Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space became so packed with constellations of civilian and military satellites, anti-satellites and human occupied micro and macro space stations that there was no more LEO space available that could be legitimately claimed by terrestrial alliances. Valuable Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) space was occupied by heavily armored and auto-retaliatory satellites, that portion of the Earth’s orbit so important for the “early warning of incoming missiles, intelligence gathering, missile defense and situational awareness for military personnel.”
Orbital crowding meant that the technology that drove the thinking and movements of the day’s dominant terrestrial alliances could not be inserted into appropriate orbits. In short, vacant low earth orbit space became an extinct resource. In order to return the resource to existence, the dominant terrestrial alliances began to create space by destroying satellites that occupied preferred space or posed “threats” to the dominant terrestrial alliances ability to engage in communications in furtherance of militarized commerce.
Meanwhile, the skies of the Earth became pock marked with unmanned aerial vehicles both remotely piloted and autonomous (UAVs). Joining them were civilian and military aircraft of all sorts—passenger jets, strategic military aircraft and private aircraft. The contrails meshed across the blue skies like a giant white kilt. Civilian air travel became utterly dangerous with collisions between UAVs and military and passenger aircraft. Hobbyists built and launched their own UAVs which only added to the clutter. The amateur UAV builders were imprisoned for such activity.
The oceans of the earth were overpopulated with scores of shallow and deepwater military submarines armed with wave-front weapons and nuclear devices. There was little use for the oceans what with their condition as burned out as the land they surrounded. The oceans were still there circulating, but they did not feed any longer becoming, as ever, simply a medium for trade and conflict.
Like their UAV counterparts dotting the skies, remotely piloted and autonomous submariner UAVs roamed the oceans. Submarine designs became organic, of course. Was that one of the rare remaining whales (protected by a submarine escort) or one of the organic military designs? As most species of whales had long since disappeared, submarine watching became the pastime that replaced whale watching.
At any rate, submarines of the day escorted transoceanic vessels carrying an assortment of assembled goods and raw materials to this and that country. Surface fleets and vessels largely disappeared as affordability and stealth capabilities were never solved. UAV or SUAV swarming was the power projection of the new era.
A new and popular commodity of the time was the trade and shipment of highly skilled labor (scientists, engineers, software programmers, genetic designers) to terrestrial organizations. The services of this class were the equivalent of products produced by the world’s armament industries. In fact much of what they did was build weapons systems, whether nuclear or nano. The genetic designers were the highest paid of the lot given that the terrestrials needed food and water, and the genetic kluging that terrestrials required to exist and consume at all.
On land, the situation reflected that in space, the skies and the ocean. Populations were compacted into urban areas, city-states, around the globe. Scorched earth, skies, ocean and space was much of what remained between the distances from one city to the other. Nuclear, laser, sonic, and genetic weaponry had proliferated and had become commonplace. A lot of toxic brinkmanship existed between individuals, groups and the various alliances and blocs that controlled the urban city-states and the useless spaces between them. Underground was one place the terrestrials could not conquer. That was the province of the truly great adapters of the planet: rodents, insects, bacteria and assorted other creatures that were the real intellects of the planet.
And so humanity managed to consume a resource that no one had really thought much about: space. Once that was gobbled up, it wasn’t long until motion was consumed. In that tenuous toxic existence there was nowhere to go to, no place that one could Be or Become, and no one that could be believed. Even matter had been exhausted in the sense that it had been manipulated over and over again by genetic designers.
Evolution had run out of ideas, so it seemed.
They say that some evolutionary psychologists of the 21st century proclaimed that the terrestrials were less violent, less warring over a certain 5,000 year period. Their statistics during that moment were correct. But they did not calculate that as violence and war decreased, the power to destroy increased and the time to do that was measured in fractions of seconds.
But Evolution had one more idea: start over. Time is a human creation, Evolution knows no time. And so, no one knows exactly what the trigger was. They say it was a protest or a miscalculation. They also say that someone had something someone else wanted, or was in the way of the dominant terrestrial alliance of the day. That’s what they say.
If only there had been some sort of Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak musical movement or a cosmic universal tone available that when heard had prompted collective human minds to respond, “What the &^%$ are we doing?” then perhaps the terrestrials would have adapted and survived ’til their sun expired.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security matters. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.