The Haunted Stars
The Solar Era
In the mid-21st century, mankind for the first time began to expand outside of the Earth’s gravity well, and into the celestial sphere beyond. Mars was first, followed by Venus, Europa, Titan, Ganymede, and a dozen more planets and moons. In time, a permanent settlement, usually for research or mining purposes, was established on each of these worlds. As the situation on Earth grew worse, these settlements grew to full-fledged colonies, and as the Diaspora began colonies grew to city-states.
For the first time, the solar system was teeming with life. Terraformation was in progress on Mars, mining operations were in full-swing on Venus and Mercury, underwater bases established on Europa, and Ganymede was quickly becoming the breadbasket of the system. Arcology technology, which had been so essential to life on Earth, was adapted to life across the solar system.
The speed of light still acted as an anchor on mankind’s aspirations, but for the first time in generations the pioneering spirit was alive, and a new Age of Sail was upon us. By and large, peace ruled the system, with only a handful of border and claim disputes causing any trouble. The UNE extended its military forces to colonies its member nations had established, while other colonies were generally protected by their corporate backers. Sol was a big place, after all, and it seemed like there was plenty of room for everybody.
But then the colonies began to realize their actual value, and began to yearn for freedom. Like all revolutions, it began with a smattering of protests, but before long blood was spilled. It began on Luna, and for a time the UNE thought that it was a fluke, and one that would be easily corrected.
But then the Lunar freedom-fighters took control of a mass driver, and began to “drop rocks.” Massive boulders mined from the Lunar soil were loaded onto the mass driver, then fired down the gravity well to Earth. The strikes were precise, the first destroying the deserted remains of Houston, Texas, with two more strikes just outside of major EU and US Arcologies. They were warning shots across the bow of the UNE.
Strike teams were put into place on Luna, but within hours of the first strike similar rebellions sprang up across Mars, Venus, and Ganymede. Without their masters knowing it, the colonies of Sol were ready for their freedom, and only needed someone to take the first step towards independence. Within days, rebellion had spread to every corner of the system, in UNE and corporate colonies alike. The “Autumn Rain,” named after those first “raindrops” that Luna had dropped on Earth, had begun.
Mechanized units were dispatched to the largest of the rebellions: Luna, Mars, and Ganymede. The fighting was vicious, and while UNE forces would have taken their colonies back in the end, it would have taken the destruction of several Arcologies, and the cost to public support was just too great to justify it.
So, with great reluctance the UNE granted independence to their colonies, though with a great many strings attached. It would be another generation or two for most colonies before they achieved true independence, but those first steps had been taken.
Corporate controlled colonies were not so fortunate, for the most part. With tighter security in place in many colonies, and much tighter information control, several were wiped out utterly. In the aftermath, several of these corporations were tried for warcrimes and many were sent to prison, while those which had used a lighter touch reaped the benefits of public support.
The system was once more at peace, and had once more begun to explore the bounds of their territories, when a certain Dr. Egon Dexter released what would prove to be the greatest scientific discovery in human history, and provided the key to traveling to distant stars.