by Max Barry

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by The No clue of La Paz de Los Ricos. . 29 reads.

History of La Paz de Los Ricos, Volume VI [2019 - 2051, Revised Edition]

History of La Paz de Los Ricos
I • II • III • IV • V • Volume VI • VII • VIII • IX • X • XI

▤ La Paz de Los Ricos ▤


Volume I

1:1 Geologic History
1:2 Pre-Columbian History
- 1:2.1 Polynesian Colonization
1:3 European Colonization
1:4 The Breakaway War
1:5 Independence & 18th Century
- 1.5.1 Berto, el Hierro de Castillos
- 1.5.2 Joaquim de Castillos' Death
1:6 Mario Matrus & Sect of the Law
- 1:6.1 Ten Parties of Exploration

2:1 First Reunification War
2:2 Second Reunification War

3.1 Reunification War's Aftermath
3.2 Pax Septima
- 3.2.1 The Subinsul Plan
- 3.2.2 Creation of Novodoman
- 3.2.3 Rise in Patriotism
3.3 Pax Septima's Decline
- 3.3.1 Dama͑n, el Castillo Dorado
- 3.3.2 Berto, el Hierro de Castillos' Death
- 3.3.3 The Fall from Grace
3.4 The Second Breakaway War

4.1 20th Century
- 4.1.1 The Breakaway Scandal
4.2 Disbanding Once Islas
- 4.2.1 Southern Outer Isles Independence
- 4.2.2 Siete Islas' Reformation
- 4.2.3 Neo-Insurrectionism
4.3 Widespread Revolution
4.4 The Third Reunification War
4.5 Rebuilding Siete Islas
4.6 Republican Ideals
4.7 The Second World War

5.1 Second World War's Aftermath
- 5.1.1 The Reintegration
5.2 Pax Ricana
- 5.2.1 Northern Outer Isles Purchase
5.3 Quince Isles
5.4 Ricano Composition
- 5.4.1 Ricano Reforms
- 5.4.2 Fluidity Accords
- 5.4.3 National Alias and Flag
- 5.4.4 The Crescendo
5.5 La Paz de Los Ricos
- 5.5.1 Ricano Renaissance
- 5.5.2 Transition of Cultures
5.6 21st Century
- 5.6.1 Antre Kino͑no
- 5.6.2 Ruma̹s Kansena͑s
- 5.6.3 Triangular Governship
5.7 Girante Palica͑ Terror Attack
- 5.7.1 Attack's Aftermath
5.8 Creation of Treangolism
5.9 The Treangolist Trialt

6:1 Treangolism's Early Effects
- 6:1.1 As the 21st Century Went On
6:2 An Eye on the Stars
- 6:2.1 Achieved Missions
6:3 The Race to Mars
- 6:3.1 The Trialt Takes Notice
- 6:3.2 Splitting the Focus & Developing
the Ricano Space Commission

- - 6:3.2,2 The Ricano Reconstruction Suite
- - 6:3.2,1 The Mars Contact Suite
- 6:3.3 Further Mars Landings
- 6:3.4 Ricano Space Rush
- - 6:3.4,1 Private Sector Enters the Rush
- 6:3.5 Setting Foot on Mars
- 6:3.6 Los Ricos Catches Up
- - 6:3.6,1 2045 Ricano General Elections
- 6:3.7 Ricano Omniflight Agency
- 6:3.8 The Nation Achieves Spaceflight

7:1 The Scramble for Mars
- 7:1.1 Straining the Outer Space Treaty
- 7:1.2 The Excelsior Pact
7:2 The Space Revolution
- 7:2.1 The Normalization of Spaceflight
- 7:2.2 Interplanetary and Interstellar

- 7:2.3 Expanding Martian Colonization
7:3 Getting Ricanos to Mars
- 7:3.1 Project Further
- 7:3.2 Ricano Manned Mission to Mars
- 7:3.3 La Tierra Mαs Allα
7:4 Developing Mars
- 7:4.1 Prospects of Terraforming Mars
7:5 Humanity Reaches Further Out
- 7:5.1 Project Roundtrip
- 7:5.1 The Hiker Program
- 7:5.2 Hiker Launches
- 7:5.3 Ricano Fears

8:1 End Of The 21st Century
- 8:1.1 Hiker Completes Her Mission
- 8:1.2 Complexes on Mars
- 8:1.3 Terraforming Mars - Deploying
Green's Gimmick

- 8:1.4 Disunion in La Paz de Los Ricos
- 8:1.5 The Splitview Incident
8:2 The Fourth Reunification War
- 8:2.1 Early Skirmishes
- 8:2.2 Fighting Eases & Truce
- 8:2.3 Difficult Discussion
8:3 Dawn of the 22nd Century
- 8:3.1 Terraforming Mars - Atmosphere

- 8:3.2 Hiker's Second Mission
- 8:3.3 Hiker Launches Again
- 8:3.4 La Paz de Los Ricos Recovers
- - 8:3.4,1 Ricania Abandons Roadways
- 8:3.5 Hiker Rounds the Gas Giants
- 8:3.6 Hiker Returns Once Again

9:1 Colonizing the Rest of the System
- 9:1.2 Mercury and Venus
- 9:1.3 Asteroid Belt
- 9:1.4 Jupiter
- 9:1.5 Saturn
- 9:1.6 Uranus and Neptune
- 9:1.7 Dwarf Planets, Kuiper Belt, and
the Oort

9:2 Expanding the Hiker Program
- 9:2.1 Initial Propositions
- 9:2.2 Hiker II
- 9:2.3 Future Hikers
9:3 Ricania Tentatively Reenters Space
- 9:3.1 Creation of Tetarolism
- 9:3.2 Rejoining Excelsior
9:4 The Promise of Hiker II
- 9:4.1 Completion of the Vessel
- 9:4.2 Hiker II Launches
- 9:4.3 Reaching Ganymede
9:5 Martian Cities
- 9:5.1 Terraforming Mars - Melting The
Ice Caps

9:6 Worlds in Reach
- 9:6.1 Success on Ganymede
- 9:6.2 Hiker Fleet
- 9:6.3 Colonies On Callisto
- 9:6.4 Ambitions Elsewhere
9:7 Ricania Expands to New Worlds
- 9:7.1 Looking to Ganymede

10:1 An Interplanetary Humanity
- 10:1.1 The Distant Worlds Community
10:2 Ricania Shoots For Titan
- 10:2.1 Project Next Step
- 10:2.2 Navakusta
- 10:2.3 Navakusta Launches
- 10:2.4 Ricanos on Titan
- 10:2.5 La Tierra Nublada
10:3 End of the 22nd Century
- 10:3.1 Normalizing Asteroid Mining
- 10:3.2 Terraforming Mars - Oceans and

- 10:3.3 Early Martian Disputes
- 10:3.4 Venutian Colonization Opportunities
- 10:3.5 Early Interstellar Tries
- 10:3.5 Ricania Reinvested In Space
- 10:3.6 Turn of the Century

OOC - Regarding 2020 -

Coronavirus is real, it is troubling, its toll are tragic, and while I am fortunate enough to not have had it myself nor have had those I care about affected, I cannot ignore those who have. My heart truly and sincerely goes out to those affected, and keeping the reality of 2020 in mind, I cannot, in good conscience, dramatize COVID here. I cannot make claims about a fictional nation and its fictional inhabitants, create a random number of fictional cases, and hold them against the very real and very daunting number of people in the real world who could not overcome the disease, and say "this happened". I cannot comment regarding the politics surrounding the pandemic. To do otherwise would be inflammatory and disrespectful, and as long as I shape this little story, I will not allow it. La Paz de Los Ricos and whatever else I may create surrounding it takes place in an alternate reality, and I will use that to my full advantage. COVID-19, and its real-life consequences, do NOT have a place in this work.

Side Note -

(Following Volume VI, these history books will include international events and their impacts on La Paz de Los Ricos, due to the nation's increasing involvement in global affairs following 2025)

Treangolism's Early Effects

Treangolism in La Paz de Los Ricos turned out to be a major boon for the nation, politically and culturally. The ideology promoted a level of high governmental transparency the likes of which had only been imagined of even during the Breakaway Interpretation in the late 20th century. This transparency was facilitated by a new policy that Treangolism implemented alongside its democratic reforms: The Ricano Interpretation.

The Ricano Interpretation was a uniquely popular new reform in La Paz de Los Ricos following Treangolism's implementation. This Interpretation was not dissimilar to the United States of America's State of the Union addresses, wherein the three Onalts would each disseminate the state of their current terms and their governmental policies' impacts. The Ricano Interpretation is an annual interview, wherein a delegated "facilitator" would interview each of the Onalts separately in a televised broadcast. The facilitator would question each Onalt's motives, their perceived impacts, and effects, and the Onalts would then need to justify or defend their actions and assess their national impact. These Interpretations essentially ensured that the Trialt would always have to answer for their actions, and prove to the people that they were competent and effective leaders.

Treangolism's democratic aspects were also highly popular. Prior to the implementation of Treangolism, the Ricano public had only limited democratic powers relative to their government. Many often felt that they were at the mercy of their Commander, which they were. Now, with the ability for the people to elect their nation's highest leadership into office, Treangolism provided the most widespread and most effective suffrage in Ricano history.

On the interim between 2018 and 2025, La Paz de Los Ricos saw a major increase in economic output, civil well-being and political involvement, and international association. Ricano diplomacy with other American nations seemed stable, and trade relations with most other nations were strong. Agricultural yield significantly increased as well, with La Paz de Los Ricos quickly becoming one of the globe's highest producers of sugar and oranges. The Ricano government took great pride in maintaining an "ecological balance", wherein the nation was careful to preserve the majority of the natural environment whilst making use of the agrarian land set aside to maintain their agricultural maintain output. Following 2021, Ricano farmers began to make use of "vertical farms", which were multi-story structures entirely dedicated to specific crops. These vertical farms proved highly successful, and allowed for the nation to continue exporting produce at an extraordinarily rapid pace, relative to neighboring American nations.

As the 21st Century Went On

The realization of the Ricano Treangolist dream reinvigorated the nation, and gave it a strong base to stand upon. Kino͑no had achieved what many before him had thought impossible: establish a stable Ricano state. The last millennium on the archipelago had seen only constant, consistent fighting and violence between people, tribes, and groups, in the hopes of finally footholding a stable, prosperous nation across the islands. With Kino͑no's ideas, as well as the support of Dr. Ga̜en, the Insulates and Subinsulates, and countless others, those dreams had been realized. The twenty-first century continued, and La Paz de Los Ricos kept on rebuilding itself from the destruction the twentieth century.

In early 2026, the United Nations officially recognized the Treangolist Trialt as a legitimate, stable government, able to peacefully assume diplomatic negotiations with the outside world. Its territorial claims to the Magos Archipelago in its entirety were recognized and validated, which allowed Los Ricos to establish the sovereignty of its borders and begin meticulously constructing its own immigration, customs, and citizenship systems. At the recommendation of the Security Council of the United Nations, the Trialt immediately submitted an application for induction into the United Nations, while the nation continued its recovery and reconstruction efforts.

It very much seemed that Treangolism was the saving grace of the nation. The Trialt was the most solid government the nation had ever seen. The Insul and Subinsul system was integrated smoothly into the Treangolist Charter, which allowed for much easier interaction between the various local governments and the greater united Treangolist state.

In October 2027, an official mandate was held regarding the position of the Seven Iron Corps, the nation's outdated proto-police force, compared to the Ricano defense forces. The Corps had been established almost two-hundred years prior, in 1832, during a time of crisis for the nation. As such, the mandate was called to determine how to best restructure the Corps to function in the twenty-first century. Following the mandate, it was decided to entirely demilitarize the Corps, a massive overhaul considering the history of the force. A shakedown of the Corps would follow, lasting the remainder of the decade, and the force was entirely separated from the Ricano military, the Iron Militia.

In recent years, crime had been at an increase. Considering that before the mandate, the Corps had been a small, militaristic operation with no real autonomy or reliable internal hierarchy, this had been expected by the Trialt. As the 2030s neared, the Corps' shakedown had allowed the force to grow its ranks, establish an independent base of operations separate from that of the Iron Militia, and effective measures to be implemented. Now, with a much more effective police force to combat the rampant increase in crime, many across the nation felt safer and more secure.

Overall, La Paz de Los Ricos was seeing political and economic developments which had rarely been seen before. Pax Ricana was arguably at its height in the late 2020s and early 2030s, and the nation continued to prosper as the twenty-first century went on.

An Eye on the Stars

As the 2030s began, it became increasingly clear to the public that international attention was shifting towards space exploration. Many governments, believing that humanity's next step would be to explore its own solar system, expressed interest in developing their own space programs. Since the turn of the decade prior, very few successful probe launches had been conducted by any nation. With international relations stable for the time, governments sought the opportunity to contract a new wave of missions to outer space. This is often referred to as the earliest beginnings of the Second Space Race, despite these missions ostensibly being exploratory in nature.

It seemed that Mars was the target for this newfound interest. With the most recent successful Mars probe launch having been the Mars Orbiter Mission 2 Project by India in the year 2025, many global powers began revitalizing their efforts to land an object on the surface of Mars. Mapping the Martian surface was a top priority, with many governments contracting surface rover and probe missions to chart the surface of the Red Planet in more detail.

The Treangolist Trialt of La Paz de Los Ricos also expressed interest in advancing into outer space, and joining those nations which had sent out space vehicles and science probes into the Solar System. Despite the nation's significant economic growth in recent years, undertaking a project as grand as a mission to space would severely strain the delicate balance that Los Ricos had achieved. There was no extant Ricano space program of any sort, nor were there any plans to develop one. At that time, it would have been unfeasible to begin such an endeavor.

The Trialt was internally concerned that, should this new rush to Mars evolve into an international competition of some sort, Los Ricos would be too far behind to achieve any relevant milestones or hold any significant position. So, with the nation's recovery and reconstruction in mind, the Trialt quietly began planning the development of an independent Ricano space program agency in the early 2030s, while the rest of the world turned its attention to Mars and the future of space exploration.

Achieved Missions

At this point, NASA of the United States of America, and the European Space Agency, both had the largest footholds on the Martian surface, with the China National Space Administration not far behind. Up until 2030, specialized Mars rovers and unmanned equipment modules had been the only objects landed on Mars, with unmanned probes and experimental craft being placed in the planet's orbit. Each mission was highly expensive, and were sparsely attempted in the 2020s. Five years had passed since the success of the India's Mars Orbiter Mission 2, which left the public wondering and speculating as to when the next Martian mission would be scheduled. To many, it seemed as if the only visible progression towards Mars had been delayed or forgotten.

However, ambitions were only growing, and many governments and space administrations expressed interest in landing a crew of explorers on the surface of Mars for the first time.

Stationing people on the surface of Earth's neighboring planet would be a massive undertaking. Plans had been underway since the very beginning of the millennium, and would cost billions in funding. Despite this, many were determined to try, hoping to succeed in this massive enterprise.

The Race to Mars

The destinations of the Armstrong Probe (March 2031) and the Sagan Marker (August 2031).

The Race to Mars refers to an international conflict regarding which power would be the first to successfully station humans on the surface of Mars. Despite plans and missions having been in development since the early 2000s, the conflict in earnest began in the year 2031.

During this time, global powers and factions sought to gain control of whatever available territory was available on the Martian surface. Perhaps the earliest stepping stone in and catalyst of future conflict, the Race to Mars was humanity's most ambitious endeavor of the 21st century.

In the early 2030s, nations and space agencies scrambled to assemble anchor probes, devices with very limited scientific capabilities, designed mostly as a method to establish an early foothold on the surface of Mars, and to signal their presence to other nations. The most notable of these was the United States of America, with their successful deployment of the March 2031 Armstrong Probe set to touch down near the southern rim of LinkHellas Planetia and the August 2031 launch of the Sagan Marker to land on the southern base of LinkPavonis Mons.

Other powers raced to establish simple markers on the Martian surface, with the European Space Agency notably absent from the scramble, as per their establishment treaty. As of yet, no individuals managed to set foot on Mars, despite the best efforts of their respective agencies. Throughout the early 2030s, various successive announcements were dispatched from nations landing markers on the moon. Despite the speed with which so many states had deployed markers on the Martian surface, manufacturing such markers the equipment onboard and the craft needed to take them to Mars, as well as the length of the voyages from their liftoff from Earth to their contact at their destination on Mars, took an extensive and significant period of time.

The Trialt Takes Notice

Amid the unfolding competition, the Treangolist Trialt struggled. Reconstruction progressed smoothly, as the Trialt devoted funds and workers to development of the nation's infrastructure. Reparations of ancient, crumbling Spanish colonial structures across the archipelago took most of the Trialt's attention, as it was initially suggested that each of the three Onalts would work independently, managing a set list of Subinsuls delegated between them.

However, the Onalts quickly took notice of the situation beyond Los Ricos. By 2035, eight separate nations had managed to land a combined total of fifteen successful markers on Mars, with six more estimated to arrive by the end of 2036. With so many global powers staking claims on the Red Planet, Ricano lawmakers worried that their own nation would risk falling behind in the Race to Mars.

A Ricano space agency had already been under development since the start of the decade. However, with so much of the government's presence devoted to the reconstruction efforts across the archipelago, the agency had been starved of funds and development had slowed dramatically.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, and regretting having lost so much time in the early years of the Race, the Onalts arranged an assembly on 3 February 2036 to discuss the situation and how to remedy it. The assembly consisted of the Trialt, surrounding intermediaries and lawmakers, as well as various notable Insulates and Subinsulates.

The delegates deliberated over what took precedence for La Paz de Los Ricos, and which plan of action would best support and benefit the nation's continued success. For three days, the deliberations lasted, with heated debate over whether the nation's interest would best be fulfilled through joining the Race to Mars, or by focusing the Triularchy's attention entirely on the reconstruction. The Onalts, on 7 February 2036, proposed a plan to unevenly divide the Trialt's focus between the two enterprises.

Initially, this plan was met with strong opposition. Many lawmakers feared dividing the interests of the central Trialt would destabilize the government. Progress would suffer from it, it was claimed, and under no circumstances should the Trialt's focus split. Several of the most extreme claims described a potential divide in the population, should it become aware of its government's instability, and how extremists may take the opportunity to disseminate rumors and mistrust in the Ricano people, ultimately leading the nation back to the ruin it faced for much of its history.

Despite this, the Trialt subsequently came to a consensus. A poll would be conducted on the Ricano people, to gauge interest for either course of action. Following a month-long interim for the completion of the poll, the majority of voters ultimately followed through with the Trialt's proposal, to divide the focus of the Onalts so both endeavors could be approached in a timely manner.

Splitting the Focus & Ricano Space Commission

Following this, it was decided that the Trialt would divide itself in order to establish a foothold in the Race to Mars while also managing the final stages of La Paz de Los Ricos' reconstructed. Despite the objections of many lawmakers, the plans went through, and the appropriate political suites within the Trialt's government were established. The separation was intended to be temporary, and would follow a strict and unchangeable structure, in order to ensure the continued stability of the Ricano leadership.

- The Ricano Reconstruction Suite

A section of ancient fortification in southern Isula Manele͑ Insul, likely
constructed for the Reunification Wars. This wall was explored and
reviewed by the Reconstruction Suite in 2036.

Tasked with and focused on continuing to rebuild the infrastructure of La Paz de Los Ricos following the 20th and 21st centuries, the Ricano Reconstruction Suite was the less heavily funded and less staffed of the two established suites. The Ricano Reconstruction Suite was headed solely by the incumbent Ricano State Onalt, a man by the name of Ka̹l Sete̹s.

The suite would be supplemented by the Ricano State Assembly, respective to its Onalts. The Ricano Reconstruction Suite continued the ongoing reconstruction efforts across the archipelago. Heavily assisted by small volunteer groups and local construction workers, the suite worked on either stabilizing old infrastructure or demolishing and supplanting it if it was unfeasible, as well as establishing new infrastructure in the most remote locations.

The Reconstruction Suite facilitated reconstruction efforts across many of the most isolated towns and settlements on the northernmost and southernmost islands in the nation. Most of the effort was directed towards preserving old Spanish colonial structures which remained untouched by the Breakaway Wars or the Reunification Wars, and demolishing unsafe structures which were beyond repair.

This Suite also coordinated itself with the Insular governments, and briefly administrated various Subinsuls in greater states of disrepair, directing their resources to regions where they could best be put to use, as well as sharing those resources to other regions which may not have had sufficient resources to support their own independent reconstruction operations.

This Suite had the greater support from the people of the two political suites. Many Ricanos felt that the nation should focus on maintaining itself and its infrastructure. Ricanos living in the more rural areas of the nation were upset, seeing that the government seemed to prioritize the future of its presence in space rather than the well-being of its people. The Reconstruction Suite saw volunteer assistance across the most outer islands in the archipelago, with many declaring it more important to care for the aging infrastructure and preserve ancient relics from the early years of the nation, and decrying the Trialt for placing so much of its attention on Mars and extraplanetary missions.

- The Mars Contact Suite

Tasked with and focused on establishing a foothold on the Martian surface for La Paz de Los Ricos, the Mars Contact Suite was the more heavily funded and more heavily staffed of the two established suites. The Mars Contact Suite was headed by the incumbent Ricano National Onalt, a man by the name of Li͗s A͑tke, alongside the incumbent Ricano Civil Onalt, a woman named Lusi Gale͑rid.

The suite would be supplemented by the Ricano National Assembly and Ricano Civil Assembly, respective to their Onalts. The Mars Contact Suite expedited the creation of the planned Ricano Space Commission, and charted out prospective Mars marker landing sites for potential future missions.

The Mars Contact Suite was largely responsible for the creation of the Ricano Space Commission (sometimes known as the Ricano Space Interest Commission). The Ricano Space Commission was the earliest recorded example of Ricano national interest in moving and/or exploring beyond planet Earth. Initially, the Commission was founded with the express purpose of landing a Ricano object on Mars, thus laying out the path upon which Los Ricos would expand into the Solar System. Spearheaded by Director Karas A͑t Lo͑nas, a longtime Ricano cosmologist and the nation's premier expert on celestial bodies and phenomena, the founding and funding of the Commission drew special interest from the Trialt. As the global focus shifted towards Mars, the Trialt considered the Commission project of utmost value and importance.

The flag of the nascent Ricano Space Commission.

Director A͑t Lo͑nas had limited bureaucratic experience, yet there seemed to be no one available who was more qualified in the field of cosmology and astronomy than him, so the Trialt persisted in keeping him in his position. A͑t Lo͑nas himself objected to overseeing the Commission's creation, as he argued that he was better off acting as the Commission's lead scientist. Despite this, A͑t Lo͑nas was kept as the head of the project.

The project was sluggish. Bureaucracy was handled by the inexperienced and ill-equipped A͑t Lo͑nas, and administration throughout the Commission was inefficient. Communication between the Commission project and the overseeing sections of the Trialt was continually backed up by arduous filing processes, and even with the massive funding granted by the Trialt, much of the money never legally made it to the Commission.

Despite this, work on the Commission went forward. Throughout the remainder of 2036 and through early 2037, the Trialt did what it could to push on the Commission project. Even with the bureaucratic challenges, financial difficulties, and socioeconomic consequences of the project, the effort eventually yielded results.

On 11 May 2037, the Ricano Space Commission at last struggled its way into service, understaffed, underfunded, and underprepared. With only a small office as base of operations, the Commission was forced to make due with extremely limited resources in the hopes that the Trialt would soon be able to rid itself of the unneeded and unproductive bureaucratic delays and finally provide the project with greater funds. At this time, the Ricano Space Commission had neither the resources nor the staff to effectively achieve the mission it was created for. Mars was presently out of reach of La Paz de Los Ricos, as the Space Commission needed more time to stabilize and restructure itself.

Further Mars Landings

Successful probe & object landings on Mars from between January 2032 & January 2040. Facilitated by; National Aeronautics & Space
Administration (), European Space Agency (), & China National Space Administration ().

As La Paz de Los Ricos floundered to get its own space agency afloat, the rest of the globe had been making significant progress. In the period between December 2036 and December 2039, five successful object landings had taken place.

The United States had largely spearheaded the Mars landings, achieving two further landings after 2032. NASA had launched the Realize program earlier in the decade, intended specifically for exploration of the base of the escarpment of LinkOlympus Mons. In March 2034, Realize One had touched down at the northwestern escarpment of Olympus, within southerneastern LinkAmazonis, while in January 2035, Realize Two touched down on Olympus' southeastern escarpment, within western LinkTharsia.

The European Space Agency was also successful in touching down several objects to Mars. Having had expressed interest in specific study of Mars' LinkPearl Bay in the mid 2020s, the European Union successfully launched the second iteration of their LinkMars Express program, Mars Express II, in 2032. Within the Mars Express II Orbiter were stored two individual data markers designed to touch down near the LinkMariner's Valleys to study the region's labyrinthine canyon network. Its first payload made contact along the northeastern ridge of the Valley, while the second payload landed off-target, just off of the LinkShalbatania Valley. Both payloads were operational.

Difficulties within the Chinese National Space Administration had forced the CCP to either delay or scrub much of their 2030 Mars program. However, at least one of their missions was successful. Christened Tianwen-2, the successor to China's Linkprevious unmanned Mars launch, the craft was launched in 2032, touching down near LinkDaedalia several months after.

The Trialt's concerns were only realized as the 2040s began. With a barely-operational space agency and absolutely no stake in the Race to Mars, La Paz de Los Ricos was poised to lose what amount of global influence it had gained in recent decades. It seemed evident to both the Ricano government and the Ricano people that the nation needed to revitalize the Space Commission if it was going to involve itself in humanity's imminent expansion and conquest of the solar system.

Ricano Space Rush

It became crucial to the Trialt that La Paz de Los Ricos advance its space program as far as possible in as little time as possible, which was strongly advised against by the three Assemblies. To simply develop a space program in the Space Commission's current state would take decades, while actually building and testing space objects would take much longer, and usurp much of the nation's budget. Presently, the Ricano government could not safely afford to focus on developing the Space Commission while simultaneously funding both the Ricano Reconstruction Suite and the Mars Contact Suite.

In 14 February 2040, the Treangolist Trialt abruptly severed all funding to the Ricano Reconstruction Suite, thrusting all financial responsibility for the reconstruction project on the volunteer groups scattered throughout the nation. This funding was then placed in the hands of the Mars Contact Suite, in the hopes that they would then have sufficient resources to reform the struggling Ricano Space Commission. This decision was not discussed by both suites.

Ka̹l Sete̹s riSOt and leader of the Ricano Reconstruction Suite, called for a meeting of the Trialt and Assemblies on 4 July 2040, in order to discuss the sudden abandonment of the reconstruction project and the massive transfer of funds. At the meeting, Sete̹s riSOt publicly criticized the National and Civil Onalts for their mishandling of the situation, calling it "an abuse of power" and fearing that splitting the Ricano government for so long may have ultimately been a bad decision. Sete̹s riSOt lamented that, by not consulting with the public on the decision to redirect funds, the Onalts demonstrated an unwillingness to acknowledge the public's needs. Considering that the Ricano public had largely voted to fund reconstruction efforts in the homeland, rather than to expand into space, Sete̹s riSOt had the support of the public.

Despite this, the other Onalts stood firm, declaring that the Reconstruction Suite and the reconstruction project were mostly focusing on more isolated, very lightly populated regions where crumbling infrastructure posed little threat. Li͗s A͑tke, National Onalt and head supervisor for the Mars Contact Suite, defended their actions by correctly stating that the reconstruction effort, by that point, had been largely headed by civilian and volunteer organizations, and then erroneously claiming that funding the reconstruction efforts was unnecessary, much to the chagrin of many volunteers and goodwill workers on the project.

Two days later, on 16 February 2040, an independent vote was held among the three assemblies to determine the validity of the Mars Suite's actions. With each assembly being comprised of ninety-nine (99) assemblars, and with a majority of 66 percent (66%) being needed in each assembly in order for the vote to pass for, a minimum of one-hundred-thirty-two (132) assemblars out of two-hundred-ninety-seven (297) would need to vote in favor of the Mars Suite's ruling.

On 20 February 2040, it became known that the vote had passed in favor of the Mars Suite's ruling, with the National Assembly at 71% for and the Civil Assembly at 69% for, while the State Assembly only voted 26% for. While rumors of vote-rigging and bribing of assemblars were present, it was generally accepted that the results were both fair and accurate. Despite this, Sete̹s riSOt lobbied against the ruling, claiming that ruling should be invalidated as the Ricano public had no direct say in determining it.

So, work on the Space Commission progressed, while the Ricano Reconstruction Project was essentially shut down on an official level. Volunteers working on the project were left without pay, as well as without direction from any construction officials. The project largely failed, as many workers abandoned the project. Those who stayed on were relegated to the direction of Subinsuls and townships.

The Ricano Reconstruction Suite was officially disbanded on 10 March 2040. Setes riSOt and the State Angle of the Treangolist government were absorbed into the Mars Contact Suite. While, ostensibly, the government was reunited politically, there still existed a divide in its overall focus. With only five years left until the next Ricano general election, the Trialt made preparations to continue the Mars contact effort for the next decades.

- The Private Sector Enters the Rush

Prometheia Aerospace
Ventures logo.

A developing aspect of the Race was the presence of the private sector, through corporations and public efforts. Notable operations such as LinkSpaceX functioned in dual partnerships with NASA and the LinkUnited States Space Force to conduct testing and launch operations. SpaceX was major a participant in the Race for Mars, and its association with the United States Space Force helped the American government develop that arm of their military. SpaceX was indirectly influential in the development of other national space forces, as many powers saw the opportunity to merge private business ventures with their own capabilities.

In La Paz de Los Ricos, private business was just beginning to flourish in the 2040s. Prior to the very late 20th century, the nation had no private sector to speak of, and so the prospect of growing the Ricano economy while simultaneously boosting its aerospace capabilities to compete with the rest of the globe interested the Trialt.

In particular, one notable corporation developed a unique curiosity from the Trialt as the 2040s began. The nascent Prometheia Aerospace Ventures, doing business as Prometheia, caught the attention of the Trialt. Prometheia was a corporate initiative dedicated to researching aerospace transportation and propulsion, as well as atmospheric monitoring. In its roughly five years of existence, it had already succeeded in launching at least one orbital module to Venus, securing it a position as one of the fastest-growing initiatives on the market. It seemed almost a viable competitor against SpaceX and other outstanding private efforts of the time.

The Trialt saw Prometheia as a viable option for mutual cooperation and benefit. Should Prometheia ally with the Trialt, the venture could use its collective knowledge on aerospace engineering and shipbuilding to take Los Ricos to Mars and secure political influence in humanity's scramble for the Solar System, as well as boosting the Ricano Space Commission into a viable space force of its own. In turn, the Trialt would secure perpetual funding for Prometheia, eventually merging the corporation into the Ricano market and boosting the economy of the nation, remedying the issues it had faced over the last decades.

The Prometheia Venture's president, Director J. Marcus Riddack, saw opportunity in the proposal. On 11 January 2041, he met with the Ricano National and Civil Audiences to discuss the issue, and to lay out a viable plan of action for taking Los Ricos and Ricanos to Mars. On 21 January 2041, it was publicly announced that Riddack had agreed to the proposition, and that Prometheia Aerospace Ventures would begin a partnership with the Ricano Space Commission the next year, conducting business with the Trialt to establish Ricano influence on Mars. Li͗s A͑tke riNOt called it a "symbiosis".

The announcement was met with harsh criticism. Many members of the Treangolist government (particularly from the State Angle) criticized the effort as further threatening the Ricano people by "selling out the homeland". One outspoken official claimed that this action directly jeopardized the safety, security, and destiny of Los Ricos, decrying the incumbent Trialt for its act. The United Nations issued a cease-and-desist order to the Trialt and condemned the Treangolist government.

Despite this, the agreement went forward. On 1 January 2042, Prometheia Aerospace Ventures fell into contract with the Trialt and Ricano Treangolist government, agreeing to form a partnership with the Ricano Space Commission to advance Ricano interests on Mars and beyond.

Setting Foot on Mars

The Rush for Mars had very much become a contest to see which power could set foot on Mars first. As nations scrambled together space forces in the years following 2025, NASA and the United States had been on the leading edge of discovery.

Acting in partnership with NASA, SpaceX had continued work on its famed LinkStarShip system. Having completed several private lunar missions in the late 2020s and early 2030s, the aerospace company's continued efforts on optimizing and innovating upon the StarShip design finally resulted in a viable manned module prototype. In late March 2039 it had been announced that StarShip SN23's simulated prototypes had met SpaceX's requirements for a safe and sustainable interplanetary vehicle, and construction proper had begun in August 2039.

By January 2042, SN23, named "The State of the Art" for the Iain M. Banks novella, had completed ground construction and preliminary tests over the Lesser Caucasus mountains. It seemed that she would be the first manned interplanetary mission, finally cementing humanity's reach beyond Earth, and placing the United States as the uncontested leader and victor of the Race for Mars. NASA had hoped to take advantage of a window of close proximity between Earth and Mars in early 2042, but difficulties with The State of the Art forced a delay in the launch. Instead, the launch of scheduled for several months later.

On 2 March 2042, The State of the Art lifted off from the Kennedy Space Complex, manned by a crew of ten and carrying four other specialist personnel. Her destination: western Tharsia, near the eastern escarpment of Olympus Mons, where Realize Two waited for her arrival. She functioned both as a vehicle and as a viable temporary shelter, while she also ferried the appropriate materials necessary to construct and establish a permanent small biodome environment for future Martian colonists. The State of the Art was intended to be a one-way voyage, with the spacecraft fully intended to be dismantled and recycled upon reaching Mars.

The voyage itself was relatively short, with the vessel's crew reporting in weekly over communications televised to the world. Originally projected to take somewhere on the tail end of five months, The State of the Art was within orbit of Mars in just over four months, where she remained for two days before beginning her descent.

On Friday, 4 July 2042, The State of the Art touched down on Mars, roughly 600 kilometers from the base of Olympus Mons. Two hours after landing, American astronaut Joshua B. Gravett exited the ship and stood upon a small boulder, making him the first human to set foot on an alien planet, and earning the United States of America victory over the Race for Mars. On the experience, Gravett remarked that Mars seemed "red as a new-minted penny". A short time later, he was joined by the rest of the crew, all American, outside the vehicle, making history worldwide as humanity's first interplanetary pioneers.

Los Ricos Catches Up

With the United States well on the way to becoming an interplanetary presence, and the rest of the globe chasing in their footsteps with functional space forces, Los Ricos was one of the least advanced, least relevant participants in the Race for Mars. With the Ricano Space Commission struggling to even find a leader, the Trialt placed heavy trust in the newly-acquired partnership with the Prometheia Aerospace Ventures corporation to thrust them into space and onto Mars.

Prometheia was still a relatively young organization, having only been founded in 2035. Even with its one operational Venus probe, the rest of its ambition was limited to concepts, simulated prototypes, and blueprints. Prometheia was founded with the intent of solely exploring Venus, gearing all of its probe module and engine designs for that environment and that distance. Even with their new partnership, it would still take time for Prometheia to redesign its concepts and refit its prototypes, just so that they could develop a proof-of-concept prototype. In that time, La Paz de Los Ricos would work on shaking down the Ricano Space Commission, restructuring it and granting more funding to it, in which time Ricano administration would change.

Over the next three years, from 2042 to 2045, Prometheia and the Treangolist government of Los Ricos collaborated on a new project, developing an entirely new space agency, one which could quickly and competently get Los Ricos to Mars. In this time, Director A͑t Lo͑nas of the Space Commission was ousted from his position, and the entire command structure of the organization was broken down and restructured. As Los Ricos dealt with the bureaucracy and politics of the new agency, Prometheia continued development on novel spacecraft designs, focusing on Luna as a testbed for potential Martian spacecraft prototypes.

- 2045 Ricano General Elections

Of note was the Ricano Treangolist general election in 2045. With the previous Trialt having completed its two decades of service, the elections were held June 2044. Interestingly, Sete̹s riSOt, who had been an outspoken critic of the other two members of his Trialt for their focus on space exploration, lobbied against holding government elections amidst such a critical period for the nation. He declared that to do so would risk exposing the space effort to bureaucrats, threatening to dismantle all the work put into the effort "for power and profit". He was quickly discredited by voters.

The other members of the Trialt, Li͗s A͑tke riNOt and Lusi Gale͑rid riCOt, made certain that the space effort would continue through to the following administration by creating new legislation that would make getting the nation to Mars top priority under the authority of the Ricano Composition. Critics of the outgoing administration called this an overreach of authority, decrying this new legislation as "soiling the sanctity of the original Ricano Composition". Despite this, the legislation was amended and put into effect, just as the elections were at their end.

The newly-elected Trialt was instated on 13 January 2045.

The Ricano Omniflight Agency

Over the course of the later 2040s, the Prometheia Aerospace Ventures corporation continued work on developing a new and competent space agency for La Paz de Los Ricos, cannibalized from the remains of the failed Ricano Space Commission. Prometheia worked largely independent from the Trialt, not wishing to interfere with internal affairs as the Ricano general elections were held. 2046 and 2047 were largely uneventful for Los Ricos. The new Trialt and the Audiences settled into their duties, while Prometheia continued developing a Ricano space agency and testing prototype space vehicles. The Ricano economy steadily fell into decline as the Ricano Reconstruction project of years earlier fell apart entirely. However, the newly-elected Trialt seemed entirely uninterested in the hardships of the people, as all of their efforts were focused on advancing Ricano interests in space.

The flag of the nascent Ricano Omniflight Agency.

In 2048, Prometheia publicly announced that the new space agency would be merged with several other Ricano atmospheric research and flight organizations and initiatives, particularly of note with the small Ricano Iron Airways domestic airline. Several national meteorological associations also participated in the merger. The aim of this merger, according to Director Riddack, was to unite Ricano aerospace into one entity, administrated by one organization, under direct control of the partnership between the Treangolist Trialt and Prometheia.

The move was met with severe backlash, particularly from the heads of the Iron Airways, as well as the Ricano public. The new Trialt was ridiculed by Ricanos as an extension of the previous Trialt, comparing this move with the legislative overreaches of Mario Matrus and the old Castillos dynasty of two centuries prior. Despite this, the merger went through.

On 23 February 2049, the Prometheia partnership at last unveiled the newly-founded Ricano Omniflight Agency, an organization responsible for all atmospheric and aerospace activities in La Paz de Los Ricos. Prometheia offically declared it the Omniflight Agency's responsibility to administrate all Ricano spaceflight efforts from beyond that point, officially turning over all recently-developed spacecraft designs to the Omniflight heads. The partnership between Prometheia Aerospace Ventures and the Ricano Treangolist government was mutually dissolved several weeks later.

The Nation Achieves Spaceflight

By the mid-21st century, La Paz de Los Ricos at last had a functioning space program, after having it in the works for the last twenty years. The Trialt immediately commissioned construction contracts for prototype spacecraft from the Omniflight Agency, which had already completed several test simulations on various experimental designs.

Even as Los Ricos expedited its space efforts, the global focus on Mars only intensified after the Mars landing. The United States had already set up its first permanent colony on the Red Planet, The State of The Art, with plans for further Mars landings in the next decade. The European Space Agency had already confirmed plans to attempt their own Mars colonization mission in the mid-2050s. Other nations continued to expand their own space forces. Earth's orbit was the most crowded it had ever been, with nearly three dozen new artificial satellites being put into orbit in the last decade alone. Space exploration had captivated humanity's interest.

On 9 December 2049, the Treangolist Trialt announced the completion and registration of the nation's first feasible spacecraft. Named StarWaltzer, she was intended to fly relatively short-range missions, and served as the testbed for future Ricano spaceflight endeavors. Based on the designs of SpaceX, StarWaltzer drew heavy inspiration from aircraft and aeronautic designs. She was meant to take off and land horizontally, as opposed to vertical liftoffs and landings used by most other rockets or spacecraft.

StarWaltzer's first mission was registered on 4 April 2050, commemorating 297 years since the start of the First Breakaway War. Her mission was to fly to Luna and land at coordinates in the LinkMare Cognitum, where she would deposit a survey probe, collect rock samples, and return to Earth, thus demonstrating to the Trialt and Audiences that manned spaceflight could be feasibly achieved and sustained by Los Ricos.

At the televised registry ceremony, new State Onalt Rono Vea̜lt delivered a public speech to the nation regarding the future of Ricano spaceflight:

"Very many years ago, this nation, [...] these islands, [...] the ground you, and I, and every Ricano stands upon, was in jeopardy. Many Ricanos could not see their nation existing the next day as it had the day prior. Though I was raised after those troubles had passed, I want myself, my friends, and my fellow-citizens to realize that they will not be forgotten. They shaped us. [...] They united us, perhaps in ways I do not yet realize. We have nourished the soil at our roots, while staring so very long up at those stars in the night, wondering if some day we may grow tall enough to touch them, to swipe at them. [...] Maybe to hold them. [...] I stand before a great vessel, a sailor of the night, hoping to prove to you, Ricanos, that we've finally grown to that height. It took us so many years, and so much hurt, but we can finally waltz among the stars.

I remember visiting the Historical Museum in the capital as a girl, and witnessing First Steps. I admit, I never saw the significance of a slab of mud with some ancient footprints on them. [...] Then, over time, I learned that they represented those first frontiersmen who set foot to these islands unknown, adventurers and wanderers seeking to learn the grandeur of the world beyond. A relic, but also a look in time, reminding me that everyone who helped shaped this country, this nation, these rich lands [...] was an individual. A person seeking out a life among the trees. It escaped me earlier. Now, no longer.

A thousand years ago, those prints were first set in that mud. A thousand years ago, the first adventurers set foot on these islands, eyes brimmed with excitement. A thousand years ago, we first discovered these islands. [...] I wonder, in a thousand years, where shall we go next?"

StarWaltzer was transported to the plains of Kazakhstan, who had agreed to allowing the Treangolist government to conduct this flight on their soil, sometime in the summer of 2050. Her crew was transported with her. StarWaltzer was captained by one Na͑ Sete̹s, daughter of former State Onalt Ka̹l Sete̹s. K Sete̹s xSOt considered her career in space of great benefit to her, yet regretted having rifted with the Ricano space agenda for so long throughout his time as Onalt.

12 September 2050, on the 286th anniversary of the end of the First Breakaway War, StarWaltzer was scheduled to take off. Being the first manned Ricano space mission, the event was televised and streamed from location to La Paz de Los Ricos. Roughly 9:34 AM, local time, StarWaltzer began preparing her engines. Her crew and payload were secured several hours later, 11:46 AM. Finally, at 1:17 PM, local time, StarWaltzer began her take-off sequence.

At 1:29 PM, local time, 12 September 2050, StarWaltzer, manned by the first Ricano space crew, achieved stable orbit 40,000 kilometers above Earth sea level. Two days later, on 14 September 2050, StarWaltzer was in orbit of Luna. By 15 September 2050, StarWaltzer had made its descent and landed in the Mare Cognitum, marking the completion of the first Ricano extraterrestrial mission.

La Paz de Los Ricos had at last achieved the monumental task it had been laboring towards for decades. After nearly a century of combined human spaceflight, the nation had at last seen natives of its own soil reach space. Even as the Earth continued to focus on neighboring worlds, La Paz de Los Ricos at last had the tools it needed to take Ricanos to Mars.

▤ La Paz de Los Ricos ▤