Depending on how you want to count them, several different dates in the Twentieth Century Christian Era (CE) can become our zero point for counting the future.
The first might be Einstein’s Annus Mirabilis (the year of Miracles) in CE 1905, when he first published the papers that would revolutionize science, including E=MC^2.
A useful second touch point is Chicago Pile 1, the first man-made nuclear reactor to sustain fission, under the stadium in Chicago in CE 1942, under the direction of Enrico Fermi. This is the beginning of an advanced understanding of how the universe itself works, finally translated into practical terms.
Another would be Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s publication of a theoretical description of using near-earth-orbit to establish a network of communication satellites in CE 1945.
I have chosen a more interesting date.
In CE 1961, Vostok 1 (Orient or East) carried the first human into space and orbit, Yuri Gagarin. At that moment, humanity began to take to the stars. It would be a long painful task, but it began there. We were no longer limited to the ground. Other milestones followed, as human and robotic explorers pushed the boundaries of space and knowledge.
But instead of talking about the first century of spaceflight, I wanted to blog today about the history of the future I had to put together when I realized that Suvi was going to try to live forever.
Her birthday was just the other day. I have it in my phone, along with a variety of others, to remind me. For her, it was a rainy Sunday in March. The day was March 18, CE 7426. (The app I use, Easy Birthday Reminders for Android, is smart enough to show her age as -5410.)
In the fifty-four centuries between then and now, lots of things will happen in the futures I’ve imagined. I’ve alluded to them from time to time. Today I felt like listing them out, so people have a feel for the when behind the Alexandria Station stories.
(I have them all organized on a spreadsheet that I currently have open. There are over one hundred entries right now.)
The Gas Sailors stories will take place around CE 2344. They involve colonies on the four big outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. (Assuming the newly-described theoretical Planet IX does not get located soon. The man who killed Pluto thinks there really is a ninth planet out there, the definition of planet being a body large enough to sweep its orbital path clear, which Pluto does not do.) There will be adventures on the scores of moons, plus Kuiper objects and comets. Think very, very hard science, the kind that might bog you down on getting the orbital physics right. (I tend to write popcorn science fiction where the technology is kind of hand-waved off, because I don’t want to write technobabble about technologies that don’t even follow our current models of physics.)
According to my notes, the first starflight takes place in CE 2903 and opens up the first era of practical interstellar exploration. It is during this period that humans discover nobody is home, and begin the process of terraforming worlds by dropping customized modification packages on them.
The era of mass colonization begins in CE 3215, after enough worlds have gotten close enough to Earth that humans can walk safely on the surface of some of them.
For those of you who have read The Mind Field, you might have a feel for some of the to-her-recent-history periods Wilhelmina Teague knows.
The Resource Wars begin around CE 4334.
The Corporate Wars are going to be fought starting in CE 5838.
Finally, the Pocket Empires Era takes off in CE 6516.
Rama Treadwell was born in CE 6848 and disappears from human history in CE 6896, with the Unification Wars collectively starting in CE 6903.
Imperial Balustrade is proclaimed in CE 6930, and the planet A’Nacia is destroyed on standard August 15, CE 6964, leading to the Union of Worlds in CE 6965.
Wilhelmina Teague will be born in CE 7029, but she never me told her birthday and I didn’t ask. I do know she was trapped in the minefield in CE 7059, and rescued in CE 7548.
The Concord is founded in CE 7118 at the time when the Union of Worlds and Balustrade are beginning to ebb. By CE 7382, Neu Berne was a major player and started a long series of low and medium-impact wars that eventually escalated into the Great Wars that fundamentally crippled Neu Berne, The Union, and Balustrade, leaving The Concord as the default Hegemon for most of the (Earth-centered) inhabited galaxy by CE 7472.
Javier Aritza was born in CE 7510. Zakhar Sokolov was fourteen years old at that point. Djamila Sykora will be born three years later. They all meet for the first time in CE 7547.
Time passes and we have a major gap known collectively as The (Middle and Late) Concord Eras.
In CE 10389, the Liberty Front is founded as a political party dedicated to ending the dominance of Earth in galactic affairs. Five years later, they transformed themselves into a formal military outfit and declared open war. This involved mass production of AI-piloted warships that did not have human crews and were not programmed with the preservation of human life as one of their prime tenets.
This would have impressively negative consequences when one of these fleets, commanded by a Sentience and without any human intervention, decided that the most efficient way to end the threat of Earth was to destroy it. The mixed human and AI fleet defending Earth was defeated by suicide tactics of the Sentience, after which a number of damaged warships were deliberately piloted into the lower atmosphere of the planet to explode, wreaking unbelievable devastation.
When that was insufficient to complete the job, the robots began wholesale bombardment of the Earth and destruction of all orbital platforms and off-planet bases. This eventually took the form of attaching big enough engines to large enough rocks to slam miles-wide meteors into the planet repeatedly.
When they were done, the gravity of semi-molten Earth had increased nearly five percent and all life on the planet, land or sea-based, was over.
In retribution, Earth-based forces did the same to the planets of The Liberty Front.
In ten years, almost all advanced manufacturing, galaxy-wide, came to an end, there being no automated factories of any significant size left. In a generation, most of humanity collapsed, and significant portions of it died off. Those worlds that survived generally fell back to extremely primitive technology levels, from which a few would survive, thrive, and re-establish modern culture.
Zanzibar recovered stellar technology first, in CE 12206. They made first contact with Ballard in CE 12243 and established trade relations. Vanessa, the daughter of the first Zanzibar Ambassador to Ballard, married a local (aquatic) sailor named Thorson. Their fourth child is Doyle Iwakuma, the famous explorer, born standard CE September 17, 12263.
Ngoma Mwisho, The Last Waltz, first flew in CE 12295, and Doyle rescued Suvi from the darkness in CE 12300. Alexandria Station was completed in Ballard orbit in CE 12305 and would be Suvi’s home until CE 13441.
Henri Baudin was born in CE 13059, and famously walked The Story Road in CE 13083.
Emmerich Wachturm, Imperial Admiral of the Red, was born in CE 13391.
Jessica Keller was born in CE 13405, and takes command of CVS Auberon in 13439.
Suvi will make the acquaintance of Jean-Pierre Orfèvre in CE 15006.
And the rest, as they say, is history.