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I wrote this summary of the 2057 events about two years ago (2007), and technically it should be fairly rough. Somehow though, it’s managed to remain fairly close to my current thinking, which just goes to show how little I’ve thought about these events. Anyway 2057 is about six months before the Derelict, but well into the period of history widely known as Breaking Point.

Breaking Point was the beginning of the end for humanity. Population was at an all time high. Personal consumption varied massively between countries. Food was scarce, fossil fuels scarcer, and the heavy metals were just about exhausted. Fusion was technically functional, but no where near powerful enough to justify the expense, and the grand mining projects of the asteroid belt were twenty years away from paying off.

Whether or not the ensuing resource wars would have been the end of life as we know it is debatable. What is fairly certain though was that a war was coming, and as wouldn’t be an ideological war that could be diffused with clever words. It would be a war of survival, and everyone was motivated for their own countries best interests.

This lead to the formation of the last major blocs in the early fifties, the British Commonwealth and the African Middle-Eastern Alliance, which were basically resource protectorates, where an economically developed country would shelter a undeveloped, country in exchange for resources. For the Commonwealth this was India, Canada, Australia and Britain, and AMA, basically the continent of Africa[1]. The other factions were already in existence by this point, but came to the fore as the major powers[2] during this period.

United States

All counties can look back on a period of history and call it its darkest days and these are often said to be the USA’s. That said the United States weren’t actually in that bad a state, they are still the richest nation in the world though both China and The British Commonwealth were close and they were still one of the centres of innovation and investment. That however was just on the surface. Standards of education had dropped dramatically during the twentieth century and America was severely starved for resources being the smallest of all six empires. In addition a large amount of government control had been lost to corporate investment[3] and public opinion[4].

The ongoing resource crisis was a very large worry to America as, while their position as richest country was secure for the while, their dwindling resources and harsh import tariffs, pushed through by big business, would eventually force them out of any major discussions as their economy crumbled, and the government knew this. The US was therefore extremely concerned with expanding its territory and so preserving their way of life and was willing to use force if necessary. The mistrust of New Inca in the general populous made them the obvious target and before the Derelict arrived, it looked like that was where the war would break first.

In summary:

  • The USA was still very rich, mostly sponsoring technology and resource acquisition.
  • Their global presence was still quite powerful however international opinion of them was that an all time low.
  • Many space based companies had their headquarters in the USA and this left a residual sense of ownership in the general population.
  • The population is very religious and prone to believing what they are told by their government, this had led to problems in dealings with New Inca who many Americans believe to be heathens[5].
  • America has the largest concentration of pharmaceutical companies on the planet and its people are said to be some of the healthiest in the world, an image very much supported by the government.

New Inca

New Inca had been building up its economy for a decade and a half and was just beginning to benefit from its copious amounts of natural resources, its low reliance on oil and vast ethanol production capabilities. That said they were still undeveloped compared to the rest of the world and had been investing heavily in their army and space based assets[6] so their standard of living was practically unchanged over the last fifteen years, though, there were the beginnings of industry being outsourced to New Inca’s new factories.

In the world stage many countries were still very sympathetic to the New Incan cause and saw it as an ally to encourage rather than a potential rival and the New Incan leaders were keen to reinforce this image. Their ongoing struggles with America had actually been rather beneficial to the nation with solidarity among the varied peoples of South America at an all time high and the government had been playing Americans as bad guys rather strongly at the time, especially with a possible invasion looming on the horizon.

In Summary:

  • New Inca had good access to resources though little way to exploit them.
  • It was the least effected by the resource crisis.
  • They had very little land to expand into.
  • There were huge tensions between the USA and new Inca, New Inca and this was only compounded by the proximity of their space elevators.[7]

The African Middle-Eastern Alliance

AMA could only loosely be described as a cohesive faction at this point, but a faction it was. It still received more aid than any other group of nations in the world and still had the lowest standards of living in the world. On the other hand it had more resources than any other faction and the infrastructure to exploit it. Interestingly enough AMA was attempting to lower its dependence on other nations[8] by forcibly ceasing foreign businesses and threatening export embargoes on scant oil reserves to eliminate debt.[9]

Despite of this AMA did not have the same kind of economic power as the Commonwealth or China though admittedly had the best ground biased military since it had not technically been out of a civil war since formation. In terms of politics the AMAn nation is ruled by a coalition of leaders who each control an individual territory[10] which haven’t changed their boundaries in decades. There is one chairman who rules based on influence and voting weight of individual rulers is based on personal influence and their territories importance. The system is reasonably stable except for the fact several different territories hate each other with a blind passion and hence having a very large territorial army is a good way of not getting blown back into the stone age, and later, gaining influence. Officially war is discouraged but it actually is simpler to let one ruler to fight another than to try and stop them using the whole faction’s resources, in the end it turns out the stronger region was more useful and efficient anyway.

In Summary:

  • AMA had access to some of the richest natural resource deposits and had the infrastructure to exploit them; on the other hand it had to defend these interests both from other nations and internal conflicts.
  • The AMAn military was second only to the USA and only in technological terms; however they, like the USA, did not have the resources to take and hold another faction.
  • Standards of living were low, as was education, but free movement between territories was allowed so they were slowly improving.
  • The Government was one of the more efficient at the territorial level though the amount of competition at the higher levels made controversial decisions impossible and the faction could be slow to react on large issues were multiple territories were required to cooperate.
  • The AMAn economy was rather fractured and underdeveloped and major corporations tended to avoid the central territories due to the continuing civil unrest though they had some major interests in South Africa and the dwindling oilfields of the Middle East.

The British Commonwealth

The British Commonwealth was an odd faction compared to the others as the majority of its people and infrastructure were based in a very small area but most of its resources were based elsewhere. Because of this the British adopted very decentralised government[11], and there is once again encouragements for people to emigrate to Canada and Australia, though this time, from India. Technically the British were doing quite badly at the time, with comparatively little industry but they had a very large population and a huge area to expand into, though there were massive differences in population density.

Politically the British were still considered newcomers to the world scene but they controlled a sizeable portion of the world’s economy and most companies had at least a branch in the British Commonwealth for dealings with the English speaking world. Because of this they were an economic force to be reckoned with even though they were weak militarily at the time and due to their ongoing massive changes in government structure[12] they were slow to react to surprises and hence are the last to react to the Derelict’s arrival.

In Summary:

  • The Commonwealth controlled a sizable amount of global resources and population but had little or no control over it.
  • They were the centre of investment with many world banks within their borders and the government was strongly pushing industrial development.
  • The Commonwealth had little political clout with its recent formation and was facing large trade embargoes from the EU.
  • It had very little industry.
  • It had a very high average standard of education and a very high GDP per head.
  • Their armed forces were very weak and most of their space based presence was economic, surprisingly few space based companies had residence there.
  • The British space elevator was not built within England but India due to design limitations; this means that the AMA space elevator was used for large amounts of British cargo.

Russia

The modern Russian government formed in response to the rising amount of organised crime, falling standards of living and the many failed attempts of other nations to sort the whole situation out. A lot of focus at the time was placed on protecting the people and securing Russia’s place on the world stage and it would be fair to say that the party was socialist, though it went to extreme lengths to differentiate itself from the communist party and hence was extremely open in its policies[13]. The government was democratically elected 34 years prior and fought a long standing war on crime and poverty. While Russia was underdeveloped compared to the USA or China they still had huge amounts of land and resources available. Unsurprisingly their economy still surpassed AMA or New Inca, but not by as larger margin as they would have liked.

Russia’s military was mostly archaic, and they were the only reported users of technology made in the twentieth centaury with a fleet of repaired nuclear subs from the cold war. The rest of their military followed suit with some truly ancient technology being used thought it was still rather effective. On a global scale Russia had quite a lot of influence due to its size and resources[14], though it was generally considers suspicious due to its “Russia First” policy and only AMA had less corporate involvement though many in Russia viewed this as a good thing.

Russia did not have a particularly active space program, partly because it needed neither the resources nor the space but mostly because it had no equatorial control and so it is vastly more expensive for Russia to get into space. This did not stop the Russian satellite program, nor its exploration of other stellar bodies but prevented large scale commercialisation of space, though Russia is the only faction to have their stellar launch facilities in their industrial heartland.

In Summary:

  • Russia had good access to raw materials and had a reasonable economy but was undeveloped compared to its counterparts.
  • It was significantly more expensive for Russia to make any political move into space.
  • Russia’s military was outdated but still quite large and their nuclear arsenal was second only to the US[15].
  • Russia had less political influence than it would like due to residual fear of ‘The Red Menace’, while its modern policies were very different from the old regime there was still a great deal of exclusionism present in the country. This was not helped by the fact Russia was considered to be the only true socialist country at that point in time.
  • Russia controlled huge tracts of raw materials and was the number one to invade on any doomsday list[16], not surprisingly Russia was quite paranoid about this and guarded its supplies well.
  • Most would predict that Russia would come out of top during an economic slump.

China

At this point China had achieved what it had been threatening to do since the start of the twenty first centaury and was the capital of industrial power with a great deal of the worlds production and innovation going on within its borders. China however was not the world leader in several other fields such as computers and banking and its voracious growth had slowed somewhat in recent times as it was finally innovating rather than imitating. There were significant amounts of unrest in several areas across China over education, standard of living and political controls[17]. The government was also suffering from a massive deficit[18] and was desperately funding more sustainable interests as there are rumours that its vast stores of resources were beginning to run dry.

On the world stage China had reduced its military assets over the years due to the shortage of funds, though still had massive amounts of influence due to its control of a large proportion of the world’s industrial power. Incidentally the corporations had a very high presence in China, especially in the more industrialised cities. They had nowhere near the sway over the government that they had in America, but the government was well aware that if one or two of the larger ones left their economy may never recover[19]. China was also was very strong in space with a large number of defensive and possibly aggressive satellites in orbit along with the largest shipyard at the time tethered to their space elevator[20].

In Summary:

  • China had a great deal of industrial power but it is debateable whether they were running the industry or run by it. In addition, large scale industrial production was looking increasingly unsustainable, even assisted by short range stellar mining.
  • The country was undergoing an economic crisis at the time and while on the surface they appeared healthy the debts were beginning to build up and the reduction in military forces was the first symptom of problems ahead.
  • China was one of the more organised factions and quickly reacted to external events; its response to the derelict was almost immediate and only they and American dispatched ships in under a week.
  • Internal unrest had not yet reached a crisis situation but it was seen by many as inevitable that there will be some form of scission[21].
  • China had significant assets in space and was the number one supporter of stellar mining projects.

Author’s Comment

As I said earlier, this summary is old, and by that I mean Vast Worlds was still supposed to be a video game at the time. This means that the events here are not actually the mostly likely events in my opinion, but they provide the best footing for a game with plenty of political tension, various wars, and diverse faction types. Also it’s reached the point where I have so much timeline based off this that rewriting it would require me to redo pretty much everything, and that’s actually becoming a rather daunting amount.

Anyway, both the Independence and Corporation wars are mostly due to political decisions made at this point in history and so this background is helpful in understanding the motives and mindsets of the various factions. Interestingly, The Derelict only delayed these various problems, fifty years later when the colonisation boom was coming to an end American still had too little territory, China was still near rebellion, the Commonwealth still had more land than it knew what to do with, excreta excreta… I’m not to sure what this says about humans in my model, even something extraordinary happening only stops us bickering for a little while.


[1] Countries not initially entering into the agreement were gradually absorbed over the remainder of the century, forcefully or otherwise.

[2] A few other blocs were in existence, such as the EU and Polynesia, these, while adequate to protect their interests, never had the pushing power to do much more than toe the line and so I do not include them here.

[3] Corporate investment was extremely valuable to the US in this period due to their disastrous relationships with other counties and subsequent trade boycotts. Most of the corporations in question were American home made as big business have avoided the US since the Americas war, exports because of this are at a record low but imports are sky high though for now a combination of high-tech goods and internal trade kept the USA solvent.

[4] Many people at this point were strongly religious and form many of their opinions of foreign countries biased on past propaganda. Hence there was severe animosity to the non-Christian counties such as New Inca and AMA, a historic dislike towards China and Russia and The British Commonwealth simply didn’t want to deal with them.

[5] Scarily, it had reached the point where the government started believing the propaganda.

[6] Mostly due to the threat of invasion by the US.

[7] The New Incan is located at the base of the Amazon and the US’s in Cape Kennedy and were controversial in that they were the only orbital facilities to be armed at this point. While this is disliked by the majority of counties it is generally agreed that they keep each other in check and so could not use their destructive power.

[8] Though doesn’t refuse their money.

[9] This has sparked great tension over the years, especially the rescinding of resources and during its brief life AMA has be threatened by the USA, China and Russia though none were ever willing to cooperate enough to mount a joint invasion. The USA almost invaded but then they realised they would be fighting an entire content and this one had access to both space based, and nuclear, weapons.

[10] The AMAns refused to call them States.

[11] Something that helped the Commonwealth greatly when they eventually had to start managing an interstellar empire.

[12] The idea of everyone in The British Commonwealth having a vote and their being a single government running sizable tracts of four continents was having some problems with convincing people it will work, let alone instigating it. True integration is historically agreed to be many years after the derelict’s arrival.

[13] Well, to its citizens at least.

[14] Russia historically had lower export rate of raw materials than any other country in a similar situation.

[15] Whether any of the missiles they had declared actually worked is debateable.

[16] It’s suspected America has been held of so long only due the threat of New Inca.

[17] Several areas believed they would be better run by a more local government rather than the capital, especially the more rural and distant regions.

[18] Mainly due to the number of pensioners which significantly outnumber the current tax paying population.

[19] The Cray Group held sway over vast amount of the commercial Chinese stellar interests and Noble Shipbuilding has over seventy percent of its production centred around the Chinese space elevator.

[20] The Chinese space elevator was the only one that was actually on the equator. Both the Commonwealth and AMA have theirs off centre for economic reasons. New Inca’s is placed further south to avoid American airspace, America doesn’t cross the equator and Russia doesn’t actually have a space elevator but an assisted floater rocket system.

[21] Many people from the areas of unrest elected to leave for the colonies far earlier than those in regions closer to the capital. This meant many of the colonies historically do not get on well with the Earth government.

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