History of Shenzhou
Shenzhou holds a distinct honor in that it was colonized by the third last of the last colony ships that was launched by the classical nations of Terra. Named for the Admiral T. Laiyan, the most decorated officer of the People’s Liberation Army Space Navy during the First Solar War, the Laiyan was built in a time where public interest in state sponsored extra solar colony ship construction had fallen. When she was launched in 371, all other nations save for the Titan Coordinate had given up on building interstellar colony ships and there is good information that the Laiyan was constructed as an advertising showcase for a new generation of cryogenic systems. The Laiyan arrived at it’s destination in 1285 and proceeded to unfurl its colonial payload upon the newly claimed world of Shenzhou without much incident, with some 49,923 colonists arriving to begin the creation of a new colony, naming their world for the People’s Republic’s earliest manned spacecraft.
Shenzhou orbits a Red Dwarf star some 265 light years from Sol and is notable for being one of only four life supporting tidally locked planets (not including twelve tidally locked worlds that have been successfully terraformed), has 0.91 Gravity but was otherwise geologically similar to earth. While the night side of the Planet was constantly dark and was for the most part barren icecap and uninhabitable tundra, the dayside of the planet was temperate (between 5 and 40 degrees Celsius) and had an active weather pattern, even though it did not have any native life beyond a few strains of primitive aquatic microbes. Unusually, the population was split into two settlements in an effort maximize their terraforming efforts that was not resolved by the colony’s leadership. These became the cities of Laiyan and Xiaoping, the duel capitals of the Planet.
Ecosystem construction and implications
Early colonial development of Shenzhou was work intensive but fairly straightforward, with establishment of a Terran Ecosystem being the top priority. The atmosphere of Shenzhou, while non toxic was lacking in terms of oxygen with an over abundance of carbon dioxide and breathing masks were necessary for prolonged activity outside for the first century and winds could be intense. However the colonists continued to work undaunted, digging their early cities while their industrial development was fueled with abundant wind and solar power. Ecosystem constructed started with algae and plankton in swamps, followed by swamp plants and kelp a few years afterward. Shuttles were used to deliver payloads of algae to isolated lakes and rivers, though activities were focused around the two cities. From 1303 to 1312, numerous efforts were put into building fertilizer factories to convert barren terrain into grassland and forest with large scale distribution networks being set up to tightly monitor the condition of what ecosystems they were creating. The goal of the colonists was single minded in its objective to turn the dayside of this barren planet which they adopted into a lush paradise, which they pursued with religious fervor.
These projects were never the less extremely intensive and demanding of resources, life in the early colonies was Spartan and cramped with a diet composed of culture meat, soya and yeast. All industry was state owned and consumer culture was effectively non existent as most industrial production went into efforts to establish a planetary ecosystem. Population growth was regulated and while present, was relatively low due to various bottlenecks. This manifested itself into a general culture placing value on thrift and utility that functioned in a highly collective manner.
Terraforming efforts began to see major results by 1350, by which point many lakes and streams had become home to a growing assortment of aquatic life including fish and crustaceans and the bunker like settlements were now surrounded by forests and crops of maize and wheat as well as growing sections of forest. By 1400, Transition was primarily completed as self sustaining forests covered vast tracks of land and the air was fully breathable, while frozen ova were used while the process of Terra forming became more or less self sustaining and effective. This period saw an expansion of the human population, from Approximately 100,000 in 1350 to 250,000 in 1400, as well as an increased emphasis production of consumer products.
Solidarism and the Shenzhou Civil War
This eventually led to a cultural divide which happened from the 1400s to the 1420s. The younger generations that emerged began to abandon the thrift of their ancestors and develop a variety of artistic subcultures and brought about demands for more of the finer things in life. This contrasted with the older groups, which were for the most part less willing to indulge in pursuits they deemed to be more frivolous and began to see the upcoming generations as being wasteful and decedent. This eventually led some of the more conservative elements of society to move out from the main settlements and establish new communities based around their principles of thrift, community spirit and a collective goal to succeed. The first of these was founded by Gao Zinji, leading some 2,000 people to found a new community on an island (latter renamed Zinji island) some 300 kilometers from Xiaoping based on those principles in 1415. He latter spearheaded a movement known as Solidarism to see if he could gain additional supporters and started a movement to establish more of these settlements. Over the next 20 years he managed to gain sections of more traditionalists to set up new settlements leading the creation of six similar communities and a total population of 35,000, which grew fairly quickly with a steady flow of new settlers and a high birth rate. At the same time they managed to develop a few key industries fairly quickly and as such managed to become fairly successful financially.
At first, these divisions were not considered to be too much of a problem, Gao Zinji never advocated anything to effect of forcing people to join or that violence was necessary in any way. He simply advocated a more regimented, disciplined, frugal and community centered existence over the more individualistic and pleasure driven one. Those who succeed him after his death would not hold to such passive means. To the majority of those living on Shenzhou, the Solidarist communities were seen as a small number of harmless stuck up workaholics that will eventually learn to loosen up as prosperity came about like everyone else. However, eventually this difference grew.
It started in 1448 with a series of murders committed by a random drunken lunatic named Wen Fong from the mainstream of society in a Solidarist settlement. This resulted in an increase in animosity between the two cultures, including several incidents of Drunken out of towners being killed, either discretely or beaten to death by mobs in solidarity communities. Such actions were frowned on by most, but sympathies between the two groups faded. These fires were fueled when an economic downturn linked to land development programs happened, resulting in a surge of unemployment and inflation in 1453. Both sides blamed each other for the incident for various reasons, eventually leading to a pair of demonstrations in the capital degenerating into a violent clash. What sparked it was unknown, but it did lead to a growing number of violent incidents. This raised distrust amongst the Mainstream, but manifested itself as a siege mentality amongst the Solidarist movement. This resulted in the growth of more radical politicians coming to power and those who called for complete sovereignty. The latter had their wishes granted after independence was granted after a referendum in 1473 while the latter had their wishes fulfilled gradually, creating the Solidarist Alliance. Democracy fell to dictatorship by 1488 as more radical elements in the Solidarist Alliance seized control and eventually led to a covert military build up.
In 1508, these radicals led the Alliance to war against the rest of Shenzhou as their armies, 45,000 men and 80,000 robots strong, moved against various cities. The plan behind this action was to re-unify the planet, bring back the utilitarian and disciplined order to those descending into chaos and neutralize any threat to their way of life. The move was one that hit hard and fast, with their cities defended by advanced point defense networks that made attempts to use long range missiles to obliterate Alliance cities futile gestures. Within two months, six cities had fallen and over 250,000 people had been conquered, including Xiaoping. What resistance that the People’s Republic of Shenzhou presented in the early months was ill prepared for the threat posed such a force with superior organization and equipment backed by an economy mobilized for war. Never the less, the alliance had a notable strategic disadvantage as it was small and its population was spaced apart into a series of settlements which were fairly easy to isolate. With this in mind, new armies were raised and the economy was geared towards military production as their armies held the line against further aggression and pushed back against their foes in a set of counter offensives beginning in 1510. Casualties for PRS were high due to various reasons including technical superiority of alliance vehicles, moral and issues involving training and the experience of the officer and NCO corps. Never the less, they gradually pushed back against the Alliance army, making full use of superior manpower to gain the advantage. The final battle was fought at the last alliance stronghold on the night side of the planet, a mining settlement turned fortress, in late 1513 resulting in.
The war cost the lives of 236,000 men from a planetary population of 1,500,000 and left several cities in ruins. The People’s Republic of Shenzhou re-annexed the alliance and engaged in a program of consolidation, seizing control of the Education system and doing their best to show the population of solidarist communities the devestation which the war brought. Integration was not particularly fast, but happened without too much incident. By 1540, it was more or less completed few communities of Solidarists sworn to pacificism and a few traditions in a few provinces.
Post War colonial Development
After the war, there was no military conflict on Shenzhou beyond a few terrorist activities in the 18th century. Slowly, new cities emerged across the day side and after extensive space activity began in the mid sixteenth century, mirrors were put up to make key areas of the night side aridable linked by mag-rail lines. Population expansion happened at a steady colonial rate, moving from 1.25 million to 350 Million by 2000. In the late seventeenth and eighteen centuries, the four terrestrial planets and the eight notable moons of the Saturn sized Gas Giant of the Shenzhou System. Culturally, something similar to that of the Novan Golden age occurred, though admittedly on a smaller scale. There was peace, stability and prosperity and in these conditions artistry and culture thrived.
Mai Xijin’s hyperspacial theories by Shenzhou were received in 1877 and local scientists some small effort was put into pushing them, although their efforts ultimately were of only marginal success in low range unstabilized jumps of various small objects of little use to anyone outside of the field of theoretical physicists that ended when in 2073, a fleet of approximately sixteen converted freighters carrying some 450,000 refugees displaced by the first Sol/Nuwa war arrived. One of which was damaged after a pirate attack and was unable to continue moving, thus providing it with a working hyperdrive. This, along with foreign engineers and technicians allowed for the launch of their first hyperspace capable ship, the Liwei in 2085 and developing a significant mercantile fleet through a program of state sponsored production and transfer to private hands over the next two decades while the nearby systems were scouted out by a combination of hired scouts to scout out uninhabited systems for future prospecting and to establish diplomatic contacts with nearby systems. In Particular, there were three contacts within fifteen light years of Shenzhou which relations proved favorable, those of Gotham, New Colombia and Kosciuszko. All four of these worlds had sizable populations, active space industries and were Democratic in government. The leaders of Shenzhou at this time did not share the ambitions of military Conquest that the Novans had, and were at this time more interested in commercial activities and establishing positive relationships with those worlds populated with like minded individuals.
Last edited by Zor on Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:51 am, edited 2 times in total.