NOTES: On Olympia Prime, the Terraforming of Mars, and the Current Balance of Power
Project Olympia launches in the waning days of the 21st century concluding the TerraCom War of 2081, when the United Commonwealth begins terraforming the surface of Mars. Under Commonwealth supervision the planet is bombarded with payloads of genetically engineered algae courtesy of Xenogen geneticists. In a matter of decades the surface changes dramatically as green specs grow to vast green splotches until virtually the entire surface is covered in a photosynthetic membrane engineered to double as a food-stuff.
The success of Project Olympia did not go unnoticed by the Commonwealth’s political rival, the Global Armistice Resolution and its member states, which view the space faring member corporations of the Commonwealth to be an existential threat. Tensions between the two powers rise in tandem with escalating terraforming efforts.
When UComm announces the launch of Operation Aquavalence in 2160—a mission intent on diverting a passing comet to siphon water into the Martian atmosphere—the GAR severs all diplomatic contact. To the earthbound governments of the world—who rely on food and water as leverage against the spacebound yet technologically superior United Commonwealth—their growing ecological independence is an outright act of war.
Aquavalence—like the entirety of Project Olympia—is an outstanding success. Water-ice siphoned from the previously uncataloged comet gives the Martian atmosphere a significant boost in bulk and consequently greater greenhouse capacity. As the surface temperature stabilizes carbon trapped in the poles sublimates enough to support complex plant life while small seas coalesce along the planet’s temperate zones. It is at this point Project Olympia becomes Olympia Colony which quickly grows to the major population center Olympia Prime.
In two centuries the United Commonwealth has turned the red planet very green and the GAR can do nothing to prevent the ensuing exodus. Earthbound governments quickly watch their strangle hold on resources go slack and their political authority evaporate. Compounding the collapse of the global economy the GAR impotently launches a first strike against UComm space platforms in 2165 which simply withdraw to higher orbits.
The global coalition is left isolated with dwindling resources on a world straining to support an ever growing human population, and addressing the population issue draconian population controls are implemented which culminate in the forced sterilization of all newborn females. Despite efforts at strict enforcement, the government—faced with the realities of poverty, unequal distribution of infrastructure, resources, and management—retracts the policy, opting instead to preserve itself allowing nature to run its course. To the horror of UComm observers plague and starvation ravage the populace unabated.
At the height of human suffering the United Commonwealth makes a plea to the disintegrating states of Earth. It is agreed beneficial to both powers to permit open emigration of Terran refugees to Olympia Prime and its outlying settlements on Mars.
With Commonwealth assistance the GAR begins constructing colony ships in low-Earth orbit, and the Global Coalition Ship (GCS) Salvation is the first to receive a full crew compliment with shuttles of refugees. Behind the Salvation are the GCS Mason Grey, GCS Pilgrim, GCS Riley, GCS Guttenberg, and the GCS Darwin, followed by countless others.
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