Thread: The Pern Colony
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Old Oct 20 2015, 04:54 PM   #3
Eriflor
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Gender: F
Default Re: The Pern Colony

I think we have to consider this question in stages.

First, you have Earth itself, a few centuries into the future, overcrowded and very technology-oriented, with very little spare space for even rich people to own, but still enough for bands of nomads and travelling folk to get around. Agriculture would be highly organised and technology-dependent.

100 years before DragonsDawn they have a few settled colonies with room for more settlers, and are sending out expeditions to find more suitable worlds to colonise (with no indigenous intelligent life-forms). Those early colonists would have used hydroponics on arrival, and gradually branched out into livestock and food grown in soil (no doubt after some terra-forming). The expeditions would be looking for worlds requiring no terraforming, but possibly needing some adaptation of the local flora and fauna for human use and growing crops.

Then the Nathi wars begin and they have to forget about further colonisation for a while, in favour of survival. Under saturation bombing and probably biochemical warfare, they are forced to live underground and return to hydroponics for their food, and probably vat-grown protein. (Can't remember if Earth itself is under attack, but surely involved.) When the war is over, it probably takes years to reclaim the surface and get food-production going again. All very technological, and small wonder if some people start thinking about how nice it would be to start over on a clean new planet without all these machines, rationing, and restrictions. So they dust off those old survey records and start planning and fundraising.

The first charterers would be people who still had money or solid investments, but whose family estates were totally destroyed by the war. They'd be likely to bring along any dependents who had useful skills, and keep them working on the home farm as long as possible. People who'd actively fought against the Nathi would often have earned enough bonuses to qualify as charterers, and might have useful skills as well.

The basic arrangement on arrival at Pern was that the charterers could choose their stake acres right away and start working on them, producing crops and livestock that they could barter for whatever else they needed. And obviously food for themselves, although this task might be delegated to small farmers living on the charterer's stakehold (sharecropping). Any contractors who worked for a charterer or for the Pern colony as a whole could earn acres (at a fixed rate per hour?) and eventually pick out their own stakehold.

The early charterers seem to have focussed on the type of farming they did before the move to Pern --- sheep, horses, wine-grapes, etc, because they or their bloodline had expertise in those products. Others (e.g. Paul Benden?) possibly learned their agriculture from books and grew a few different crops at first to see what worked best for them. But the database probably contained a lot of info on different systems, what worked, what didn't, and they'd avoid most of the mistakes we're still making on present-day Earth.
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