In 2153 bcet, Captain Joel Myklebust and the crew of the Armageddon discovered Poseidous while surveying ten stars along a roughly circular route through space. The find of a second habitable planet elated Myklebust and his crew and the fact that it contained mostly water didn’t diminish their enthusiasm. Epsilon Eridani was the last scheduled stop on their mission and supplies had run dangerously low, yet despite these circumstances the Armageddon remained for 21 months on Poseidous, surveying and studying it. The explorers lived off native foods and, though lacking spare parts, jury-rigged their critical equipment to keep it functioning. They returned to Earth more than a year late,’ having been given up for lost, and their fantastic news made Myklebust’s superiors overlook the fact that he had broken every rule in the space pilot’s book.
Despite the enthusiasm that greeted the Armageddon‘s return, 24 years passed before the first pioneers set foot on Poseidous to make it their home. Earth’s space exploration has historically proceeded in cycles and Myklebust’s return coincided with a downturn. In those early days of space travel, the exploratory missions to nearby stars and the large-scale colonization of Wyzdom had cost the people of Earth dearly. They were less than eager to finance a second extraterrestrial outpost while so much land remained on Wyzdom. Yet the proponents of space travel found allies in the states of eastern Asia who felt they weren’t getting a fair share of places on Wyzdom-bound starships.
A mixed bag of Human beings from all of Earth’s major nations comprised the first party of pioneers. Since Poseidous’s largest island lay in the southern temperate zone it provided the logical spot for the first settlements. The majority of the settlers hailed from what were then England and America; so they named their island New Britain and its capital New Washington. Subsequent shiploads of immigrants drew heavily from ancient Japan, Singapore,Indonesia, and China.
The success of Medhat Hadar’s rampant free-market economy on Wyzdom caused it to become the model for Poseidous’ social structure, but the diversity of backgrounds among the colonists prevented them from reaching a consensus on the implementation of Hadar’s ideals. After nine years of bickering, the pioneers verged on civil war, despite the manifest economic success of the colony. Then a statesman, named Chou Loon, emerged with a compromise.
To be rid of the socialist factions, he proposed dividing the existing capital assets and moving them to any island the socialists chose. Though this plan would cost the capitalists dearly, it seemed a small price to pay to be rid of the collectivists, and the two islands, equally matched in initial resources and population, would provide a basis for comparing systems. Thereafter any Poseidon could choose the one he liked best.
Chou’s plan was grudgingly accepted and established a precedent that guided the planet’s subsequent development. To this day, Poseidous lacks a planetary government. The islands govern themselves autonomously, similar to the former nations of Earth; yet they manage to coexist in peace. Free trade and personal movement exists between islands, and to date all island governments remain more or less democratic.
Many immigrants from a now unified Earth, recalling the awful and bloody history of the mother planet, express anxiety at the absence of a planet-wide government. They fear war will one day break out between the islands, transmuting their idyllic paradise into a fiendish hell. I personally doubt that this will ever happen. Poseidons have much to lose and little to gain from armed conflict. The peaceful resolution of the most serious interisland dispute in history illustrates the economics of peace.
About 150 years ago, the pirates of Polybotes built powerful levitrucks, armed them with laser cannon and began marauding the transit lanes. They stole both ships and cargoes, then ransomed them back to their rightful owners. Sometimes they / made use of the cargo themselves, destroying the vessel or converting it to yet another raiding ship.
The majority of the people on Polybotes did not belong to the pirate band, but they closed their eyes to the wrongdoing because the pirates brought a lot of money to the island without costing the locals a centime. In time the piracy grew quite costly to the major trading islands, which organized an effective boycott on all trade with Polybotes. After a few months of the boycott, the non- pirates realized that the loss of trade hurt them far more than the pirates’ spending helped them. Quietly they organized themselves and began to arrest each pirate crew as it disembarked from its vessels for a night on the town.
When all had been rounded up, the Polybotians invited representatives from every island to watch the destruction of the pirate vessels, thus demonstrating their good intentions and obtaining a swift end to the embargo. Since then, the people of Poseidous various islands have lived peacefully, respecting each other’s rights to differing lifestyles.