The Background Thus Far

Discussion of the background, history & universe
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The Background Thus Far

Postby schoon » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:40 pm

What Joshua has teased us with thus far is this; I can't wait to see more - it sounds very dynamic.
How do the factions see themselves?

The Ijad are a culture (and species) that sees value in small, personal-scale, symbiotic and homeostatic societies. It is anti-imperialist and has learned to fight against the oppression of the Solar Union. They don't distinguish between human and Ijad by species, but by moral acceptance of their ideals of symbiosis.

The Solar Union is an enormous society spanning the second, third, and fourth planets of the Sol system, as well as many of the satellites of Jupiter. In order to support its existing population, it needs more resources than are available in the system. It sends out its colonists to return resources from other solar systems.

The Free Colonies are the abandoned colonists of the Solar Union, drained of their colonies' resources and left to starve. They began the fight to gain what they need to survive, but as its proceeded, they've come to realize that they need to federate in order to gain a bargaining position.
So, from their enemies' positions, the factions look like this:

The Ijad are alien brain parasites, religious fanatics who are spreading through the human population.

The Solar Union is an empire ruled by corporate interest, bent on draining the galaxy into its own pockets.

The Free Colonies are terrorists, traitors against both their homeland and their own religious values.

But no one looks like a bad guy to themselves. War is evil done in the hope of good coming from it.
History

245 years ago, the nations and corporations, independent planets, and satellites of the Sol system united into the Solar Union. After centuries of war over diminishing resources, their rulers, boards, and collectives had finally agreed to a network of trade that would benefit them all. To commemorate the dawning of this unified age and its promise of 10,000 years of prosperity, the organization established a single calendar to unite all the worlds, the Solar Calendar, beginning in the year 0000.

It was rapidly becoming clear that no amount of winning would gain more resources than the system already had. In order to gain more resources, they had to come in from outside the solar system. But, while interstellar travel was theoretically possible through a system of wormholes, it was economically infeasible unless the monied powers of the Sol System combined their efforts and resources.

Once they did, they began sending out small groups of colonists to planets deemed potentially productive. Interstellar travel was (and remains) expensive, though, taking energy proportionate to the square of the mass of objects being sent. To minimize costs, they kept the number of colonists to a minimum by sending them along with "labor frames" — machines that make it possible for one colonist to do the work of six. The colonists would pay the SU back for their passage and equipment over time by sending back shipments of valuable chemicals, local biota, and the occasional improvement to frame design.

By SC 0100, the Solar Union was entering a period of rapid expansion, with its Terran Transit Authority authorizing the opening of new stargates constantly across the galaxy. The Sol system itself had two: one orbiting Earth, another orbiting Mars, and two others under construction in orbit of Jupiter and Venus. Those resulting four remain to this day, a lynchpin of the Solar Union's success.

As the galactic survey proceeded, the SU refined their process to find ever more productive planets. As the price of the goods from those planets went down with their abundance, the earlier waves of colonists found themselves on impoverished colonies with no way to pay their return. When the Solar Union found itself with no reason to invest in those colonies further, the colonies found themselves abandoned.

Exacerbating the issue was a growing disagreement on Mars. Divided into two states — the Northern Republic, a Terran trade stopoff on the way to the Jovian satellites, and Southport, a smaller but wealthier nation backed directly with Jovian hydrogen, the two disagreed vehemently on the terraforming future of the planet. The Republic, with its much larger population, reliable value to Earth, and low altitude, found itself directly threatened by the plan and objected with the approval of its Terran friends. Southport, with its smaller, but wealthy population, stood to gain much from an independent Mars with its own ecosystem. When the Republic's armies attacked terraforming systems dropped by Jovian orbiters, they found themselves at war with the forces of nature and those wielding them; once the terraforming process had begun, they had no way to stop it. The Republic flooded in SC 0175, drowning both of its major cities under glacial water. Much of the region's population became vagrant, taking to the shrinking equatorial deserts in caravans as the planet's atmosphere thickened. Those who didn't, found themselves working for anyone who would pay.

In SC 0198 the SU ran into its first major challenge. It discovered a planet called Celiel, rich in biological and chemical resources. The celebration of the incoming colonists was cut short when the biological resources of the planet turned out to include not only an aggressive parasite, but an aggressive and intelligent parasite.

The parasites, calling themselves "Ijad" (the Ijad word for "people"), lived on many of the local lifeforms, becoming full symbiotes when they found the right individual. The Ijad's moral and social life revolved around a religion, one of the central tenets of which was that no individual should control the actions of another they can't touch. Over time, this had become a taboo against any sort of rule from afar, keeping the scale of Ijad societies small and tribal-scale.

When humans, answering to a ruler thousands of light years away, arrived and began sending their food, their materials, and (in one badly-received misunderstanding) families across the galaxy, they found the situation offensive, immoral, and downright sacrilegious.

At first, the humans were unattractive hosts. They acted immorally, were clumsy and ignorant, and dangerously greedy. The Ijad began to resist their presence, sabotaging their equipment and riding the humans' livestock to freedom.

But when prices dropped in SC 0212 upon the discovery of a yet newer, more productive colony and poverty began to set in to the colony, many Ijad found the humans increasingly willing to listen. Several began to see the wisdom of the Ijad way of life, joining their tribes and becoming citizens in their towns. Some met Ijad and eventually bonded with them, while others never became close enough to an Ijad to join. All, though, according to the Ijad, are now people; they act according to their will and in accordance with those in their community, and so act according to the instructions of God.

When one such tribe of colonists and Ijad tried to begin selling on its own terms through the local stargate, the local police arrived prepared for violence. The act of force was countered by an act of force, with the colonists fighting back with their labor frames. The colonists and Ijad lost that battle, with a dozen killed and twenty imprisoned for interrogation. In months, though, they had adapted the labor frame technologies for Ijad of all species into highly mobile units capable of evening the odds. By the time the Terran Trade Marines arrived through the stargate, they discovered it completely controlled by local interests. They fought a hard retreat to get their transport back through the stargate, returning to Solar territory bearing intelligence of an alien invasion.

Over the next ten years, Ijad used their captured stargate to spread their religion to other abandoned colonies. As it so spread, so grew fear in the halls of the Solar Union. Because of the cost of sending matter through stargates, they opted for the less expensive option: recruiting from local colonies. In SC 0216, the United Mars Foreign Legion was formed to build self-sustaining militaries of mobile frame units on troublesome colonies. Answering to, trained, and paid by the Solar Union, the UMFL is nonetheless drawn from local populations. They are equipped with mobile frames that can be built and rebuilt from common designs. They use these "standing tanks" to great effect in their efforts to protect the lifeblood of the starving Solar Union.

This did not sit well with the Ijad-indoctrinated local populations under such control. In SC 0240, a UMFL company arrested the popular mayor of the town of Quall for refusing to sell their exports at the SU market price. The subsequent riot ended abruptly when eight mobile frames, built from labor frame parts and painted in matching orange colors, engaged the unprepared Legionnaires in a high-speed, running battle through the streets of Quall. Despite the loss of two of the colonists' frames, the Legionnaires present were all killed or imprisoned in the town jail. Quall is now considered the first appearance of the Free Colonies movement.

Seeing the successes of the Free Colonies (and its discussions of federation) as further expansion of their enemies, many of the Ijad now see no distinction between the Free Colonies and the Solar Union. Those agreeing with the principle now seek to counter, using the now well-understood technologies of the stargates and mobile frame to begin their own expansion, forcing back those who would rule them from afar.

The year is now SC 0245. The Free Colonies are a force to be reckoned with, working out of cells and using stargates captured from the TTA. The Ijad push out, expanding tribe-by-tribe across the galaxy in the hopes of pushing the humans and their greed-god away. The Solar Union is expanding more slowly than its needs are increasing and desperately needs new and bigger colonies.

Strap in, pilot. This is gonna be rough.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Soren » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:08 pm

This is a placeholder post to remind me that I'm not going to say anything about the setting until the book is done.
I worked on the setting and mecha design, but my opinions are personal. I am not the fun police.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby schoon » Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:01 pm

Soren wrote:This is a placeholder post to remind me that I'm not going to say anything about the setting until the book is done.

...and we are all insanely jealous of your foreknowledge! ;)
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Ken » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:41 pm

Soren wrote:This is a placeholder post to remind me that I'm not going to say anything about the setting until the book is done.


Tease!
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby The Trilobite » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:13 am

This is sweet. The background presented here gives lots of opportunities for story-based skirmishes, and leaves room for one's own imagination to run with the possibilities.

I prefer universes like this: with the broad picture well-defined, but without the excessive detail that makes one feel as though everything significant has already been accomplished by pre-existing characters. This strikes that balance.

And speaking of balance, there's also a nice balance in that there seem to be good, well-thought-out elements back by others that are chosen for fun. Nice!
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Roger » Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:59 pm

Is there anything in canon regarding the Martian moons of Deimos and Phobos? Working on putting together a little early backstory for the squad.


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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Ramcat » Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:26 am

So, I've had this thought. There might be nations on some of the free colonies.

From the background we have so far:
The year is now SC 0245. The Free Colonies are a force to be reckoned with, working out of cells and using stargates captured from the TTA. The Ijad push out, expanding tribe-by-tribe across the galaxy in the hopes of pushing the humans and their greed-god away. The Solar Union is expanding more slowly than its needs are increasing and desperately needs new and bigger colonies.


Why would they be 'working out of cells' if they owned their planet or colony?

Each stargate is a colony unto itself (by sheer size), but their fatal flaw? I presume they cannot grow enough food to feed themselves? Maybe they need a planet to support them? And why would the colony planets be starving - they would have low population (due to transport costs) and could produce more food than they could eat. They only way they'd be starving is if the food was being forcibly taken off planet.

And another thing - If stargates are not gate to gate travel (Stargate SG-1 style) but gate to point in space, any trip could be considered one way if the loyalty of the in-system stargate is compromised. There would be no way to turn on the startgate and beam back, without retaking it through combat or deception. Also troops sent to a combat zone would have to consider it a win or die situation. Without winning and having a local stargate to beam back they are doomed to lose by attrition - unless they have a planet side nation to provide support, repair.

Also, what is the cost of a stargate? How many years does it take a startup colony to build one? There would be no exports to Earth until one was built. Presumably, due to this, a colony drop would have the essential components to build a one-time, one-shot stargate. An emergency return to earth if the target system had no habital planets.

Why is the Solar Union starving? Just all the mouths to feed? Or is it also the human desire to 'keep up with the Joneses', their desire to have the latest exotic thing drives the consumption of resources?

Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the backstory, I'm just exploring some of the implications.... What do you all think?

Oh, it's hard to wait for the book.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Mantisking » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:27 am

Ramcat wrote:Why is the Solar Union starving? Just all the mouths to feed? Or is it also the human desire to 'keep up with the Joneses', their desire to have the latest exotic thing drives the consumption of resources?

Because the SU has the same problem every empire does. It must keep expanding to find more resources but, no matter how fast or how much it expands, those resources are never enough.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Roger » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:55 am

Ramcat wrote:Why is the Solar Union starving?


I blame it mostly on the Great Peach Truck Pileup of 0213-0215.



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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Mantisking » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:59 am

Ramcat wrote:Why is the Solar Union starving?
Roger wrote:I blame it mostly on the Great Peach Truck Pileup of 0213-0215.

I see what you did there.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Ramcat » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:04 pm

Mantisking wrote:Because the SU has the same problem every empire does. It must keep expanding to find more resources but, no matter how fast or how much it expands, those resources are never enough.


The funny thing is, we have enough resources. Actually the world has enough resources and to spare. But our allocation systems and requlations do not use our resources wisely. In my own community, in the last 20 years I've watched hectare after hectare be turned into housing and retail. All the good farmland (that was close and convienent) is gone.

Perpetuate those poor regulations, human greed, and continued population growth over hundreds/thousands of years into the future and you have the Solar Union. Venus, Earth, Mars, and Jovian satellites burgeoning with billions (maybe 50 billion+) of souls. What hasn't been directly mentioned is Earth's moon or the moons of Mars, or more significantly the terraforming technologies available to the Solar Union. The power of their technology has been mentioned, in that Mars gained a sea in the terraforming process. Wow.

I would presume that the moons of Earth and Mars and L4 and L5 earth/moon points are populated. Perhaps even the asteroids at Sun/Jupiter L4 and L5 have been colonized. The only question is, can the artificial satellites, such as the stargates, feed themselves. Hydroponics and 24 hour sunlight should provide enough food. But power for heat and electricty could be another matter.

Needless to say we have a situation of too few resources, too many mouths, abandoned societies, and a motivated militant alien species bent on pushing back the human invaders. Ah, and most importantly, a powerful and motivated Solar Union, determined to expand and harvest the resources of every planet it can, thus perpetuating the situation. Or at least continuing to create new colonies, soon to be abandoned, left to find their own way to survive.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Dukayn » Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:29 pm

Ramcat wrote:And why would the colony planets be starving - they would have low population (due to transport costs) and could produce more food than they could eat. They only way they'd be starving is if the food was being forcibly taken off planet.

This is I guess the reason for that (from original post): The Free Colonies are the abandoned colonists of the Solar Union, drained of their colonies' resources and left to starve. So yes, I would say the Solar Union, when they abandoned those colonies, took all their food and other resources.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Olothontor » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:17 am

Dukayn wrote:
Ramcat wrote:And why would the colony planets be starving - they would have low population (due to transport costs) and could produce more food than they could eat. They only way they'd be starving is if the food was being forcibly taken off planet.

This is I guess the reason for that (from original post): The Free Colonies are the abandoned colonists of the Solar Union, drained of their colonies' resources and left to starve. So yes, I would say the Solar Union, when they abandoned those colonies, took all their food and other resources.


That's actually an interesting point, and possibly yet another reason to stack on as to why the Free Colonies are rebelling in the first place; the SU is repeatedly returning, often armed to the teeth, to take resources from the colonies to support themselves. Colonies that don't have the parts or money to spare just have to deal with it. Colonies that do have these things build themselves frames and fight back.

On the other hand, the fluff does go out of its way to say that the SU has abandonded the colonies. So I'm not sure.

And yeah. It is quite difficult to wait for the book. I'm on the edge of my seat!
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:41 am

I'm sure you guys would prefer for me to actually be writing the book, so I'll be Supaa brief.

Empires put a great deal of energy into their expansion. It gets harder and harder to expand but, of course, Every linear expansion of the empire brings an exponential increase in the costs. It's just not clear what those costs are. The Solar Union is a 20th century-style soft empire. The colonies don't technically have their goods stolen; they sell them to the SU. But the SU hasn't allowed them full participation, in that they're straight up poorer. So the SU sets a "fair market price" and will only pay that — or at least "recommends" it to the corporation in charge of a particular expedition. On Quall, that corporation backed up that price with force. It's a price the SU can't afford to exceed and the colonies can't afford to get because, locally, the value of those goods has skyrocketed as they exhaust them, either by using up rare resources of by being unable to produce more without further investment.

The "abandonment" phase comes when a colony's resources have become worthless on the market because other, newer colonies are better at producing those resources. That means older colonies can't trade the goods they have for the goods they need. The Free Colonies have started setting up a parallel economy, the existence of which is a direct threat to the SU's power structure. It will have (is having? How's this going on Orion 6?) the effect of increasing the prices of the goods the SU needs because there are other buyers — other colonies. That's a direct threat to the SU's ability to continue to feed its people.

The Ijad factor into this because the only thing stopping them from being like the SU is an ethic that hasn't been challenged for millennia. The last time they had an emperor-like entity, it went very badly and they learned the lesson. No one has been able to succeed at such a venture since due to their religious prohibitions that just keep such ideas from ever catching on — until the colonists showed up on their doorstep. Let's see how long their resolve lasts. What they want is to be as big a pressure on the SU as the SU is on them so it simply goes elsewhere. That means establishing colonies in other solar systems...

Transit gates are like little colonies, yeah. Think of them as port towns; reliant on shipping for all of their goods but those produced by their immediate neighbors. When you use a transit gate to send matter or data to another solar system, it's pretty imprecise. You probably don't exactly hit orbit. And you sure don't want to try to get so precise that you lit atmosphere because who knows what your incoming velocity will be. So you go for moon distance and see what you get. Having another transit gate at the other end makes it far, far more precise. A solar system with a transit gate can bring in materials bound for any body in that system. They take years to build, yes. When a colony is established, it's the first thing a colony has to pay for. They have to feed and equip themselves, too. So they start off in debt, but with the promise of riches of their newfound colony. They start producing to get out of debt, then find the value of their output dropping, and still have to support the colony, its expensive transit gate, populated and operated by locals but policed/defended by the Terran Transit Marines. I'm sure some colonies are now considering scrapping their transit gates for the resources they contain, which furthermore makes attack less practical, but eventually those colonies will be lost to history, unable to even communicate between the stars.

Can't write more now. Sorry, guys! I hope this gives some clarity!
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby MittenNinja » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:43 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:It will have (is having? How's this going on Orion 6?) the effect of increasing the prices of the goods the SU needs because there are other buyers — other colonies. That's a direct threat to the SU's ability to continue to feed its people.


Absolutely! The combination of Orion 6 opening up trade with the infant federation and the sheer amount of valuable resources on the planet is what is keeping the SU investing in maintaining a presence there. If the SU can beat out the resistance they will have enough materials to supply expeditions to numerous other galaxies. Since the federation is in dire need of the ores as well (and they are able to offer truly fair prices as opposed to the SU's "fair market" price) the Orion colonists are much more willing to deal with them.

Hence CONFLICT! :D
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:25 am

Keep in mind, of course, that the fair market price of goods may cause some real tragedy back around Sol.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby MittenNinja » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:33 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Keep in mind, of course, that the fair market price of goods may cause some real tragedy back around Sol.


oh absolutely. someone is going to get the short end of the stick, its just a matter of which side.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Zero Revenge » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:29 am

Oh my Goodness, another tidbit of lore! Yes! I am so excited for the book now.

Time to start writing propaganda now, get some support for the men and women who defend our way of life. :P

Edit: Quick little question. The Terran Trade Marines. Are they the "real" military of the S.U.? Or are they just the "force/group" that goes and does the trading on behalf of the Union? The UMFL seems to be more of a catch-all. A stop-gap almost, recruiting from all groups to create a (now needed) bigger army to combat the Ijad and Free Colonies, but how do they differ from the TTM?

(Or is it just simply the TTM are from Terra/Earth, and the UMFL are from Mars?)
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:20 pm

The TTMs are a highly trained force primarily concerned with the defense and policing of transit gates. The Terran Expeditionary Marines are who the SU sends out to forcibly conquer or destroy something. The UMFL is a recruiting system, designed to minimize mass in transit and enforce SU foreign policy on the ground, day-to-day. They started on Mars and the officers (who are also recruiters) still come for the Northern Republic of Mars. UMFL companies often outlast the Martian founders, though; Captain Estar is the head of her company and she's from some other colony altogether. I don't know who the Martian founder(s) of her company was; they're known as Estar's Anvil now.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Talusmouse » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:44 pm

I have a question about the colonies. Using real world nations where would you put the current livelyhoods of the Free Colonies, the Ijad Confederacy, the Solar Union, and the solar uion's colonies

The way I see it
SU = The United States (Rich, but not every person is rich)
FC = India (certain areas becoming rich other areas completely poor)
Ijad = ???

Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?
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