This Primer is ideal for setting the state for the Intrepid Saga and Tanis Richards: Origins series.
The books and stories of Aeon 14 span centuries, and many start in or around the 42nd century. This primer will bring you up to speed on the general setting and state of affairs from the 41st to 44th century. It is important to note that the universe of Aeon 14 is not like many other science fiction worlds. The core premise is that many of the amazing breakthroughs we thought would come overnight took centuries. Wars, which spanned multiple worlds, set humanity back. The advent of nano technology, and all but limitless energy, reduced the need to spread out into the stars. You will not find transporters or warp drives here. However, you will find rings around planets, orbital habitats housing trillions of people, and even the relocation, or deconstruction, of entire planets.
The Sol System is never referred to as the "Solar System". As humanity looked to the stars they decided that their local star needed a true name other than "The Sun" (which was it's name in the 21st century). It was no stretch to name it Sol as many already considered this to be the star's name. Logically, the "ar" suffix would not work in other stellar systems. Referring to the Alpha Centuariar or Tau Cetar systems was awkward to say the least. Thus the name of the glowing ball of fusing hydrogen that lit Earth's skies became known simply as Sol and the planets, moons, dust and gas in within its heliopause became the Sol System..
In the mid to late 21st century humanity began to move beyond the bounds of the Earth-Moon system and visit other worlds in the Sol System. Mars and Venus were the first two worlds to see humans; the moons of Jupiter were not far behind. Lighter than air outposts were deployed above Venus and habitats were built on the surface of Mars. It didn't take long to confirm what many scientists already knew. Living on the surfaces of other worlds was impractical. Even the surface of Earth did its best to remove the things humans built. What we made square nature wanted to round. What we built up it wore down. Space was a far better habitat for humanity. Thus began the building of the rings.
Mars 1, The First Ring
When you think of a planetary ring, you likely think of Saturn and its rings. The artificial rings humanity built are not oriented with their surfaces perpendicular to the planets, but rather parallel--like a wide wedding band is oriented to a finger. The idea behind rings is not new. Larry Niven, a sci-fi writer of the 20th and 21st century popularized the idea with his Ringworld series--though the planetary rings were built around Mars and Earth, not around the host star itself as found in Niven's writings.
The rings are built out beyond the planet's geo-synchronous orbit point and rotate around their host worlds. This generates centripetal force similar to normal Earth gravity. The rings are also massive in size and many layers deep. Rings, as it turns out, can house significantly many more people than the planets they orbit. Construction of the Mars 1 ring, also known as M1R or MIR, began in 2215 after a breakthrough in materials with the tensile strength to handle the force and mass of such a huge structure were created. The base structure of the ring was completed in 2391. Over 1600 kilometers wide and 128,400 kilometers in circumference, the ring's surface is over 205 million square kilometers. This is over half the size of the surface of the Earth. Given that the ring is dozens of levels deep; and that most of Earth is water, cold, or just plain unpleasant, the Mars 1 ring opened up habitable space orders of magnitude larger than Earth.
With this, everything changed. Planets became novelties and the center of commerce and power in the Sol System moved to Mars. Indecentally, rings made excellent tools to control the weather of the planet below and terraforming Mars was completed only a matter of decades after the completion of Mars 1.
After the completion of the Mars 1 ring, Earth began the construction of its own ring named High Terra. This ring was completed just over a century later in 2519. The act united the nations of Earth and the capital of Earth moved to the city of Raleigh on the ring.
These names have distinct meanings and uses. Earth refers specifically to humanity's home world. which it is largely unpopulated, supporting a mere four billion people by the 42nd century--many of whom live in the mega cities of Jerhattan, New Delhi, Japan, Janeiro-Aires, and Shanghai. The name Terra refers to the Earth, High Terra, and Luna system. The Terran Hegemony encapsulates the entire orbit of Earth inward toward Sol and contains Venus and Mercury.
Over the course of the third millennium the worlds of the inner Sol System were the dominant force. The atmosphere of Venus was removed, re-seeded and the planet was terraformed into a garden world. While it has several space elevators, a ring was never built over Venus. Mercury was moved further out from Sol into the goldilocks zone, and, using GE MBH's, was terraformed and turned into a resort world. Ceres and Vespa were turned into habitable worlds and an extensive ring was built around Ceres. While InnerSol is not, and never was a single political entity, it is a political bloc which shares many of the same interests in the Sol Space Federation. The Terran Hegemony and the Mars Protectorate are the two main political entities in InnerSol.
Durring the latter half of the third millennium interests in the outer Sol System began to gain in strength and political clout. Much of the Sol System's raw resources are in orbit of Jupiter and in the Kupier belt. As economics shifted, OuterSol worlds established their own governments that were independent from their InnerSol sponsors. The Jovian Combine was the dominant force an ultimately the worlds of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were fully integrated in the Jovian Combine and Outer Sol was almost entirely one political entity.
The third major stellar region, and the fourth major political entity in the Sol System is the Scattered Disk. Beyond the orbit of Neptune lay hundreds of small worlds and the dark super-terrestrial world of Nibiru. Out there the light of Sol is no different than that of any other star and their allegiance to the worlds of the Inner and Outer Sol System is weak at best. The capital of the Scattered Worlds is Makemake.
Government and the fall of Sol
The Solar Government and the Sol Space Federation
Through the early centuries in the third millennium a overarching government known as the Solar Government (often referred to simply as SolGov) emerged. While not a true overall government, this body managed and governed the system. This ended when the Sentience Wars broke out, and, in their wake, a new government, known as the Sol Space Federation (SSF), was formed--though it was often still referred to as SolGov. This government was centered at Raleigh on High Terra and was dominated by the interests of InnerSol. Its military arm was the Terran Space Force which functioned as the official military for all worlds in the Sol System. However, as the fourth millennium drew to a close many member worlds had bolstered their internal police and planetary/habitat militaries to great power, creating a dangerous unbalance between the SSF and its member worlds.
The Second Star and the Dissolution of the SSF
Jupiter's orbit is five times further from Sol than Earth's, and thus it receives five times less light and energy from Sol. However, Jupiter naturally radiates more energy into space than it receives from Sol (it is the only planet to do so) and engineers sought to increase this output. Initially energy was generated by flinging asteroids into Jupiter's atmosphere. These massive kinetic impacts (when the asteroids consisted of the right elements) ignited sections of the Jovian atmosphere. Energy collection stations drifting in the upper reaches of Jupiter's clouds collected this heat and energy for microwave transmission to the Galilean worlds. This process was not overly efficient and as the energy needs of the Galilean worlds increased, a new solution was proposed.
Through an amazing feat of both deal-making and engineering, a great undertaking was commenced to increase the mass and heat output of Jupiter. This was done by siphoning off the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune. These were used to increase the mass of Jupiter to levels high enough to ignite the entire planet. Jupiter does not possess enough mass to become a true second star, nor even a brown dwarf in the natural sense. However, the Jovian world was capable of a burn lasting for several million years. Though the full ignition of Jupiter did not take place until 4218. Prior to that, the efforts to increase its mass and energy output over the millennia had transformed the world from the iconic red, brown and orange banded gas giant. An observer in the early fifth millenium would see a world that was almos entirly black in color with ruddy bands of localized ignition burning in its clouds. When it was fully ignited the entire planet took on a black-brown hue.
NOTE: During during the events of the book Outsystem, Jupiter had not yet been fully ignited. However, stopping it became one of the Sanctity of the Sol System eco terrorist group's top goals. The ignition of Jupiter cemented the Jovian's position as the dominant power in the Sol System and with that the SSF began to disolve. By 4300 it existed in name only. Sol operated without a singular cohesive government until 4451 when the FTL Wars broke out.