Part 3: 2111-2120: Lovelace MachinesLovelace Machines
In 2112, the work by research departments across many of the firms in the Pod 5 colony bore fruit, as Lovelace Software, in coordination with Morgan Informational Hardware, completed the design on protocols for true local informational networks and the hardware they would be running on. This sparked a scramble into investment into server hardware and network cabling amongst firms and users, seeking to restore the networked world which they remembered from Earth.
In 2114, the Rat Patrol, newly restored to full strength, made a remarkable find in the xenofungus to the west of Morgan's settlement as they blazed a trail for colonists organised by the Tellus Cooperative. A portion of the Unity's databanks, with the complete corpus of observational physics data dispatched with the mission, was recovered from a Unity cargo pod. With this data recovered, the design of high-output lasers as long-range heavy weapons support to be integrated into military formations alongside conventional small arms became a possibility, although many of the practical issues with the weapon design remained to be solved.
New military technology requires you to build a prototype at elevated cost before you can produce units at standard cost or upgrade existing units to the new hardware. As a small compensation for the elevated cost, prototype units have higher morale ratings, reflecting the more rigorous training in elite units deploying new technology.
The year following, another cargo pod from the Unity proved to be an automated survey probe which had located a rich deposit of uranium ore on the western shores of Pholus. With this concentrated supply of fissionables, a uranium reactor to supplement the existing thorium reactors could greatly boost the power available to the Pod 5 colony.
In 2118, the Tellus Cooperative finally set up stakes on a western peninsula, close enough to take advantage of the uranium to their north, forming the Pod 5 colony's third settlement. Left to their own devices, the Tellus Cooperative people, widely considered 'hippies' by other members of the colony, would be able to establish a settlement comfortable for their own needs.
A year later, continued work on networking protocols by the colony's computer scientists allowed for the development of the technology for a true Internet, linking every settlement in the Pod 5 colony. Network uptake was still bottlenecked by the need to build servers and lay cable, although hardware was being manufactured as swiftly as the colony's industry could supply it.
Although Planetary Networks allows for a Planned economy, Morgan Industries cannot run a Planned economy, and so we gain no new Social Engineering options.
The new advances in computing technology were coupled with a serious consideration of network security. The possibility that infiltrators into a settlement could breach data networks, allowing them free reign to steal proprietary data, spread propaganda directly to the citizens, or sabotage delicate control systems cannot be dismissed.
Probe teams allow for all SORTS of espionage shenanigans if moved to enemy settlements, but can be defended against by other probe teams stationed in a settlement, and are very vulnerable to attack by normal military units. Perhaps their most inoffensive ability, and one I would like to take advantage of when I can, is to set up infiltration on enemy networks to allow you better intelligence on another faction's current abilities and assets.
A year later, in 2020, the Pod 1 colony leadership contacted the Pod 5 colony, arguing that the Pod 5 colony was required under the UN Charter to share the information it possessed on networking protocols. Morgan convinced the Pod 1 leadership that reciprocation with information on medical and genetic technology the Pod 1 colony had developed would be a mutually beneficial arrangement, and both colonies transferred large quantities of data to one another. With genetic medicine once again available, work could begin to treat the ongoing health problems that had plagued the Pod 5 colony, and once again provide the genetic repair of aging damage that would at least mildly slow the ravages of age. Genetic anti-agathic treatments remain expensive and primitive, though, and are only available to those able to afford the considerable resources they demand.
The Pod 5 Colony as of 2120
The central western portion of Pholus is dominated by the Pod 5 colony, which has been slowly expanding into virgin territory since Planetfall. Stockpiles of industrial materials are at essentially the same level as ten years ago, having been spent and replaced at nearly the same rate. The Interim Development Corporations remain important elements of the colony's development, but diversification of new firms away from the IDCs has been slowly ongoing. Morgan Industries has been refounded as Morgan's own personal enterprise, as seperate from the Morgan Settlement IDC. Morgan has offered rewards for exploration to the east, along the northern shores of the Freshwater Sea, but the two primary reconnaisance units, Rat Patrol and Talon Security Solutions, are currently out of position, Rat Patrol near the Tellus settlement and TSS near the Pod 1 border.
The growing population of the Morgan settlement should soon allow it to exploit the output of the second monolith complex near the settlement, accelerating the work currently underway to establish a strong network infrastructure at the settlement. Although there is still a great deal of work to go, the capital is available to very soon support a push for completion of the network infrastructure here.
The Torrson settlement is currently the largest of the Pod 5 colony settlements, taking advantage of both the nearby monolith complex and a new, modern swath of farmland along the river. Hydroelectric power supplements its power grid, and work to expand the capacity of its thorium reactors is underway.
The Tellus settlement struggles on the western peninsula, suffering from greater shortages of food and materials than the older settlements. It has hastily raised its own defensive force, and is working on the second great terraformer of the Pod 5 colony to better tame the countryside surrounding it.
The Pod 5 colony still struggles with shortages and hardships, but its situation slowly grows more stable over time. Children who have known no world but Chiron now begin to reach adulthood, and the planet may eventually prove to be a suitable home for humanity- if only it can survive the ongoing challenges of this harsh world.