Solar System in the 9th Century AT, The

The status of the Solar System at the end of the Interplanetary Dark Ages, and before the establishment of the First Federation.

The Dark Ages
Image from Bernd Helfert

By the start of the 9th Century AT, the solar system was well on the way to recovery after the Nanoswarms. The furthest planets and moons were settled and being developed, space technology was advanced enough for fast interplanetary craft, and plenty of artificial intelligent entities were abroad in the system, but there was still much work to be done.

Many of the players in the Solar system were antagonistic to each other, and there was the ever-present fear of Nano-outbreaks and antagonistic or dysfunctional AI.

The Vulcanian Asteroids - Few and small, they are nevertheless rich in antimatter production. Imports of volatiles vital. Petawatt lasers available.

Mercury - Mining civilisation; some biodomes underground. Heavy metals and antimatter exports; imports volatiles, genetics. Surrounded by a series of rotating tethers.

Venus - An attempt to terraform this planet is struggling to proceed. A semicontinuous ring of captured Aten asteroids are being converted to habitats, and eventually they will link up to form a continuous dynamic ring. Imports of volatiles and metals are vital. A large power plant in Venus' L1 position produces maser power for export, mostly transmitted to ion-powered spacecraft in the vicinity. Many ex-Genetekkers remain in Venus space, especially TwinStreamers - cybertweaks who eventually produce a clade of Venus tolerant extremophiles.

Earth - Off limits - entry by unauthorized individuals is prohibited to beyond the Earth-Moon Lagrange point. In fact the hypersentient goddess in charge of Earth secretly monitors the whole Solar System. This has only recently been discovered, when She blocked two attempts by different factions to divert Earth-crossing asteroids to impact upon the Earth. It became apparent that She has spies everywhere, but acts only when the Earth itself is threatened, in some major or minor way.

Luna - Surrounded by a series of rotating tethers, and girdled by dozens of mass driver systems, the Moon looks very different at this point in history, overcrowded with refugees from Earth, and ruled by a co-operation between AI hyperturings and superior level human politicians. This world is in desperate need of volatiles and carbon. It exports silicon, titanium and broadcast power. Fission power supplements the photovoltaic layer that covers most of the surface of this world. One day the world will be covered in a bluesky roof, but not until a thousand years have passed.

Earth Sun L1 point - A massive power swarm, now sequestered by GAIA Herself. Off limits, like Earth itself.

Near Earth asteroids - Many collected in the L4/L5 Cislunar points, and others in the Sun/Earth L4/L5 points a hundred million kilometres away. Imports of volatiles, exports of metals, carbon, power.

Earth Sun L2 point - Spaceport and trade centre, heavily defended by laser and slaved AI gunships. One of the busiest volumes in the Solar system as the convergence of several low energy tramlines. Routes to Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are important. Slow tramcraft travel these routes, taking years to reach their destination, and are vulnerable to pirates and buccaneers.

Mars - This independent colony has now been re-established after the nanodisaster. The planet is less than one quarter terraformed. It desperately needs volatiles, especially nitrogen and water. Some photovoltaic and fission powerplants have been established, allowing some high tech industry. Several huge pressurised bubbles allow living room, which is perhaps the most valuable commodity on Mars. Some agriculture is possible - a few unmodified species of Earth food crops still grown here and are also in demand. In fact this world will never complete its terraforming program, and already many ex-Genetekkers (mostly Sea of Chi moderates) are adapting their geneline to tolerate the existing surface conditions.

Martian Trojan Asteroids- Self sufficient in metals, carbon, volatiles and power, these worlds are hungry for territory, and are aggressive expansionists, by fair means or foul. All ships are armed.

Main Asteroid belt - Many different companies mine and colonise these rich but widely spaced objects- with independent power structures based on Ceres, Vesta, Juno, Pallas, Kleopatra, Eugenia, Siwa; these are large enough to each have diverse multiclade populations in the tens or hundreds of millions; many provolves, tweaks and feral vecs. Many asteroids are water-laden, and the Belt as a whole is self sufficient, yet trades with Mars and the rest of the solar system selling volatiles to the inner system in exchange for antimatter for use in interplanetary spacecraft and defence, and high tech developments from Cisluna, including blue goo. Many of the speculative starships that regularly leave the Solar system are built here, fuelled by purchased antimatter hybrid drives. Piracy, claim jumping and territorial wars are common, but the asteroids are distant from each other so conflict is a sporadic, drawn out affair, often relying on surprise and treachery. All ships are armed.

The Jovian System - The huge, powerful Jovian League was dissolved after the many nanoswarm attacks on the hundreds of habitats and dozens of moons in the system. However the population of the orbiting worlds has largely recovered, and only a handful of the old habitats were completely destroyed. ExGenetekkers, mostly Mutationists, still predominate, but the habitats are either becoming more cosmopolitan, allowing various nearbaseline, space adapted, augmented or cyborgised human groups and families to integrate into the worlds. Europa in particular was badly hit, and the local AIs do not allow contact with this world. Deep within hides a clade of water adapted humans that will not emerge until 1022. Heavily tweaked subus, superiors, and cyborgs are also moving into the damaged habitats and depopulated moons, particularly Ganymede. Those ex-Genetekkers who decline to participate in this new cosmopolitan lifestyle are continuing to build the fleet of starships that have taken so many to colonies like Frog's Head, Arcadia, Dionysos and Penglai. Interstellar craft are launched using high powered lasers or masers, also used in defence.
Exports: deuterium, He3, volatiles including water and nitrogen, magnetically derived power. A wide range of elements available from the Io strip mines.
Imports: Antimatter for weapons and starships from the inner sphere, high technology from Cisluna, including blue goo.

Jovian Trojans - Anarchic privateer and cyberpunk havens. Rich in volatiles and resources.

Saturn - Large, rich system of worlds, mostly augmented cyborg and bioborg superiors, provolved chimps, pigs and dogmen; very diverse population free of Genetekker prejudices. A population of feral vecs has taken over Iapetus. Rich in fusion energy, He3 and deuterium, magnetically generated electricity. The Rings are an easy cheap source of water for spacecraft to use as propellant mass. Mutations of khaki goo are sometimes found in this moon system and elsewhere. Titan is an independent and rich world exporting nitrogen to the inner system. Here there are many insulated cities full of augmented netheads and cyberpunks, and huge data substrates full of virtual personalities. Mysterious structures found in the ice hint at ancient occupation.

Uranus - Many populated moons, mostly space adapted humans and superiors, cyborgs, bioborgs, bonobos and a few renegade Genetekker polymorphs. Suspected rogue AI hidden within Titania; no definite proof as yet.
Exports: deuterium, He3, magnetically generated power, water from the rings as propellant mass; Miranda has metal industry but otherwise many heavy metals imported from Asteroid belt; antimatter imported for defence against Neptunian Trojan Raiders.

Neptune - Three populated moons, rich in volatiles. Some augmented IA clades and hive minds, cyborgs, feral vecs, space adapted humans, haloists. Imports as Uranus; exports of nitrogen and Helium3 very important.

Neptune Trojans - Rich oortean asteroid field suffering from overpopulation after long isolation (never touched by Nanoswarms). The Trojan Raiders seek heavy metals and antimatter deep into the system.

Kuiper Belt - Fusion powered civilisations in sporadic contact with each other and with the Solar System. Capital Pluto/Charon. Deep rivalry between Ixion and Quaoar has existed for centuries. Never touched by the Nanoswarms. There is little trade with the inner system.
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Development Notes
Text by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 29 November 2008.