This week I received some input on A&A from friends of mine from way back… Derek, who I’ve known since college (nearly 30 years now) and Mike, who I’ve known since my days at Sybase (more than a decade). Both offered some intriguing feedback.
But first, we’ll take a look at the wacky history that we’re creating for this fantastic science fiction world. And that involves going all the way back to 1997 in the real world.
In 1997, Moebius Adventures was working on a number of titles that never saw the light of day. Covert Directives was one of those. It featured an alternate history that involved a second battle at the Alamo (and a nuke), a second American Civil War, and numerous worldwide corporate interests. This was well before the events of 9/11 in the real world and the events that followed.
That game was set to begin in 2025, one year before the Luna 1 Colony was established. (And eventually we’ll get to revisit that world and the insanity it presents in a different game!)
Aliens & Asteroids picks up two hundred years from that point, so we have some ground to make up.
Aliens & Asteroids
With the establishment of Luna 1 in 2026, a new vista opened up. Corporations were already chomping at the bit to begin mining the untold riches of the asteroid belt and there had been numerous unmanned and manned trips to Mars, both successful and unsuccessful. But as soon as a permanent base was established, the technology was proven to be reliable enough to take the risk.
The first orbital shipyard was built soon thereafter and the first permanent settlement on Mars was built in 2041, a mere 15 years after Luna 1. Placed in Arcadia Planitia it was well stocked through the supplies sent year after year before the actual crew arrived. Terra-forming began almost as soon as the first domes were put up, but that was a longer-term project from the start.
The Belt Mining Alliance was formed in 2052 as a collective of corporate interests legally defending the claims they’d been struggling to protect against government acquisition (fascinating article on asteroid mining here). And it was about that time that the populations of Earth began revolting against the dichotomy of plenty. Those who worked for the corporations benefiting from space industries were profiting handily from the discoveries made with mining, zero-g and low-g manufacturing, scientific advancements, and so on.
The violence really began in 2059 with the burning of Washington D.C. and the downward spiral continued from there. Anybody who could afford to leave Earth did so in a hurry and the population boom on Luna and Mars was a boon and a bane to all forward progress. Small orbiting stations cropped up around several of the larger asteroids in the belt — Ceres, Vesta, and Pallas seemed to spring up almost overnight as thousands of people legally and illegally headed to the stars.
Of course, the corporations were waiting in the wings the whole time to pick up the pieces on Earth. In 2065, CEOs of the top five corporations formed a shared cooperative known as the “Dominion of Humankind” — or simply “The Dominion.” This new organization would provide shared services and materials to all members great and small.
Anyone who worked for a corporation on Earth or elsewhere in the Sol system immediately gained access to health benefits, a steady paycheck, and even corporate-sponsored housing. The corporate-run country of Mikosia (founded in 2006 during the Second Civil War of the former United States) became the model for the Dominion across the world and beyond. The Mikosians proved that money and control could work hand-in-hand to advance technology, improve the quality of life, and increase profits, all at the same time.
By 2100, the last of the world governments was abolished. They simply couldn’t compete with a truly corporate world. The Dominion’s domination was complete.
Stay tuned for part 2!