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Since nearly all cultures develop their timekeeping systems based on the orbits of satellites--rotationary periods of light and darkness, usually, or revolutions of moons and planets--"cycles" is a term with many localized definitions. During the pre-Conflict Dural Sessions, it was decided via consensus at an early stage that all records would be organized chronologically by cycle. Naturally, each delegation assumed its own definition of the term; the resulting incongruities led to a conflict over wildly contradictory records until the Sessions' abrupt and lethal end.

Though the Sessions never produced a standard definition, space travelers have since developed an informal case-usage that depends on the speaker's current location. For example, on an M-class planet, a cycle is 1 / 384 of an Alphas standard year (regardless of the planet's light-dark period); on an orbital station, it is 1 / 16 of an Alphas year; on a free-floating station or non-Bartleby Drive ship, it is a crew memberís tour of duty as defined by the [Spacers' Federated Guild]?, or 8 Alphas years; and on a ship traveling at relativistic speed, it is an internal light-dark cycle based on the ratio of perceived flattening of external solar bodies.

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Edited October 4, 2004 4:02 am by Brendan (diff)