The Let's Play Archive

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

by nweismuller

Part 25: 2331-2340: Mammon


Early in 2331, advanced forestry and agriculture management techniques were implemented in Gaia's Landing, greatly improving local agricultural yields and helping cement the settlement's economic strength. The following year saw major upgrades to the power generation infrastructure of both Bushnell Center and Lily of the Valley, with Bushnell Center deploying fusion power on an industrial scale while local reactors and fuel storage were upgraded more incrementally in Lily of the Valley.

Meanwhile, heavy-duty terraforming equipment designed to take advantage of the power offered by compact fusion reactors was placed on the market by several industrial firms. As terraforming firms began to switch to the new equipment, development of the Pholan countryside would become faster, cheaper, and more efficient. Some firms operating in the Sea of Pholus took advantage of the new equipment almost immediately, and began to pioneer techniques for larger-scale oceanic mining.

The Super Former modification for terraformers unlocked by Advanced Ecological Engineering doubles the rate at which they perform all terraforming tasks, MASSIVELY speeding work. The technology also improves the output of sea mining platforms, helping make sea bases just a bit more viable.

The next several years saw continued economic development across the Republic, with improvements in agriculture and forestry techniques in several settlements, and generation capacity in Lily of the Valley.

The lowered capital controls negotiated in the Global Trade Pact laid the foundation for a massive economic shift worldwide. The Republic of Pholus was already functionally the economic hub of the free world, and was considerably better-developed than any other colony on Chiron. The opportunity afforded by Pholan firms investing in other colonies, reaping massive profits by helping develop them closer to Pholan levels, was too much to pass up, and over the course of years over two trillion credits were spent by Pholan investors acquiring properties and developing new industries across the UNCC, Spartan Federation, Planetary University Free State, and Republic of East Pholus. Only the Holy States, which maintained nearly closed economies cut off from the outside world, were untouched by the massive wave of modernisation.

With modernisation and booming trade volumes came cultural influence, with Pholan brands, entertainment, media, and culture beginning to penetrate through other colonies, and with Pholan markets cheerfully integrating products from other colonies. The first steps of a process that might eventually nearly obliterate the cultural distinctions between colonies on Chiron had begun.

Meanwhile, internal political and economic pressures within the Holy States had grown intolerable, and the disintegration of central authority exercised from New Jerusalem had begun in earnest. Much of the army of the Holy States no longer reported to the Conclave of Pastors, and orders to move against several settlements in more or less open revolt were refused. Rumors persisted that resistance groups and dissident politicians were receiving smuggled material support provided by the Republic of Pholus' Intelligence Service.

With the payment of this massive lump sum, the countdown to final victory begins. 'Cornering the energy market' is ridiculous, but massive globalisation, investment across other colonies, and covert actions against our enemies is less so. Our friends should benefit from the new global commercial system; our enemies who make no use of the global commercial system are on the way to complete social collapse.

Desperate for a distraction from troubles at home, the Conclave of Pastors declared a state of war against the Spartan Federation in 2335, condemning the 'godless' state of their society. The last fragile links between Chiron Major and the world economy had been severed, leaving only covert smuggling into that benighted continent.

By 2336, two major new breakthroughs were made in the Republic of Pholus. Phoenix Genetic Medicine, a firm headquartered in the settlement of Morgan, developed a new low-cost genetic treatment that greatly reduced the rate of aging damage to recipients later and helped inhibit the development of cancers in the future. With this breakthrough, even those who could not afford rejuvenation treatments could enjoy dramatically lengthened lifespans, and the revenues from offering these treatments almost immediately made the founders and investors of Phoenix Genetic Medicine wealthy indeed.

Meanwhile, the development of high-thrust fusion engines for space travel began to make development of space beyond orbit economical, and allowed for travel times in space to be dramatically reduced. Interplanetary missions that might previously take months could be shortened to weeks, or days. As a side-effect of the new high-thrust fusion engine, the potential for high-output tactical fusion missiles was hypothesised, although there was little call from security forces to modernise weaponry from chaos cannon under current conditions. The construction of a second major agricultural station in orbit over Chiron was almost an afterthought to these breakthroughs in space technology. The video link for the Longevity Vaccine. As ever, the video was recorded by somebody other than myself.

2337 saw major losses amongst the security forces under Rajan Estates' Settlement Executive, as mindworm attacks from the surrounding xenofungus plagued the settlement. The attacks were only stopped a year later by an emergency militia made up of terraforming crews assembling a last-ditch defense of the settlement. Meanwhile, the economic development of the Republic continued, with power generation in Kusisitiza Future seeing major improvement while agricultural firms in Talon took steps to avoid future disasters like the earlier Planetblight outbreak at Talon.

That year also saw what proved to be a tragically short-lived truce brokered between the Holy States and the Spartan Federation by Pholan negotiators. Unknown to the Pholans, the internal pressures helping to pull the Holy States apart still demanded a scapegoat.

In 2338, Gaia's Landing developed local xenobiology research facilities, helping safeguard local agricultural investments, while the settlement of Prometheus saw a major research hospital open, helping bring its standard of medical care up to the very highest levels.

Meanwhile, the Holy States, which had covertly landed a company of troops in northern Pholus, formally issued a condemnation and declaration of war upon the Republic of Pholus, accusing the Republic of being 'the servants of Mammon and the arch-enemy of the faithful on this planet. No greater threat to the sanctity and the faith of all the faithful exists than the continuing temptations and worldliness exemplified by the Republic, and so their sins must be punished and corrected'. The Holy States troops in Pholus, after receiving news of the formal declaration of war, ambushed and wiped out Pholan terraforming crews working near Zoloto-Gold, which had immediately declared war on the Holy States in solidarity with the Republic.

The Republic called upon its various allies to join with it in its war against the Holy States, but only the Spartan Federation was ready to answer the call to arms. Growing economic integration and military cooperation between the Federation and the Republic helped provide new technology to the Federation. Republican forces began to reposition to respond to the attack, but the conflict remained low-intensity for the time.

2339 saw another series of firsts for the Republic of Pholus and for Chiron. The Sophia Institute in Autumn Grove took advantage of existing neural grafting technology to develop implants for security forces expected to face mindworms. A mechanical implant, immune to the terror attacks of the mindworms, was designed to detect spikes in brain activity consistent with mindworm attack, and release drugs to steady the nerves and dull the edge of terror and hallucinations. With this simple and cheap expedient, the resilience of security forces against mindworms was expected to increase dramatically. Meanwhile, Harold Booker, a physicist in Morgan, published a paper updating Einsteinian relativity theory based on observations made since Planetfall, marking a dramatic new step in human understanding of basic physics. Although Einstein's theories were innovative and had dramatic predictive power, they were incomplete, and Booker's paper greatly extended the theory. Shortly after the publication, Morgan Industries hired Booker to oversee the construction of a massive new particle collider facility, expected to produce massive quantities of data for Pholan research departments.

Morgan Industries also produced the first major deep space solar installation in 2339. Set in a relatively close orbit about Alpha Centauri and with a massive panel area, the installation can harvest staggering amounts of energy to charge superconductive batteries, with the batteries to be harvested and replaced annually with a service mission taking advantage of the new fusion drives for spacecraft. With this, solar power becomes a viable supplement to surface-based generation capacity.

2339 and 2340 saw further development of the Republic's economy across many settlements. Amongst the developments was a new fusion generation plant in Lily of the Valley, greatly bolstering the economic stability of that settlement.

The Republic of Pholus as of 2340

New settlement and terraforming continue to spread across Chiron, and the xenofungus continues to be slowly beaten back. The company of Holy States troops raiding the Republic has taken position at a monolith complex between Rajan Estates and Zoloto-Gold, while a major Republican force has moved into position to hunt down and wipe out the Holy States force.

The push for foreign investment capital has somewhat slowed innovation in Pholus over the past decade, as R&D budgets have been somewhat neglected. The growing space-based development has started to pay off across the Republic in both food and energy. The economy remains healthy, and may well rebalance to a traditional spread of investment and innovation.

The revenues to Phoenix Genetic Medicine have proved to be a massive contributor to Morgan's economy, and have helped spawn a whole series of subsidiary industries. Morgan, already the economic center of the world, thrives as never before. Construction has begun on a massive supercollider facility sponsored by Morgan Industries, which should prove of immense value to investigation of high-energy physics when it is completed.

The 50% bonus to credit income from the Longevity Vaccine is applied AFTER bonuses from facilities, as opposed to standard facility bonuses, which are applied to the base credit income. We have a total of 150% bonus to credit income from facilities in Morgan, for a total bonus of +81 to the base 54. The remaining 67 credits are the 50% bonus from Longevity Vaccine, based off the full 135 'base plus bonuses' value.

A new borehole mine near Torrson has provided a massive influx of energy and materials for local industries, and investors in the settlement have embarked on an incredibly ambitious project. Plans have been drawn up for a small permanent settlement on Nessus Prime, taking advantage of the lower gravity there to aid with the growth process of synthetic fossil fuels to be refined into various products. With a large enough scale of production, even the costs of launches to and from Chiron and the rotation of personnel out of the settlement on Nessus should be able to be recouped, and profits generated for investors and industries in the settlement. Although less prominent in research, finance, medicine, and precision industry than Morgan, Torrson now hosts the largest concentration of heavy industry in the Republic, churning out metals, chemicals, vehicles, and heavy machinery for use across the Republic.

Tellus has suffered a very modest economic contraction over the past decade, driven largely by the movement of several smaller firms to Torrson. A major Morgan Industries xenobiological research project to partially suppress and control local communications within the xenofungal forests is near completion, which is expected to greatly reduce the risks to terraforming crews clearing xenofungal forests.

With new borehole mining and industrial-scale fusion power, Bushnell Center has enjoyed a major economic boom over the past decade, leaving it second only to Morgan as an economic center on the planet. A major aerospace launch complex is under construction on the outskirts of Bushnell Center, helping to pave the way for Bushnell Center's participation in the accelerating space rush in the Republic.

Talon has recovered almost completely from the Planetblight catastrophe, and new forestry and farms help ensure a steady supply of food and raw biomass for industry. Growth in related industries has helped fuel a modest boom in growth. Development of industrial-scale fusion power is under way here, and is expected to bolster local industries and incomes even further.

A boom in forestry and agriculture on Dry Island has helped fuel a general economic expansion in Xochimilco, which has begun to enjoy very healthy growth. Fears of an outbreak of Planetblight have gripped local agricultural workers and firms, and steps have been taken to invest in local xenobiological research facilities as insurance against catastrophe.

Prometheus continues to struggle with underdeveloped hinterlands, although the new modern research hospital in the area has helped overall living standards with improved medicine. Investment into secondary industries to process forestry products from further south has begun, with anticipated payoffs to the settlement once the development is complete.

Improved power infrastructure, education, and childhood medical care in Kusisitiza Future have joined with continued population growth to produce massive improvements in local economic output. The settlement thrives as the commercial gateway to the continent of Hercules, and one of the wealthiest settlements of the Republic.

The land about the Muir River southeast of Gaia's Landing has once again been developed, after the devastation it suffered in the war against the Dominion of New Gaia, which has led to major drilling operations to harvest the abiotic liquid methane deposits near the mouth of the river. Combined with a significant improvement in local agriculture and forestry, this has helped Gaia's Landing finally pass Autumn Grove once again in overall economic output . Growing demand for improved early education has driven investment here, and new schools for the younger population have begun to open in the settlement.

Autumn Grove has enjoyed slow but steady economic growth over the past decade, and remains a critical industrial settlement of the south. The Sophia Institute's breakthroughs in defensive measures against mindworms have helped bring further wealth and prestige to the Institute, which has continued its study of 'psychic' phenomena in humans.

Development of industry, agriculture, and power generation in Lily of the Valley has helped it enjoy significant economic growth over the past decade, helping ensure abundance and prosperity for its people. Lily of the Valley, like many industrial settlements in the Republic, is building its own aerospace launch facility, hoping to take advantage of the immense promise of space.

Memory of Earth has experienced startling population growth over the past decade. Agricultural and forestry firms have been in the process of purchasing the land from the various marginal-productivity mines in Memory of Earth's hinterlands, redeveloping the land about them to higher-valued uses and helping cement Memory of Earth's prosperity. A major upgrade to the local reactor and the storage facilities for its fuel here is almost complete, which should further fuel growth in local industry.

The establishment of the UNCC settlement of Peace Anchorage has proved a rude shock to developers in Extropy Holding who hoped to exploit the rich undersea metals deposit east of the the settlement, as the UNCC has formally claimed that stretch of ocean. Steps are being taken to develop an alternate mining site to fuel local growth. Local industries and energy production have developed further over the past decade, and, despite the setback, the future appears bright for Extropy Holding.

The xenofungus has begun to be pushed back near Rajan Estates, and a major mining site along the Great Pholus Ridge has begun to contribute significant quantities of raw material to local factories. Small firms to reprocess local organic waste have begun to spring up here, helping ensure the continued prosperity of the settlement.

Although the loss of the terraforming teams near Zoloto-Gold was a terrible blow to the free city, it nonetheless has experienced a major surge of new prosperity as it has begun to participate more fully in intercolonial trade. Like Rajan Estates, Zoloto-Gold is seeing new recycling firms arise, helping improve the efficiency of the settlement.

Although the threat of the Holy States has raised concerns amongst the people of Zoloto-Gold, the previous anxiety about Zoloto-Gold's affiliation with the Republic of Pholus has dissipated as disaster has failed to strike over the past decade. The current belief is that Zoloto-Gold's alliance with the Republic and its independence seem likely to work out well into the future.

Traditional conservative Gaian beliefs have been fighting a rearguard action in East Pholus against modernising and secularising elements, and the Nautilus Movement philosophy. Although East Pholus remains, for the moment, a backwater focused on export of food products, investment by firms from the Republic of Pholus has planted the seeds for new industries which may eventually support a growing talent class. The years have brought social upheaval to East Pholus, which may well prove to be one of the societies most transformed in coming decades.

The Spartan Federation has gladly embraced the challenge of a war against the Holy States, seeing the potential for a stronger position in the future as the new geopolitical order solidifies. The colony continues to struggle with internal problems, but foreign investment from Pholus may help provide greater opportunity for many in the long run.

The UNCC enjoys a period of peace with every colony on Chiron, helping it tend to internal affairs. Although the UNCC's economy is shifting and evolving in response to foreign investment, it has a strong and confident culture that should be capable of weathering cultural changes essentially intact. The colony remains prosperous, and expects conditions to only improve over time.

The Planetary University Free State continues to struggle with the social pressures of its caste system and with limited agricultural output in its northern territories. The pro-Federation rebellion in Greenhouse Gate has largely been dissolved by a startlingly cynical program of open bribery and subsidies to the settlement combined with active encouragement for dissatisfied residents to leave to the east. The settlement is shrinking, but no longer is in revolt against the Free State. The Free State remains decidedly economically primitive, with few resources to improve the lot of its people.

Sections of the Holy States are in outright revolt, and the army is considered unreliable by the Church of the Lord's Believers. Although the Holy States still formally claim all of Chiron Minor, in fact the continent is in the process of disintegrating into a series of independent states with varying policies and leadership, struggling for independence or for control of the continent. The moral authority of the Church is at an all-time low, with vast portions of the populace secretly adhering to one of any number of splinter sects or independent pastors, particularly in states that have fractured from Church leadership.

Some splinter states have begun to make some efforts to pattern themselves based on ideals borrowed from the free world, but, for now, their long-term survival remains uncertain.

Growing economic and cultural ties have paved the way for a future of continued peace across Pholus, New Lacedaimonia, and Hercules, while the threat presented by the Holy States is rapidly burning itself out. It seems likely that the world as a whole will soon experience an unprecedented Golden Age. Hopefully, even the peoples of Chiron Minor will join in the new golden age, but the future of that troubled continent remains uncertain.