PROSPERITY DAY IS FAST APPROACHING, and this year’s festivities are special indeed. Not only do we mark the 200th anniversary of our colony, of our world; we also celebrate the birth of our one hundred millionth citizen. More after these messages.
Commercial: In an emergency, every minute counts. Lifebeat Medical Services guarantees a response time of just five minutes anywhere in Gibson City. Our Emergency Response Units include trained medical staff as well as state of the art telepresence technology, cryosuspension tanks, and armed security specialists to make sure no obstacle stands between our medical staff and your survival. Lifebeat Medical Services. You Can Trust Us With Your Life.
Commercial: By day, I am a lawyer. – I am an office drone. – I work on the southern district housing project. – I defend criminals. It’s tiring. – I push numbers from one file to the next. Makes my brain hurt. – I command a horde of robots. It’s… not as exciting as it sounds. – But at night, I am a necromancer. I bring villains to justice! – I slay dragons. – I still command robots… to take over the world! Now, that’s exciting. – Void Productions Virtual Reality Entertainment. Your World. Your Reality.
OUR ANCESTORS left Earth during the Great Exodus, a few years after the Stardrive was invented and made manned interstellar expeditions possible. But our ancestors were not just desperate refugees, trying to leave a polluted, chaotic world behind. They were daring, brave explorers. The members of “Colonial Expedition 762” opted not to aim for a safe, near-Earth star system. They decided to aim for the Perseus Arm, a voyage of about seven thousand lightyears. As they entered their cryosleep tanks, none of them knew if they would ever arrive.
Historic Fact: The six ships of “Colonial Expedition 762”, informally dubbed “Perseus Pioneers”, were named “Liberty”, “Equality”, “Justice”, “Freedom”, “Prosperity”, and “Mercy”. The “Mercy” was lost en route, presumably due to an engine failure.
But five of the six colony ships did arrive. The AI coordinating the flotilla, dubbed “Fleet Command”, began a search pattern for a suitable world. It found Gibson and awoke the human crew from cryosleep.
Historic Fact: The biggest challenge Colony Expedition 762 faced was the possibility of equipment failure. Even reliable technology breaks down eventually, and the trip to the Perseus Arm was projected to take over a thousand years. In the end, the ships were equipped with a state-of-the-art AI command infrastructure which used robots and drones to maintain the ships. Every fifty years or so the flotilla would stop at a star, mine what resources were needed, and continued on its journey, all without ever waking a single human.
THE PLANET they had discovered was very much like earth. It was almost the same size and had the same gravity. It was a lot warmer, and 85% of its surface was covered by water. The land surface was mostly covered by lush, dense forests, some steppes, and some deserts. Two tiny moonlets orbited the world. Fleet Command, an avid reader of human literature, had dubbed it Gibson. The human crew agreed with Fleet Command that Gibson was likely the best candidate they would find, and the decision to land was mode.
System Data: Binary (G1V, M2V Distant Companion); 12 Planets and 2 Asteroid Belts.
Gibson Planetary Data: Orbit 1.03 AU from G1V primary. 2 Moonlets. Orbit 375 Days. Rotation 20h. Atmosphere Pressure 0.96, Oxygen-Nitrogen. Avg Temperature 306K. 85% Water.
IN THE EARLY DAYS life on the new world was harsh. Even with their training, most colonists were not well prepared for life on a virgin planet. They lived in prefab houses and slogged through the mud. They cleared forests and established agriculture and built up even the most basic infrastructure. Local predators were unfamiliar with humans, and were thus not afraid of the colonists. Diseases swept through the colony. But the colony grew and prospered. The ships were dismantled for parts, and the original shanty town grew into The City – what we now call Gibson City. The original landing site is preserved as Pioneers’ Landing; the epicenter of Prosperity Day celebration.
Commercial: Visit Pioneers’ Museum, at Pioneers’ Landing! Unrivalled collection of Pioneer and Old Earth artifacts. Genuine reconstruction of colony ship cryo bay and command deck. Watch the original landing via Augmented Reality, or be part of the Pioneers themselves in our VR simulation, courtesy of Void Productions. Or join the historic reenactment of “Life of the Pioneers” – live in authentic prefab shelters like a pioneer!
TODAY our colony has grown to one hundred million citizens. Gibson City’s skyrise complexes glitter in the sun, rivaling Paris, Dubai, Tokyo, New York or any other Old Earth city in size and beauty. Our economy is growing, and everybody lives in comfort, even wealth as people on Old Earth would have defined it. Most people remain in Gibson City, but millions live in the outposts and secondary cities all over the planet. Our affluence allows each and every citizen to receive proper healthcare, education, and a comfortable existence without any pressure to join the workforce.
Gibson is governed by a democratically elected government, with fundamental human rights enshrined in our Charter. President Adams, in his third term, is supported by a cabinet of ministers and an Advisory Council. There is no parliament, issues are debated and voted on electronically by all citizens of Gibson, making ours perhaps the most direct democracy in human history.
Pirate Broadcast: …wonder if they really believe this nonsense. Yeah, we get to vote, but they get to tally the votes, so what can we do about it? If you don’t own any Shares or happen to be one of the Crew, you have no voice. And with the government’s inhumane breeding programs, there are never enough jobs to go around. Growth at any price, a new herd of consumers for a new world. Adams and his cronies never set foot outside their shiny skyrises – it’s easy to ignore blood on the asphalt from three hundred levels up. (connection lost)
…would not have been possible without the sacrifices and hard work of the Pioneers, and ordinary citizens like you.
News Item: The preparations for Prosperity Day were marred today as unknown terrorists attacked several civilian facilities in Gibson City. Speaking as he visited the Henry David Thoreau Highschool to assess the carnage, President Adams vowed to bring those responsible to justice. “There is no place on this planet these barbarians can hide to escape our just retribution!”
Prosperity Day Schedule
|0500||National Anthem played by the Gibson City Philharmonic Orchestra.|
|0505||Speech by President Adams.|
|0530||“Landing of the Liberty”. Pioneers’ Landing National Park. Augmented Reality landing of the first colony ship. Accompanied by modern interpretation of Old Earth music.|
|0600||Parade of the Pioneers. Marching band of the Gibson City Police Department, Gibson Civil Defense Administration, and local schools.|
|0800||Minute of Silence for First Settlers. Speech by surviving Pioneers and First Generation colonists.|
|0900||Open Air concert begins.|
|0915||Fly-over of Colonial Space and Air Force flying aces.|
|0930||Speech by Chairman of the Advisory Council.|
|0955||Introduction of our 100,000,000th Citizen.|
|1000||Picnic at Pioneers’ Landing opens.|
|1100||Tales of Old Earth contest. Short stories about the Cradle of Mankind. Read by authors.|
|1300||Reading of Colonial Charter by President Adams. Reaffirmation of Presidential Vow. Recitation of Pledge of Allegiance by President, Cabinet members, and Advisory Council.|
|1500||Gibson City Mariners – Heinlein Academy friendly match begins.|
|1900||End of Festivities.|
This is my first draft for Gibson, a colony world cut off from contact with the rest of humankind. There are a bunch of assumptions I tried to put into this in-universe piece without spelling them out explicitly.