarding visitors?
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The issue with overcrowding is being over-thought. Some of the most tightly packed cities on the planet today lay aside acres and acres of land for airports so that their sardine-packed citizens can come and go.
     
  5. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    The space around a planet is huge. Once outside of the planet's main gravity field it would be easy to build parking "docks" similar to yacht marinas. There would be "taxis" to take the crew to one or more orbital stations for immigration processing and a shuttle to planetside.

    Security would not be too hard. Approaching ships would need to follow specified approach lanes and perhaps be steered to dock by a licensed pilot hired from the planet under the weapons of orbital defense stations and patrol ships. All very much like Earth harbours.
     
  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Probably for the same reason that present-Earth is primarily divided into "nations" or "countries" rather than "tribes" or "city-states," and past-Earth was divided primarily into "tribes" or "city-states" rather than "families" or "people."
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, yeah ...but ALL of them? It seems like every piece of sci-fi I come across has a planetary-wide system of government, defense, etc. It's like there are very few subcultures at all. And this goes for the more primitive planets as well as the more advanced ones. Just once it would be fun to visit a sci-fi planet that has many different races, species, cultures, languages, governmental systems, etc—maybe in different degrees of development, like our planet—no matter what kind of beings these inhabitants are. Humanoid or otherwise. In other words ...planetary diversity.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I must agree, @jannert. The ubiquity of global cultures and global governments in Science-Fiction does seem to be an artifact of the idealized narrative of the real-world globalist movement. I also do not see it playing out as a standard or default path.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's a bit of a shame, as it would widen the scope for plot development, if arriving ships had to deal with all sorts of contradictory orders, etc.
     
  10. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    For each planet, assuming it is not a colony and hence under a single authority, there will likely be two levels of politics and policy.

    When dealing with off planet entities, planets that operate as multiple independent states or political groups, will quickly find themselves in the same situation as the Earth nations faced with the British Empire. One state would be favoured and have superior access to off world technology and military support and soon will dominate the others as a satrap of the off worlders.

    However, a planetary authority empowered to deal with the aliens/off worlders would present a united front and defend the interests of the planet. Back on the surface, the normal inter-state squabbling and distribution of power and wealth can continue.

    There is also the likelihood that in the case of home grown or imported space technology and industry, individual nations would not have the financial capability and material resources to maintain space stations, space fleets, etc. sufficient do deal with aliens on an equal footing. This would definitely be true of the smaller states. Without access to space technology, they would quickly wither or be absorbed.
     
  11. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    I solved this by having it be a lot like customs when getting of a boat. Customs and security clearance in space then smaller ships down to the surface, to a few diffrent key locations/ states.

    In some cases the states on a planet had one, docking facility with separate customs areas for each state. the United Security Agency becomes a monster because of lack of oversight and who is in charge of them. the other option is multiple docking facilities that try to keep maximum distance to avoid interference.
     
  12. CharlestsWhitfield
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    CharlestsWhitfield Member

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    @DPVP - I think you had the same idea that I did :D. The problem is that remember, sometimes you have large class ships, and so what happens when you want to run a check on the ship? I want to ensure that they aren't bringing weapons or harmful materials on the planet.
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Consider the airport model. Even if an aircraft can land without a runway, there are only certain areas where aircraft are permitted to land. There are airspaces forbidden to all except authorized aircraft, and any other craft entering those spaces will either be escorted to a landing field and held for questioning, or shot down if they refuse to comply.

    Airports, as ports of entry, are where the real security is concentrated. It's much more practical to secure a small space, and require outside traffic to only cross into the general population through those small spaces. The few craft who attempt to bypass those entry points stand out like beacons, and can be dealt with militarily.

    As for multinational planets, most science fiction treatments do suffer from that. On the other hand, many settled planets are colonized by humans, and rarely are there multiple colonizations on each planet. Still, I have read quite a few stories with conflicts between settlements, or with humans caught up in wars between alien nations on distant planets. Maybe it's just that we've read different stories.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That scenario sounds like exactly what I was hoping for. It implies singular control of the 'space' facilities, but not homogenous cultures on the planet. I think that's realistic. It's just that so many space operas seem to assume that everyone living on an alien 'planet' has the same sort of culture, and all the sentient beings look the same. Drives me loopy.
     
  15. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    I was thinking, its what and comes ashore, not whats on board (usually) that gets checked. granted they still have the legal jurisdiction to search the ship, but the contents are under point of destination rules.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Addressing only the parking problem, in my future city, expensive personal flying cars self valet park by auto-pilot.
     
  17. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Saves on costume design and the rubber suits :)
     
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  18. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    I can imagine in world where there is lots of traffic that it would effect the chance of space ships colliding.
    If you model it against the current technologies you notice that traffic is directed by the ATC. I would imagine you have a similar body when it comes to space travel.
    Planes also follow STARS (Standard Terminal Arrival Route). It's a predefined path assigned to the plane which guides them to the terminal. These are designed to the chance of collision is reduced.
    There are similar procedures for leaving the airport.
    Maybe you can get some inspiration on how the governance works in current airspace.
     

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