2192 The Phase of Anti-Expansionist Terror

In the early 22nd century, a new political ideology emerged, shaped by the historical events of the previous century and the future's environmental and socioeconomic challenges. This movement, known as Neo-Socialism, began to manifest itself around the year 2113, shortly after the world recovered from a devastating economic collapse known as "The Crash". Rising out of the ashes of this global crisis, Neo-Socialism aimed to address not only the disparities between rich and poor, but also humanity's relationship with the Earth and space.

Neo-Socialism was born from a blend of classical socialism and workers' rights movements, with an added layer of anti-space exploration, anti-expansionism, and space preservatism. Advocates argued for an emphasis on Earth's environmental and socioeconomic problems, with a view that money allocated to space exploration and development should be spent on addressing ecological degradation and social injustices on Earth. The authors of the first Neo Socialist manifest, while unknown, combined environmental preservation with anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism motives.

Neo-Socialists protested against large space projects such as the construction of rotating habitats, perceived as luxurious living spaces for the affluent, and the sun/earth sunshade at L1 that was regarded as an expensive solution that distracted from solving the fundamental problems on Earth, especially climate change.

As space operations expanded, so did the influence of Neo-Socialism. Its base comprised ecologists, social justice thinkers, and activists disillusioned by the growing inequality and environmental deterioration on Earth. These environmental and social justice movements, concerned about the allocation of resources and the impact of space exploration on Earth's ecology, helped strengthen the Neo-Socialist ideology.

However, Neo-Socialism wasn't monolithic. Many independent movements operated under its umbrella, each with different focuses and tactics, from peaceful protests to media campaigns, policy influence, and projects aimed at tangible change. Some factions took a more radical approach, resorting to violence to draw attention to their cause.

These violent factions targeted space infrastructure such as launch systems, spaceports on Earth, orbital infrastructure like satellites, habitats, moon bases, and even more ambitious projects like the Venus terraforming project. The most severe attack in space occurred when the anti-technology terror organization "Technophage" targeted the Earth/Sun sunshade at Lagrange point 1 (L1), destroying 10% of its panels, a total of 200.000 square kilometers.

The phase of Neo-Socialists terror began in the year 2192, when radical Neo-Socialist attacks on the Moon claimed the lives of 320 victims. Until 2225 the world witnessed approximately 2,500 attacks, resulting in 70 million casualties, 40 million of them alone in 11 nuclear and biological attacks, and 43,000 in the destruction of the Dubai Spaceport.

Here is a collection of notable terror acts during the period:

The High Altitude Launch Platform Incident: In 2201, Neo-Socialists carried out a daring sabotage mission on one of the most crucial high altitude launch platforms, Kituo-Angani, the "sky station" located above Kilimanjaro. Using both insider sabotage and cyber-attacks, the group triggered a massive system failure that sent the platform crashing down, causing significant loss of life and setting back African Union launch capabilities by several years.

A shocking escalation occurred in 2202 when Cairo Spaceport was obliterated by a nuclear explosion. The devastation was absolute, the region transformed into a barren, radioactive wasteland for decades.

Lunar Habitat Invasion (2203): The Lunar Habitat Invasion in 2203 was one of the most shocking actions by the Neo-Socialists. In this attack, a group of radical Neo-Socialists managed to infiltrate one of the prominent lunar retirement habitats under the guise of maintenance workers. Once inside, they took control of life support systems and effectively held the entire habitat hostage. In the ensuing standoff, the Neo-Socialists broadcasted their demands, highlighting their core principles and grievances. Unfortunately, the confrontation ended with the radicals sabotaging the habitat's life support system, causing a massive depressurization event that claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent inhabitants.

In the same year, the Johannesburg Electromagnetic Catapult, still in the prototyping phase, fell victim to a catastrophic act of sabotage. The malfunction during a cargo launch led to considerable damage and loss of life. Lina Mbeki, the architect of the catapult, survived but carried the weight of physical injuries that ended her career abruptly.

A year later, the New Delhi Spaceport experienced a biological incident when a modified strain of influenza virus was released. The rapid spread resulted in a significant quarantine, necessitating the spaceport's closure for years.

Kaulahao Lani ("Sky Chain") the world's principal Stratospheric Launch Loop, arcing majestically above the Pacific Ocean, was sabotaged in 2206. This led to a substantial structural failure that impacted global space commerce, requiring many years to repair.

In 2214, a significant L5 habitat, a jewel in humanity's crown of space colonization, experienced a catastrophic system failure. The life-support systems, crippled by Neo-Socialist interference, failed, resulting in considerable loss of life when the terrorists forcefully prevented evacuations.

Two years later a Martian tourist resort, a symbol of affluent space exploration, was the stage of a horrific act. A genetically engineered pathogen was released causing a horrible disease outbreak. This resulted in the permanent quarantine of the resort and catalyzed the enhancement of bio-pathogen detection systems in numerous space establishments.

Nairobi/Kilimanjaro Spaceport fell prey to a second savage attack in 2218. This time, the terrorists struck at a high-profile launch ceremony, turning celebration into mourning. A series of strategically placed explosives triggered a colossal fuel explosion, laying waste to the spaceport and the surrounding areas.

In 2224, London Spaceport, one of the world's busiest gateways to the stars, was engulfed in fear and chaos. A potent nerve gas left massive casualties in its wake, paralyzing this global hub for a prolonged period.

Governments responded to Neo-Socialist terror attacks utilizing classical countermeasures akin to those used against other forms of public disruption. Regular law enforcement agencies were the first line of defense, ramping up surveillance and maintaining law and order. As space became a new frontier for these attacks, the International Space Patrol was reformed and equipped with advanced offensive capabilities to handle threats quickly and effectively.

Despite the wave of violence, the momentum of space exploration and development remained undeterred. Any infrastructure impacted by these events was promptly restored, fueling further investment in space-related projects. Importantly, contingency plans and alternative solutions were often readily available to compensate for any affected infrastructure, rendering individual attacks largely ineffective. Instead of deterring public opinion, these events seemed to galvanize more support for space exploration and development.

A case in point is the attack by the anti-technology terror organization "Technophage" on the solar sun shade, which led to the destruction of 10% of the panels. This event catalyzed even more financial commitment to space, as efforts were ramped up to replace the damaged panels. For the replacement of the damaged panels, new units had to be manufactured and launched into space. The scale of the production alone meant an increase in jobs in the orbital manufacturing sector and a spike in the demand for materials, technologies, and expertise related to space hardware. While the original panels were derived from lunar resources, the replacements were mined from asteroids and constructed using the large-scale automated factories stationed at the L5 Lagrange point. This shift in source material and production location expedited the return on investment for these orbital facilities, demonstrating their operational and economic efficacy more rapidly than initially projected.

However, the violent actions by some Neo-Socialist factions inevitably tainted the image of the entire movement. As connections between Neo-Socialist terror groups and some governments became known, public opinion began to shift. Despite some states becoming dominated by Neo-Socialism, including the majority of Indian states, it failed to establish itself as the primary global policy. As the 22nd century advanced, an orbital economy thriving in synergy with Earth's high-tech sector contributed to a decline in Neo-Socialist influence. The trend towards extremism within the movement, combined with the disclosure of political alliances, sparked a notable public backlash. As prosperity increased, the radical form of Neo-Socialism began to lose popularity and evolved into a fringe movement for about four decades.

Much later, by the mid-23rd century, a shift in public opinion saw Neo-Socialism regain prominence as a counterbalance to the World-Friendship movement. The World-Friendship, which initially aimed to bring the world together, slid into dictatorship, causing public opinion to turn against it. An international coalition centered around Neo-Socialist organizations eventually overthrew the World-Friendship dictatorship, positioning Neo-Socialism as the dominant political force on Earth and eventually leading Earth into unilateral isolation.

Reflecting upon the past, the period marked by Neo-Socialist terrorism, despite its numerous distressing incidents, represents just a chapter in humanity's transition into an interplanetary society. As progress in space development continued, numerous critical issues persisted on Earth. Environmental degradation went unchecked, and a large part of the global population was unable to reap the economic rewards of the burgeoning space-driven economy. The extreme violence enacted by the movement may well indicate the friction and discontent among those unable to partake in the benefits of space development. This conflict seemed to act as a conduit for a divided society to vent its tensions, albeit without significant alterations to the overarching course of development.