Best and Brightest: Colonizing the Solar System
Date August 15, 2041
Author Norman de Rousse
Internal Name bestandbrightest

August 15th, 2041:

An Excerpt from the novel: "Our Best and Brightest: Colonizing the Solar System"

Chapter: "Problems with Humanity's Expansion"

By: Norman de Rousse

It was a cold war indeed.

The first human colonization beyond the reaches of Mother Terra was on her sister Luna. In May of 2020 a joint American-European (with the English notably absent) began the first steps to a permanent colony on the Moon.

The problem was, someone was there first.

The mining of Helium-3 on the surface of the Moon was one that most major countries of the world had generally ignored amidst the rising tide of the Resources Wars. The cost of the supply chain, maintaining the equipment, and lack of technology to properly utilize the isotope had also attributed to global neglect over the rock in the sky.

Except the Russians. Those crazy Russians.

They launched a bunch of cosmonauts in 2015, and had a relatively permanent base by 2016. While their mining of the isotope (and the methods used) may have been considered odd, the majority of the world, wrapped up in their own problems, paid them little mind. In fact, by 2020, most had forgotten the Russians still had a viable presence on Luna, and due to tensions between Europe and the Russian states, they had not been included in the planning and development of the colony.

I imagine it was a bit of a surprise to those Russian miners (some of whom had not been back to Earth in many years) when a large group of ships set down in the middle of their H3 fields and began building.

Surprised was one way to put it.

Another would be that they had the mentality of a crazy old hillbilly with a shotgun who just noticed the neighbourhood kids were stealin' his peaches again.

One should also try to imagine the surprise of the settlers, who were beginning to erect their houses and main spaceport, when a group of possibly insane, poorly equipped and very dangerous bearded men began driving around threatening and yelling over the intercoms in Russian.

What followed was a two weeks exchange of threats, occasional non-lethal weapon fire and general disagreements over who owned the area of the Lunar Surface where the colony was supposed to go. This was mirrored by an escalation of hostilities down on the surface of the planet, cumulating in an armed conflict between Russia and several European Nations over gas in the North Sea. It's not the first time that the world as a whole has looked at the Russians and declared them crazy. Rasputin. Communism. Russian Disco. The Motherland trying to simultaneously maintain an engagement on air, land, sea AND space? That really got the world's attention.

In the end it was the colonists themselves who solved the problem when the Russian miners took a real look at the habitat's quickly going up and decided they would be much better off living inside the colony, instead of the small dilapidated base they had on the dark side.

It may have been the outdoor heated pools that did it.

Despite the initial conflict between the two groups, those Russian miners still live up there in the colony and things are going well. They've even got themselves an extremely successful Lunar Vodka distillery which sells for a premium in overpriced clubs down on Earth.

Let man's ingenuity be known.

The colony on Luna wasn't the only one running into problems fairly quickly following its inception. The orbital colonies were extreme hotbeds of violence in the years following their establishment, and some of the most widely known conflicts between the Long Dragon Syndicate, the Orbital Authorities and the Consortium now play out in VR theaters and Decks around the globe. So much so there has been a recent backlash and SANCTUM SLAUGHER V: REVENGE OF THE WHITE TIGER, a highly controversial new action film, bombed at the box office two weeks ago after public backlash and a general dismissal by critics and theater goers.

The concept of smuggling over international borders was not exactly a new thing, but the idea of using orbit for this purpose was unique when many of the habitable stations went online. As automated security systems the world over made traditional smuggling much more difficult, the Long Dragon quickly turned to these orbital stations as a means of transporting illicit goods. They tended to quickly, and brutally, take over these stations and turn them into shipping and receiving facilities. Due to the lack of any real policing in the first few years of privately owned orbital stations, they basically had free reign. It got so bad that, like for pirate ships of ye' old Caribbean, satellite stations without proper defensive systems tended to simply vacate when those black ships rolled in.

Once the Orbital Authorities were established and the Consortium stepped up their attacks against the Long Dragon, it wasn't long before the orbital stations became one of their last refuges. A few of their holdings held out until close to 2040, but shortly after almost all of the major figures were in custody and shipped off to the Voltaire Crater Prison.

It may not come as a great shock the recent settlement on Mars has undergone similar problems. Despite the prophetic name of Harmonia-1 for the main colony, there has been anything but Harmony on the planet. Conflicts between terraformers and "conservationists" have led to a massive slowdown in the creation of habitats and mining facilities. This radical group, which managed to get themselves shipped out there posing as botanists and cloning scientists, claim that Earth will only destroy the habitat of Mars, as we did Earth.

It should be noted that, globally, scientists, environmentalists and various important sounding people all agree that Earth is very well taken care of now, thank you very much.

Last week was the first unconfirmed "terrorist" activity with the sabotaging of one of the O2 generators, and despite the conservationists claiming it was an accident and not a targeted strike, tensions on the red planet have risen dramatically.

Is man doomed to encounter destruction and conflict wherever we go? With the Athena preparing to launch in the upcoming months all eyes are watching it to see where it hopefully doesn't go wrong.

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