Part 27: 2351-2400: The World, RenewedThe World, Renewed
Over the first half of the 2350s, the economic development of the Republic of Pholus continued unabated, further developing what was already the wealthiest portion of Chiron. As the Republic of Pholus developed, it continued to stretch investment into other colonies within the global commercial network covering Pholus, New Lacedaimonia, and Hercules, making Pholan firms, brands, ideas, and trends an inextricable part of local cultures.
Development of science and technology continued with the same vigor as it had displayed in earlier history. The use of magnetic monopoles to develop small but powerful magnetic bearings and drivers and the use of silksteel to endure severe forces even with minimal mass allowed the development of powerful precision machinery requiring far less material and volume than once had been required. Although these developments did nothing to reduce the space needed by energy sources, requiring the same mass in superconductive energy cells or reactors, it nonetheless allowed for vehicle engine blocks that once filled the entire front of a vehicle to be reduced in size to something similar to a laptop computer. Almost any device with mechanical components in Pholus could be designed to be smaller and lighter, or be redesigned as the same size but with greater power due to multiple motors and greater space available for power sources.
The applicability of these developments to industrial processes was obvious. A simple components factory designed by Morgan Industries, putting out sections of ducting for facility airflow systems, was the first testbed for miniaturised factories. The entire factory was about the size of a desk, and required a single human operator. Later, more complex factories building larger products could become as large as a garage, with three human staff. Super-miniaturised factories helped drive an ever more efficient and productive manufacturing sector which employed steadily less of the human workforce, which continued to shift into services, design, engineering, and research tasks.
There are reasons related to energy density, radiation vulnerability, intelligence and communications, and more to be dubious of conventional 'nanobot' depictions. That said, massive minaturisation of conventional machinery is well within plausibility.
Meanwhile, Alice Rhine and other physicists had been steadily working on the implications of Rhine's unified field theory, which proved to be an incredibly productive source of insights for future research in other fields. Rhine's research institutes in the settlement of Morgan made it even more of a center for scientific research than it already was.
With the Theory of Everything, Morgan's research exceeded 600 per annum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAGSeSTvwlc is the video for the Theory of Everything. Given that 'Unified Field Theory' and 'Theory of Everything' seem to be almost interchangeable in physics, I'm assuming the Theory of Everything Project is working out many of the implications of the Unified Field Theory in order to help generate new predictions.
In 2355, Prokhor Zakharov officially announced his abdication from the leadership of the Planetary University, handing the reigns of power over temporarily to his aide Vasiliy Fedorov until a team from the United Nations Commission on Foreign Affairs and Human Rights could help organise a new constitution and new elections for the Free State. Zakharov, who had founded his colony in the hopes of being able to pursue science without limits, was weary of the struggles to retain power, and, in a memorable speech, declared 'the era of the Planetary University is over. We have clung to this experiment in technocracy because we preferred it to be true, but in the end we must face the evidence unflinchingly- this is an experiment that has failed.'
With the dissolution of the Planetary University and the reorganisation of the Free State along a model to mimic the UNCC, every remaining government outside of Chiron Minor was, in broad outline, a democratic market society on friendly terms with every other government outside Chiron Minor. The only remaining threats to peace were the squabbling, fragmented states of Chiron Minor, and none of those retained the capacity to project power beyond their own continent. There was hope that even Chiron Minor would eventually stabilise, and join with the burgeoning prosperity of the outside world.
Forty-five years later...
By 2400, the United Nations Colony on Chiron remains the second-rank superpower of Chiron, dominating the majority of the continent of Hercules while steadily working to stabilise the situation in Chiron Minor. It retains the largest military force, and has helped develop southern and eastern Hercules into extremely densely-settled territories. UNCC troops have been stationed in the Free Republic of the North and the Western Lord's Coalition by invitation of those governments, helping guarantee their territories against outside threats.
Pravin Lal, the original Acting Captain of Unity Cryopod 8, remains extraordinarily popular, and retains his position as United Nations Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights. Although the positions of Commissioners are subject to appointment by the Colonial Governor of the UNCC, no Colonial Governor has ever dared to risk the popular backlash of removing a man widely revered amongst the populace of the UNCC.
The Republic of the Sea of Nessus has undergone a major cultural shift over the past decades, and is now, in many ways, much like the Republic of Pholus itself culturally. The Nautilan movement still holds a reasonable amount of influence here, and work on the open sea is something that catches the imagination of the people of the Sea of Nessus. With the shift towards Pholan cultural norms, the Republic of the Sea of Nessus has seen a dramatic development of its economy, and a vigorous effort to terraform and develop the Sea of Nessus and the Howling Straits is under way. Already the xenofungus has essentially been driven from the Sea of Nessus, and aquaculture, mining platforms, thorium sifters, and geothermal plants have grown increasingly common.
Ulrik Svensgaard, once President of the Republic of the Sea of Nessus and a prominent figure in the Nautilan movement, has returned to naval service, captaining the Indomitable, flagship of the Nessan fleet.
Deidre Skye, original Acting Captain of Unity Cryopod 1, and later founder of the Stepdaughters of Gaia religious movement and ruler of the New Gaian Dominion, died of old age in 2359, unable to afford further rejuvenation. The Stepdaughters of Gaia had been reduced to a tiny, irrelevant sect, and Skye never stopped thinking of the government installed by the North Pholan government in place of the Gaian Dominion as traitors.
The Planetary University Free State has been replaced by the Democratic Colony of New Russia, organised in imitation of the UNCC. Russian remains a popular language in the DCNR, in large part due to its prominent place in the former Planetary University. Living standards have begun to climb significantly for ordinary colonists in the DCNR, although the dire state of its economy when it was founded has meant that a majority of its employment and income is provided by foreign-owned firms from the UNCC or the Republic of Pholus. Uranium exports from the Uranium Flats have helped finance the development of the DCNR, which has slowly begun to cast off the deep-rooted cynicism which once characterised its population. The settlement of Greenhouse Gate was allowed to separate from the DCNR as it was being organised, and promptly rejoined the Spartan Federation.
Prokhor Zakharov, original Acting Captain of Unity Cryopod 4, designer of the UNSS Unity, and head of the Planetary University for almost its entire existence, has emigrated from the DCNR to the settlement of Morgan, where he has begun a partnership with Alice Rhine to delve into deeper secrets of the universe. Once again, Prokhor Zakharov sits at the cutting edge of science.
The Spartan Federation remains a proud and formidable colony that restricts the vote to those who have completed periods of state service and thereby earned full citizenship. Although it has lower per-capita incomes than the UNCC or the Republic of Pholus, and its military remains smaller than the UNCC military, it has an impressively advanced and modern military, built about a core of hovertanks made possible by highly miniaturised ducted fans providing lift, armed with seeking tactical fusion missiles. Spartan forces intervening in Chiron Minor conquered their way up the southern peninsula of that continent, taking Sanctity Base, The Lord's Gift, New Jerusalem, and The Lord's Mercy from local militias and warlords before forming a peaceful frontier with the Western Lord's Coalition to the north. Maintaining order in those settlements remains a challenge, but, with every decade that passes, they grow a little more acclimated to Spartan rule.
Corazon Santiago, original Acting Captain of Unity Cryopod 6, has long since been barred from holding any position of political authority, but she continues to serve with distinction in the Spartan military, personally commanding the invasion force that took the new territory for the Federation.
The Human Hive, Sheng-Ji Yang's experiment in the obliteration of individuality, has long since fallen, and its name remains a synonym for evil and suffering across Chiron. Yang himself, once Acting Captain of Unity Cryopod 2, was executed by the Holy States for his atrocities.
The former territory of the Holy States has fragmented into multiple different competing colonies, but, by 2400, the situation has stabilised at least marginally, with four larger colonies controlling much of the Holy States' territory, while the southeastern reaches of the continent remain a squabbling mess of warlords. The southern peninsula is under the rule of the Spartan Federation, while the Monsoon Jungle and the region immediately surrounding it has come under the control of the Western Lord's Coalition, a loose confederation of city-states ruled individually either by moderate theocracies or by democratic governments with a strongly religious culture, and economically reliant on the rich agricultural territory of the Monsoon Jungle. The brutality of the short-lived Emergency Military Government of the Holy States has led to its fall and the destruction of its capital in the Leader's Horde, but the aftermath of the fighting against the Emergency Military Government led to the rise of the Mesan Empire, ruled by Harold I, self-styled Emperor Anointed of God to Protect the Faithful, ruling from the settlement of Labor Network on the Sunny Mesa, and carefully balancing tensions with the Western Lord's Coalition and the Free Republic of the North to avoid a war he knows he cannot win.
Miriam Godwinson, original Acting Captain of Cryopod 7 and head of the Conclave of Pastors up until its destruction, died by a terrorist's bomb that destroyed the Great Cathedral in New Jerusalem. Although she saw the Holy States teetering on the edge of destruction, she did not live to see their total collapse.
The Free Republic of the North, despite having been situated in a generally less-developed and terraformed portion of Chiron Minor when it was originally formed, is now nonetheless the richest colony that has arisen from the collapse of the Holy States, with only the Western Lord's Coalition even approaching it. A major program of terraforming and industrial development has helped cement both its internal economy and revenues from foreign trade- the Free Republic of the North is an important source for the bulk manufacture of basic refined metals, lumber, and other basic industrial materials for use in later-stage industries, and some FRN vehicles have begun to make inroads as export goods for lower-cost consumer markets. The FRN remains on good terms with the colonies outside of Chiron Minor, and has a reasonably good relationship with the Western Lord's Coalition, while the Mesan Empire remains a source of anxiety to many in the FRN, offset by the presence of UNCC troops promised to support the FRN should the colony be invaded.
After three ten-year terms as the first Foreman of the FRN, its chief executive position in its government, Domai, noted revolutionary and human-rights activist, retired from politics and took on a position as a crew chief and part owner of a logging firm near Socialism Tunnels. He has continued in that position for the past twenty years.
The Republic of Pholus is the economic center of the world, the source of new technologies, and the heart of its culture. The Morgan Mercantile Exchange energy credit is the basis of the world financial system, Pholan firms and brands are familiar in every colony across the world, save in the economically-isolated warlord regions of southeastern Chiron Minor, and Pholan ideas and entertainment can be found in datalinks worldwide. A massive variety of companies compete for sectors of the Pholan markets, and those that cannot adapt to changes inevitably shrink and disappear. The recent development of truly sentient digital intelligences has forced a cultural shift in Pholus, which has accepted digital sentiences as citizens frequently used as advisors for major corporate concerns and security planners. Construction has begun in Torrson of the Interstellar Survey Combine ship Endeavor, intended for a sixty-year round-trip mission to Earth to discover what has become of the birth world of humanity. The lack of any recent attempts to signal Chiron lead many to fear that the chaos on Earth eventually led to civilisational collapse, but only investigation of the world will show the truth.
Nwabudike Morgan, original Acting Captain of Cryopod 5, remains CEO and majority owner of Morgan Industries and the richest man in the world. Although Morgan Industries has had to retreat from one industry after another as competition grew too fierce, while refocusing on its areas of advantage, the ceaseless attention of Morgan has never permitted Morgan Industries to grow too complacent in its position. The company remains the leading manufacturer of fusion generation equipment, industrial robotics, and superconductive fiber, while having positions in many consumer and entertainment industries and maintaining the single largest corporate R&D budget in the world.
He has no intention to retire.