By Anthony J. Zingales
“Space is the Cure.”
The year is 2411.
Three centuries ago, the Purlieu didn’t exist. No lunar settlements existed at all. In fact, no settlements existed on Mars, on Titan, on Luna 2, or anywhere but Earth. Even the sovereigns of Earth were fractious and splintered, loosely linked by meager allegiances to the United Nations. But as nationalism faded, Earth’s mighty nations reorganized into continental powers. Within decades, exactly seven global superpowers prevailed, one governing each continent. Shortly thereafter, the continental powers ceded their authority to the UN, creating one supreme arbiter to resolve disputes between them. Corruption quickly rose to untenable levels as UN ambassadors realized greater and greater influence.
In an effort to combat the corruption of the UN, influential politicians around the globe organized into two distinct political parties called “Precepts.” The two Precepts that emerged, “Form” and “Coil,” espoused fundamentally conflicting ideologies and immediately commenced a political grudge match as they jockeyed to absorb the major metropolises of the world. The power amassed by the Precepts prompted a complete deterioration of the UN’s authority. It was only a matter of time until the mighty United Nations collapsed under its own weight, leaving the dichotomy of Precept Form and Precept Coil unchecked in the quest for global dominion.
Unable to cooperate and unwilling to cross the aisle, the Precepts plunged the planet into the Continental Precept War and employed world-wide conscription to escalate the struggle. The death toll was catastrophic. As the Precepts continued to obliterate each other and the planet, the infrastructure of Earth neared its breaking point. Thus, the Precepts set out into space, first establishing mining colonies on asteroids and later mining the resource-rich surface of the Moon. Unfortunately for the lunar laborers, the Precepts’ war did not remain turfside. The violence on Earth paled in comparison to the brutality of the first skirmishes on the Moon – fought in the desolation of space between desperate men and women utterly cut off from the rest of their species. The worst parts of humanity soared to the surface.
But in the eleventh hour, with the fate of humanity dangling by a thread, Precept Form and Precept Coil finally called a ceasefire. After fifty years of war, the Precepts signed the “Foci Treaty,” agreeing to jointly settle the Moon and to end the bloody struggle on the turf. As part of the Treaty, the Precepts consolidated their power into a global Parliament and codified equal voting rights between Coil and Form to the exclusion of all other parties.
The great war machines of the Precepts were transformed into machines of industry. The Precept leadership, enjoying the power that their loose alliance had borne, resolved to exploit the Earth’s biosphere in order to advance their industrious new global society. Defense spending was redirected into scientific research, and the technology to support a permanent settlement on the Moon developed. The Precepts called that first settlement “Foci City.” At about the same time, medical research pioneered technologies that extended the human lifespan by greater than fifty percent. In addition, the development of thorium nuclear reactors revolutionized home energy, transportation, and especially space flight – later transitioning to helium-3. In fact, space exploration enjoyed a broad spectrum of breakthroughs, ushering in space viability on an unprecedented scale.
In time, Martian settlements were established to export the rich thorium reserves found in the red sand. The establishment of the Martian colonies completely cemented the thorium revolution.
As the Precept Parliament pushed its astral agenda, the wealthiest Precept Senators abandoned the turf to make their homes in the burgeoning Foci City. Before long, those Precept Senators seized the Foci from the lunar settlers and transformed the city into a marvel – a private playground for the richest and most influential politicians in the solar system. The laborers exiled from Foci City sprawled into “the Purlieu,” a violent, impoverished badlands encircling the city.
As the influence of the Precept Parliament stretched farther into space, the people of Earth were slowly stripped of their voices. Fearing the disenfranchisement of common humanity, a small population of Precept Senators crossed party lines and pursued the redistribution of political power to the people. Franklin Kline, a Precept Coil Senator, was one such politician. Kline led the crusade in Parliament to initiate a third party, Precept Unit, into the astral scheme. Although he maintained his allegiance to Coil, Kline persuaded large portions of both Precepts to support the new party. Precept Unit returned Kline’s favor by promoting his initiative to construct a colossal space station in Earth’s orbit, Luna 2, capable of supporting over fifty million residents. Kline sought to promote his political agenda on the self-contained world of Luna 2, thereby taking his major first step into the cosmos. Kline insisted that human beings had overstayed their welcome on Earth, and he passionately pushed his agenda to transform the human species into a legitimate space-faring civilization. Kline succeeded in constructing Luna 2 and was even appointed as its “Edict,” or leader, some years later.
But, unfulfilled by near-Earth settlement, Franklin Kline didn’t stop there. Desiring a home base in the outer solar system, Kline proposed a daring mission to Titan, Saturn’s sixth and largest moon. He succeeded in launching the Hercules mission to Titan, intended as a reconnaissance and preliminary installation mission as a precursor to an ambitious permanent human colony on Titan’s surface. When the time came to approve the second Titan mission, Kline’s opposition staunchly disputed the efficacy of human settlement so far from Earth. All of humanity watched as a stalemate prevailed for years in the heated Titan Tempest Debates. Finally, Kline reversed the votes of the handful of Senators necessary to approve the launch of Titan Tempest. The Titan Tempest spacecraft, Earth’s ambitious attempt to establish a permanent colony 1.2 billion kilometers away, launched from the Moon exactly one year ago.
As Precept Form, Precept Coil, and the nascent Precept Unit fight to increase their power, the human species fights to survive, seeking new frontiers to escape the bonds of Earth herself.
The Purlieu is a science fiction Universe imagined and created by Anthony J. Zingales. He loves you for visiting and hopes you feel the same.
© 2014 Anthony J. Zingales. All Rights Reserved.