Colonization

Contrary to what many had expected only a few decades earlier, humanity was doing very well in the mid-21st century:

While global tensions never completely ceased and commercial interests continued to dominate politics, strong economic ties across national borders caused most of the large remaining conflicts to be resolved peacefully.

In this environment, great progress in areas like medicine, energy, technology and agriculture was achieved, leading to an unprecedented level of global wealth. The world population had not grown for quite some time and remained stable at around 9 billion inhabitants. All in all, there was little reason for colonizing space.

Yet prosperity would not save them; the planet killer was discovered in 2046, an asteroid that would hit the Earth 100 years later and destroy the planet and all living creatures. The general feeling of panic caused by the announcement was brief. After all, the majority of the world’s population would not live to see the impact. Yet all over the world, work commenced on a plan B for humanity. And the first order of business was to choose where humanity’s next home would lie.

Not every planet, moon, or asteroid out there was suitable for human life. There was a wealth of factors to consider like atmosphere, minerals, temperature, pressure, access to water, and terrain. Proximity to Earth was also a factor to consider since import/export cost for resources would increase as the distance from said planet increased. After all, Earth would still be a vital trade partner until the inevitable collision.

Gravity was also a topic for debate since places like the Moon and Mars have much less surface gravity than Earth. Spaceflight osteoporosis was frequently cited when discussing raising children on low-gravity planetary objects since they would develop much weaker bones and could only enter Earth’s orbit in the direst of circumstances.

The weight of the gravity on their frail skeletons would be incredibly painful, and as such, pseudo-gravity would most likely be implemented in colonies with low-g. With all the complications that a new atmosphere brings, the concept of terraforming was also brought up frequently in political debates.

Terraforming is the process of transforming an environment that is not suitable for human life into an environment reminiscent of Earth. An example of this would be heating Mars, which is much too cold for human inhabitants, by introducing more carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere.

Economic viability played a huge part in determining which planetary object would be deemed worthy enough for colonization. While colonies might be dependent upon Earth when first established, later it will need to become self-sufficient and be able to produce and trade goods with neighboring economies to grow and prosper.

Political arguments ensued and clashing ideologies spurred the decision to colonize not one but multiple planets. For many, it was a chance to insert their philosophy as the prevailing doctrine for the future human race, and so the race to establish the first sustainable space economy had begun.

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Production

After the arrival it took many decades and great losses to gain a foothold on the new planets, but the settlers succeeded in establishing at least ten stable colonies, some of which had grown large enough to realize the technological discoveries they had made during their travels.

With the development of the first working tunnel drive the colonies opened a new chapter in human history. Before they could celebrate however, settlers first had to figure out how to develop a foreign, desolate land.

The first of many factors to consider was the terrain itself. Some planets housed a rocky, dry terrain and others had access to water and by extension plants and clay. By designing the settlement around the environment, shipping materials from Earth for construction was negated since the cost of shipping goods from neighboring planets became very expensive quickly, especially for younger colonies. In harsh climates, robots rather than human workers were employed to build and engineer facilities.

Robots could work with heavy bulky boulders at a much more rapid pace than humans and mitigated the need to bring in more doctors for construction-related accidents. Another justification for using the planet’s own environment for construction was because they could survive in the foreign atmosphere with certainty. If settlers had suddenly introduce steel or iron on a planet that had never housed such a material, it would have been possible that the material was rendered completely useless over time.

Not every planet, moon, or asteroid out there was suitable for human life. There was a wealth of factors to consider like atmosphere, minerals, temperature, pressure, access to water, and terrain. Proximity to Earth was also a factor to consider since import/export cost for resources would increase as the distance from said planet increased. After all, Earth would still be a vital trade partner until the inevitable collision.

Once bound to a single planet, mankind not only made several new worlds their home, but they began to develop independently as new information and ideas began to spread. And humans did what they had always done; they started to trade again.

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Trading

Over time, businesses were formed in space, and people began buying and selling which resulted in the formation of the first non-Earth local market. The local market exchange was by extension also created so that individuals as well as businesses could buy and sell for profit. Eventually supply and demand regulated the market giving rise to the local economy being established.

Research and development, planning, supply chains and production, personnel and materials: All of this had to be coordinated between thousands of parties. This need for coordination fueled the development of A.P.E.X., the “Advanced system for the facilitation of Production and Exchange for the eXodus of mankind”, a central information and trading system which made global cooperation in production, transport and trade of materials as fast and easy as never before.

APEX

History

The technical predecessor to APEX was the bidding system installed by the Exodus Council to organize the allocation of surveyed systems in the new worlds to interested parties. Consequently, all factions were participants in the system and for practical reasons, it evolved over time to support a large range of commercial applications well beyond its original purpose. As such, it was renamed to APEX and became the de facto standard platform for the exchange of resources, information and currencies among most of the world’s large corporations.

Current Purpose

Today APEX hosts a plentitude of subsystems. One of the most commonly used modules is its integrated trading platform. It allows 24/7 access to all participating commodity and currency exchanges in the new worlds. The powerful fleet management subsystem allows a company to track all the activities of its ships, even including positions during faster-than-light travel. Robust contract and communication systems allow for instant and universal transactions between all system users and a wide range of databases provide high-quality information about anything ranging from systems over planets to commercial entities.

System Access

Today, even the smallest company that wants to participate in trade and commerce essentially has to do so through APEX. To access APEX one requires a so-called console and the network itself is accessible to anyone with a valid console licence. These need to be purchased for any registered company and usually have to be renewed every 30 days using APEX Licence Keys.

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Shipping

One of the mid-21st century’s finest achievements was the realization of the warp drive and faster-than-light travel. By placing a spacecraft into a warp bubble, the distance in front of a spacecraft would be shrunk to a few inches and the distance behind the spacecraft would be increased to, say, 5 light-years.

Space time around the bubble is moving since general relativity theories states that there are no known limits to how space time contracts or expands. Inside the bubble, however, space time is normal (flat) and the bubble itself is propelled through space by increasing the size of the field. Think of it like being on an escalator, your body stays still but the machine itself moves you upward to your destination.

Another discovery was the realization that once a ship came out of the bubble, a sonic boom would take place causing immense destruction to anything within range. Thus, spacefarers would not only need a source of faster than light (FTL) fuel but also a tamer source of fuel that was dubbed slower than light (STL). This way a spacecraft could ferry out from any planetary object before accelerating into FTL speeds and likewise it would need to arrive at a distance away from their destination, else there will not be much of a destination when arriving too close.

While the world’s most powerful nations viewed the escape from Earth as a logical extension to their territorial claims and hoped to live on in the new worlds, the large multinational corporations saw it as a welcome opportunity to rake in massive profits: The construction of the generation ships that would ferry a few hundred thousand people to the exoplanets several centuries away would soon become the largest industrial project in human history and reach an unimaginable global scale.

After the generation ships had left orbit and received the final signals from earth, the passengers continued to engage in intensive research and development to increase their chances of reaching their destination, but also to prepare for the challenges they would face in the new worlds. A.P.E.X. was of use during this phase as well, mostly to share blueprints and scientific findings between the ships. Since different countries, corporations and other groups had sent their ships to different star systems, some messages took years to reach the whole fleet. Contact with some ships was lost completely. Despite such setbacks, the chosen few remained hopeful that their sacrifices would pave the way for the survival of the human race.

Politics

Much like how Britain relentlessly expanded into the Americas and founded colonies to bring wealth back to the crown, the first settlers also had strong ties to Earth. As time passed and generations were born that had never even seen the mother planet, discontent and resentment grew within the colonies. This was especially true when settlers were forced to send precious resources back to Earth that they themselves could have profited from. Britain was unable to quiet discontentment from across the Atlantic Ocean, and Earth in the same way was unable to appease the millions that grew beyond the galaxy. The idea of a rotating capital had been proposed to strengthen the bond between allied colonies. In the end, Earth slowly lost control over its saviors and the factions were born.

Research and development, planning, supply chains and production, personnel and materials: All of this had to be coordinated between thousands of parties. This need for coordination fueled the development of A.P.E.X., the “Advanced system for the facilitation of Production and Exchange for the eXodus of mankind”, a central information and trading system which made global cooperation in production, transport and trade of materials as fast and easy as never before.

Factions

Antares Initiative

At the time the planet-killer was discovered, early colonization efforts on Mars had just started to bear fruit. Not quite self-sustaining yet, the young colony had to decide whether to focus on making Mars habitable, accepting the risk of unknown consequences caused by a total destruction of earth, or to divert resources to the exodus project. The population was divided over the topic and eventually, the Antares Initiative split off to pursue a cost-effective way to reach the new homeworlds. Their technology is very basic and makes use of whatever was available on Mars at the time. They were among the first to leave and did so with many small, autonomous ships. Due to their sub-standard propulsion systems they only arrived very late in the colonies.

  • Code

    AI

  • Currency

    Martian Coin ( AIC )

  • Initial Colonies

    Phobos, Antares I System

    Deimos, Antares II System

Castillo-Ito Mercantile

Castillo-Ito Mercantile is the result of a merger between the Ito Robotics Corporation, a world leader in robotics and automation technology, and the Castillo Group, an international holding company dealing in just about everything including minerals, energy, transport and financial products. Combined, the company’s net worth easily surpases that of most smaller European countries combined. They entered the exodus project early on and had a clear strategy in mind from the get-go. Carefully selecting promising planets in strategic locations, they assembled a fleet of reliable generation ships, all of which successfully made the trip to and landfall on planets in 4 neighboring systems. With access to many crucial resources, they plan on fueling their ambitions to become a major force in the new worlds.

  • Code

    CI

  • Currency

    Sol (CIS)

  • Initial Colonies

    Daikoku System

    Ebisu System

    Benten System

    Hotei System

Exodus Council

After initial attempts on part of various nation-states to get programs to build generation ships off the ground, it quickly became apparent that private entities were a lot faster in achieving this goal. In fear of losing control over the process, well-connected politicians and other individuals of influence used their networks to force any company that planned on leaving for the new worlds to join the newly founded Exodus Council which oversaw the allocation of surveyed systems to interested parties. The original bidding system designed for this purpose later turned into the omnipresent APEX system used for everything related to transnational and later transplanetary trade and commerce. As the Exodus Council made money with more or less every transaction related to the exodus project, they came to enormous financial resources. Combined with the intelligence at their disposal they were able to launch generation ships themselves. They were by far the fastest and most advanced models sent out and despite leaving relatively late, were among the first to reach the new systems. They picked a single well-located star system along very likely trade routes to all other factions to found their colony. Instead of colonizing the system's planets they transformed their colony ships into one big space station known as Cibola Station.

  • Code

    EC

  • Currency

    Exodus Council Drawing Rights (ECD)

  • Initial Colonies

    Cibola Station, Kiva System

NEO Charter Exploration

NCE started out as one of the first space-based mining corporations. A charter granted by a European monarchy allowed them to exploit the name-giving near-earth objects between Earth and the Asteroid Belt. When the news of the exodus project broke, they already had the necessary infrastructure in place to start construction of a large generation ship right away. For this purpose, they captured a small asteroid, hollowed it out and used the excavated minerals to manufacture most required systems in place. All of this happened in relative independence of Earth, but NCE still opted for participation in the APEX system to gain access to funds and components that were only available on Earth. After their arrival in a mineral-rich star system, they parked the generation ship on an orbit around one planet and quickly sent smaller ships to make landfall on a second one.

  • Code

    NC

  • Currency

    NCE Coupons (NCC)

  • Initial Colonies

    Montem, Moria System

    Vallis, Moria System

Insitor Cooperative

Before the exodus, South America had become the breadbasket of the world and the countries and corporations of the continent had their mind set on becoming the same in the new worlds. Coordinated by the Insitor Bank, a cooperative owned and controlled mostly by agricultural and bio-tech companies, they opted for a monolithic approach, building a single huge, completely self-sufficient generation ship with more greenhouse and livestock capacity than any other design pursued by other factions. To satisfy the enormous need for resources, they pushed their governments to nationalize most of the private mining companies. Their colonization target was a very fertile planet they christened Promitor.

  • Code

    IC

  • Currency

    Austral (ICA)

  • Initial Colonies

    Promitor, Hortus System