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The Rus

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A soviet star

Red Star

History tends to make things sound easier and more inevitable than it seemed to the participants at the the time. So it was with the Global Exodus and the role the former Soviet Union played in it. The early part of the 21st century seemed an age of wonder, with new miracles, new leaps of technology abounding. In 2030, scientists were able to unravel the secrets of gravity, and that key unlocked many doors.

OverviewEdit

It was called gravitonics and it seemed like a miracle. Earth was getting ready to need one. Two, actually. One was called terraforming. This was the art of making a dead planet live. The Worldscapers Guild was secretive regarding the exact nature of the processes involved. One thing was known; on the ground, operating to gigantic machines was hot, dirty and dangerous work. They used the mighty "graviton" the name scientists had given the elusive "gravity particle" to part the earth without drilling. They opened underground oceans, also rivers of magma, of molten rock at around 2000* Fahrenheit. There were rumors of accidents, of a planetoid exploding.

The other thing came about was the gravitonics motor. Again the mechanics were arcane, but in some fashion, it emitted gravitons pulled from the front, out the back, so a little piece of the universe was heavier than the rest right behind the motor, which created a 'gravity suction' that propelled the vehicle. The ship wasn't 'pushed' by the motors, it was 'pulled' by the space in front of the engines as if they were tow ropes, hooked to an invisible tugboat. They could travel farther and faster than any ships previously. They could cruise in the 0.5 lightspeed range, and accelerate beyond that a tiny bit before strange things started to happen. Period.

Meanwhile the alarms that been sounding for so long finally got everyone's attention. Not all at once, but eventually everybody got it: earth had too many people on it. In 2050, there were were ten billion people on earth. There were arguments about how and why, but the best minds on both sides of the climate change argument agreed that earth could only sustain her current population for another hundred years

Takes a minute to sink in. That's if there were no more births. Or...one of the 'or's was a bloody path. The other possibility was getting off the earth, colonizing the moon, Mars or beyond. Astronomers have found a cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation that contain a number of planets that may be earth-like enough to support life. Perhaps with terraforming.

Attempts to terraform Mars proved unsuccessful. Likewise the moon. “There simply isn't enough water on either to fill a teaspoon”, said NASA chief Jon Bonner. Spectrographic analysis indicated a good chance of water and/or atmosphere on at least a couple of likely prospects. They sent probes, but even at the half light speed, it was a one hundred and nineteen year journey. So it would be too late to go, by the time they found out if it was okay. Still it was the one thing everyone needed—Hope. Nobody really knew who came up with the name. Usually, the government names their operations. In this case, they bowed to public opinion on this, and another matter. The first of the United Exodus Alliance ships of the line was named the SS Enterprise. No one knew that it would be fifty years before anyone set foot in one of the grandly-named Ark Ships that would reportedly house a million people. For over a hundred years.

The first ships were for the terraforming machines, and the men to operate them. The latter were in cryo, set to awake at the end of the journey. The next looked more like skycrapers than spaceships. Each was a square acre at the base. There were five in all, each surmounted by a great curving obelisk of glass and steel four hundred and eighty feet tall. These were divided unequally and for a reason. Russia unofficially dropped out of the space race. Officially, Russia no longer existed. Not as a Sovereign State. After a century of looting by the Oligarchs who ruled after Putin, the last Great Russian, they defaulted on their debt to the IMF—the International Monetary Fund.

It was the end of the Currency War, the Economic Holocaust. Russia "lost". But the joke was on the Sino-American Alliance. The men who wrecked their economy were the same as, or allied to the men who were supposed to fix it. They were all quadrillionaires. They shot a few stockbrokers, hung a few bankers and things went on. Only now the country was bankrupt. So naturally, they needed aid. They demanded an obelisk ship and an Ark for their people. In return, they gave up their place at the table in the new galaxy. They would cease to be a Super power, would have no voice in governance or in law above a hundred others. Russia said “NYET!” The IMF said, “Da.”

The Rus, as they called themselves now—the "homeless Rus" revolted, naturally. Many were killed—naturally. The biggest Arks were built to hold up to a million. They'd be lucky if they had that many left by century's end. In a purge worthy of Stalin, the Oligarchs wiped out what was left of Great Russia. They killed all the intelligentsia, the the teachers, the writers, newspapermen. They burned the libraries. There were a few who might have misgivings, but they went along with the rest. Rus'iya was reorganized into a paramillitary state, a kind of Anti-Alliance. History began in 1914, with a man named Lenin.

They resolved their centuries-old differences with the Khaz'ar, the Merchant Princes. Together they formed the Trading Guild. When they, or rather their descendants arrived in the new galaxy, there was good news and bad news. There was an M class planet that the terraformer techs say is near earth, if not identical. Bad news—it is small. Just over a third earth size. Perfect for the quarter million or so "friends of the Oligarchs" that came aboard the carrier. It was called "New Canaan".

And what of the other million? The giant ship touched down on Bernadette, near the Alliance Immigration Authority and were turned loose with a cheerful "dos svidanya, udachi" "goodbye and god luck". Among them were some of the toughest, hardest working people ever born. Alongside them were the "others". The other kind of hard, and tough. Killers. The Bratvas. They soon found an official who was cooperative. He advised them on the favored destinations for work and play.

The Bratvas bought tickets and sold them for double or triple. They scorned banknotes until their man at the authority told them to take the paper. They found him dead in his chair at the end of the day. He meant to do a currency swap and pay them back. They thought he would have gold or platinum on hand. A tragic misunderstanding.

When they had fleeced all the sheep they could, there were those who stayed, became slavers. There were those who took transport. Some went to a place called Boros, or a nearby world Ezra. These were worlds that hardly required terraforming at all.

Others chose to hitch a ride to New Canaan. Where the Gangster Government, the Cosa Nostra Nation set up shop doing what they did best: moving commodities around for people. They tied up all the shipping lines and dunned the Alliance n the name of the Traders Guild. For back due, and all future shipping charges. They were the Avtorityet, the Rus "Authority", Grand Council of the Rs Mafi'ya.

In cooperation with Weyland Industries, they created the Blue Sun Corporation. Headquartered on Osiris, under the noses of the Supreme Court. At first a front, later the legitimate side of the business came to the fore. Instead of buying lousy pop and selling it, why not make lousy pop? And so they did. They made lousy everything And sold it cheap. There was always a "higher end", better, more expensive version of exactly the same thing with a different fragrance.

Boros became the the de facto capital of the "other" Rus mafiya, those who still called themselves Bratvas. Before, it meant "captain". Now, to them, it meant "brother". Boros was an Alliance outpost intended to be a stronghold out there on the Border. There was a university and a military school, an airbase further out from town. Otherwise, the place was deserted. Bros City is the town the Mob built. The Old Town is still preserved. The shops, the stores, the gambling houses, the suka palaces. If Elvis were Rus, it would look something like this.

The rest of Boros City downtown was boring glass and steel, tapering away to residences. There were fine houses with land just outside the city, getting smaller and shabbier until there were none. Police and military were historically easy to bribe, the politicians relied on them more than votes to stay in office. They had red soil underfoot, and a giant red moon named Ares. They called it "Bog Voyny"--the Warrior God. They took it as a sign—the Rus, the people of the Red Star had found a home.

TriviaEdit

  • The Rus is a reference to the Rus.

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