Author Topic: The Terran Union  (Read 1802 times)

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Offline drejr (OP)

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The Terran Union
« on: September 20, 2015, 11:25:19 PM »
Preface

The 21st century was a difficult one for humanity.  Competition over dwindling resources and a changing environment fueled a cycle of steadily escalating crises as the global population boomed.  How petty those trade wars and insurgencies seem now, after Damocles.

The world was fixated on the 2055 secession protests in Wales when astronomers noticed the previously unknown comet moving inexorably towards Earth.  Few took notice at the time.  Human spaceflight had been dead for a generation, and Molotovs and billy clubs were more interesting than a chunk of ice moving out in the uncaring stars.  Space was merely the stuff of old mens' bitter dreams, and the comet would miss.  They all did, didn't they?

Damocles, as it's now known, showered the Eastern hemisphere on March 24, 2058.  Tsunamis killed millions, and the death toll would eventually reach into the billions worldwide as the bulk of human civilization, already strained to the breaking point, simply collapsed.  Perhaps in a better world mankind would put aside its differences in the face of such a tragedy, but Damocles seemed to unleash the Four Horsemen in a way never seen before.  Even the nations least affected struggle to maintain order in the face of food shortages, and most closed their borders to the millions of Damocles refugees.

The situation quickly devolved into open warfare between the world's surviving developed nations and increasingly well-organized groups of refugees.  When remnants of the People's Liberation Army attacked Russian border troops with looted nuclear weapons, Russia responded in kind.  Using obsolete targeting data, Russian missiles devastated several Chinese cities, even those where a kind of recovery was taking place.  Western leaders were quick to condemn the Russian strike, and equally quick to use the Chinese attack as an excuse to take their gloves off.  Humanitarian efforts turned into de facto annexation, with "safe zones" becoming virtual colonies and staging areas for search-and-destroy operations.

The common defense frameworks and border controls established during this dark time would eventually become the basis of the Terran Union.  European scientists had discovered strange minerals with astonishing "TransNewtonian" properties scattered around Damocles impact craters.  It soon became clear that these minerals had the potential to transform human technology in unimaginable ways.  A vast coordinated effort would be required to stabilize the Eastern hemisphere and secure sources of TransNewtonian elements.  With the survival of humanity (not to mention Western military dominance) at stake, barriers to cooperation dissolved.

By 2100, the world was finally at peace.  The Terran Union, formed to control and distribute TransNewtonian material technology, could rightly claim to have given the future back to humanity, albeit at the cost of a certain amount of democracy and national sovereignty.  On January 1st, 2100Freya Hussein, Union Administrator of Earth, gave her bold vision of the future to the billion survivors of the 21st century.  It was time to stop grieving and look to the future.  It was time to look to the stars.
 

Offline drejr (OP)

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Re: The Terran Union
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 04:13:45 AM »
First Steps

Given that the Bounty, the first spacecraft launched by the Terran Union, carried special instruments calibrated to detect TransNewtonian minerals and was commanded by the particularly photogenic Captain Rebecca Roberts, a cynic might point out that Hussein's ambitious program of space program wasn't purely motivated by the idealistic vision of the future she laid out in her New Century speech.     TransNewtonians possessed any number of miraculous, almost magical, properties, but infinite supply certainly wasn't one of them.     A space program would also serve as an excellent distraction from the concerns many people were beginning to have about the Union and its increasing power and reach on Earth.   

Whatever the truth of the matter, the Bounty and its sister ships soon found large mineral deposits on Venus and Mars before heading to the outer system to scout the gas giants.     After finding over a million tons boronide locked into the hellscapes of Io and large reserves of suspended sorium in the atmosphere of Saturn, the Bounty, Beagle, and Roebuck split up to begin the long lonely task of surveying the asteroid belt and the far reaches of the solar system.     

Meanwhile, the Horizon began conducting a methodical hunt for jump points.     Still considered crackpot science by many outside the most esoteric realms of TransNewtonian research, jump points would theoretically allow for instantaneous travel between the stars by harnessing the space-time warping powers of excited sorium.     On December 17th the Horizon successfully located its first jump point just outside the orbit of Saturn, an early Christmas present for the Power & Propulsion labs.     Three more jump points would be discovered before the Horizons exhausted all locations of mathematical possibility.   

Ten days later, the Wells and Verne dropped 6000 colonists and support infrastructure off on Mars, establishing the Union's first offworld colony.     For the next six months they ferried people and infrastructure to the new colony, supplemented by the private venture transports of the Fox Shipping Company.     In November of 2102 the two lumbering vessels carried the first of a hundred automated mines to Venus,  judged far too costly for human colonization.   

In January of 2103, the Bounty, its survey mission complete, landed a ground-based geology team on Titan.     Admiral Jennifer Daly, head of the TU's space division, planned on creating a fleet base on the moon, but while Commodore Sykes and his team uncovered over three million tons of gallicite on the moon, its low accessibility and inhospitable temperature ruled out human colonization.     Instead, an automated mining colony and fuel dump would be established on Titan with the help of the new ion-powered Heinlein freighters, while fuel harvesters began sifting Saturn's atmosphere for sorium.   

2104 was a challenging year for the Union.     The high cost of space program research and construction was an enormous strain on the budget, and the Union nearly plunged into fiscal ruin.      After three years of continuous deficit spending, financial reserves were exhausted.     In order to save vital research projects, construction was sharply curtailed.     Among the programs slowed by the budgetary crisis were the controversial Marathon-class brigade transports and Fireball patrol craft.     Considered vital by Admiral Daly, who feared a potential Martian independence movement, they were considered an unfortunate step towards the militarization of space by Freya Hussein.     

Unfortunately, Daly's fears were concerned when political unrest broke out on Mars in February.     Mild at first, by the end of the year the situation was beginning to spiral out of control, and Hussein authorized the construction of five Marathons and six Fireballs on the condition they weren't to be armed with nuclear weapons.     By the time the new ships were launched in 2106 Mars was practically in open revolt.     In September, Daly dispatched General Edward Begum, a veteran of pre-Union pacification campaigns in Manchuria, to Mars with orders to contain the unrest by any means necessary.     In three months General Begum and the blue helmets of the 4th Security Brigade had Mars under their complete control.     In spite of a few unpleasant incidents and a number of dissidents who mysteriously vanished, the operation was relatively peaceful, and the new Martian industrial plants were soon operating at peak efficiency.   

The Union's financial outlook was greatly improved by 2107.     A number of economic reforms were beginning to take effect, and the recently established mining colony on Io was providing large tax revenues.     Two quiet years followed as the Union consolidated its position in the Solar System and prepared for the most audacious step of Freya Hussein's New Century plan--a leap into the great unknown of interstellar space.   

The Soyuz-class jump-capable exploration ship was in many ways a compromise.     Thought too large by the experienced surveyors of Scout Command and inadequately protected for the tastes of Admiral Daly, who insisted on a ship of at least 9,000 tons, the only person truly happy with the vessel was Freya Hussein, who cared only that it had a jump drive.     As four ships of the class took shape in the Kurakin yards, one for each jump point, rigorously selected crews prepared for the jump across light-years.   

On September 4, 2110, Soyuz, under the command of Rear Admiral Ben Scott, winked out of existence at Jump Point One.     Tense seconds followed, then Fleet Command received Scott's historic ansible message: "NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE.    " The solar system erupted in cheers as Scott announced his plan to explore the potentially habitable inner planets of the Proxima Centauri system.   

The celebration was to be short-lived.   
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 04:19:03 AM by drejr »
 

 

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