Saints in the Shadows
Planets spin along a set path, a trajectory through space, just as the sun spins along a path determined by the galactic core. Like ants, humanity scuttles about the star Sol, making little holes in the surface of the rocks, but never really affecting the grand scale of the universe.
Captain Hanz “Hands” Freiberg grinned from his perch on the hull of his one-man planet jumper. Life as a Zero was good. His ship was en route to the dwarf planet Ceres. Since it wasn’t in orbital prime right now this was a three-week trip, but that also meant security would be at a minimum.
He slapped the hull of his mistress, the Jagged, and did something no grounder could ever understand. In the vast reaches of space, he watched Earth pass between him and the sun. Colors blazed as the eclipse filled and a burning cornea surrounded the planet. The backdrops of stars and other planets stood out against the bands of colors that were distant galaxies.
Hands smiled to himself in the confines of his suit and activated his NutriPump, sipping a piña colada through it. He cranked up the tunes and lost himself in the majesty of the panorama before him. Yeah, life was good as a Zero, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here is a condensed overview of what you’ll find in the great black yonder, ami. If you want the full story — especially all you hashtaggers who want to leave their two credits — I’ve got that too, and you know where to find it!
Life in space, 2090, is a life on the frontier. Terran life has conquered the final frontiers of the human body, the human mind, cyber space, and geographical expansion. Planet-dwelling philosophers say there are no new frontiers for humanity, but they are wrong. Life in space is wild and filled with peril.
Much like on Earth, free agents roam the streets of the colonies from job to job, just looking to make it to the next day. Space started as colonies tied to terran governments and corporations. As the number of colonies grew, and their populations expanded, freedom from terran oversight became a larger and larger concern for the populations and bureaucracies. In 2090 there are over 500 prime colonies, mining outfits, and orbitals. Earth alone has 60 orbitals with populations in excess of 3,000 people apiece. Prime colonies have grown to the size of minor plexes, housing over four million each. The total estimated population of the space colonies is thought to be around 250 million.
The current political climate is one of tension, but also one of possibility. The growing political maneuvers of the colonies to break free of Earth’s control, combined with tensions between the colonies themselves, have created an air of suspicion amongst the various governments. The general feel of the colonial populations is one of hope. With the recent lunar and cereian revolutions a new age is in sight, and everyone knows it.
History of Space Exploration
• 2011: Spartus Space Group launches first commercial space liner into low orbit.
• 2011: United States cuts funding to NASA’s shuttle program.
• 2012: Hurricane Nicole. Cape Canaveral destroyed.
• 2013: GENIE begins. Worldwide satellite network repurposed to create global Wi-Fi.
• 2014: GENIE phase 2. Wireless repeater network deployed across Earth’s mesosphere.
• 2015: GENIE phase 3. Cloud technology hubs repurposed to support GENIE.
• 2015: GENIE phase 4. “The Bottle,” a handheld device allowing for full spectrum communication and Internet access is released for early adopters. PDAs, cell phones, and tablets crash in sales numbers.
• 2023: GENIE phase 5. Aerosol form micro signal repeaters released into global cloud layer. Firmware patch of additional aerosol release is planned in two-year increments.
• 2029: Quantum entanglement engines are successfully linked to a “sub orbital” satellite, providing the first geostationary Orbiting object within Earth’s atmosphere.
• 2033: China begins program for Mars Landing. The US follows suit, then changes destination to moon colony.
• 2036: GENIE admin develop the STRAP, implanted crown of electrodes for Wi-Fi access
• 2038: Construction of first orbital habitats begins.
• 2041: Matter assemblers de-factorization announced. Matter assemblers will be smaller and more consumer friendly.
• 2042: Nanomachine matter assembly devices licensed to global corporations. Within 6 months they are part of all orbital and colony designs.
• 2043: April 13. China successfully lands humans on Mars.
• 2043: Teams from Eurasia and Brazil land on Mars.
• 2045: NASA develops variable specific impulse magnetic plasma rocket, which speeds up missions to Mars.
• 2052: Colony simulacrum production begins on Mars, with plans being drawn into other colony’s construction specs.
• 2053: Ceres colony is established.
• 2054: Europa Prime Colony is established.
• 2054: Ganymede Prime colony is established.
• 2056: Saturn colony established, actually a series of 12 orbital style plexes known as “The Rings.”
• 2060: First US colony on Mars; lifers and deathers allowed indentured servitude on Mars as alternate option to sentencing on terran prison.
• 2061: CHIMERA lands on Hailey’s Comet and refuses to share findings. Rumors are that CHIMERA left two ships on the comet.
• 2065: Low-yield dirty bombs are used on Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Tucson (destroying the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and over 50% of the separatist Air Force planes, including orbital jumpers).
• 2073: The Omega protocol is rejected in colonies.
• 2077: Colony taxation repealed as the 100 colonies band together and form the United Civilizations (UC) The UC is modeled after the 20th century United Nations, rather than the modern UN.
• 2078: UN and UC go head-to-head as UN tries to claim UC as a subservient governmental body.
• 2079: UC outlaws Stopwatch off Terra Prime.
• 2081: “The 52” are established. Fifty-two “mining” colonies established near the moons of Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede. The 52 are suspected by the UC of being black ops colonies of the Stopwatch Underground.
• 2082: Lunar embargo on Earth shifts political currents to form the United Territories of Luna. Corporations are banned and Luna becomes first true democracy in 50 years.
• 2082: Ceres colony follows lunar example and General Bjorn Smith-Gustafson leads a coup d’état, establishing the Free Territory of Ceres.
• 2085: The “Year of Embargoes” begins. Rising tensions between terran-controlled colonies, Corporate colonies, free colonies, and rumored Stopwatch-controlled colonies creates a series of embargoes and trade restrictions.
• 2085: Black market and “street” Zeroes quickly respond by forming the “Guild of Allied Traders.” (nicknamed GoAT.)
• 2087: Headway is made with embargoes as Bjorn Smith-Gustafson brokers a series of UC treaties between corporate-controlled Jupiter Moon colonies and Chinese Mandarinate-controlled Mars colonies.
• 2088: GoAT denies all ties to a series of suspicious terrorist strikes which appear to violate Jupiter-Mars treaties.
• 2089: GENIE expands beyond Saturn in preparation for phase 4 system development.
• 2089: GENIE p4 picks up signal coming from approximately 100 million miles beyond Neptune’s orbital path. Hex keys from signal appear to match terran IPs. No one understands how this is possible. System-wide media buzz the story for a couple weeks but stories die down as no explanation is found.