|Orbit||149,597,890 km from primary (mean)|
|Diameter||12,756 km (equatorial)|
|Mean Temperature||288°K (15°C)|
|Atmosphere||1 atm (N2 78%, O2 21%, Ar 1%)|
|Political Affiliation||United Nations|
|“||The fact that you simians live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas-covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed your perspective tends to be.||”|
—Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Planet Earth is the third planet from a star named the Sun. The Earth is shaped like a sphere and composed mostly of rock. Over 70 percent of the Earth's surface is water. The planet has a relatively thin atmosphere composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. Earth has a single large Moon that is about ¼ of its diameter and, from the planet's surface, is seen to have almost exactly the same angular size as the Sun. With its abundance of liquid water, Earth supports a large variety of life forms, including potentially intelligent species such as dolphins and humans.
(Text courtesy NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for 25 March 2007)
For those readers unaware of history before the wave (or just dropping in from the Marcab Confederacy) a good place to start is Wikipedia's world history article to give you a good gloss on what's happened since humans first figured out how to bang rocks together.
Earth's place in Fenspace history begins some time in 2005 or 2006 (depending on the source) when handwavium was developed or discovered (again, depending on the source). Wherever it came from, handwavium quickly spread into the global subculture known as science-fiction and fantasy fandom or simply fen.
After the flight of the SS Uncertainty in 2007 made it clear that handwavium could support sustained space flight, Earth became the launchpad for fen seeking to leave the planet for more interesting climes. Becoming worried about the exodus of some of their most creative citizens and paranoid about the first Unreal Estate launch, the majority of the Space Powers (terrestrial nations that developed independent spaceflight capability before the wave) and the other industrial nations put severe restrictions on the use of handwavium in mid-2008, isolating the embryonic Fenspace nations.
The original handwavium panic was settled in the 2010 Kandor Treaty which pardoned the original pioneers of any handwavium-related crimes and normalized relations with Earth. Smaller panics and crackdowns have happened since, and the Boskone War has put some strain on the treaty.
Places of Interest
The vast majority of Earth's population take only minor notice of fannish goings-on, preferring to stick to their reasonably comfortable planetbound lives. It's not for nothing that Earth is often referred to as the 'Danelaw.
The Land Down Under was the only First World nation not to break ties with fandom in the course of the initial handwavium panics and as Fenspace settled into its current configuration the fen have rewarded this loyalty with strong economic connections. The Fenspace Solar Credit uses the Australian dollar (AUD) as the benchmark, and Aussie dollars are more common than American or Canadian dollars in many places in Fenspace.
Australia is also the central transit hub for goods flowing from Earth into Fenspace and vice versa. Major ports are the Avalon-Point Wilson Aerospace & Aqua Port in Melbourne and Kingsford Smith International Spaceport in Sydney. Orbital Air runs passenger transport operations out of Perth, and Stellvia Trading runs their tourist operations out of Sydney.
Hobart, Tasmania is the home of Leonard H. McCoy Memorial Medical Center, the largest fan-backed hospital facility in Fenspace and the only one on Earth capable of handling handwavium-related conditions.
The Artemis Foundation maintains an office in Canberra aimed at keeping good relations with the Australian government.
The world's third busiest spaceport (after Kingsford Smith International and Avalon-Point Wilson) is the famous Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Cosmodrome handles large amounts of fendane traffic, mostly from the former Soviet republics, the European Union and India heading for the outer edge of the solar system. Cosmodrome officials maintain good relations with the Soviet Air Force, fostering a fair bit of "hometown pride" in Ptichka.
The Artemis Foundation maintains offices in the national capital of Astana and in the city of Baikonur as part of their Earth-based operations.
New Zealand wasn't initially part of the "ANZAC renaissance," but thanks to proximity to Australia and a certain level of adaptability (any country that declares Peter Jackson a favorite son is going to be at least a little sympathetic to fen) the island nation quickly became part of the Fenspace economic sphere. Wellington International Spaceport opened for business in 2010 and has managed plenty of tourist and agricultural trade.
In the outer suburbs of Lagos there is a large hole in the ground. This hole wouldn't be remarkable by most standards - while impressively wide, it's not very deep compared to other holes in the Earth's surface - but this one is special. This hole in the ground, known locally as The Divot, is the place where Eric Zhu and his crew built and then launched the Island, sparking all sorts of interesting controversies about the use of handwavium.
The Solomon Space Agency takes advantage of the fact that the Solomon Islands have not signed the Outer Space Treaty to commercialize space travel, space exploration, and space-related business on a large scale. Their primary (and only) launch facility is on Choiseul Island.
The capital of the UK houses the European headquarters for the Banzai Institute for Strategic and Biotechnical Research. A smaller setup than the American headquarters, it takes up less than a city block, but still contains many of the same facilities as its counterpart (if in reduced capacity). Of note is an extensive data archive and library of research material, gathered by the Institute for its use. Much of this library is available in electronic format, and is accessible through the Institute's website. The London HQ is run by "McAllister," a man of some repute in certain circles of the British underworld. It is known that "Mac" (as he is normally known) was a smuggler with a great deal of influence on the British crime scene, and that he had retired some time before joining the Institute. Critics of the Institute often cite McAllister's presence as a reason not to trust the Blue Blazers, implying that if McAllister, a known criminal, can find a place in the organization, how altruistic can they truly be? McAllister ignores such criticism, and Buckaroo Banzai has released several statements attesting to his unimpeachable character. British law enforcement has found little or nothing in the way of evidence that McAllister has been involved in criminal activities since well before his joining with the Institute. McAllister is assisted by a number of European Blue Blazers, in particular Tallyho, Ogre, John Steed, and Mrs. Peel.
United States of America
The US is where many (if not most) of the original fen are from, and as a result the fen have left their mark on the place perhaps a bit more solidly than they would've anywhere else.
The John F. Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, Florida was the centerpoint for American manned spaceflight from 1961 to 2010, when the American manned program was effectively shut down with the last flight of the pre-wave Space Shuttle. The center itself remains the property of the American government, but the Shuttle processing facilities have been leased by the Artemis Foundation for use with their Shuttle fleet. Also, Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has been renovated to accomodate larger fenships in general and the SV Moondance in particular.
Artemis also mantains an office in Washington, DC for purposes of trying to smooth over any leftover bad feeling from the Graces imbrogio.
On 42 West 23rd Street in Seattle, Washington is an unassuming building that claims to be Illuminati World Headquarters. Whether or not this is a large-scale joke on the part of somebody has yet to be determined.
The suburb of Irving, Texas houses the American headquarters of the Banzai Institute for Strategic and Biotechnical Research. A quiet and comfortable compound, the Institute resembles a small college more than anything else, housing research labs, classrooms, dormitories, a gymnasium, a fully equipped garage capable of housing a full-sized bus, a zen garden, and a small clinic. The Institute is run by an unassuming woman in her mid-60s who is known as "Mrs. Johnson" and a gregarious red-headed man that answers to "Sensei." Rumors about the Institute include the supposed presence of a tunnels under Irving that lead to a variety of destinations, including the semi-mythological Armory, headquarters of the Rugsuckers; strange brainwashing rituals that make Blue Blazers follow Buckaroo with slavish devotion; and the rumor that Mrs. Johnson is Blue Blazer leader Blackstone's mother and/or lover (this last one makes Mrs. Johnson shake her head with pity and Blackstone break down in paroxysms of laughter).
Just outside the small town of Kearney, West Virginia is an extremely large hole in the ground, a kilometer wide and half a kilometer deep, slowly filling with water. This is Lake Schroeck, also known as "The Bowl," the former site of Grover's Corners before the owners worked their magic and lifted an entire neighborhood into Earth orbit.
- The Fen Consulate to Canada - a typical example of a Fenspace Convention diplomatic posting in a friendly country on Earth
- Base rumor suggests that the fen have some sort of "hold" on the Australian government, but this of course is silly. Fnord.
- Despite Ptichka's crew being neither Russian nor Kazakh. But the shuttle is Russian, and that's what counts apparently.