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by The No clue of La Paz de Los Ricos. . 4 reads.

History of La Paz de Los Ricos, Volume X [2155 - 2200]

History of La Paz de Los Ricos

▤ 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 Treangolist Triultarchy

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 Más Allá
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

An Interplanetary Humanity

Presently, mankind saw itself expanding rapidly. Spaceflight capabilities grew exponentially over the late 22nd century and leading into the following one, as it was necessary to support the spread of new colonies being set up on the rocky, icy moons of the Solar System's gas giants. Excelsior was raising a massive fleet of ferryships to supplement new colonies beyond the Asteroid Belt. Mars, also, saw incredible development in this time. By 2150, the Martian population had reached 10,000,000 inhabitants, and the cities clustered across large regions of the surface. Efforts to thicken the Martian atmosphere through bombardment were generating impressive results millennia sooner than expected, and it was estimated that the planet would be habitable by the mid-5000s.

Excelsior, considered humanity's international space travel and colonization organization (alongside those smaller space forces raised by the nations of Earth), very much supported the growth of these colonies, setting sights on Saturn's moons and beyond. At the moment, the only two distant human colonies were Port Galileo on Ganymede and the recently-named New Indy colony on Callisto, both of which clung to Jupiter. Both established in the mid-22nd century, these two settlements laid the groundwork for what eventually became the most extensive inter-colonial community of the expansion effort.

The Distant Worlds Community

Port Galileo and New Indy were the most distant pockets of humanity of the time, and with that, they were also the most isolated. Ferryships arrived regularly every two to four months, bringing with them supplies, seeds to replenish their hydroponic farms, and occasionally, waves of new settlers. Electronic correspondence between the Jovian colonies and Mars took upwards of two hours, which meant huge delays in any communication between the two. In the event of emergency, the two colonies would have been essentially stranded from any assistance, bar each other, and even then, they were still at the mercy of the sheer distance of their orbits around Jupiter.

Recognizing their shared isolation, and understanding that, they were at the deepest frontier of humanity at the moment, Port Galileo and New Indy established a formal agreement between them. Titled "The Distant Worlds Agreement", the two settlements formed an official pact between them in April 2157, agreeing to pool resources when possible, provide assistance when necessary, and help each other grow and flourish on their respective worlds. The two also agreed that, in the interest of human expansion, and in the general absence of a consistent Earther presence, they would expand to neighboring worlds and grow mankind's presence in the outer Solar System, building the framework for a great body of lunar colonies around the gas giants, and allowing Excelsior to focus on other endeavors in the inner Solar System and Asteroid Belt. The Distant Worlds Community which subsequently formed would be the root of an institution soon encompassing all future Jovian, Saturnian, Neptunian, and Uranian colonies.

Excelsior still needed connection to the Distant Worlds Community, and so regular, flexible shipping lanes were established between the two regions of the Solar System. Concern within Excelsior leadership and the international company of Earth arose regarding the formation of the Distant Worlds Community. Opponents of the Community saw the agreement as the first stages in a deep divide between Earth and its furthest colonies, declaring the act "the first slip down a treacherous, muddy slope", and fearing that an interplanetary schism may arise, pitting the two sides of the Solar System against each other. Recognizing the inevitable issue of distance, proponents of the Community saw it as a great benefit to those living on Ganymede, Callisto, and beyond. Supporters called the Community "an alliance of the begotten", and promised that its establishment would ultimately lead to much faster expansion across the outer Solar System, as resources were no longer limited to each colony. The Community itself assured Earth that its existence was only to foster growth for the distant worlds, and that it would do all it could to spread humanity throughout those planets further than them.

Ricania Shoots for Titan

With La Paz de Los Ricos having collected itself from its most recent Reunification War a half-century prior, and with the next generation of Ricanos eagerly awaiting their nation's return to the space community, the Tetralt sought its next step into the final frontier.

Titan, Saturn's largest moon, was the target. Presently, human influence did not extend beyond Jupiter, at least in the way of colonial settlements on any lunar candidates of planets further than it. Excelsior was presently focused on completing the Martian atmospheric thickening, many national space agencies were busy providing for their Lunar and Martian colonies and mounting asteroid mines in the Belt, and even private efforts and civilian agencies could not yet touch Saturn. For La Paz de Los Ricos' return to space affairs, the Tetralt saw the challenge of Titan a great opportunity for the nation to manifest itself as a potential juggernaut of the space colonization effort. However, they faced the same issues that plagued every other launch for Saturn: sheer distance.

Missions to Jupiter were difficult, but feasible. Though the distance between the two was great, it was not an impossible challenge for manned spacecraft. Anything more distant than Jupiter, however, was where issues began to propagate regarding the journey. Though manned spacecraft such as Hiker II had touched Saturn before, to install a regular shipping lane between Mars and Saturn would be a logistical feat more daunting than even the Mars terraforming project. The speed of manned spacecraft played a major role in this: at best, the Hiker series, the fastest spacecraft in the human arsenal, could reach the ringed planet in just over five years. Even unmanned tugs were not much better.

Ricano logicians recognized the flaws in their initial drafts for a Titan colony: it would be the most isolated human settlement yet. La Paz de Los Ricos would not be able to effectively administrate this colony, simply due to the fact that even electronic messages between Saturn and Earth would take hours. Even the Distant Worlds Community, presently headquartered around Jupiter, would be out of reach of this proposed Titan settlement.

To set up a colony in Titan's methane-rich atmosphere would also be a massive feat, one which they would need to accomplish alone, without any frequent assistance from Earth, Mars, or the Distant Worlds. The first attempt needed to be perfect, else Titan could become an unmitigated disaster which could push La Paz de Los Ricos, once again, out of space, this time permanently.

Despite the sheer challenges presented to a Ricano colony on Titan, the Tetralt wanted to try. On 4 January 2160, Ricano lawmakers met in Alvore̜sod to discuss the best way to overcome these obstacles. Eventually, it was decided that, for a colony mission to Titan, La Paz de Los Ricos would need to design an entirely new vessel: one that could accommodate a crew over the span of an entire voyage to Saturn, while also being faster than any other ship at Earth's disposal. The design process began later that year.

Project Next Step

On 15 June 2160, the Ricano Omniflight Agency convened at its headquarters to begin drafting designs for their new ship. Based off of the Tetralt's initial concepts for the journey to Titan, as well as the various speed records of the Hikers, the Omniflight Agency discerned that this new ship needed to achieve speeds of roughly 40000 kilometers an hour, which was presently unachievable by any Excelsior manned long-distance craft. To do so would need a massive innovation in engine design.

The development process of the Titan mission was dubbed "Project Next Step", and was the most ambitious space project ever undertaken by La Paz de Los Ricos. Some Ricanos were concerned that, having only recently gathered its space capabilities together following the long hiatus from the war, the mission was too large an enterprise for the Tetralt to feasible achieve, and that in doing so, those selected to establish a Titaner colony were at risk. However, the Ricano population, tired of having been grounded from the conflicts of the last generation, maintained a tentative optimism regarding Titan.


RSV Navakusta design. This initial concept incorporated only three
hull segments, though actual ships of this class typically incorporate
many more.

Ultimately, the Ricano Omniflight Agency produced a conceptual spacecraft design they called the Navakusta (Novodoman: "New Coast"), which they claimed was the best possible long-distance spacecraft design achievable at the time. On 9 December 2160, the Omniflight Agency formally presented Navakusta to the Tetarolist government, hoping to receive the approval necessary to rush the design to construction.

The design was considerably smaller than those of the Excelsior Hikers and other international ferryships. Its hull was comprised of several segmented modules, and the ship could include however many modules were necessary for its intended situation. The vessel simulated limited gravity by having its modules rotate, a form of Linkrotational gravity which ultimately became the standard on most large space vessels. Its purpose was to keep its crew's bodies from atrophying in the long stretches of micro- or zero-gravity typically associated with interplanetary space-travel.

Alongside this, the size of the vessel and the thickness of its hull posed a significant issue: its crew would be subject to dangerous amounts of radiation on its voyage. The inclusion of rotating modules on the craft compounded this issue, as it meant that the hull would need to either be considerably thin to make sure that the crew within weren't subject to sheer gravity gradients, or the ship would need to be twice or thrice as large as originally intended, which was not feasible for the Ricano Omniflight Agency at the time.

To solve this, a novel solution was adopted: the ship was designed to emit its own magnetic shield. Based on the concept of Green's Gimmick, the device which presently formed the artificial Martian magnetosphere for its terraforming, the ship had a series of charged iron rings rotating at high speed, generating a weak magnetosphere around the vessel through dual golden sails anchored on the front and rear of the central segments. Though it was nowhere near as powerful as the magnetosphere of Green's Gimmick, it would still protect its crew on its multi-year voyage.

Navakusta is frequently considered "the mother of modern spacecraft", as many of its innovations, though crude, were the foundation for 26th century spacecraft theory. The ship is credited as the first instance of organic design being used in deep-spacecraft, and the lineage of many modern spacecraft may be traced back to this vessel.

Navakusta Launches

RSV Navakusta in orbit of Earth, prior to her launch. As with her
original design concept, the completed Navakusta incorporated
only three habitat segments. (Above)
RSV Navakusta (right) on approach to Titan (bottom-left), Saturn
looming behind. (Above)

The Tetralt accepted Navakusta, and granted the Omniflight Agency the opportunity to take the concept to Excelsior for ultimate approval. By this point, the mission plans for the Titan expedition were finalized: Navakusta was to fly by Ganymede and establish Ricania's first Distant Worlds colony with the assistance of the Community, before then flying the final stretch to Saturn and setting up its colony on Titan, where it would stay as the settlement was organized and constructed. Following this, it would return to Earth.

Satisfied with this concept, the Omniflight Agency approached Excelsior for approval on the Ricano mission and to receive a construction contract for Navakusta. Excelsior authorized the mission, and granted a contract for Navakusta, on the condition that Los Ricos share the vessel's designs with Excelsior. The Tetralt acquiesced, and a berth at Ares-Riverston over Mars was granted for Navakusta's construction.

The keel was laid on 1 January 2161, and the vessel was rushed through construction, being completed on 3 February 2162, with the help of La Tierra Más Allá. Immediately upon completion, she was immediately hurried to a short trial run from Mars to Earth. Here was the first demonstration of her speed, completing the run in under two months. Hoping that the flight proper would see Navakusta performing similarly, the vessel was immediately placed in Earth orbit and final preparations were made. Her final crew and colonial passengers boarded, and on 10 September 2162, RSV Navakusta launched, destined for Ganymede and Titan.

Ricanos on Titan

The voyage to Ganymede took just under two and one-half years, an incredible feat unlike anything the rest of humanity had yet achieved. Upon arrival at Jupiter in May 2164, Navakusta initially entered orbit of Callisto while onboard preparations to launch their Ganymede dropship wrapped up. Subsequently, in August 2164, the vessel entered orbit of Ganymede, and with the assistance of Port Galileo, the onboard dropship was launched, and landed on the moon. With the assurance of Port Galileo that they would supervise the progress of the Ricano colony, Navakusta departed, destined now for Titan.

With Saturn now further away from Jupiter than Earth was, Navakusta diverted to Earth for a brief repair period. in June 2165, she entered orbit of Luna, where a brief resupply of water and material took place. The Ricano Tetralt, satisfied with the vessel's performance so far, implored Lunar facilities to expedite the process so that their mission to Titan could commence.

On 2 November 2165, Navakusta, fully stocked and prepared for the long voyage to Saturn, launched from Luna. By this point, Saturn was now nearly at the opposite end of the System, and though she had demonstrated herself hardy, fast, and trustworthy, the Tetarolist Tetralt and the Ricano Omniflight Agency anxiously monitored Navakusta's progress. Humanity watched the endeavor with interest, as this mission to Titan was unlike any other mission attempted before.

The flight took just under three years. On 21 October 2168, Navakusta reported to Earth that it was now approaching orbit of Saturn. Several days following, she was now fully locked in Saturnian cycle. She remained there for a week, her crew readying for the exchange opportunity which would put the ship around Titan. This final burn would be decisive, and needed to be done correctly the first time for optimal results.

On 12 November 2168, Navakusta finally had the opportunity, and made the burn, slingshotting herself out from Saturnian orbit and into the path of Titan over the course of twelve hours. The exchange was successful, and early on the morning of 13 November 2168, Navakusta established stable orbit around Titan, to the celebration of La Paz de Los Ricos and the great surprise of the rest of humanity, which had doubted the nation's capability to conduct a mission such as this. The reports were met with massive celebration among Ricanos, the greatest triumph the nation had seen in the course of the century. Ricanos had pushed the boundary of humanity further now than had ever been done before, and now La Paz de Los Ricos led the charge into the distant worlds.

La Tierra Nublada

Mission patch insignia of the Ricano Titan mission and colony.

The Ricano crew set up their colony in the northern regions of Titan, on the LinkMayda Island to conduct research on the methane oceans of the moon. After setting up its communications beacons and Navakusta had deposited several comunications orbiters over the Titaner atmosphere, the Ricano ship at last left Titan and began the journey back to Earth.

The colony named itself "La Tierra Nublada" (Spanish: "The Clouded Land"), for the thick cloud cover over Titan. Again, as due to the distance, La Paz de Los Ricos could not effectively administrate the colony, with messages taking hours between the worlds. Because of this, administration of the colony was turned over to the colony's various department heads, and the Distant Worlds Community was allowed to incorporate Nublada into its association. Despite this, Nublada was very much isolated and alone.

Presently, La Tierra Nublada was the further human colony yet. The international community of Earth was astonished that La Paz de Los Ricos, having been such a minor power in space affairs and colonization efforts beyond La Tierra Más Allá, could achieve such a feat after having just rebuilt its space agency. However, the challenge now would be to see if the Tetarolist government could effectively sustain these greater colonial efforts.

The late 2160s saw La Tierra Nublada gaining a foothold, and with the turn of the 2170s, the colony, with the help of the Distant Worlds Community, flourished despite its isolation in its place along the frontier of human exploration.

End of the 22nd Century

The final decades of the 22nd century saw humanity's continued growth and expansion throughout the Solar System, exploring the reaches of the Asteroid Belt to exploit its vast wealth of available resources, taming the distance between the home planets and the outer worlds, and revolutionizing all manners of space travel. Now, with the success Navakusta had brought La Paz de Los Ricos, Excelsior hoped to normalize (and eventually improve upon) its innovations across its fleet, further bringing together the worlds of the Solar System in doing so.

Normalizing Asteroid Mining

Prior to the 2170s and 80s, the concept of asteroid mining saw little employment from humanity. Asteroids had been exploited only on several occasions, in helping Excelsior build its trans-Solar fleets and in various other limited efforts from the private sector, but the massive logistics challenges involved in transporting and disassembling asteroids hindered its effectiveness and worth in the early century. Largely, asteroids needed to be transported to either Earth or Mars for mining, which severely impacted its feasibility. However, now with humanity reaching further out faster, localized asteroid mining became possible.

The late century saw asteroid mining become a growing industry, a cleaner alternative to continue mining on Earth. Infrastructure projects began in the Asteroid Belt during the 2170s and 80s, and plans for eventual spaceports and habitats on and around the larger asteroids of the system emerged as the space mining industry established itself. With the large influx of material wealth the asteroids would provide, the United Nations feared that the world's currencies, most of which were still tied to a material standard, would devalue entirely, thus throwing the world's economy into chaos. To prevent this, the nations of Earth, in the interest of preserving their own economies, agreed to adopt a new standard of currency, appropriately called the "Standard". The Standard was tied to the concept of "prestige", deriving an individual's financial capabilities no longer by their accumulated wealth.

Over the course of the 2170s, Earth transitioned from its various unique currencies to this new, unified Standard. To comply with the ruling, La Paz de Los Ricos adopted the Ricano Standard in 2174, and its previous currency, the pakil, was transitioned out slowly.

Terraforming Mars - Oceans and Waterways

Mars in 2175. Small waterways are forming within the ancient
northern basin. The water cycle has asserted itself, and clouds
are widely visible across the atmosphere. (Above)
Martian sunset in 2175 near the planet's southern pole. (Above)

By 2175, the Martian atmosphere had thickened to 0.7 bars (roughly 70% of Earth-normal) with the help of freed subsurface gas pockets and continued asteroid bombardment. At this point, the terraforming project now began looking to filling the ancient oceans and riverbeds of Mars. However, they continued to run into the same issues they had faced earlier in the project: nuclear weapons were off-limits.

Presently, the polar ice caps of Mars were the greatest hope for refilling the Martian oceans. Limited progress on melting them with heating drones and orbital bombardment had been made, resulting in relatively small channels forming in the Martian north, but it was nowhere near the amount needed to supply the entire northern seafloor. Martian officials felt that nuclear weapons, precisely detonated along specific points of the ice, would expedite and smoothen the process significantly. However, nuclear weapons off-Earth were prohibited entirely by Excelsior, and the terraforming project was at a standstill.

The main concern with nuclear weapons on Mars is that the sheer volume of detonations necessary to effectively melt the caps would irreparably contaminate the new Martian atmosphere. The issue was hotly contested among Martian authorities. Those invested on the terraforming effort supported the use of nuclear weapons, declaring that the ice caps could not be exploited without them, and stating that comet and ice fragment bombardment could not sufficiently compete. Opponents of nuclear detonations on the Red Planet bemoaned the health risks the effort would pose on the ever-growing Martian population, and declared that the Partial Test Ban Treaty's ruling on nuclear weapons in space was the safest option.

Early Martian Disputes

However, the small aristocracy in La Tierra Más Allá largely supported the use of nuclear weapons, and urged the Ricano government on Earth to consider taking the issue to the United Nations. When the Tetralt refused it, the aristocracy instead advocated for colonial authorities to take the issue to the joint Martian administration at Tharsia to present the issue to Earth as a united front.

The nations of Earth, concerned by the growing discord in La Tierra Más Allá, tightened their hold on their own Martian colonies. Many regional authorities were shrunken and shaken-down, and the United Nations reaffirmed that the Partial Test Ban Treaty would not budge, and that the ban on transporting and using nuclear weapons in space would persist. La Paz de Los Ricos did similarly, doing what it could to diminish the Más Allá aristocracy's influence on their colony's administration. However, the aristocracy persisted, continuing to sway the Más Allá authorities to their will, and the aristocracy continued to call for a lift on the space nuclear weapons ban to resistance from Earth.

The 2170s and 80s saw the first indications of future conflict between the governments of Earth and the authorities of Mars, as Martian regional delegations argued the issue of nuclear weapons usage on the planet. The Más Allá aristocracy proved a major catalyst for the coming strife, and ultimately, eventual disunion between worlds.

Venutian Colonization Opportunities

Venus in 2185. Surfacebreaker orbits the far side of the planet,
while Revolutionary orbits the near side.

Even with Excelsior involved in the Martian terraforming project, as well as the progress made by the Distant Worlds Community in colonizing the outer Solar System, the organization now too looked to the inner planets of the System. It had previously been established that Venus and Mercury were not suitable candidates for colonization, due to the respective difficulties in establishing any form of permanent habitat on either. Despite this declaration, there were still those in Excelsior willing to at least attempt to expand to Venus.

The late 2170s saw Excelsior mounting early survey missions to the planet. By this point, the Navakusta-type design of La Paz de Los Ricos had been implemented across the Excelsior trans-System fleet as a frontline explorer, and Excelsior hoped to use this opportunity to test the full capabilities of the class.

In 2184, two Navakusta-class vessels, the EISV Surfacebreaker and EISV/EV Revolutionary, left Earth orbit on an extended mission to Venus. Their mission, over the course of one year in orbit of the planet, was to study its atmosphere and surface with the help of new resilient drone probes, and assess whether or not Venutian terraforming within the next milliennium could be possible, as it was appearing to be with Mars. In 2185, the two vessels arrived, and the project began shortly thereafter.

In September 2185, a report was filed from the crew of the Surfacebreaker, detailing the suitability of Venus for terraforming and outlining possible early steps for doing so. It was ultimately decided by the Venus expedition that Venutian terraforming and colonization was a route worth pursuing, and the report was subsequently forwarded to the Excelsior Council in October 2185. Excelsior, satisfied with the report, declared Venus a worthy pursuit, and in January 2186, established a new arm dedicated to the prospect. The 23rd century would see Venutian colonization and terraforming efforts take place.

Early Interstellar Tries

Probe Thessaly on departure in 2188, as photographed by an
asteroid surveyor drone.

Interstellar travel was of great interest to Excelsior, the nations of Earth, and humanity. With most of the last two centuries focusing on expanding humanity's reach within its own solar system, and with Mars now hosting millions of inhabitants, humanity officially began looking towards other stars. Many in Excelsior were disappointed that any form of interstellar outreach from the interplanetary community had been delayed until this point, but with the Solar System now firmly in humanity's reach, the Interstellar Age seemed imminent at last.

The main focus was the Alpha Centauri star system. The 2150s had seen humanity renew its interest in exploring beyond the Solar System, and an effort to develop starcraft capable of making the long voyage across deep-space to the proximate star system had taken place among many space agencies on Earth and Mars. A flurry of starcraft designs had been proposed over the course of the later century, with many of them having prototypes developed and launched.

The most promising of these was a design named Thessaly, a long-distance probe which could theoretically complete the journey to the Centauri system in one-and-one-half centuries, transmitting data all the while. Satisfied with the probe as a start, Excelsior commissioned its construction in 2187, and it was scheduled for launch the following year. In August 2188, at the behest of Excelsior, the newly-completed Thessaly departed from Earth, destined for Alpha Centauri.

Beyond Thessaly, several other starcraft designs were approved by Excelsior for travel to Alpha Centauri, most of which would complete the journey in a similar timeframe as Thessaly. Over the late 2180s and early 2190s, these finalists were constructed and launched, beginning the century-long voyage to Alpha Centauri to study the star system in detail. Though these unmanned deep-spacecraft presented a major breakthrough in spaceflight history for humanity, and were celebrated by the organization, the ultimate goal was to send a manned starcraft on the journey to Centauri.

Presently, this was unachievable, due to one major factor: it was unfeasible at present for any manned human vessel to effectively reach the Centauri system. The sheer distance of interstellar space had been common knowledge for centuries, it was fact that any potential mission to Alpha Centauri, with 22nd century technology, would go far beyond a natural human lifespan. No human who inhabited the vessel at the mission's start would live to see the Alpha Centauri system at the mission's end, not by many decades.

The issue was compounded by the fact that any manned vessel would need to be many tens of times larger than any spacecraft humanity currently had available. To support a generational mission, any potential starcraft would need a large amount of resources to complete the mission and sustain its population. Furthermore, any manned interstellar mission would need to expend vast amounts of energy to support itself, energy which humanity could not validly harness and maintain in this context. Though nuclear fusion energy had long since been developed and commonplace by the turn of the 22nd century, its usage aboard manned spacecraft was limited, at best. Ferryships of the Solar System saw fusion reactors in minimal capacity, but as it presently stood, its usage could not safely or effectively be transmitted to modern interstellar missions.

The final conclusion drawn by this is that humanity could not, within what remained of the 22nd century, actively achieve manned interstellar travel. Though ambitions remained hot, the technology needed to be improved and expanded upon before any attempt at a crewed colony mission to Alpha Centauri or beyond could take place. In the meantime, as the 2100s came to an end, Excelsior devoted a large amount of its resources to the interstellar effort, in the hopes that, by the 2210s even, a manned colony mission to the Centauri system could be achieved.

Ricania Reinvested In Space

Crowded Earth orbit above La Paz de Los Ricos in 2199. A
number of satellites are visible. Earth One Shipyards, the main
orbital facilities of the Earth, may be seen in the lower-left.

Titan in 2199. La Tierra Nublada's colonial settlement, having
grown over the 30 years since landing, is visible in the
night hemisphere of the moon.

The success of La Tierra Nublada on Titan, and the continued growth of La Tierra Más Allá on Mars, spurred a renewed Ricano interest in space affairs. The nation had proved itself capable of reviving and maintaining its space agency, and now, with the Navakusta-class design being implemented across the Excelsior fleet, played a crucial role in humanity's conquest of the Solar System. The new generation of Ricanos, after having been discouraged by the last generation's civil war and unrest in the nation, led La Paz de Los Ricos into the 23rd century with optimism.

A pioneer in the space community with the success of Project Next Step, La Paz de Los Ricos was looked upon as one of the premiers in space colonization. The incumbent Tetralt, expected to continue the work of their predecessors, searched for further opportunities to expand Ricania's influence in the Solar System. With the interstellar manned flight projects in the works for the following century, the Tetralt dedicated the Ricano Omniflight Agency to assisting the effort in designing and ultimately constructing a vessel capable of flight to the Alpha Centauri system. Beyond this, the Tetralt took great interest in the Martian terraforming project, and committed its administration on La Tierra Más Allá to broadening the effort.

La Paz de Los Ricos also saw success within the nation itself. Alvore̜sod, following the implementation of Tetarolism decades earlier, saw stability and economic prosperity unlike anything which had been seen since the early 21st century. Along with the rest of humanity, Ricanos now saw longer lifespans, healthier lifestyles, and more opportunities for work in the space industry than ever before. The private sector in the nation exploded, lending La Paz de Los Ricos one of Earth's strongest economies for the time. Tetarolism, with its revision on term limits, also saw a more educated populace, and more political involvement. Ricanos felt secure in their new reformed government, and with consistently fair elections, Ricania thrived as the 23rd century approached. An unprecedented success, the United Nations viewed La Paz de Los Ricos as prime example for a successful modern nation-state.

By 2199, the new Ricano space effort was well underway. La Tierra Nublada, on Titan, saw increasing attention from the Tetarolist government. However, La Tierra Más Allá, on Mars, concerned the Tetralt. The recent Martian administrative shakedowns left many Martian colonies undermanaged, especially La Más Allá. La Paz de Los Ricos feared that the small aristocracy formed in the wake of the Fourth Reunification War may act in the absence of a stable Martian colonial government.

Turn of the Century

As the year 2200 dawned, the world anxiously looked upon the interstellar efforts of Excelsior. Starcraft designs were still being reviewed at this time, and the timeline for a colony ship's ultimate creation and launch was very much unclear. Rumors and speculation surrounding the efforts were abundant, and the affair was largely kept away from the public in order to safely and efficiently continue with the project. The world's space agencies worked tirelessly on the project, the Ricano Omniflight Agency chief among them. For its successes on Titan, and its innovations in spaceflight technologies put into practice, La Paz de Los Ricos was declared one of the head chairs of the effort, and much of the Tetarolist Space Angle's attention fell upon the interstellar project.

Many starcraft prototypes were submitted to Excelsior, many of them very promising. Repeated simulations of the voyage showed a large number of these designs could feasibly achieve the mission in several centuries. However, most of them, when examined in real-world conditions, were found to be unachievable with present technology. With this realization in mind, Excelsior began looking to previously-discarded methods and technologies, which would ultimately pave the way for the schism between humanity's worlds in the following centuries.

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