Conflict Type: War
Battlefield Type: Space
Start Date: 2500
Ending Date: 2522
Conflict Result: Colonial Victory
Location: Human Sectors
The Utopian dream for humanity was dead. The world governments instituted martial law on a discontent populace, megacorps attained more power than several noteworthy nations, and it appeared the species was headed straight for an extinction level conflict. While the ruling class planned out their survival, the commoner found themselves fighting and dying not just for fuel or territory, but for food, clean water, and even air.
With a need for resources, expansion was inevitable. Decades of effort resulted in colonies owned by company and country alike on Luna, Mars, and the Main Belt. While scarce resources and plentiful threats were exchanged by all parties involved, renowned engineer Professor Vijaya Adjani finished work on the Jump Drive. This device could move vessels from star system to star system by exploiting vulnerable paths linking the known galaxy together. Interstellar travel, which could take unmanned drones centuries to complete from star to star, now took manned vessels mere weeks of “Jump Time”. The Drive was stolen and duplicated by all major national and corporate players, each with plans to sustain their internal economies. The discovery of Exotic Materials only proved to the national powers that extrasolar colonization was well worth the investment. New efficient sources of power, sturdy and malleable building materials, effective fertilizers, magical healing elements, and even more resources vital to new weapons technology. Only those who could not afford to join the Great Space Race did not participate.
Colonization efforts faced an immediate recruitment shortage. Most who had a choice sought any other option before leaving behind their homes to labor in deep space. Those who did seek life away from the Sol system entirely would still rather enlist as national or corporate colonists to settle habitable worlds, preferring the specialized work of the colonies to the hard labor and high demands of the mining stations. To resolve the human resource shortage, low level criminal offenders had their sentences forcibly commuted to serve as station workers for both the remaining national powers and megacorporations. The poor and wretched were also added to this non-specialized labor force, donning career-denoting jumpsuits alongside the ex-cons as a visual aide to the new managerial caste, consisting of the few middle and upper class Terrans willing to give up comfortable positions on the colonies. These managers were given broad discretion to ensure the vital basic and exotic materials continued to flow to Sol.
Early mining stations had subpar working conditions for all involved. Managers quickly learned that Sol was both slow to learn of abuse on the stations and unlikely to respond to any individual reports, and so treated their workplaces as small feudal territories. Heads of departments were treated as minor feudal lords, given free reign over their own department’s employees as long as the manager was treated as the ultimate authority. The working class was slow to unite, ex-cons and destitute citizens from multiple nations assigned stations with little common culture or language.
The abuses of department heads, private and national security forces, and the manager caste became egregious. Resource production dwindled as the station lords focused more on their own personal amusement. The Earth Colonial Administration was founded by 26 major national powers to both monitor the hundreds of stations and dozens of colonized habitable planets, and enforce the laws of all ECA countries in both environments. While the worst of the manager caste did not survive the new standards enforced, both colonists and station laborers grew to resent the ECA as they pushed for greater production than before, uniting the colonists with a common enemy.
Improved medical technologies and use of exotic materials led to an emigration rush shortly after the establishment of the ECA. Deteriorating conditions for lower-class Terrans saw the masses boarding one way trips to the colonies, often financially encouraged by an upper-class increasingly dependent on the colonies for resource extraction. The prosperous habitable worlds of the Heartland region saw the majority of Terran immigrants. Colonies outside the Heartland saw less direct oversight from ECA forces, and were left to the mercy of the megacorporations; the Steel Nebula, rich in resources, was still able to unionize and drive off many corporate prospectors, reducing its population growth. New Haiti and Sinai, vast regions of space poor in exotic materials, consisted mostly of waystations and modest mining operations mostly ignored by the ECA aside from their regular shipments to the Heartland. With little leadership or oversight from both national and corporate powers, an independent class of Free Traders tied together the stations and colonies of these sectors and assumed control. The most devastating event in colonial history was soon to happen however, on the world of Paradise in the Eden sector.
Exmat-rich and judged even more habitable than Earth itself, Paradise was the crown jewel of the colonies, contested from the start between a dozen Terran nations. Ultimately no ECA power could lay sole claim on the world. The exotic materials of the crust, it was discovered in hindsight, were the shell of an egg. In the Eden Catastrophe, the egg hatched twenty years into habitation of Paradise, a winged monstrosity shrugging off the world’s tens of millions of colonists and devastating habitats throughout the sector before departing the galaxy. The ECA’s lackluster relief efforts and the apathy of Earth nations to the worst natural disaster in recorded history served to bolster claims the ECA cared not for the lives of its colonists, while the terror of the leviathan spawn inspired a new apocalyptic faith in the surviving colonies of Eden.
As the first worlds became self-sufficient, the colonists soon sought independence. As the ECA and the megacorporations tightened their grip over the colonists, resentment towards the Terrans became commonplace. A Philosophy of Treason, penned by Augusta Valentina, was the first manifesto promoting colonial independence to be widely circulated. Free Traders discreetly distributed physical and virtual copies among the colonists, which then spread throughout the systems by hand. Tensions rose as the colonies united in solidarity, with speakers such as Salvador Perez touring the colonies, encouraging revolutionary action and leaving before either national or corporate planetary governors ever learned of their presence.
Meanwhile, conditions in Sol deteriorated. Both the megacorps and nations declared direct war upon each other for the first time in centuries. The ECA found its effective jurisdiction limited by national tensions. Limited nuclear war on Earth ensued, the protected populations on Luna and Mars acting as counterweights to Mutually Assured Destruction. Populations displaced by these catastrophes were gathered and sent to the colonies, as more exotic materials were needed to begin terraforming both Mars and Venus to replace a now wounded Earth. Tensions came to a head when the Albion Plague reached public awareness. Originating in the crystal mines of Albion in the Alpha Centauri system, quarantine broke and the disease spread throughout both the Sol and Soma sectors. The revelation that the disease was intentionally created by the appointed governor, and tested on the miners during health examinations in pursuit of new biological weapon technology, was the breaking point for the revolution.
Earth Colonial Administration
Earth Colonial Administration
Europa, Japan, United Americas
Led By: Clark Kurtz
Strength: Humans (???)
Objectives: Suppress Revolution
Free Human Commonwealth, Free Trade Society, Solar Republic, Steel Union
Led By: Martina Casini, Salvador Perez, Xian Wan
Strength: Humans (???), Synthetics (???)
Objectives: Complete Independence
The Great Revolution began shortly after Salvador Perez’s Freedom Address. Repeaters throughout the Heartland transmitted the speech, declaring independence and demanding a redress for extraordinary crimes against the colony populations. Insurgents armed with makeshift weapons took the speech as the signal to take control of the colonies, imprison or terminate the administrators and security forces, and prepare for war. The Free Traders moved from shipping goods and materials between Sol and the colonies to protecting the New Haiti and Sinai sectors, depriving the Terran companies and countries of their much needed supplies without direct implication in the rebellion. The Steel Nebula transitioned almost peacefully to full worker control, and began producing vessels and weapons for the revolution. Even far-off Eden heard the rallying cry, religious leaders guiding mobs of heavily-armed zealots against the ECA and Megacorporations.
By striking colonies of all ECA nations simultaneously, the revolutionaries paralyzed their ability to respond. Representatives of each superpower attempted to protect their own nation’s interests before those of their fellow ECA members. The ECA fleet was divided up and sent to a dozen hotspots, only to be splintered by planetary defense systems or hijacked by rebels, added to the growing revolutionary vanguard. Independence for much of the colonies was established within several months of the Address, but the coming war to maintain this independence and bring the fight to Earth would test the abilities of the new revolutionary army.
After a line of nationalists, deserters, and otherwise unfitting commanders, ECA Colonel Clark Kurtz would receive a double promotion to Lieutenant Marshal shortly after a series of devastating losses in the Heartland for the ECA. Suspect due to their second-generation colonial heritage, Kurtz’s lack of national affiliation lead to their organization of a robust offensive for control of the Heartland. Planning around the non-aggression policy of the Free Traders in New Haiti and Sinai, Kurtz abandoned the borders of the Free Traders and focused on defeating Perez by winning control of the Soma sector, cutting the Heartland down the middle and forcing the Revolution to fight a war of attrition; one Kurtz was confident they would win due to the ECA’s superior manpower. They then ordered the construction of Iserlohn Station in Tau Ceti, to act as a command post and fallback point in case of an invasion of Sol.
Kurtz’s fleet pressed the isolated sector of Gold Peak, causing some in the Revolution to lose hope. The turning point of the campaign, and the war, was the invention of the positronic brain by Steeler engineer Elena Spartoi. The positronic brain, a self-contained supercomputer making use of rare extrasolar resources, was used to give life to an army of synthetic soldiers for the war. The Steelworkers Union broadcast the blueprints throughout the Heartland, and the first brigade entered combat four months after their creation. With synthetics present for every major offensive thereafter, the Revolutionary Army took the Gold Peak and Soma sectors back from the ECA and pushed the line of battle back to Sol itself over a campaign of fourteen years. Synthetic soldiers were guaranteed citizenship, equal rights, careers, and housing by General Salvador Perez; provided with the condition that the war be won.
Grand Marshal Kurtz, in the face of mounting defeats, began fortifying defense platforms in Sol and Tau Ceti for a long siege. While the 1st Fleet suffered from significant material shortages, it was hoped the industry of the Sol system could overwhelm the insurgents with numbers, at least long enough to pursue a peace treaty that left the ECA’s member nations in control of the system. He did not predict a number of Terran nations, ravaged by disasters and wars, to unite with the Revolution during the final push into the Sol system. The first to land were those from the Eden sector, attacking ECA defenders of the system with an almost religious zeal. The 1st Fleet carried a number of governments in exile and groups of wealthy expatriates to Tau Ceti, where the now complete Iserlohn safeguarded their retreat to Bastion and protected the system from the revolutionary forces in pursuit. Faced with profound war exhaustion and the beginnings of severe internal dissent, the Revolution stopped at Sol, leaving Kurtz’s Tau Ceti Provisional Government the last echo of Old Sol.
Independence secured, the revolutionaries set upon the building of a new nation. The Terran Congress was held on the captured ECA base of Promise, in the Soma system. Talks fell through immediately. Delegates from the Eden sector, isolationist and deeply spiritual, refused to proceed unless the promises made to the synthetic armies were revoked. Eden delegates argued that the mind of a positronic brain was unknowable, unpredictable, and not truly human. Giving them equal rights to human citizens would be a major risk and a slap in the face to the humans who fought and suffered in the course of the revolution. Delegates from the Steel Nebula swore to boycott the talks unless the synths were properly compensated. In the end, the pro-synthetic representatives took majority, as most in the Heartland viewed them as heroes. The Eden delegates left, and Revolutionary forces were soon exiled from the Eden sector as they set about establishing their own Commonwealth.
Post-Eden negotiations proceeded to the issue of the Sol system. The Terran nations that sided against the ECA argued they deserved administrative control of the now lawless territories. Much of Earth lacked effective governance, with regional law enforcement, paramilitary groups, and self-made warlords claiming authority of nations now in exile. The Free Traders proposed reforming the remaining national authorities into administrative powers of newly designated planetary districts. The Steel Nebula’s delegates argued against the notion, arguing that districts were nations by another name, and would continue the identity competition of Old Sol. After months of debate and negotiation, the district system was voted in, with the process taking several years after the end of the congress to complete. The next item of debate was Tau Ceti, and whether an invasion into the system would be justified. Much of the Heartland favored putting a complete end to the ECA and the governments in exile, while the Free Traders and Steelers saw this as wasteful, with the Iserlohn star base potentially claiming far too many lives in a theoretical final push. In the end, a blockade was agreed upon as a compromise.
The longest debate was which form of government the colonies should utilize. The Free Trade Society, led by Xian Wan, proposed themselves as the future of humanity. Wan argued they had kept peace and prosperity in their systems during the war, already representing a cosmopolitan society of all colonials by way of their origins. Free Traders had long been regarded as heroic smugglers during the war, bringing both luxury goods and vital war materials to the colonies with little military support. However, as the megacorporations of Earth were being dissolved and their facilities raided, files linking Society representatives to the Megacorp entities tarnished this notion of the Free Traders.
The Steel Union, with Presiding Speaker Martina Casini, advocated for self-governance by each system and full independence for all people, a state of unionist anarchy many Heartland delegates were cautious of accepting. The Heartland delegates believed a strong central government was required to prevent the rise of future despots, and to present a unified front against any potential threats the galaxy might present in the future. Fully independent systems might shy away from committing to defense, or opt out completely. Perez failed to sway either Wan or Casini. In the end, he only managed to unify the Heartland under the Solar Republic, while the Free Trade Society and Steel Union departed without ratifying its constitution. The breaking point for both was the Republic’s strong central government, which they claimed was reminiscent of the hegemony of Old Sol.