Humanity is divided on Earth, but they are United in the Colonies. Well, in theory anyway. Following the First Martian Revolution, Mars and her smaller sister colonies have blossomed as symbols of peace and prosperity. With the establishment of the Interplanetary Trade Commission in 2086 in Bradbury, resources flow between the colonies on quantum calculated schedules. Basic needs are met by the ITC, food, water, housing, and base resources. Compilers enable everyone to produce consumer goods at home with nary a thought. Capitalism in the colonies is comfortable at the margins, driving entrepreneurs to build a steady economy. Great cities, erected during terraforming, housed over a billion people on Mars, and the first space elevators at New Richmond and Skyport bring in new people every day. The lush Margaritifer Lowlands and the Hesiod Gulf Colonies are home to the largest concentration of people, but the smaller pseudo-states (territories in the eyes of the US on Earth) can be found in pockets across the planet. Be they long time American citizens, fleeing Mexican expatriates looking to stay in their adopted country, or Eurasians and Africans just looking for a better life, Mars and the rest of the colonies have become the homes of a second wave of pioneers, refugees and heros.
With the Rosalind Amendment, and a rubber stamp of approval from Congress, the colonies had the sense of unity and inclusion that was essential to stave off civil war, while allowing Earth to worry about what is wrong with Earth… at least that was the plan anyway. In practice, the Rosalind Amendment became a way for Earth to dump any problems they didn’t want to deal with on the colonies. Many of those new residents were Mexican expatriates looking to avoid deportation to Mexico and Central America. In 2093 the Tel-bn people requested asylum after the near destruction of their species following a decades long nuclear conflict. The United States on Earth refused their claim for resettlement on Earth, but per the Rosalind Amendment, the colonies could oblige them. When Earth finds a new way to discriminate against some poor souls, they find their way to the colonies; when prisons are overcrowded, they find their way to the colonies; and when some backwards regime fails, and exile is the last option, they find their way to the colonies. Generally these problems are handled reasonably well. Prisoners and exiles, tend to look at life in the colonies as a clean start, and don’t fall back into bad habits as easily, and the colonies are often the birthplace for many subcultures Earth doesn’t approve of, so they’re happy to take in people considered just a little too odd for polite society on Earth. Washington’s problems are usually taken care of with minimal effort from Bradbury, its getting the capital to reciprocate that’s the problem.
The Guardiola Foundation, a radical anti-colony faction of the aristocratic Mediterranean Union, had been antagonizing the Earth-Luna colonies for many years. Banning the sale of goods imported from the colonies, publishing Terran nativist propaganda, and in some cases attacking civilian spacecraft. In early 2099, the Guardiolas staged a major series of strikes on several Lagrangian and Lunar colonies. Deploying armored infantrymen and support drones against civilian militias. When the colonial governments, resident commissioners and the ITC all called on the Federal Government for help, they were met with deaf ears. As the Mediterranians are an ally of Mexico, and the Guardiolas are only a rogue faction, the US government on Earth refused to get involved directly as it would drive the US and Mexico to war after concluding one in South America only a few years earlier. The colonies were on their own. Mars was quick to send volunteers from its Colonial Guard forces, and the outer planets were not far behind, but by the time reinforcements arrived to put down the Guardiolas, over 100,000 people had been killed in combat or from decompression. It was only from the pleads of the ITC commissioner, often known as “the Other President,” that the colonies did not strike the Guardiola stronghold in Catalonia. The US government, in a desire to save face with its colonies, who had now positioned a very angry force of some 20,000 seasoned space warriors in orbit above Earth, launched a coordinated strike on the Guardiola Foundation’s headquarters, and issued joint warrants with the MU and Mexico for the arrest of its surviving members. This got the colonies to stand down, but they would not forget the betrayal by their own government.
Also, the US may have a ban on other countries having military activities in space, but surely other nations participated in non violent colonization of the solar system..? Or is everything off earth American? (besides Mexico later on)
So yeah, non-humans have all the same legal rights as their human neighbors, but its kinda like being black in America in the 1970s, or Gay in the 2000s. The fact that by 2130 some non-humans serve in the US armed forces, has certainly ruffled some feathers.
And no, the US has been alone in space colonization since WWIII. The Japanese had a series of moon colonies, but after WWIII the US was having none of that and annexed them. ITAR was used as the main excuse to keep non-Americans from flying to Mars in large quantities. The US was one of the few countries with the capability, and the only one with the resources to make large scale space colonization possible anyway. With the exception of a handful of research and manufacturing satellites, Space belongs to America, though the vast majority of people living in space by the turn of the century, were not actually born in America. They're all immigrants, so in a way you could say other nations did colonize space. Mexico has found a way around this with their Orbitals (which are also military platforms).
Can a united Earth effort bring Mars to its knees?
So when the Earth-Colonial Wars happen, I'm rooting for the Earth. Its more interesting than the Colonies are, so I think a win by them would be more interesting by far.
What drove mankind to immediately begin terraforming and colonizing mars so quickly from the first landings?
Every single organism on Mars is genetically engineered. You'll find similar species, and might confuse an Elysian Fir or a Hellenic Cypress for their terran counterparts (save for the fact that they grow much taller and more narrow, with leaves that are almost black), but all the flora and fauna are bred to live and thrive on Mars. The corals and trees are veined with the iron found in the soil of the planet, and the seas and land are dotted with creatures engineered based on long dead organisms from Earth's past changed to better fit the new world, or simply be more pleasing to human eyes, but all of them are either tame toward humans, or instinctively try to flee from them.
The Tel-bn are a cepholapod-like race, normally standing about 1.4 meters tall, that can contort their bodies to resemble just about anything (think mimic octopus). They have a definite head, midsection and manipulator limbs, but are very alien looking to humans. They don't need much more water than humans do to survive, and have long since become totally land dwelling, but to be more pleasing to humans they contort their muscles to produce a more human looking head and torso, wear human tops, and even wigs. They look almost cartoonish, and thus are largely accepted by humanity at large (at least in the colonies). For the last 24 Standard Years the Tel-bn have been fighting an apocalyptic war on their home world, that was largely concluded by nuclear weapons when humans arrived (the radiation spike from this is what alerted humanity to its presence). While the fighting mostly ended four years ago, a few factions remain, but the majority of the planet is so utterly decimated, that humans have directly taken over large portions of the world (at the behest of its inhabitants) to clean and rebuild their civilization.
What are the rest of the colonies in the Solar System like? And since humans have developed FTL spacecraft, have they settled any other star systems, or are they still just exploring?
Are there political/social/ethic/cultural/ideological differences extant or emerging between various territories?
Also just like to say I am loving this timeline...I've been working on my own for the past few years and come to some radically divergent conclusions, but there are also interesting overlaps - but what makes it most interesting to me is to see such a detailed, well thought out timeline that diverges from my own despite starting with the same data (today being the POD ). I don't think I know of any others on this site that are this well done
NASA has some mighty detailed photographs of the surface that I used, and tried to follow hills, valleys, river beads, and mountain ranges as best I could. You'll notice there are very few straight lines along the equator, that's because I figured it would be prime real estate for space elevators. As for cultural divisions, that hasn't been a problem as much as you'd think. While there are some cultural differences between each Territory, Mars wasn't just engineered to sustain life, it was engineered to sustain a planet wide civilization. Humans who sign up to move to Mars are settled with their families and a few friends, but they are intentionally mixed into large groups of people of varying backgrounds and cultures, with an effort to maintain a "Americanized," plurality. Every city, rail-line, and roadway was built with this goal of planetary cohesiveness in mind, all planned out for decades by quantum computer. Mars might experience a minor uprising, riot, or political extremist movement from time to time, but the level of inter-connectivity is designed to ensure that the planet will NEVER break up into the same fractious problems of Earth.
Makes a lot of sense if they are all part of some blurred mass migration from Earth, like that from Europe to America. To enhance cohesion they might emphasise their collective 'Martian-ness' although that would probably lead to calls for outright secession/independence for Mars down the line.
I was wondering - in this timeline for heavily populated countries like China and India to still be behind America, Mexico or, even more extreme, Poland, economic growth must have been pretty abysmal over the 21st century. Or is there another explanation for example significant population redistribution? Do you have any idea of roughly what the figures would be for the major players in terms of economic power and population?
The largest individual economies are (with respect to population):
- USA: 672m
- China: 816m
- Mexico: 335m
- India: 1,147m
- Brazil: 244m
I'll do a Venus and moon map one of these days, but I am not even going to attempt a map of the Jovians just yet.
Also, awesome pic and backstory!