The Martian Colonisation era (2084 – 2472)
As multinational corporations on earth moved into space exploration en mass, the invested governments on earth ratified the UN International Space Exploration Treaty 2084 (UNISET) in an uncharacteristically cooperative move. This treaty paved the way for international collaboration on space exploration and the free colonisation of extraterrestrial locations without concerns about national territory. UNISET was for all intents and purposes a conglomerate government designated to represent the interests of all member nations equally in all matters beyond the scope of terrestrial administrations.
Expansion began in the local solar system by 2100. UNISET flagships backed by large scale supply chains from private industry of the world’s largest corporations made their way slowly to the red planet. Colonists initially founded dome cities on the planets surface, populated by the brightest and most intrepid scientists and explorers which humanity had
to offer. Mars bases quickly grew into the leading technological research centres of the human race. Unfettered by the traditional needs of modern society, independent researchers faced the more pressing needs of survival and sustainability on a hostile planet. As Martian agriculture was mastered and the colonies became self sustaining, Mars became a prime destination for skilled workers of all kinds to ply thier various trades, and these boom years saw the migration of millions of colonists.
By 2200, the Martian surface hosted 20 million colonists. Terra-forming projects, small and large, were well under way by 2350. Agricultural and mining domes provided most of the necessary resources to sustain the population, and most Earth based corporations were expanding to industrial mining operations in the asteroid belt, and long range exploration in the outer solar system.
Over three centuries after the founding of the first colony, Mars’ Terra-forming has taken hold. The first martian citizens born on the red planet never saw the unfiltered martian sky, but finally their 5 billion grandchildren could step outside of the great city domes.
The Star Eater Initiative (2473-2650)
In 2473, Martian scientists develop the first Kamimaru engines, allowing faster than light space travel. The primary limitation is that any vessel which intends to survive the journey must be shielded with rare earth minerals. As the name suggests, these minerals were in too short of supply to sustain the human race’s appetite for the galactic expansion.
The Great Houses of Sol, Multi-planetary corporations weilding immense economic might across the span of all human-occupied territory, begin construction of great arks with support from UNISET. Powered by gigantic Kamimaru enignes, these arks house various experimental projects which will be required to facilitate humanities ascention to an inter-stellar species. This slew of scientific and industrial projects is subsidised by UNISET and organised into the ‘Star Eater’ initiative.
In 2552 the UNISET flagship Star Eater 1 departs from Mars orbit, bound for the Sirius system. It is carrying the Endeavour corporation’s experimental interstellar mining platform in search of Rare Earth minerals to suppliment the solar system’s now dwindling supply. Two years later it is followed by the Wayfarer Industries’ Solar Capture project: satellites which use the Kamimaru effect to syphon vast quantities of hydrogen gas from distant stars to fuel humanity’s ever-growing power needs. Over the following several decades 8 Major human colonies and dozens of inter-stellar mining outposts are founded by the Star Eater initiative scattered across a region spanning several light years around the Sol Sytem. By 2600, the economic benefits of interstellar colonisation have been realised and the Star Eater initiative has transformed from its initial role of providing subsidies and resource allocation into an intermediary body providing guidelines for the peaceful exploitation of extra-solar star systems by the competing Great Houses.
The Lamasian Empire(2651-2837)
In 2651 Musk industries’ survey arm discovers a system exceedingly rich in Rare Earth minerals. A massive supernova in the region imbued large quantities of the substance in a cluster of systems mere light years from each other. This was the greatest single source of RE minerals thus-far discovered in the galaxy. Star Eater’s guidelines permitted 20 years of exclusive exploitation of a given find before any house was forced to surrender claimed lands to the ownership of UNISET to be leased at the government’s discretion to any or all of the great houses who wished to compete.
The Musk industries expedition leader, Chuck LeMais, recognised that the richness of this newly discovered region would destabilise the market, and however prosperous it might make him for the next 20 years, the days of rare earth minerals ruling the economy would come to an end once competition took hold. By this point in time gene therapy and advanced medical technology meant that an average aristocrat could expect to live in excess of 200 years, and such a brief moment in the sun could never satisfy LeMais.
In relative secret, Lemais re-appropriated UNISET support packages to kick-start local agriculture in his newly inhabited systems rather than the industrial colonies they were intended for. With necessities provided for locally, he used the remainder of the 20 year period to construct a relatively secret military fleet utilising the exceptionally rich mineral resources available at hand. Given the difficulties and expense of communicating across the vast distances between Earth and the newly founded colony, these activities were fairly easy to conceal, and at the end of the exlusivity period, UNISET were surprised to discover an active military fleet guarding the borders of the fully self-sufficient region. The Lemais region became the first fully independent human government since the 22nd century.
UNISET immediately attempted to take the region back by force, but the new empire’s warships proved more than capable of defending their territory. The original UNISET offensive saw the destruction of half a dozen UNISET and Lamasian capital ships before UNISET forces retreated from the region. Over the next 4 years, UNISET made isolated attempts to retake Lamasian planets near the border, but the conflict was never pushed too hard, for fear that escalation into a total-war scenario would prove disasterous for both sides. Despite the border conflicts, Emperor Lemais was happy to conduct limited trade with the old Earth government, and this being the easiest source of RE minerals available to them, UNISET were all but forced to oblige.
During the reign of Lamais, his empire included 7 of the richest systems in known space, each of which were dotted with enough agriculture and mining operations to sustain themselves with no central government support. Lamasian citizens enjoyed a high standard of living, and due to the abundance of warp-capable spacecraft were able to travel at will from planet to planet. This freedom of movement promoted a strong sense of cultural unity in the Lamasian region, which contributed to its ongoing stability.
Day to day governance of any individual system was left in the hands of a feudal lord carrying the title of Prince, who swore fealty directly to Lemais.
Though in large part they were deprived of the rich Lemasian region’s resources, UNISET’s continued rapid expansion had provided them with more than 20 systems to fuel their ever growing material needs. In 2680 they took a leaf from the book of Lamasian governance, and each uniset system was granted limited sovereignty from the central Earth-based government. Each planet in UNISET space recieved its own president elected by local citizens from a pool of candidates determined by UNISET at the beginning of each electoral term of 10 years. 23 years later in 2703 the Geraldine reforms were enacted. This sweeping legislative reformation enforced strict zoning requirements on UNISET colonies outside of the core systems: Rural colonies were limited to producing Mineral resources, Industrial products or agriculture and produce. This separation of production powers simultaneously stimulated the economy of the core systems providing a viable market for exported products, and ensured that no rural colony could survive effectively without support from UNISET approved supply chains from the core worlds or strong inter-dependent trade with neighbouring colonies fostering a sense of national identity for citizens in the further-flung reaches of uniset space.
A delegation was also provided to each system who served for life. These delegates were UNISET officials who’s purpose was to represent the needs of the UNISET central government in local affairs. This system allowed the president to wholeheartedly advocate for the needs of the local populace while limiting the risk of further seccessionary movements growing beneath the observance of UNISET.
The Principality of Lamais (2838-2853)
When the Emperor Lamais died with no heirs in 2038, the Lamasian Princes found themselves at an impasse. Lemais was beloved, by the rich and poor of his systems alike, and as representatives of the individual systems that they governed, none of them could ascend to the throne without threatening to destabilise the entire region. In lieu of an official succession, the 7 lords formed a council, to which they each were accountable, and which made decisions by democratic process amongst the 7. So was formed the Principality of Lamais. Unsurprisingly, the Lamasian princes proved less capable of leadership than thier charismatic predecessor, but even as public approval of the royal institution suffered, the Lamasian region retained a strong sense of independence from the rest of human civilization.
Due to the relative personal expense of space travel in the UNISET ruled regions of human space, a cultural understanding of history from Earth has largely atrophied. UNISET colonists cannot afford the transportation costs required for non-essential items such as art or literature.
Space travel in Lemasian space, on the other hand, is so cheap and the distances so relatively short that art has been well preserved, largely acquired via trade with Earth in the early days of the empire. Lemasian culture has come to venerate the art and culture of old-Earth. As migration and expansion has continued in UNISET space, most of the best historians, cultural experts and fine artists find a home in the Lemais empire, whether by migration or by virtue of their birth and training. So legitimate is their claim to this history that even within the borders of UNISET space, many regard the Lemasian people as the true children of old earth.
In part due to this strong cultural link, a movement swells in UNISET space advocating for the re-integration of Lemasian territory into the fold.
The Lamasian princes, struggling to maintain stability on thier own and largely detested by the citizens they govern, yet reticent to step down from the personal power they each wield strike a deal. The Lamasian region is officially ceeded to the governance of UNISET. It is permitted to keep its warships as a ‘citizens militia’ provided that they provide support to peace keeping missions for UNISET.
The Lamasian Region is classified as a semi-independent region of UNISET, with UNISET laws and regulations applied. Borders are opened between UNISET and the Lamasian provence and the princes themselves are henceforth established as planetary presidents, though without election and immune from the term limits that usually accompany the title in UNISET owned areas. UNISET delegates are dispatched to every Lamasian settlement. Compared to the average UNISET citizen, Lamasian commoners are mostly fabulously wealthy, and the former imperial systems enter a boom period as exports to the rest of UNISET space open up.
The Northern Frontier (2793 – 2861)
With the Lamasian Region inaccessible, UNISET falls quickly behind in the race for Rare Earth minerals. The Star Eater initiatiave is once again called upon to incentivise and facilitate rapid UNISET territorial expansion. A second exploration boom begins in UNISET space, spurred by government incentives. The great houses once again begin producing massive survey and colony ships to pan the galaxy for minerals and ores to feed the economic machine of UNISET. An initially promising prospect is discovered 300 light years to the galactic North of earth. UNISET colonists establish settlements in the Northern frontier in 2793, and supply chains for food and other consumer goods flow in from the core systems. For a time, the Northern frontier provides a key strategic source of Rare Earth minerals and settlers striking out from the core systems under the promise of wealth and stability, flood North in huge numbers. The optimisim was not destined to last, however, and by 2830, improvements in long-range surveying technology have lead to several viable prospects being discovered in several systems far closer to the core systems in the East and South and UNISET cast its gaze to establishing new colonies there.
With new prospects in abundance, UNISET and the Star Eater initiative supply chains were stretched thin. More and more resources are diverted from the Northern fronteir to newly established mining outposts closer to the core systems. Thanks to the Geraldine reforms, colonies in the region are unable to grow the produce needed to sustain the local population and with the price of mineral resources driven down by the newer, more plentiful mining outposts near the core worlds the Northern Fronteir slides into a severe economic recession. Widespread poverty and starvation wrack the frontier and planetary presidents lobby Earth tirelessly to re-zone the region and allow local agriculture but to no avail.
With the re-integration of the Lamasian province further driving down the price of mineral resources, the situation grows worse in the Northern Frontier, increasingly desperate citizens of the frontier turn to piracy, stealing the meagre UNISET supplies which still trickle into the region to try and provide for themselves and thier loved ones. The more law abiding citizens of the region begin protesting Earth’s decision to leave the frontier to languish and several movements take hold advocating for the separation of the Frontier region from UNISET. Riots erupt on a routine basis in all 14 major colonies of the Frontier. Earth finally began to take notice of the situation in the North, but not in the way any of the frontiersmen had hoped. 7 Prosperity class capital ships are dispatched from the Core Worlds to the Frontier to supress the civil unrest and smash the pirate fleets. In accordance with the re-integration treaty they are accompanied by 3 Lamasian Gilgamesh class ships and several squadrons of Authority corvettes. Some of the larger rebel groups in the Frontier launch mining ships adorned with myriad improvised anti capital ship weapons in an effort to protect thier homes from UNISET forces but they are no match for the professional-grade warships of UNISET and Lamais. Several rebel camps on the Frontier Planets of Euterpe and Euridyce are destroyed from orbit. The Hope Settlement on Sothoth II having long been a hub of underground rebel groups for more than a decade is destroyed by a Lamasian warship causing thousands of civilian deaths and finally quelling resistance in the Frontier after 4 years of conflict.
The Free Planets Alliance (2862-2872)
Sarah Vandermeer, The president of the frontier world Euterpe writes the Frontier Planets Treaty signatories to the treaty agree to cooperate in preventing piracy and provide joint protection for the supply lines, as well as rationing and distributing all imported resources amongst themselves according to the needs of their respective populations. The treaty is signed by all 14 colonies in the Northern Frontier forming the Frontier Planets Alliance. To the signing presidents and thier immediate retinues the treaty had a different, unofficial name: The Free Planets Alliance. The presidents unanimously agreed that thier aim going forward would be to establish self-sufficiency from UNISET and secceed as a one group. Under the watchful eye of UNISET, the 14 frontier presidents begin to personally organise highly secretive illegal farming and capital ship construction programs in preparation for thier grand exit from under the thumb of UNISET.
The Second Secessionary Conflict (2862- Now)
In the wake of the Frontier Rebellions and their violent conclusion Lamasian citizens are horrified and outraged. Though they have largely flourished under UNISET re-integration the senseless massacre of a group of people who want nothing more than the independence to live thier own lives free from the corruptive beurocracy of far off government officials strikes a chord with the public and leaked images of a Lamasian warship firing its cannon at a civilian settlement only adds fuel to the flames. A narrative begins to form in Lamasian space that rather than a mutually beneficial arrangement as it had initially seemed, re-integration had been a con by UNISET to use the Lamasian people as tools to do thier dirty work. Though it has never been confirmed how the footage was leaked, it is known that an information packet was shared with all planetary president’s including it along with a report of the entire civil conflict.
By 2864, Civil unrest in the Lamasian Province has risen to an all time high. New information about actions taken in the quelling of the Frontier Rebellion continues to emerge and the populace are crowing for a return to independence. The former princes make thier move in 2865. The Lamasian fleet capital ships stationed around planets in the province turn to bear weapons on thier UNISET counterparts as Lamasian ships on anti-piracy missions abroad fire up thier Kamimaru drives and head back toward Lamasian space. The princes personally hail each UNISET capital ship order them to leave Lamasian space immediately. Every UNISET warship ship in the province is expelled without a single shot fired. The Principality of Lamais is reinstated without bloodshed and that is the end of it, for a time.
With the principality restored, the Lamasian lords took stock of thier situation. Re-integration had been a close brush with death for the Lamasian culture and the values it held. The growing ire for the tyranny and incompetence of Earth’s beurocracy continued unabated by the restored freedom of the Lamasian people. Where once the princes had been weak in thier leadership, they had now found purpose. The political machines of the Principality spun into action, sewing propaganda within and thier borders as well as throughout UNISET space: “Earth has been corrupted. The short-sighted beurocrats at EarthGov and disaffected nobility of the Great Houses do not deserve it. The Lamasian people are the true children of Earth”.
In 2871, 16 Lamasian capital ships, 40% of the entire Lamasian fleet and the largest offensive force ever assembled, depart the Principality without warning to take and hold every UNISET system between the borders of Lamasian space and Earth. 7 of the 16 emerge in the solar system. Rapidly overwhelming the ships stationed in defense in a vicious blitzkrieg, they hover ominously low to the surfaces of Earth and Mars. A message is broadcast to the citizens of each planet: Every Beurocrat and Nobleman will be surrendered to the Lamasian forces, or else the capital ships would fire thier AC-10 Rail cannons into every government beuraeu and great house headquarters causing untold collateral damage to the cities surrounding them. To the credit of the EarthGov Beaurocrats, most surrendered themselves willingly to save the civilian population. Hundreds of Noblemen from the great houses attempted to flee in thier personal transports, but were gunned down mercilessly the second they left atmosphere by Lamasian corvettes. Within 3 days, thousands of high ranking government officials and hundreds of noblemen were imprisoned in the holds of a pair of Lamasian Capital ships and ferried back to the principality.
In the confusion and chaos which followed the unprecedented Lamasian occupation of Earth, surviving members of UNISET government and the great houses re-consolidated themselves on the planet of Endeavour, in the Sirus system.
Of the 5 sytems taken by the Principality during thier surprise offensive, 2 were members of the FPA. As the defacto leader of the faction, President Vandermeer attempted to negotiate the withdrawal of Lamasian troops from the Frontier, but fearing UNISET trickery, the Lamasians refused. The FPA are unwilling to abandon thier sister planets, but seeing opportunity in the chaos, Vandermeer orders the unveiling of the FPA’s secret fleets. Given the backwater status of the Frontier, Lamasian high commandhad not seen fit to garrison more than a single Capital ship for the defense of either. The FPA’s new warships, repurposed from the husks of collossal mining barges and passenger liners lifted off from the surface of the very planets that the Lamasian ships were orbiting. The Lamasian commanders, seeing warships rising from civilian cities, assumed the cities to be secret UNISET military bases and shelled them from orbit in an attempt to disrupt the incoming opposition. The Alliance’s improvised battleships fared surprisingly well against Lamais’ bleeding edge vessels, and both Lamasian ships were destroyed at the cost of only one FPA carrier.
Beset on 2 fronts by enemies, UNISET, the largest, oldest and most successful organised government ever seen by mankind is facing what may prove to be its final days.
The righteous Lamasian Principality has begun its long conquest of the galaxy, determined to crush any and all enemies of the enlightnment that they bring in thier wake.
The FPA, meanwhile, struggles in its efforts to secure the safety and prosperity of its people, free from opression by either party they seek only to survive.
Who will reign victorious when the dust is settled and the borders re-drawn? that depends on who you fight for, commander.