The CHURN Drive and The Split of a People

 

            It began with the pursuit of money.  As with most things, the desire for monetary gain fueled the pursuit of the stars.  Once the technology for space travel became viable on a consumer basis, each of the major countries made their bids, in hopes of claiming a piece of the Martian landscape.  Soon, stakes were claimed and research facilities were built.  Terraforming became as much of a pursuit on Mars as mining.  Transporting supplies between Earth and Mars called for quicker and less expensive methods of transportation.  In 2104, somewhere in a dust covered lab under a Japanese held piece of rock the Cyclic Hydrogen Uranium Radial Negotiation (or CHURN) drive was born.

            Put simply, the CHURN drive used small amounts of uranium in a hydrogen reaction to produce tremendous amounts of energy and thrust.  The drive was fairly small and cut of travel greatly.  Previously transports to Mars took at least six months at an extremely optimal launch time.  Launches could only be made at certain times and when absolutely necessary.  With the CHURN drive flight time was cut down to a single day at the most optimum or in an absolute worst case scenario several weeks.  That was the theory, anyway.  In practice, the drive was completely useless.  Ship hulls at the time could scarcely take the kind of force involved, not to mention the amount of force placed on cargo or passengers.  The drive was modified and put to use as a portable power plant (variations of this principle are still used today).  Six years later, in a collaborative effort, Mars scientists stemming from multiple companies formed together to research ways to make the drive usable.  It was decided that acoustic waves when tuned to the right frequency and amplified could decrease the effects of inertia on a subject.  Three years later a device simply dubbed The Counter Balance (or simply the CB) was released.  The device could create a field around an entire ship.  Starting and stopping still created a large amount of inertia but it became safe enough for anyone belted into a well padded chair.

            The rest, as they say, is history.  Travel between Earth and Mars was done so often, Mars was used as a vacation spot.  It wasn’t long before scientists dared to travel further.  Soon research stations were placed on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.  Shielded research orbitals were placed on the shadowy sides of Mercury and Venus.  Eventually, the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, could be studied.

            Not everything worked out so nicely, however.  While scientists were using the CHURN and CB technology for the good of mankind, governments and corporations were arguing over who should be reaping all of the profits to be made.  The research team behind the CB was furious over the squabbling.  The countries and corporations they worked for all sat back on Earth taking credit for the team’s hard work.  The team, pooled their savings, and with Martian real estate being relatively cheap, bought a piece of Martian land, called it their own country, and announced severance from all their old lands.  Everyone thought it was quite a joke until one week later several of the largest cities on Mars, too, declared their severance.  Soon, the citizens of Mars were demanding that Mars belonged to them and no one so far away could have any kind of political hold on them.

            In situations like these, there is rarely a peaceful solution.  Negotiations were made.  It soon became clear that Mars had no intention of backing down.  The research team behind the CB had stirred a fire in the hearts of Martian citizens and disclosed documents hidden since the first landings on Mars.  Secrets were revealed that were never intended to see the light of day.  The countries of Earth knew they couldn’t sit idly by and watch this open rebellion.  It didn’t take long to happen.  The United States built the first intrasolar warship.  The need for combat in space was never even thought of until now.  Someone did think of it, however, and others followed suit.  Word spread to Mars that the countries of Earth were actually planning to use force.  The Martian citizens sent word for peace.  They had no way and no desire to fight.  Rumors were rampant and paranoia was high.  Earth and Mars had such close ties that were so suddenly cut.  This combined with the fact that not everyone on Earth wanted to fight made everyone paranoid about spies and secret plots.  Soon, the United Militaries of Earth were given word of a secret weapon developed on Mars that could rival any of the Earth warships.  The reaction was swift and terrible.  Earth forces swept in and totally annihilated the region of Mars thought to have developed the weapon.  Tens of thousands of people died.  Sadly, the development of the weapon was false.  The development teams in the area were developing a way of replicating food in preparation of the long war.  Suddenly, the UME were forced to see themselves as they tyrants they had quickly become.  They granted Mars the freedom to rule themselves and opened trade with the newly formed Republic of Martians.  The UME was disbanded, but on the same day was replaced by the United People of Earth which was an organization bent on uniting the people of Earth much the way the people of Mars had been united.

            It’s now the year 2298 and Mars is largely populated.  For the most part there is peace.  A new era of technology has just been born.  With this new technology man has gained the ability to reach beyond our own solar system.  The UPE and the RoM have once again banded together to form a single people that are temporarily content with each other.  They have formed a loose knit government everyone is governed under and have built a fleet to explore the galaxy.

 

 

Your Story

 

            You joined the fleet as soon as they began taking applications.  You joined the officers program and quickly rose through the ranks.  It’s been five years and the fleet has made visits to several nearby star systems.  You’ve saved enough money to purchase your own small ship and you’ve served enough time that you can leave the fleet or you can stay in your current command.

 

            The choice is yours.

 

            Stay in your current command and rise through the ranks.  It’s a single ship now, but that could soon change.  You could soon command a small fleet of your own, or even govern a planet or a solar system.  Why stop there?  A group of stars could be at your command.  Go even further to become elected leader (or kill your way in to office) and lead the entire human race in to the reaches of the galaxy.  Rule benevolently or with an iron fist?  Again, that choice is yours.  And if you run into an alien race… what will you do then?  Make peace… or make war?  Sit on the sidelines and command your troops or ride your command ship and take charge of the battle personally?  The choice is yours.

 

            What’s that you say?  You want to leave the fleet?  No problem.  Set out on your own.  Use your ship to explore, transport cargo, or even… transport contraband.  Make enough money to get a bigger ship, higher a crew.  Buy some weapons and defend cargo ships from the less pleasant space fairing of your race.  Join those of the less pleasant and bring down those cargo ships.  The choice is yours.  Build a small group of ships.  Form a corporation.  Or simply float around and make deals with alien races.  Maybe join their military… maybe even lead them.  The choice is yours.

 

            Not enough choices?  Maybe you’re not the type that likes to start so lowly.  Then begin as leader.  Make sure humanity’s role in the universe starts off in the right direction!  Also, make sure you leave someone trustworthy in charge after your dead.  That’s right.  You are going to get old.  You might even get bored ruling the galaxy.  In that case why not resign and go off gallivanting in your own private ship… at least you’ll have some money to spend by the time you do.