De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium

May’s progress sees the Proteus thread going pretty well. Perhaps the sunshine woke me up a bit. A month ago, Marie and company were still just on their way out from Aria, so I reckon I’ve gone the right direction. Their pace had to pick up a bit to ever reach Andala. Let alone what’s happened since.

And yet it has slowed again, I know. Not my word-count, hardly, but once again the pace of narrative. This time I think I’ve better reason to stay close in, telling a lot of detail. Besides, I reckon I can see where this is going and, if anything, the encounter in its immediate turn is the whole point of Proteus. In other words: stay peeled. It’ll either be good or I won’t have managed it.

In the process of cranking out the first contact story – not to be confused with the other kind of cranking which ain’t no fun at all – I’ve been laying canon left right and centre, without my preferred prevarication first. I guess that’s just what real writers do. Proteus is still first draft, with minor edits coming to mind every time I read an earlier part to check on where I’m headed, so don’t consider anything absolute as yet. But the whole point of background is to have a place to build upon you’re less than likely to tear down later on and start afresh. Decisions matter, everywhere in life, the deeper back they go.

One came up when I had to choose the length of day on Andala. I’ve had a name for it — aieer — for a while now, and a rough figure. Now that the matter is settled, first draft style, I might as well record it. So here goes.

Andala’s orbit around Kai is 187,956 seconds, noon to noon. That’s 52 hours 12 minutes and 36 seconds or 2.175 days, in our time. Because Andala is tidally locked (as Mina in the story is just as fond of explaining), that is the length of its day. What the Ana call aieer. A double length, by human standards. The effect of which on the Proteus crew I’m yet to explore in my writing.

Kai’s orbit around Aira is 88.88 aieer, making 16,705,529 seconds. That’s 193.3 days or 6 months 10 days 19 hours 32 minutes and 9 seconds in our units. Because Andala is Kai’s moon, they share the same tropical year. This is what the Ana call ahreni, and it is what defines the seasons. I reckon, with their base-eight ways, the Ana could have eight seasons of eleven aieer each. But more on that if and when it ever turns up in the story’s proper focus.

Longer days and shorter years. The natural consequence of being a moon, not too perilously close to a planet, while sharing a reddish star. If I were any more scientifically picky than I am, I’d consider the climactic effects of a longer day and night; but instead I’m only hoping they aren’t too bad! I’ve no idea where to start the calculation. As for quicker years, those are mollified a bit by lessening the seasonal intensity.

For one who takes the name of great Copernicus lightly, I should know better than to overlook precession and nutation with such a mighty pair of co-orbiting worlds, let alone play fast and loose with sidereal and tropical conventions. But this is but a note, early in the draft. And I have so much more groundwork to do before I’ve anything like a canon worthy of such scrupulous nitpickery.

The good part being that I’m getting there. Ever onward with the work. I’ll have a book someday at this rate.