The Freedom Universe

22 Jun

Started writing this as the background to a story.  Comments?

The Freedom Universe

In 2056, America and Japan went to war for the second time. Neither side really wanted the war, but neither side dared back down and risk losing everything. With bases on the Moon, orbital battlestations and a handful of interplanetary starships, the fighting was in space as well as on the surface of planet Earth. Eventually, the US gained a decisive advantage in space, but agreed to a negotiated peace with Japan in 2060 as Japan still possessed enough nuclear weapons to seriously damage the United States if the war was fought out to a finish.

The aftermath of that war saw the United States in a position of superiority in space, a position successive American governments had no intention of abandoning. American colonies were established all over the solar system, linked together by a fleet of interplanetary spacecraft and military bases – no other country was permitted to establish a military base outside the Earth-Moon sphere. With other countries becoming increasingly dependent upon the United States – mainly for shipments of HE3 from the Moon and Jupiter – the United States started to absorb other nations on Earth. By 2100 the United States included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Mexico, along with a growing off-world population. The development of ‘space lifts’ and other technologies for getting into orbit cheaply meant that the population of outer space grew with astonishing speed.

In 2130, the US made a breakthrough and developed the first version of the Hawking Drive. Put simply, the drive twisted space around a starship, giving it the ability to travel faster-than-light. However, it was quite limited; navigation was difficult and it was relatively slow. Early versions of the drive required upwards of two months to travel a single light year. It is not surprising, therefore, that extra-solar expansion proceeded at a snail’s pace; it was not until 2143 that the first Earth-like world was discovered and claimed for the United States. Settlement proceeded at once.

Unfortunately, the development of New Plymouth (and Washington and Lincoln) was accompanied by dangerous trends in the American body politic. Put simply, the US had become a global power and taken on too much power for it to govern effectively. While outer space prospered – it had attracted the most intelligent Americans right from the start – Earth itself started to weaken. In response, successive American Governments became more brutal, eventually attempting to annex the rest of the world. The government had finally slipped completely out of the hands of the people and into the hands of an elite with little connection to reality. America became ruled by a military-industrial-governmental complex.

By 2223 the situation had changed – and not for the better. The average person on Earth enjoyed few freedoms and a marked decline in the standard of living, even in America. Meanwhile, the government had attempted to strengthen its grip on the Moon, Mars and other major colonies, causing vast numbers of settlers to either hide, launch a futile resistance movement or flee to the extra-solar colonies. The extra-solar colonies were not in good shape either. Earth had attempted to solve the problem of vast numbers of unskilled young men by dumping them on the colonies, even though this could be nothing more than a drop in the ocean compared to the masses on Earth. Some deportees became wealthy and respected men on their new homeworlds, others sank into despair and became a major problem to the original settlers. It was not long before the colonies started discussing resistance – or an outright declaration of independence.

In 2256, the major settled planets are New Plymouth, Washington, Lincoln and Drake, all Earth-like worlds. The other 20 settled worlds range from Mars-like worlds to Belter, which is nothing more than a massive asteroid belt orbiting a red star.

Most of the starships in existence are operated by the USN and are really nothing more than transports. There are few dedicated warships, all classed as cruisers by the USN – they carry lasers and missiles for space combat. In theory, it is possible to generate artificial gravity, but so far the technology hasn’t been developed. Currently, starships can travel at roughly one light year per week.

4 Responses to “The Freedom Universe”

  1. The Deposed King June 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Huh. Could be fun. I’m not so sure about the limited number of warships. Although it does make sense if they’ve basically dominated earth and every new solar and extra solar colony in the slowly expanding human sphere.

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger June 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      Well, my thought was that there wouldn’t be any significant threat, so no need to build real warships. Chris

  2. The Deposed King June 23, 2012 at 3:26 am #

    The beginning of the history has this big Japan/USA Space race/war. Then bam we jump the better part of 200 years and USA dominates everything further out than the moon. It takes a bit of a mental lurch to absorb that.

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger June 23, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      I left the details a little vague so I could fill them in when I wrote. Chris

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