2626 An Administrative Process Saves Humanity..
An expedition visits the Kisor system. Kisor is the regional capital of the Interian Empire and thus the local authority. This is the first time that humans are visiting the sector's capital. Having had two densely populated and equally important planets for millennia, the system is called the Kisor Twins.
After the experience with the Artu domain and extrasolar pirates in the Sol system, the coalition's most important task is to build relationships with peoples who can assist humanity when attacked. It is hoped that the Kisor Twins, as local representatives of the Empire, will take on this role.
So, the Solar Coalition charters an interstellar ship from a ship rental company in the Babur III Harmony at Thoris. The voyage would have taken two years for any ship produced in the Sol system whereas the rented ship is supposed to take the Coalition's ambassador to the Kisor in two weeks.
The Coalition's embassy ship reaches the Kisor system perpendicular to the ecliptic. They are approaching cautiously. Beginning at a distance of two light-days, about 25 billion kilometers, the ship stops every light-hour transmitting its transponder code and waiting for a response. It is assumed that Kisor's authorities recognize the ship's identification because of its Imperial transponder. At ten light hours distance they receive instructions from the flight control center telling them to wait for a guide. 30 hours later a courier ship approaches. Using a flexible docking tube, the Kisoran guide and two armed escorts transfer to the embassy ship. The guide helps navigating the human ship into the inner system. Finally, they are assigned a parking position in orbit around a moon of the double-ringed planet Altur – a striking sight.
As expected, the system is highly developed and industrialized. There are two habitable planets, Kisor-Alpha, the home world of the species, and Kisor-Beta, the inner planet, which had been adapted to the conditions of Alpha by eco-forming a long time ago. There are large structures in space appearing to be traffic nodes for interstellar shipments. The traffic volume at those massive freight terminals is overwhelming. The terminals will later be known as the transshipment points of the Kisorian trade guilds.
The Kisor system has several asteroid belts, one of which rotates as part of the ring system around the gas giant Altur. There is a lot of activity in the asteroid belts most of it being automated. The population is concentrated at the two habitable planets where they prefer living on the planetary surfaces at the bottom of the gravity well. Only a few small settlements are scattered throughout the system. There are far fewer orbital habitats and open surface areas than we now know from other advanced civilizations.
The humans receive a friendly welcome. An employee of the Kisoran immigration office creates a file taking up the case: the application of humans to attain the status of an officially recognized Imperial subject species. The file number for humanity: S206297ER.
The arrival of the humans is kept secret so as not to trigger further visits of adventurers to the Sol system.
The ambassador of the Solar Coalition is not allowed access to higher authorities.
After four weeks the humans have to leave, because the rental contract for the embassy ship is about to expire and ship rental companies of the Babur III Harmony are known to charge high late return fees.
For the next 20 years, there is only sporadic contact between Humans and Kisori. In particular there is no help against outside attacks.
Then a new danger arises. As early as 2643, human outposts and colonies are attacked by Kelrecs, one of the recent techno-barbarian species. These are peoples and factions that have adopted advanced technology – usually from other species – without being ready for the responsibility that come with such power. From the point of view of highly developed civilizations they have a deficient sense of morality. The techno-barbarians often possess modern interstellar technology pilfered from stocks of the Interian Empire, which has not taken sufficient care of its outer reaches for some time. So, equipped with advanced weaponry those techno-barbarians are now plundering civilized systems. Especially interstellar newcomers like humankind are helplessly exposed to this new threat. The Sol system is still technologically underdeveloped, but rich in population and resources. It also has lots of space borne equipment at a medium tech level easily accessible to techno-barbarians raiders.
The Kelrecs do not distinguish between the various ethnic groups that have settled in the systems colonized by humans. They constitute a threat to all of humanity. Kelrec raiding parties have been working their way through the interstellar neighborhood of the Sol system plundering and occupying, extorting bribes and requisitioning goods. Initially only Solar colonies in the direction of the Kelrec home planet Miro were affected, but by 2647 an attack on the Sol system is expected at any time.
Meanwhile the administrative process S206297ER initiated by the formal filing in 2626 duly passes through the Imperial administration. In 2647 the Sol system is finally granted the status of a category 18 Imperial member nation. A courier ship of the Kisoran authorities delivers the official notification of the status change to the Solar Coalition in the Sol system. Observing the massive defense effort of the Humans the courier, upon its return, reports on the situation in the Sol system.
So, in accordance with Imperial "Regulations for the protection of member nations in categories 17 through 19" providing for "substantial assistance to avert external existential threats" the Kisor Twins now take action by arming humanity.
Though Kisor's forces never intervene directly, the Kelrec threat is finally averted with the help of hundreds of thousands of Kisori advisors, modern fab designs, and gigatons of technical equipment supplied by Kisor's trade guilds.
2630 A Conspiracy is Exposed.
After a blocking period of 100 years, the Magadha-Sangha Federation/Venus releases a file containing references to a so-called Chanakya plan. The file is just one of many regularly published after their secrecy period has expired. Investigative journalism uncovers a far-reaching plan pursued by Magadha-Sangha, an association of wealthy Venusian habitats in the first half of the 26th century. The newly exposed plan intends to unite the fragmented interplanetary civilization of the Sol system under a common political umbrella. The publication of the plan is unpleasant for those involved at the time, some of whom are still politically active 100 years later.
At the time Magadha-Sangha and many other factions in the inner system considered Venus, Earth's sister planet, as the new center of the Sol system. Venus was to succeed Earth, which had isolated itself from the rest of the system. At 50 km altitude, Venusian habitats offer the most Earth-like living conditions in the entire system, including Earth-like gravity and a blue sky. Venus also has the best living conditions for humans without genetic adaptations to low gravity. Although all terraforming activities on Venus had failed by then, there were countless floating habitats in the upper atmosphere with a large and wealthy population. All this makes Venus a paradise for Earth nostalgics.
The key objective of the Chanakya plan was to make other settlements, habitats, and space stations throughout the system economically dependent on Venus with the goal that they would then join the Venus Federation and Magadha-Sangha was supposed to become the nucleus of the Venus Federation from which a new unified Solar Federation was to emerge.
The intransigent attitude of Venusian creative cartels during the Galileo crisis of 2515 was probably in accordance with the Chanakya plan: even when the Galileo-group of habitats was greatly in need, the creative cartels insisted on compliance with rights management demanding royalty payments. Ultimately, this gave rise to the Mengchu-movement damaging the intellectual property interests of the creative cartels. The Galileo crisis was arguably the first major failure of the Chanakya plan, but it was not the only one.
The Chanakya plan eventually collapsed when Earth's isolation ended. Conditions changed abruptly after the earth opened up in 2570. Even though the interplanetary civilization was more technologically advanced and had a much higher economic capacity per capita, it was no longer dominant. The development of the Sol system was then again determined by the many billions of humans and the economic potential of Earth. Earth quickly became the center of the solar system again making the Chanakya plan obsolete. However, before that happened Magadha-Sangha pursued its plan with numerous activities showing great effort.
The very fact that Magadha-Sangha had a long-term plan is not surprising. Many factions and system powers have plans and some even try to implement them ruthlessly. Much more scandalous than the existence of the plan were some of the activities and their serious consequences for the entire Sol system.
Now it turns out that, what is especially noteworthy, a secret interstellar expedition to the Artu system took place in 2518. The mission was to procure superior alien technology. For this purpose, Magadha-Sangha sent some of the first interstellar ships on an 11 year long dangerous journey to distant Artu. The expedition was in fact successful being able to make contact with the Artu people and acquire the desired technology. They found a large, but very fragmented, interplanetary civilization consisting of countless sovereign clans and no sign of a unified government. Still, the expedition was able to trade with some of the clans, in particular with one they called q3.
The return flight was not conducted with the Sol built ships which would have taken another 11 years. Rather the expedition managed to stir enough interest that q3 ferried them back to the Sol system aboard one of their own ships in six days only.
Thus, the first visit of an extrasolar ship to the Sol system was not the arrival of the Marui merchant in 2544 at Ibadan, as is usually assumed. Rather the first alien visit happened 13 years earlier in 2531 when the Artu expedition returned aboard an Artu clan ship. Yet, the return on an alien ship and the visit by foreigners from Artu was kept secret at the time. This in itself could be called a scandal, but the deception was dwarfed by further developments.
By 2531 a continuous secret contact was established between Magadha-Sangha and q3. Magadha-Sangha personnel repeatedly traveled to Artu while q3-sophonts operated unrecognized in the Sol system using what effectively constituted stealth technology for the tech-level of humankind at the time.
We do not know why q3 became so involved in the Sol system entering into a secret partnership with Magadha-Sangha. New civilization on the rise, like humankind, probably offer great potential for a small but technologically far advanced partner like q3. On the other hand, Magadha-Sangha's motives are obvious: they were given exclusive access to superior technologies. It has been proven that q3 provided infiltration tools that were able to overcome all information barriers in the Sol system. It is not known what this technology was used for exactly. However, there are several previously unexplained events in the 2530s which may have been the result of manipulations by Magadha-Sangha due to them having effectively unfettered access to all information networks.
Some documents also reveal that Magadha-Sangha was dissatisfied with the cooperation. Magadha-Sangha was particularly interested in designs and know-how. For example, blueprints that would allow them to produce superior technology on their own instead of just the ready-made equipment. Yet, q3 primarily supplied technical products while limiting access to software, designs, and background information. Magadha-Sangha therefore began its own research based on q3's scant information. They did so without informing q3.
A few years later this led to the so-called Mukhagni incident at one of the secret research facilities. Documents that could provide information about the subject of research remain classified. However, circumstantial evidence, like the protection measures applied, suggests that the research was about inorganic viruses. With respect to the very publicly visible events around Mukhagni in 2540, the Kessler-Viroidae theory seems credible.
From their Artu partners Magadha-Sangha personnel may have heard about the inorganic viruses and their potential as nano-assemblers. Replicators, particularly nano-assemblers, had been on the list of desired technologies of the original Artu expedition. What is more, Kessler-viroids had then already been known for 60 years. These inorganic viruses are usually only weakly active and largely harmless in spite of containing genes for aggressive universal disassemblers. Kessler-Viroidae are almost omnipresent in the interplanetary dust if only in traces. This is how they had been discovered by Zipi Kessler. So, obtaining the basic material would have been possible for Magadha-Sangha, even without the help of their q3 partners. Perhaps Magadha-Sangha hoped to produce disassemblers or even specialized assemblers by manipulating the viruses. In any case, this went thoroughly wrong and the research station had to be destroyed in spectacular way – visible for the entire Sol system.
After Mukhagni contact with q3 broke off. The Artu-sophonts seem to have left the Sol system in a hurry. Apparently, those responsible at q3 were so shocked by the events that they immediately and completely terminated their cooperation with Magadha-Sangha. Considering today's knowledge this is quite understandable, because it is considered to be proven that an aggressive variant of exactly these viruses had caused The Burn, a catastrophe that had wiped out several interplanetary civilizations 30,000 years ago.
This part of the Chanakya plan brought humanity to the brink of extermination, without anyone knowing. After that, the Chanakya plan went dormant. But some years later the first Artu expedition had other serious consequences.
In 2574, ships from Artu appeared in the Sol system demanding tribute. They were representatives of another Artu clan who had learned about the Sol system and apparently had decided to exploit their technical superiority to blackmail humankind. A fate that befalls many species and peoples new on the interstellar stage.
Before the Chanakya-Plan became known, it was assumed that the information about the Sol system reached Artu through the Marui visit in 2544. But considering the Chanakya releases, another path is more likely: the Artu clan, whose ships appear in the Sol system, had learned about humanity in the aftermath of the Magadha-Sangha expedition and thus also obtained knowledge about the interstellar position of the Sol system.
It is not known whether this clan had already dealt with Magadha-Sangha's personnel during the first expedition or whether they learned about the new civilization in the Sol system only later, through q3. In any case, they came to us in their superior ships claiming to be emissaries of an empire, the "Artu Domain", to establish a tribute system where all of humankind must hand over 3% of its economic output. The tribute system was in fact established and the Sol system delivered its dues, initially for 41 years to the so-called Artu Domain and then another 15 years to the Artu police clan p53 hired to liberate humankind from the Artu Domain.
Although 3% of the economic output does not sound much, the tribute added up to two years' gross domestic product of the Sol system. This was about 20 times the value of humankind's total gold and platinum reserves.
Also during this time, the Artu Domain retaliated for attacks on the tribute infrastructure by destroying several large habitats. A total of 750,000 people lost their lives, 300,000 of them permanently lacking backups. Moreover, the arrival of the Artu domain caused conflicts between expansionists and isolationists on Earth to flare up again resulting in wars with another 230,000 victims, 150,000 of which were final.
So, Magadha-Sangha was responsible not only for the near annihilation of all humanity in the Mukhagni incident, but also for gigantic economic damage and 220,000 permanent deaths.
When this becomes clear shortly after the release of the Chanakya documents the Magadha-Sangha federation suffers a significant loss of reputation. Its valuation at the stock exchanges falls dramatically.
Those responsible for the Chanakya plan who are still politically active are forced to resign. Some are indicted. Though, the statute of limitations has already expired for most offenses. Still, for the last years of the tribute system the statutes of limitations have not yet expired. After successful claims for damages against Magadha-Sangha, many of the Venus habitats involved have to declare bankruptcy. Some are taken over as dependent units by other habitats. Others must be evacuated, the residents losing their shares and their homes, and the empty habitat is sold to cover the debt incurred.
It turns out that interstellar activities are not without risk. Over the last 100 years the Sol system has suffered several ingressions by advanced alien species. There were privateers from Artu, the weird Dilan beings who destroyed the outer system, a space borne super virus, and last but not least the so-called Alien Wars of the late 26th century where humankind could only watch various alien factions fighting with superior weapons technology for 25 years. All this happened after alien factions learned about the Sol system and particularly its position.
The early interstellar contacts are being reexamined. The interstellar position of the Sol system is now designated worthy of special protection. In many jurisdictions it is even treated as state secret. During their first interstellar contacts humans were rather careless. Kelonikoa Pono, acting as ambassador on behalf of the Solar Coalition, had given the position of the Sol system to a Marui trader on Dilan around 2530. This was sanctioned by the Coalition at the time. But the new Coalition, after the inclusion of the earth's nations, now assesses the matter differently. The increased influence of Earth advances a more conservative interpretation of Expansionism. Though the new coalition is also expansionist in nature, after all the expansionist states won the System War and dominate in Calcutta and Vegas/Luna. But still surrendering the Sol system's position is now considered treason. The public perception of Pono changes accordingly. The visionary who gave her life to save humanity in the Dilan crisis is now regarded as a traitor to humanity.