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Well, conversation here has been vanishingly thin, and the formatting, indexing, and search feature here leave much to be desired. Fortunately, the munificent Roger Bell_West has offer hosting for a "Flat Black" discussion category on his Discourse server at

Imperial holidays and anniversaries

1 January: New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is a public holiday in many colonies as well as the Empire. Most people spend it quietly, recovering from the exertions of New Year’s Eve. It is a day for announcing new undertakings.
On New Year’s Day the Imperial Council releases the ‘New Year’s Honours List’, announcing which people have been awarded knighthoods, and which lords have been co-opted to the Imperial Council.

14 February: Valentine’s Day

The old festival of romantic love is a public holiday. People celebrate it with ancient fertility customs, such as giving flowers to their sweethearts, blind dating, and party games involving kissing and random allotment of partners. Costume parties and masked balls are also common.

29 February: Leap Year’s Day

The Empire follows the Gregorian calendar (even though the seasons on Earth are now irrelevant). In the PDT system leap years are those that leave a remainder of three when divided by four, except for years ending in 47 but not 047.
29 February (when it occurs) is a sort of Saturnalia, a day for pranks and jokes. Everything is turned topsy-turvy: junior midshipmen preside at wardroom dinners and so forth. It is also a public holiday.

18 April: the destruction of Earth

Official commemorative services are held at ‘dawn’ on the anniversary of the destruction of Earth. After work Imperial Servants congregate again, often in public places, for their dismal annual ritual. With the scenescape set to show some famous beauty-spot on Old Earth, the party-goers try desperately to enjoy themselves until midnight, often drinking heavily.
As the hour approaches a hush falls. Old hands drain their glasses and steel themselves. A wave of flame like breaking surf roars across the panorama, breaking mountains like sand castles, consuming seas. The party-goers are engulfed in heatless light. A few, holograms all along, might char and puff into instant ash. All goes silent. The sun and stars burn untwinkling in a black velvet sky. The scene around is desolation.
It doesn’t get easier each year. It gets worse.

1 May: May Day

The May Day public holiday is an occasion for family gatherings and indulgence of children. They receive presents from their elders in the morning. There are public amusements for children: clowns, acrobatic displays, childish games and so forth. Family celebrations follow at night.

21 June: Missahan Day

This public holiday celebrates the arrival of the first colonists at Reykjavik.

20 July: Apollo 11 Day / Tranquillity Day

This public holiday celebrates the landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Luna.

27 August: Eichberger Day

This public holiday celebrates the first faster-than light trip, taken by Tomitomo Eichberger’s from Mayflower to Tau Ceti.

29 September: Michaelmass

Michaelmass is the anniversary of the destruction of Orinoco. The public holiday is to commemorate of the oath that the Fleet swore after that event.

5 November: Mayflower Day

The anniversary of the destruction of Mayflower is set aside for the remembrance of those who have given their lives in the Imperial cause. It is a day of solemn ceremonies of remembrance, laying of wreaths and singing Kipling’s Recessional.

31 December: New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve Imperials party until midnight to see the new year in, sing Auld Lang Syne, and so on.

And here we are, as best my poor skills as a graphic artist will get us anywhere. Insignia of rank for the armed services of the Empire in Flat Black (Imperial Navy and Imperial Marines).


The insignia depicted for marines are the subdued-colour rank patches worn on armour &c.: dull indigo embroidery and stripes of braid on olive backing. Service uniforms are about the same colours, but the embroidery is neater. Dress and mess uniforms involve multicoloured embroidery, gold, scarlet, or blue braid, enamelled badges etc..

The insignia depicted directly under the heading "Officers" are cuff distinctions. The versions depicted, with gold braid stripes around the cuff and gold stars on I-can't-believe-it's-not-black are those worn by officers in the Warfare branch of the Imperial Navy. Similar stripes are worn in other branches of the Imperial Service, but in different colours and with branch-of-service insignia in place of the star. The branch-of-service badge for Imperial Marines commando officers is a winged dagger, which also appears in the insignia of a chief warrant officer:


The insignia in the bottom row are tactical rank badges. They are worn by marines officers and by warfare-branch naval officers only (Home Office police have a similar but distinct set). Their usual place is in the middle of the chest etc. on combat uniforms and armour. In situations where marines and naval warfare officers would wear them on epaulettes and shoulder-boards, other officers wear distinction stripes instead.

Note that the E-9 insignia (Master Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer in the Navy and Marines respectively) are no longer crudely hacked from the royal arms of Canada and the UK, but are now actual drawings of what they are supposed to look like.

Here's a revised table of revised ranks and revised insignia, pretty much as discussed above. I've done the officers' cuff distinctions, but still need more appropriate illustrations for the E-9 insignia.


Thanks for catching that.

The Board of Trustees is the Board of Trustees of the Eichberger Foundation, which holds vast assets and garners vast revenues deriving from the monopoly on FTL travel, and which funds the Empire in default of any taxes being levied. The same group of people make up the Imperial Council, which exercises the prerogative powers of the Empire, but the Board and the Council are technically separate bodies with separate origins and independent powers.

I vacillate over whether to revise the two bodies into one, for simplicity.

I'll have a look at the "Welcome" page now, and edit it to relieve the newcomers' perplexity.

The only occurrence of the phrase "Board of Trustees" on the welcome page is in the sentence:

"Relations between the Board of Trustees and the Senate are poisonous: the Senate is so intent on restraining Imperial tyranny that it is slow to approve even such interventions as it agrees are necessary"

which makes the identity, purpose, etc of "The Board of Trustees" ill-defined, if intriguing.

ForeSight group on FaceBook by AgemegosAgemegos, 06 Feb 2016 01:18

I'm working on the article about the history on Earth of colonising project, and I'm up to the middle and end of the 22nd century. I have already discussed the traditional religions that are likely to give rise to early religious separatist colonies, and no I think that I ought to do the same for traditional utopist movements, such as Socialism and Objectivism.

It's a time in which there are only a few dozen possible destinations. It's also a time in which terraforming and settling a distant world still seems like a desperate and chancy undertaking, so that only a very small proportion of any population will actually undertake it. For both reasons, only groups that are either very numerous or very enthusiastic will produce enough volunteers.

So has anyone any suggestions of utopist plans that are already well-known enough, widely-admired enough, and progress-resistant enough that we imagine that they will still be influential in 150 years? Socialism. Anarchism (socialist). Anarchism (libertarian). Democratic socialism. And? How might the Romantic authoritarianism of fascism express itself if not alloyed with the religious conservatism of a specific religion or the xenophobic nationalism of a specific nation?

Good old-fashioned utopias by AgemegosAgemegos, 24 Oct 2015 00:22

Ab Tellure destructa certainly has a fine cadence.

Oaky. I've revised the article on Habitable Planets & Moons. It's a pretty thorough re-write, so perhaps a read through for significant errors and omissions is called for, but I hope to make only copy-editing changes to this article until the draft is finished.

Progress, 11 October 2015 by AgemegosAgemegos, 11 Oct 2015 09:37

G'day Daniel! Thanks for calling in.

I flatter myself that Flat Black is a pretty good setting, but as for being a comprehensive effort the problem is that most of the detail is found only in my head, or is scattered through scores of conversations I've had with players on a scad of different forums, some of which aren't even available any more, like the archives of a Yahoo mailing list that we had once. What's really needed is a comprehensive effort at getting everything written out explicitly in one place.

The biggest obstacle to that is my motivation, and so the biggest help that anyone can be right now is to encourage me to keep writing. So if you could look in every now and again, see what's new, and give my arse a gentle kick if there isn't enough of it, that would be a help. And if there is something new that you like, enthuse.

I'm trying to control my tendency to re-write unfinished work rather than complete a draft, which is somewhere between a besetting sin and a self-destructive compulsion. I've set a target of spending no more time on revision than on drafting new material, until all those red links are blue. That being the case I would like you to tell me about any important issues, especially gaps, oversights, and omissions. There are likely to be many, and this material is over-familiar to me and I have forgotten how much is not obvious. Also, filling in gaps produces output (which I can always edit later), whereas cutting out redundancy can wait until the draft is done.

Ask about things you want to know about about the setting and that I haven't drafted the article on. That's always handy for spurring bursts of enthusiasm, such as I am often spurred to dash off an article in.

Thanks for joining,

— Brett

Hi Brett, Daniel here. I've signed up and will be browsing through as time allows. The Wiki Recent Changes RSS is in my feed reader and will likely be the main way I track your progress, though I'm not sure if the RSS content itself will give much clarity on the exact changes.

From my semi-random reading this looks like an incredibly comprehensive effort, congratulations on what you've achieved so far. I'm not very genre savvy so some of my questions and comments may appear naive, but will hopefully point out the way that a newcomer to Flat Black appreciates the content. What sort of feedback do you anticipate might be most valuable to you? I mean this in terms of the subject of any feedback, such as syntax/grammar, format and organisation, expansion/consolidation, ideation, meta-game etc.

We've got History & Purpose of the Empire.

I've changed the system of dates from "PDT" (which was bad Latin) to ab Tellure destructa, which I'm told is better.

Progress, October the Third by AgemegosAgemegos, 03 Oct 2015 08:23

The article on habitable planets & moons has turned out to be a lot longer than I intended. I would welcome comments on whether it is to verbose, and whether it covers much of general planetology that is not specific to Flat Black and would be better left to other sources.

Progress: 30 September '15 by AgemegosAgemegos, 30 Sep 2015 13:18

Someone once said or wrote that "by the time we reach the stars we won't need planets". The point was that it's easier and will most likely be far cheaper to build an artificial habitat in space than to migrate to another star system.

I want to quote the remark in the Flat Black wiki, but I can't remember who wrote it. Arthur C. Clarke? Robert L. Forward? Gerard O'Neill? Can someone help me out?

Because of one reason and another I didn't get as much done today as I had hoped to, but there is some. The article on colonies now has draft text in it and not just a list of links.

Another thing that happened today is that I determined that the monster Excel workbooks I coded to generate system and planet details produce different results in LibreOffice and Open Office than they did in Excel, which is a bit tragic. I must not allow myself to be distracted into addressing this problem now. When I do mend it the repair had better involve coding a generator from the ground up in some rational programming language, such as Python. I have to learn Python. And SQL, probably.

Progress: 27 Sept '15 by AgemegosAgemegos, 27 Sep 2015 11:26

I have written way too much about the Imperial Marines, too.

Re: My, how the time slips by by AgemegosAgemegos, 26 Sep 2015 06:32

I see a few core entries are done, especially economic levels. :)

Re: My, how the time slips by by bryanpbryanp, 26 Sep 2015 03:13
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