Part 15: 2231-2240: Artillery GamesArtillery Games
Early in 2231, the New Gaian government sent a message affirming their commitment to the eradication of the Republic of North Pholus, which set the stage for their actions over the following decade.
New Gaian forces made repeated incursions on the front near Torrson and Gaia's Landing, and continued artillery bombardment levelled all road and rail links from Gaia's Landing to the east, as well as destroying forests and mines previously established by Gaian settlers. A platoon of artillery that made an incursion near Bushnell Center collapsed the mines and damaged farmland near the settlement before being hunted down. North Pholan military losses were minimal and Dominion losses severe, but New Gaia continued its offensives without relief.
In fact, in 2233, New Gaian occupation of farmland near Gaia's Landing led to sudden shortages in food supplies there, and starvation gripped the settlement before the invading troops were crushed and food production restored.
The exploration mission near Chiron Minor was lost in 2232, destroyed by Alliance foils armed with impact weaponry and armored in plasma steel. The final transmissions from the lost mission paint a grim picture of what equipment is available to the Alliance.
While all this was ongoing, a project to issue the headphones needed to induce trance in soldiers as a defensive measure against mindworm attack was ongoing amongst local garrison forces Republic-wide. By the mid 2230s, every settlement in the Republic had a company of troops issued the new equipment as a measure against mindworm attack.
Not all that occurred over the course of the decade was war and destruction, however- the economic development of North Pholus continued while the New Gaians dedicated themselves to replacing their horrific losses. In 2131 both Bushnell Center and Torrson completed reactor upgrades and associated expansions to thorium storage vaults.
In 2233, Xochimilco had bandwidth rates and network adoption rivalling anywhere in North Pholus, and, two years later, increased industrial production and growing hab developments around Morgan began to allow growth in the local population. With factories equipped with robotic automation, the ability to supply greater populations was finally within reach.
We can finally begin increasing settlement populations beyond 4, now.
By 2238, an ecology of small businesses for shopping and recreation had developed in Gaia's Landing, leading to an unprecedented economic boom there, while Torrson developed its own network of defenses, with mines, razor wire, bunkers, and prepared firing positions allowing the settlement's defenders to seize decisive advantages over enemy attack. News filtered from the UNCC that the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces were attempting to develop a high-quality centralised command and control network to administer military operations.
An isle of the deep made contact with Pholus at the monolith complex near Talon in 2238, and struck the settlement in 2239. Although the company of troops without trance headphones collapsed under the worms, which had been bolstered by the strange effects of the monolith, the other company held out and protected the settlement against further losses. A new company of troops with trance equipment was swiftly mustered in the wake of these events.
In 2239, the philosophy of Intellectual Integrity was first formally advanced in a book published by Professor Davidson of Planetfall University, Objectivity, Truth, and Analysis. Careful and repeated checking of beliefs against evidence, even in fields not normally held to be 'scientific', was the only safeguard humanity had against error and delusion. Although advocates of Intellectual Integrity rejected blind nationalism, nonetheless many operating under the philosophy came to the conclusion that should the Republic truly be under existential threat that the best course available would be to make what efforts were in their power to protect the system which had provided them the opportunities which were the birthright of North Pholans.
In 2240, efforts were made to contact the Lord's Alliance, in the hopes of bringing the nearly bloodless conflict between the two colonies to a close. Miriam Godwinson, the original leader of the Pod 7 colonists and still the Mayor of New Jerusalem, was curt. Peace between North Pholus and the Alliance would come only when North Pholus was willing to betray its alliance with the Spartan Federation. When Colony Executive Ragland refused to countenance such a step, Godwinson promised that Ragland would be put to death when the Alliance finally occupied North Pholus. Negotiations had failed.
The Republic of North Pholus as of 2240
Development of the countryside over North Pholus has continued, although Gaian artillery barrages have pitted and scarred much of the land surrounding Gaia's Landing. Work to rebuild the mines near Bushnell Center is under way, while the Freshwater Sea is beginning to see its first real development. With road links east severed, it should be much more difficult for Gaian troops to launch sneak attacks on Gaia's Landing from that direction, leaving the primary avenue of threat from Lily of the Valley and Autumn Grove. The fact that fungal clearances have been forbidden over the past decades has slowed the colony mission led by Titan Geothermal, which has yet to succeed in finding a usable path north through the xenofungus that the whole mission can use.
New exploration has slowed, but the shape of the world has slowly grown more clear to North Pholus.
Investment and innovation remain strong, and have continued to slowly advance over the past decade- helped in large part by expanded trade between North Pholus and the UNCC.
Morgan's population growth is still slow, but as fishing in Rockefeller Bay picks up, it is anticipated to accelerate. Investors in the settlement are prepared to back major new endeavors, as most basic needs in the settlement have been filled.
With a defensive perimeter established, Torrson should be essentially entirely secure from enemy action for now. Civilian investment into greater factory automation and new hab development is underway.
Work on new hab developments and the industry to supply them with the consumer goods demanded in North Pholus is well under way in Tellus. The wealth of Tellus is beyond dispute.
Despite bombardment from Gaian artillery destroying the mining complex south of Bushnell Center, the people here are rebuilding with a will. Growing trade with the UNCC has helped to offset losses from war damages, and the fishing grounds in the Freshwater Sea have been developed into the single most important food-producing venture in the entire Republic. Factory floor robotics are well on their way to being introduced here on a large scale, and outlying hab neighborhoods are expanding.
Talon has deployed the Republic's first missile-armed vehicle platoon to the front, and the settlement has refocused, at least temporarily, on civilian affairs. Growing farming and thorium sifting have brought increased prosperity to Talon over the past decade.
Xochimilco is establishing a ring of automated defenses in the waters surrounding its surface dock, helping to ensure its safety in the event of Alliance incursion. The settlement exploits a wide swath of the seafloor for geothermal energy, thorium, and aquaculture, and conditions here are quite good.
Although the population of Gaia's Landing has yet to recover from the famine triggered by Dominion action and the forests near the settlement have been destroyed by Dominion artillery, the people here nonetheless enjoy a quality of life unprecedented in their history as new business has grown up amongst the people. The Expeditionary Force remains stationed here, ready to react to hostile action by New Gaian fanatics.
Over the past decade, the Dominion of New Gaia has set its society entirely on a war footing. Every industry in their territory has been set to war production, providing new equipment or supplies for existing military forces. Military duty is no longer a penal detail, but a field filled by great ranks of dedicated volunteers who absorb the best training the Dominion has to offer. It seems clear their society is set on either victory or death, but with every passing year they fall further behind North Pholus in wealth and abundance.
The Spartan Federation continues on its historical course, maintaining generally friendly relations with most of its neighbors while arming itself against the threat of the Lord's Alliance. The Federation remains relatively impoverished, but its people endure with stoic dignity.
Over the past decade, the UNCC has undergone major economic reforms, largely freeing private concerns to chart the course of its economy. With these reforms, a great surge of economic growth has bolstered the UNCC and the standard of living of most of its people, even as tax rates have been raised to support the Peacekeeping Forces in readiness for whatever they may be called on to do in defense of democracy. The growth in wealth across the UNCC has supported a corresponding growth in intercolonial trade with North Pholus, the UNCC's primary trade partner.
Their research rate has more than doubled and their credit income likewise. They have introduced Psych spending which is generating more Talents than they had previously. With their increased raw energy income, it has tipped a lot more settlement pairs over the threshhold where we get measurable benefit from commerce with the UNCC.
The Free State remains a tiny pocket colony, and University Base is, if anything, smaller than before. The University has allowed the Free State under it to elect their own leaders who administer policy, although these leaders are still subject to the requirements of the University. Still, this has done much to moderate their society, even if many of its people remain disillusioned about the nature of the Free State.
It has become clear that the Lord's Alliance possesses sophisticated weapons and armor that could potentially make it a severe threat to other nations on Chiron. Perhaps the only relief is that their population growth over the past decade has been slow.
Elections for Colony Executive are approaching, and the society of North Pholus slowly changes. What will the next decade bring?