Even during the First Solar War, both sides continued their expansion apace. The UNM dedicated a significant portion of their resources to scouting new worlds, founding the Ranger Corps with their distinctive black and green colour scheme; whilst in 2115 the IP3 developed the Starblade, a device capable of teleporting a small, inorganic object such as a self-assembling wormhole gate up to twenty light years.
Despite the differences in how the colonists got to their new frontier lives, the process of preparing for that was broadly the same. Most colony ventures were funded by a mix of public funding and private sponsorship. It was not uncommon for loans to be offered against the value of future exports of raw or refined material.
In 2130, the Rasselhague Settlement Corporation was founded along very regular lines, with the UNM providing roughly one third of the required resources and a mix of grants and loans from various private sector sources providing the other two. Early surveys had suggested that the Rasselhague system was rich in easily accessible space-bourne resources and several sponsors had already lined up to build mining and processing stations in the system to take advantage. The first colonists arrived in 2132 and set to work building a new home. By 2137, they had already established their space industries and the UNM rated the colony ‘viable’, the highest possible rating.
It was following such an auspicious start that the colonists were faced with the news that their planet was doomed. Between 2142 and 2147, against a backdrop of severe solar anomalies, the planet suffered from severe extreme weather and several independent groups of researchers predicted that within thirty years the planet would be rendered uninhabitable. To make matters worse, the star was kicking out ever increasing amounts of deadly radiation and within a hundred years the entire system would be deadly to all but the most heavily shielded starships.
After a nine hour meeting of the regional UNM assembly, the decision was made to evacuate the system. No-one was willing to bankroll a second venture for the colonists and as such the colonists would be split between nearby established colonies. The Rasselhaguians were having none of this. At the end of 2149. the government of Rasselhague declared their independence from the UNM and announced that they would build several massive starships to carry them away from their planet.
Not wanting a second rebellion on their hands, the UNM took a much more hands off approach this time. The media was focused on the comparatively small number of colonists who had taken up the offer of relocation, but the news of this newly independent planet spread quickly. Many millions flocked to Rasselhague, either seeking a new life in this newly independent colony, or offering help.
The biggest help came from a group of disaffected researchers defected from the IP3. They had been researching alternate wormhole mechanisms, but their research had been shut down as whilst they’d had many major successes, their generator had one significant disadvantage: since it used ancient microscopic wormholes created in the minutes following the big bang, it was neigh on impossible to predict where the wormhole would take you.
This may have been a red line for the IP3 but for these new space nomads it was anything but. Initial tests were promising, and in 2153 as the first of the new space habitats were nearing completion the first tests of the newly christened Ancestral Wormhole Expansion Drive were completed successfully. The IP3 were remarkably calm about the defection of their engineers, the official line was that all citizens were free to come or go as they wished and none of the research was classified.
As 2156 drew to a close, the last of the five initial habitats were completed and preparations to evacuate the planet once and for all were put into motion. The UNM sent a flotilla of ships with a public aim to “assist the evacuation efforts and help escort their citizens to safety”, but in private the commander of the fleet was tasked with replacing the colonial leadership and securing this new technology for themselves. In response, the colonists reiterated their independence and christened themselves the Void Born Union. In a tense final stand the flotilla raced towards the planet but not before the habitats could escape, each slipping away through a wormhole to a different solar system, somewhere across the galaxy.
Continue reading Birth of a Faction.