Gates, Moons and Stars

Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
edited September 2009 in Fan-Fiction Forum
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!

Gates, Moons and Stars: A Short History of the World from 2003


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?” 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: Foundations

2000 - 2050

Chapter 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 Iran’s’ 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: “United States of America, history, colonial,”, “United States of America, history” and “United States History, foreign relations”.
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  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    edited March 2009
    Chapter 2: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics & The Russian Federation

    The history of the vast land known as Russia has been a turbulent one. Its origins can be traced to the destruction of the city of Kiev in 1240 by Mongol tribesmen, after which the centre of power moved north towards the Moscow region. Over the next 600 years Russia would remain on the peripheries of Europe, constantly lagging behind in education, technology and philosophy. Ancient traditions such as serfdom and feudalism would persist in Russia until the late 19th century, long after they had disappeared from Europe. Whilst this would certainly change during the 20th and 21st centuries, it was the Russian Revolution of 1917 that would have the most profound impact upon the county. The experiences of the Soviet era would shape the Russia of the 21st century, and leave its impact on the Russian people even today.

    Many who have been to the planets and moons that Russian colonies are on, or seen the stark, bleak lines of Russian starships, are struck by the nature of the Russian people. They are hardy men and women, used to a land that is unforgiving, cold and harsh. It is thus little surprise that Russian colonists would be the first to try and settle in some of the galaxy’s most desolate places, such as Europa, the Eridane system and the frozen world of Neptune. An old Russian joke went that "space was a relief from Russian winters". Whilst of course an exaggeration, it does give an insight into these remarkable people.

    The events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 have been well documented, but a short summary shall be given here. In 1914 Russia entered into the First World War, despite being unprepared and militarily inferior to her opponents. After three years of war, during which time hundreds of thousands of Russians were captured and millions more impoverished, the Tsar (a monarch who ruled with absolute authority) was deposed and a republican government under Alexander Kerensky was established (see also Kerensky Base, Eridane system). This government though failed to win widespread support, due mainly to continued involvement in the war. In October of 1917, a communist movement lead by the Bolshevik faction of the Russian socialist movement overthrew the provisional government and plunged the country into civil war.

    The political ideology known as communism can still be seen today, namely in the Cygni system where a few devotees of Marx still adhere to its philosophy. Communism had its roots in socialism, a political theory which held that the world's people were divided into classes, and each class inevitably would compete with the others. Socialism envisioned a classless society, with all peoples equal, receiving equal amounts of pay, labor and rest. Whilst a good philosophy in theory, in reality human nature proved to be incompatible with the ideals of socialism. The major communist governments of the 20th century, namely The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People's Republic of China, would both eventually turn capitalist. It was the first of these two governments, the USSR, which Russia would become under the Bolsheviks.

    From its birth the USSR was a pariah, with few friends amongst the world's nations. Although ruled by brutal dictators, including the infamous Josef Stalin, the USSR was able to produce quite stunning industrial and scientific successes, including the first manmade object and man in space. Whilst the country would suffer greatly under communist rule, especially during the Second World War when the state of Germany invaded (see Chapter 3), by the end of the Soviet era the country did have a large base of industry and skilled workers. Mismanagement and corruption during the 1990's would see much of this industry fall into decay, and many of the workers leave for other countries. It would not be until the 21st century that Russia would be able to assert herself, militarily and economically.

    Under the presidency of Vladimir Putin, the country began to recover from the chaos of the 1990's. Putin in 2004 launched a determined campaign against the Russian crime bosses known as the Mafia, and using paramilitary forces combined with the suspension of some democratic freedoms, organized crime was largely defeated by 2006. Although this alone would not heal the nation, Putin was determined to bring Russia back to its former status as a "super-power" (such as the UA or N.F.O. today). One of the ways this would be accomplished would be to re-energize the armaments industry, which had been a central part of the old Soviet regime's industrial network. Through a system of state subsidies, coupled with the leasing of confiscated plants to Russian and European companies, Putin soon had foreign and domestic capital flowing. The hardware was already in place, and although many Russian scientists had left the country during the 1990's, enough had remained for the new Russian armaments industry, or Rus-Arms as it became known, to design and build military equipment that could actively compete in the international market. Soon after the program started, Iran’s' main nuclear facilities were bombed by Israel in 2005. Turning to Russia for assistance, Rus-Arms saw the perfect opportunity to test some of its new weapons in the field, and gladly supplied Iran with their latest equipment. The fact that Russia was still smarting after the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 though certainly made the arms transfers occur much faster than they otherwise may have.

    Although the Iranians would lose their war against Israel and the USA, their Rus-Arms weaponry performed excellently. International observers were highly impressed with the sinking of the USS Independence by Russia-built anti-ship missiles, and the downing of over two hundred US and Israeli aircraft, including a B-2 stealth bomber, was definite proof that the new Russian arsenal was capable of defending airspace from hostile invasion. In the years following the Iranian war, Rus-Arms exports climbed dramatically. Capital flowed into Russia, and as unemployment dropped and per-capita income rose, the country began to regain some of its former glory.

    The extra capital was used well by the Russian government. Russia still had vast natural resources even after 85 years of communist mismanagement, and these now began to be exploited to the fullest. Mining operations in Siberia were heavily financed by the government, leading to the discovery of rich iron, gold and nickel deposits. The oilfields of the south were reopened and developed, and within a few years Russian oil was actively competing with Middle Eastern sources. Agricultural subsidies, both to encourage the import of western technology and to research better crop species for the Russian climate, were employed heavily by the government. Whilst Russia, even by 2050, could still not feed itself, the amount of foreign grain that had to be imported each year did drop. One resource that many nations now were lacking, water, was in Russia in abundance. The 2035 treaty with China cemented firm relations between the two powers and exchanged Russian water and raw materials for Chinese commerce and trade. This relationship would surprisingly hold true even throughout the Expansion Period, a truly remarkable feat given that the two powers would often be in direct competition over the control of star systems.

    Russia's space program received some funding, but in this area it would be corporations again that would take an upper hand. Communications and military satellites were a very lucrative market, and whilst many nations could not afford the costly launch vehicles and facilities required to launch such equipment, Russia's Soviet-era space program was more than adequate. Utilizing old Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), Russian companies were able to make billions selling satellites to nations across the globe. The manned space program was given little attention; simply because there was little financial gain, and a lot of cost, involved in placing a man in outer space and keeping him alive. Thus throughout the 21st century from 2000 to 2050, Russia's space endeavors were limited to unmanned commercial missions. This is not to say however that Russia was unable to carry out manned missions. Indeed, come 2052, Russian cosmonauts would be some of the first to venture forth to explore the galaxy. The pool of technology and expertise needed to undertake this remained in Russia throughout the early 21st century. It would only be with Gate technology though, and the commercial prospects it offered, that Russia saw any need to place men in space.

    Of course, the Russian people did pay a price for this prosperity. Most of the democratic process in Russia was gone by the 2020's, replaced by more authoritarian rule. The Duma, or parliament, still existed, and it was required to pass any laws, but the office of the President now held more power, and the occupants were elected for eight years at a time. Social security was virtually non-existent, and the unemployed forced to either find work or starve. Whilst education was given increased funding, health services deteriorated, leaving the private sector to occupy this role. Strict crime laws and a police force that was a military in all but name combined to drastically reduce crime, at the cost of the loss of individual liberties and sometimes the right to trial by judge and jury. Criminals were generally provided to the corporations that now covered Russia, and their labor was utilized heavily.

    Yet, whilst many Europeans and Americans were disturbed by these events in Russia, most Russians, it would seem, supported these changes. Their experiences of democracy had been uncontrolled crime and poverty, and many believed that the strong ruler, a theme that had been prevalent throughout Russia's entire history, from Tsars to General Secretaries to Presidents, was the way to achieve prosperity and stability. The freedoms that had been lost were, in the eyes of most Russians, a good price to pay for the rewards they were now reaping. This idea may seem strange to many people, but it is important to remember the history of Russia and the people that have emerged from that history and the land they inhabit. The resilience of the Russian people, and their capacity to weather virtually any conditions, is why they accepted the return of authoritarian rule with so little complaint. For Russians, hardship and oppression was nothing new. Prosperity, power and a sense of pride in the nation were concepts that most Russians had given up on many years previously. Yet they were now a reality.

    By 2050, The Russian Federation had become one of the most powerful and wealthy nations in the world, and had given rise to 3 of the world's top twenty corporations, including Rus-Arms which would one day build the giant shipyards of Neptune. The country's natural resources remained abundant, and coupled with Russian industry the manufacturing capacity of Russia was truly immense. Capital was abundant, and with a strong centralized government the country was able to direct it's wealth to best exploit Gate technology when it arrived. The vast military-industrial complex that Russia had developed would also allow them to protect their stellar possessions, though even they would feel the touch of stellar terrorism and state conflict. But even then, Russia's people endured. And today, they still endure.

    For further reference, Geoffrey Hosking, “Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917", Ronald Grigor Suny’s The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States”, Jeffory Rush “Russia from Putin to Pluto” and Sahra Leing “Remaking Russia: Capitalism, Commerce & Corporations” are all excellent sources. As before, net searches will return a plethora of information, especially the topic words “Russia, History” and “Russia, Commerce”

    Chapter 3: Europe, NATO and the European Union

    It seems hard for us today to imagine a time when the continent of Europe was not working together for their mutual benefit. Yet if not for the advent of phase technology, the divided nations of Europe may never have come together. For almost all of Europe’s history, the continent was split into competing states, each fiercely independent and possessing of unique culture, society and languages.

    In examining the history of Europe, it is difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps the best place to start is when the people of Europe began to refer to themselves as distinctly European, or around the beginning of the 16th century. Prior to this, Europe’s nations had been tied more to Asian and African regions, and the concept of Europe as a singular entity was unheard of. With the beginning of the Age of Discovery however, Europe would quickly come to assert its influence over the entire world, and in the process develop a definite sense of Europeanism.

    Europe in the year 1500 certainly did not have the hallmarks of a continent that would dominate the globe. Its nations were divided and constantly fighting, its technology lagged behind that of Asia and its commerce was paltry compared to the vast wealth of the East. Yet from these weaknesses, strength developed. Thanks to Europe’s divisions, new technologies imported from the East, or developed in Europe, were quickly exploited. The reasons here were two fold. Firstly, a prospective inventor could travel from nation to nation, seeking a ruler or sponsor who would accept his idea, thus keeping his options open. Secondly, new technologies adopted by one European state usually gave them an advantage, be it militaristic, economic or political. Surrounding nations would then move quickly to gain the technology themselves, or develop a superior alternative.

    This fierce competition would be what allowed Europe to expand so quickly and with such devastating effect. After the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the continents of America, European nations scrambled to not only stake a claim in these new lands, but forge new trade routes. By 1600 European colonies had sprung up across the Americas and European merchant ships had rounded southern Africa and were trading with India and China. Wealth from commerce and plunder from the Americas flooded into Europe, which in turn fostered greater expeditions and conquests.

    Whilst Europe’s nations continued to fight amongst themselves, the power of each individual nation grew steadily, passing and then eclipsing the power of Asia and Africa. Europe’s powerful navies, combined with increasingly well armed soldiers, were a potent force that was able to subdue or even conquer lands across the globe. European states founded settlements in North America, South America, Africa and Australia, whilst conquering nations such as the Incan, Aztec and Indian empires. Many modern states have their foundations in European colonies, such as United America, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and South Africa.

    It would not be until the 20th century that Europe’s power would start to wane, and its former empires begin to fall apart. Although the United States of America split away from Europe in 1783, it was an exception rather than the rule. Two wars in the 20th century though would cripple Europe’s power for a time and lead to the breakaway of their colonial assets.

    The First World War began in 1914 and lasted until 1918. In the course of the conflict, over nine million people were killed, including thousands from European colonies. Though not the first global conflict, it was certainly the largest ever, bringing the full force of modern industrialized warfare to bear against ageing military traditions and governments. Europe’s political spectrum would be shattered by WWI, with most of the monarchies of Europe falling to be replaced by republican or communist governments. Old states such as Poland reemerged, and old empires split apart into separate political entities. A council, known as the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations, which in turn would lead to the Trans System Authority) was set up to try and sort out potential conflicts without violence. It was, unfortunately, a failure.

    In 1939 the Second World War began, a conflict born from the First World War. The peace treaties placed upon the nation of Germany by the French and English had fueled deep German resentment and this, coupled with a global economic depression in 1928, had lead to the rise of an extreme right wing government in Germany. The party which controlled this government was named the National Socialist German Workers Party, but it would later be known by the nickname “Nazi Party”. Its leader, Adolf Hitler, was an advocate of racial purity who believed that Germany must purge the world of followers of the Jewish faith. He attacked or allied himself with other nations in Europe, seeking “living space” for the German people and revenge for Germany’s defeat in 1918.

    Hitler though also was obsessed with the destruction of communism. Thus in 1941, after a string of military victories, he invaded the USSR. Initially, the invasion went well, with hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners taken and vast stretches of Russia occupied. However, Hitler had underestimated the resolve of the Russian people and their capacity to resist. Russian armies held the Germans at bay from 1941 to 1943, and after the massive battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, the Soviets began to push the Germans back. In 1945, with British, French and American troops invading Germany from the west, Soviet armies smashed into Germany and took the capital of Berlin. Hitler committed suicide just before Soviet armies reached the city.

    The USSR, worried about another German invasion and eager to stall off the perceived threat of a Western European capitalist invasion of Russia, occupied eastern Germany and much of Eastern Europe. Communist governments were established across Eastern Europe under the direct supervision and control of the USSR. Western Europe and the USA came together under a new alliance known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, whilst Eastern Europe and the USSR formed the Warsaw Pact agreement.

    What followed was known as the Cold War. With Europe divided into two separate armed camps, each soon possessing thousands of nuclear weapons, neither side could attack the other without risking complete annihilation. This concept - Mutually Assured Destruction - may have been responsible for the lack of major conflict after the Second World War and indeed all the way up to the present. The conspicuous exception is that of the Iranian conflict, but even it was small scale compared to other, possible scenarios.

    The collapse of the USSR in 1991 ended the Cold War and brought political freedom to Eastern Europe. Although NATO would survive until 2033, as a military alliance against a threat that now no longer existed it provided little cohesion to Europe’s nations. The desire for greater economic co-operation however would lead to the creation of the European Union, a loose coalition of European states. The EU would introduce the Euro, Europe’s first collective currency that would replace many of the older currencies in Europe. Throughout the early 21st century, the EU would spread across Europe, expanding into the east and eventually providing an alternative to the NATO alliance. It would also play a pivotal role in Europe’s space program, founding the European Space Agency which would prove to be a profitable enterprise, launching commercial and military satellites much as Russia was doing.

    Yet the EU never provided anything more than a few economic benefits. Europe’s nations remained divided, separated by culture and nationalism. Languages did spread, with English gaining widespread usage, but no single political force was strong enough to unite Europe. With a lack of cohesion, Europe began to fall behind Russia, the USA and China, with companies moving out of Europe and the value of the Euro dropping. By 2050 Europe remained fairly wealthy, but its prosperity was nothing compared to the economies of the East. The divisions which had once provided strength to Europe were now proving to be its downfall.

    Many have theorized that if Gate technology had never been found, Europe would have remained divided forever, only perhaps coming under a singular government via external conquest. Such theories are of course impossible to prove or disprove, but given the history of Europe what is clear is that something huge would be required to unite Europe. As events unfolded, it would be Gate technology that would accomplish this.

    The reasons for phase technology finally doing what no military or political leader had ever managed to do are diverse. Space exploration and colonization required vast resources, and no single European nation had the resources to do much more than send a few vessels to Mars. In the first few hectic years after phase tech was developed, Europe’s nations did not actively decide to come together, but rather they simply all began to give vastly increased funding to the European Space Agency. Ships and gates that were constructed were all funded by the ESA, and colonies came under the jurisdiction and management of the ESA. Before long, Europe’s nations were melded into working together mainly through the work of the ESA. Although no single nation controlled Europe, the various governments all understood that without pooling their collective resources, the ESA would fail and with it all hope of European space endeavors. All of Europe had a large stake in seeing the ESA succeed, and as such no single nation wanted to undermine the process or break away on its own.

    Thus Europe would become united. The term “European Union” is perhaps misleading; as if one travels to Paris the people there will say they are unquestionable French, in the same way that a citizen of London will claim to be an Englishman. Europe remains a fragmented continent, but whereas previously these differences had been clear divides, now they are simply ethnic pluralities. Separate governments still govern Europe’s states from Poland to Spain, but every week they are joined by their commitments to the ESA. What almost every European citizen and leader understands is a simple adage that has remained true throughout the entire Expansion and Consolidation periods. United we stand. Divided we fall.

    For further reference, H. Stuart Hughes, “Contemporary Europe: a history”, Mark Mazower, “Dark continent: Europe's twentieth century”, A.J.P. Taylor, “Europe: grandeur and decline”, S. Mills, “A history of the European Space Agency” and Peter Clo’du, “Europe from EU to ESA” are all excellent titles. Web searches will return the best results with “Europe, History”, “ESU, history” and “Europe, history, military”
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    edited March 2009
    Chapter 4: The People's Republic of China and The China Territories

    Certainly no history of the trans-system expansion could ignore the country known today as the China Territories. The name itself is not entirely accurate; the central landmass of China remains a united nation, but the peripheries such as Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Tibet are termed as territories of the main country itself. Effectively, these regions all are controlled by Beijing as part of a modern day empire. Terming the entire region the “China Territories” has been accepted practice for decades, given that The People’s Republic of China has not been communist since the 2030’s.

    The origins of China stretch back further than perhaps any nation still on the planet today. Without doubt, China has been a singular political entity for over two thousand years, which certainly can explain much about the isolation of China for most of its history.

    Occupying a very fertile region of Asia, China from its earliest days would teem with people. United under a single government for most of the 1st and 2nd millenniums, China would give rise to technologies and developments such as paper, printing and magnetism long before the nations of Europe or western Asia. Indeed, despite invasions from the Mongol people to the north, China would by 1500 be the most advanced and populous civilization in the world. Yet it would then fall behind, turning inwards whilst Europe expanded. Much of this can be attributed to the singular rule of individual monarchs, who stifled technological growth and had little interest in the outside world, but certainly the practice of Confucianism, with its emphasis on tradition and the past, played a vital role as well.

    During the 19th century, European nations which had been trading with China for centuries began to take a more aggressive role. Opium, a narcotic drug which Europeans had been importing to China in exchange for tea and other luxury goods, was outlawed and an enraged Chinese government attempted to stop the trade entirely. Europe responded with military intervention, sparking the so-called “Opium Wars”. By the end of these conflicts, China had been humiliated and defeated by European armies and technology, and sections of the country turned over to European governments as mandates. It would be in this period that the city of Hong Kong passed into the control of the United Kingdom.

    China’s populace by 1911 was angered by their government’s refusal to reform the country and defend it from foreign threats. A revolution overthrew the monarchy and established a republican government. However, this would quickly fall apart, with various warlords controlling the country through military force. Finally in 1928, a leader named Chiang Kai Shek succeeded in overthrowing the most powerful Chinese warlords and establishing a firm centralized government. Chiang would come to be closely allied with the USA.

    In the process of his war to control the country, Chiang attacked what he believed to be one of the most dangerous factions, that of the Chinese Communist Party. His attempts to destroy the communists however failed, and under the command of Mao Zedong, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would escape Chiang’s forces and begin a guerrilla war to overthrow him.

    With the invasion of China by Japan (see Chapter 10) in 1937, Chiang and the CCP formed a mutual alliance for a time, but once the Japanese were defeated by the Allied powers during the Second World War, the two sides in China began fighting again. Chiang’s armies, though vastly larger and better equipped, proved unable to fight an elusive foe that had growing support amongst the population. By 1949, Chiang and his remaining supporters were forced to flee to the island of Taiwan (see Chapter 10) off the coast of mainland China. Mao proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China and secured the country under communist rule.

    Mao proved to be a poor leader however. The country was wracked by poverty and corruption during his reign, as well as large periods of civil unrest and famine. After Mao’s death, a man named Deng Xiaoping began to try and repair the country using capitalism. Opening up “Special Economic Zones” (SOZ), Deng succeeded in revitalizing the country’s industry and setting the foundations for China to become an economic superpower. It would be during the 21st century though that China would come to dominate the Asian region.

    The economic prosperity brought about by the SOZ program would begin to spread throughout the country during the 2000’s. More and more regions were declared SOZ, and soon state owned enterprises, which had been corrupt and uneconomical, were driven out of business. Chinese companies and corporations began to grow, gaining monetary grants from the government as well as control over vast industrial zones. By 2020, China’s economy had eclipsed that of the USA and Russia. Chinese products were being exported across the world, and Chinese corporations were absorbing European and American companies with ease.

    However, despite the spread of capitalism and personal wealth, the government remained fundamentally despotic in nature. The term communist was becoming increasingly anachronistic, until by 2030 it was barely used at all. Power remained in the hands of a few individuals, most of whom had strong ties to China’s major corporations. Little would change throughout the 21st century, and the Consolidation Period would merely re-enforce the government’s control of the populace.

    Possibly one of the most important aspects of this period in China’s history was their space program. The Chinese government in 2003 succeeded in placing their first man in space and returning him safely to Earth. This was followed in 2016 by a moon mission, and the establishment of a permanent space station around Earth in 2017. China would be one of the only world nations, along with the United States, to pursue an active manned space program. By 2020, China had 2 space stations in Earth orbit and plans for an outpost on the Moon. In 2029, a Chinese spacecraft with 3 taikonauts landed on Mars. All returned safely to Earth. During the 2030’s and 2040’s, China would build 3 more outposts on the moon, establish a space station in lunar orbit and build another station in orbit around Mars.

    Whilst the Chinese endeavors returned a plethora of scientific data, they also firmly established commercial interests in space. An initial mining survey on the Moon showed rich deposits of platinum and radium, and by 2045 China was commencing plans for lunar mining operations. The most valuable result of China’s space program though was experience. When Gate technology was discovered, China enjoyed the rare privilege of having a cadre of space-trained taikonauts who had hands-on experience in constructing colonies in space. The experience and technical knowledge of China’s taikonauts would lead to them being highly sought after, and quite a few nations including Russia would pay large sums to gain access to the information that China had collected from fifty years of space travel.

    Whilst the government in Beijing had little desire in expanding the country’s borders, by the 2050’s China would be in control of several territories beyond its borders. This came about mainly through a desire to prevent any upheaval that might threaten the nation itself. Essentially, unrest in nations bordering China had the possibility to spread into China itself, with unfortunate economic consequences. Thus, China from 2031 to 2039 would take part in a number of small scale military conquests to ensure economic security.

    The first of these would be in Thailand. A guerrilla insurgence movement that had emerged in 2006 had succeeded by 2031 in plunging the country into virtual economic ruin. The Thai government, desperate and facing daily attacks, tried in April of 2031 to gain Chinese military support. China at first was uncommitted, but when one of the guerilla groups inside Thailand raided a Chinese arsenal in Geiju, an outraged Chinese government sent an amphibious task force to Thailand to eradicate the threat. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) occupied Thailand in a matter of days and employed draconian measures to track down the guerilla forces that had raided Geiju. Some of the guerrillas though fled into neighboring Vietnam, prompting the Chinese government in invade Vietnam from the north and south. After a few months, both countries were secured and China withdrew most of its troops, leaving behind a force of, as they called them, “advisers and administrators”. Although a Thai government would continue to be elected, the nation’s officials could do nothing without Chinese approval, and the nation never again had a military any larger than a standard police force. Vietnam would continue to resist for a number of years, causing two secondary Chinese influxes of military force. By 2038, Vietnam had stabilized.

    The large-scale withdrawal of US forces from the Middle East and Asia by 2030 created a power vacuum in Afghanistan. Whilst the US sponsored democratic government had managed to survive through commitments of US troops, by 2034 the country was starting to fall apart. Violent uprisings by several military generals lead to the formation of large-scale private armies, commanded by factional warlords. The fighting in Afghanistan spread into Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both of which shared a border with China. When Chinese citizens in the west started to join the armies of various warlords, the Chinese government acted swiftly. Chinese troops crossed into Tajikistan on the 7th of August 2035 and into Kyrgyzstan on the 12th of the same month. Moving rapidly throughout the two countries, the PLA secured Dasharlbe on the 30th of August and Bishkek on the 3rd of September. The PLA then turned to Afghanistan, leaving an occupying force behind in the newly conquered territories.

    Though it would take 4 years for the PLA to secure Afghanistan, the victory of the Chinese was never in doubt. Most of the time taken to secure the country was taken up chasing small groups of guerrillas in the endless mountains and deserts. By 2039 the region was declared pacified and once again Chinese troops were withdrawn, leaving behind smaller garrison forces. The three former nations, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were amalgamated into one territory under Chinese control, named simple the “Central Asian Reconstruction Zone”.

    Thus by 2052, China occupied a position of great strength. It’s commercial and industrial power was larger than any other nation or corporation possessed. Experienced taikonauts were ready to apply their practical skills to other star systems, and Chinese factories already were producing the equipment needed to found new colonies. Under the control of a single government, China was able to apply the strength of the entire country to the Expansion, a process that would almost ruin the nation, but see Chinese colonists scattered throughout the entire galaxy. Finally, China was home to 1.5 billion people, a resource that would allow China to spread itself far and wide across the stars. All these factors would combine in 2052 to produce a nation which would one day control the vast minefields of Tau Ceti and the star port of Canton, gateway to the Hyades star-cluster.

    Further reference can be found in Jonathan D. Spence, “The Search for Modern China”, Lloyd E. Eastman, “Family, Field and Ancestors: Constancy and Change in China's Social and Economic History, 1550-194”, Matsurabi Hion “China in the Age of Space Travel”, Isabi Chial “From Communism to Corporations”, and Shi Chaing “The Dragon Awakes: Chinese expansion from Thailand to Tau Ceti” are excellent sources. Web searches for “China, history”, “People’s Republic of China, history”, “People’s Liberation Army, history, campaigns” and “China Territories, history” will all return numerous results.

    Chapter 5: The Middle East

    Of all the regions across the planet of Earth, the Middle East has been the most fought over. Armies from Egypt, Africa, India, Asia, Russia, Europe and America have all tried to conquer this region, and almost all of them have failed. The most holy sites of three monotheistic religions lie in the Middle East, such as the Temple Wall of Jerusalem, the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth and Mecca. Even today with most of these sites under TSA control, the Middle East remains a potentially volatile region. However, compared to what this contested land has been through in the past, what it experiences today is tranquility itself.

    As the birthplace of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths, meeting place of 3 continents and once home to over 65% of the worlds oil reserves, it is small wonder that various nations have tried to control the Middle East over the centuries. Egypt’s Pharaohs would lead armies there during the New Kingdom period, exacting tribute from the inhabitants of Lebanon and Palestine. Roman soldiers would establish protectorates and colonies in the Middle East, and the Byzantine Romans would build an empire there. Islamic armies conquered the region after the coming of Mohammad, and then the Crusader Christian armies of Europe would struggle for decades to control Palestine. Turkish forces from Central Asia would invade from the north and found the nation of Turkey. European colonial powers such as France and England would lay claim to Egypt and Iraq, and when they left, Hebrew settlers would found Israel. American armies would conquer Iraq and Iran, and later still Chinese forces would sweep through Central Asia.

    The Middle East during the 21st century was mainly contested due to the value of crude oil. Unrest and conflict in the region would often send oil prices up, which would have the result of causing outside nations to step in and try to calm things down. In some cases, this would mean direct intervention and invasion.

    To understand the importance of the Middle East during the 20th and 21st century, it is important to understand the role crude oil played during these times. Whilst even today oil remains a valuable resource, during these times oil was of paramount importance. Almost all transportation relied on petroleum distillates, including automobiles and aircraft, plus some trains. Electricity generation was overwhelmingly reliant on oil and coal burning facilities, unlike today’s fusion stations. Oil had thousands of industrial uses, especially lubricants. Thus, nations outside and within the Middle East sought to control the vast oil reserves of the region.

    The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in 1990 was fueled by a desire to capture Kuwaiti oil fields. The response, a coalition of nations lead by the United States, threw Saddam out of the country and disarmed the dictator. Later, the lure of oil would play a role in the American lead invasion of Iraq itself in 2003. The Iranian war would lead to an almost catastrophic rise in oil prices, and for a time it was feared that the region would collapse into full scale nuclear war, a scenario that would cut off most of the world’s oil. The fear of this in part would contribute to the massive increase in government and private funding to alternate fuel research groups, and the fruits of that research, such as efficient solar power, low temperature fusion and superconductors would remove the world dependence on oil. However, that in turn would have an affect upon the nations of the Middle East, resulting in a region that by 2050 was increasingly impoverished and poverty stricken.

    After the Iranian conflict, the Middle East remained fairly stable. Israel established a new capital city in Haifa, whilst constructing a large barrier around the ruins of Tel Aviv. A simple monument outside the city was built in remembrance of those who had perished. The issue of the Palestinian territories was largely settled in 2010 by the establishment of a Palestinian state and the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank regions. Some fighting would continue, but on both sides extremists were curbed by state action. After the events of the Iranian war, neither Israel nor Palestine wished to continue fighting.

    Iraq’s capital was moved to Basra. The nuclear attack on Baghdad had initially threatened to poison both the Tigris and Euphrates, but fortunately the radiation was short-lived and US clean-up crews were able to stem the worst effects. Parts of the city were declared inhabitable in 2019, but few were willing to take up residence there. Even today, Tel Aviv, Tehran and Baghdad remain as ruins, living monuments to the terrible destruction of nuclear war. Yet even with the loss of Baghdad, Iraq was able to recover, thanks largely to American support and the countries’ oil reserves. Unlike Afghanistan, when US forces finally left Iraq in 2030 the government remained in control, and civil disorder did not occur. The short conflict with Turkey in 2033 would threaten regional stability for a short time, but the swift defusing of the crisis negated fears of foreign capital leaving Iraq.

    Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist government would, during the early 21st century, remain in power, and the nation would still harbor terrorist sympathizers and supporters. Despite constant US attempts to turn Saudi Arabia towards democracy, the old regime persisted, leading to a gradual drain of skilled labor towards Iraq. When finally the country’s’ oil reserves ran dry in 2038, the money generated by decades of oil selling remained in the hands of a few elite, plus some foreign companies. Saudi Arabia over the next decade would fall into poverty and financial ruin, with millions leaving the country in search of employment and even basic necessities such as food and water. Many of these refugees would crowd aboard some of the first colonization ships, and sadly many would perish in the accidents that plagued the early Expansion period.

    Iran remained under US occupation right through until 2030, with the capital shifting from ruined Tehran to Bandar Abbas in the south. The USA devoted most of its forces in the region to pacifying Iran and keeping insurgent militants there under control. Perhaps the biggest surprise for many was that the US-sponsored administration survived the withdrawal of US forces in 2030. A few uprisings did occur, but for the most part they were quickly dealt with. Many have speculated that the main reason the government did survive was that it was a peculiar mix of theocracy and democracy, with elected officials populating the House of Representatives whilst clerics and religious leaders ran the Senate. Although it was certainly a new concept, it did appear to work, and the system has survived up to the present.

    By 2040, most of the Middle Eastern economies were heading down due to the global shift away from oil products. Iraq remained an exception; an influx of foreign business in the post-war period had lead to Iraq being less dependent upon its oil reserves. The government had invested the money from oil wisely, funding schooling and commercial development. Thus, whilst Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would fall into poverty, Iraq would remain. Certainly the dropping of oil demand did hurt the Iraqi economy, but not to the same extent as other sections of the region.

    Iran’s oil supplies remained high throughout the 21st century, and indeed there are still untapped regions in the country today. Although oil would be of lesser importance, it remained a valuable commodity, useful in a wide range of chemical and industrial processes. Iran’s oil industry would prosper before and after US control of the country, with large pipelines constructed to the Central Asian Redevelopment Zones under Chinese jurisdiction. With the country remaining stable, many of the world’s largest oil companies migrated to Iran, leading to much needed influxes of foreign capital. Iran’s population, devastated by two wars in 1980 and 2007, would enjoy better education and employment under successive US-sponsored governments.

    Thus it would be Israel, Iraq and Iran that would take an active role in claiming star systems during the Expansion period. Though none had space programs of their own in 2052, they possessed the industrial, commercial and technical skills to undertake such endeavors. For the rest of the Middle East, their contribution would be in the form of settlers and missionaries. However, for decades after the first star systems were colonized, millions would still return to the Middle East every year on religious pilgrimages. It was to this end that the giant spaceport of El Ahaid was built in 2104, to allow the faithful to pay homage to the lands that had birthed their religions. Even today, with mankind spread across an entire galaxy, the Middle East remains an important region.

    For further reference, William L. Cleveland, “A History of the Modern Middle East”, Arthur Goldschmidt Jr, “A concise history of the Middle East”, Bernard Lewis, “The Middle East : a brief history of the last 2,000 years” and Ashabi Aman, “The Middle Eastern Journey” are all reputable and informative sources. Web searches under “Middle East, history”, “Middle East, American involvement” and “Petroleum, sources” will all provide many articles.

    Chapter 6: Africa

    The vast continent of Africa today is a far cry from the poverty stricken and divided land it was back in the 20th and early 21st century. Its people are mostly workers for the corporations that even today continue to extract Africa’s natural resources, or wardens in charge of the giant wildlife preserves of the south. Yet almost every colony contains people who claim ancestry from Africa, and they occupy roles stretching from miners to government ministers. How this came about was the result of both the advent of Gate technology and the crippling plague of Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

    Africa, despite being the land where modern humans first evolved, would by the 16th century begin to be conquered by more technologically advanced outsiders. Europeans first established trading forts along the West African coast after the beginning of settlement in South America, with the main goal being the purchasing of slaves to work in the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. Whilst this trade would bring wealth to some African tribes, for others it meant constant warfare and enslavement to foreign lands, where they labored under conditions not even seen in Morocco. Also, European settlers would land in southern Africa and begin a war against the tribes of the south. This would be merely the start of a gradual attempt by European nations to claim African colonies, eager to gain a share of Africa’s natural resources and trade goods.

    By 1900, almost all of Africa had been divided up by European nations, and despite the ending of the slave trade nearly a century previously, the people of Africa were treated little better than servants. The two world wars of the 20th century though would shatter this European hegemony over Africa, allowing former colonies to break away either through diplomacy or direct revolution. What replaced the colonial governments were generally harsh despotisms, ruled by men with little desire to improve their nations but with a greed for wealth and power. Tribal conflict would tear across Africa throughout the second half of the 20th century, a process that would drain what little money African nations had and send millions of its citizens into poverty and starvation.

    Yet even the terrible death tolls of these wars, including the genocidal massacres of Rwanda and Zimbabwe, would not match the plague that would devastate Africa in the 2010’s. The disease known as Acute Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, would first originate in Africa during the 20th century. AIDS was virtually impossible to cure, passing from person to person via bodily fluids, and although the disease itself did not kill people, it weakened their immune system to the point where the body was unable to defend itself from infection. Its impact in the rest of the world would be harsh, but contraception and sexual education in many nations helped stem the spread of the virus. But for other nations, such as Thailand or the vast majority of Africa, education was a luxury few could afford and contraception was unheard of, or banned by religious groups.

    In 2011, an influenza outbreak started in Spain. The strain was particularly virulent, but for Europeans, it would merely be a nuisance that would pass. When this disease reached Africa however, by means of air passengers flying from Europe, it proved disastrous. With over 60% of the African population infected with AIDS, the influenza virus was able to overwhelm the weakened immune systems of millions of Africans in a matter of hours. Being an airborne disease, influenza jumped from town to town, spreading with frightening speed.

    The situation in Africa sparked a response from the United Nations and other humanitarian and aid agencies. Aircraft filled with medical teams and influenza vaccines were flown into larger population centers, but this was simply too little. Some aircraft were swamped as they landed, surrounded by thousands of dying men and women seeking any way to avoid the plague. Those Africans that could afford to leave did so in the first few days. The millions left behind could only hope that the disease would not claim them as well.

    Official estimates even today are sketchy. What is known is that at least 32% of the African population was killed in the year of 2011, and a further 12% in 2012. Other estimates run higher still. The plague was eventually curbed by a combination of vaccines flown in from Europe and the United States and the disease itself burning out. By the end of 2012, almost every African with AIDS had either perished, left the continent, or managed to survive the outbreak. The scale of the humanitarian disaster was virtually impossible to measure; whole nations were gone, crops were left un-harvested and basic services such as electricity and water were cut off. It would take the combined efforts of much of the world, working through the UN, to help the survivors recover.

    UN workers would be quick to establish regional centers of control, using military police and local administrators to return some semblance of order to the main populated areas left in Africa. Few African leaders remained to oppose this, and most who were alive had fled the country when the outbreak began. The UN’s main priority was to stabilize the continent and get basic services working again. The quick distribution of an experimental AIDS cure proved to be a success, and by 2015 some regional centers were functioning again. UN appointed interim governments took control, concentrating again on the restoration of food and water supplies.

    The role of the United Nations in the African Plague would come to define the organization as a whole. Indeed, the UN from 2012 would play a smaller role in world affairs and increasingly focus its efforts on Africa. The interim governments would remain in power in most areas through to the 2020’s, with some lasting until 2034. Even when they were disbanded and replaced by local authorities though, the UN remained as a caretaker of the continent as a whole, maintaining local police and military forces and providing aid and funding to the newly elected African governments. These administrations that emerged functioned only as regional governments under UN supervision. National borders no longer existed in Africa, with the exception being in a few northern states such as Morocco and Egypt, who had been sheltered from the worst effects of the plague by the vast Saharan Desert.

    Africa would not fully recover until the 22nd century, and this would mainly be a result of the Expansion Period. When Gate technology did arrive, many Africans signed up for contracts on various colonies and stations, and this process would continue throughout the Expansion. Africa’s population would slowly drain away, leaving those who stayed behind in charge of a much changed continent. Africa’s food supplies were now stable, and employment was at record highs. International corporations were quick to move into Africa during the Expansion Period, utilizing African labor to tap the natural resources the continent still had in abundance.

    Though African nations would found few colonies and build only a handful of starships, the African people would come to be found all throughout the galaxy. Virtually every star port or system has African colonists and workers, and their contribution to the colonization of space has been paramount. African culture has spread to every system humanity has settled in, adding to the rich diversity that space has fostered. Despite the terrible hardships the African people have suffered, today they have endured and prospered.

    Further reading can be found in Robert Tusake “A concise History of Africa”, Susan Chalca “African Nations”, Sohal Smith “The African Apocalypse”, and Jack Riply “The United Nations: The shift to Africa”. Web searches under the words “Africa, history”, “Africa, plague of 2012” and “United Nations, Africa, history” will return the best sources.
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    edited March 2009
    Chapter 7: The Indian Subcontinent

    Home to over one billion people at the beginning of the 21st century, the Indian subcontinent would eventually emerge as a powerful force in the Expansion Period. The two nations that sit astride the landmass, India and Pakistan, are today still separate states, though their religious and ethnic hatred for one another has long since abated. Far more pressing concerns, such as trans-system terrorism and the Kharaa threat today occupy the minds of India and Pakistan’s leaders.

    India during the 18th and 19th centuries would come to be dominated and eventually totally controlled by the United Kingdom. The country would exist as a colony, providing trade and economic goods such as indigo and cotton to English factories and companies. It was during this period that India’s rail network would first be established to assist in the transport of goods around the country. It would be one of the few accomplishments of the colonial period that would come to benefit India.

    Between the First and Second World Wars, Indian political agitators fought for the nation’s independence, and a man named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would come to prominence, using methods of peaceful protest and non-violence. Gandhi’s political philosophy would enable the Indian people to resist the colonial government without having to fight the English, who had far superior weaponry and military forces. Thus by 1947, the British government, exhausted after the Second World War and unable to stop the protests in India, withdrew from the country.

    However, the country soon split along religious lines. Gandhi was a Hindu, a follower of Hinduism, and although he always placed political harmony and unity above religion, other Indian political leaders, especially those of the Islamic faith, believed that a Hindu dominated government would lead to religious oppression. The country shortly afterwards split into two nations, India and Pakistan, with the Islamic movement settling in the later of the two nations.

    Gandhi was assassinated in 1948, a few months after the splitting of the subcontinent into two political entities. Neither India or Pakistan had any great love for the other, and over the course of the 20th century both nations would build up large military forces, including nuclear arms. Though they thankfully would never be used, the Iran conflict almost threatened to spill over into the subcontinent, as indeed it threatened to engulf the entire world.

    During the final weeks of the Iran War, Pakistani forces were placed on high stages of alert, due to the fighting that was occurring just outside their borders. Increased air patrols were flown, and reserve formations were called up for duty. India, fearful of a possible Pakistani attack, also increased its state of military readiness and activated reservists. Both nations, ironically in response to the other, started to undertake tighter border controls. In such situations, the potential for accidents is high.

    On the 14th of February, the day before US marines landed around Bandar Abbas, two Pakistani jets were shot down whilst on a border patrol mission. India claimed that the two aircraft had violated Indian airspace, whilst Pakistan claimed that India had fired across the border. Political leaders in both countries were soon accusing the other side of declaring war, and over the following week a few minor incidents along the border, such as the accidental firing of a blank artillery round in Kashmir, were blown out of proportion by the press and governments of both nations. Even as the United Nations frantically tried to defuse the situation via diplomacy, Indian and Pakistani troops poured into the border regions. A major conflict seemed almost inevitable.

    Everything changed on the 28th of February though with the Iranian nuclear attack on the Middle East and the Israeli response. The devastation of three major cities and the simultaneous deaths of over 10 million people had a very sobering effect upon the governments of Karachi and Delhi. On both sides, political leaders reversed the rhetoric of previous weeks and called for an immediate stand-down of military forces. Within three days of the nuclear strikes, Pakistan and India had returned to a state of normal relations.

    Though both India and Pakistan would never be united, the remainder of the 21st century would see both nations gradually scale down their nuclear arsenals, until by 2089 the last weapons on both sides were deactivated and dismantled. During the Expansion Period both nations would use the technology formerly employed to send nuclear warheads into space to further their own inter-stellar colonial desires. Thus, some good would come of such weapons being developed.

    Indeed, though neither country would have a space program in 2052, India and Pakistan were amongst the first nations to venture forth through the new gates. They already had the required technology, and from that point it was a simple matter of changing payload. This is not to say that the changeover went smoothly; any who today still remember the Alkor tragedy can attest that the space program of both nations would be fraught with setbacks and deaths. Today though, the vast colonies of Muphrid and Nu Lupi are visible proof of the eventual success of these two respective programs.

    The ease at which the India – Pakistan rivalry was scaled down to cricket matches and corporate bickering surprised many around the world. For modern readers, perhaps it is best to examine the end result of the Consolidation period. After eight years of conflict and rebuilding of long-abandoned military arsenals, the general consensus simply was that there was far too much to lose in a full scale conflict. Similarly, India and Pakistan, having witnessed a nuclear war upon their borders, were now starkly aware of the consequences of continuing an arms race and nuclear standoff.

    India right through to 2076 would face large scale problems with food supplies to its burgeoning population. A combination of rigorous promotion of contraception, new genetically engineered strains of cereal wheat and rice and the migration of millions of Indians into space colonies would eventually reduce India’s population to a steady five hundred million. Two famines, one in 2015 and another in 2038 would kill over one million Indians, but in both cases foreign aid and government action would stem the worst effects.

    A small obituary at the end of this section is perhaps appropriate, looking at the nation once called Bangladesh. Though global warming would prove to have a much smaller effect than was once thought, the global rise in water levels of around half a meter would destroy Bangladesh by 2026. Always a low lying country, even the small rise brought on by global warming would prove to be too much for the nation to handle. Throughout the 2020’s, Bangladesh would struggle to survive, raising dykes and levies in a desperate attempt to hold off rising tides. By 2026 however, the struggle proved futile. Most of the country was reduced to a swamp, with the population fleeing into South East Asia and India. Some people still live in the region of Bangladesh even today, fishing amongst the drowned remains of villages and cities, or harvesting scrap and salvage. The region was placed under United Nations jurisdiction in 2027, and today the Indian government has taken over that role.

    India and Pakistan would not be among the world’s richest nations in 2052, nor would they have established space programs. However, their manufacturing strength was more than sufficient to fuel their galactic ambitions, and their people were both numerous and industrious. Thus with the arrival of Gate technology both India and Pakistan would be able to gear their countries to the goal of space colonization. Yet their rivalry would never truly die.

    Further reference can be found in Barbara D. Metcalf and Thomas R. Metcalf “A Concise History of India”, Bhabani Bhattacharya “Glimpses of Indian History”, Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund “A History of India” & Robert Fulcrum “India & Pakistan through the 21st Century”. Web searches should use “India, History”, “Pakistan, History” and “Indian subcontinent, history”.

    Chapter 8: Australasia and South East Asia

    For much of the 20th century, South East Asia and the island states of the Pacific played a minor role in world affairs, though during the Second World War the region would see large scale Japanese invasions that would eventually be stopped by the United States and the British Commonwealth. Increasingly though during the 21st century, as the balance of power shifted from Europe and America to Asia, Australia and South East Asia gained in economic strength, eventually forming an alliance that would enable the region to actively take part in the Expansion Period.

    Much of the political makeup of South East Asia and Australasia in the year 2000 was the result of European colonial endeavors centuries previously. Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and much of Indonesia had all been governed by European states, namely the United Kingdom. Though most of these states had broken away from their former colonial masters by 2000, many retained ties to Europe, be they economic or political. It was the United States however that nations such as Australia and the Philippines relied on for military support, and indeed this was largely a result of the role the US played in defeating the Japanese during World War II.

    This would start to change from 2005 onwards, as China rose to dominance and the US fell behind, mired in external problems. The signing of a massive Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia in June of 2005 paved the way for Chinese economic expansion throughout the region, an occurrence which in turn would give rise to the Australasian and South East Asian Coalition (ASEAC). Though the region would remain fairly fragmented politically, the economic benefits of the coalition were vast.

    The formation of an alliance network across South East Asia was not a new concept. The Asian counterpart to NATO, the South East Asian Treaty Organization or SEATO had existed prior to ASEAC, though its role by 2000 was very minor. Economically speaking the region already had firm trade links between its various nations, and in truth all that was needed to make the further step to an actual alliance was the influence of a powerful external economic force. By 2014, when ASEAC was formed, the nations of South East Asia were facing economic pressure from a large external force, that of China. What was clear to the various nations of ASEAC was that if the region was to escape being dominated by the other Asian economies, they had to work together. From these sentiments, ASEAC was born.

    Though the alliance had been formed as a way to shield the region from economic domination, this was not to say that ASEAC did not have strong trading links to China and the eventual Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere. Indeed, ASEAC would focus its efforts towards forging stronger ties with these two economic giants, pooling the resources of the region towards forming a strong trading bloc that was able to reap the economic rewards of trade whilst remaining politically independent.

    The phenomenal success of ASEAC during the 2010’s and 2020’s naturally gave rise to further co-operation between the member states. Australia and New Zealand in 2019 merged their currencies into a single denomination, the ANZAC dollar. Indonesia, Burma, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea in 2021 followed suit, adopting the SEAD (South East Asian Dollar) as their official currency. Strangely, both the ANZAC dollar and SEAD would remain separate right through to today, despite both being valued at almost identical rates. Companies and businesses throughout ASEAC used both currencies interchangeably, and it was in name only that the two remained separate.

    The police actions of China that started in 2031 brought a momentary scare to the ASEAC nations and prompted the expansion of the alliance militarily. Though the warfare in both Thailand and Vietnam had adversely affected ASEAC economically, there was still the fear that China might try to turn south and take what it had been unable to conquer economically with military force. The old SEATO treaties were dredged up, re-written and re-signed by the ASEAC nations from 2032 to 2034, cementing an alliance that pledged military aid to any member state that was attacked and joint military exercises. Interestingly, the Neo-SEATO treaties also called for the creation of a military force that would come under the joint control of all the member states, and operate as a regional military police force. It would be partially from the growth of this force that ASEAC would become a space power.

    Though few nations in ASEAC had actively pursued a space program prior to the Neo-SEATO treaties, the technology and resources were available. With the formation of a firm military alliance however the question of reconnaissance satellites were raised, as were the economic advantages of space endeavors. It would take a few years to generate the necessary support and funding, but in 2036 the construction of a space centre in Cape York in Australia began. Four years later in January 2040 the first ASEAC space vehicle entered Earth orbit and six months later the first payloads were delivered. The ASEAC space program was purely commercial however, and no manned missions were flown until the Expansion Period. It did give the region an excellent launching point for space colonization once gate technology arrived, in addition to creating a pool of skilled labor.

    ASEAC would enable South East Asia to not only compete economically with the rest of the world, but allow space colonization that would have been otherwise impossible. Each of the individual member states simply lacked the money and manpower to sustain or even begin a space program, yet as a singular coalition, they could succeed. Much like Europe, South East Asia understood that survival in the 21st century could only come about through strength, and lacking the vast lands and population of the United States, Russia or China, that strength could only come about through unity. Though the region had many diverse and different cultures and peoples, the alliance managed to succeed.

    Further reading can be found in Justus M. van der Kroef “The lives of SEATO”, Ronald Sole “ASEAC: History of an Alliance”, Malask Jing “South East Asia during the 21st century” and Li Siah “The Asian Century”. Web searches under South East Asia, history and ASEAC, history will return the best results.

    Chapter 9: The Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere

    Much like the other major Asian alliance that evolved during the 21st century, ASEAC, the Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere came about when previously unaligned nations responded to an external threat and banded together. The member states, Japan, The United Republic of Korea and Taiwan, all had little desire of seeking an alliance, but it would be the growing power of China, coupled with the retreat of the United States of America from international affairs that would bring about this union. The reasons were twofold; firstly, the economic benefits were highly tempting, and secondly there was real concern amongst all three nations that China would seek to absorb them, either militarily or economically. Whether China would ever have done this is of course impossible to assess, though recently released documents from the period do hint towards possible Chinese plans for a takeover.

    The first stage of the birth of GEAPS would occur in Korea. For the purposes of explaining exactly why the history of Korea unfolded the way it did in the 21st century, some background history is needed. Korea was occupied by Japan in 1910, and remained under Japanese control through until 1945, when Japan surrendered to the Allied powers. The Korean peninsula was divided into two separate zones; one in the north that was under the control of the USSR, and the other in the south under Allied control. Relations between the two states were strained however, and in 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea. The south requested international assistance, and a coalition of 16 nations, under the flag of the United Nations, successfully managed to drive the communist North Koreans back across the border. However, China did not want its communist neighbor destroyed and sent a huge force of soldiers across the border into North Korea, pushing UN forces into the south. The war ended in 1953 with a cease-fire agreement, and right up until 2009 the two countries remained separate, with a massive set of fortifications known as the Demilitarized Zone separating the two states.

    South Korea would become a capitalist, democratic state that was in direct contrast to the socialist, authoritarian rule of North Korea. The South’s economy surged during the later half of the 20th century, with large scale foreign investment and particular emphasis on high-tech industries. By 2009 South Korea ranked amongst the world’s richest nations, though China was beginning to eclipse its smaller neighbor.

    The situation for North Korea though was grim. When the USSR collapsed in 1991 the North lost much needed economic aid, including fuel and food supplies. The 1990s would see successive famines that would kill millions, coupled with a government that was both unwilling and unable to help its people. What little money the country had went into the military, which was able in 2005 to claim the dubious honor of creating the countries’ first nuclear weapon. This was small comfort to the nation’s starving citizens.

    Any attempts to reunify the two Koreas always met a dead end in the North. The oppressive northern dictatorship was unwilling to accept any sort of compromise, even when it became quite apparent that the nation could not survive. Many families in South Korea longed to see family members in the North, but apart from a few sporadic visits during the early 2000’s, their hopes were in vain.

    The final blow for North Korea though would come in 2009. The winter of 2008 – 2009 was one of the harshest in living memory, and millions of North Korean citizens died, unable to find clothing or fuel for heating. What made this far worse though was that the government had been unable to provide fuel and clothes to much of it’s military, the money having been spent on two new intercontinental ballistic missiles and the nuclear warheads they contained. When spring came, on the 7th of April 2009 massive sections of the army openly rebelled, shooting their own officers and driving columns of tanks and armored personnel vehicles to Pyongyang, capital of the North. When five senior military officials tried to escape by aircraft, North Korean fighter jets shot them down before they could leave the country. Faced with a complete breakdown of order and unable to command virtually any section of the army or air force, Kim Chong-Il fled by submarine on the 10th, abandoning most of the country’s command network.

    With the single man who had the capacity to control the country gone, North Korea fell apart. Thousands of starving citizens took to the streets along with the soldiers, looting government stores and warehouses. The few remnants of control remained in the hands of the highest officers who had rebelled, namely General Wu Chi Kai. General Kai contacted the South Korean government on the 12th, requesting assistance in restoring order to the country and removing the last traces of the communist government of Kim. The South immediately agreed, sending troops over the DMZ accompanied by massive amounts of food and medical supplies, mostly supplied by the US. It wouldn’t be until June that the country would be completely pacified, but the immediate goal of keeping the North’s population alive had succeeded. On the 1st of December, 2009, the Democratic Republic of North Korea ceased to exist, and a single Korean government was established over the entire peninsula. North Korea’s nuclear arsenal was dismantled and the weapons destroyed, though some rumors persisted that the new government had kept a few of these warheads in storage. These were never confirmed and officially denied by the United Republic of Korea.

    Kim Chong-Il landed near Shanghai and was immediately captured and imprisoned by the Chinese government. Nothing more was heard from him until 2023, when the Chinese government announced that the former leader had died of natural causes.

    The URK turned its attention towards undoing the decades of communist mismanagement in the North and healing the nations’ wounds. The burden of rebuilding the North caused the South Korean economy to falter, much as the cost of East Germany had affected West Germany during the 1990’s. It would be the formation of GEAPS which would truly drag the URK out of its financial rut and give the country a much needed boost of foreign capital.

    Taiwan throughout the early 21st century remained wary of its giant neighbor to the west. Even though China showed increasingly little interest in absorbing Taiwan, the government in Taipei still recognized that a threat remained. Taiwan’s economy, which had previously been quite strong, began to decline during the 2020’s and 2030’s, due mostly to Chinese competition in areas such as electronics where Taiwan had previously been strong. The police actions that would form the China Territories from 2031 to 2039 caused further concern in Taipei, as well as in Seoul and Tokyo. Taiwan in 2032 approached Japan about the possibility of an alliance, interestingly only a few weeks before Korea would do the same.

    The reason for Taiwan’s desire to forge closer relations with Japan was a result of the United States’ retreat from world affairs. With the US Seventh Fleet now stationed in Portland and US administrations more interested in domestic, rather than foreign, affairs, Taiwan realized that she could no longer count on the superpower to aid her. Joining ASEAC was a possibility, but Taiwan was well aware that its own economy would suffer as a result, and the nations of the south were more likely to pay closer attention to their own concerns rather than those of a distant northern ally. Taiwan knew that a union with Japan would mean economic strength, especially in the capacity to resist Chinese commerce. When it became known that Korea was also interested, all three nations hurried to finalize the treaty.

    Japan’s reasoning for joining with the URK and Taiwan was much the same as what drove the other two nations to forge the alliance of GEAPS. Economically Japan was falling behind China, and militarily the country was weak. With the US withdrawal from the island nation in 2029 the constitution had been altered to expand the Self Defense Force, a move that was increased in 2031 after China’s invasion of Thailand. Still, the Japanese government was well aware that its own military would be unable to resist a Chinese invasion if one occurred. A union with the URK and Taiwan seemed to be one of the only ways to ensure that the country would be safe.

    The Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere treaty was signed on the 6th of August, 2033, and placed the military forces of Taiwan, Japan and the United Republic of Korea under a joint control system known as the National Early Response Vanguard, or NERV. Free trade agreements were also included in the treaty, cementing economic ties that would revitalize the economies of all three nations and finally enable them to compete with Chinas’ financial might. The treaty also pledged each member state to assist the others if a conflict should occur.

    As a final note, the space program of GEAPS came primarily from the Japanese, who in 2005 had launched a lunar satellite and had plans to expand their position to manned missions by 2020. Economic constraints though caused this to not happen. With the combined efforts of GEAPS however the space program of the alliance surged ahead, with a Taiwanese space base established in 2036. The program was driven for much the same reasons as ASEAC’s space endeavors; commercial and military profit. Most of the funding for the GEAPS space program came directly from NERV, who naturally was highly interested in obtaining secure satellite launch facilities. The program would never branch out into manned space travel due once more to financial constraints, but under the leadership of NERV the alliance was able to firmly establish a presence in space. Thus GEAPS would, come 2052, be able to rapidly exploit Gate technology.

    Both ASEAC and GEAPS came about because of China’s rise to the status of a superpower, economically and militarily, and from the withdrawal of the United States from world affairs. Each of these alliances would survive into the Expansion Period and give their member states a stake in inter-stellar colonization that, had they remained separate, they never would have been able to achieve.

    Further reading can be found in Richard Bently “The History of East Asia”, Lung Yahoshi “Japan and Taiwan: History of an alliance”, Wu Mihoshi “GEAPS: From 2000 – 2050” and Thomus Larson “Economic factors in the rise of Asian alliances”. Web searches for “GEAPS, history”, “Japan, history”, “Taiwan, history” and “Korean peninsula, history” will return the most relevant results.

    Conclusion: The Dawn of Expansion

    The goal of these previous nine chapters was to give the reader an understanding of the world in 2052, as well as providing an explanation of why the political and economic structure of the globe unfolded as it did. Certainly some areas have been skipped or rushed through; but in truth any one of these chapters could have been expanded out into many volumes of work. Obviously, it is not possible to do that here, and for readers who wish to continue study in the particular areas I have touched on, relevant scholarly works have been provided in addition to study aids.

    What does all this mean though? When we get past the social, cultural, economic, political and military factors that shaped the world of 2052, what does that mean to us? How does it help us to understand the Expansion Period and the subsequent Consolidation Period?

    For starters we can see that the world was turning towards alliances. Though the 21st century would see some old pacts, such as NATO, fall apart, they would be replaced by new ones, and in regions where previously there had been little coercion, such as Asia, fresh alliance networks would spring into being. The reason for this was that the world was becoming separated into a number of geo-political blocs. Previously, in the 20th century, the ideological boundaries of communism and capitalism had divided the world, but with the death of communism this could no longer apply. The nations that emerged from the 20th century were either small or large states. The large states; The United States of America, The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, would come to be the most powerful nations in the world. Yet unlike during the 20th century, when smaller nations had attached themselves to larger ones by means of diplomacy, the states of the 21st century did not wish for this to occur. Instead, to counter to growing power of the super-states, the smaller nations forged new alliances to provide a balance to their larger neighbors.

    This would have a tremendous impact upon the Expansion Period. If Gate technology had been discovered in the year 2000, barely a handful of nations would have had the technological and economic resources to properly exploit it. The reason was that the world was fragmented, divided into hundreds of small, squabbling political entities, and only a few of them were strong enough on their own to launch a space program. Turn the clock forwards fifty years and we can see the world separated into a number of factions: In Eurasia, the conglomerates of the European Union, The Russian Federation, the China Territories, the Greater East Asian Prosperity Sphere and the Australasia and South East Asia treaty organization dominated the world’s largest landmass. A mere 5 political entities controlling over half the world’s population and nearly two thirds of the natural resources on the planet. Such a thing would have been unthinkable fifty years previously.

    It was these alliances and super-states that would launch humanity into space. Without them the Expansion would have taken centuries, and mankind would probably now only just starting to explore Alpha Centauri or Sirius. Worse still, we may even have encountered the Kharaa before we had the means to repel them. The losses of United America or the Frontiersmen would pale against a Kharaa invasion of Earth. Thankfully, this is not the case

    Secondly, major war was almost forgotten. The Iranian War of 2007 was the last major conflict to occur before the last years of the Expansion Period, and even though the Iranian war cost millions of lives it never reached the scale of either of the world wars of the 20th century. Nuclear weapons, coupled with the rampant spread of capitalist ideas, had produced a peace of sorts across the globe. Certainly military research continued, and the threat of terrorism remained in the minds of many political leaders. 2052 would see all that change though. The money previously spent on guns, bombs and tanks would instead be thrown into space programs across the globe, financing the spread of mankind across the galaxy. Only towards the end of the Expansion Period were military budgets once again given high priority, as the various trans-system governments scrambled to protect their assets from real or imagined threats. Many military historians believe that Gate technology was the salvation of mankind, as if we had continued down the path of the 21st century we may have eventually had a war that would destroy us as a species. Of course, that is merely speculation, but it does provoke a moment of thoughts.

    And upon this unsuspecting world, confidant that tomorrow held nothing special, Gate technology was unleashed. The discovery by the Kensky/Libovah team came as a surprise to just about every person across the globe, except for the few who had been researching into the field of gravitational wormholes for a number of years. Much as atomic power in 1945 had heralded the dawn of a new era, Gate technology would be the start of mankind’s conquest of the stars. The process of that expansion into space will be examined in the next section of this document.
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    Part 2: Expansion

    2050 - 2150

    Chapter 1: The Discovery of Phase Technology

    The concept, or rather the idea, of instantaneous teleportation was not unheard of in the world of 2052. Science fiction writers had written about it for decades and prominent scientists had put forwards ideas and theories about how it might be achieved, though no-one had ever managed to successfully transfer theory to reality. However, though most people believed teleportation to be firmly within the realm of fantasy, around the globe various scientific groups dedicated time and money to its research. Some were funded by governments, others by private corporations; the Kensky/Libovah team was funded by neither. Richard Kensky and Alexander Libovah were both post graduate students at the University of Cambridge in England, and the research they were undertaking was on artificial black holes, not teleportation.

    Kensky and Libovah, working with a small team of other students, were convinced that it was possible to create and maintain a man-made singularity. The benefits were certainly tempting; the amount of energy contained in such a mass might be enough to power entire continents. The problems the team faced though were vast. Though they had a basic idea of how to create the singularity, the issue of containing it remained unresolved. The required levels of energy were vast, and the team could only convince the university to give them at most two power surges a year to conduct their tests.

    In March of 2052, Libovah thought he had found a solution to one part of the problem, that of containment. Some of the calculations that had been taken from previous observations indicated that it might be possible to “anchor” a singularity between two gravitational sources. Theoretically, the black hole would stretch from one anchor point to the other, kept in check by gravitational force. Initial testing showed that this might indeed work, and after convincing Kensky to try it out, the team decided to put this theory into action at the next major experiment, planned for May.

    Thus it was that on May 12th, 2052, the first phase gate was successfully tested. Of course, Kensky and Libovah initially had no idea of what they had created; they only believed they had managed to find a solution to the containment problem. What the test results quickly showed however was that instead of a black hole, the two gravitational anchors had created a different structure within their gravity wells; a wormhole.

    Wormholes were, and still are, the basis for phase technology and gates. They are the means by which teleportation takes place; the massive gates that dot the galaxy today only serve as anchor points, gigantic descendents of the original gravity wells that Libovah envisioned. To better understand this however, some explanation is required. For those who still remember their high-school physics, feel free to skip this part.

    A Gate generates a vast, concentrated gravity field at a singular point. It does not project this gravity out into the surrounding environment; rather it focuses the gravity well in upon itself, though not collapsing like a dying star. This causes gates to project a gravitation signature that is far greater than any sun, which is quite important for the purpose of teleportation as this provides a signal point for wormholes.

    Wormholes are tears in the fabric of space that exist naturally, but can also be created artificially. This is the second function of phase gates. Once the gravity field has been generated, energy is then applied to the centre of the gravity well, forcing it out from the original source towards a target. When the Kensky/Libovah team applied pressure in this manner during their first experiment, their belief was that the gravity well would collapse, producing a small singularity. Instead though the well remained stable, and a wormhole was formed which latched onto the target gravity signature. Without a target, the wormhole cannot form; the energy will simply bleed off and the gravity well will collapse. The target has to have a large gravitational signature as well for the wormhole to anchor itself on. These days, between colonized systems, the second anchor is always another Gate. In the early days of the Expansion Period however or even today when new systems are being explored, the second anchor was generally the star of the designated system. The later method, that of using suns as gravity signatures, is far less efficient than using two Gates. The energy required to produce a wormhole in such conditions is approximately nine times greater than the energy needed to create a link between two Gates. Added into this is the fact that the wormhole must emerge far enough away from the sun anchor to prevent harm to a colonization ship and it’s crew. This exponentially raises the energy cost again.

    Between these two points, the gravity well of the original anchor is stretched out until it reaches the other point and is stabilized, thus forming a wormhole. Though the distances involved are usually vast, this takes only a few seconds to produce. This speed, coupled with instantaneous transportation within the wormhole that is created, allows phase technology to bridge the light year gaps between star systems. The required energy though is still huge even between established Gates, yet for much of the Expansion Period exploration was occurring using the Gate – Star method. One look at how far mankind has spread today explains in an instant why the Sol system was stripped of resources during the Expansion Period to fuel the quest for new worlds to colonize.

    Kensky and Libovah, stunned by their findings, successfully managed to convince the university to let them carry out another test a few days later. The result was the same; a controlled wormhole that was able to teleport matter instantaneously. From May until October, the two students carried out five more tests and compiled a vast amount of data. On October 1st, 2052, their findings were published in the science journal Nature, and the world changed overnight.

    Further reading can be found in Robert Miller “Kensky and Libovah: Fathers of Phase Tech”, Yung Su Fing “The science of wormholes” and Joseph Valisnesky “The dawn of Expansion”. Web searches for “phase technology, history” and “phase technology, function” will return the best results.

    Chapter 2: Initial Uses of Phase Technology

    It may surprise some readers to learn that the first usage of phase technology was not in the field of space exploration and travel. Governments and corporations around the world envisioned a wide range of applications, including most prominently the military sector. Within one month of Kensky and Libovah’s Nature article, the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, The Russian Federation, ASEAC, GEAPS and most major European powers all had active phase technology programs running. The two founder scientists and indeed their entire team were all actively sought after, though it would be the USA that was able to secure the services of Kensky and Libovah for an undisclosed amount of cash.

    The goal of these various agencies was to explore possible avenues for the new technology. Foremost everywhere was the military sector. Governments envisioned using phase gates to deliver nuclear warheads into the centre of enemy cities or armies, teleporting whole divisions across battlefields, or creating wormholes around enemy forces that would swallow them whole. The reality however was quite different to the dreams of military officials. Without another anchor point that was able to produce a gravity signature larger than that of the Earth, wormholes collapsed before they could even form, making teleportation only viable between established gates. Few nations would allow an aggressor to build a Gate within their borders, and trying to use an enemy’s Gate would be disastrous, as an invading force would have to pass through a small space which could easily be fortified.

    Focus quickly shifted to transport. The ability to transfer matter instantaneously seemed to have great potential for the shipping and transport industry and after initial trials confirmed Kensky and Libovah’s findings that living organisms could be teleported without danger, several major companies began construction of Gates to bridge the gaps between continents and nations. In March of 2053 ASEAC and the China Territories successfully completed the first Gate link between continents with the construction of a Gate in Darwin coupled with a Gate near Hong Kong. The first shipments were of thousands of Australian sheep and cattle in exchange for Chinese manufactured goods. Similar projects began to spring up around the world, linking continents as never before.

    The impact of phase technology caused a revolution in trading across the globe. Remote nations without sea ports or major rail networks were now able to send their produce across the world, and the major alliance powers now had the ability to transfer goods within their conglomerates with lighting speed. The years of 2053 an 2054 witnessed an astonishing 147 Gates being constructed across the face of the planet, linking almost every nation with each other.

    Yet it would be in China that the new technology would begin to be applied to space. Having finalized their plans for a Martian colony, the Chinese government in 2053 raised the question of using Gates in space. The Chinese Space Agency was quick to follow through with this suggestion, and work on a Gate in Earth orbit began in October of the same year. Due to the small payloads that could be delivered to orbit with conventional space vehicles, it would take until May of 2054 before the Gate was finished. Once it was completed however, the rewards were massive. Phase technology had produced a solution to the biggest problem holding back space exploration: that of escaping the gravity of Earth and placing matter in orbit. Now there was no limit to how much payload could be carried into orbit via the Gates, nor was there any problem with returning materials from space to Earth. Within a month of China constructing their orbital Gate, every other major power was following suit, eager to stake a claim in the “new frontier”.

    A question arises here however that must be answered. Why did Earth’s nations suddenly begin to try and gain access to space? The required technology to do so had been around for over a century before phase technology was discovered, yet in 2052 only a bare handful of nations had gone into space and only two, The United States of America and the China Territories had built permanent outposts there. What changed all this?

    The problems for space programs of the 20th and 21st centuries had been numerous and difficult to solve. Firstly there was the problem of getting from Earth into space. Vehicles had to be constructed that were able to escape the gravity of Earth, usually by producing a massive amount of downward thrust. Even then though the payloads that could be delivered were tiny; China’s first space station required no less than 49 deliveries of materials before it was completed.

    Secondly there were the distances between stars and planets. Space craft took 3 days to reach Earth’s moon and over a month to reach
    Mars. Distances to planets further out took years, and to reach the nearest star to Sol would have taken generations. These distances crushed most space prospects and limited mankind to only the closest planets and satellites.

    Thirdly there was the issue of returning anything useful to Earth. There was no doubt that the Sol system held many tantalizing riches on its various planets and moons, but harvesting them and returning them to Earth was a major obstacle. Thus any potential profits were smothered by the overwhelming costs involved in returning matter to Earth.

    Gates solved all three of these problems. Matter could now be transferred to and from Earth’s orbit easily without the need for space vehicles. Distances were no longer a problem, as Gates could be built near other planets and moons or wormholes could be established to them directly using the gravitational signatures of the extra terrestrial bodies themselves.

    What did this all mean however? For the nations of Earth, it had a similar meaning to that of Europe in the 16th century. It was at the start of that century that Europe’s states had discovered that there was a huge world outside of their conventional view which was filled with riches ready to be exploited. The planets and moons of the Sol system represented a commercial bonanza which every major nation and corporation was eager to grab a share in. This desire had remained dormant for decades, stifled by the aforementioned barriers to space travel, but this had all changed. Phase technology now ushered in a new age of exploration and colonization: the Expansion Period.

    For further information on this chapter, please refer to the end of Part 2: Chapter 3.

    Chapter 3: Beginnings

    Astute readers will already have recognized a problem with the conclusion of the previous paragraph. Though it is true that space held great riches, and phase technology solved the major problems with harvesting them, one factor was still needed: labor. For any space exploration and colonization to succeed, or to even begin, governments and corporations needed large numbers of people willing to live and work in space. This chapter will attempt to answer the question of why so many chose to leave Earth, and the challenges they faced.

    By turning back to the European analogy, we can see some startling similarities, though they may not initially be clear. The continents of North and South America in the 1500’s were harsh environments, populated by various peoples who were quite often hostile towards settlers, home to diseases against which Europeans had no immunity and subject to climatic conditions that were different to Europe. Settlers found growing crops difficult in some regions, and most colonies still had to import food and supplies from Europe to keep their populations alive. Yet despite these problems, Europeans did travel in large numbers to these new lands.

    Comparing this example to space, some problems faced by European settlers were not applicable: space was not home to hostile peoples who opposed colonization (though the Kharaa today may fall into this category) and no new diseases were present to infect vulnerable newcomers. Environmental conditions however could not be more varied and harsh. Planets and moons were generally lacking any atmosphere, or if they did, the air was not breathable by humans. The vacuum of space meant certain death for any unprotected organism and temperatures varied from vaporizing heat to absolute zero. Planets could be home to vast cyclones and storms like Jupiter or pitted with immense volcanoes such as Io. There were no sources of naturally occurring food and what little water there was to find was almost always frozen. Spending long periods of time in different gravitational environments lead to human bodies becoming weaker. But despite these immense obstacles, more than 5 billion people today live in space.

    The answers to these two separate examples are remarkably similar. At the heart of solving both the problems in America and space lay technology. Europeans could use imported tools to change the environments they encountered to better suit them, either by tilling soil, killing native peoples with muskets and cannon, cutting down trees and introducing European animals. Wooden ships able to cross the vast Atlantic could deliver supplies from Europe, keeping colonies alive, as well as taking New World goods back to Europe for sale. Technology allowed the colonization of space in exactly the same way: artificial greenhouses and pressurized domes produced food and accommodation, nuclear fusion reactors generated power, space-suits allowed humans to walk safely in vacuums and a combination of human and robotic labor was able to extract minerals and resources by mining. Space ships were able to supply colonies with needed goods whilst ferrying produce back to Earth.

    This however does not entirely answer our question. Though the problems in both America and space could be overcome by technology, life was by no means easy. Colonists faced short and brutal lives, with little relief from constant hard work. Having answered the question of how colonists survived, we must now try to understand why they left their homes and traveling to strange and distant lands.

    For the Europeans, their reasons were varied. Many sought riches, lured by tales of gold and treasure. Some sought freedom from religious or political persecution. For most though, it was the chance for a new life and a better tomorrow. For those who wished to travel but lacked the means, indentured labor was offered, where a person would sign up for a labor contract lasting several years in exchange for passage to the New World. Almost all of the colonists who traveled to the Americas in the 1500’s and 1600’s had no idea of how harsh the conditions would be, and companies and governments eager to exploit the resources of the New World did not attempt to rectify these misconceptions.

    Yet this was supplemented by another form of immigration, though it was not voluntary. Over the years from 1492 to 1865, millions of African slaves were sold into servitude in the Americas. These slaves often worked in conditions which meant almost certain death, and the main employment for slaves in the Americas was in the sugar plantations. These vast fields required massive amounts of labor to produce a crop, and slaves were worked to death in stifling heat and humidity. Most died within a few years. Macabre though this may seem to us today, a similar practice occurred during the Expansion Period. That will be addressed in due time however. For now, we must turn to the space colonists.

    The world of 2052 certainly provides us with a good starting point for understanding the desire to travel into space. The world population was now over 10 billion, and resources across the globe were being stretched too far. Food and water supplies in numerous regions were falling short of demand, cities were crammed with ever increasing numbers of people and with overcrowding came increased crime and impoverishment for millions. Unemployment plagued citizens in every state, and government welfare was cracking under the strain. Indeed, it has been speculated that had this continued, war would have been only a short time away. Thankfully, that never occurred.

    Thus there were certainly plenty of people to whom to idea of a new start, away from the crowded and polluted planet Earth, sounded quite tempting. Thanks to the internet, the people of 2052 were more informed about space than the Europeans of 1492 were about the Americas, but this can be a misleading conclusion to arrive at. The spread of information worked both ways, as governments and corporations spread a good deal of misinformation as well. Brochures, advertisements, leaflets and spam mail all spoke of the great opportunities that space had to offer. These articles of propaganda ensured readers that space travel was “perfectly safe” and “comfortable”, along with computer generated images of luxury apartments on distant moons. Only the good, and never the bad, was shown to the public, and many believed it. The reality was quite different to what they had been led to believe, but once you were in space it was hard to get back.

    It wasn’t all bad however. Governments and corporations offered handsome salaries to colonists, and though the work was hard and arduous, people were paid well. The offer of a job and some square meals was enough to tempt millions onto colonization ships right through the Expansion Period, and though some did die, others were able to turn the most hostile environments into thriving outposts of humanity. The harsh, frontier style conditions of space would produce a wide variety of societies and practices, some benign, others harmful. For those of you reading this today in your homes across the galaxy, recall the efforts of those who built the foundations of your communities.

    The Expansion Period however had an appetite for labor that could not be satisfied by voluntary colonists alone. Governments and corporations needed disposable labor for the harshest jobs in the worst conditions. With slavery no longer an option, they found it within the vast prisons that dotted every continent in 2052. ASEAC was the first alliance network to turn to their prison populations as a source of labor, and they were quickly followed by the rest of the world.

    Prisoners were given a choice: serving out sentences on Earth, or working in space in exchange for a reduced sentence. The vast majority of inmates accepted the offers, yearning for a chance at freedom and time outside their cramped cells. In signing the contracts though, they also signed away almost all of their legal rights, leaving them to be exploited in any means their masters wished. These criminals were shipped across the galaxy, sent to the wherever their labor was needed. Most would die before their sentences were up, yet others would replace them. Little money was spent on ensuring the safety of prisoners, and they were generally given substandard equipment. Penal settlements were set up in virtually every colonized star system; nightmarish compounds where inmates often took their own lives rather than face another day in space.

    By the 2070’s virtually every legal system on Earth was able to pass out sentences of deportation to space, and most crimes were soon deemed worthy of such punishment. The lucky few who managed to serve their sentences out found themselves on whatever planet or station they had last been working on, though for most they were quickly hired for their experience. A brotherhood and sisterhood of sorts grew up around the survivors, leading to the foundation of colonies such as New Botany Bay in the Deneb star system.

    Thus by coercion, force and desire, mankind traveled out into the stars. Colonies and stations would be established first throughout the Sol system, then within the Orion Arm, and finally throughout the entire galaxy. The story of that process of colonization, and the Expansion Period itself, will be discussed next.

    Further reading on the themes discussed in both Chapters 2 & 3 can be found in George Raudzens “Technology, disease and colonial conquests, sixteenth to eighteenth centuries” , Eugene D. Genovese “The world the slaveholders made”, Richard Gennings “The history of space deportation”, Valan Clousky “Reasons for leaving home: An examination of the early space colonists” and Faylene Walker “Ugly, brutal and short: the lives of the space pioneers”
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    Chapter 4: First Steps

    2054 could justifiably be termed the year when the Expansion Period started. Some historians would say that the discovery of phase technology itself started the Expansion, but that is rather like saying that the development of the V2 rocket in Germany started the Space Age. The Expansion Period only began when mankind began to colonize other planets, which occurred on June 4th 2054 with the arrival of Chinese colonists on Mars. The rest of the world however, as was discussed above, was quick to follow this lead. It is quite easy to understand why: the Sol system, being located close to Earth, cut travel costs considerably. Thus the first 8 years of the Expansion Period were devoted almost entirely to the colonization and control of the Sol system.

    The Sol system was in many ways the testing grounds for mankind’s conquest of the galaxy. In many respects the system was ideal for this purpose. There were a wide range of conditions, such as the hellish heat of Venus or the frozen wastes of Pluto. Gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn stood side by side with rocky worlds such as Mars. Being able to colonize the Sol system meant that mankind was well prepared for some of the challenges that awaited him elsewhere in the galaxy. Of course, space still held a good deal of surprises for humanity to encounter.

    Dividing up the Sol system was based around much the same principle that the Expansion Period worked on: first in first served. Building a Gate next to a planet gave whichever nation or corporation that built it effective control of the planet. A rival could still come through the Gate of course, using their own Gate to forge the wormhole, but such an occurrence would be considered an act of war. For most of the Expansion Period, nations and corporations were not interested in starting a conflict and instead took the view that there was always another system to colonize.

    The first nation to colonize the Sol system was, as described in Part 1, The China Territories. As the first state to construct an orbital Gate, and possessing the most experience in space colonization, China had the entire system to choose from. Their choice, Mars, was based upon sound logic. It was the most likely candidate for full scale terra-formation within the Sol system, it was a rocky world with water present in large quantities, and it was close to Earth. These factors, along with 2 reasonably sized moons perfect for orbital stations, made Mars a logical choice. Indeed, China devoted most of its space resources towards Mars until 2065, and even after that point up until 2114 the Mars colonies occupied a disproportionately large section in the Chinese space budget.

    Chinas’ decision to focus heavily upon the colonization of Mars would have various consequences, not least of all the Martian Revolution of 2114. Prior to that occurrence, which will be covered at depth later in this document, Mars provided a bonanza of resources. The initial colony was situated near a large vein of titanium, and further surveys quickly located sources of uranium, iron ore and cadmium. Four Martian colonies were established in 2054 alone, with a further eleven the next year. By 2065 thirty nine Chinese colonies dotted Mars, and a major phase technology research base had been established on Demios. Two central colonies, New Canton and Ta’King, both were developed as major spaceports and distribution centers of commerce. New Canton in 2065 had a population of over 25,000, whilst Ta’King had swollen to 28,000. The remaining colonies acted mainly as resource collection outposts, funneling raw materials as well as hydroponic crops and water back to the factories and processing plants in the core colonies.

    The overall plan for Mars however was far more ambitious. Determined the use Mars as a model and testing grounds for future colonization, the Chinese government began a massive process of terraformation. Around the core colonies atmospheric processing plants were constructed, massive nuclear reactors which worked non-stop leeching carbon dioxide from the air and converting it into oxygen. To speed this up, much of the planet was saturated with genetically enhanced bacteria specifically designed to cope with the harsh atmosphere of Mars. CO2 from Earth was also shipped via phase gates to the upper atmosphere of Mars, providing a useful benefit to Earth as well. This helped to thicken the atmosphere to produce a greenhouse effect, crucial to warming the planet.

    One failed terraformation attempt was utilizing geothermal energy. Whilst it was true that the molten core of Mars was an excellent source of heat, transferring it to the surface proved to be far too inefficient. Geothermal power stations though proved to be an excellent source of energy for some colonies, and three atmospheric processors were fueled in such a way.

    As a final measure two immense mirrors thousands of kilometers long were constructed in orbit around Mars. These acted as a gigantic focus, concentrating the energy of Sol and heating the planet below. Both were destroyed in 2115 during the Martian rebellion, but by that stage the Martian atmosphere was already thick enough to retain sufficient heat.

    Most of this technology had never been tested on such a scale before, and certainly the Chinese scientists controlling the project had no idea how long the process would take, or if it would even work at all. To the surprise of themselves, and the rest of the world, regions of the Martian atmosphere became breathable in 2071, 10 years after the commencement of the project. Often prevailing winds meant that these pockets of oxygen and nitrogen were quickly swept away, but occasionally they settled in low valleys where they remained stationary. Tentative outposts were established within such sectors, initially concerned with monitoring. When it became clear that such regions were able to support life, larger plants such as grasses and low growing shrubs taken from harsh regions on Earth were planted.

    By 2080, a mere 9 years later, images of Mars taken from space revealed a myriad of green and blue. The vast glaciers and ice-caps in the north and south poles had partially melted, producing rivers and seas across the Martial surface. Around these water sources, hardy plants from Earth flourished, surrounded by clouds of insects imported by the Chinese colonists. Though nearly 50% of the atmosphere remained unbreathable, the plant life and atmospheric processors were now converting CO2 at an exponential rate. Colonists flocked to Mars in huge numbers; the figures for 2078 alone show that nearly two million humans immigrated to the “New Earth” as it was rapidly becoming known as.

    It was not only Chinese citizens arriving either. People from states and alliances all across the world wanted to move to Mars, and the Chinese government was all too happy to accept them, providing that they took temporary Chinese work visas. New colonies sprung up virtually overnight, expanding across the Martian surface around the initial settlements that the Chinese had established in the 2050’s and 2060’s. New Canton in 2080 was home to nearly 4 million colonists, and Ta’King was close behind with 3.7 million.

    Though the planet was rapidly becoming more hospitable, and there was never a shortage of employment opportunities, this did not mean that life on Mars was easy. Colonies sometimes were annihilated without warning, destroyed by freak storms or swept away in flash floods of glacial water from the poles. Weather conditions on Mars were virtually unpredictable, but with the atmospheric changes torrential rain was common. The melting of the ice caps lead to wide-scale flooding and the creation of vast marshlands, which in turn lead to explosions of insects in their billions. Overcrowding, especially in the two core colonies, bred diseases from Earth that came with infected colonists. Luxuries were few and far between, with most cropland devoted to food production and factories shipping the majority of their produce back to Earth. Commerce did grow however as population levels rose, with a few companies importing Earth goods and selling them to colonists, generally at a huge mark-up. Work was almost always extremely difficult, involving large amounts of manual labor in hazardous conditions. As was discussed above though, this did not deter colonists.

    Though the Martian colonies were without doubt the most successful of the colonization attempts throughout the Sol system, other nations
    were just as eager to stake their claim over the remainder. The United States of America, after having been denied Mars, decided to turn to the next most promising target: the planet Jupiter. Though Jupiter was, and remains, an inhospitable gas giant, its moons held great potential for resources and settlement. Readers will know that even today, the Jovian Union commands tremendous commercial and political power.

    The US commenced their Jovian missions in January 2055, sending a small expeditionary team to Ganymede. This moon, along with Europa, were considered prime targets for colonization, mainly due to presence of water on their respective surfaces, and tantalizing evidence collected during the 21st and 20th centuries that hinted at a possible oxygen atmosphere. The survey team dispatched by the US landed on Ganymede on the 17th of January, 2055.

    Initial tests showed that Ganymede did indeed possess a thin atmosphere of oxygen. Though not strong enough to breathe normally, the air could be filtered into settlements and combined with additional gases to produce a breathable atmosphere. This was excellent news for the US, and a similar discovery on Europa a week later only served to intensify the level of commitment to Jovian colonization. Within 6 months, three permanent bases had been established on Ganymede and another on Europa.

    Ganymede proved to be almost as good a candidate for settlement and resources as Mars. The core of the planet-sized moon was still hot, allowing for large scale geothermal power production as well providing a simple and efficient way of producing water from ice deposits over the surface. Large deposits of iron, nickel, zinc, copper, manganese and chromium were found within weeks of the first settlements, providing a local source of materials as well as commercial prospects. Massive smelters and mining operations were set up by the end of 2055, mostly by prospective US companies who then sold the manufactured materials back to the government for further expanding existing settlements.

    Europa at first seemed to be somewhat of a bad choice. Whilst possessing water in truly enormous quantities, there was very little dry land to be found anywhere. The first settlement, McMurdo Station, was built on the top of the vast ice sheets that covered the liquid oceans below. Some small scale hydroponic farms were moderately successful, allowing the station to be fairly self-sufficient, but with no natural resources except water to be found on the surface, prospects for larger settlements seemed low.

    The true wealth of Europa lay underneath its icy exterior. The question was how to get it. Ice lay nearly 10 kilometers deep over the liquid oceans, and cutting a substantial hole through such a mass would be a difficult task for a company today, let alone in 2057. Once a hole was dug though, the problem of keeping it open and unfrozen on the -160 degree surface raised a further problem. The US found a solution by using the same technology that had brought them to Europa: phase technology. A plan was drawn up to build a small Gate underneath the ice in the warm liquid seas below. Once there, a team would be sent through to establish a pressurized base underneath the ice, and from there a permanent base could be established.

    A special mining craft was designed for the mission. With a crew of five, the vessel was essentially a cabin and storage compartment attached to a massive heated borer. An on-board nuclear generator provided the power. The plan was to tunnel through the ice sheet, letting the ice reform behind the vessel, and once in the seas below activate the phase gate carried as cargo. The construction took some three months, during which a vast heated dome was constructed over the entry point. You can still visit the dome today, as it remains a large part of the top-side settlement on Europa.

    On September the 17th the expedition was launched. Over the next three days the borer drilled it’s way into the ice with little difficulty. The ice-sheet was breached sixty nine hours after the project started. With the phase gate activated, construction began on a pressurized settlement attached to the bottom of the ice sheet. Within two weeks a small colony had been established and oceanic exploration vehicles were launched. The scientists and technicians on board these craft quickly found that Europa had a few surprises in store.

    The first shock was that the ocean under the ice was quite shallow. The ocean floor was detected a mere 4 kilometers below the Gate. This suited prospective miners perfectly, and given the low gravity of Europa water pressure was not a problem. The seas were warm from the planet’s core and also from gravitational tidal activity produced by Jupiter. Temperatures were mild enough to allow aquatic plants and creatures to grow. Better still, the ocean floor held rich resources much as Ganymede did. Work began immediately on a vast underwater settlement.

    There was a third Jovian planet that the US wanted to settle however, the cratered world of Callisto. The composition of the planet’s crust however, a dirty mixture of ice and rock, almost immediately doomed large scale colonization efforts. Two small research outposts were built and a company calling itself by the optimistic name “Callisto Enterprises” set up a mining outpost, but never managed to find anything of value, and the business soon folded.

    The goal of the US in colonizing both Ganymede and Europa though was to use both settlements as bases for extensive operations within the Jovian system. Jupiter’s’ 65 other moons all had great potential for commercial mining, but the US and the corporations it allowed within the system needed a base of operations. Ganymede suited this purpose perfectly, with the quickly spreading aquatic gardens of Europa bringing in food and water.

    Ganymede’s major settlement, Liberty, would act as the central distribution point for mining operations within the Jovian system. In 2062 construction of a major Gate network throughout Jupiter’s moons began, first linking Europa and Ganymede, then the volcanic world of Io. In 2063 two corporations, along with the US government, commenced operations on Io, hoping to find rich mineral deposits. They were not disappointed; the massive moon contained huge veins of platinum and titanium. The scale of this find was thought to outweigh the immense safety risks of working on Io, home to nearly endless volcanoes that erupted on a daily basis, filling the air with sulfur dioxide. Yet despite the very high salaries offered, there were few people willing to take the job. Indeed it would be on Io that US prisoners were for the first time employed to undertake work in conditions that could only be described as “hellish”. The average life expectancy on the volcanic world was a mere 2 months.

    By 2070 nearly 2 million people were living in the Jovian system, with over two thirds on Ganymede. Europa’s main settlement, Atlantis, had specialized into food production, cultivating huge ocean gardens and fish farms. The vast smelters of Liberty worked endlessly, with more being built every day to satisfy demand. From these two bases of operation, the Jovian system was almost entirely self sufficient, providing it’s own food, water, oxygen and construction materials. It was small wonder that the US government chose Ganymede as a base for their spaceship construction yards, much as China was doing with Mars.

    With so much money being generated though, and with colonists arriving every day, it was inevitable that eventually political trouble would arise. Indeed, this is exactly what happened, but that, like the Martian Rebellion, will be covered later. For now, it is time to turn to the next planet and the next organization to settle upon it: Saturn and the European Union.

    Saturn proved to be somewhat of a disappointment. Most of its satellites were small and suitable only for limited mining prospects. However the largest moon around Saturn, Titan, was a prime candidate for colonization.

    Possessing a thick nitrogen atmosphere with trace elements of organic compounds, Titan represented an almost primordial body, as its composition was very similar to that of Earth’s 3.5 billion years ago. The main problem was heat; giving its distance from Sol, Titan was a chilly frozen world. The European Union was determined to develop Titan however, and began by following a similar process as the Chinese were using on Mars.

    Unlike Mars though, Titan was not destined to become a thriving “Second Earth”, as the red planet was sometimes called. It was simply too far away from the sun, and the best efforts of the European Union only brought the surface temperature up to a degree or two above freezing at the best of times. Nonetheless this was an extraordinary achievement and such conditions, while harsh, were good enough for major colonies. By 2071, some 300,000 people were living on Titan and mining operations on were under way on Dione and Rhea.

    Of the remaining planets, Uranus and Neptune were the only two that were attempted to be settled. The Australasian and South East Asia Coalition sent a small colonization fleet to Titania in 2062, and established a moderately sized colony there. The moon, though possessing a high quantity of frozen water, had significant deposits of nickel, tin and iron, all of which lead ASEAC to build two large shipyards around Titania to build extra-stellar vessels for further colonization efforts outside the Sol system. The base though never approached the scale or significance of the Jovian colonies, and indeed in 2119 the base was largely abandoned after it became unprofitable.

    Settlement around Neptune was accomplished by the Russian government. Late arrivals in the Expansion Period, the Russian government
    had been hampered by financial problems from around 2055 onwards, simply because the international arms trade had essentially collapsed. What money the government could scrape together was used to finance a Russian company, the Neptune Freight Organization. This consortium would eventually come to dominate much of the galaxy’s shipping, and become a major military power in its own right.

    The N.F.O. set up operations on Triton, Neptune’s largest satellite, in 2067. Initial examinations of Triton’s composition revealed a plethora of metals and minerals, including uranium, iron ore, nickel, tin, platinum, gold and silicon. The company immediately began to set up a major operation on the moon, building a massive mining and refinery complex fueled by eight nuclear reactors. Their overall plan however was not to simply ship the raw materials they produced back to Earth, but instead to use them to build vast shipyards around Neptune.

    Between 2072 and 2083, the N.F.O. constructed eighteen shipyards in orbit near Triton and Neptune. Over the next three decades 25% of the commercial ships involved in galactic trade would be N.F.O. ships, and by 2120 that would rise to 34%. Today the N.F.O. controls the largest commercial fleet and the second largest military fleet in the galaxy. Though the nation that gave rise to the company, Russia, would fall on hard times, the N.F.O. remains perhaps the biggest success story of the entire Expansion Period.

    For further reference, the following titles are recommended. Joseph Bennings “Humanity’s first steps: Mars and Jupiter”, Clara Richerdson, “Reach for the Stars”, J’Sur Cliff “The grab for space”, Arthur Rojers “The foundations of modern space empires” and Ivan Richcofen “The colonization of the Sol system”. Web searches should use the keywords “Mars, history”, “Jovian Union, history”, “Saturn, history”, “Uranus, history”, “Neptune, history”, “Expansion Period, early history”, and “space colonization, early history”.

    Chapter 5: Cruel Illusions

    The colonization of the Sol system was more or less complete by the year 2075. By this stage, the major colonies had been established and were producing the raw materials needed for the next wave of expansion to begin. This would begin with the “U.S.S. Louis and Clark” and not end until the Battle of Gateway Station in 2140. During this space of time, over eight hundred thousand star systems would be surveyed and nearly ten thousand colonized. Some five billion people would leave for the stars, and countless millions would die amongst them. Never before in human history had such a momentous migration of people and materials taken place, and it changed the face of humanity forever. It is in this era that our great-grandparents left Earth and sired the generations that would call the stars their home.

    It would be impossible to completely recount this vast time period. Entire volumes have been dedicated to the colonization of single star systems, and even the most devoted researcher simply does not possess enough years in his or her lifetime to explain in detail the entirety of the Expansion Period. In a document such as this, only major events will be touched upon and the general themes expressed. Even in such a limited format, the next two chapters will be quite extensive.

    In examining the colonization of the Sol System, many readers will no doubt be thinking that the prosperous settlements on Mars, Europa and Titan, and the fabulous wealth gathered from them were the hallmark of things to come. This is unfortunately an incorrect assessment. The comparison between the Sol System settlement and the remainder of the Expansion Period has been made many times before, but I shall examine it here as well.

    The Sol System had several advantages. Firstly, it had a large number of rocky planets, including two that were in conditions suitable for life. Secondly, our home planet Earth was located within this system. Finally, the Sol star is a small and fairly weak star which provides more good than harm. These advantages helped to offset the initial costs of space exploration and create a false illusion of the real expenses.

    Though Gate technology allows instantaneous teleportation, the energy requirements rise as distance increases. Within the Sol system, these requirements are fairly insignificant, and thus it required little energy to send ships to Mars and Jupiter, and equally small amounts to bring raw materials and manufactured goods back to Earth. The cost of colonizing the Sol system was offset by the rewards, which in turn gave the nations and companies involved huge profits. The assumption that space colonization outside the Sol system would follow a similar trend quickly came into being. Governments and corporate executives began to draw up budget plans for further space colonization that turned out to be wildly incorrect.

    The reason these plans were wrong was not immediately apparent. The U.S.S. Louis and Clark was the first ship to visit a star system outside of our own, when in 2076 the Alpha Centauri system was explored. Two large rocky planets were discovered there, and geological surveys found them to be filled with commercially viable resources. Colonization ships were immediately dispatched and the colonies of New Jamestown and Jefferson were established within a year. The success of these two colonies seemed to justify the costs, and indeed if the United States of America had stopped at Alpha Centauri they probably would have escaped the bankruptcy that awaited them.

    Initial success, such as the colonies on Alpha Centauri and Eridane, were close enough to Earth that the costs of Gate transport were fairly small, though only the mineral wealth of planets in both systems allowed the governments involved to recoup their losses. For every success however there were hundreds of failures. Only one in ten star systems surveyed had prospects for colonies, and of them barely one in eight were commercially viable. This didn’t stop governments and corporations from founding colonies on resource-poor planes and moons however, and the burden of supporting their failed colonial efforts helped drag down the profits from the successful ones.

    For a long time, some four decades, just enough profitable systems were being located to justify the costs. But the problem arising was that the distances were becoming greater and greater, to the point where the cost of Gate transport was becoming a serious burden. The costs of maintaining and running the massive Gates though paled in significance next to the administrative costs of running a galactic colonial empire. For every colony, local law enforcement, government officials and bureaucratic staff had to be supplied and paid. Few colonies could grow all their own food and harvest all the water they required, so regular freight runs had to be organized. Expensive technology, such as power-suits for working in hazardous conditions, also had to be manufactured and shipped out. Even prosperous colonies by the 2120’s were draining their own profits in administrative and maintenance costs.

    Why then did governments and corporations continue to expand? The answer is simple: they were all chasing an unrealistic goal. The budget figures drawn up between 2075 and 2030 all used the Sol system as their model, and the rising costs were explained by the belief that a system as prosperous as the Sol system had not yet been found. The truth was that hundreds of systems as profitable or more profitable as the Sol system had been discovered by the end of the Expansion Period, but the costs of running them destroyed the profits they were producing. For much of the early Expansion Period the colonies that were established generated just enough to pay for themselves and give their owners reasonable profits, but these profits were simply sunk into further efforts. By 2120 most Earth governments and corporations were starting to take out loans to finance their space colonization programs, and taxation rates continued to rise. Constantly chasing the impossible goal of a Sol System economy, the parties involved finally exhausted themselves and then fought to consolidate their assets.

    It seems impossible today to think that governments and corporations would act in such a manner, but the process of space colonization had a life of its own. Once one colony was established, the profits were used to build a second, further away. The costs of running the new colony though would prompt the founding of a new colony to produce new profits to pay for old costs. Each new colony had the effect of forcing the construction of another, to try and keep the profits coming in. The whole system collapsed in on itself in 2140, after which the pace of space exploration and colonization dramatically slowed.

    For further reference, the following titles are recommended: Joan Le’Comptre “Why Expansion Failed”, Jeffrey Humphreys “Economics and Colonial ventures”, Ralph Wishart “The Voracious Expansion” and Sarah Robins “Economic attitudes in 21st century colonial programs” are all excellent sources. Web searches should use the words “Expansion Period, history” and “Expansion Period, economic factors”.

    Chapter 6: Cause and Effect

    Inevitably, the break-neck speed of the Expansion Period and the rampant spread of inter-stellar nations were bound to affect the Sol system, which lay at the heart of the entire colonial operation. Every nation involved in the Expansion Period was based on Earth and the vast majority of colonists came from there. Colonial authorities all answered to Earth-based governments or corporations. The colonial system of Europe, discussed in Part 1, had a profound effect upon the nations involved. During the Expansion Period, the old nations of Earth would be changed by the burden of vast colonial empires.

    When the Expansion Period started in 2052, the majority of governments on the planet were capitalist democracies. Even the People’s Republic of China was to some extent democratic, and without question it was capitalist. People enjoyed fairly widespread political freedom, and it was taken for granted that this would not change.

    The initial expansion into the Sol system changed little on Earth except for the penal code changes. Overcrowded prisons provided colonial authorities with ample “expendable labor”, and most people didn’t see anything wrong with giving prisoners the option to work off their debts to society in space. The spirit of adventure, coupled with a desire to escape the poverty-stricken and crowded cities of Earth produced vast numbers of colonists, often in greater numbers than were required.

    By 2090 however, this situation had changed. Prisons were emptying faster than they could be filled, especially with the passing of new laws in every space colonial power that allowed for sentences of penal labor and the forced conscription of any unwilling prisoner. The list of crimes which could be punished by penal transport now began to expand. The People’s Republic of China had a long history of imprisoning any of its citizens with undesirable political views, and given the success of China’s colonies it is little wonder that this practice started to spread.

    It did not come in overnight. The beginnings of legislation against freedom of political expression can be found in the early 21th century, when many democratic nations started to pass new laws to combat terrorism. These early bills were a far cry from the laws passed in 2102, but they did set the precedent for things to come, which was that certain freedoms could be suspended in the name of national defense.

    Increasingly the mood of nations involved in space colonization was “expand or perish”. If a nation fell behind, the spoils of space would go to a competitor, who would then be so powerful that they would dominate the galaxy, politically and economically. Governments began to use the excuse of national security to pass new laws restricting political freedom, and with the belief that the national security of a state was based on its ability to expand it wasn’t long before people found their rights infringed upon.

    Simply put, the population of a nation was arguably its most important resource during the Expansion Period. If citizens were allowed to leave one state and enter another, it was the equivalent of helping the enemy. The first laws restricting immigration were passed in 2084, in the European Union, and other states quickly followed. Again, as in the penal code laws, most people thought that these laws were required by the conditions of the time. Those who spoke out against these laws at first received merely harsh criticism in the increasingly government-controlled news, and by the 21st century they would start to be imprisoned and deported.

    If immigrating was unpatriotic, then speaking out against the government could be as well. The interstellar nations of the late 20th and 21st centuries worked off the precedents already set by previous laws, giving governments the power to detain suspected anarchists, dissidents and members of political opposition groups for a few days to determine whether they were a threat to national security. Once they were within the new warped legal systems, they were quickly deported to penal colonies. Because the process occurred gradually, most people did not oppose it or even knew it was happening. Opinion polls from the time on Earth show firm majorities supporting the new laws being passed. Events on Mars and around Jupiter would lead to the large scale destruction of personal liberties and rights in the nations of Earth.

    In 2113 a Chinese national was tried and executed in Beijing. His name was Shin Tao, and his death would spark the largest ever uprising against colonial authority. Tao had been a colonial administrator on Mars, well renowned for his efforts to secure higher pay and better working conditions for the four hundred million Martian colonists. Though the Mars colonies generated huge profits for the Chinese government and Chinese corporations, little of this wealth trickled down to the workers and colonists. Most went straight to Earth or was used to fuel colonization efforts elsewhere. Colonists on Mars enjoyed even fewer political freedoms than their comrades on Earth, and though many had been lured to the red planet by the prospect of high pay rates and luxurious living quarters, these were soon shown to be mere propaganda. Immigration off Mars was forbidden. Government commercials portrayed Mars as a lush tropical paradise, but did not show the vast marshlands that generated trillions of insects and bred rampant disease, or the bland diet of bread, water and tea that most colonists were forced to live on.

    Shin Tao since his appointment in 2104 came to be recognized by the Martian colonists as their best chance for better working conditions and higher pay rates. Though his powers were limited, he nonetheless managed to raise the minimum wage level and through political scheming forced the Chinese government to divert an extra $24 billion to combating the annual insect plagues and another $14 billion into better housing for workers. Tao was hailed as a hero for these accomplishments, but his efforts angered a great many government officials in Beijing. He was arrested in 2112 on charges of dissent and in December of 2113 was publicly executed.

    Though the government news services did not broadcast Tao’s death, the Martian colonists received word anyway, possibly from foreign governments. The initial response was that of stunned disbelief, followed by incredible rage. For many of the Martian colonists, Tao’s death was the last straw. On January 1st, 2114, a group calling itself the “Sons of Mars” burned a colonial administration building in New Canton to the ground and proclaimed a revolt against the Chinese government.

    Almost overnight armed groups of colonists sprang into being, launching attacks against police stations, government buildings and corporate warehouses. Given that weapons were barred from import into the Martian colonies except for government security forces, it seems highly likely that a foreign government, most likely United America, aided the colonists and supplied them with arms. What is certain is that from the start the colonists possessed a wide range of weaponry, mostly of 2050’s era manufacture.

    The Chinese government immediately responded by suspending all the remaining rights of its citizens and declared a state of martial law. Military units were activated and sent through government-held phase gates to Mars, where they were told to assume that any colonists were hostile. Though some remained loyal to begin with, by the end this policy had alienated what little government support had existed in the colonies.

    The colonists initially had a great success in New Canton, where the local security forces had opted to join the rebels. An ambush was planned around the city’s primary gate, through which one of the first Chinese armies was to arrive. When half of the army was through the Gate the trap was sprung: the Gate was shut down and concealed colonial forces struck from all sides against the government troops. Out manned and outgunned, the government forces soon surrendered, giving the colonials a great amount of military equipment as booty. The other major victory for the colonials came when the massive Chinese battle cruiser “Yamato”, the largest and most powerful warship in the Chinese fleet, was captured outside Ta’King when a large portion of its crew mutinied. The ship would play a pivotal role in upcoming battles.

    Of the twenty five major cities on Mars, the colonists only managed to control New Canton. All the others were taken by government troops pouring through the Gates that were kept operational by loyal security forces. Controlling the major cities though did not equate to controlling the planet however, and even in the cities ambushes and sniper attacks were frequent. The People’s Liberation Army began to push out from its urban strongholds in early February, aiming to crush New Canton with two armored drives from both the north and south.

    Both government forces suffered continual harassment as they pushed through the local countryside. The Martian environment, with weaker gravity than Earth, caused many government soldiers to be sick and also affected their aim with artillery and other projectile weapons. Maglev lines were sabotaged and supply columns attacked at every opportunity. Though the government had virtual control of the skies, colonists with SA-36 and Patriot-3 missiles were able to shoot down aircraft with disturbing frequency. When the US and Russian governments were asked about the weaponry being used by the colonists, both denied any involvement.

    Through sheer persistence and force of numbers, in March government forces reached New Canton and began the arduous task of clearing the city. The colonists had established their capital in the massive city and fortified vast sections. Government bombing and artillery barrages simply served to create more obstacles and barricades, which the colonial soldiers used to their advantage. Buildings had to be cleared room by room, and the rebels were quite often would wait for a large force of enemy soldiers to enter a structure, then set off explosions inside that collapsed the entire building.

    The siege of New Canton lasted over a year. Government forces on four separate occasions penetrated into the heart of the city but each time were repulsed with massive losses, due in no small part to the timely arrival of the Yamato over the battlefield. Attempts across the country to subdue the rebellion in smaller, regional centers were unsuccessful, one Chinese commander reporting that “To stop this, I would have to kill every man, woman and child on this planet”. In May of 2115, rebel colonial forces surrounded the remainder of the government forces besieging New Canton, and over the next three months contained the government armies until they were forced to surrender from lack of supplies. Some 200,000 government troops were captured.

    With the main force of the government armies destroyed, the rebels now moved to control or shut down the Gates across Mars. Most were located within the government-controlled cities, but the reactors that fueled them were on the outskirts. Most had heavy concentrations of government troops around them, but the colonists were able to push them back into their urban bases in sporadic fighting between June and October. On three occasions the reactors were destroyed instead of captured, usually by a bombardment from artillery or the Yamato. The colonists had no intention of getting bogged down in urban warfare and instead worked on a policy of containment, keeping the government forces bottled up and cut off from supplies.

    By the beginning of November, no powered Gates remained in the hands of the Chinese government on Mars. This, coupled with the victory at New Canton, prompted action in Washington, Brussels and Canberra. The governments of United America, the European Union and ASEAC all recognized the Martian colonies as independent and called upon the Chinese government to do the same. With the phase gates cut, the only remaining prospect for the Chinese government was a space invasion which, in the light of the anti-air capabilities on the colonists and their control of Mars’ planetary defense systems, was a slim hope indeed. With no other option, the Chinese government on December 15th 2115, ironically the day two years previously that Shin Tao was executed, recognized the independence of the Martian colonies.

    The success of the Martian rebels had a tremendous impact on colonial relations across the galaxy. Though the governments of United America and the Russian Federation had almost certainly aided the rebels, they undertook these actions to weaken the China Territories, not to support the notion of colonial independence. News services to colonies were heavily monitored and controlled, including the internet, but word of mouth and “the grapevine” of conversation and gossip generally allowed colonists in all but the most remote outposts to learn of developments elsewhere. News of the Mars rebellion soon spread across the galaxy.

    On the Jupiter colonies, which being close to Earth had monitored the Mars rebellion closely, workers reacted with excitement. The United States of America had initially given them generous wages for working on the Jovian moons, but as space colonization spread profits were increasingly siphoned off for projects outside of the Sol system. Coupled with the government’s crackdown on trade unions, by 2115 most of the colonists in the Jovian system were earning less than the minimum wage required by law. The success of the Martians prompted the Jovians to petition their government for better working conditions and higher wages.

    United America acted immediately. All news services to the Jovian sector were suspended and an additional 100,000 security personal, most of them from the regular army, were phased into the three main colonies on Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. Angry protesters, claiming the rights they thought they still had, clashed with security forces on several occasions through the month of August in 2115. Then, on August the 29th, armed police and military forces opened fire on what the government described as “a rabble of the unemployed, anarchists, foreign illegal immigrants and leftist dissidents”. 351 people, mostly workers and their families, were killed and over one thousand injured.

    A lull followed the Ganymede Massacre. The colonists were grimly aware that unlike the Martians, their homes were not on terraformed worlds. They could not leave the main population centers without proper protection, and certainly they could not use the countryside to their advantage. With the government controlling the supply of air, food and water, the colonists were in a precarious position. In the end, they decided to adopt a non-violent approach.

    Colonists across the Jovian system on the 8th of September 2115 refused to come into work. Walking instead to major intersections and transport chokepoints, they sat on the ground and ignored requests to move. Though some people continued to work, by the end of the first week the strike had consumed over 85% of the working population in the Jovian colonies.

    The government of United America was now faced with a major problem. They had hoped that the Jovians would use violent means of protest, and thus allow the government media to portray them as dangerous anarchists working for foreign governments. But by using the tactics that Gandhi had used in India (see Chapter 7), the colonists had denied their government that option. Another Ganymede Massacre would look bad on national television, as despite the government’s best efforts pirate news stations and internet broadcasts continued to air “sensitive material”.

    Economically, the strike in the Jovian system was a disaster for the countless corporations that had interests there, as well as the United American government. The Jovian colonies prior to the Mars rebellion had been the second most profitable colonial assets in the galaxy, and with the troubles on Mars the price of certain resources had shot up. The profits from Jupiter’s moons were sorely needed to fund colonial construction and maintenance elsewhere.

    Knowing that they needed the profits of the Jovian system, the UA government tried to ship in replacement workers. The few thousand they
    managed to scrape together though could not come remotely close to running the vast mining and farming operations in the sector. Millions of people lived in the Jovian system, and only near equal numbers could replace them. As the strike entered its second month, the World Bank informed the UA government that unless the situation in the Jovian colonies was resolved, no more loans could be issued. Such a development would doom further colonial expansion.

    With no real other alternative, the UA government came to the negotiating table. In discussions that lasted 2 weeks, a massive trade union known as the Jovian Union was formed. The government agreed that it could not disband or outlaw the union, but insisted that it adhere to guidelines that both sides agreed upon. In return the colonists agreed to return to work, and by October the Jovian system was in full production once again.
    The Jovian Union came to be the single most powerful union force in the galaxy and was a constant thorn in the side of UA. Jovian workers enjoyed higher pay rates and better working conditions than most other colonists elsewhere. The success on Jupiter would prompt other colonists to try and organize unions, but most of these attempts would fail. Only with the turbulence of the Consolidation Period would colonists manage to secure some of the freedoms and privileges denied to them for so long.

    For further reference, the following titles are recommended: James Walker “A history of the Martian colonies”, Clarrisa Thomas “The rise and fall of Sol System colonial power”, Robert Forenine “Politics and economics in the Sol System” and Anges Burnett “Colonies Triumphant”. Web searches should use “Martian colonies, rebellion”, “Earth, political developments, 21st century”, “Earth, political developments, 22nd century”, and “Jovian Union, history”.
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    edited April 2009
    Chapter 7: The Grab for South and Latin America.

    Some readers may have noticed that in Part 1 of this document, I neglected to mention the continent of South America and the region of Latin America. The reason for this was simply that the main aim of Part 1 was to examine the nations that would be directly involved in the colonization of space during the Expansion Period. Though the people of South and Latin America would play a major role in the Expansion Period, their countries would not. Instead, they would be absorbed into the alliance super-states that dominated the Earth in the 21st and 22nd centuries.

    When phase technology was developed, the most any South American nation did with it was streamline trade and transport. Wracked by debt, none had the resources to launch a space program, and centuries old political disputes combined with the lack of a dangerous power nearby doomed any attempts at unification. Thus by the late 21st century the South American and Latin American states remained separate and fairly poor. The global economy had shifted to the space colonies and in doing so the southern continent had been left behind.

    People did emigrate out of South America and many of them were sent to the stars. But they were a minority; the vast majority of people stayed at home, contributing to a burgeoning population that by 2100 was nearly 1.5 billion. Millions were enslaved in people smuggling rings, some run by criminal groups, others with connections to major states. People smuggling during the Expansion Period was a multi-billion dollar trade, as colonial states would pay handsomely for human cargo.

    More than anything else, it was the resource of people that lead to the so-called “Grab for the South”, a name that arose due to the similarity to the “Grab for Africa” during the late 19th century. The major states on Earth with colonial possessions faced a constant problem: population. Despite advances in robotics it was both cheaper and more effective to send humans to colonize new worlds. Some were gained by penal settlements, others by natural immigration. Coercion and force increasingly during the late 21st centuries, and eventually mass conscription after the Mars rebellion (see chapter 8), provided a means to get people to colonies, but the people themselves still had to be found.

    The first major nation to start absorbing South and Latin America was the United States of America. In 2091, the USA government approached the government of Mexico with a proposal. Immigrants from Mexico would be allowed to enter the country in any numbers, provided they agreed to temporary work visas. These visas stipulated that the USA government, or a chosen corporation, could force the immigrants to work anywhere. The Mexican government, eager to reduce the population of the country, readily agreed. Immigrants began to flock north seeking employment and a better life.

    This was only the start however. The US government less than a year later offered to buy three Mexican territories, Sonora, Chihuahua and Coahuila. For the cash-strapped Mexican government, this was welcomed, and the three states were sold to the United States of America for 40 billion dollars in March of 2092. Shortly after this however, things changed completely.

    For some eighty years, rebel guerillas in Mexico had been fighting a losing war against the Mexican government. Out manned and outgunned, the rebel forces had managed to hurt the Mexican state on occasion, but never had had the resources to do more. The Mexican government was thus stunned when in October of 2092 a rebel force armed with the latest tanks, helicopters, artillery and fighter-bomber aircraft smashed into a Mexican army base near Mexico City and annihilated the entire garrison there. Frantic Mexican officials scrambled to post military forces near the capital to prevent the rebels from seizing power.

    With rebel armies less than 20 kilometers from Mexico City, a massive urban battle erupted. The Mexican Army had numbers on its side, and though the rebels had superior equipment they were not well trained in its use. Both sides quickly found that they could not defeat the other immediately, and a state of siege came into being.

    Then, on the 1st of November 2092 a vast fleet of USA aircraft appeared in the skies over Mexico City. Columns of tanks and infantry formations rolled out of the newly purchased northern Mexican states and moved on provincial capitals. News services in the United States claimed that these forces had entered Mexico to end the violence that was threatening to destabilize the entire region. The Mexican government was caught completely by surprise and captured in Mexico City almost entirely intact. USA forces moved rapidly against the rebel guerilla armies, whose source of equipment seemed to have dried up. By the end of December the entire country was under the control of the United States of America. A provincial government was established, “to maintain law and order until elections can be held”. US forces were only to be held in the region until it was clear there was no further threat to US national security.

    The provincial government is still in Mexico City today, and no elections have been held. Many of the details about what happened in Mexico are still unknown even today, but what is clear is that the same thing was about to happen to most of Latin and South America.

    Though the United States of America was the first nation to seize Southern American territories, it would not be alone. Between 2092 and 2120 South America, Latin America and the Caribbean were carved up between the United States of America, The Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Australasian and South East Asian Coalition and the European Union. By far the largest amount of territories fell to the United States, who by 2120 controlled all of Latin America, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Columbia. Indeed, this massive influx of population and territory prompted the changing of the United States of America to simply United America, as the South American nations that were absorbed were treated as occupied territories, not states. GEAPS came to dominate Peru, Bolivia and Chile whilst ASEAC claimed Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay. The European Union took French Guinea, Suriname, Guyana and most of the Caribbean. Only Cuba remained under its own government.

    In most cases the nation was seized economically or politically. If nations refused to sell most of their land to foreign powers, anti-government forces, of which South America had in boundless quantities, would suddenly receive a massive influx of funding and equipment. In the ensuing chaos, foreign states would send in military power to establish provincial governments in the name of national security. In democratic countries, major political parties were bribed or persuaded into signing treaties with foreign nations that eventually came to destroy any semblance of sovereignty. No-where did foreign governments openly invade and conquer; always they operated under a very thin veneer of legality. It was only after the “grab for the south” was over that guerilla groups began to form to fight against the invaders. To this date none have been successful.

    With military governments in place and any rights suspended, the forced deportation of over one billion South Americans now began. Colonization ships, packed to the brim with South American colonists, were sent across the galaxy to fuel the seemingly endless spread of humanity. How many died, exacerbated by low quality ship design, a fundamental disregard for life and the often hellish conditions on planets that were colonized, is impossible to know. Estimates run as high as 50 million. The only bright side to this nightmarish story is that after the Consolidation Period, many of the colonies founded by South Americans broke away and gained their independence, and for those left behind on Earth overcrowding was lessened and employment opportunities were slightly better. For the countless families torn apart, this was of little comfort.

    For further reference, the following titles are recommended Juan Rojers “The South American forced migrations”, Richard Collins “The grab for South America”, Enrique Riviers “The stolen generations” and Clark Valt “How the South was taken”. Web searches should use “South America, history, 21st century”, “South America, history, 22nd century”, “Latin America, history, 21st century”, “Latin America, history, 22nd century”, “Caribbean, history, 21st century”, “Caribbean, history, 22nd century”.

    Chapter 8: The situation on Earth

    The Mars Rebellion in 2114 and the Jovian Union strike during 2115 were bound to have an impact politically on Earth. Colonists had demonstrated that they could dictate policy and even break away, and colonial nations feared a wave of rebellion across the galaxy. However, the situation within the Sol system colonies was very different to the colonies on other star systems. Almost all were reliant upon Earth for supplies which they could not generate themselves, whereas the colonists on Mars and in the Jovian sector could produce food, water and oxygen in sufficient quantities. It would not be until the chaos of the Consolidation Period that extra-solar colonies could truly begin to seek their independence.

    After losing Mars, the Chinese government was determined for such an incident to never occur again. The loss of the most prosperous and populous colony in the galaxy drove the Chinese Yuan down and on the stock exchange Chinese corporations suffered. Despite this the China Territories remained very much a super-power and her other colonial holdings, whilst not as large as those of United America, were still substantial.

    Acknowledging that a major cause of their military failure on Mars was a lack of space-trained soldiers, the Chinese government in 2116 formed the Colonial Defense Force. Equipped with 21st century weaponry and trained in low and zero gravity environments, these soldiers were to be posted in every Chinese colony and would supplement China’s substantial space fleet of warships. By 2140 some five million CDF forces would be posted around the galaxy, and no fewer than thirty-seven rebellion attempts were foiled through their efforts.

    Almost as soon as the CDF was created other colonial nations formed their own forces, such as the United American Colonial Marine Corps, the European Unions’ Galactic Task Force, ASEAC’s Special Forces Space Division, Russia’s Space Guard regiments, and GEAPS’s Space Self Defense Force. Each would be posted across the galaxy at national colonies, and in most cases they would come to be far more powerful than the Earth based militaries they were part of.

    To gather the forces required for these large scale security forces, and to ensure that more colonists would be available, the governments of Earth took what was really the final logical step in their systematic removal of civil liberties and individual rights: full scale conscription. Again using the excuse of national security, every citizen of any age now became entirely under government control. Some were trained for the new colonial security forces, but the rest were forced to undertake one month of labor a year, wherever the government needed them to be. Once they were off Earth, their legal rights vanished, and many who were sent out on government work programs never returned to Earth.

    The governments of Earth, by the 2130’s, were pale shadows of what they had been in the 20th and early 21st century. Democracy still existed, but the only political parties that could be voted for were ones approved by the government, which in practice meant at most two parties that were carbon copies of each other. Civil liberties were gone, replaced by police states where deportation to a penal colony was punishment for the lightest of crimes. Anyone who spoke out against the government was quickly and quietly arrested and shipped to remote colonies. The conscription of entire populations removed any semblance of personal choice and finalized government control over all aspects of society.

    How did this happen? The most important thing to remember is that this was a gradual process. Civil liberties had been gradually eroded away since the first years of the 21st century, and government power had been rising from the same time as well. National security was always the excuse for tighter control, with threats such as terrorism and foreign power cited each time. People simply accepted that the new laws were necessary to protect them, and even with government propaganda and control of the press most people supported the actions of their governments right through the Expansion Period. It was only with the economic crash in 2140 and the subsequent chaos that the voices of dissent, trapped for so long on distant colonies, could be heard.

    Politically, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the introduction of large scale nanotechnology in the 2130’s. This gave colonies a great deal more autonomy, as they were no longer bound to their supporting empires or corporations for succor. Given the political feelings that ran throughout the colonies, it didn’t take long for many to declare independence, and what followed was utter chaos.

    Terrorism had not disappeared in the 2020’s when the United States of America claimed that the “war on terror” was over. The expansion of mankind into space offered a whole range of tempting targets to terrorist groups, and certainly despite the efforts of Earth based governments dissident groups opposed to state power continued to exist. Terrorist attacks occurred throughout the Expansion Period with almost suspicious regularity. The single largest attack occurred in 2110, when the United American Gate in the Sagittarius star system was destroyed. What made the attack so spectacular was that the Gate had been active when the explosives were detonated. No-one had known what exactly happened when a large Gate was destroyed while it was operational. The immense amount of power focused into a gravitational well was unleashed, expanding out in an instant before the entire field collapsed in on itself. The four nuclear fusion reactors powering the Gate were shattered in an instant and sucked into the rapidly forming vortex. The N.F.O. cargo ship “Palisades” had been coming through the Gate when the attack occurred, and simply vanished. No transmissions or wreckage were ever recovered.

    When a search and rescue force was ordered to travel to the Sagittarius system, they found they couldn’t. The star did not exist any more. Long range telescopes were trained on the region and saw nothing. An entire star and its surrounding planets, as well as some three million colonists, were gone. To this date no-one knows if the star was destroyed or where it went. For decades afterwards exploration ships whenever they saw something strange and inexplicable would write it down as a “Palisades sighting”.

    The Sagittarius attack was simply one of hundreds of small and medium scale strikes throughout the galaxy. It is now believed by many historians that a great number of these attacks were in fact carried out by national forces, such as the Spetsergrad incident in 2105 which crushed the Russian Federation’s colonial space program. These attacks were then used as justification for tighter security.

    Though the Spetsergrad incident was the finishing blow to Russia’s space program, the state had been in decline for decades previously. With most of the nation’s economy devoted to the armaments industry, the large scale cut-backs on military budgets during the Expansion Period killed the international arms trade. Most of the profits were used to found and finance the Neptune Freight Organization, which turned out to be a huge success but in 2100 the company cut its last ties to the Russian government and struck out on its own. Russia was relegated to controlling a few dozen colonies, most of which were lost during the Consolidation Period. The country would enjoy an economic recovery after Consolidation however when military budgets were once again increased and the arms trade resumed.

    The other major powers on Earth by the 2120’s were facing major problems. The combined costs of maintaining and supplying their colonial assets, as well as now financing vast security forces, were by this time astronomical. The cheapest options were used everywhere; military weaponry from the early 21st century was used and no new military hardware developed, ships were built for size and cargo capacity, not comfort, colonies were supplied with only the bare essentials and colonists received successive salary cuts. This was not enough. New loans had to be taken out and national debts soared. Constantly hoping that the next system colonized would provide enough wealth to offset the costs of the others, nations ploughed ahead with their colonial programs.

    But the profits had for some time now been declining. The main resources produced by colonies were minerals gained by mining. The sheer amount of resources produced though had, by the 22nd century, driven prices down. Gold was worth one tenth of its value in 2050. Platinum’s value had dropped by two thirds. Desperate to gain more money, governments ordered larger quantities of resources mined, but this merely exacerbated the problem.

    The simple truth was that the major powers were trapped by their own economies. By 2140 the economic focus of every space power was resources, overwhelmingly gained by mining. This was a natural product of the Expansion Period itself; minerals were present in vast quantities at virtually every colony, and construction of transport shipping, gates, space stations and settlements demanded huge quantities of metals. The resources market experienced staggeringly high growth throughout the Expansion Period, providing nations with the raw capital they needed to fund their efforts.

    Yet there was a fatal flow in this system. Resources, including metals as well as mined gases such as oxygen and hydrogen, enjoyed their high prices due to their constant demand. If the growth rate of the colonies was to halt, or even slow, prices would quickly drop, and the economies of virtually every Earth based nation would catastrophically crash. The only way to prevent this was continued, and gradually accelerating expansion, because the added costs of administrating the space empires grew larger with every new colony. Already in 2100 every one of the major powers was heavily in debt simply financing their efforts, and by 2140, it wad clear that they simply could not continue on their course. Loans were either unobtainable or dependent upon other, pre-existing loans being paid off, which was simply impossible. GEAPS was the first to announce an end to their colony building efforts on January 4th, 2140. The market surprisingly held steady, but two days later United America also released a press statement signaling the end of their building program as well. If only one of the major powers had pulled out, it was possible that the market could have survived, but United America sealed the fate of the world economy. The long prophesied and feared crash occurred within 24 hours. Even had they wanted to, the remaining space powers now could not pursue further expansion. The end of Expansion had truly come.

    For further reference, the following titles are recommended: Stacy Formica “Politics and Colonies: 2050 – 2140”, Cliff Ryan “The politics of Expansion”, Jodie Foster “The death of civil liberties” and George Wharl “The rise and fall of Expansion”. Web searches should use the following keywords “Expansion Period, history, late” and “politics, Earth, 22nd century”

    Chapter 9: The Age of Nanotech

    One final development of the Expansion Period must be addressed, if we are to understand both the Consolidation Period and the world we live in today. It is almost impossible to imagine a world without it, where diseases run rampant, where construction in space was cumbersome and inefficient, and where life itself was so much harder. This development was nanotechnology, or nanotech as it is simply called today.

    Though the first large scale usage of nanomachines occurred in 2132, on the N.F.O. testing grounds on Proteus, the science was hardly new. As early as the 1990's scientists were working with materials on a monocular level and beginning to work out the first blueprints for nanomachines. The problems they faced though were myriad; the technology they had to work with was simply unable to produce robotics on the scale required. The 21st century however saw nanotech begin to truly take shape.

    Initially, nanotech was developed, as so many things were in the early 21st century, for military purposes. Nanomachines had the potential to heal an injured soldier’s wounds quickly and painlessly, or construct food and repair equipment in the field from locally available materials. To this end governments poured considerable funding into nanotech research and development. The United States on America in 2021 finally made a breakthrough, with the first nanomachine bandages. These were medical pads that could be applied to simple wounds on the skin. Once attached, the pad released millions of nanomachines onto the skin surface where they reconstructed the organ and repaired minor tissue damage.

    Unfortunately, these early nanomachines were not very energy inefficient. In fact they could only operate for a few minutes at a time before their internal batteries were exhausted. Having managed to build and program these miniature robots, the quest for scientists was now to find a power source for them. As these early nanomachines were mainly for usage in the human body, this was where to first attempts to locate a power source were focused.

    The human body certainly contains potential sources of energy. Simple sugars in the bloodstream and compounds such as adenosine tri-phosphate could be utilized for energy by nanomachines, just as living organisms do. Initial experiments on laboratory animals however indicated that extracting the right amount without harming the subject was difficult. Nanomachines working off organic sugars tended to exhaust their hosts, in some cases causing death. Finding an equilibrium kept scientists busy right up to the beginning of the Expansion Period.

    Even then the largest problem remained, that of cost. Assembling such microscopic robots was difficult using early 21st century technology, and though the potential rewards were high, for the governments and corporations of the time the costs were simply too high. Research and development on nanotech dropped off sharply in the 2040's and the technology was widely regarded as a failure. A few laboratories continued to operate, but even these were mostly shut down when the Expansion Period started.

    The last thing on the minds of governments and corporations during most of the Expansion Period was nanotech. As far as they were concerned, it was a failure and could offer nothing to the space program. It was thus in the private sector that the development of nanotech continued. By 2100, a small company named "Infinitesima Industries" had been formed from the work of a few devoted researchers. NanoTech Industries produced industrial and medical nanobots that proved to be remarkably good at the tasks appointed to them. The problem of keeping nanomachines outside organic structures supplied with power had been partially solved by allowing the robots to power themselves directly from light, which most environments had in sufficient quantities.

    Infinitesima Industries was able to produce cost-effective nanomachines due to breakthroughs in the fields of miniaturization and molecular assembly. What was prohibitively expensive in 2050 was affordable in 2100. During the Expansion Period the need for massive amounts of complex electronics, in addition to processing vast quantities of mined materials, had accelerated development of miniaturization to the point where assembling nanomachines was economical. However only the few advocates of nanotechnology that had continued to work in the field realized this, at least initially. By 2110 Infinitesima Industries was managing to turn a fairly good level of profit and placed itself on the stock-market.

    One corporation became interested in Infinitesima Industries shortly after this, the Neptune Freight Organization. With a vast fleet of ships to repair and maintain, along with hundreds of thousands of employees working in hazerdous environments, the N.F.O. was open to any technology that would help cut costs. After a few demonstrations of nanotech to N.F.O. representatives, the corporation quietly bought up Infinitesima Industries and absorbed the company. Given large research grants and elaborate laboratory facilities, the scientists and workers from Nanotech Industries started to produce the machines that would herald the dawn of a new age.

    In February of 2132 the N.F.O. decided to see whether it's nanotech gamble would be worth the investment. On Proteus, the 2nd largest moon of Neptune, N.F.O. nanomachines were put through a rigorous testing procedure. The results were astounding. Nanomachines could assemble raw materials into fully functioning complex machines such as computers in a matter of minutes. Medical nanos could destroy foreign objects in a body and repair damaged cells. Power could be directly beamed to them via low intensity microwaves, allowing for cheap and efficient power sources that could be located on colony bases and ships. For raw materials, the N.F.O.'s development team had produced what they termed "nanosludge"; a rich soup of simple chemicals that their nanomachines could quickly and easily use to assemble everything from replacement spark plugs to explosive grenades. Recycling, ever a constant process on space colonies, was now far more efficient and effective; nanomachines could separate garbage and organic waste into their component compounds and elements overnight and use the resulting materials to construct new products and foodstuffs.

    Until the N.F.O. undertook this large scale trial, the development of nanotech had been largely a secret. Once the results of the trail became apparent however, the N.F.O. wasted no time in shipping this new technology out in great quantities. Colonial administrators and corporations provided a massive and virtually inexhaustible market.

    The reaction by other governments and corporations was immediate. Old research on nanotech was retrieved from ancient archives and work immediately began on constructing nanomachine factories and incorporating them into colonies and ships. Of course, though nanotech would prove to be a tremendous help in cutting the cost of space colonization, it came far too late. Just a few years after the first nanotech was being integrated into colonies, the Expansion Period came to a sudden and dramatic end with the collapse of the stock market and the virtual bankruptcy of most colonial powers. The Age of Nanotech had dawned, but it would be during the Consolidation Period that it would truly come into being.

    For further reference, Arther Collins "Nanotech from 2000 to 2200", Clarence Porter "The Rise of N.F.O. nanotech", Jospeh Xian "The countless trillions: the impact of nanomachines on human life" and Haraldo Sing "The Dawn of the Age of Nanotech" are all excellent sources. Web searches should use the keywords "nanotech, history", "nanomachines, history" and "nanotech, development" for the best results.

    Conclusion: The End of Expansion

    By 2140 mankind had spread across most of the Milky Way galaxy. Some six billion people, the total population of the Earth at the beginning of the 21st century, had been sent to distant planets and moons. Human colonies had been founded on worlds covered by by vast oceans, in poisonous hurricanes of cyanide and methane, in the shadow of volcanoes one hundred kilometers high and bathed by the light of three stars. In the process countless millions had been killed and billions displaced, either through their own will or by force and coercion. All this had occurred in the space of less than ninety years.

    Looking back through our history we can certainly see parallels. North and South America were colonized by humans from Asia in a few hundred years. The continent of Australia took mere decades for humans to settle. The island chains of the Pacific, separated by vast expanses of water, became the home of humans over some five hundred years. Centuries later Europeans would arrive in the Americas and colonize them over the next four hundred years. The "American West" was settled in less than a century. One could argue that crossing the Atlantic in 1492 represented as large a technological leap as phase a ship to Alpha Centauri. But even with such a mindset, the sheer scale and scope of the Expansion Period dwarfed anything that came before it.

    But the history books are often silent on the negative effects that such migrations of humanity have. The Expansion Period was no exception, and in this document I have tried to let the reader know that the official histories taught to children in state schools today paint a picture that is rather too bright. Though humanity did manage to reach the stars, he paid a terrible price. The exact death toll for the Expansion Period is impossible to tally; so many were displaced and records were either accidentally or deliberately changed to prevent some from escaping the work they had been assigned. A general toll would be around four hundred million, which would encompass deaths from working in unsafe conditions, accidents due to low cost equipment, missing colonization fleets and the largest statistic, suicides. For the people in the penal colonies, so often sent there by governments who had become shadows of their former democratic selves, the only escape was death.

    The desire for human lives and the labor they could produce changed governments and societies dramatically. Emigration could be considered treason; speaking out against the government was aiding colonial rivals. Nations such as United America and Great Britain which had been bastions of liberal democracy in the 20th and early 21st century became psudo-dictatorships, ruled by singular political parties who ensured that the only those guaranteed to vote for the party were given the right to vote. Ideals such human rights became privileges instead of assumptions. Whole continents such as South America were occupied under flimsy legal precedents and turned into vast forced labor camps. Of course the citizens of these nations didn't believe what was happening was wrong, at least for the most part. "It was a necessary measure" or "They deserved it" became the catch phrases of political discussion in the Expansion Period. It was only in the chaos at the end that the voices of dissent were heard from colonies that had broken away, and the brutal oppression eased somewhat as governments tried to hold onto some of their former empires by promising reforms.

    Yet there was some positive aspects. Technologies in many areas had flourished. By 2140 space travel was far safer, if not much more comfortable, than in 2050. Nanotech had experienced an unexpected revival, eventually coming to characterize the late 22nd century. Phase Gates had altered transportation forever. Genetics had produced faster growing, hardier and more productive crops, and medicine had cured the plagues of old such as cancer and Acute Immune Deficiently Syndrome. New diseases had arrived, but at least science was better prepared to handle them. Finally, mankind being located on thousands of planets across a galaxy is in itself a positive aspect; now it would seem that our species can never die. Certainly the Khaara threat that has recently emerged would have been disastrous for humanity if we had still been confined to Earth.

    The Expansion Period almost certainly was destined to end the way it did. The governments that colonized the stars were forever trying to reach an impossible goal, that of the colony that would be the equal of Mars. To this end they relentlessly poured money and lives into their colonization efforts, fueling the tremendous growth of the Expansion Period. They found countless riches in the stars, but they were never enough. Colonies had to be maintained; supplies had to be shipped and the energy hunger of the Gates could never be satisfied. Nations were spiraling into massive debt by the start of the 22nd century, but still then pressed on, hoping to find an asteroid field filled with platinum or a moon covered with gold.

    But resources that had been valuable in 2050 steadily decreased in value. The market was still there, but even the breakneck speed of the Expansion Period, with it's tremendous appetite for raw materials, could not absorb the surplus that was being produced. As prices went down production was increased, but this only sped up the process. The stock market crash of 2140 was the result, the final death throes of the Expansion Period.

    The resulting chaos saw innumerable developments. Hundreds of colonies declared their independence, following the example of the Mars Colonies, thus fragmenting the political scene from a small number of powerful nations to a myriad of tiny states. Many more were sold to creditors and corporations to generate raw capital. Some were even lost through outright military action by opposing states. Nations simultaneously tried to rid themselves of costly colonies whilst holding on to as much as they could, a process that eventually resulted in some political reforms and the creation of the Trans System Authority. The colonial powers by 2150 were thus changed entities, having to share space with their newly independent children and the corporations which had bought up the liquidated colonies. With most of the galaxy colonized, the focus now shifted to developing the assets that each colonial power had, and ensuring that they could not be taken away. This era, from 2140 to 2200, has been named the Consolidation Period. It will be the focus of the third, final and shortest part of this document.
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  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    Part 3: Consolidation

    2140 to 2200

    Chapter 1: From Order, Chaos

    In the space of less than a year, the political and economic establishments of the galaxy shattered. In the heady days of 2140, every day brought news of new secessions and bankrupt companies. Within days of the first colony uprising, the first shots were fired, as the elite space forces of the major powers began the struggle to hold onto their fragmenting empires. A month after the brutal quelling of the Lon-Dang station, United American Colonial Marine Corps soldiers clashed with elements of the People’s Liberation Army Space Division on the station itself. By the end of the year, numerous conflicts were erupting across the entire galaxy. Why did this occur when, with the exception of the revolts on Mars and the Jovian Moons, there had been little military conflict in over a century, and no wars between the empires and alliances of Earth?

    The first and undoubtedly most important factor was nanotechnology. Colonies which installed nanomachines gained a huge number of advantages, including far better health care, waste disposal, manufacturing and construction. But for many, they also gained independence from their Earth-based masters. Previously, the vast majority of colonies were either completely or partially dependent upon shipments of goods they couldn’t produce themselves; usually food, fuel, medical supplies and spare parts. Nanotechnology gave most colonies the ability to produce all of these from locally available materials, and in cases where it couldn’t, made constructing the required structures such as hydroponics farms far easier and cheaper.

    Freed of the obligation to stay friendly with their overlords, the pent up anger and frustrations in the colonies now boiled over. Ever since the colonies had begun, they had been hotbeds of political activism. Many had been sent to space against their will, and far away from Earth people could reflect upon the freedoms that had been taken from them, and dream of a return to the days of true democracy. Now they had the means to support themselves, and if push came to shove, nanomachines could also construct weapons.

    The second factor was the collapse of the stock market. For decades it had been steadily rising, fueled by the apparent resource profits from the Expansion Period’s hectic colonial growth. By 2135 however it was rapidly becoming apparent that the profits of most corporations were vanishing fast as the glut of metals on the market caused prices to drop. Various financial efforts were put in place by the major nations to slow or halt the coming crash, but by 2140 the bubble had well and truly burst. The final straw was when the European Union defaulted on a massive World Bank loan, driving the Euros’ value dramatically down and leading to a frenzy selling of European-based corporate stocks. Other markets followed rapidly, with numerous corporations declaring bankruptcy, mostly those based in interstellar mining.

    The various alliance systems and major nations now needed either cash or collateral quickly, as the vast loans they all had needed to be paid, not to mention the incredible costs of running their space empires. The most obvious source for both was the colonies, but as was discussed in Part 2, the colonies usually functioned as a drain on financial resources. This was true, but nanotech had changed that somewhat. Now a colony that was free from the administrative system technically had virtually no running costs; they were self sufficient and could generate profit. They weren’t generating profits for their current owners because of the vast costs associated with running them, but a corporation could work outside that by using their own system. It was a sell that worked perfectly, and the corporations who had managed to weather the crash reasonably well jumped at the opportunity. They knew that nanotech had made colonies a good investment.

    However few nations wanted to sell their own colonies. It speaks much of the character of the men and women running these empires that even when they had virtually no other choice, they still were unwilling to relinquish what had taken so much treasure and blood to build. It becomes even more astonishing when we note that many of their colonies actively wanted to break away, and plenty of those who did would have welcomed corporate ownership, and indeed many did after they revolted. The temptation for the nation states though was to have their cake and eat it too; they had military forces stationed all across the galaxy. Conquering some isolated outpost and selling it off to the highest bidder looked highly attractive.

    But why pursue this course of action now? Before 2140, all of the major nations on Earth had been pursuing aggressively expanding space empires. Yet shots were never fired, despite increasingly high numbers of military forces in space. The answer is quite simple: prior to 2140, colonies had all belonged to clearly identified empires. War between two such powerful states was simply unthinkable in the 22nd century, just as it had been unthinkable for most of the 21st century.

    The uprisings in innumerable colonies however changed that at once. An independent colony belonged to no-one but those who lived there; hence to conquer it would be both easy and safe. No vengeful nation state would arrive afterwards to visit retribution upon the attackers. Thus it took very little time for colonies that had declared themselves independent to find themselves being fought over. Unfortunately, their former masters were usually unwilling to let them secede, and so would usually send a force to retake the wayward colony, and upon arriving would find hostile forces waiting for them.

    Much as the European Union and United America had recognized the sovereignty of the Martian rebels, newly independent colonies were very rapidly granted full recognition from the major nation states, followed in almost all cases by an even more rapid invasion. In cases where invasion did not occur, they were in effect annexed; a major power would offer protection to them and send in troops without waiting for a reply. With military forces being based thousands of light years from Earth, regional commanders were granted a good deal of autonomy, and many believed that an outright galactic war was either just around the corner or had already started, and so there was little hesitation in fighting troops of other powers.

    Perhaps the strangest event in the whole sorry affair was that in eight years of sporadic fighting, no major nation declared war on another. United America, the European Union, the China Territories, the Russian Federation, GEAPS and ASEAC all remained officially at peace with each other all throughout the conflict, even when their troops were actively slaughtering one another on a lump of rock two thousand light years away. The Wars of Consolidation have been referred to as “The Phony Wars” and “The Proxy Wars”, and both names are fitting. There was the unspoken belief that as long as all the fighting was going on far away, it could be safely ignored for the purposes of cordial relations. The best explanation is that the various participants had no interest in seeing open warfare on Earth or within the Sol system. They all had too much to lose from such a conflict.

    For further reference, Clark Jennings “The Crash of 2140”, Shen Ji “The Empires Built on Sand” and Francis Copper “Economic Reality: The End of Expansion” are all excellent sources. Web searches should use the terms “2140, history”, and “Expansion Period, history, conclusion”

    Chapter 2: A New Empire

    The details of the Wars of Consolidation have filled entire libraries, and examining the conflict in any sort of detail would require a document far longer than this. For the reader who is interested in the particular history of a colony or star system a wealth of information can be easily accessed on the web or in libraries. In this chapter we shall limit ourselves to covering the broader themes and the overall outcomes for the major participants.

    From the beginning of the conflict, it was clear that one of the largest participants would be the Neptune Freight Organization. The N.F.O. controlled nearly 41% of the commercial spacecraft in the galaxy in 2140, and they were producing more every day. The resource crash naturally hurt their interests, but they weathered it better than most. The N.F.O. was able to replace much of their previously resource heavy loads with two new cargos: weaponry and troops. Although the newly independent colonies were able to produce weaponry thanks to their nanomachines, and the schematics for thousands of firearms freely available online, such production could easily stretch a colony’s nanosludge resources to their limits. When nanotech was now supplying them with food, medicine and in some cases breathable air, diverting production to weapons could be dangerous, if not deadly. Hence, there very rapidly became a lucrative market for weaponry which the N.F.O. was quick to invest in.

    The other cargo, troops, came about due to the simple fact that most of the major nations did not have enough spacecraft to adequately ship their forces where they were needed. In hindsight this may seem bizarre, but consider that whilst colony building had been proceeding at a prodigious rate, a nation would not have to rely upon purely their own spacecraft to ship goods and colonists. Much of this work was taken up by the N.F.O. or other commercial shipping companies. Trans-Sol-Transports or TST carried 8% of the total freight, human or otherwise, in 2139, and they hardly had the largest fleet. Furthermore, previously a colony might only be visited every two to three months, when supplies were needed and manufactured goods or raw materials were ready to be shipped out. With colonies declaring independence daily and being fought over constantly, soldiers needed to be shipped to a myriad of places with great speed. The fleets of the various nations were overstretched from the beginning, so it was only natural that N.F.O would pick up the slack.

    Of course one of the largest sources of income for the N.F.O. was nanotech. The N.F.O. designed and constructed almost all of the first generation of nanomachines, and the capital gained from selling these to the colonies was immense. Furthermore this was a market that only expanded as the Consolidation Period continued; military applications were found immediately and civilian uses continued to grow. One need only look at the typical house today to see the effect nanotechnology has had upon our societies.

    Given their position then, it was hardly surprising that the largest purchaser of colonies was the N.F.O. They had the raw capital that the nation empires so desperately needed, and they were happy to gain new investments. Thanks to their development of nanotech, the N.F.O. knew that the colonies it was acquiring could finally be made profitable. The colonists themselves sometimes proved to be unwilling to exchange one set of chains for another, but a surprisingly large number acquiesced to ownership by the N.F.O. without a struggle. This may seem odd, and calls out for an explanation, especially as the N.F.O. did not have a particularly strong record of good relations with their workers.

    One important factor was that the N.F.O. did grant their colonies a great deal of autonomy. The N.F.O. was interested in profits, as any business is, and for them, the day to day running of a colony (the administration and such) was a cost which could be easily avoided by giving the colony the right to govern itself. Colonists were free to adopt whichever system of government they desired, be it a democracy, theocracy or even monarchy. The N.F.O. simply collected taxes and gained exclusive rights to all cargo shipping to and from the colony. For many colonies, this was, after a century of political oppression, a golden opportunity, and they leapt at it. Their former masters had never done this due to their quite logical fear that greater autonomy would lead inevitably to revolution.

    Secondly, a colony that fell under the protection of the N.F.O. was effectively immune to further conflict. By the third year of the Wars of Consolidation, many colonies had been fought over dozens of times, and most were heartily sick of it. Aside from the terrible human cost, the resources needed to rebuild their shattered cities were staggering. Some simply couldn’t sustain themselves any further and sold themselves to the N.F.O. of their own accord. Once a colony had passed into N.F.O. ownership. attacks would immediately cease, for the very sound reason that no nation wanted to annoy the N.F.O. In the whole history of the Wars of Consolidation there were only two incidents where the N.F.O. was directly attacked, and in both cases (the third Battle for Paradise Falls and the Eighth Battle of New Antitum), the N.F.O. responded with such devastating economic sanctions that the parties involved (the European Union and GEAPS) surrendered all claim to the colonies in question and handed over another colony as reparations. In both instances it had been unknown to either the European Union or GEAPS that the colony they were fighting over had passed into N.F.O. care, or so they claim. It is likely that they were telling the truth, simply because they had so much to lose by antagonizing the N.F.O.

    With their newly expanding empire however came security concerns for the N.F.O. Whilst the major nation states were unwilling to attack N.F.O. colonies, two other groups were. The first of these were rival companies. The N.F.O. weren’t the only corporate entities buying up colonies; there were others who had weathered the stock market crash and had the capital required. Nations were not picky over who they sold their newly conquered assets to, and the profits that even a small colony could produce in a year made them a lucrative investment. It was a difficult line to tread however; the N.F.O. enjoyed immunity to nation state attacks that a smaller corporation might now have. Almost immediately therefore the market for mercenaries exploded, and there was no shortage of volunteers. The colonies and indeed Earth itself were full of unemployed men and women who had lost their jobs and homes in the collapsing economy, and the promise of a job and meals was enough to get them on board. The corporations also began to train private armies of professionals, and today their grim figures can be seen on almost every corporate controlled moon, planet or asteroid.

    The second group was pirates. Piracy had never been much of a concern in the galaxy prior to 2140. Colonies were too rigidly controlled for such criminal elements to find a safe base, and being dependent upon Earth-based shipping for survival dashed any chance of a secret criminal colony from which they could base attacks. There were the occasional rogue ships who’s captains, or more often crews, would attack other vessels in search of plunder, but they were so rare that they were considered virtually no threat. 2140 changed that state of affairs drastically. Now a colony could be completely self sufficient, and the vast galaxy gave pirates billions of places to hide. Crews on countless ships owned by family businesses or small corporations had suddenly found themselves without a job, and many had mutinied or hijacked the ships they had been, or even were, working on and took to a life of crime. The profits were certainly there to be had; a colony cared nothing for where a shipment of goods had come from, and they paid well. Piracy quickly grew to be a real threat, and the N.F.O., not to mention other corporations, reacted swiftly.

    By the end of the Wars of Consolidation the N.F.O. controlled the second largest military spacefleet in the galaxy, eclipsed only by United America. They also controlled fully 18% of the colonial assets in the galaxy, a colossal shift considering that eight years previously they had owned none. The N.F.O. would be at the forefront of the new world that emerged after the Wars had concluded, and today they still command vast sections of the galaxy. There was only one other force that came close to their success, and that was United America.

    For further reference, the following are all excellent sources. Higgs Broson, “Birth of Corporate Colonialism”, Jemail Yeth, “From Neptune to Nipponia” and Fredrick Smith “The Rise and Rise of the N.F.O”. Web searches should use the terms “N.F.O., history”, “Wars of Consolidation, history, piracy” and “Wars of Consolidation, history, corporations”
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    edited June 2009
    Chapter 3: Old Glory

    Out of all the old nation states and alliance systems that played a major role in the Expansion Period, only one emerged from the Consolidation Period stronger. That nation was United America, and their success is one that many find perplexing. There was little that set United America apart from the other nation states. The government was in effect a single party dictatorship, freedom and personal liberty were absent, and their colonists were, if anything, even more rebellious than those of other states. So why did United America succeed where so many others failed?

    Certainly at the beginning of the Wars of Consolidation, United America was hardly a success story. At least half of their colonies rebelled in the first two years, and their military attempts to hold onto them were average at best. United America had forged the largest of the space empires, and was thus stretched to virtual breaking point just holding them together. When the crash came and the colonies began to break away, there was simply too much space to cover with not enough troops. United American Colonial Marines were arguably the best trained forces in the galaxy, reflecting United America’s long tradition of quality over quantity. Unfortunately for United America, whilst these troops tended to win whichever conflict they were sent into, they couldn’t be everywhere at once, and colony after colony slipped away for want of manpower.

    Raising a larger army was proposed, but it lost favour quickly. United America was having enough trouble paying its current soldiers; paying thousands more was out of the question. Mercenaries were out too, for the same reason. Forced conscription without pay had its attractions, though the politicians in Washington were still politically savvy enough to realize that even their cowed citizenry would baulk at such a demand. With the political situation in the colonies fostering dangerous sentiments on Earth, such a move could be disastrous.

    In the third year of the Wars of Consolidation, something almost unique began to happen in the American colonies. They began to send letters of petition to the United American government. These varied in word and length, but all were based around a central theme: the Declaration of Independence. This document had been central to the national identity of the old United States of America, and in 2143 it still held great significance. Whilst United America had abandoned virtually all of the principles espoused in both the Declaration and their own Constitution, the two documents nonetheless had considerable power in the minds of American citizens.

    The words from the colonies flooded onto the Web and throughout the Sol System, arousing old passions and ancient beliefs. The Jovian Union was the first American colony within the Sol System to openly speak of “the end of tyranny, a return to the principles from which our Founding Fathers created this great nation”. Patriotism, always a central part of American history, was now being reborn. Instead of being seen as dangerous rebels, the colonies were recast in the minds of the public as the new Thirteen States, a beacon of liberty and democracy, free from the despotic rule of an uncaring motherland. It was powerful rhetoric, and despite a century of repression, the American people still remembered enough to respond to it with action.

    Protests broke out in most major continental United American cities on July 4th, 2144. Demonstrators called for a return to the principles that United America was built upon, equal representation for the colonies and an end to the war. Initial reactions from the government were hostile. The demonstrators were branded as “terrorist sympathizers and agitators” in the press and police forces were called out to deal with the protests. Shows of force were effective at first in dispersing the crowds, but they continued to gather each day. In the Mall before the building of Congress in Washington, hundreds of thousands of citizens marched to the steps of their government’s greatest buildings and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.

    The first sign that this was not a problem that could be dealt with easily came when police forces began to refuse to act against the crowds, and instead joined them. Military forces were flown in quickly, but even a United American Colonial Marine is still an American citizen, and they still remembered their pledges to defend the Constitution. Once the first unit refused to fight their fellow citizens, the government knew the application of force wasn’t going to solve this crisis.

    In a passionate speech, the President of United America, Michael Wilson, conceded to many of the colonial demands. New elections for all branches of government would be held in which all citizens, colonial or otherwise, would be allowed to vote in. Any political representatives could be voted for and no recrimination would be given to those who voted against the government. He concluded by quoting the American president Abraham Lincoln “That this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government, of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth”.

    Opinion amongst historians is divided as to whether President Wilson meant a single word of it. Personally I believe that he had seen the proverbial writing on the wall; something had to change, and whilst he, and the rest of the ruling party, obviously wanted to preserve as much power as possible, continuing the status quo was clearly impossible. In all likelihood the President and his party expected that a few platitudes and a lot of propaganda could see them remain in power, with perhaps a few sops to the citizenry to keep them quiet. If this was the case, subsequent events proved them wildly wrong.

    The elections in November 2144 had the highest level of voter participation in memory; 91%, and in the colonies themselves the number was close to 96%. Candidates from a plethora of newly emerging or recast political parties ran for office, and polling stations were jammed to capacity across the galaxy. The results took nearly two months to be counted, thanks to the distances of the empire and the number of votes, but the results were conclusive. United America’s ruling party had been swept from power and a new political order had dawned.

    Much has been made of the “Revolution of 2144”, as it is usually termed, and in some aspects it was momentous. No other nation state with a space empire underwent serious political changes during the Wars of Consolidation, and those that changed afterwards in reality differed little from their pre-war systems. United America’s rebirth did lead to an upsurge in democratic feelings throughout the galaxy, noticeably leading to revolts in ASEAC, GEAPS and European Union colonies. As a symbol it was very important, and without a doubt it contributed to the creation of the Trans System Authority. What it was not was a return to the days of the old United States. Democracy had won a battle but it had not won the war. The United America that emerged from the 2144 Revolution was a similar entity to what it had been before; there was still political repression, much of the press was still government controlled, and the web was still censored. The actions of a new government were constrained by over a century of repressive legislation and draconian security measures. The vast new Congress, with its colonial representatives (two Senators for every colony) was quickly mired in its attempts to accomplish virtually anything. Debt was still a tremendous problem. South and Latin America remained without representation. So it would be foolish to presume that the new United America was a completely new being.

    However we must take into account the context of the times. Comparing the new United America to the old United States of America is a pointless comparison, because its citizens were not doing so. They were comparing the new United America to the old United America, and they liked what they saw. Any political freedom seemed huge after so much repression, and any sign of democracy was grand when compared to decades of none. This perception was vitally important, because it enabled United America to hold onto most of its empire. The colonies who had been in rebellion leapt at the opportunity to participate in elections and be part of a new beginning for the nation they still believed in. Some did remain separate, either being already sold to corporations or not buying into the rhetoric, and forged their own destinies. But by 2148, United America had retained 87% of its colonial empire. No other nation state came even close to this number.

    For further reference, any of the following titles are superb sources. Alan Whiteman “Like a Phoenix from the Ashes: The Rebirth of Liberty”, Joeanna Scott “Four Hundred Years Apart: Colonial Sentiments in America” and Susan Chaucer “2144: The Second American Revolution”. Web searches should use the keywords “United America, 2144”, “United America, history, Consolidation Period” and “Revolution of 2144”

    Chapter 4: Peace

    In June 2148, the Wars of Consolidation finally ground themselves to an end. It was a peace of exhaustion more than outright military victory. No side had emerged unscathed, and certainly none had managed to overwhelm another. Most participants had lost the majority of their space based empires, as well as the ruination of their economies and space fleets. Only United America and the N.F.O. had come through arguably stronger, and even then only the Neptune Freight Organizations’ finances were sound. In place of the old hegemony a vast new political order had been created, one with hundreds of thousands of participants. The newly independent colonies, many of which were weak and isolated, all wanted their place in this new world, yet few were able to suggest any kind of solution. One thing was certain: there was no interest in another war being fought.

    For starters just about everyone was broke. The Wars of Consolidation had exhausted national treasuries and corporate profits. Rebuilding shattered colonies and space fleets was a Herculean task, one which would have been impossible in the economic times that had birthed the Consolidation Period. After eight years however, the galactic economy was starting to right itself. Demand for metals had increased; both for wartime and reconstruction purposes, and the fighting itself had done much to increase the price of raw materials. The nation states who had suffered much of their colonial empires being lost now had reduced administrative costs, and nanotechnology had made their colonies much more profitable. Cautious optimism began to replace the feelings of chaotic despair that had wracked humanity as the Consolidation Wars dragged on.

    The two biggest questions though were still unanswered. The first was simply “How can we prevent another war?” This question was debated online, in countless restaurants, libraries, universities and even street corners. Various solutions were put forwards: complete disarmament, mass nuclear proliferation, economic sanctions against warring states. All were dismissed as either unworkable or unthinkable. No nation wanted to disarm themselves when they were facing thousands of potential enemies in the form of the newly independent colonies, not to mention pirates and freelance mercenaries. Economic sanctions had been tried in the past, on Earth, and had generally not had a great effect. Giving everyone nuclear weapons might stop fighting, or lead to the biggest and most destructive war in human history.

    The second was “What is going to happen to the colonies?” Independent though they might be, many had little protection from the
    predations of larger neighbors, be they corporate or national. Their former masters either wanted them back or scorned them as wayward children. Protecting their sovereignty was a hot political topic, not least because the colonies themselves were so interested in it. Much support was given to the idea of a neutral third party, one outside corporate or state law, which could defend the colonies and their interests whilst not exercising political control over them.

    This idea was not entirely new. The League of Nations, formed after the First World War (1914 – 1918), did have some similar powers. It had been infamously weak though, lacking the power to prosecute member states who broke treaty laws, and it had been powerless to stop an even greater conflict, the Second World War (1939 – 1945) from sweeping the globe. It’s successor, the United Nations, had more bite; it could and did send troops to war torn regions to defend them against aggressors, or to act as peacekeepers. It had more power to place economic sanctions upon nations who acted against peace and accomplished far more than the League ever did. Yet it was still fatally weak and required unanimous consent from the major powers to send troops into combat. Given that at least one of these major powers usually had no interest in seeing UN troops intrude into their affairs in the region in question, the UN usually did nothing. Eventually as was discussed in Part 1, Chapter 6, the United Nations became the caretakers of Africa and played little role in world political affairs.

    It was soon realized that a new United Nations, one that had true freedom and power to prosecute warring states, could be an elegant solution to both questions. Such an entity could prevent future conflicts and protect the independent colonies, all the while leaving the corporations and nations free reign to continue doing as they pleased in their own territories. The idea soon gained widespread support, and from these beginnings the Trans System Authority was born.

    From the beginning the TSA was designed to be an aggressive, non-state, non-corporate organization with independent security forces which could intervene in any conflict. It has been highly debated as to whether the various nations and corporations that helped create the TSA really believed that it would follow its lofty aspirations to the letter. The evidence would seem to suggest that they modeled much of their understanding around the history of the League of Nations and United Nations, both of which were perceived at their creation by many to be too powerful, yet in practice were toothless tigers. Certainly their approval of the vast military budget the TSA was able to utilize indicates that they saw little threat from this new organization.

    The biggest supporters of the TSA however were the colonies. Independent and for the most part lonely bastions in a sea of hostility, they sunk great sums of money and resources into getting the TSA up and running as soon as possible. From blueprint to creation took a mere five years, and when the TSA was officially opened in 2154, there was rampant celebration throughout the independent colonies. The major nations and corporations looked on approvingly, congratulated themselves on a job well done, and went back to running their various empires. Their belief that they would not be bothered by this new entity was, however, quickly dispelled.

    One of the first actions of the TSA was to send a force of soldiers backed up by warships to a mining colony that was being threatened by a resource gathering corporation. A dispute about unionization had lead the corporation in question (Orion Engineering) to cut off supplies to the colony and threaten military action. The TSA set an example immediately, driving off the hired corporate mercenaries at gun point. Shocked, Orion Engineering appealed to the TSA’s courts only to find that they were in violation of the Trans System Authority’s Charter. Their appeal was rejected and the corporation was further ordered to pay 2.8 million dollars in back wages to the mining colony.

    There was an almost audible gasp of breath from the wider political community at this action. The sudden realization that the TSA really did believe in its charter was an unwelcome shock. When the TSA followed up this initial action with the outright destruction of an N.F.O. warship that refused to leave the territorial space around the colony of Betani, and the following week proceeded to declare the actions of the China Territories in the suppression of a worker’s revolt on the Tsingbao colony as illegal, the reality really began to sink in. For states and corporations that had, for over a century, free reign to do whatever they pleased in their own territories, it was a tremendous culture shock. The TSA was utterly unrepentant despite the outrage over its actions; they knew they were in the right and all those complaining had signed the Charter.

    Much of this almost gung-ho attitude came from the personalities of the men and women at the heart of the TSA. Many were from United America, and the flame of recent revolution and democracy still blazed within them. Others had been inspired by the efforts of the American colonists, or had participated in independence movements in their own national colonies. It is clear now that almost all of these remarkable people did truly believe in the TSA’s charter, and in the heady years following the hard won independence of the colonies, they saw themselves as a beacon of hope for the future.

    Naturally, this did not continue without challenges. The major states and corporations all began to undermine the TSA as best they could, by cutting funding or maintaining a thin veneer of legality over much of their actions. However, supported by the independent colonies, and by a significant proportion of United America, the TSA though soldiered on. The intervening years between its creation and the present day need not concern us greatly here, except to state that the principles upon which the TSA was founded continue to live on today. This makes it a rarity in the current political landscape. Most of the nation states now follow political and social courses quite different to those of their founders, and of the independent colonies that formed in the Consolidation Wars, and afterwards, many have changed wildly from their origins. Yet still the TSA, in the face of hostility, continues to defend its charges and protects human rights across the galaxy. As the final chapter shall examine however, their greatest test may be yet to come.

    Further reading can be found in Kathrine Tunny “TSA Triumphant”, Grant Stibbons “The End of Consolidation” and Jamie White “A Greater Authority”. Web searches should use the keywords “TSA, founding”, “Consolidation Period, history”.

    Chapter 5: The Kharaa Threat

    One of the greatest surprises to humanity upon exploring the galaxy was the absence of life. For centuries mankind had produced volumes of literature about fictional alien civilizations, not to mention films and radio plays. When the Expansion Period began many people believed that extraterrestrial life would be found almost immediately, and its continued absence in system after system was dismissed as simply poor luck. Planets simply had not been found yet with conditions suitable for life, and it seemed impossible that such worlds could not exist in the vastness of the galaxy.

    Yet the decades rolled by and not a trace of alien life was discovered. Not even fossil evidence could be found, and soon the theories of Earth being unique were brought to the fore once more. Numerous religious sects trumpeted the continuing absence of extraterrestrial life as proof of divine participation in the Earth’s creation, though skeptics asked why a god would restrict itself to just one world. Regardless, humanity began to expect that there was not life out there, a marked reversal from previous views.

    When extraterrestrial life was discovered, it thus came as quite a shock. Initially there were claims that it was simply Earth based organisms that had mutated, but scientific analysis of the organisms in questions quickly dispelled those theories. Debate over origins however was soon forgotten as the reports began to filter in of colonies and colonists under attack by these bizarre alien creatures. Whatever their ancestry, these aliens, which were dubbed the “Kharaa”, represented a clear and present danger. Action was clearly needed, but opinion as to who should be responsible was less clear.

    The forces of United America and the N.F.O. wasted little time however. Where their respective territories had been breached, they launched furious counter attacks against the Kharaa invaders. The results of these attacks became clear in just a few weeks: utter defeat. The Kharaa were unlike any foe ever encountered in human history, and both United America and the N.F.O. quickly realized that a unified force was the only option, and turned to the TSA to provide it.

    Their reasoning was clear. The Kharaa were no respecters of territorial borders; they would happily attack both a Chinese and American colony that lay a mere system apart. The respective owners of each colony could then respond, but without a unified command they ran the very real risk of being outflanked or surrounded by their alien foes. It would be pointless to cleanse a colony of infestation if in the next system the Kharaa still had a foothold, but you couldn’t strike at them due to that system belonging to another power. The military forces of the major powers were also still recovering from the Wars of Consolidation, and were ill prepared for a conflict on the scale needed. The TSA was the perfect solution; they could move over borders without fear of provoking an international incident, or even war, and their charter could easily be interpreted to encompass fighting a war against these new invaders.

    It was not a difficult sell to make to the TSA. The independent colonies had been attacked by the Kharaa anyway, and the TSA immediately saw the need to combat this threat wherever it set foot. A new force of soldiers, named the Frontiersmen, was formed for the express purposes of combating the Kharaa threat. To this end new weaponry and armour was developed to fight against a foe who used very different tactics to a human adversary. Whilst it remains to be seen how effective these tactics will be in the long run, the recent victory on Space Station Hera gives us all cause for hope.

    Undoubtedly the Kharaa represent a great threat to humanity, possibly the greatest one we have faced since the dark days of nuclear proliferation in the 20th century. Yet for the TSA the threat is greater still. If they fail to hold back or defeat the Kharaa, then humanity will have to fall back upon the nation states and corporations. Our history has shown us that we are too often incapable of working together for the common good, even when faced with tremendous threats. The fall of the TSA would almost certainly lead to a repeat of the Wars of Consolidation, as the independent colonies, stripped of their protectors, would be fair game for the nations and corporations of the galaxy. Today, in 2200, we stand at the dawn of a new millennium. What the future holds is uncertain, but one thing is clear. To face it divided and fighting amongst ourselves would be the greatest folly. Only united can we hope to make our stand.

    Further reading is somewhat limited, as the Kharaa are very recent discoveries. Some papers have been written on them however, and may prove useful. Jennis Harlding, “On the origins of extraterrestrial life”, Godfrey Ji “Evolutionary adaptations in the Kharaa” and Kieran Witham “The Kharaa Invasions; A History”. Web searches should use the terms “Kharaa, history” and “Frontiersmen, history”.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Lumberjack_WannabeLumberjack_Wannabe Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-03-11 Member: 14404Posts: 526
    QUOTE(Ryo-Ohki @ Mar 27 2009, 07:37 AM) »
    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.

    It's quite sad that the original fluff is basically nonexistant... the material was a great source of inspiration.

    Ambitious concept by the way. I like it.
  • BreakthroughBreakthrough Texture Artist (ns_prometheus) Members, Constellation Join Date: 2005-03-27 Member: 46620Posts: 893
    I remember reading the original... I loved it man. You are a great author.

    Thanks for sharing this!
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    QUOTE (Breakthrough @ Jun 9 2009, 08:19 AM) »
    I remember reading the original... I loved it man. You are a great author.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Not a problem, I had a great deal of fun writing it. I'm also glad to see the community is still going strong after all these years.
  • ScytheScythe NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation, Reinforced - Silver Join Date: 2002-01-25 Member: 46Posts: 4,372 mod
    Holy hell it's Hawaiian shirt man! Welcome back!

    "Show me an operation that is running smoothly and I'll show you someone who's covering up mistakes. Real boats rock." - Frank Herbert
    image PAPT
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    A small update folks: Breakthrough has kindly reformatted Gates, Moons and Stars into an excellent PDF with chapters and page numbering for ease of reading. Many thanks for his sterling effort! The file can be found here:
  • DawormDaworm Members Join Date: 2009-06-22 Member: 67900Posts: 751
  • HamletHamlet Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2008-08-17 Member: 64837Posts: 373 Advanced user
    edited March 2010
    Chapter 6: Africa

    The vast continent of Africa today is a far cry from [...]

    -> Far Cry II, which is also set in Africa :)

    On January 1st, 2114, a group calling itself the “Sons of Mars” burned a colonial administration building in New Canton to the ground and proclaimed a revolt against the Chinese government.

    "Sons of Korhal" -> StarCraft :)
    Also: Total Recall, which features a Martian uprising as well.

    Chinese battle cruiser “Yamato”

    Whoops! Yamato = Chinese?
    Well, the theme of a mutiny can be traced back to the Bounty and the Potemkin :)

    colonists with SA-36 and Patriot-3 missiles were able to shoot down aircraft with disturbing frequency. When the US and Russian governments were asked about the weaponry being used by the colonists, both denied any involvement.

    Modeled after any proxy war like Korea or Vietnam.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • Ryo-OhkiRyo-Ohki Members Join Date: 2009-03-26 Member: 66917Posts: 132
    -> Far Cry II, which is also set in Africa :)

    Actually I wrote that long before Far Cry was made. Perhaps I'll claim it as precognition.

    "Sons of Korhal" -> StarCraft :)
    Also: Total Recall, which features a Martian uprising as well.

    Whoops! Yamato = Chinese?
    Well, the theme of a mutiny can be traced back to the Bounty and the Potemkin :)

    Both are a reference to Starcraft in fact; battlecruisers use a Yamato cannon.

    Modeled after any proxy war like Korea or Vietnam.


    I did make a lot of references though the story, and I'm glad to see someone found some of them :D
  • Soul_RiderSoul_Rider Mod Bean Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2004-06-19 Member: 29388Posts: 4,269 Advanced user
    I t would seem the PDF download is no longer working :P

    Any chance we could have this uploaded again, I'd like to read this offline!
    Games:Subnautica Fan Game Mods: GorgeCraft & CTF & Proving Grounds Website:
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    Capitalisation is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.
    Knowledge is gained through listening, Understanding is gained through discussion.
  • soccerguy243soccerguy243 Members, WC 2013 - Supporter Join Date: 2012-12-22 Member: 175920Posts: 515 Advanced user
    i also wish for the .pdf
  • That_Annoying_KidThat_Annoying_Kid Sire of Titles Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-03-01 Member: 14175Posts: 5,583 Advanced user

    can't wait to finish it
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