Spacecraft & Spycraft
Brief History 2020 - 2250 AD
2020 Nuclear war breaks out between India and Pakistan, it ends after 25 minutes in a crushing Indian victory (only 250 million dead). The second Nuclear War six weeks later between India and China is not nearly as conclusive. Over 1.5 billion people died in the conflict, which simultaneously solved the problems of overpopulation and global warming. Severe weather pattern changes and nuclear fallout claim another 800 million lives in the modest Nuclear Winter that followed. The surviving leaders of China and India are hunted down and executed for crimes against humanity by a revitalized World Court and United Nations. All manned space exploration efforts are abandoned. General faith in government falls to the point that major corporations openly dominate local and state governments.
2032 First successful Artificial Intelligence project ends in disaster with 133 dead at a secret Russian military installation. Later investigation determines that the AI, which was given complete control of the base, was not stable and decided to destroy the base rather than allow itself to fall into “the wrong hands.” Historians have long debated how much military and cultural paranoia seeped into the AI’s personality before it caused the base nuclear power plant to melt down.
2037 First feasible fusion power generator developed in a government laboratory in California. The surviving remnant of the US government gives away the technology as “a gift to Humanity.” The ensuing economic chaos destroys business control over most regional governments.
2039-48 Nanotechnology becomes commercially profitable. Although it never lived up to its initial dazzling promise, it removes economic incentives for mining and resource gathering because Nanites can make anything from anything if sufficient energy is applied. This new technology ruptures the world economy with the third world resource-based economies waging an economic, political, and legal war against the richer service and knowledge-based economies of the first world. Public revulsion against major violence prevents either side from relying on normal armed conflict but scattered outbreaks of violence perpetrated by advocates of either side are common. This leads to a covert war that neither side can win, eventually forcing an out-of-court settlement. The United Nations is redesigned to become a true World Government as part of the settlement.
2045-2150 First successful cloning of a human being by a western European research group. This marks the start of a 100-year drive to “improve” humanity. The effort is generally regarded as a failure because the World Government accepted none of the suggested improvements for use on all people, however humanity diversifies dramatically. Purchasing options such as vision enhancement, water-breathing, and extreme weather tolerance for children in the womb becomes standard practice and appearance becomes a negotiation process between nature and modern medicine. Organized racism crumbles in the face of an onslaught of new possible human appearances and behavior patterns; unorganized racism stays alive and quite active, slowly weakening as people become used to the many new faces of humanity. Vast new sections of the Earth become comfortable homes for billions of genetically altered people.
2055 First permanent lunar base established by a consortium of banks seeking to escape ever-increasing regulation and taxation. The base is a tremendous financial success primarily because it only requires a staff of only 18 permanent residents.
2069 Ito Fujimoro discovers the Fujimoro Effect at the age of 23. This slight modification of the Theory of Relativity leads physicists to finally develop the Unified Field theory, which should have allowed physicists to explain any action or reaction in the physical Universe. Immediate discoveries include greatly improved power generation, partial control of gravity, limited faster than light travel, and the fact that the so-called Unified Field theory doesn’t explain everything. Polls reveal that most people are greatly comforted by physicist’s inability to explain everything.
2070-2105 Colonization of Solar System. Humanity, equipped with genetic alteration, fusion power, and nanotechnology spreads throughout the Solar System. 2105 marks the end of EarthGov’s assistance program for new colonies. Many religious and political factions escape “the tyranny of the majority” by establishing their own colonies. Many of these experiments end in physical or social self-destruction but the desire for “living room” is so great that few calls for safety or caution in placing colonies are heeded. One billion people live off Earth by 2125.
2071 Ito Fujimoro is committed to a mental hospital for severe paranoia and hallucinations.
2073 Deimos, a moon of Mars, is discovered to actually be an ancient starship. Little is learned about the original occupants because the ship has been completely stripped of objects. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the ship started orbiting Mars 80,000 years ago. A careful search of Mars reveals no clue of the crew’s fate.
2075 Ito Fujimoro dies during an interview. The official cause of death is a cerebral hemorrhage but rumors suggesting other possibilities abound. Although the interview has never been aired, it is believed to contain several hysterical references to aliens and mind-control. Eulogies speak of his great and eventually fatal imagination. Several paranoid religions are spawned by rumors of the contents of the interview.
2089 Second successful Artificial Intelligence is born on Mars. The experiment lasts two weeks before the AI commits suicide by erasing itself. The Earth World Court rules that the last will of the AI is enforceable and prevents legal replication of the artificial personality. Further research reveals that Artificial Intelligences are naturally unstable unless presented with a challenge such as limited processing resources or a constantly changing (as in every few milliseconds) environment. This combined with the High Court’s obvious willingness to support AI rights severely limits their commercial appeal.
2095 Improvements in fusion power generation make fusion generators the preferred power source of all vehicles over 100 tons. Improvements in battery technology make fossil fuels an archaic technology.
2099 The Cantons of Mercury launch the first Torch Ship as a publicity stunt to explore Alpha Centauri. The “Discovery” had no human crew and was under remote control. It carried a low powered Fuji Gate for instant communication.
2103 MarsGov signs an agreement with EarthGov that essentially gives EarthGov control of the Solar System in exchange for assistance in terraforming Mars. Only the fledgling Republic of Saturn and the stubborn Cantons of Mercury successfully resist EarthGov’s effort to bureaucratically control the destiny of humanity.
2105 EarthGov forces the Jovian moons and many of the colonies in the Asteroid Belt to sign the Treaty of Luna, essentially making them slaves of the newly founded Solar Union. Mercury and Saturn remain defiant.
2108-12 The Solar Union declares a total blockade of Mercury and Saturn and starts building a fleet to enforce its will. Although the blockade is very weak initially it tightens rapidly and begins to have a severe impact on the colonists of both planets, particularly Saturn, by 2112 when the Solar Navy is ready for action.
2112-13 The Integration War pits the Solar Union against rebels on every planet and colony in the Solar System. Casualties total over 1 billion people in a classic guerrilla war that ends with the arrival of the first information from “Discovery” of the Alpha Centauri system. The discovery of an Earth-like planet in the system rekindles the urge to explore and colonize. EarthGov is overthrown by an internal coup and the Solar Union falls apart shortly afterward.
2115-2143 The first manned torch ship “Columbus” carries a full scale Fuji Gate to Alpha Centauri. A thorough examination of the planet Eden reveals it to be every bit as pleasant as first reports indicated. Full-scale tests of the Fuji Gate reveal that ships of virtually any size can be transported through the gate at the same (enormous) energy cost. Each Gate must be perfectly aligned on both sides of the link for a successful transfer to hyperspace. Torch ship designs are modified to become huge cargo carriers and colonization ships in addition to interstellar exploration ships. The torch ship “Exodus” carrying 75,000 highly qualified volunteers and enormous quantities of biotechnical materials successfully transfers to Alpha Centauri on January 1, 2129. In spite of dire predictions, the colony is an immediate success. Heavy use of cloning and an aggressive immigration policy pushes the system population to just over 10 billion people by 2250, nearly all of them living on Eden.
2128-2220 Torch ships are launched to most stars within 20 light years of Earth. Each exploratory ship carries a Fuji Gate and a survey team with the team spending nearly the entire voyage in cryogenic suspension. The torch ship leaves the star system via the gate after performing a several yearlong investigation of the new star system. The gate stays powered up even if the star system contains nothing of interest. Successful colonies are established at Zeus (Barnard’s Star), Haven (Innes’ Star), Isabel (61 Cygni), Dayan (Tau Ceti), and New Osaka (Epsilon Indi). Fuel limitations prevent further exploration based from Earth and the outer colonies are not yet interested in further outward expansion. This period of interstellar colonization ends when the twin discoveries of inhabitable worlds at 70 Ophuichi and Sigma Draconis are ignored by the general public.
2144 Eden declares independence from Earth and sets up nuclear mines to guard the Fuji Gate. Statesmen on both sides defuse the tense situation by recognizing Eden’s independence and creating the Earth Alliance as a loose legislative body to help prevent future conflicts. Mercury, Earth, Mars, the Jovian Regime, the Saturn Republic, and the Eden Confederation are the initial signatories. Zeus, Haven, Dayan, and New Osaka have since joined as well.
2169 Bionic limbs and body parts controlled solely by nerve input from the human body become possible. In general, bionic parts are frowned on in society, which maintains that re-growing a lost or damaged part is preferable to an artificial replacement.
2178-2250 Scientifically verifiable psionic powers are first discussed in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2178. Although their origin is hotly contested, favorite theories are:
• they have always existed
• were caused by the two nuclear wars early in the 21st century
• have been accidentally triggered by genetic manipulation
• were induced by aliens visiting Earth in the last few years
Regardless of the cause, it quickly became apparent that psychic powers are limited to a tiny percentage of the human race and that they could also be quite formidable. These so-called powers do not appear to automatically follow normal genetic patterns and nobody has successfully identified the gene responsible for these powers. This is in large part because of the mass hysteria about such powers. Psychic manipulation is forbidden in virtually every colony in human space and the punishments are quite severe, usually starting at the death penalty and becoming rapidly more severe from there. Governments, corporations, and criminal organizations compete to recruit psionic talent and jealously guard the people they have. Rumors of psionic slaves are common and probably true.
2182 The torch ship ‘Benjamin Franklin’ disappears when the Barnard’s Star Fuji Gate fails just before the ship is about to translate back to normal space. Theorists have argued for years over whether the ship simply evaporated, fell into normal space, or stayed in FTL and traveled forever. Experiments have been inconclusive. 22,000 lives are lost and Lloyd’s of London nearly goes bankrupt covering the insurance costs. Gate maintenance and design are improved with redundant Gates covering the most traveled routes to prevent a repetition of the tragedy.
2198 Terraforming of Mars is nearly complete.
2201 Walter John Williams declares the Church of Venus and sets up a colony to terraform Venus through the power of prayer. In space, for a brief moment, you could hear everybody laughing.
2226 Power generation and storage improve to the point where personal plasma weaponry is developed (Blasters). Force Swords (Light Sabers) become theoretically possible although power consumption remains a problem.
2238 Alien ruins are discovered on a moon of Canopus 5 by a passing miner. The alien race was at approximately the same stage of development as humanity when a large asteroid destroyed their colony roughly 5,000 years ago. The only remaining question is whether the asteroid was a freak accident or if it had some help in targeting the colony. The ruins of a Fuji Gate of alien design have been found drifting in space but no new technical discoveries have been made. A permanent archaeological outpost has been established and is re-supplied from Tau Ceti once per year.
2241 Members of the Order of Jedi Knights are first seen. This small mysterious band of powerful psionicists is not known to be working for any organization or for any political cause. They claim to be a force for good and are fighting an unknown band of evil psionicists. Whatever you may think, there is no doubt that they mean what they say. Although they have never been known to attack an innocent, they should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.
2247 Average life expectancy is now 150. Responsible medical scientists refuse to predict an ultimate upper limit.
2250 A survey team from Eden and Earth start exploring the moons of Wolf 359 for possible colonization. Public interest begins to rise again in interstellar exploration, causing the survey location to become one of the hottest tourist sites in human space. It is unknown whether this is a major new trend or a temporary fad.