IA IA disclaimer Fhtagn!
Author's note: This is another "no-eezo" humanity. Though there will be some transhumanism involved, it will be to a significantly lesser degree than some of my other stories. In addition I'm staying with tech that is (mostly) plausible. Please note that this includes the plasma guns. Anyway, I can't be buggered to write a series of snippets from ~2020 to 2276 (first contact with the council in this story), so brace for incoming timeline. Also, this council is operating on Over Analysis rules for their tech. This means that the Council gets a lot more bang for their buck, but these Humans get a lot more Buck due to not needing to bother managing limited eezo supplies. I'm also upping the number of Mass Relays, as the Reapers probably wouldn't want any holes in their trap. I'm running with the 'intergalactic reapers' idea again, but this version's only 1,000,000 years old (20 cycles), so they only have most of the local supercluster rather than the entire universe.
2027: Commercially viable fusion is achieved. The prototype reactor is about the size of a semi-trailer and outputs 600 megawatts. For fuel it uses Deuterium-tritium mix. It is adopted slowly, due to competition from more traditional energy sources.
2032: The OPEC countries economies start tanking as their reserves of fossil fuels start to run dry, in desperation they try invading their neighbors for resources. This leads to what is known as the Great Energy ClusterF***. In total this debacle leads to the premature deaths of 14,000,000 people. Before you dismiss this as 'just a number', please remember that not only were those each individuals with their own lives hopes and dreams, but so were their friends, families, and other people who would have a hard time carrying on without them.
2038: The Great Energy ClusterF*** draws to a close, the middle east is now a (mostly unified) main producer of fusion reactors, and draws a lot of their income from domestic projects.
2043: Fusion replaces fossil fuels as the main source of energy for most of the world, the shift is unnoticed by much of the general public.
2047: A large space vehicle is launched by China with the intent of landing a permanent settlement on Mars. This is done to great controversy using a 1st generation fusion torch drive. The controversy is because it sprays high-energy neutrons all over the landscape upon launch, rendering everything within 5 kilometers of the launch site unpleasantly radioactive. It arrives 1 month later, along a semi-Brachistochrone trajectory.
2053: Everyone else gets the bright idea to colonize the solar system too, but they don't want a repeat of China's incident therefore fusion thermal rockets are the order of the day for lifting to orbit. This means deep-space vessels and orbital shuttles have different types of engine, and said deep-space vessels need to be assembled in orbit, which is a major pain. Still, space travel is sufficiently common and inexpensive that the average person can afford an interplanetary ticket on about a month's savings.
2059: Mars' population breaks the 1,000,000 mark, to much celebration among the inhabitants of 到来 city.
(Chinese for Arrival, it is a chinese-started project afterall.)
2065: The first non-Mars colony opens up in the asteroid belt in an O'Neill cylinder known as موطئ قدم (arabic for foothold, produced by the New Arabian Union)
2068: As a test, self-replicating terraforming droids are sent to Venus. Each unit can produce 1 20th of another unit per week, and 100 are sent in the initial drop. These units are specially hardened to resist Venus' hazardous conditions, and form a 'hive mind' built on Machine Learning Algorithms. That last bit is important later.
Late 2070: The von-neumann replicators on Venus reach over 100,000 in number. They now have a combined processing power 100 times greater than a human brain.
Census: 2075: Total human population hits the 20,000,000,000 mark. only 12,000,000,000 are on Earth however.
2077: The ludicrous free processing power and self-improving nature of the Terraformers on Venus leads to the swarm becoming self-aware. It was not programmed with any historical banks or directives besides producing livable habitats for humans, thus leading to one of the more bizarre 'First Contact' incidents in the Galaxy as Humanity meets their 'offspring' for lack of a better word. The Swarm (identifying its species as 'Terraformer' and name as 'Tiffy') decides that part of its directive includes ensuring that there will always be worlds for Humans to settle, and that they will be able to reach them. Without further adieu Tiffy requisitions genetic templates for an Earth-like biosphere, and commences research on FTL. For all practical intents the Terraformers and Humanity are symbiotic, with the Terraformers providing Humans a place to live, and the Humans protecting the Terraformers.
2083: The Mars Republic declares its independence from Earth. Seeing as this coincides with them unveiling an interplanetary missile that makes a rather spectacular crater in Jupiter's moon Europa (seriously, they cracked it wide open revealing that yes, there IS an ocean there.), this goes through. Tiffy is sad that 'her' parents aren't getting along.
2087: Venus reaches habitability, though Garden World status is still a couple decades off. Tiffy gleefully invites colonists to move in, and requests permission to seed a new Terraformer on mars. Permission is granted.
2089: The Jovian League is founded. It is composed of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. The initial colonists are a batch of roughly 500,000,000
2091: Due to improved computing methods, the Mars Terraformer reaches self-awareness with a mere 1,200 units. It takes the name Cooner
2095: As a joint project between Tiffy and her colonists, an improved method of fusion is developed that uses pure Deuterium for fuel instead of the D-T or He3 fuels that have previously been used. This means that fuel availability and eco-friendliness is greatly improved over previous models. This allows the use of fusion torch engines at ground level.
CENSUS: 2100: 40,000,000 humans (13,000,000,000 on Earth), 2 Terraformer Minds
2106: Seeing the success of the Terraformer Minds, the growing Asteroid Belt Nation decides to make their habitats into Genius Loci in a similar manner to Terraformer minds. Not wanting to bind the new being to eventual obsolescence, it is designed with a compartmentalized brain, so that new processing cores can replace the old as time goes on. The new mind comes online with the New Ceres habitat. 'He' takes the name Quirt, when asked why he states "It's the only thing that wasn't taken". In other news, Venus achieves Garden World status, prompting a flood of new immigrants.
2109: Tiffy begins constructing an antimatter factory in low solar orbit, the reason for this is that the theory for the drive she's trying to produce is apparently sound, but needs more energy to work. A lot more.
2113: The newly founded Jovian League begins to splinter, the generally accepted reasoning for this is that they tried to live in too much volume with nowhere near enough people, and ideological differences began building up between even single individuals at an alarming rate. In addition the name 'Jovian' implied to some degree that the inhabitants of Saturn and Uranus were inferior. At least to the inhabitants of Saturn and Uranus.
2117: The First Interplanetary War kicks off when Saturn fires interplanetary missiles at Jupiter's habitats. As those missiles went through the inner system on the way over there, missing both of Sol's Garden Worlds by scant light seconds, the Terraformers decide to intervene.
2120: The First Interplanetary War comes to an abrupt end as each of the gas giants that used to be the Jovian League is forcibly made to stop shooting at each other by Terraformer forces and subsequently told to consider each other separate political entities for the foreseeable future.
CENSUS: 2125: 74,000,000,000 humans (8,000,000,000 on Earth, most of those moved to Venus), 2 Terraformer Minds, 189 Habitat Minds, 1 Antimatter Factory Manager intelligence
2128: Computers get good enough to simulate an entire Human brain in real time in a package only negligibly larger than said brain. In addition a method for a gradual upload (taking about a week to complete, and preserving continuity despite destroying the original organic brain) is developed, courtesy of Cooner. Uploading becomes popular on Mars, Earth and Venus in rather short order, though most uploads stick with having their cybernetic brains stay in their organic bodies for the time being.
2131: Using antimatter from the completed Antimatter Factory, a slower-than-light colony expedition is launched to Alpha Centauri at 0.3 c. It is projected to arrive in about 13 years, and carries an O'Neill cylinder complete with industrial base.
2136: As a consequence of someone mixing up a live nuke with one of the training duds during wargames, Admiral Yaqub Kees Aarden (from the merger of an Arabian and a Dutch family) and all aboard his flagship of the ABN are killed during wargames. This tragedy is both mourned across the ABN, and heavily investigated. The event was eventually 'determined' to have been sabotage on the part of the New Jupiter Dominion, kicking off the Second Interplanetary War.
2137: The Second Interplanetary War goes well for the people of Jupiter at first due to them still having lots of old war materiel from the First Interplanetary War, however the ABN has a larger industrial base, producing more up-to-date designs.
2138: The Second Interplanetary War turns in favor of the ABN as their newer 3 kilometer long battlecraft (and other designs) begin arriving in force. And given that their primary batteries consist of (2) Petawatt x-ray lasers (equivalent to ~250 kilotons of TNT per second each) this is a very sharp turn in the ABN's favor.
2139: The Second Interplanetary War draws to a close, an investigation by multiple parties reveals that though the New Jupiter Dominion was innocent of the wargames disaster, the ABN had found evidence of countless violations of Sapient Rights in the NJD, including AI slavery. Given the evidence (which was independently verified by the Garden World trio) the ABN was not persecuted, and was allowed to retain Jupiter as part of their holdings.
2142: Despite the fact that Earth is already a Garden World, they produce a Terraformer Mind. Despite Jonsen providing a nice boost to ecological stability, that isn't his primary purpose. The fact is that Terraformers have a directive to construct and maintain a habitat that is pleasant for Humans to live in. This maintenance includes helping the local humans to live in peace with each other. therefore the primary benefit to Jonsen's existence is in pacifying anti-upload radicals that are threatening to render Earth a war-torn hellhole.
2143: The Prothean Cache is accidentally destroyed by someone fumbling an asteroid capture, leading to the place being smashed quite thoroughly. The ecological damage is fixed by Cooner in a few months, but he would still rather not need to deal with that again.
2149: A radio message returns from Alpha Centauri, indicating that the colonization mission is going well over there.
CENSUS: 2150: ~126,000,000,000 humans (20,000,000 in Alpha Centauri), 3 Terraformer Minds, 1,234 Habitat Minds (more a matter of older habitats getting upgraded than people making new habitats)(3 in Alpha Centauri), 1 Antimatter Factory Manager Intelligence (AFMI)
2156: Proton-Proton fusion is cracked, allowing fusion reactors to run off any old bits of Hydrogen. At least, its cracked in Sol, which has a much more developed R&D base than Alpha Centauri.
2157: Great stability is achieved in Sol, largely as a result of Terraformer intervention. This is part of Tiffy's plan to keep her 'parents' from fighting each other and making a mess she and the rest of the Terraformers need to clean up.
2161: Charon is knocked out of the system by an RKKV test performed by Uranus. The Relay inside isn't a particularly high priority for tracking and just... gets lost.
2169: The humans and AIs of Sol unite under the name of the Allied Sapient Beings, poised to expand into the greater galaxy. Tiffy notably throws a planet-wide party as soon as the act goes through. During this time she utilizes several 'passes for human' avatar platforms to attend with her 'planet-mates'.
2174: Tiffy and Cooner manage to crack the problem with the Alcubierre drive. Admittedly the current version is limited to 1 light year a week and needs to burn A/M fuel equivalent to 1% of the mass you're trying to move every time you turn it on, but it works. Tiffy, in her adorably altruistic way, gives the plans to everyone. She even offers to supply antimatter for the express purpose of powering the Alcubierre drive or other engines and no other.
CENSUS: 2175: Systems owned by ASB: 1
Human Population: ~200,000,000,000
Terraformer Mind population: 4 (1 in Alpha Centauri)
Habitat Mind Population: ~5,000, 1 AFMI
2176: A warp-equipped vessel called the Visitor pops by Alpha Centauri, it returns with good news, an ambassador, and a contract to the company that made it to set up scheduled flights between Alpha Centauri and Sol.
2181: The old infrastructure for interplanetary colonization is re-fitted for interstellar colonization, allowing the colony ships (preceded by Terraformers) to be spewed out at a good rate. This leads to colonies rapidly springing up at Tau Ceti and Sirius. Notably these colonies are set with pre-configured population and quality of life thresholds, which immediately grant full membership if both criteria are passed, though membership can be revoked if these criteria are failed after joining.
2184: Tiffy and Cooner release the Mk. 2 warp drive, which is faster at 1 light year per day. In addition it is more fuel efficient, requiring only a tenth of the antimatter of the Mk. 1 to start up the drive.
2187: The rogue planet known as 'rock' has a Terraformer seeded on it, just to see what clever thing it comes up with. Though it is also noted that the place could easily function as a 'bomb shelter' if necessary.
2191: Computing technology runs into a wall. After all, past a certain point you're just trying to squeeze more MegaFlops per molecule than physics will let you do. Still, by this point a human-level mind can fit in a package the size of an antique deck of poker cards.
2196: The Mk. 3 warp drive is produced. Focusing on efficiency over speed, The Mk. 3 has low enough energy requirements to use fusion rather than antimatter. Still, that means you can either burn 2% of your ship's mass in fusion fuels or 0.01% in A/M fuel. It comes out around the same amount of energy. The Mk. 3 isn't any faster than the Mk.2 really, but it's certainly cheaper to run.
CENSUS: 2200: Systems owned by ASB: 4 (Sol, Alpha Centauri, Tau Ceti, Sirius)
Human-Level Mind Population: ~328,000,000,000
Terraformer Mind Population: 8
Habitat Mind Population: ~22,000
2203: An obsessed mad scientist known only as "John" produces an FTL communicator. It works by stuffing information through a minuscule wormhole. This means that it must be brought near another communicator (note that going through another wormhole counts as 'near', allowing some degree of networking) to link up, but can maintain a link at any range. Even better, it only needs 1 kilowatt of power to maintain the wormhole. The system starts proliferating rapidly.
2205: The Mk. 4 warp drive is developed. It uses only half the energy of the Mk. 3, but is faster at roughly 5 light years per day.
2208: In a somewhat radical move, the Terraformer deployed to Arcturus begins disassembling the planets in the system. When questioned as to why it stated that it was going to build a ringworld.
2211: The Terraformer sent to the rock officially takes the name Bump, and reveals that he has managed to fit an entire planetoid 2,300 kilometers in diameter with a warp drive. To get fuel needs down to something reasonable, Bump cruises the rock to Sirius at 1.5 c, rather than the 2,000 c that a Mk. 4 warp drive can pull at full power.
2217: The Mk. 5 warp drive is unveiled, with a top speed about 30 light years per day. Its energy cost for top speed is only negligibly different than the Mk. 4.
2218: The Rock arrives at Sirius, once there Bump settles into a low solar orbit and starts rebuilding the thing into a proper starship.
2222: First Contact is achieved with a fungi-ish species known as the Grath that has just figured out their version of the Mk. 1 warp drive. It goes poorly, kicking off the First Interstellar War. In case anyone was curious, the Grath shot first.
CENSUS: 2225: Systems Under ASB Control: 7
Human-Level Mind Population: ~534,000,000,000
Terraformer Mind Population: 18
Habitat Mind Population: ~59,000
2226: The First Interstellar War heats up, with the ASB using heavy X-ray lasers in the double-digit petawatts and horrendously powerful Warp Missiles to splat Grath forces with their superior technology and logistics . However, that doesn't always help if you can't tell where the enemy is keeping their systems. Even worse, the Grath take to performing hit-and-run attacks with their own Warp Missiles, leading to the first death of a Terraformer Mind in history, namely Dusty of Tau Ceti. Bump accelerates refitting of the Rock into a warship.
2232: The Mk. 6 warp drive is developed, with only a tiny increase in power usage over the Mk. 5, it has a top speed of 120 light years per day.
2233: The Rock is completed. It is armed with a 12-yottawatt target-splitting x-ray laser (equivalent to 3 exatons of TNT per second) along with countless smaller lasers along with warp missiles. All systems besides sensors, engines, and weapons are buried under 300 kilometers of the toughest armor the ASB can make. In addition Bump manages to fit the thing with a Mk. 6 warp drive before leaving. Without further adieu Bump leaves Sirius to search for and kill any Grath assets he can find.
2239: The Rock finds the Grath homeworld. After Bump manages to intercept their Warp missiles with his own Very Dangerous Array of them and mass-scatters a moon 3,000 km in diameter as a demonstration the Grath surrender.
2243: The Grath are confused at the ASB building them back up given that they thought the ASB was a genocidal Imperium. They are pleasantly surprised to find out that the ASB are basically nice people who happen to have reached space earlier and like to explore.
2248: The Mk. 7 warp drive is completed. It needs twice as much energy at top speed as the MK. 6, but is 3 times faster at 360 light years per day.
CENSUS: 2250: Systems Under ASB Control: 11 | Human-Level Mind Population: ~800,000,000,000 | Terraformer Mind Population: 23 | Habitat Mind Population: ~80,000
2251:Terraformers are seeded at every system within 120 light years of Sol. This includes a world that would have been named Mindoir in a different timeline. The Terraformer assigned to that planet takes the name Seraph.
2256: Bump, frustrated with how much fuel he needs to move the Rock and how hard it is to make antimatter, begins work on a method of using virtual event horizons to convert mass into energy.
2257: The average citizen of the ASB is now an infomorph running at 8 times time compression, who occasionally sleeves into biomorphs when in an appropriate habitat. Children often start their existence as code, and mature in much less time due to time compression.
2260: The Mk. 8 Warp drive is produced, it uses the same amount of energy as the Mk. 7, but goes somewhat faster at 500 light years per day.
2264: the purpose of the alien relic at the edge of Seraph's system is determined to be some sort of jump gate. It is proposed to send an expedition through, but the problem is succinctly put as "our stuff is too big to fit" by Seraph.
2269: Bump manages to perfect Hawking Conversion, alllowing any ship to get just as much kick as antimatter, but only needing any random junk you can cram in there for fuel. He begins refitting the Rock immediately.
2271: The basic structure of the Arcturus Ring is completed. The biotorus is expected to be completed by 2300
2274: The Rock is done refitting, along with most ASB ships. Hawking Conversion is the primary power source aboard ships, but fusion is still preferred in habitats as it produces useful heavy elements as a byproduct.
CENSUS: 2275: Systems Under ASB Control: 139 | Human-Level Mind Population: ~21,340,000,000,000 | Terraformer Mind Population: 186 | Habitat Mind Population: ~ 231,000,000
2276: Seraph sends a wormhole communicator equipped astrogtion probe through the mass relay, arriving in a location mathematically determined to be 2,300 light years spinwards by analyzing the emissions of known Pulsars. A 20 kilometer long warp ship is scheduled to visit the other end of the Relay, but before that happens a certain bone headed Turian patrol finds that Relay 314 is active, and an eezoless 100 meter long vessel is hanging in the void nearby.