A Short History of the Natural Selection Universe
Hello again to the Natural Selection community. Most of you probably won't remember me, but I used to post on the old NS boards under the same handle. At the time I was writing a piece of NS fanfiction called Gates, Moons and Stars. It's objective was to simply to expand upon the official fluff of the NS universe. I enjoyed writing it, but then real life caught up, I stopped playing NS, and I forgot about it. Six years went by.
A few days ago I found the original on an old hard drive of mine and I decided to complete it. Sadly it seems that the official fluff has all but vanished; I can find no trace of it on the official site. For those that remember it, I try to not trespass on any of the established lore.
This is in no way shape or form official, or even meant to be official. It is simply a piece of creative writing that I found enjoyable.
I should also point out that I did write most of this six years ago. Hence the timeline starts in 2003, and obviously things have not progressed in the real world in accordance with my writings.
EDIT: Now available in PDF format, thanks to Breakthrough! http://rapidshare.com/files/279715221/Gates_Moons_Stars.zipGates, Moons and Stars: A Short History of the World from 2003 Introduction
Possibly the first thing that must be written in an account such as this is an explanation of what this document seeks to do. What it is not is a complete history of the Sol system and the extra-terrestrial colonies. Such a task would occupy the hard drives of a dozen data-compactors, or hundreds of the old 20th or 21st century wood-pulp recorders known as books. No, this document is meant to be a summary, touching on the major issues that have resulted in the current situation that the human race finds itself in today. A lay-person with no prior reading of history should be able to walk away from this text with a sound knowledge of both the events leading up to the Expansion Period and the subsequent history of inter-stellar humanity. As such, persons who have researched this area of history thoroughly will gain little from this document. So to my fellow scholars and lecturers, I say "sorry". My work here is not addressed to you.
Nor is this a work that attempts to look at every faction and nation, be they terrestrial or stellar, that have come into being or disappeared during, before or after the Expansion or Consolidation. There is a wealth of information far more specialized than what will be written here. I have provided relevant sources where I see necessary, but they are merely meant as a starting point.
In writing this work for the people of the world, those who have pursued paths other than those of history, I hope to bring understanding and knowledge to the countless millions who even today ask themselves "Why are we here?â€ Whilst the question itself is one of deep philosophical significance, from a historical perspective I hope to partially answer it. This particular area of history has, of late, been inundated with texts and documents that concentrate too much on small or singular issues without looking at the whole. This, I hope, will be rectified.
Finally, it must be stated that all work here is based upon the writings of Jeff Paris, and the Natural Selection computer game conceived and directed by Charlie Cleveland. Part One: Foundations2000 - 2050Chapter 1: The United States of America
Many people, upon reading the name of this chapter, will wonder if I properly spell checked this document. No, what you see is not a typographic error, but the archaic name for the Earth state known today as United America. Given the role that UA has played in the Expansion and Consolidation periods, it would be foolish indeed to not examine the roots of this modern nation. Given the constraints of the allowable length of this document, this will not be as in depth as many would deem necessary.
The continent of North America was first reached by European settlers late in the 15th century, who at first concentrated their efforts on the military conquest of the native empires of South America and Mesoamerica. Following religious turmoil in Western Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, France and Germany (former independent states now part of the European Federation), several groups of people traveled to the North American continent in the early 1600's seeking to settle there and establish their own communities. The following 150 years saw a steady increase in immigration rates, resulting in populous and wealthy colonial settlements. Naturally, the countries of Europe sought to gain control over the various colonies, and after a number of fairly small scale conflicts, the major North American colonies were firmly in the hands of the English (the citizens of the former United Kingdom referred to themselves by this name).
Seeking to pay for the expenses incurred by the recent fighting, the United Kingdom began to levy new taxes upon the colonists of the North American colonies. The colonists were outraged, not so much by the taxes themselves but by the fact that they had virtually no representation in the government that levied these taxes against them (note the similarities to the Mars colonies). Unrest followed, until finally fighting broke out. After 8 years of fighting, in 1783 the colonies were declared an independent nation and thus was born The United States of America. The name itself is a reference to the nature of the new nation, in that it was initially a coalition of states.
The new nation certainly had the foundations for a mighty state; natural resources, an industrious population and almost limitless land to expand into. The next 120 years would see the USA expand across the North American continent, a process that would touch off a civil war in 1861. Coming out of this period of expansion were concepts such as "Manifest destiny", or the belief that the nation was destined to cover the whole continent. This would have important consequences when the Expansion Period began. The nation stabilized after their civil war though, and remained fairly distant from world affairs until 1917, when during the second last year of the First World War (1914 - 1918) the sinking of US merchant shipping by the nation of Germany prompted the USA to enter the war. With its industrial power and population base, the USA was to play an important role in securing victory for the Allied Powers (France, England, and Russia).
However, it was not until after the Second World War (1939 - 1945) that the USA began to take a much more aggressive role in world affairs. Acting to counter the spread of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, see Chapter 2, nation is now known as Russia) into Europe, the USA established the North American Treaty Organization (NATO, see Chapter 3) and began to actively counter-act Soviet attempts to spread the political ideology known as Communism (see Chapters 2 & 4, also The Cygni System). The resulting struggle was known as the Cold War (1945 - 1991), named so because of its lack of major conflict. With the collapse of the USSR in 1991, this struggle effectively ended. The USA however, was still determined to make its presence felt in the world.
The Middle East (see Chapter 5, also The Epsilon System) would be the flashpoint for the USA's new conflicts. The invasion of Kuwait by the state of Iraq provoked American and European involvement to prevent the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from gaining control over a large percentage of the world's crude oil supplies (petroleum distillates were heavily used during the 20th and early 21st century, see Greenhouse Effect). Iraq was disarmed over the next decade, but the US administration of George W. Bush (see Iran War, Chapter 5) was convinced that Saddam Hussein was building biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in secrecy. In 2003 the USA, supported namely by the United Kingdom and Australia (see Chapter 8, also The Wolf and Beta Hydri Systems) invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein. The USA then began to set up a democratic government.
One of the driving forces behind this invasion was the attack that occurred on September 11th, 2001, in New York (see The Manhattan Ruins), when Arabic terrorists flew hijacked airliners into two sky rise buildings and the Pentagon, the nerve centre of the US military. The USA responded by invading the nation of Afghanistan (see Chapter 4, also China Territories) and attempting to set up a democratic nation there. Although the attack was nothing like the strikes of the 2100's, or even the bombing of 2015, it provoked deep sentiments amongst American citizens.
The USA pursued what it termed "The War on Terror" for a number of decades, before finally in 2023 the conflict was deemed to be over. The most striking episodes were the Iran War of 2007 and the "Terror Years" from 2015 to 2021. The Iran War was touched off by the state of Israel (see Chapter 5, also the Alpha Centauri System), which felt threatened by Iran's construction of nuclear weaponry. In 2005 Israel destroyed Iranâ€™sâ€™ main nuclear research facilities with a surprise air raid. Iran, furious, forged closer ties with the newly invigorated Russia (see Chapter 2) and imported large quantities of modern weaponry, including 2 new nuclear fission reactors. When Israel tried to destroy these reactors in January of 2007, their aircraft were decimated by Iranian defense systems. Iran declared a holy war or "jihad" against Israel and the USA, which had close ties to Israel. Iranian tank and infantry formations crossed into Iraq, which had been under US control since 2003.
The USA quickly moved to re-enforce its troops in Iraq, but an aircraft carrier task force escorting naval troops was ambushed in the Indian Sea by Iranian anti-ship missiles. The aircraft carrier Independence was sunk and 4 other ships badly damaged, with two sinking the next day. US marines forced a landing in southern Iran on the 15th of February whilst US naval aviation backed by aircraft in Iraq pounded Iranian ground formations. Iranian troops were driven back from Iraq and soon US forces, backed by Iraqi troops and Israeli aircraft, were driving for the Iranian capital.
By this stage the Iranian government was in a state of panic. The detonation of a fuel-air explosive device in the south was mistakenly identified as a nuclear blast, and the government decided to deploy its nuclear arsenal on the 28th of February. 5 Shahab MRBM missiles were launched, and although the silo facilities were bombed minutes later by US aircraft, the missiles were already airborne. US surface to air missile systems managed to intercept the missile targeted at the southern beach-head, but the warhead triggered a partial yield, killing over 5,000 American marines. A second missile was targeted at Baghdad, capital of Iraq. This missile struck its target with a yield of 75 kilotons, devastating the Iraqi capital and killing well over half a million people, including the American-sponsored administration. The three final missiles traveled towards Israel. Only one hit, destroying half of the city of Tel Aviv, the former capital of Israel. The state of Israel was quick to respond, launching three nuclear missiles of it's own at the Iranian capital, Tehran, within a few minutes of the attack. The city was utterly destroyed (see Iranian Radiation Zones).
With its government in ruins, the Iranian military effort collapsed. US troops drove inland and the final elements of the Iranian military surrendered in May of 2007. Guerrilla elements continued to fight for some years though, and noticeably it was an Iranian group behind the 2015 bombing of New York. Thankfully, the rapid ending of the conflict had forestalled fears of a wider conflict spreading into Pakistan and Russia.
With Iran now occupied, the USA began to scale down its forces in the Middle Eastern region. Troops were recalled home and military spending decreased for a time. Then, on October 2nd, 2015, a nuclear device concealed in a truck was detonated in the heart of the American city of New York. Over four million people were killed. The device, a leftover remnant of the 2007 war, was smuggled, piece by piece, into Mexico then into the US itself.
The USA vowed to hunt down the terrorist group responsible, and within a month it was determined that an organization named "Iranian Liberation" was responsible. This group was ruthlessly pursued, but as this occurred, the so-called "Terror Years" developed. Whilst the US tracked down the Iranian group with incredible speed, the US quickly learned was that this group was but one of many, and they had all taken their cue now to launch their own attacks. Afghani, Iraqi and Iranian groups all launched their own attacks against targets in the US and the Middle East. In July 2016 a car bomb exploded in Los Angeles, killing over 340 people in a crowded shopping mall. August of the same year saw a cell apprehended attempting to poison the water supply of Chicago. In March 2017 an Iraqi suicide bomber managed to blow up a liquefied natural gas tanker in Basra, destroying 3 US navy vessels and killing over 10,000 US soldiers and Iraqis. 2018 witnessed 3 attacks: the detonation of a sarin gas shell in the subways of San Francisco (1456 deaths), the destruction of the US embassy in Cairo (213 deaths) and the hijacking of an Australian cargo ship carrying thousands of tones of ammonium-nitrate fertilizer. The ship, which had been headed for Los Angeles, was blown up in the harbor, killing over 12,000 people.
It was only in 2021 that an uneasy peace seemed to settle. The main terrorist groups had been tracked down and eliminated, and in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, a combination of US Special Forces troops and indigenous police forces had crushed support for the various factions. Sporadic attacks still occurred, but these were small scale.
Perhaps one of the major contributing factors for the slump in attacks was the large scale withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East. By 2023, there were barely 20,000 US troops in the region, and most of them were advisors to police and military forces in the newly created democratic nations of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. 2030 would see the US pull out of the region altogether, whilst still maintaining ties to the democratic nations they had helped to create. The US of the 2030's was more concerned with healing the wounds of the previous two decades and tending to its own people. However, this would not prevent the region from causing the downfall of one of the longest lasting alliances in history, that of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
It was in the 2030's that the so-called "Resource Crisis" began to make it's presence felt. With the world population over 8 billion by 2031, natural resources were being depleted at a rate where they could not be replenished. In some areas, noticeably energy and transportation, a switchover to alternate power sources was relatively straightforward and trouble free. By 2035, although world oil reserves remained fairly steady, most electricity generation was by means of solar, wind, hydro and nuclear plants. The materials and technology necessary for these forms of power generation had previously been too expensive to implement but by the 2020's, they had become cheap enough for these alternate energy sources to actively compete with coal and oil plants. Indeed, eventually it would be economic factors that would herald the coming of more ecologically friendly sources of power that are still in widespread use today, despite the widespread usage of fusion power. Similarly, automobiles would increasingly come to rely on non-petroleum sources of energy, though without doubt breakthroughs in the fields of superconductivity and battery design helped enormously to this switch.
Other resources though were not as easily replaced with alternate sources. Of all the resources that were absolutely essential to survival, yet were in danger of running out, food and water were of the most importance. Even today, with mankind spread across half our galaxy and founding new colonies every day, food and water remain paramount. With the population of Earth today at a stable 3.5 billion, there is more than enough food to go around; indeed, Earth is an active exporter of luxury foods. Prior to the Expansion Period however, with so many teeming millions to feed, Earth's capacity to produce sufficient food was in question. The slash-and-burn agriculture which had already reduced many of Earth's ancient forests and replaced them with desert was now running out of areas to deforestate. Intensified, sustained agriculture was the only way to feed the billions of people living on the Earth, but such farming required water in large amounts. Hence, water lay at the root of the food question.
Water, or rather the control of its distribution, would come to dominate the politics of many nations around the world. In some cases, such as the China-Russia Water Treaties of 2034, the situation was defused peacefully and all parties were able to come to an agreeable solution. The Middle East however would see a brief but violent episode, one of several that flared across the globe during that 2030's that would later come to be known as the "Water Wars" (see Chapter 5 ). The end result would be the final split between the United States of America and the nations of Europe.
The conflict had its roots in Turkey, where the 2 great rivers which supplied the Middle East with so much of its water originated, the Tigris and Euphrates. Turkey, which was starting to face critical water shortages of its own, announced in 2033 that it would be starting a massive program to dam the Tigris and Euphrates near their sources, thus securing water for Turkish crops. The Turkish government solemnly promised that more than enough water would be allowed to flow downstream, but the reaction of the Middle Eastern nations that relied upon the two rivers for most of their water supply, namely Syria and Iraq, was hostile. Angry protestors in Damascus and Basra (the new capital of Iraq after the Iranian War) flowed into the streets, adding to the anger of their leaders who did not want such a vital resource in the hands of another nation. Turkey though would not back down, insisting that their program was reasonable. The Iraqi government responded by turning to the nation responsible for their very existence, the USA. US President McNeal was placed in an impossible situation, as the USA was tied to both Turkey and Iraq, to the former by the NATO, and to the latter by alliances forged by war.
Iraq and Syria both moved their armed forces to high states of alert and shifted ground troops towards the border with Turkey. The Turkish government responded in kind, in addition to calling an emergency session of NATO's Security Council to try and gain support for its actions. At the council meetings over the next few weeks, the Turkish government tried to gain a guarantee that its NATO allies would aid Turkey if the country was attacked. None of the other NATO countries wanted to give Turkey such an endorsement; however they were well aware that the NATO charter would force their actions if war did come.
On the 5th of June, 2033, Turkish military engineering corps, along with thousands of civilian contractors, moved into position near the Tigris River to begin the damming process. Iraq issued one simple warning: withdraw or face war. Turkey did not alter their plans. On the 7th, Iraqi artillery opened fire on Turkish border posts in the north of Iraq. Syrian aircraft also shot down 3 Turkish air patrols. Ground troops from both Syria and Iraq now began driving into Turkey.
Turkey convened another emergency NATO session on June 8th, stating that the country had been attacked and demanding the other NATO countries comply with their treaty regulations. Directly after the Turkish delegation had spoken, the US representative stood and announced that the United States of America was withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. After distributing the relevant official documents, the US delegation rose and left the room.
In less than a week the entire alliance collapsed. With the removal of its single largest and most powerful member, the organization felt it was now powerless. The United Kingdom left a few hours after the US, and after that it was simply a matter of time. Coupled with a mutual desire amongst the remaining nations not to get involved in another Middle Eastern squabble, there was no feasible way the alliance could have continued.
With NATO gone, the US swiftly moved to condemn the actions of Turkey. Although wary of another Middle Eastern venture, the US government stated clearly that if the Turkish government did not immediately cease its plans to dam the rivers, the US would intervene in the matter before the month had ended. Turkey appealed to Russia for help, but the commercial military giant to the north had no intention of involving itself. Faced with the prospect of open war with the United States, Turkey backed down, scrapping the plans for the dams. A cease-fire came about almost immediately, and both Iraqi and Syrian forces withdrew. Despite a few intense skirmishes, the casualties were fairly low, and both respective sides were able to back down with few consequences.
The water situation worldwide would only be solved by the mass emigration of countless millions out into space, but this was still yet to come. In the meantime, water disputes would continue to touch off regional conflicts.
Having severed its ties to Europe, the US now turned inwards, focusing on ensuring that its own citizens were placed first. With Russia and China both providing heavy competition to US goods, the USA found itself falling behind. From 2030 to 2052, successive US governments were elected on campaigns than promised more benefits for US citizens first. The gradual phase-in of free health care (for so many today who take this for granted, there was a time when this was not common) and increased funding to education was considered necessary to compete with Chinese products and students.
Something which the US government did pay close attention to over the years however was their space program. Although direct commercial benefits were limited to satellites and technology, by 2050 the US government had managed to maintain their head start over the other space faring nations of the world (Russia, India, China, Japan, European Space Agency), though other nations were closing the gap fast. Whilst China would be far more active in the field of manned space exploration, the US still possessed more advanced technology. Thus, when the Kensky/Libovah team discovered phase technology, the US was able to quickly exploit their space advantage. This, to a large extent, explains the fact that the first Gate (Armstrong) constructed was built by the United States, and the first system explored (Alpha Centauri) was undertaken by a US ship.
Finally, 20th and 21st century USA had been one of the most capitalist societies on Earth. Massive corporations, such as General Electric and Microsoft had been born in the US, and as such they would be some of the first to be allowed access to the new Gate technology. Given the huge role that corporations were to play in the Expansion Period, it was partially through these corporations themselves that the USA had such a massive industrial and commercial complex, rivaled only by that of China, that allowed it to expand rapidly. The union of capital and technology would fuel American colonization efforts and allow the nation to recover from the crippling costs that were incurred.
The United States of America would cease to exist soon after the Expansion Period, reborn as United America, but its legacy is felt even today. The sense of individualism and independence that so characterizes UA colonies and space stations was founded from the first days of the USA as a nation. The pioneer spirit of many American settlers was, and is, rooted in the history of the USA as a whole. The military forces founded to safeguard that individualism and freedom was what allowed the UA to defend its interstellar possessions, and the attacks of the early 21st century would prepare them for the terrorist threats of the second half of that century. Overall, of all the myriad of states that made up the world of 2050, the United States of America was the one which stood poised, best positioned to use the new phase technology to the fullest. And indeed, today, over 100 years later, the influence of this ancient nation can be seen and felt everywhere.
For further reference, George Thornton's article "The United States of America before Expansion", Clarissa Chang's work "21st Century American History", Leon Tzoskys' "America from Republic to Union" and Marson Olsons' "The Years of Terror: 2003 - 2021" are all excellent sources. Alternatively, a simple web search will return thousands of documents about pre-Gate America. Searches under the following criteria will return the best results: â€œUnited States of America, history, colonial,â€, â€œUnited States of America, historyâ€ and â€œUnited States History, foreign relationsâ€.