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Fantastic work so far!
 
2251-2261 - The First Odek Administration (Part 1)

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2251-2261 - The First Odek Administration (Part 1)

You can hear the words, so run away
Come, Hortator, unfold into a clear unknown,
Stay quiet until you've slept in the yesterday,
And say no elegies for the melting stone.

- The 36 Lessons of Vivec, Sermon Five

odek.PNG


Appointed Secretary-General by the General Assembly during the Michalak administration, Musa Odek became in 2251 the first person to serve as both Secretary-General and President. Born in Kenya to an English mother and a Kikuyu father, he was the second East African to win the Presidency, after Dolores Muwanga. In his three decades of service as Secretary-General, Odek had dramatically developed the office. Once a mostly clerical position primarily concerned with facilitating dialogue between Member States, under Odek the Office of the Secretary-General had become a political force in its own right, standing up to the President and Parliament when federal power seemed to encroach on sovereign national rights. The IGB, of course, was pleased to have such a stalwart defender in the Secretary-General; however, Odek was never sympathetic to the Sovereignists as a political party. Instead, his ideology was rooted in a left-wing skepticism of the UNE's growing federal power. "Only by the consent of the nations does the United Nations of Earth derive its power," he said in a 2244 speech at Kinshasa, "and only by the strength and sovereignty of those nations are the rights and liberties of the people protected." Throughout his life, Odek wrote of his fear that UNE institutions might be undermined and the great utopian project turned to tyranny.

Since their departure in 2234, not a word had been heard from the two ships sent out of Sol towards Alpha Centauri and UV Ceti. Although it had been anticipated that their experimental FTL drives would prevent communications, no one expected such a long period of silence from UNS Galaxy and UNS Sputnik. As the first years of the Odek Administration ticked by and the 20th anniversary of the launches approached, some media outlets and politicians began to float the possibility that the ships were permanently lost.

20190630020149_1.jpg


Then, on April 19th, 2253, a transmission was received; a brief message from Captain So of Galaxy, transmitted back to Sol via conventional means:

1st phase mission success.
Galaxy at Proxima. Crew unhurt and in good spirits. All systems intact. 2nd phase to begin immediately. Further status reports to follow.

On Earth and in the colonies, the relief was palpable. Not only was an intrepid human crew exploring another star system for the first time in history, but the Balangao Drive project - which had been put on standby after ten years without a message over safety concerns - could again be pursued. in 2254, President Odek personally approved the formal re-opening of the FTL research facility on Luna. In time, further messages from the Galaxy would tell of how the Balangao containment device failed while the FTL system was depowered, forcing the vessel to make the rest of the trek under conventional power.

20190630015655_1.jpg


The years of gradual land reclamation, offworlding of polluting industries, and waste cleanup begun by President Delmas had by the mid-23rd Century paid off dramatically. Scientists of the Research Council and from several major universities declared in 2252 that Earth's ecosystems had recovered their pre-Industrial Revolution health and resiliency. Although many thousands of extinct species were likely permanently gone, the news buoyed the already-strong support for the UNE's environmental programs. The great climate crises, it seemed, were firmly at an end.

wildlife preserve.PNG


Following the closure of the last mining operations on Earth in 2255, President Odek established the Global Wildlife Preserve System, a department of the UN Park Service. The new department was given charge of many areas of especially high biodiversity or ecological importance, such as inner New Guinea, the Congo Basin, and a swathe of the southwestern United States. As with the other Parks, however, formal sovereignty remained with the Member States

20190630020422_1.jpg


On Ceres, President Odek saw a political opportunity in the person of Khalil Hamdouchi, a Moroccan-born former diplomat who had chosen Ceres as his place of retirement. Incensed by the continued existence of the Earth Defense Fleet, which he saw as "the fist of unchecked federal power", Hamdouchi lambasted the DRI and the pro-Fleet Sovereignists, whom he decried as threats to peace in Sol. Now a Member State in its own right, Ceres elected Hamdouchi as its delegate to the General Assembly, where he made a name for himself as a stalwart advocate for the rights of the three offworld states.

The question of the Fleet seemed likely to dominate UNE political discussion for the remainder of President Odek's term. But on February 14th, 2257, everything humanity knew about the universe changed overnight.

20190630021028_1.jpg


Just beyond the Oort Cloud, long-range scanners in orbit of Saturn detected a spacecraft of unknown origin moving towards inner Solar System at astounding speed. The memo delivered to President Odek as he was awoken at 04:00 Nairobi time was terse.

Unknown object en route to Sol. Speed at least 14.6c. Not slowing.
 
Last edited:

Specialist290

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Well, that's quite the one-two punch. First, the discovery that the vast gulf between the stars can be bridged, and in a reasonable time frame at that; then, the discovery that Someone Out There is already doing so from the opposite end.

(Interesting choice for a lead-in quote, by the way.)
 

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A first discovery that is expected to shake mankind to its core, and the bridge between systems is becoming increasingly possible. Hopefully that when contact is made, mankind remains idealistic and pray that the xeno is not hostile.
 
2251-2261 - The First Odek Administration (Part 2)

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2251-2261 - The First Odek Administration (Part 2)

Count o'er those lamps of quenchless light,
That sparkle through the shades of night;
Behold them!can a mortal boast
To number that celestial host?

Mark well each little star, whose rays
In distant splendor meet thy gaze;
Each is a world by Him sustained,
Who from eternity hath reigned.

Each, shining not for earth alone,
Hath suns and planets of its own,
And beings, whose existence springs
From Him, th' all-powerful King of kings.

What then art thou, oh! child of clay!
Amid creation's grandeur, say?
E'en as an insect on the breeze,
E'en as a dew-drop, lost in seas!

Be thou at peace!th' all-seeing eye,
Pervading earth, and air, and sky,
The searching glance which none may flee,
Is still, in mercy, turned on thee.

- from "The Stars.", Felicia Hemans

20190630021054_1.jpg


The Theta Spacecraft

In early 2257, an alien object moving under its own power hurtled into the Solar System from deep space. It did not respond to hails of any kind. United Nations research outposts on the moons of Saturn attempted to transmit every conceivable message: greetings in four hundred languages living and dead, mathematical sequences, astronomical data, even rudimentary scans of the instruder itself. The entity did not change course or speed, and remained completely silent.

The extrasolar spacecraft, dubbed "Theta" by one of the transmission specialists charged with finding a way to make contact, traveled at speeds never before seen by UNE scientists. (While the Balangao Drive could theoretically achieve nigh-unlimited speed with sufficient access to negative matter, at the time of the Theta incident scientists had kept the prototype FTL systems firmly below even those primitive systems' limited capacity.) A cylindrical object with a shield-shaped nose, Theta appeared to lack armaments, shields, or even a recognizable bridge. The 6 kilometer-long object was awash in strange blue lighting, which pierced through its hull in a pattern than resembled side windows on a conventional spacecraft. Nevertheless, no sign of activity within the vessel was ever recorded.

President Musa Odek held an emergency Cabinet meeting at Nairobi the day Theta was detected. After three days of frantic attempts at contact and no change in the object's behavior, Odek made the decision to activate the Earth Defense Fleet and intercept Theta before it could cross the Asteroid Belt. Though the Fleet's Admiral, Maria Guimarães, had been given orders to attempt peaceful contact, the President's orders were clear:

Should the Theta entity pose a threat to Earth or any of the solar Republics, it is to be fired upon and destroyed.

Initially secret, the Fleet's orders were leaked two weeks before the expected rendezvous with Theta past Mars orbit. In Parliament, the reaction was pandemonium. President Odek was accused of warmongering, of overreaching his authority, of jeopardizing the safety of humanity by initiating belligerent first contact. A particularly incensed Sovereignist delegate even accused Odek and Labour of manufacturing the crisis, and Theta, in order to seize the Fleet and use it to take total control of the government. Impeachment papers were drawn up, though never voted upon. Amidst the political chaos, Odek held firm, giving a press conference on March 25th in which he reaffirmed his standing orders, insisted on his legal right to command the Fleet as Commander-in-Chief, and dismissed the parliamentary opposition as "dangerous to stability and the safety of humanity [...] in this time of peril".

20190630021200_1.jpg


Mankind waited with anticipation as Admiral Guimarães and the five railgun-armed ships of the Earth Defense Fleet intercepted Theta just past the Asteroid Belt on April 3rd. In order to force a response, the UNS America was placed directly in the path of the alien vessel. At 11:19 Nairobi time, Theta arrived as expected, whistling through the asteroid belt at a breakneck 14.6 times the speed of light. The Admiral broadcasted her messages, demanding that the intruder stand down and explain its purpose in the system, but she barely had time to finish before the spacecraft careened wide around the UNS America, never once losing speed. Guimarães ordered the Fleet around to pursue, but the sublight chemical drives of the first human corvettes could not hope to catch the object.

20190630021236_1.jpg


Earth watched these events with horror. The Fleet had proven less than useless; with its ships now trapped on the far side of the Asteroid Belt for weeks at least, Earth was undefended should Theta change course again. For another three weeks humanity held its collective breath, only to breathe a sigh of relief as Theta ignored Earth entirely, leaving the Solar System on June 6th. Since its last recorded heading led towards Alpha Centauri, the UNS Galaxy was given warning and asked to investigate Theta further should it appear.

The Theta crisis shook Musa Odek's first administration to its bones. Besides a small boost after a signal from the UNS Sputnik in UV Ceti was received in 2258, popular opinion of the Odek government plummeted steadily in the final years of his term. The Earth Defense Fleet, crawling home after its humiliation at the Asteroid Belt, became a target for ridicule, while the opposition of the anti-Fleet factions in Parliament remained no less stalwart. A coalition of delegates from sixty-three Earth Member States, plus Mars and Ceres, formally initiated legislation in the General Assembly to disband the Fleet in 2259, which failed.

20190630023704_1.jpg


President Odek lost the election of 2261 to Lu Guozhi, chief of the Research Council's sociology department, and an outspoken defender of institutional checks on executive power. But despite his first term ending in embarrassment and disgrace, the political legacy of Musa Odek was far from over.

Around all the breathless relief and political fury, one fact remained frighteningly apparent. Had the Theta spacecraft meant harm to Earth, no force on any of humanity's four worlds could have stopped it.

20190630022826_1.jpg


It took three years for the response from Galaxy to arrive. Theta had been seen in Alpha Centauri only two months after it departed Sol, but for once, the bizarre spacecraft lay completely stationary. As Galaxy had approached, it had set off towards the galactic north, again at great speed, but at its former position, the science vessel discovered something extraordinary.

Bathed in the light of three foreign stars, and orbiting an immense gas giant, a picturesque green world glimmered in the cosmic dark.

20190630022747_1.jpg


[Dates in this chapter - and future ones - may not match precisely with dates in screenshots. This is an intentional narrative choice. For example, although the crew of the UNS Galaxy observed Theta in Alpha Centauri in 2257, in that era of pre-subspace transmission, Earth did not receive its report on the encounter until 2260.]
 
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jmberry

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This is good. I second the request for a list of mods, as I'd like to try this concept out myself.
 

Specialist290

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So they buzz through your system without so much as a "How do you do?" or a "By your leave?" That's just a mite rude... Still, it could have gone worse.

I have a feeling that much of the ire vented at Odek was simply a reaction to the mysterious visitor's incredible power -- easier to pass the blame for one's insecurities off to someone else than to confront the stark truth of one's own powerlessness.
 

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Well that could have gone better. Least they didn't act hostile, would still leave Odek and his administration incredibly embarrassed for not even being able to catch up to this ship.
 

Bored Student1414

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It is odd to see a president known for his left wing-based suspicion of UN power and support for an anti-fleet diplomat be accused of trying to use the fleet to usurp power during first contact. President Odek was a victim of circumstances well beyond his or humanity's control but it seems his career might not be over yet.

The probe was likely from a very advanced alien civilization, advanced enough to ignore a fledgling FTL-capable civilization. A concerning thing for humanity.
 
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Mod list from the Mod Manager, by popular request. Some of these aren't relevant to Towards Blue Skies so far, and some never will be; this is just a list of mods I've got active right now, that more or less play nice together. The deactivated ones are deactivated for a reason (generally conflicts with other mods on the list), but I like them for other games, so I keep them. Two exceptions are "No Gaia Worlds" (which I would have used in this AAR, but unfortunately didn't know existed until after Towards Blue Skies had already begun) and Guilli's Technologies (which was only just released, and which I will use once the AAR catches up with the game).

Capture.PNG

Capture1.PNG

Capture2.PNG

Capture3.PNG


I find a few mods singularly important for immersion, which I strongly recommend at minimum:
  • Real Space
  • Real Sol Textures
  • Sol System Expanded
  • Living Space*
  • Dark Skies
  • No Glow**
  • Cultural Overhaul 2.3 (I use the Ethics-Civics-Traditions version, but at minimum I'd recommend Civics)
Bear in mind that each of these requires a few patches to properly work with other mods on the list.

*The way Living Space works requires a bit of console trickery to do certain things, for example terraforming an already-settled Mars. I'm fine with this, since the story comes foremost, but you should be aware of this beforehand.
**No Glow is absolutely vital, in my opinion, but it only affects vanilla planets. To make sure mod-added planets don't have the same ghastly glow, you need to copy the relevant portions of No Glow's "planet_classes.txt" over to the Planetary Diversity planet class files as well.

I can't guarantee these all work perfectly together. I began this AAR after testing the list pretty heavily, but there's always things I might have missed. If you're curious about which mod added a particular thing, I'll do my best to answer. I'll also link this post from the Prologue so folks can find it easily.

I don't know which mod added the Theta object. I'm just as curious about it as the UNE is. :)
 

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Well that could have gone better. Least they didn't act hostile, would still leave Odek and his administration incredibly embarrassed for not even being able to catch up to this ship.
It is odd to see a president known for his left wing-based suspicion of UN power and support for an anti-fleet diplomat be accused of trying to use the fleet to usurp power during first contact. President Odek was a victim of circumstances well beyond his or humanity's control but it seems his career might not be over yet.

The probe was likely from a very advanced alien civilization, advanced enough to ignore a fledgling FTL-capable civilization. A concerning thing for humanity.
So they buzz through your system without so much as a "How do you do?" or a "By your leave?" That's just a mite rude... Still, it could have gone worse.

I have a feeling that much of the ire vented at Odek was simply a reaction to the mysterious visitor's incredible power -- easier to pass the blame for one's insecurities off to someone else than to confront the stark truth of one's own powerlessness.
Quite right. Besides some friends in the planetary Republics, Odek made few parliamentary allies during his first term (in strong contrast to his popular tenure as Secretary-General). The narrative of the stalwart anti-federalist politician being swept up in the corrupt power games of Nairobi politics must have been compelling for the Sovereignists, however.

Of course, few truly thought Odek meant to seize power; the more dominant narrative (which would come to define the historical legacy of his first term) was that Odek chafed against what he saw as a Parliament growing too detached from the concerns of the Member States and the General Assembly. He saw an opportunity in the Theta crisis to firmly assert Presidential leadership - and by extension, the supremacy of the United Nations. Of course, the gambit failed spectacularly, and the Fleet once more became a political target.

(Interesting choice for a lead-in quote, by the way.)
As Earth has just learned, victories won on Earth mean less than nothing in the greater universe. To go forward, the UNE must look inwards.
 
2261-2262 - The Lu Administration

Charger24

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Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations VII

2261-2262 - The Lu Administration


Lu Guozhi was born in 2172 in Wuhan, China. At the founding of the Research Council in 2200, she was the youngest of the three department heads (only 28 years of age), and a prodigy in biology and sociology alike. Lu was more importantly a capable popular communicator, well-known for her efforts to popularize the social sciences. Throughout her sixty-year tenure on the Research Council, Lu became well known in left-wing circles for her sharp criticisms of government policy concerning the rights of individuals. In Lu's view, the United Nations of Earth disproportionately prioritized the interests of the Member States and corporate entities over the interests of citizens.

The Working Class Heroes Association, a political afterthought throughout most of the first half of the 23rd century, had slowly gained influence during the first Odek Administration as left-wing MPs and voters dissatisfied with Odek's handling of the Theta crisis defected. Enjoying a brief surge in popularity that could finally win the party an election, the WCHA recruited Lu to head the party ticket, despite her advanced age - in 2261, Lu Guozhi was eighty-nine years old.

20190630023746_1.jpg


Lu Guozhi's first executive order set the tone for her brief Presidency. In order to establish a permanent bastion in the Alpha Centauri system, from which colonization or research might be supported, the UNS Pacific was equipped with a prototype Balangao Drive and sent to follow UNS Galaxy into the black. The Pacific, a sixty-year-old construction vessel lacking most of the Discovery-class ships' power capacity, was ill-equipped to handle a massive power drain like the Balangao containment device, but President Lu insisted that the ship's engineers make do.

20190630023902_1.jpg


Taking advantage of advances in the theory underlying the Balangao FTL system, Pacific reached Alpha Centauri in months, rather than years, and by early 2262 began construction on the first permanent extrasolar outpost: Delmas Station, named for the late President who had authorized the first manned missions to foreign stars. In preparation for what seemed likely to become a second colonization boom, construction began on a rudimentary shipyard immediately.

20190630024032_1.jpg


On the little green world to which Galaxy had been led by the Theta object, President Lu authorized a commission to begin colonial surveys, even allowing eager would-be colonists to choose an official name: Endor, after a similar forest moon from a popular 20th-century science fiction film.

Alas, tragedy derailed all of President Lu's grand plans. Just after construction was completed on Delmas Station, UNS Pacific suffered a catastrophic energy leak, and the FTL containment device failed, resulting in an explosion. The ship was lost with all hands, luckily out of range of Delmas Station.

President Lu did not enjoy popular support in the legislature. The WCHA had never made many friends among the other party groups, and even the Alien Freedom Society (whose membership had swelled as well after the discovery of likely alien life) withdrew support after Lu's authorization of the Endor colony. After the accident, Parliament demanded a moratorium on use of the Balangao drives aboard non-scientific vessels, lest a similar disaster occur aboard a colony ship. Besides a limited number of upgraded construction vessels deemed suitable for interstellar science outpost construction, this moratorium would hold until the development of a stable FTL drive in 2301. Colonization, until then, would be contained to the Solar System alone.

20190630024100_1.jpg


The elderly President Lu, now 90, did not get the chance to redeem her political career, though she did order a new construction ship built, the UNS Mediterranean. After only sixteen months in office, Lu Guozhi died of liver failure while attending a conference in Geneva. Following her death, the UNE lacked a President for the first time since the establishment of the office. Though some in Parliament feared crisis, ultimately the government followed constitutional protocol and a three month special election period was initiated, resulting in the election of the DRI candidate, Meng Liang, in 2263.

Historians consider the Lu Administration notable, despite Lu's short tenure. The political fallout of the UNS Pacific disaster shaped the direction of humanity's expansion into space. Had things gone differently, interstellar colonization would have have begun forty years earlier, and the later colonies of the Sol system, such as Mercury and Europa, might not have existed at all.
 
Last edited:

Bored Student1414

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The Lu Administration was an unfortunate failure as it suffered bad luck and lasted too short of a time to do anything of note.
 

Lupis Volk

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Sadly to go boldly where none have gone before does have it's sacrifices. Let's hope there'l be no more needless ones.
 
2263-2264 - The Meng Administration

Charger24

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Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.
- Helen Keller

2263- 2264 The Meng Administration

20190630024106_1.jpg


Meng Liang was born in 2175 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Since 2254, he had served as chief of the Research Council's engineering department. A staunch advocate for the Council's legal advisory role, he had been foremost among those public figures who had warned President Lu about the dangers of rushing the Balangao Drive project for use aboard colony ships. The Pacific disaster raided Meng's public profile immensely, as did his work to develop a safer FTL variant system for construction vessels.

Besides his advocacy for the Research Council, Meng never made political waves, nor campaigned for or against any parties. Seeing in Meng's new celebrity an opportunity to avoid another Odek administration, the DRI nominated him as their lead candidate in the special election of 2263. Though the victory swelled the Liberals' membership, the new President Meng's non-ideological approach to politics would ultimately damage the party.

20190702220231_1.jpg


Restrictions on most use of the Balangao FTL drive made the second half of the 23rd century a strange time for humanity. A moon bristling with life lay just out of reach, and over the next decades, several more such worlds would be discovered. To mankind's despair, though, all of them were locked away, trapped behind an unimaginably vast expanse of space too risky to cross for any but the most specialized small vessels. The sense of missed potential and loneliness would come to dominate culture of the period, prompting a cascade of media exploring characters restrained or imprisoned by forces beyond their control.

In the meantime, the first solar Republics slowly filled up with people, and the "proto-terraforming" of Mars inched onwards. To many, it seemed humanity was slowing down, grinding into a second state of stasis focused on the Sol system, rather than Earth. To combat these feelings, President Meng pushed for the colonization of Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter. A United Nations research base had been established on the moon during the early expansion of the 2230s, when it was thought that Europa might harbor life, and although no life was ever found, the warmth of Europa's volcanically-warmed subsurface seas meant large-scale colonization was possible.

Parliament, however, refused to authorize a Europa colony. The Alien Freedom Society - never a dominant force, but since Endor's discovery an increasingly influential one - demanded that because Europa could still host undiscovered life, it must not be settled. More importantly, Labour refused to lend its votes towards any further UNE expansion without a sweeping constitutional amendment guaranteeing certain social services to all, on Earth or in the colonies. The DRI balked at such a demand; voters in Liberal strongholds on Earth tended to support aid for the offworld Republics, but not the massive investments required for social policy on par with the richest Earth countries. The Sovereignists were even more strongly opposed, since such a policy would also require some Earth nations, notably Australia, Congo, and the Russian Federation, to adjust their domestic policies to meet higher federal standards.

social state.PNG


Against the wishes of the DRI and their Sovereignist coalition partners, President Meng approved what would become known as the Social State Amendment in 2264, with Labour support. The largest social policy package in history, the Social State Laws permanently enshrined the various social laws passed since Unification in the UNE constitution, alongside a suite of new policies designed to, in the words of Labour leader Musa Odek, "make life worth living at any age, whether you have a job or not". For all intents and purposes, the United Nations of Earth was now a full social democracy. True to their word, Labour lifted its vote blockade, and the colony on Europa was authorized in 2264.

20190630024806_1.jpg


Meng's tenure ended even more abruptly than that of his predecessor. The President, in ailing health even when he was elected, died in office after suffering heatstroke during a conference in Quito. Yet another special election was called, to be concluded in July 2264.

The legacy of the brief Meng presidency is complicated. While the Social State Amendment remains in the UNE's constitution today, many consider the political gamesmanship that led to its passage an ugly reminder of just how dominant the forces of party politics had become in the mid-23rd century. President Meng's defection from the Democratic Rights Initiative - a party he theoretically led - to push legislation supported by the parliamentary opposition resulted directly in the fraught political circumstances of 2264 special election following his death, and the return to power of the even more controversial Musa Odek.
 

Crimson Lionheart

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As one presidency ends, another begins with the interest of building worlds
 

DensleyBlair

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I've never got around to playing Stellaris so I'm just going along with the ride rather than really appreciating what you're doing game-wise, but this is a great read, Charger24. Your command of the narrative makes it really easy for an ingenu like me to get invested somehow in the story, and I'm looking forward to seeing where humanity goes next. Best of luck!
 

Vilhelm

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Apologies for the hiatus; I've been busy. The next chapter should be up sometime this weekend.
Good timing, considering I just stumbled across this amazing AAR! I really love how it's more focused on the Sol system since FTL barely exists. (I might be pressured to try out the pre-FTL mod next time).
 
2264-2274 - the Second Odek Administration, Part 1

Charger24

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So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

2264-2274 - the Second Odek Administration, Part 1


20190630024833_1.jpg


Sweeping back into office in 2274, President Odek faced Parliamentary opposition immediately, primarily from Liberal MPs who were astonished at the rapid demise of Presidents Lu and Meng. Elected with a firm mandate of more than 60%, however, Odek felt unconstrained by Parliamentary restrictions, and set about running the government in what he called his "act first, ask forgiveness later" approach.

20190630025106_1.jpg


President Odek wasted no time shoring up his support in the offworld Republics, approving the Robotics Act in 2265. The Act overturned a number of half-century-old policies that barred large-scale deployment of advanced robotics in the interest of protecting human jobs. In doing so, Odek cleared the way for widespread robot use in the colonies, though only Mars built assembly facilities immediately. Protests took place in several countries on Earth and on Ceres, but within a few decades, robots would become a common sight throughout the UNE.

20190630025211_1.jpg


After surveys were completed by UNS Sputnik, President Odek authorized Lu Station in UV Ceti in 2266. Still restricted to colonial or civilian space traffic, being in another system, Lu Station nevertheless would come to serve as an important base for further nearby scientific endeavors.

20190630025408_1.jpg


Later that year, UNS Galaxy discovered a mysterious derelict in the gaseous atmosphere of one of Alpha Centauri's fifth planet. Hoping to discover some connection to the "Theta" craft, Galaxy's captain So Su-Mi received presidential authorization to extract and study the wreckage.

To the disappointment of the crew of the Galaxy, no explicit connections to the Theta object were discovered on Alpha Centauri V. Instead, the hulk appeared entirely distinct in design - and much less sophisticated - than the ship that had barrelled through Sol. Nevertheless, the wrecked ship had been more advanced than anything humanity possessed in the late 23rd century, and to the surprise of Galaxy's crew, although the FTL system was entirely lost, certain onboard records remained. A series of video logs, deciphered over the next several years by a groundbreaking international linguistic effort, revealed the struggle of a number of small rodent-like aliens to recover some artifact of great power called a "Rubricator". This fuzzy holo-log, the first definitive proof of sentient biological alien life, made many on Earth deeply nervous. Only three star systems had been truly explored by humankind, but two potentially threatening alien entities had already been discovered.

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Following the discovery of the derelict, Captain So and the Galaxy were ordered west, towards Sirius, in search of further clues.

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September 1st, 2266 saw a mass celebration on Earth, spontaneously organized by the 196 Earth national governments in commemoration of the end of war, the prosperity of the UNE, and respect for both the rights of the individual and the rights of the Member States. Although formally just a day of festivities, the Prosperity Day celebrations were seen by many as an implicit reminder to Nairobi not to ignore Earthside concerns in favor of its increasingly resource-intensive space endeavors.

20190630025623_1.jpg


Parliament took note, as did President Odek. In 2267, the General Assembly passed the Health Act (long held back by concerns over colonial rights and expenses), guaranteeing top-quality healthcare for all citizens, Earthside or otherwise. The consequent boost to the medical profession would see millions of new doctors and nurses leave Earth for the Solar Republics, where high-paying jobs in local hospitals were suddenly plentiful.

20190630025715_1.jpg


Another potentially habitable planet was discovered in Epsilon Eridani in 2269. A hot, mostly dry world with several shallow seas, the planet - tentatively called "Apulia" after the region in southern Italy - was distinctly less hospitable than Endor. Nevertheless, Apulia's discovery further motivated research into practical and reliable FTL.

20190630025906_1.jpg


The crew of the UNS Sputnik discovered a source of so-called "exotic gas" in the same system in 2270. The material, extraordinarily versatile in application, was unknown to humanity; samples were immediately collected and a mining site planned.

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In 2274, President Odek approved the controversial Cloning Laws, legalizing the practice. It had been feared that cloning would incite a revolution in the human existence, that all the worst dystopian nightmares of the 20th and 21st centuries would come to pass, but the reality was much more mundane. Far from precipitating the establishment of a disposable slave class of mankind, cloning merely served in practice to increase the general rate of population growth, as many citizens (especially single-parent families and couples incapable of having children in the traditional fashion) turned to cloning as an alternative.

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Musa Odek easily won re-election in 2274, with overwhelming support in the two African unions, the offworld Republics (except Ceres) and India. In doing so, he became the first president to serve three terms. As Parliament shrunk further from its lead role in government, many began to ask if the office of the President was growing too powerful. Only time would tell.
 
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