Seven hundred years post Martian settlement a vast economy thrives in and among the moons of Jupiter and Saturn ...
Among the moons of Jupiter and Saturn the Martian terraforming program has left legacy: a sprawling archipelago of island stations and industrialized moons, Bernal Sphere's and O'Neill Cylinders, Spindle and Wheel cities, and a population of humanity growing into the millions. Trade is the lifeblood of these independent city-states. Entire generations are born and live their lives in spinning cylinders, bubbles, and torus shaped habitats, harvesting, mining, and fabricating all they need from the environment of the outer solar system.
Ice mining flourishes, trade in volatiles, water, hydrogen, oxygen, and CHON from Mars and asteroidal sources, petrochemicals from Saturn's moon Titan, these are the backbone of the Outer System economy.
Orion and Medusa style nuclear pulse freighters haul payloads of raw materials across interplanetary distances, while nuclear orbital transfer vehicles (OTV’s) provide light freight and passenger service between space habitats in Jupiter and Saturn orbit.
The System States era represents the advent of humanity as a true space faring civilization.
This is the stage, the backdrop, and the players … Earth, the Martians and the System States.
Alliance Earth, a humanity poisoned by a constantly favored envy. The legacy of Sinclair's grand ruse sits bitter, and the masters of Earth delude themselves to believe that what the Martian's forged with generations of labor is theirs by right.
Mars ... a living world brought into being through the application of science, won by generations of effort.
The System States ... man set free from the planetary environment.
A war is coming, and there is nothing to stop it.
And one more …
Somewhere, somehow, in amongst the myriad computer systems located across the breadth of the solar system, among the links and interstices of the network, something new, something surprising … has come into being. A growing awareness, a consciousness … an influence which emerges as subtle ghostly manipulations, the patterns of which are not readily noticeable, leaving but the barest traces here and there …
And far from the center of attention, at the very edge of the solar system, a tiny vessel, an intruder from elsewhere, falls sun ward out of the night.
Everything is about to change.