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2057

  • The first ship is sent to intercept the Derelict in less than two days, an American scout, the Valiant, which was prospecting the asteroid belt. While the ship expends all its mission fuel it reaches the derelict before it passes the orbit of Jupiter[1] and rides it until further ships can reach it.
  • The second ship, a Chinese hauler reaches the derelict bringing much needed supplies for the Valiant and begins the first stripping of the derelicts systems,  its arrival back at Radiant One is considered one of the more momentous occasions of the centaury and the current ‘Stars day[2]‘ is celebrated on this date.
  • The derelict rush begins with every ship with fuel in its tanks making a bid for the derelict which through luck or happenstance passes within a tenth of an AU of earth. While a great deal of the technology from the derelict seemed to have been removed long before humanity found it enough was found to revolutionise human understanding of the universe.
  • After two months the derelict finally goes beyond humanities range and hits the sun three weeks later. While all technology is agreed to be shared equally the sheer volume of material salvaged ensured that some faction got information others didn’t[3].
  • Within a few months life on earth returns to normal, space fever ebbs somewhat and humanity redoubles the SETI program though given the derelicts slow speed, massive weapons damage and its total abandonment it is doubtable that it was a direct attempt to contact humanity. Many suggest that the mere fact the derelict was clearly a battleship is evidence to suggest that we shouldn’t try and contact potentially hostile alien species, while the popular interpretation of an ET doesn’t change all government funded first contact projects slowly fade away[4].

 

2059

  • After two years of failed back engineering projects the first identical copy of a derelict technology is produced, admittedly it was over one thousand times larger than the original but when a large enough current was passed through it the device successfully cancelled out all the effect of acceleration in the space above it. Simultaneously it causes an attractive effect towards itself of about 1.2g, when placed on a centrifuge no motion was detected, even at centripetal accelerations of up to 20g’s[5]. Within a month an active panel was launched on the mag-rail, with no change in the field strength being detected, and a further month later, live and delicate cargo was being hurled into orbit, humans swiftly followed though the power demands were initially extortionate. This technology was quickly nicknamed gav’ panels by spacers and was standard for nearly every ship build after this point.
  • A sister material, dubbed null panelling, was successfully created from back engineered technology. While the cause of the effect is mysterious, it appears to cause high energy particles to spontaneously lose said energy, converting it into heat. This is quickly adapted for nearly all radioactive fuel sources, and the power output of fusion and fission reactors trebled overnight. The first fusion reactors built using this new technology could power tens of millions of homes and massive construction projects begin globally.

 

2060

  • Metallurgy breakthroughs brought about by study of Derelict based technologies revolutionise the space industry and multiple shipyards are built in orbit[6].
  • The first plans for arcologies are drawn up to cope with the increasing populations in cities.
  • Venus is officially settled despite a semi permanent research station being present of the planet for five years, efforts to reduce the surface temperature cause a global cooling of a degree in less than five years. While this is not a great amount predictions show it could be terraformed into an Earth like planet by 2200.
  • The first ‘nulled’ fusion reactors come online and the world’s energy crisis ends within a few months, taking with it a large chunk of global tensions. For once the major factions are at a loss over what to fight about and settlement projects are planned across the solar system to stake a claim on various resources, particularly the heavy metals.
  • The first replica of a jump drive is produced, while it is immense compared to the originals it proceeds to function perfectly and instantly smashes itself into a wall. Research continues.
  • The first official incident of piracy occurs as a freighter on route to Mars disappears without a trace, privateers are suspected but this never confirmed.

 

2065

  • Off planet population reaches ten million people spread across the solar system, while this is a fraction of that on Earth immigration off world is disturbingly high[7], especially now with the promise of near Earth conditions across the system.
  • The first foundation rod for the Beijing arcology is placed, nearly a quarter of a mile long the supported building could potentially reach over a mile into the sky. The London and Deli towers are begun a year[8] later quickly followed by two more Chinese and a Russian, no other factions actually start building arcologies but many cities world wide adopt mass population projects[9].
  • The first successful jump drive test takes place and transports one research ship beyond the orbit of Jupiter in under a microsecond. While it takes two months for the ship to be retrieved humans have officially travelled faster than light for the first time in history. The second space boom begins.

 

2070

  • Fusion rockets, the first true hybrid of human and derelict technology, are perfected and private space interests boom with Noble Shipbuilding quickly experiencing one of the largest incidents of corporate growth this century.
  • The outer planets are explored within a few months of each other. Pluto and the moons of Uranus and Neptune all see human life for the first time in history[10].
  • The first interstellar jump is performed after six failed attempts to reach alpha centuri[11], while the process uses huge amounts of fuel its is nowhere near the same amount as if the journey was made slower than light.
  • Massive hydrogen refining projects begin across the surface of Saturn and over one hundred thousand people emigrate to the various satellites in under a year[12], a movement brought about by the massively reduced travel times due to the jump drive.
  • Exploration of other solar systems begins with over a dozen colonisable systems being discovered in under a year, further exploration is limited by fuel and supplies but claims over planet ownership begin to spark tensions between the major factions[13].
  • The first ever interstellar colony is founded on Alpha Centuri [2072], a historic achievement for humanity. Fomalhaut [2074] and Sirius [2075] follow a few years later[14].

 

2075

  • The first national colony is founded on Arcturus[15] [2075] by the British Commonwealth quickly followed by the Chinese on Procyon [2075] and the Russians on Vega [2076]. Massive amounts of money are sunk into each colony and many wondered why Russia was willing to make such an expense at the time[16] especially due to their weakened economy.
  • Denebole [2078], Merak [2078] and Altair [2079] are settled by the New Incan, AMA and Commonwealth governments respectively. Many question the wisdom of the Commonwealth settling another planet when there first was still under heavy development and the same goes for the US not colonising anywhere at all, and placing themselves in danger of being left behind as the other factions had practically hextupled their land area in under a year[17].
  • The free trade industry exploded[18] with the cheep synthesis of ships materials perfected by Pageant Industries who quickly begin to dominate British shipbuilding. Other companies soon catch up but Pageant retains its place as a major corporation.
  • With the availability of cheep shipping the cost of transporting people interstellar plummets and millions purchase tickets to new colonies, especially from the factions various minority groups[19].

[1] This incident provoked the USA to claim right of salvage on the derelict, a claim that was overturned by the UN and threat of arms. The derelict was deemed to valuable to belong to any one government, especially as its suicide trajectory towards the sun had already been discovered and humanity couldn’t afford to waste any time scrapping over it.

[2] Stars day is the celebration of humanity gaining the ability to travel interstellar, while it didn’t actually start until the first colony was settled ten years later it is one of the few holidays that persist across the settled galaxy.

[3] This was forbidden by international agreement but is the closest thing to an explanation of the remarkable technology behind Rayy guns and plasma cannons.

[4] Incidentally twenty years after the derelicts discovery the Voyager probes were retrieved and now one resides in the American Spaceport. The other is owned by a private collector.

[5] The later limit was discovered at roughly 25g (25.38g to be precise).

[6] Many of the patents for production of these materials were held by Pageant industries.

[7] During this period several factions begin to set emigration limits, especially Russia, America and China who all suffer from a shortage of workforce.

[8] Many argue that all three projects were rushed in order to compete though the atrocious safety figures quoted at the time are never quite realised.

[9] The most famous of these are the Streets of Manhattan. The Streets of Manhattan resulted from the massive amount of congestion that was occurring in the city; eventually a second arterial highway was built five stories above the original greatly reducing traffic problems. In 2068 this network was expanded to all other major roads and 2076 the last ‘ground level’ road was covered. Many buildings now sport two entrances, high and low.

[10] Sadly this final discovery proves that Earth is the only planet in our solar system to support multicellular life. This is a fairly redundant as three other stellar bodies as three other stellar bodies were being terraformed at the time and therefore had at least bacteria on their surface, Martian terraforming was proceeding slowly, and the moon boasted proto-oceans.

[11] A true appreciation of just how precise a jump had to be was gained during this time and why a good distance from the central stellar body was needed. Most of the early jump vessels missed their targets by light-years due to the sheer complexity of the required calculations.

[12] This is about 300 people or six standard liners a day, an unprecedented movement of people into space.

[13] Initially the colonisation efforts are joint attempts, most notably the colony on Alpha Centuri I, but additionally both Sirius and Fomalhaut are very multicultural holding no real allegiance to a particular faction and being mostly funded by a consortium of the EU and Japan.

[14] Sadly these colonies were funded by the rapidly ailing united nations and budgets dried up

[15] Arcturus is generally agreed to be the first arcology colony where the main building structure was dropped from orbit and the infrastructure built later. This contrasted strongly with the bubble cities and pressure building used in many other colonisation attempts, though while it was expensive the colonies started by arcology seemed to grow proportionally faster. This may have been an artefact of how these systems were run however.

[16] At this time costs of interstellar travel and journey times were quadruple those of 2100 and there was very little of the supporting infrastructure.

[17] The US was unable to press any major colonisation efforts through the government due to the popular sentiment against space exploration. ‘God’s Country’ was fairly influential in many of the southern states and successfully boycotted government expansion for many years

[18] Many ships were retrofitted to become interstellar in this period as this even boosted their in system speed. A Space elevator to surface trip to Mars took roughly a week and a round trip just below a fortnight. Interstellar flights could take anywhere up to a month for a single jump and still the success rate was just under four out of five but many private ships emerged, and a lot of these were owned by small shipping firms and sole traders.

[19] The Commonwealth took advantage of this pioneering spirit by offing to pay for transport and offer citizenship to anyone willing to emigrate to a British colony. Tens of millions applied.

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