Part 7: 2151-2160: Serpents in the Garden of DelightsSerpents in the Garden of Delights
By 2151, North Pholus enjoyed a truly unprecedented level of consumer spending, while development of infrastructure continued- it was in this year that the Torrson settlement had its own organic reprocessing plants established by various small firms. Talon Security Solutions scouts near Bushnell Center, however, sighted a swarm of mindworms east of the settlement, which would prove to be an omen for the coming decade, even though they were capable of ambushing and eliminating these worms with minimal casualties.
With the Torrson and Tellus settlements continuing to expand and develop, and with the very healthy economic conditions prevailing in North Pholus, productivity and growth in those settlements skyrocketed over the early part of the decade. It seemed as if North Pholus was in a true golden age.
Then, by 2154, various ongoing research and investment projects by Applied Maritime Solutions, Limited reported fruit. Applied Maritime Solutions reported that full shipyard facilities capable of building maneuverable and effective hydrofoil ships for the exploration and exploitation of Chiron's oceans and seas were now within the reach of the colony's industry. Even more remarkable, they had effectively demonstrated the technology for pressurised habitats that would allow the creation of settlements on the seafloor, accessible by surface platforms that would allow for loading and unloading of passengers and cargo on ships visiting the settlement.
With the new technology, warships, seagoing terraformers, and transport vessels for military or colonial missions became a possibility.
Our troop transport ships have a capacity of two units, at the moment.
Shortly thereafter, however, the colony was shaken by a series of threats and tragedies. In 2155, a swarm of mindworms approached the Torrson settlement under cover of the xenofungus, overwhelming the security force there, which valiant fought to hold back the worms before succumbing entirely to terror and madness. Although it was not widely-known, the first Intelligence Service field team, en route to South Pholus territory, was also lost in the battle. A year later, the terraformers working to develop the uranium deposits near the Tellus settlement were lost to another mindworm swarm, while yet another swarm was sighted approaching Bushnell Center.
The Torrson security forces bought the time needed to hastily assemble a second security force, however, and in a series of battles in which security forces struck first from the Torrson, Tellus, and Bushnell settlements, all three worm swarms were eradicated.
2156 also marked a milestone in the development of the Morgan settlement- a growing series of relatively low-priced shopping centers, restaurants, bars, and theaters had been developed near the Morgan hab facilities, providing a social and recreational hub for much of the population. Several years later, in 2159, the network infrastructure in the Tellus settlement had reached the standards of that in the Morgan and Torrson settlements, binding it to the rest of the North Pholus colony with firm bonds of communications and culture.
Recreation commons combined with our psych spending should ensure we can keep up a Golden Age in a settlement for the currently foreseeable future.
In 2159, diplomats from the recently declared 'New Gaia' contacted North Pholus, attempting first to garner North Pholus support for a war against the Spartan Federation and then to extract economic data from North Pholus. The Settlement Authorities refused, not wishing to be drawn into a war or extorted by their neighbors, and attempted to make a counteroffer for exchange of information. This counteroffer, unfortunately, was rebuffed.
New Gaia then proposed a formal alliance with further reduced trade barriers, which seemed appealing to North Pholus negotiators until the demand for war with the Spartan Federation was reiterated as a condition of the deal. Ultimately, negotiations ended with no progress made.
The North Pholus Colony as of 2160
Development of North Pholus territory slowly continues, with farms and thorium sifters being established where viable. A new Intelligence Service team scouted out the borders of New Gaia, locating the capital settlement of Gaia's Landing before being apprehended by Gaian security forces, interrogated, and returned over the border. Nonetheless, with the updated maps available, the Intelligence Service believes it should be able to set up information-gathering channels in Gaia's Landing. Rat Patrol and their strange alien plunder have slowly been making their way back to civilisation, interrupted only by a recent battle with worms that Rat Patrol claimed victory in. A new settlement belonging to New Gaia has been confirmed in the long eastern strip of Pholus leading to New Lacedaemonia and the Spartan Federation.
You can choose to 'catch and release' on probe teams, which is the polite way of dealing with them with people you don't want to go to war with.
Research has accelerated over the past decade, but accumulation of industrial materials and investment capital has slowed. Still, a healthy reserve exists, which should be able to ease development across the colony.
The Morgan settlement has suffered a modest downturn in foreign trade as competition from Tellus and Torrson has grown. Still, it remains the major industrial center and the best-developed settlement of North Pholus. Morgan Industries, in partnership with First North Pholus Investment Bank and Chiron Capital, has begun to sink major investment into the systems for the largest stocks and commodities exchange in North Pholus. It is hoped that the added responsiveness to market trends will help ensure strong growth of investment into the future. Farmland and thorium sifters southeast of the settlement, although as of yet not heavily used, are expected to become major contributors to the local economy within a few years.
The Torrson settlement now is supported by farmland all down the river into the Freshwater Sea, supplemented by additional materials from the reprocessing plants recently established here. Various investors, notably including Talon Security Solutions, have thrown their money behind a new venture to the northwest, while shipyards prepare to create the first seagoing terraformers at the earliest opportunity. The settlement is now an important center for international trade, helping bring new wealth and new products in to the settlement and its people.
With sea formers, we can develop the fishing grounds at Bushnell Center, as well as claim all the cargo pods in the Freshwater Sea.
Although the uranium deposits northeast of the Tellus Cooperative are still only poorly developed, they nonetheless represent a major profit center for the settlement, and have helped fuel a renewed importance in trade. New terraformer teams are being assembled in the settlement, in the hopes of replacing those who were so horrifically lost earlier.
Bushnell Center has grown swiftly, and now supports its own reprocessing plants. Small-scale mining of the rocky bluffs south of the settlement has begun, with terraformers working to help expand and modernise the mine facilities, while the needed network infrastructure for the settlement is set up as it prepares for the major project that is its reason for existence.
Relations with 'the Dominion of New Gaia' have been slowly deteriorating over time, as the religious influence of the Stepdaughters of Gaia has hardened into an outright ideocratic domination of the society. Non-Gaian members of the Council have been converted or dismissed, the dictates of the Stepdaughters of Gaia are written into law, and consistent and ongoing propaganda permeates the society. As ideocracy has taken hold, intellectual innovation in the Dominion has stifled under a growing monoculture of opinion. Although there remain pockets of secular opinion within New Gaia, the Stepdaughters of Gaia are now estimated to make up over 85% of the population of New Gaia.
The Spartan Federation maintains its inefficient state-dominated economic system in order to ensure steady supplies of strategic materials to military and governmental construction programs. Although trade relations remain open, Spartan High Command regards North Pholus with thinly-disguised contempt and greed, regarding North Pholus as both decadent and wealthy. Still, with New Gaian holdings between Spartan territory and North Pholus, and with an ongoing war with New Gaia, it seems likely that the Federation will have little opportunity for aggression in the near future, and is unlikely to imperil its trade without the hopes of plunder to compensate it. The Federation headquarters at Sparta Command is the most populous settlement in the known world at this time.
With current consumer spending, education, and productivity, North Pholus enjoys unparalleled quality of life for its people. Still, the looming threat of the Dominion and the Federation raise some concerns amongst the Settlement Authorities, and the recent wave of attacks by mindworms have been troubling to many. The workers and owners of terraformer detachments have begun to consider up-armoring terraformer vehicles and hiring on trained security forces to help defend them, but as of yet no concrete action has taken place in support of this.
Units with no weapon and no armor are considered non-combat units, are stuck at the very lowest morale level, and are generally extremely vulnerable in battle, but can be moved outside faction borders without penalty even under Free Market. Equipping a unit with armor, even if it has a non-combat payload like a terraformer unit, however, makes it a combat unit, with normal morale for the faction, the ability to gain morale from combat experience, and the usual penalties for being outside of faction borders.