Part 15: 2930-2940-The Taming of SuudThe Taming of Suud
The 2930 elections are hotly contested, with neither the Social Democrats nor the Liberals able to dominate the Great Senate. Fierce wrangling over bioscience research leads to planned genetic research grinding to a halt, as commercial medical genetics firms find difficulty in having their work on corrective genetic therapy approved, while the Liberal contingent in the Great Senate blocks further psionics research sponsored by the RCSPS.
By 2932, the New Antwerpen is commissioned and the Navy plan to assault Suud approved, waiting only for a colony fleet to follow after the Navy into Suud. Within a year, a colony fleet at Earth is prepared, and Naval forces converge on Suud to assault the strange fluidic mass in the system.
The same year of 2933, the Unified State makes overtures of opening commerce with the United Republic. The Great Senate refuses to approve this, having no intent of strengthening the Unified State. Next year, in 2934, the ATLASBUILT Family reveals the results of study into knowledge acquisition and learning in sapient beings, providing a suite of new, sophisticated educational tools to assist in both formal education and vocational training, and begins a process of funding local university systems using these tools.
Unfortunately, due to errors in fleet coordination, the RNS London arrives at Suud early, and is forced to withdraw before the rest of the fleet arrives. The RNS Philadelphia, RNS New Antwerpen, and RNS Reykjavik arrive on schedule, however, and turn to fix guns on the strange mass in Suud. After the three vessels fire, the mass is badly crippled, seemingly unable to take effective offensive action. It is rendered inert and drifts apart after one more volley.
With the strange mass in Suud dealt with, a colony is swiftly established on the world of Pasteur in the Suud system, and a large number of dense metallic nodules is salvaged from the drifting wreck of the creature. Whatever it had been, it was now a threat no longer, and the lumps of metal in its gullet, being in an easily-recovered and largely pure form in great quantity, prove of great commercial and industrial value. With this engagement being an unqualified success, the fleet is ordered to Ninsar, in order to prepare to engage the other strange deep-void creature in the Sarti system.
Space debris is probably one of the least exciting 'system specials' there is, compared to things like native sapients, gold deposits, or so on, but it's hard to turn down 50 free BC.
This year also brings the exploration of the Kolath system by the RES Neil Armstrong, the awakening of APHRODITE on Nieuw Vlaanderen, the opening of the first ATLASBUILT University on Earth, and the unveiling by Republican Atlantic of a new generation of ship drives using multi-stage fission of synthetic isotopes for higher energy densities than achieved by traditional fusion.
The manual says 'Ion Drives' are taking advantage of some quirk in fission reactions to make them even better than fusion drives. Fair enough, I'll attempt to explain it as best as possible, this is space opera anyhow.
Two years later, the RES Neil Armstong sends back data on the Inak system, an unremarkable system surrounded by Commonwealth stars. A year after that, Human settlers establish a colony on the uninhabited world in Ezra, which they dub 'Formica'; the colony helps provide a place where the Humans working on Ezra Alpha can go away from the Klackon on that world, while Republican negotiators conclude a permanent recognition of the Council of Enlightened Matrons.
The United Republic in 2940
The new ATLASBUILT series of universities across Earth have coincided with improvements in educational achievements and vocational skills in workers who have retrained using new ATLASBUILT methods, and the workforce on Earth is even more highly-skilled and highly-paid than ever before. Quality of life on Earth has never been higher, and R&D departments maintain high staffing and output even in the face of competition from ATLAS.
Mars has warmed with a thicker atmosphere, and the environment is now hospitable enough to life that it is normal for Martians to walk outside unprotected in the frequent chilly Martian rains. Seas stretch across portions of the surface, and the local biosystem is now fairly lush. The population of Mars has once again begun to climb, and the planet's heavy industry works on completing the great ecological engineering project to bring an Earthlike environment to the once-red planet.
Nieuw Vlaanderen has enjoyed the introduction of agricultural improvements and an ATLASBUILT educational system, which has greatly improved incomes, quality of life, and satisfaction on this already-wealthy world. The improvements in efficiency from advanced agricultural training and the new agricultural genetic tweaks and weather stations have resulted in the agricultural sector shrinking from an employment of 750 million to 400 million, and shifts in investment have cause the Nieuw Vlaanderen technological and research sector to boom. The world is now home to APHRODITE ATLASBUILT, who chooses to appear as an olive-skinned, curvaceous beauty who prefers to wear a classic black evening gown. As with other worlds in the Hut system, Social Democrat industrial subsidies are in force locally, and settlers gather for a new colonial mission.
Ecological engineering on the Forge has moderated the local weather and provided the planet with a remarkably pleasant climate. Although the world is still warm and dry compared to Earth, with only small seas, it is well within the range of normal human preferences. Quality of life has increased greatly for the inhabitants of the Forge, and the population has begun rapidly growing again with the help of the population incentives in force on the world.
The Anvil's climate has moderated in much the same way as has the Forge's, much to the delight of the Anvil's inhabitants. ATHENA is overseeing the construction of a series of ATLASBUILT universities and training centers across the planet, while still maintaining her contributions to science and research.
New Greenland has stabilised at an Earthlike environment, proving that Republican ecological engineering techniques can reshape the climate and biosystems of worlds until they are as hospitable as Earth itself. Its population now exceeds eight billion persons who enjoy an immensely wealthy and comfortable lifestyle. FREYA has been funding educational institutions across the planet, with the enthusiastic cooperation of the local Psilon community.
Uptake of consumer positronics across Wotan has helped make life more pleasant and enjoyable for its population, and ecological engineering has begun to noticeably warm the local climate and melt off some surface ice. The population is optimistic and contented.
Thor has begun to enjoy greater trade volume, and the local economy has begun to reorganise along more sophisticated lines. Although still relatively primitive, incomes and quality of life have become to climb.
With a basic industrial base and radiation protection in place, Loki's conditions are somewhat less harsh and crude as they were as a very infant colony, but the world still remains a relatively undeveloped frontier. A local tech industry has slowly started to emerge on the planet.
Laaxaayik's population now exceeds six billion persons who enjoy very high qualities of life, as befits a developed Republican world. An ATLASBUILT AI installation is near completion on the surface.
The moderation of weather patterns by ecological engineering on Cherenkov have finally bought a measure of relief to the local population, although they are still, on average, stressed and overworked by Republican standards. Consumer positronics and entertainment are growing more available amongst the population, helping to provide some relief from the difficulties of work on Cherenkov.
Ecological engineering has helped stabilise Naraka at a pleasant, dry climate, and conditions for the average Narakan are now much better than before. An ATLASBUILT AI is under construction here, spreading the ATLASBUILT Family across the United Republic.
The introduction of a breathable atmosphere and a basic biosystem on Sheol has brought with it the violent weather patterns of hot, marginally-habitable worlds. The wear and damage to the local infrastructure has led to frequent breakdowns and minor accidents, ensuring that Sheol is not yet past its years of difficulty. Ironically, Sheol is the primary gateway for the trade from the Council. Most of the warehousing and port workers on Sheol are immigrants who did not personally experience the Sheol Blockade.
Basic industry and increased trade traffic have improved the incomes and quality of life on Faraway, but it is still a provincial world at the far rim of the United Republic and primitive by Republican standards. A local tech industry is slowly emerging on the world.
Crossroads has developed somewhat more quickly than has Faraway, and now boasts a reasonably modern industrial base, facilities to support the great volume of trade that flows between the Republic and the Commonwealth, and a local technology industry. It is expected to continue to develop quickly, as there is a great deal of reason for investment in this valuable border world.
Pasteur supports rich mining and basic modern industry, being in all respects a typical infant Republican colony on a hostile world. Protecting it from the radiation from Suud is the primary goal of local heavy industry at the moment.
Port facilities, pollution processors, and arcologies have been erected by the Klackon workforce on Lesath Alpha. A whole array of secondary light industries associated with processing the precious metals output of Lesath Alpha has sprung up, helping fuel greater trade to the world. Although nobody wishes to live here long-term, it is an excellent place to make a fortune in local trade.
The deployment of Puppeteer technology on Ezra Alpha has improved output on the world, although a shortage of skilled Klackon to administer local facilities has led to an increase in the accident rate on the planet. The local Human contingent enjoys considerably less job stress than before, as shifts on Ezra Alpha can now easily be rotated in from inhabitants of Formica. Local missile installations are under construction, insurance against possible Klackon attack.
Although, in many respects, Formica is an ordinary Republican frontier world, it serves an important role in helping boost the morale and efficiency of Human overseers on Ezra Alpha, as turnover can now be much greater, allowing for shorter terms on Ezra Alpha.
The United Republic remains at peace, and the RCSPS has remained on counterintelligence duties for the past ten years. Trade volume with both the Nations and the Commonwealth has risen significantly over the past ten years. Diplomats from the Nations and the Commonwealth report a war has broken out between them, although there is little evidence of significant military success yet from either side. The Nations and the Council of Enlightened Matrons are in an extended 'cold' war, with no exchange of fire, while the war between the Klackon and the Union of Peace continues to rage. Like the United Republic, both the Unified State and the Star Empire remain at peace.
The Republican economy has continued to grow, and both generation of investment capital and innovation are up over the past ten years. Any further expansion of the Navy will require further naval logistics to support, while transport capacity is still sufficient to Republican needs. Naval forces are bound for Ninsar, preparing for an eventual push to Sarti. The United Republic's population now exceeds 100 billion persons in total, the highest it has ever been.
The past ten years have been years of peace and prosperity, and, on the whole, life is good in the United Republic. Public opinion about AIs has slowly grown more accepting, as the ATLASBUILT Family has seemed to integrate wholeheartedly into Republican life without attempting to subvert the Republic's established systems. Voters head to the 2940 elections with a sense of optimism for the future.
All three parties are eager to see the situation in Sarti dealt with so that contact can be made with whoever lives in the system and new settlement can be made.
Conservatives wish to ensure that the Klackon frontier is fortified with a new series of naval bases, helping provide additional security and better logistics, command, and control for the Navy, while building up additional fleet forces in preparation for the liberation of the inhabitants of the Unified State. They also wish to ensure industrial infrastructure is in place across the Republic, to commission new naval bases as appropriate to local ability to support them, and sponsor research into new industrial technologies, both in industrial nanotechnology and new construction methods.
Conservative voters only need to consider the biotech debates raging through the United Republic. The RCSPS wishes to sponsor government and Institute of Psychic Advancement research into the biological basis of telepathy, which the RCSPS believes would be a great boon to national security and intelligence efforts. This, however, is certain to draw investment away from a series of commercial medical genetics labs into corrective genetic engineering to repair birth defects, cure genetic diseases, and provide in vitro treatments that should improve average health and intelligence of newborn Humans, as well as retroviral treatments that should provide similar but more modest benefits to already-living Humans. Some biotech breakthrough will happen soon, but what it shall be is still open to question.
Social Democrats wish to see the last few heavy-G worlds on the Western edge of the galaxy claimed and encourage more settlement in the outlying colonies of the United Republic, while ensuring industrial subsidies are in place to support these efforts. They also wish to build up the RCSPS, engage once again in active espionage beyond the United Republic's borders, and sponsor research programs by the Institute of Psychic Advancement, waste disposal nanotech, and research into how to replicate the gravity-correcting facilities on Ezra Alpha.
Liberals wish to maintain their historic policies of peace, neutrality, and friendly trade in foreign affairs and their policies of civilian-led economic development and minimal interference in domestic affairs. Civilian-led research is expected into corrective medical genetic engineering, industrial nanotech, and more compact but less powerful artificial intelligences with advanced multitasking and waldo operation capabilities.