Earth, 2152. The world is a nightmare. Humanity’s population has swelled exponentially. The biosphere is dying. Mankind is trapped in the web of its own consumerism and need to propagate itself. Governments are gone, national flags replaced by shrink-wrapped logos representing corporations. The shadow republic that poses as a United Earth Federation is really a pack of bought and paid for demagogues, lining their pockets with bribes from corporate interests and pandering for the media. But really, they are just puppets in suits that make nice with the mass-media and spit out soundbytes for public consumption.
Everything is a commodity. Energy, food, water, even air. Every ounce of material pulled down to earth from the asteroid belts and sister planetary bodies is stamped with a barcode and put on the market to be distributed to the ever-growing ravenous hordes. There is no unemployment rate, no crime, it is a deceptively utopian society, but beneath the “federal statistics”, a sinister secret is becoming ever more evident, even to the common man so addled by commercial advertisement and the biased “free” media. There is no unemployment rate because those who are unable to work are excluded from society. There is no crime because there is no justice system, only corporate goons and security forces quietly slipping bags over the heads of all suspects and carting them off to places unknown, never to be seen again.
The 21st century was a time of warfare between national tribes. Humanity desperately wished to be united as one, but under no flag could they find the common ground needed. As the 22nd century approached, the wars intensified until the earth was enveloped in a near total war between the last three major governments, the New Soviet Coalition, the Atlantic Alliance, and the Asiatic Empire. Military might and UN treaties didn’t end the wars, it was backroom deals between government contractors that ended the war and formed the pact of the United Earth Federation, and declared global hegemony for the first time.
With the dawn of a new century and a united species, man focused for the first time on space travel instead of warfare, but the governing interest wasn’t exploration, it was economic gain. Asteroid mining became the major industry and two major powers emerged as Universal Technologies and Remington Corporation became the two most prominent deep space resource exploitation firms on the planet. Soon, colonies in near-earth orbit were constructed and humans began leaving the overpopulated, and rapidly destabilizing surface of their planet.
Martian terraforming began anew, but with resource projections and global population data becoming ever more problematic, UniTech and RemCorp partnered up to produce the first means of faster than light travel, ensuring that all future human colonies would be dependent on earth-based shipping.
Several human colonist organizations were desperately searching the skies for habitable earth-like planets so that they could escape the yoke of their corporate masters, be free of their patented terraforming tools and start anew, living free on their own planets without the need to import supplies from off-world, but the Orbital Radar Imaging Network, a property acquired by one of UniTech’s subsidiaries, kept data on habitable earth-like planets from the public eye.
After all, the next big commodity would be off-world real-estate. The target: The moon of a gas giant named Centration by UniTech science teams.