Blog post Number 12 Written: 05-26-2021 Uploaded 04-11-2022
Note: I’m sorry I missed my regular upload date last Friday, I had some vehicle trouble and that messed up the whole weekend and I just never got around to it. So here it is, Monday, and I’m finally copy pasting my word doc. Also, notice the date when this was written, and the referenced date when the actual ideas were developed in my head. Due to current world events it seems in poor taste, but this is the way it worked out when I first put pencil to paper and fingers to keyboard in 2016 with these ideas. I worry they may come true, anyway, here’s the post.
So, I have explained this verbally to several people and beta readers and such. I think I actually have it written down somewhere too, but I have a headcannon timeline for significant events in the human timeline. Of significant note is that I was developing the idea for this in 2016/2017 before some of the major world events that have happened since then slightly derailed the political situation that could lead to those events of my head cannon. But not entirely, not yet anyway.
In the 2070s the economic collapse of the European Union leaves the continent in poverty-stricken disarray as crime skyrockets, and people are left starving, homeless and without basic amenities like electrical power and water.
Russia pulls several of their old submarines out of the docks, and spreads them along the European coastline, using their many reactors to provide electrical power and water filtration to several of the major coastal cities across the continent, and by the end of the decade is the defacto controller of the entire continent as troops march in unopposed (Or at least unopposed militarily) as “peace keepers” and seize land, becoming the new police force. The United States has weakened itself from generations of bad politics and trying to economically support the crumbling E.U. and does nothing, or can’t do anything to stop the Russian “humanitarian” take over of the entire European continent. At least nothing more than political murmurs of discontent and bluffing. This leaves the Russian Federation with a huge new pool of people to conscript in order to earn their citizenship. Their numerical power explodes and by the middle of the 2080’s the new, larger Russian Federation after this “Soviet Reunion” rivals both the numerical and technological power of China, which has come to dominate the world economy at the same time. Inflation, poor handling, and so on having ruined the value of the USD, allowing China to replace the United States as the economic headquarters of earth. These two ultra powers are really the only game in town by the end of the 21st century.
However, Russia is also, as ever, it seems, struggling on the edge of economic collapse itself. As it struggles to support itself and all the dispossessed Europeans it has now taken under their big red wings. China and Russia are also the only world powers with manned space programs (this is the part where I referenced the 2016/2017 timeline for me developing this idea. Citing that the United States without being able to put its own men in orbit will be left behind both technologically and economically in the future as space travel and colonization becomes a thing, but I digress.) In order to support all of these people the Russians turn to their space program and start capturing asteroids and nocking them out of their orbits. Bringing freshwater ice and huge amounts of precious metals such as titanium, platinum, and unirradiated iron back down to earth. (unirradiated iron, which can be refined into steel is a hugely valuable asset to medical instruments and functions. As all iron and steel that was above ground after 1945 when the united states nuked japan has been irradiated. And thus has imperfections and retains small amounts of background radiation and so on. There is a huge black market trade in selling scrap metal from WW I shipwrecks because the ships were underwater before the bombs were detonated and thus protected from the radiation. This purer unmolested metal can then be used to manufacture better, more precise equipment for medical and scientific purposes. But again I digress.)
Anyway, the Russian space program has both manned and unmanned missions that are successfully harvesting the first few resources from the depths of our own solar system. So by opening years of the 22nd century, there is a second cold war and a second space race between the new and expanded Russian Federation and the expanded Chinese goliath which by now had absorbed all the smaller Asian countries, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. creating a network of protectorate states from which they demand tribute known as the AACR or the Asian Australia Collective Republic. (yes Australia got included, forced to make a deal with China as they were abandoned by all their western allies which were now either Russian or in too poor of an economic state to help (like Japan and the United States)
So now this second cold war is in full swing and sees the development and widespread implementation of new powerful weapons, like rail guns, anti-missile lasers, lots of nukes are manufactured as NATO is gone and the UN is a joke, so there is no one with the power to enforce regulations or sanctions.
The AACR develops a powerful new space ship engine technology allowing single component fuel mixtures and exhaust velocities near 70% the speed of light and with some unmanned fuel and supply ships sent out ahead/ along the way, is able to send a scientific ship out to the Alpha Centauri star cluster. Only taking about twelve years for the scientists to get there. Humanity in the name of “science” has reached a new solar system for the first time. ( I say science in quotation marks to indicate sarcasm, meaning the Chinese were there for scientific purposes much like the Russian Almaz space stations were for scientific purposes and didn’t have aircraft autocannons and missiles onboard them while in orbit over earth during the first cold war, regardless of the actual science done onboard at the same time.)
Shortly afterward, somewhere in the 2125-2130 time frame a Hungarian mathematician ( now a Russian mathematician) Has a mathematical breakthrough and proves it’s possible to jump to the other dimensions of reality and by 2150 ish the first working prototypes are built and unmanned probes are sent through and it works and there is a huge revolution and by 2200 Both Russia and the AACR are pouring everything they have into manufacturing massive ark/ colony ships and send them to distant stars. The second cold war and the second space race isn’t won by landing on the moon, now the political dick measuring is done by how many solar systems each respective government can colonize. At this point, not much in the way of new technology is developed, but instead, huge strides are made in manufacturing as O-Neil cylinders are built and launched through the void to be delivered to places like Kepler 442, Trappist 1 and so on where possibly habitable planets are expected to be.
Early on, as this is still becoming common practice the Stalingrad colony ship is built and lost. Sometime around 2205-2210. The ship suffers a mechanical problem while in the other dimension and eventually overcomes this problem and returns to “real space” and arrives at their destination (Kepler 452B) but by now they are more than a year late and the frantic search to find this huge colony ship full of civilians has already ended. So even thought the ship has arrived at the right location but about a year behind schedule. None of the second wave of supplies or personnel never get’s sent to them. And the damaged Stalingrad is too crippled to leave. After the perceived loss of the Stalingrad, there is a shift in the colonization efforts as public outcry over the thousands of lost lives, and the brilliant scientific and engineering personnel and the children onboard and so on, things change, and the first wild decade of colonization becomes much slower and meticulous, but the goal remains the same, stick the Russian or Chinese flag in more stars than the other guy can. The survivors of the Stalingrad, without the supplies and support that was supposed to arrive for them, because they are believed dead, and their ship already damaged have no choice but to land on Kepler 452 B. Eking out an existence on the hot, heavy, slightly irradiated surface.
So for the next 200 years, Russian and China spread out across the galaxy establishing colonies where ever they can. Most are small, geostationary ring-shaped space stations with a thousand or two people. Larger colonies will be an Oneil cylinder or two. Each cylinder was designed to house and feed roughly 125,000 people. Humanity spreads itself thin over thousands of distant and isolated solar systems if only actually landing on a handful of planets. Those few actual planets that are colonized are often home to a couple of moderate cities and populations of a a few hundred thousand to a hand full of millions. But the numbers are growing rapidly as the wild west style opportunism grabs hold of humanities spirit of adventure.
Meanwhile what’s left of the population of earth is left to their own devices as the Russian Federation and the AACR spread outwards, leaving the planet behind to become an overused backwater, like an old smelly sneaker.
But that sneaker has some tread left, and the surviving business of corporate America, and others such as India rise up, creating a corporate-controlled world without the over reach of large effective governments, becoming a true unregulated free market. Fast-forward through the next 200 ish years to the story’s current timeline in 2500’s and these corporations have the bulk of humanities manufacturing ability, and horde all the coolest technologies for themselves, as well as establishing self sustaining private colonies around several stars such as Alpha Centauri and Trappist 1 solar systems in addition to the Sol system. While they have been busy sticking their flag in everything the RF and AACR haven’t taken as many steps forward technologically after the discovery of interdimensional travel.
This leads us to the present 2505 ish time period where The Descendant takes place. The colonization efforts are still ongoing, with RF and AACR militaries still staring each other down in a now centuries-long cold war, with hatred bred into the populace. The unrestricted free-market corporate capitalism has transformed the Sol system into a small, bright, and technologically advanced gem of wealth and diversity without spreading its tendrils any father than 10 ish light-years in any direction and now, some 200-250 years removed from the crash of the Stalingrad, our main character and hero ZostaMax struggles to survive on the hot surface of Kepler 452B as the last of their technology dies out and the ship’s ancient reactors gets cold.
And with this backdrop on the stage, I answer the Fermi Paradox as Humanity makes first contact, again…