3110 The Fragmentary State of the Outer Solar System

Humanity’s home star system has been occupied for 200 years. However, in recent decades, the Dellians were forced out of the outer solar system and now only govern the inner system, which includes Mars, Venus, and the Earth, with 97% of the system’s population. Although the outer system is home to only 3% of the population, it still accommodates 500 million people. Spread across a vast expanse, the outer system exhibits a colorful mixture of peoples, species, factions, and societies each with their own unique forms of government.

The outer system is vast. encompassing not only the moons of gas giants but also over 100,000 trans-Neptunian objects larger than 100 kilometers and countless comets with substantial water reserves. Beyond Neptune's orbit, where the Sun is merely the brightest star in a dark sky, there exists a hundred times more living space and resources compared to the inner asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, these objects are dispersed over a volume 10,000 times larger. The outer system is vast and empty, but far from lifeless.

There is ample space for an incredible variety of peoples and cultures. In fact, nearly all species from the interstellar neighborhood are present in the outer reaches of our solar system. Alongside humans, there are colonies of other advanced civilizations like Kisori, Marui, various sophont species from Thoris, methane breathing T'k't'ca, Artu peoples and clans, as well as neo-barbarians including Dellians, Allen, Lochnagar, Leccians, Erui principalities and Rog-Ozar who – for reasons only known to them – regard the Solar system as their "holy system of reappearance". Additionally, there are various other species such as high and low-tech Kelans, Begun refugees and even renegade Chinti swarms. The outer edge of the solar system likely also has hives of Dilan beings. Lastly, there probably are age-old hideouts of early AI-outbreaks that managed to keep a low profile, and potentially even secret outposts of nanite civilizations.

The prevailing system of government is autocratic. Many remain under foreign rule, often dominated by former Dellian mercenaries who assumed control after the Dellian withdrawal. While some territories and habitats have returned to human ownership, it's important to note that, as history has shown, not all human governments necessarily act in the best interest of their own kind.

The same holds true for other species. Even among extrasolar species, there exist numerous biological and cultural differences. Alien races that may seem homogeneous from an external perspective can have opposing factions, sub-species as well as political and philosophical variations. Certain factions have risen to become the ruling class over colonies of other species or over different factions within their own people. For instance, some Allen habitats are ruled by a foreign Allen faction, causing the habitat's population to perceive it as alien domination, similar to how humans in the inner system continue to suffer under Dellian rule.

Among the extrasolar individuals who were not mercenaries of the Dellians, are several Erui petty princes. These individuals were once followers of Gnumanti-Erui prince Phem Taize, who arrived in the solar system as the vanguard of a fleet intending to establish bases for an impending invasion aimed at displacing the Dellians. They brought their entire population on habitat-ships. However, following the sudden demise of their supreme prince, the Erui never again achieved a sufficient concentration of power. Consequently, the invasion of the solar system became unfeasible. Nevertheless, the Erui chose to stay in the Solar system, hoping that another supreme Gnumanti prince would arise among their people who could utilize their bases and who would them reward them. However, this hope has not been fulfilled in 100 years.

In the outermost regions of the solar system, there is no rule of law. There is a complete absence of any shared moral code or legal framework among the diverse species inhabiting the fringes. Numerous groups, including humans and various species from advanced civilizations and neo-barbarian societies, act as pirates, preying on others. There are also species with different moral systems that consider raiding and pillaging as legitimate means of "utilizing available resources". An eccentric tribe of Allen attempts to discourage other Allen tribes from plundering in order to promote peaceful coexistence among different species in the solar system. However, other Allen tribes fail to comprehend why they should refrain from taking what others allow to be taken.

Some well-equipped Kisoran pirates make interplanetary trade very difficult in the leading Neptune Trojans. They are descendants of a colony of former Kisoran mercenaries, who – in turn – had been descendants of occupation forces – of an earlier occupation – and who sought asylum in the 29th century having already lived in the solar system for centuries.

In the absence of governmental structures, it’s the law of the strongest that prevails. Everyone needs protection, as the absence of protection from piracy hinders permanent economic activity. Consequently, all factions must allocate a significant portion of their income towards self-protection or purchase protection insurance from appropriate service providers. Resource extraction and industrial facilities, in particular, are greatly affected by this situation. Armed escorts are necessary for all intrasolar trade, and civilian habitats, fearing for their equipment such as life support systems, fabrication facilities, and supplies, have to insure themselves against raids.

However, these insurance policies do not fully compensate for the incurred damage. They primarily operate on the principle of deterrence. Insurance providers seek retribution for victims of violence by hunting down and punishing the perpetrators, occasionally even enforcing compensation for damages. In such cases, penalties under the threat of violence can by far exceed the actual damage inflicted. In case they apprehend perpetrators insurance enforcers take as much as possible. In practice this means that, a raid is often followed by a counter-raid. The boundaries between protection racketeers and security service providers are blurred. Likewise, there are only gradual differences between biochemistry fabbers, food suppliers, drug cartels, and food supply raiders.

On Titan, there is a colony of T'k't'ca. While they cannot live outdoors on Titan without a breathing apparatus, temperature, air pressure, and other environmental conditions match their home. The colony was once a trading outpost for a T'k't'ca organization. Following the Leccian coup that brought the solar system under barbarian rule, they were conscripted and forced to participate as mercenaries in the siege of Kisor. Since then, they have operated to a limited extent as security service providers. This particular T'k't'ca culture adheres to a code that distinguishes them as one of the few trusted security providers. The colony is largely self-sufficient due to its location, requiring few external resources. Therefore, unfortunately, the T'k't'ca do not offer long-term protection insurance, but only limited special operations.

Although the outer system has been liberated from Dellian rule, there are still isolated enclaves of Dellians. One example is the Gaotao cylinder grid habitat cluster in orbit around Ganymede, housing a population of 30,000 Dellian females, apex (the third Dellian gender), and children. They belong to the Mars protector's tribe and have served as hostages for the past three decades, held by the new human dominated Ganymede Directorate as insurance against an attack from the inner system on Jupiter and its moons.

Several of humanity’s interstellar colonies maintain observation posts tasked with reporting on events transpiring in their original home system. Moreover, some human systems and factions have chosen to align themselves with the interstellar Reshumana Alliance, actively providing support to local rebel groups engaged in the reconquest effort.

The Reshumana Alliance has established multiple operational bases in the outer system. Some of them are liberated territories on the moons of the gas giants with civilian populations. Reshumana supports habitats and organizations of various species that actively contribute to the resistance efforts, as long as their cooperation aligns with the overarching goal of eventually reclaiming the Solar system. Reshumana considers as enemies anyone wishing to remain neutral, even if they are human settlements. Alongside the well-known Reshumana bases, there are also secret forward bases located in the asteroid belt and even an enclave on Earth's moon.

The Dellian Satirax has been allied with the Reshumana Alliance for 140 years, albeit with intermittent interruptions. Originally serving as the protector of the entire Saturn system, Satirax's protectorate has gradually diminished to include only the three largest Saturnian moons after Titan. Over time, Satirax had to cede Saturn and Titan in contracts that allowed him to stay afloat, while many smaller moons were forcefully taken by other protectors. Despite this, Satirax remains a significant ally of humanity, prioritizing the preservation of his own position over the long-term prospect of humanity regaining control of the entire Solar system. He considers the threat of human reconquest negligible as long as only 3% of humanity have been liberated.

Some Chinti swarms live in exile on trans-Neptunian objects, having fled from the victorious swarm during the time of the warring swarms. Since the end of their civil wars 30 years ago, the majority of Chinti have joined the victorious swarm while some small swarms managed to avoid assimilation by fleeing. They are hiding on the edge of the Solar system, trying not to attract attention. However, the momentum of Reshumana's reconquest inadvertently draws in groups that had intended to remain inconspicuous. Given the Alliance's refusal to accept neutrality, the solar Chinti have chosen to support the liberation of the Solar system. Their decision is largely influenced by the Dellians' eviction from the outer system, which forces factions in that area to align themselves with Reshumana. Despite this, these groups also believe that humanity will eventually regain control of their home system. They hope for asylum and protection from assimilation when a liberated humanity later confronts the consolidated and continually expanding Chinti domain.

Similarly, many Sol-based Artu clans have joined forces with the Reshumana Alliance. They have been present in the Solar system since the conflict with Kisor at the beginning of the 30th century. First as mercenaries for the Leccians, then for the Dellian hierarchy, later as freelancers, also known as pirates, and now for the Reshumana Alliance.

There are various habitats and territories inhabited by Marui communities operating the last open areas in the Solar system where Humans, Kisori, and Marui can roam under an open sky without protective suits. For a long time, Marui have been providing technical services. These business relationships can be traced back to the 27th century when the solar economy was relatively insignificant on an interstellar scale. Back then even nation-states had difficulty affording Marui services and equipment. The Marui excelled in the management of advanced and energy-intensive facilities such as power plants and fractal distortion drives, experiencing significant success during the prosperous period of the solar economy in the 28th and 29th centuries. Later the Marui technicians faced competition from solar corporate conglomerates such as Xiao Chu. As the economy collapsed under the Dellian occupation, many Marui moved on, but some chose to remain. With the liberation of the outer system, operators of high-energy facilities lost access to tech service providers from the inner system. Hence, the Marui now enjoy a monopoly in the outer system. The Reshumana Alliance sometimes turns to Marui organizations for help. However, the highly independent and indispensable Marui cannot be forced into cooperation. Many Marui see the potential for humans to reclaim their home system, rebuild their economy, and possibly become significant customers once again. As a result, they increasingly support the reconquest efforts, seemingly aligning themselves with Reshumana.

The trans-Neptunian object, 2012 HZ84, roughly 74 kilometers in diameter, is speculated to be home to a colony of Dilan beings, based on observations of black cubes, the Dilan civilization's primary weapon. In the past two centuries, several ships have disappeared while navigating HZ84's dynamic orbital environment. In one such instance an emergency signal contained sensor data suggesting the presence of black cubes. 80 years ago, observatories in the inner system detected a series of nuclear explosions occurring approximately 10 million kilometers away from HZ84. While it is suspected that a battle took place, the exact circumstances remain unknown. Some data from this event resembles signatures measured during the so-called Outer-System Wipe in 2532. Nonetheless, it remains uncertain whether these beings are indeed from Dilan, as their civilization is profoundly enigmatic, making communication impossible. But humanity learned from the 2532 experience that caution is advised in dealing with Dilan beings. As a precautionary measure, insurance companies classify a volume with a radius of one astronomical unit around HZ84 as a navigation hazard, prompting everyone humans and aliens alike to avoid the area. The duration and purpose of the Dilan presence remain unknown. It could be an exiled Dilan faction or a natural slow spread of the species, or some other unknown factor. The base might have been established as an observation post after 2532, or even much earlier.

Lastly, there are the hiders: over the centuries, numerous human communities have sought anonymity in the Oort cloud and on extreme trans-Neptunian objects, aiming to avoid the existential threats of interstellar civilizations. These communities of isolationists or survivalists started in the 23rd century when the inner asteroid belt became a safe haven for them. As the exploitation of asteroid resources intensified and the asteroid belt transitioned from a remote area to a populated region, survivalists ventured further out. They established settlements in Neptune Trojans, trans-Neptunian objects, Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt objects, and scattered disc objects beyond the ecliptic plane. Some even hide further out in the Oort cloud. While estimates vary, there could be several thousand, or even tens of thousands, of such isolationist and survivalist communities. Having avoided detection and politics for centuries, these factions remain indifferent to events within Neptune's orbit and do not partake in the reconquest of the Solar system.