Copyright Nathan Miller 2013
During the middle of the 21st century various Earth based space agencies began sending manned expeditions to Mars and many other solar bodies. By the end of the century several colonies had been established for mining and research. By the 23rd century many of these colonies had expanded to become independent from Earth forming their own governmental systems. By the early 31st century four major governments controlled most of the inhabited bodies in the solar system but warfare often erupts between these governments and other factions looking to control parts of colonized space.
The Terran Republic
The Terran Republic is a representative democracy based on Earth. The Republic is highly corrupted and almost entirely controlled by powerful corporate entities. The government consist of executive, judicial, and congressional branches modeled on the former United States of America. Elected officials are often celebrities and are usually elected based more on their charisma and good looks more than their actual ability to govern.
Planets and Moons: Earth, The Moon, Venus, Mercury
The M.S.S.R. (Martian Soviet Socialist Republic)
The M.S.S.R. Is a socialist government that rules Mars and part of the Asteroid Belt. The government is a single party socialist system that rules with an iron fist. Despite being tightly controlled most citizens of the M.S.S.R. are loyal and content. This is due partially to the constant propaganda campaign waged by the government and the general Martian attitude of doing with less and community loyalty that developed during the early days of colonization.
Planets and Moons: Mars, Deimos, Phobos, Ceres, and numerous asteroids in the belt.
The Jovian Empire
The “Empire” as it is often called is a constitutional monarchy controlled by a parliament consisting of a House of Commons and a House of Lords. The “Emperor” of the Empire is elected by the House of Lords while the Prime Minister is elected by the House of commons. For the most part the Prime Minister holds most of the power in the Empire while the Emperor is a figurehead. There are over 100 noble houses in the Empire who control much of the territory and wealth within it's borders.
Planets and Moons: The Jovian satellites, several asteroids in the belt, the Trojans, the Greeks (contested)
The Confederation of Outlying Systems
The Confederacy consist of over 200 moons, asteroids, and dwarf planets of the outer solar system. The Confederation government is a constitutional democracy. Central power is quite weak compared to the other major governments and most of the power is held by more localized governments. All members of the Confederacy contribute to the military and most participate in free trade with member states.
Planets and Moons: The moons of Saturn, the moons of Uranus, the moons of Neptune, Pluto and Charon, Haumea, Makemake, Eris, and numerous bodies in the Kuiper Belt.
Vatican Station is ruled by the Pope and his Cardinals. The station is protected by the Papal Fleet and the Swiss Guard. The station lies between Jupiter and Saturn. Though technically neutral politically agents of the Vatican are known to involve themselves in the affairs of governments throughout the solar system. The station provides a central point for missionaries and Jesuits traveling between planets on Papal business. The station also conducts numerous “mercy” missions to needy colonies and stranded spaceships. Sometimes this missions are legitimate and sometimes they are merely power plays.
The Pirates of Hilda
There are many pirate bands hiding in the lesser traveled regions of the solar system. The largest concentration of these bands can be found in the Hilda asteroids. Though they have no official government there is a council of captains that maintains a tenuous peace and provides for a common defense.
Several large and powerful organized crime groups spread across the solar system as it was colonized. In addition to the old groups like the Mafia, Yakuza, and Triads there are newer organizations such as the Shadow Clan and the Phoenix Organization.
There are numerous terrorist organizations at work in the solar system. In addition to a number of religious based groups there are many political organizations. One of the most well known is the Lunar Liberation Army often called “Loonies”. Another large organization is the Workers Party of Triton. Many hundreds of other organizations exist with numerous different motivations and goals.
Private Security Companies
Private security companies exist to fill a need. There are many colonies that find it easier to contract their security out rather than maintain their own police and defense forces. This is especially true of corporate holding and other private operations. Many security companies are small and have only a few clients. Some specialize in law enforcement while others are basically mercenary military organizations. One of the largest law enforcement companies is the Nova Corporation based on Miranda. The Starguards are one of the largest mercenary companies. They control a moderate fleet of transports and small military ships which makes them quite mobile.
While not generally motivated by politics or power bounty hunters are a force to be reckoned with. Normally operating as individuals or small groups bounty hunters are employed to track down and capture or kill some of the solar systems most notorious criminals. Bounty hunters are often despised by security contractors and local law enforcement who see them as stealing their jobs but the effectiveness of licensed hunters keep them in demand.
It took mankind centuries to colonize the solar system completely. In that time a number of solutions were use to allow people to survive in the most hostile known environments. Tera forming is an expensive and time consuming process that has only been used to transform the most suitable planetoids and it is only a relatively new process. Most colonies have been established using other methods.
By far the most common colony type mostly because of it is a natural progression of asteroid mining facilities. Subterranean facilities are constructed by simply drilling holes in the surface of an asteroid, moon, or planet then sealing them against the vacuum of space. The oldest Subterranean colonies are found in the Asteroid belt and many employ only partial artificial gravity solutions including the primitive solution of using magnetic boots. Although many of these older facilities have been abandoned or shut down a number are still in use by pirates, smugglers, and small companies that can't afford more modern facilities or simply don't want to draw attention. Modern subterranean colonies are equipped with full fledged artificial gravity generators and life support systems as well as many amenities found on any kind of colony.
Commonly found in conjunction with subterranean colonies these facilities are created using space proof structures constructed on the surface connected by sealed tunnels, hallways, and or bridges. Going “outside” to travel between structures requires the use of sealed space suits or vehicles. Like subterranean facilities there are many old colonies throughout the solar system that were built in this fashion and continue to serve legitimate an illegitimate purposes. Many such facilities have been incorporated into more modern colony designs by simply opening the structures to an artificially created atmosphere.
There are many types of domed colonies. Older domed colonies usually consist of a number of small interconnected domes similar to interconnected structures. Newer domed colonies can be massive and can hold entire cities. Though the most vulnerable type of planetary colony domes have several advantages. They are still much cheaper than Tera forming while still providing the feeling of living outside unlike cheaper facilities. Domes can be hard structures or soft structures held up by maintaining higher levels of pressure inside the dome which is often necessary anyway. While it may seem that soft structures would be more vulnerable they are constructed out of highly advanced materials and actually better at deflecting and absorbing small impacts. They are also cheaper and easier to build. Solid structure domes are usually geodesic in construction and are typically smaller than soft structure domes.
Force Field Protected Colonies
A few asteroid colonies are protected by massive force fields that hold in an artificial atmosphere and keep out harmful radiation. Occasionally sections of larger planetoids are protected by a force field in a similar fashion to domed colonies. The major advantage of a force field protected colony over a domed colony is that solid matter can easily pass through the field. This makes landing ships much more practical. It is also a major disadvantage as it makes the colony more vulnerable to attack. For that reason field protected colonies are not often found in hostile regions. Another disadvantage is the massive power requirements of maintaining the force field can make them difficult to operate. Force fields are often installed as a backup in domed colonies in case of a breach.
Tethered and Floating Colonies.
When the first locations for space colonization were being considered the planet Venus held several advantages because of it's similarity and proximity to Earth. Venus however has a dense atmosphere and extremely high surface temperatures as a result. However the upper atmosphere of the planet was much more hospitable. This made Venus the ideal planet for tethered and floating colonies. These colonies float above a planets surface in the upper atmosphere suspended by massive hydrogen balloons. Several such colonies were built on Venus during the early days of colonization when space was relatively peaceful. These days such a vulnerable design is rarely considered. A few such facilities exist in the upper atmospheres of the gas giants but they are only common on Venus because they are protected by powerful orbital defense stations and the Terran Republic's 5th fleet.
Terra Formed Colonies
The newest, most complicated, and by far most expensive form of space colonization Terra forming a planet, moon, or asteroid is usually reserved for only the most idea locations. The Moon was the first Terra formed planetoid followed by Mars. Other notable Terra formed planetoids include; Europa, Titan, Callisto, Ganymede, Enceladus, and Ceres. A handful of larger asteroids have also been Terra formed and some planetoids in the solar system are still in the process of being Terra formed. The process is simply too expensive to be conducted on a larger scale.
Despite major advancements in technology on all fronts many older technologies are still prevalent. For instance even though hover vehicles exist and are in wide spread use most ground based vehicles still use wheels or tracks. Even so these vehicles are no longer powered by internal combustion engines but instead are powered by electric or hydrogen powered motors or some other type of renewable and efficient methods.
Rockets are still used to lift payloads and spaceships into space on Earth and other planetoids that have been Terra formed with Earth like or near Earth like gravity. Space ships and shuttles employ a number of propulsion methods to get between the long distances between planetoids. Ships too large to land tend to employ ion drives or even solar sails. Smaller ships often employ a combination of rocket engines and ion drives so that they can escape the gravity of planets but then switch to a more efficient mode of propulsion. Very small vessels such as shuttles and fighters usually “hitch” rides aboard larger vessels to make long journeys because their engines while powerful enough to reach escape velocity are usually not fuel efficient enough to make long trips.
The field of robotics has advanced considerably along with the field of artificial intelligence. Robots of every shape and function are employed by humans in a number of functions and especially in hazardous conditions. The questions is more what they should do than what they can do. Debates about robots with emotions that can “learn” are common in the field especially since most militaries and security companies employ armed robots in their forces.
This is another field where the old ways are often the best ways. While many exotic laser and plasma based weapons exist on various scales for the most part ballistic weapons are still the most widely employed. On a personal arms level most killing is still done with bullets, grenades, knives, sharp pointy and/or heavy blunt objects. Missile systems are still employed extensively on space ships as well as on ground vehicles because of their efficiency. Advanced laser weapons, rail guns, and other high tech methods of destruction are most prevalent in large scale defenses systems such as those used on capital class space ships.
This is only a very basic guide to the Solar Empires setting. More extensive guides will be written covering these and other topics. This setting is designed to be as hard or soft science fiction as is needed to tell the story. There are just a few specific points that are important to keep in mind to maintain the flavor of the setting.
- The Earth is a paradise. Most industry has moved off the planet. Fossil fuels have be exhausted for all practical purposes and it has become cheaper to mine precious resources from asteroids and other planetoids. The Earth has recovered from millennia of abuse and pollution but the cost of living has become very high so the disparity between the very rich and very poor has become even wider.
- There is no such thing faster than light or interstellar travel. Mankind has reached the farthest corners of our solar system but has no yet crossed the void between stars. A multitude of theories exist as to how such a thing could be accomplished but as of yet no serious attempts have been made.
- It's a lonely universe. There are no aliens. The same possibility exist of life outside our solar system and the same debates continue but as of yet no confirmed encounters have been recorded. Of course there are millions of people every year who report close encounters.
- Mankind has not evolved. Neither on the physical, mental, or spiritual level. Although some genetic manipulation has occurred on some levels man is still the same basic species. We still have the same limitations. We still kill each other for irrational reasons. People still fight over politics, the nature of “God”, and the meaning of life and all that jazz. For all the technology man still has the same basic weaknesses and needs.
Basically the more things change the more they stay the same.