By 2206 the use of small artificial black holes with their enormous capacity for entropy as “cold sinks” permitted the first cities to be constructed on Venus, but the planet itself remained so hot the red glow of super-heated surface rocks was reflected by the cloud-layer.
A few degrees east of the terminator of Venus is a sweet spot well known to Terran Trade Authority task force commanders where smugglers skipping in from upsystem will frequently emerge into real space. The ones skippered by the more stupid Belters, anyway.
Vikor and Allosie orbit the Jovian planet Harel in the Epsilon Eridani system. Lingering bad feelings over a badly botched first contact have led the Vikorians to successfully delay Terran Trade Authority entrance to the Integrated Star Systems Alliance
When the Trax made a surprise attack on the Setasian stronghold in the disputed 54 Piscis system over a hundred Terran Trade Authority diplomats and military advisors either perished outright if they were lucky or they were taken captive if they were not.
In the stellar nursery of the Orion Nebula complex deep-space explorers of the Terran Trade Authority encountered a warship tentatively identified in Jane’s Fighting Starships as a Laodamian Phoenix class frigate, and, remarkably, they lived to tell of it.
When the dial read 3psi she removed her helmet, and invited Gene Cernan to do likewise. The spent-gunpowder smell of the lunar regolith assaulted her nose but she was used to it. And after two lunar EVAs so was Cernan.
At Jupiter the situation is reversed from that of aircraft on Terra: oxygen is carried on board and ambient hydrogen enters the intakes to be burned. Should the gravitic repulsers fail the wingless craft will find a permanent niche deep inside the planet.
At Delta Trianguli automated transports sidle up to drink SP-5 like piglets at a sow’s tit while invisible petrochemical workers lead desperate lives in hovels that grow on the side of the refinery like moss on a tree.
The artifacts discovered on Frimout in the Procyon system were abandoned and of unknown utility, but obviously built to endure. The Terran Trade Authority brought in fusion pods to repurpose them as dry docks for ship overhauls and called it a windfall.
After the catastrophic attack on Jossis, the twenty-three surviving independent floating balloon cities at Jupiter immediately scaled back their hydrogen liquefaction operations to effectively hand the General Materials Corporation a monopoly on propellant.
In the 22nd Century, the 21st’s nerdy little brother, the rule was to lie low for security. The executive floors of the TTA Seattle quadplex lay within a cowling of offices designed to take the blow of any hijacked ships transformed into ad hoc missiles
Jupiter has icy moonlets to spare. In terms of energy, it is far less expensive to push one into Low Earth Orbit with a Terran Trade Authority tug than to haul the equivalent mass of ice into orbit from Earth’s surface. But there’s a shelf life.
The rise of the Terran Trade Authority occurred on an accelerated timeline that would have been unthinkable without our Cetasian patrons in the Integrated Star Systems Alliance (ISSA) who exchange advanced technology for the right to colonize Earth’s vast but underutilized oceans.
Early designs of the monowheel motorcycle were plagued with gerbiling, where riders would be caught spinning inside the big wheel like a cat in a dryer. By 2085 the Terran Trade Authority unveiled gyroscopically-stablized models that got out in front of that problem, literally.
It had been so long since Gina had strolled the lower maintenance levels of Fortuna that she forgot the viewports there weren’t treated to block the harsh sunlight out at Lagrange-4. She was amply reminded of that fact hours later with bad sunburns on her thighs. Hospital bad.
The inside surface of the outside ring of TTA Tradestars are for automated hydroponics. The task of ensuring the food supply is too critical to trust to unreliable human beings, but some of the available surface is allowed to grow wild in another concession to human psychology.
The colony of Fortuna is situated at the leading Lagrange libration point (L4), equidistant from the Earth and Moon, where the gravity of the Earth and Moon balance the colony’s centrifugal force with no expenditure of station-keeping propellant required.
By careful engineering of an upper layer of the atmosphere the world of Myrrha in the Epsilon Indi system routes most light around its limb, rendering the planet nearly invisible. A casual scan reveals only the moon.
As a girl Teresita would often pedal to the Duwamish after school and watch Terran Trade Authority ships take on cargo as they hovered over Seattle in neutral, then depart for the colonies with a roar. Her memories of that time still crop up in her waking and sleeping dreams.
Sketchy rumors leaked of alien maintenance activities in the four corners area of the southwestern US. An entire alphabet soup of government agencies failed to contain information about the ship refit program, and the test flights themselves were notoriously difficult to conceal.
BETA CANUM VENATICORUM
Deucalion in the Beta Canum Venaticorum system, fifteen light-years from Groombridge 1618, is the ragged edge of the Terran Trade Authority and the rush is on to get the world up and running before ships of the Integrated Star Systems Alliance or even the Tyrannyxi come calling.
“What a watch!” Lt. Adnarel complained. “I just cycled down the fire-control computer but I still see blocks! It’s like when I was a girl at Tau Ceti, I used to pick ripe chamberries all day and I would still see little orange blobs when I closed my eyes.”
At the port on Vanth in the Alpha Mensae system containers with highly pilferable goods from Beta Hydri are offloaded for distribution. The #TerranTradeAuthority has long considered the multi-system Fallen Angels MC to be the most reliable sub-contractors for perimeter security.
Hybla and Dia at Gliese 783 are the closest to a true double planet known to the Terran Trade Authority. Stony Hybla has underground water, and therefore cities, but sandy Dia has been seeded with self-replicating nano that combines silicon and sunlight to make energy-dense SP-5.
General Materials knew they hit paydirt at Ross 154 with the discovery of Circe, an asteroid smaller than Earth’s moon that nevertheless was shrouded in a thick CO₂ blanket, indicating a high density metal interior.
3He + 3He fusion produces no dangerous neutrons and the fuel itself, delivered by the solar wind and strip-mined from the lunar regolith, is not radioactive. Consequently, it is the most common nuclear reaction found outside of Earth’s major power plants.
The traveling airshows sponsored by the Terran Trade Authority do much more than just catch the eye of purchasing agents. Early on the TTA learned that sub-contracting work in every congressional district ensured what they call the Greening of the Military Industrial Complex.
The Gorpai, founding members of the Integrated Star Systems Alliance, inhabit the arid world of Tanit in the 82 Eridani system. A heavy cruiser serves as diplomatic courier to the ISSA, as one can never be too careful.
Passing over the failed state once known as America the Portsmouth launch laser team assumed they cut the corvette Exiler in half, at least on radar. Anticipating this she merely separated and filled the intervening space with chaff. Over Africa she was back in one piece again.
After the Brushfire missile intercepted Track 4022 Hunky noted the sparrowfall from the war room. She said, “I get the distinct impression Asmodeus came down system with hyz second-best football team and expected to go up against nothing but cheerleaders.”
SOLARIS – A K2 star in Pegasus 161 light-years away, galactic lat. 64.42, galactic long. -22.63, mass 86%, luminosity 25%, with a planet, Pirx, 147% Jupiter mass, orbiting at 0.77 AU in 269 days. The high eccentricity (0.55 to 1.0 AU) disrupted the formation of planets closer in.
Linuxgal’s first report on the Sol System
Humans are the dominant tool-using species of the Sol System. On the third planet, called “Earth” they have built cities and engaged in writing for the last six thousand Earth years and have grown to a population of 8 billion individuals. Twelve humans have walked on the large satellite of Earth, and at least six humans maintain themselves in orbit around Earth at any given time. Humans have sent robotic probes to every major body in the Sol System, as well as a number of minor bodies, and they have even sent four probes out of the system altogether.
Over the last twenty turns around Sol, nearly all of the humans have become connected together in a global communication network, permitting instant access to all their accumulated knowledge, a development that accelerates the rate of growth of new knowledge in a manner that compounds itself. The shell of RF that began with their earliest radio broadcasts is now almost a light-century into space. So far, no other interstellar civilizations have replied in an open manner generally known to the humans at large.
In appearance humans have a bilateral symmetry built around a stack of bones called a spine, with most of their sense organs concentrated in a pod mounted at the top of this spine. They have learned to balance on two of their four limbs, leaving the other two free to manipulate their environment. Although they lack the speed and strength of many other animals, they have easily clambered to the top of the food chain and indeed, millions of species have perished forever in the shadow of the rise of humans.
Humans reproduce sexually but the female retains the fertilized egg inside her body until her offspring is mature enough to survive in the world with somewhat less care. However, after ejecting the infant in a difficult ordeal (on account of the size of a human baby’s head actually being larger than the hole in the pelvic floor, which is solved by having the skull develop in flexible segments), the female human sustains her offspring for some time with food manufactured within her own body.
Human bodies maintain a constant temperature of exactly 310 degrees Kelvin. They lack natural insulation over most of their skin, but they compensate by fashioning for themselves artificial insulation as appropriate for whatever environment they choose to inhabit. There is no place on the surface of Earth where humans cannot thrive, from the frozen southern polar region to the large desert on the second-largest continent to the bottom of the sea.
The humans are transitioning, with difficulty, from an early phase of mining stored energy to farming solar and wind energy. I estimate that they will bring fusion on-line, in a widespread manner, in approximately seventy more turns of their planet around Sol. While that will solve the problem of obtaining the energy to drive their civilization, they will subsequently need to look to the ancillary problem of disposing their waste heat into the night sky. As other civilizations have done, they will probably address this problem with large heat-sinks that double as condominium towers.
CAPELLA SECTOR – A group of stars centered on the quadruple star system of Capella, galactic coordinates x=-40.2, y= +12.3, z=+3.77, 42.2 light-years away, containing nine viable stars (with the Capella A-B pair treated as a single gravitational source) including Lambda Aurigae.
Ships of the B’nei Elohim
Ships of the Imperial Navy