The Tesserene Imperative - Deleted Scenes:

Encyclopedia Entries

The following is some background material I originally wrote for The Tesserene Imperative. I thought it was interesting stuff, but there was more of it than I had room for in the book. I used the encyclopedia entries that I felt were necessary for the various chapters, but had to excise these entries as too much of a good thing. However, for those of you who like to delve deeper into a fictional “universe”, here they are.

 

Keep in mind that because they never appeared in the book, I don’t deem these “historical records” to be canon. So I consider myself free to rewrite history as needed in any sequels I might write.

OverpopulationBy 2180 mankind truly was in desperate straits. Its forty billion souls were crowded into teeming labyrinths that soared into the sky and burrowed deep underground. Major cities in every continent had swelled to populations of more than fifty million apiece, with all the attendant infrastructure problems that entailed. The immense population necessitated certain sacrifices: reduced food rations, the CURTAILMENT OF VARIOUS CIVIL LIBERTIES and a reduction in personal living space, to name a few. Most single-family homes were replaced by high-density, high-rise housing—all but the homes of the wealthy and powerful. Small towns either grew into large cities, were absorbed by encroaching megalopolises, or disappeared entirely as people migrated to the cities in search of work.

 

Some countries instituted DRACONIAN MEASURES in an attempt to stem the runaway population growth. For example, beginning in 2181, Greater China enforced a policy whereby only the “best and brightest” were allowed to reproduce, limiting this privilege to only one in ten carefully screened families. India, in even WORSE ECONOMIC SHAPE than China, instituted a lottery system in 2183 that permitted even fewer “winners.” In both countries, couples that violated these policies were summarily executed.

 

Most Western countries enacted laws limiting families to only one child; yet the penalties often were light and violations frequent. Combined with the longer life spans afforded by improved medical techniques and nanotechnology, population growth slowed only slightly.

— Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194

 

Overpopulation—Human population overwhelmed the ability of land-based farms to keep up with the demands placed upon them. Rampant food shortages, exacerbated by heavy-handed governmental policies, contributed to the GLOBAL FOOD RIOTS of 2147 and 2151. Overharvesting the sea’s bounty resulted in the mass extinction of many species. Kelp and plankton farms eventually supplanted land-based farms as the providers of the majority of humanity’s food supply.

 

More importantly, Earth’s nonrenewable natural resources were being consumed at an unsustainable rate. Petroleum was gone; coal and natural gas nearly so. Methane gas from the ocean floor was difficult to reach and therefore costly. Iron, tin, and copper supplies were dwindling rapidly. The new FUSION POWER PLANTS barely kept up with demand and were tremendously expensive to build.

Without TESSERENE to fuel ships of exploration and colonization, many of Earth’s most needed natural resources were expected to be exhausted within a century. It was widely believed that tesserene-fueled power plants could be the answer to mankind’s energy needs—if enough of the mineral could be found. For this reason, the mission of the dozens of ships of exploration was vital to mankind’s survival.

 — Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194. 

 

Engineering Marvels: Colonizing Space—Greater China and India each built two ORBITAL CITIES as a means of relieving population pressures. However, due to the tremendous cost of constructing and maintaining them, especially for a relatively small number of inhabitants, orbiting cities proved impractical. In all, the four cities built housed fewer than ten thousand inhabitants between then. It was far cheaper and simpler to build cities in deserts on Earth.

 

Commercial ventures built MINING COLONIES on TITANGANYMEDE and several other Jovian and Saturnian moons. Smaller mining camps were created in the ASTEROID BELT by hollowing out some of the larger asteroids, including CERES. However, once the mobile mining/refinery ships became prevalent, the colonies were no longer needed to house miners. They evolved into habitats for thousands of people for whom living on Earth was no longer an acceptable option. But these colonies were too small and too few in number to provide much relief for Earth’s population pressures.

— Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194.

 

History of Space Exploration—Massive overpopulation threatened to overwhelm the fragile global infrastructure. As a consequence, the governments of Earth had no resources left to devote to extra-worldly pursuits. This left the fate of mankind in the hands of private enterprise. Earth had no other choice, and in this case necessity overcame greed.

 

At first Luna, Mars and the asteroid belt were mined for metals. Later, robotic scoopships were used to extract HELIUM-3 isotopes from the gas giants. Helium-3 was used as reaction fuel for the FUSION POWER PLANTS on Earth and Mars. But even this was not enough to keep up with the voracious appetite of humanity. The only long-term solution was to begin mining nearby systems.

— Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194.

 

Overpopulation—Population pressures forced China and India to look elsewhere for natural resources, resulting in their joint INVASION OF NORTHERN AUSTRALIA in 2163. Only a timely compromise proposed by Secretary General of the United Nations SIMON M’BUTU averted a potential global conflict. Via the DARWIN ACCORD, Australia CEDED most of its sparsely populated Northern Territory province to the ASIAN ALLIANCE. The 1.15 million sq. kilometers gained was enough additional land to temporarily relieve much of the population pressure in China and India. However, at the rate Earth’s population kept increasing, it appeared inevitable that the lack of land and natural resources would eventually lead to warfare once again, somewhere on Earth. 

— Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194.

 

Engineering Marvels: Space Trains—Space trains are used to ship refined ore between MARS and Earth. The mining companies on Mars use steel smelted locally to fabricate shipping containers. Then the miners fill them with various refined minerals and use the two Martian SPACE ELEVATORS to raise the containers to an ORBITAL DOCKING FACILITY ODF), either ODF BARSOOM or ODF MOREAU. From there, the ODF uses its CENTRIFUGAL FORCE to “SLINGSHOT” a series of interlocked containers from orbit at more than 11,000 KPH on a trajectory to Earth.

 

With no crew and no engine, and traveling entirely on inertia, this is an extremely cost-effective way to ship cargo. All the mining company needs is a “tugboat” near Earth to intercept the train, slow it down, and tow it to one of the ODFs. Similarly, space trains depart Earth orbit bound for Mars, containing finished goods and foodstuffs not yet produced in the mining colonies. Only perishable and urgent goods (including passengers) are delivered via crewed ships.

 

Mars contains vast quantities of iron and other minerals that are in short supply on Earth. This results in a continuous stream of trains arriving from Mars, and a return stream of machine parts and other durable goods to Mars. Because some needed minerals are either scarce or absent altogether on Mars and in the asteroid belt, the SOL system alone is unable to meet Earth’s long-term needs.

 — Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194.

 

History of Space Exploration: Shamu—Throughout the 22nd century, deepspace exploration and prospecting ships have explored the galaxy, searching for the minerals that Earth so desperately needs. Immense mining ships follow in the wake of the explorers and prospectors. The miners extract vast quantities of ore and process it onsite, so that when the ships return to Earth the minerals are already refined and ready for sale.

 

One such exploration and mining company, SALEYA INTERGALACTIC (SI), was incorporated in the REPUBLIC OF EUROPE in 2164. Three years later, SI acquired a ship called SHAMU and put her in service as the third prospector in its fleet. By then, Shamu had already seen six decades of use. She joined dozens of other ships of exploration scattered throughout a sphere extending nearly a hundred light years from Earth.

 

In 2185, Shamu embarked on the latest in a long series of deepspace prospecting missions.

 — Excerpt from Encyclopedia Solaris, 2194.

© 2015-2016 by Mark Terence Chapman. Proudly created with Wix.com

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