Tales of the Solar Patrol: Class of 2058
1943: The U.S. Department of the Navy decides against funding the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer(ENIAC) project.
1945: Budget issues and a management crisis at Bell Labs derail work into improved telecommunication switches. The transistor is never invented.
1956-1964: Humanity struggles to reach the stars, but both Soviet and American efforts to launch and sustain artificial satellites fail. No rocket design proves capable of carrying itself to orbit. The first primitive general-purpose computers appear to help solve rocketry problems, but they cannot fulfill the requirements of the space program.
1964: Researchers at Westinghouse find the long-lost notes of Nikola Tesla, detailing inventions and theorems never made public. A small project begins to test the designs, and the engineers perfect the Tesla coil, a simple device capable of drawing almost limitless energy from the ether of space.
1966: Using the Tesla coil for power, the electron drive is invented. The first craft to use the electron drive, a converted fighter jet, is launched from Edwards Air Force base in July of 1966, and it performs 10 Earth orbits before returning to land safely.
1968: The Soviet Union unveils its own electron drive program and promises to create a craft that can reach the Moon.
1970: On January 7, Neil Armstrong lands Kitty Hawk on the Moon. On January 9, the Soviet Luna 11 likewise lands, a few dozen miles away. Both sides claim large swathes of the Moon for their own.
1971: The first tiny lunar settlements – optimistically called “colonies” a couple of years early – are founded. New Plymouth, the American lunar “colony,” is sited at the Moon’s south pole. Lunovgrad, a Soviet outpost, is constructed in Copernicus Crater.
1972-1975: Tensions continue to rise and the Cold War heats up as the lunar colonies become firmly established and grow. The discovery of lunar diamonds sets off the Diamond Rush, and the first homemade electron-drive ships begin to launch. Primitive independent colonies and mining domes dot the lunar surface. Saber rattling on Earth increases dramatically.
1976: Both the Soviets and the Americans launch craft to Mars. These represent the second generation of electron-drive ships, with crews of a few dozen.
The ships set down on Mars within minutes of each other, after sending back clear photographs of cities, roads, and fields. Shortly after landing, both ships fall silent.
1977: In September, the U.S. and Soviet Union launch a joint fleet, consisting of several ships, most of which remain in orbit around Mars to enhance communication. This time, garbled and confused transmissions come through before the ground ship breaks off contact, letting the orbital craft know that some sort of contact with the natives has been made. As the orbital fleet ponders what to do and waits for orders from Earth, a small flotilla of strange Martian ships attacks. The resulting battle is a chaotic madhouse, as one of ships in the Earth fleet suddenly turns and opens fire on its comrades. The remaining ships turn to flee, destroying the Martian vessels in the process. The “traitorous” Earth ship then radios them to explain that they had been taken over by some sort of mind control.
1977-1979: The fear of a hostile “Martian menace” that maintains some degree of star-faring capacity eases international tensions. The United Nations is empowered to deal with the threat, and it forms the first true planetary space fleet. The organization charged with manning and operating this fleet is known as the Earth Patrol.
1980: A well-armed diplomatic mission is sent to Mars. From orbit, they attempt to contact the Martian government and demand the return of the crews that landed there (or their bodies), as well as apologies and concessions. The orbital fleet is attacked but survives by maintaining distance. During the confusion of the battle, stealth craft launch toward Mars, bearing the first Earth Marines, in the hopes of secretly landing agents who will not be instantly compromised.
1980-1983: The Earth-Martian War transpires. The inability of Earth forces to land on Mars en masse, and the inability of Martian forces to effectively battle in space leads to a stalemate, with an uneasy cease-fire negotiated over long-distance radio.
1984: The United Nations officially becomes the Earth League. A new headquarters is built in London.
1996: With Mars effectively locked up, the Earth League turns its attention to Venus. A fleet of exploratory ships lands and begins charting the planet. The atmosphere and magnetosphere
of Venus makes advanced charting and mapping techniques unusable; Venus must be explored from the
ground, relying on the technology of the early 20th century. It remains a planet with many mysteries even a half century later.
1998: The first Earth League colonies are established on the Great Plateau of Venus. Early contacts are made with nomadic lizardmen.
2001: The first asteroid belt colonies are founded. The Earth League builds long-range cruisers capable of reaching Jupiter.
2002: The Earth League makes first contact with the Jovian system. Patrol boats of the Jovian Overlord meet the Earth League ship Athena and give the crew a grand welcome.
2003: An Earth League ship, Gagarin, is reported lost in the jungles of Io, allegedly from mechanical failure. It is never recovered, despite the copious aid offered by the Overlord.
2005: The Overlord launches his battlefleet of electrondrive ships, which stream toward Earth and the Belt, Lunar, and Venusian colonies. Caught unaware at first, the Earth League suffers heavy losses.
2005-2010: The Solar War, an all-out battle between the Earth League and the Overlord, occurs. The Earth League forces the Overlord back to Jupiter and seizes the ocean world of Europa, from which it can easily strike at targets anywhere in the Jovian system. The Overlord issues a call for peace.
Weary of war, the Earth League signs a treaty with the Overlord. The treaty calls for the dismantling of the Jovian electron-drive fleet and the secret of the gravitic vector, which allows Earth League ships to maintain artificial gravity on-board.
2006: In light of the now-interplanetary nature of war and of human settlement, the Earth Patrol is renamed the Solar Patrol and charged with the defense of mankind.
2015: Contact is made with an intelligent insectoid species on Venus. Brush wars between the Venusian reptilian and the insectoid sentient races take on a new flavor with the addition of Earth-built weaponry. Smuggling begins to become a serious issue.
2020: After a decade of peace and progress, war once again wracks the Earth League. The terrorist organization known as the Red Hive launches a series of lightning strikes on key Earth cities, and it seizes control of the shipyards at Yeager Dome on Luna. The ensuing two-month war is the most brutal recorded. Tesla implosion fields and hyperbombs ravage the major cities of Earth. Yeager Dome is breached, killing nearly half a million in seconds. The final victory belongs to the Earth League, however, and the fleet of the Red Hive flee toward the outer system, chased all the way to the Tesla Line by the Solar Patrol. Their escaping fleet vanishes into the darkness beyond the line, and it presumably perishes there when their supplies ran out.
2021: The first ships to visit Mercury land to find a dismal vista.
2026: Baron Black begins raiding shipping along the Belt/Luna trading corridor. Others take up space piracy as well.
The Shadow Caves are found on Mercury.
2035: Solar Patrol Marines, specially trained in infiltration and espionage, begin to establish a resistance movement in the Martian cities of Thoom, Kathar, and Val, seeking to strike against the Mind Masters without directly implicating Earth.
2050: The Adventurous, the largest ship ever built by Earth, is launched from the rebuilt Yeager shipyards. Its mission is to secure the ever-more-chaotic Belt region, where piracy grows extreme amidst increasing rumblings of Jovian activity.
2056: The present day.