The following piece is from last week’s newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up in the sidebar.
What began as a second edition of Starship Tyche has evolved in a very different, but thematically similar, direction. Over the next few newsletters I’ll begin sharing some details about the new setting, so you can get a feel for where it’s going.
I’ve been inspired by Monica Valentinelli’s Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge. The idea is to create something every day, and to put your hopes and fears for the future into your art. Some people might be put off by the sentiments expressed in the new game; it is not apolitical. It is a backdrop to tell stories, and hopefully and interesting and exciting one. My goal isn’t to beat anyone over the head with my personal ideology. What I’d love is for people to use this setting to tell stories that reflect their own dreams and opinions about the modern world.
That was, after all, the core of the original Star Trek television series. It presented real-world issues allegorically, and worked them out through the genre of science fiction. I want to stay true to that spirit, and do so so means taking a cold, hard look at the world around us right now, and extrapolating what that might mean over the next few hundred years.
In the 21st century, the people of Earth were becoming increasingly nationalistic and isolationist. Defending subjective ideologies became more important than objective reality. As a result, trust in science and expertise was historically low. Climate change continued to worsen, the global economy was in turmoil, and the threat of another world war was constantly on the horizon.
Some nations continued to hold onto science and reason. Billionaire philanthropists launched their own space programs. By the end of the century, there were colonies on other planets within the solar system, and the first interstellar ships were being planned.
That’s when the aliens came.
Most of Earth responded the way that humans always do when they encounter something new that they don’t understand: they fell back into old habits of fear and violence. The aliens were amazingly nonplussed, and seemed to anticipate that reaction. They offered to deal only with the factions that were interested in communicating with them, and to leave the rest alone. This meant that they developed a relationship with the colonies, and stayed clear of the Earth. Many of the reasonable people, those who had not abandoned science for superstition, began to emigrate to the colonies.
World War III began when select nations of Earth launch an attack against the colonies. Humans, after all, didn’t even trust each other, so how could they trust aliens? They certainly could not trust humans who willingly allied themselves with aliens. Once again, the aliens anticipated this behavior. The war didn’t last long. They offered asylum to any humans who wished to go forth into the stars, to live in peace. Millions more left for the colonies. Two decades later, the colonies within the solar system were abandoned, as the followers of reason left for new colonies throughout the galaxy.
This was the beginning of the Archimedean Confederation, a union between the new human colonies and a number of alien species, dedicated to peace through understanding. As for what happened to Earth, we’ll cover that in the next newsletter.