WC vs. Crusader: We Like the Moon
We ran all of the notable Wing Commander/Crusader references back on Crusader Day just two months ago. Instead of repeating those updates, we've opted to put together a spinoff of the "WC vs. History" series. Since one of the most notable aspects of No Regret is that it takes place on the moon, we decided to 'mash up' Wing Commander and Crusader's fictional histories for that locale. The Crusader material provided is provided by the real expert: Keenan Weaver of Echo Sector!
Lunar activity played a vital role in the prosperity of the World Economic Consortium (WEC) from the late twenty-first century to the late twenty-second century. Though space resources were discovered prior to the establishment of the WEC in 2150, it was not until the WEC that such assets were utilized in a beneficial way. The discovery of the most important energy source, Di-Correalium, occurred in the 20th century during the United States’ Apollo moon landings. Despite its discovery, any further investigation into the substance was ceased and left to the Soviets. The Soviet scientist Dr. Brindel Krycheiv was the first to examine Di-Cor and realize its potentiality as an energy source. The fall of the Soviet Empire, however, left Krycheiv’s work unknown to the world. One hundred years later, following the re-discovery of Krycheiv’s work and space colonization becoming more achievable, the dwelling of the moon resulted in a surge of outer-planet activity.
The moon as a source of super conductor material became realized in the late twenty-first century. Though Di-Cor had been found in other off-world locations such as large asteroids, the moon was the most viable location from which to mine the element. Darkside, the first moonbase, was established in Mare Nubium by several multi-national corporations. The base allowed for a steady extraction of raw materials for orbital space platforms—an ever-increasing asset for the production of super conductor material. Deposits of Di-Cor were eventually found on the moon, and immediately entered the interests of the people. However, a combination of technological hurdles with social backlash prevented Di-Cor to be mined. Exposure to pure Di-Cor was fatal; those exposed to the material were expected to be dead within three days. Mining unions on the moon were readily aware of the dangers of Di-Cor and lobbied for exorbitant wages and benefits for their workers.
By the founding of the WEC, however, the mining bases which housed the unions—along with the entire Earth—came under the authority of the world government. As per the WEC’s foundation of representation of super corporate cartels rather than people, the mining bases united under the Lunar Mining Cartel (LMC). The LMC proceeded to mine Di-Cor with federal inmates of the WEC. Di-Cor had finally entered the economic and political sphere as a profitable entity in both arenas.
The placement of Di-Cor in the importance of WEC society cannot be overestimated; it was the single most important commodity in the running of the world. For what was Di-Cor used? Electricity, heat, manufacturing, sanitation, recreation, among many others. The moon’s colonization played a critical role in the politics and society of the mid twenty-second century. It is reflected in that government’s history that such a place could be used as a commodity.
But as the WEC's reliance on Di-Cor grew, bases on the moon became a more valuable target for the resistance...
By the middle of the 22nd century, mankind had established Luna Station, a space station on the moon. Though it was one of only a few space stations in the Sol System not built for expansion, Luna nevertheless contributed to scientific progress. In 2167, the facility supported the development of Olympia Station on Mars, the United Nations' first permanent off-world settlement. In 2189, Luna researcher Dr. Synatschk published the first paper indicating Space Syndrome Mutation, Mutations: Occurrences and Causes. Synatschk's research, which claimed that lower gravity stress and a lack of trace minerals heightened pre-birth defects, would still be referenced in 27th century studies of Space Syndrome. In 2219, tragedy struck: the first Great Pandemic hit Earth and resulted in the destruction of Luna Station. For the next two hundred years, the outer colonies enforced a strict quarantine: humans living on Earth could not travel past the moon's orbit. In 2462, a heavily armed Pilgrim Alliance sloship arrived at the moon to force a summit. The resulting Treaty of Luna barred humans from settling worlds within fifty years sloship travel of Earth, effectively ending Terran expansion until the development of the Akwende Propulsion System ("Jump Drive".)
In the ensuing centuries, the moon became a highly developed center of industry. When Earth first went to war with the Kilrathi, the moon was orbited by six Concordia-class carriers in varying stages of construction, shut down for lack of funding during peacetime. At Lunar Orbital Base Five, naval aviators went through Wildcat fighter orientation--a group that would have included newly minted Ensign Geoffrey Tolwyn had he not been reassigned to a covert operation at the last minute. As the war intensified, moon-based industry militarized at a steady pace, with the satellite becoming home to major naval facilities and their supporting communities. By 2668, it was one of the largest administrative centers in the Confederation, with one of the heaviest concentrations of computing power in the known universe.
A Concordia-class carrier, in construction in lunar orbit.
Shipyards on the moon's surface included full drydock facilities capable of servicing five fleet carriers at once, along with dozens of smaller ships. Workers on the moon rushed to make these ships available during the Battle of Earth, successfully launching the TCS Ark Royal and TCS Lexington despite their jump engines having been pulled for realignments and their core reactors dumped. Fleet Yard Five, in lunar orbit, was one of the key mothball yards during the false peace. Five CVEs and four fleet carriers were retired to moon orbit during those months, with fighters and spare parts being stored on the moon itself. The CVEs stored at the moon, Iwo, Wake, Crete, Tarawa and Normandy, were sold to the Landreich as part of a convert operations; three transports of fighters and supplies also attempted to leave lunar orbit but were blocked by the government. One iconic off-base locale was the Vacuum Breather bar, near the central military base. Owned by Gallagher, a thirty year Naval veteran with a famous love for the service, the Vacuum Breather famously catered to military personnel. The bar was famous for awarding those who had survived the hulling of their ships an honorary silver mug from which to serve a free beer when they visited. Honorees killed in action would have their mugs' handles gilded and left on display.
In addition to drydocks for the carrier fleet, shipyards on the moon built many Confederation capital ships. Assembly plants on the moon produced matter-antimatter, necessary for both capital ship engines and a range of heavy weaponry. In the final days of the false peace, the Confederation published a false communiqué claiming that the largest of these plants had been destroyed in an accident. Intercepted Kilrathi messages referenced the destruction of "target 2778A on the moon of Nak'tara," confirming that their target was Earth itself. The 2668 Kilrathi attack on Earth took a heavy toll on the moon. During the engagement, Kilrathi warships slipped past the battle and bombarded the moon with antimatter weapons. Military bases and factories alike were completely destroyed, including three fleet carriers still in their drydocks.
Tycho Crater, future home of a major Terran Confederation moonbase.
In spite of the damage suffered in the attack, life on the moon continued. In a matter of months, before the end of the war, Tycho Moonbase was an active Confederation port. Captain Jason Bondarevsky, the "First to Kilrah," first learned of the destruction of Kilrah while at the base. Peace impacted Tycho hard, with its staff reduced to a quarter the wartime levels within ten months, but reclamation of the moon soon began in earnest. Mining operations on Luna were active by the early 2670s producing specialty ores. Railguns on Luna shot raw materials to L5 where it was used to produce alloys for the first Vesuvius-class supercarriers. Other materials for the project were reclaimed from the wreckage left by the Kilrathi attack. Air defense on the moon was also reestablished during the reclamation. By 2673, the moon boasted a traffic control base. During the BWS Intrepid's final run to Earth, Captain Eisen warned Colonel Blair that he would face significant lunar-based defenses during his attempt to reach the senate; he ultimately encountered only a limited number of Arrows.