The pre-first contact history of the Nivenian Empire is quite long, and quite complicated. There is not really any point before or after first contact where the Nivenian Empire can be considered "truly" interstellar, but they have interstellar probes and can repel interstellar invasions. As such the history of the Nivenian Empire, and the Autocracy of Northwest Sunside before it, will be divided up by century and by decade. As Nivenia Prime is tidally locked, the Nivenians never had need of a consistent calendar, so thousands of different systems were in place before world domination occurred. Therefore this history is specifying dates in the BNE/NE calendar.
The regions will be specified using the region designations "sunside," "twilight regions," "nightside," and "central regions," along with the use of North, South, East, and West (still determined by internal magnetic field). These terms can be further clarified with this image:
[Note: this page is not finished and I will probably be working on it for a while]
798 BNE to 700 BNE Edit
This century showed the dawn of what would become the Nivenian Empire and a growing cold war.
798 BNE to 790 BNE Edit
The Autocracy of Northwest Sunside (ANWS) was born in 794 BNE, from a violent coup in the Unifying Egalitarian Front of Justice, also called the UEFJ (The UEFJ had been on a quest for 40 years to unify all of sunside under its rule. They had unified all but the central southern areas.). The coup started with the invention of Nuclear Fission Energy in a laboratory funded by inventor and entrepreneur William Roberts in 798. Roberts, seeing the importance of the nuclear reactor in a society where the light bulb had just been invented (The general technology level of the UEFJ at this point was not unlike mid-19th century Europe.), built a uranium power plant in an attempt to become the planet's richest Nivenian. However, the energy of the reactor dwarfed the productivity of the citizenry by a factor of 20, leading Roberts to declare himself dictator, bribe local officials, and take over a third of the UEFJ in a bloodless coup in 794. Though relations between the ANWS and the UEFJ remained sour, the ANWS found that the smaller, lower-technology nightside of the planet provided an interesting opportunity now that cheap energy was available. In 791 BNE, the ANWS formed a trade alliance with several smaller countries in nightside, giving them energy in return for materials and labor. In 790 BNE, the world population was 9,123,784,002, and the population of ANWS was 1,803,451,290.
789 BNE to 780 BNE Edit
The ANWS at this point was focused on strengthening its military and infrastructure. To this end, in 789 BNE, the AWNS started a government program to link the whole country by railroad, improving its transportation, and developing a new type of weapon, the "landship," made operational in 786. This was essentially an oversized WWI tank that ran on steam generated by nuclear fission reactions instead of coal or oil. This made the landships a devastating weapon since they could drive for months without refueling. In 785, the landship proved incredibly useful in suppressing a secondary coup bent on seizing the AWNS dictatorship.
In 783, though, an important discovery was made. Trinitrotoluene had been invented. With this, implosion devices could be created to detonate masses of nuclear material, opening the possibility for development of a fission bomb. The ANWS was not in immidiate danger, though, and the project was expensive, so during the 780s BNE it was thought that this was the sort of project that kept getting put off by another two years. However, the ANWS was putting money into another aspect of nuclear physics: the cyclotron. Cyclotron experiments had the potential to synthesize whole new elements, create positrons, and possibly even smash open the protons and neutrons. in 781 BNE, the first large (~3.7 m) cyclotron was built in a research facility near the capital, activated, and within the year elements 93 through 98 had been discovered. By the end of 780, an even bigger (~7.5 m) cyclotron had discovered three more. In 780 BNE, the world population was 9,838,471,826 and the population of AWNS was 1,971,209,344.
779 BNE to 770 BNE Edit
The 770s BNE were a decade of political turmoil, as Roberts was assassinated by what appeared to be an isolated fanatic in 778. The government then experienced rapid political turnover, as leaders, advisers, and generals assassinated each other to get up the totem pole. The country had 21 Dictators between Roberts' assassination and the re-establishment of the government. Scientific research and most government functions were paused for that time. However, a growing body of researchers and scientists supported one potential ruler, Dr. Rebecca Fulton. Fulton took advantage of the growing discontent among the civil service to create a "bureaucratic rebellion," halting most government operations. This prompted military action, but since all of the supply routes were neglected, most of the army deserted within a week. Fulton then took the "throne" in late 774, and remained dictator until 718 when she died.
Fulton thought that scientific advancement and academic prestige were the most urgent priorities, and proceeded accordingly. A program to develop a uranium bomb was started. The cyclotrons were replaced with synchrotrons and made much larger (the largest one was 25 meters). Four more elements were discovered by 772, and the first few kilograms of weapons-grade uranium was produced in 770. Testing would begin the following year. Also in 770, the first heavier-than-air engine-powered machine flew 53 meters to a point higher than its start, being the first airplane on the planet. In 770 BNE, the world population was 10,757,120,540 and the population of AWNS was 2,063,042,506.
769 BNE to 760 BNE Edit
769 saw the detonation of an implosion fission bomb with a yield of 3 TJ. This terrified the technologically inferior UEFJ, which was attemping to undergo a massive arms buildup at the time. Neither of the countries involved had reliable airplanes or rockets, so nuclear warfore was off the table, but it terrified the UEFJ nonetheless, specifically with the fear that nukes would be loaded into artillery shells and shot at them. Thus began the first trans-hemispherical war, larger than any other conflict on Nivenia Prime before. The war involved millions of soldiers and thousands of tanks, and destroyed millions of square kilometers of border territory. The war ended in a stalemate in 766, after over a hundred million deaths. The relations between the ANWS and UEFJ never fully recovered.
In the aftermath of the war, another splinter group of the UEFJ (The UEFJ had actually conquered all of the non-northwest regions of sunside, and while it had lost the central areas, it was still even bigger than before.) that believed in communism and fanatic equality, managed to conquer the southern twilight regions of the planet, becoming the PRSS (People's Republic of Southern States) in 765. The PRSS was actually governed by an elite group that rigged all the elections and siphoned the wealth of the country, the PSCP (Pan-Southern Communist Party). The PRSS had terrible relations with the UEFJ, as it was a splinter group, and had poor relations with the ANWS, viewing them as "imperialist technocrats." In 763, the UEFJ lost the central-northern area (an area especially ravaged by war) to rebels who promptly took over, lost power, and caused the area to splinter into more than 30 different soverign states by 761. While nuclear weapons were available in the ANWS, they could not be used strategically due to the lack of aerospace technology, so they were not immediately developed further. However, new advances in fluorine chemistry were producing some surprising new combinations for rocket fuels, and airplane technology was getting better by the day. In 760 BNE, the world population was 11,954,723,012 and the population of the ANWS was 4,023,544,914.
Culturally, this decade is interesting since politeness became an integral part of the ANWS' culture. The first trans-hemispherical war was commonly seen to have started when an ANWS general made an indiscreet remark to the UEFJ ambassador. While this did "start" the war, the looming threat of getting nuked, political differences, and the vengeance of those who fought for the UEFJ in the ANWS' war for independence contributed much more to the rising tensions. However, the population of the ANWS dramatically increased its formality in an effort to "be more civilized than the enemy," and after this decade, expletives were more than fifteen times less common than before.
759 BNE to 750 BNE Edit
The new politeness of all of the ANWS diplomats initially improved relations to everyone to some degree, lowering tariffs, creating treaties, and letting enemy spies sneak in to steal the secret of fission bombs. Wait, WHAT?!
In 757, after a 4-year period of renewed prosperity and security, a diplomat from the UEFJ who was actually a spy managed to sneak into the fission bomb storage facility (a big warehouse that says "Totally not a fission bomb storage facility - Keep out, there is definitely nothing important in here! And why are you still looking at this sign anyway?! Move along!"), and promptly discovered a spy from the PRSS in the same warehouse, stealing the same bomb. The two fought over the bomb until they decided to share, take a saw, and cut the bomb in two so that each one could take home half (Who knows what they were thinking!). They arrived to their home countries, were promptly fired for being stupid, and the secrets of the fission bomb were now revealed (Actually, building a fission bomb is not that complicated, and the design was spherically symmetric, so management could reverse-engineer the technology.). Testing began in both countries around the same time in 756.
754 saw the first continuous flight from the western twilight regions to the center, carried out by Neil Watson on his plane, the fusioned neutron, to commemorate a new scientific development in the ANWS. This was the development in 755 of the fission-fusion-fission bomb, a new type of bomb that used the compressing piece of uranium or plutonium to initiate fusion in a small capsule of deuterium and tritium, mixed 50-50. The fusion reaction releases high-energy neutrons that can cause even more fission to take place in the expanding cloud of actinide plasma. This increases the yield of the bomb by a huge amount. During some tests in 754, yields of up to 890 TJ were measured.
In 753, the PRSS snapped after hearing of a new Petajoule bomb in development in the ANWS. They attacked with their bombers and their 5 small fission bombs. The ANWS retaliated with 7 small fission bombs and one fusion-boosted bomb. Neither side had any more nuclear weapons, so after the 5 million who died on the first two days of the war, the death rate slowed as conventional tactics were used. The second trans-hemispherical war had begun. The PRSS began by recoiling from the nuclear attack by going on the offensive, taking over the west-northwest sections near the twilight regions, and pushing the front almost a thousand kilometers back, where it stabilized in late 752. The stalemate slowly dragged on for two more years. In 750, the world population was 12,446,294,458 and the population of the ANWS was 3,979,284,439.
749 BNE to 740 BNE Edit
749 saw a gleam of hope for the ANWS. The UEFJ apparently decided that it disliked the ANWS less, and that the PRSS was getting too big. They agreed to join the war on the side of the ANWS if the ANWS did no more than reclaim lost territory. This turned the tide of the war, and the front moved 700 kilometers toward the PRSS by 748. However, in 747, the ANWS launched another nuclear attack on the PRSS of 37 fusion-boosted bombs. The PRSS agreed to a conditional surrender not long afterwards. The second trans-hemispherical war was the first war involving nuclear weapons. It cost eighty million lives.
During this time, ethnic and cultural disputes had lead to the constant fragmentation and re-combination of the nation-states in the central northern regions. In 747, all of this changed when a populist-turned-dictator, Diane Knight, managed to take over a large section of the region. With her newfound empire, Knight established an economic juggernaut by 744, creating a huge array of products. This made her and her country extremely wealthy, lowered the price of living in the rest of the world, and then, when everyone had refrigerators and cars and stereos, goods would sit on the shelves, and the economy stagnated. In 740, the stock market fell 63 percent, causing a depression that would shape the next ten years. Also, Knight was ousted after the flow of money stopped, but lived out her life in comfortable exile with her family and the ridiculous amount of money that she had socked away in nightside bank accounts.
During the 740's, rocketry in the ANWS advanced by leaps and bounds. First came red fuming nitric acid (tamed and made inert). Then came Chlorine triflouride (Blew up half of the industrial sector of the city it was tested in and almost killed Dr. Rebecca Fulton, who later recalled that she had a feeling that the project would not go anywhere. Sure enough, she cut the funding. Eventually, on the cryogenics side, Kerosine-O2 was replaced with H2-O2, which was replaced with H2-O2-F2, which was replaced with H2-O2-Li. In 741, during the economic boom, the holy grail (or it seemed that way at the time) of rocket technology was discovered: the solid-core nuclear-thermal rocket. Unfortunately, as soon as a program was developed to put a Nivenian into orbit, the economy collapsed, delaying it by another 10 years. In 740, the population of Nivenia Prime was 14,309,836,345 and the population of the ANWS was 4,343,982,047.
739 BNE to 730 BNE Edit
After the 740 stock market crash, the economy slumped, putting billions out of work and causing billions more to lose their homes and investments. After this, most research in most governments was put on hold temporarily. All in all, not much actually happened during this decade except widespread poverty. Crime bosses ruled the streets and police fought them, but no taxes could be drawn and most governments were running deficits. The depression eventually ended in 730 when Fulton declared war on the UEFJ. The increasing formality of the ANWS, which had initially helped diplomatic relations, got to the point where common euphemisms used by other countries were treated as expletives. When a diplomat from the UEFJ made what was perceived as an indiscreet statement by the ANWS ambassador, the ANWS declared war. The third trans-hemispheric war, as it would be called, would shape history for decades to come. In 730, the population of Nivenia Prime was 15,966,287,404 and the population of the ANWS was 5,034,289,345.
729 BNE to 720 BNE Edit
The third trans-hemispheric war was the most devastating war yet. The initial nuclear exchange in 730 involved fusion-boosted weapons on both sides, and 30 million died (The initial nuclear exchange was beginning to be a staple of warfare, since it lowered your opponent's initial industrial capabilities and your opponent's bombs helped drum up recruits. It certainly did not make peace easier though.). Armies of tens of millions marched back and forth along the central region, blowing everything up, conquering territory, and never holding that territory for more than two weeks. The war got even more intense when the PRSS sided with the UEFJ against the ANWS in 732. The PRSS and the ANWS had another quick nuclear exchange, and then the PRSS invaded the west-northwestern twilight regions again. The ANWS was losing territory, and losing it fast. Even though it looked like the ANWS was losing the war, they created a new, devastating weapon in 727. They created the rocket launcher. Rockets were excellent at destroying enemy tanks, encampments, infantry, and could do it from a distance. The ANWS pushed the UEFJ and the PRSS out of its territory, and a "status quo" peace was settled in 725. The war was important since the ANWS used better technology to defeat the UEFJ and PRSS. The death toll of the war was above 150 million.
In 725, after the war ended, Fulton declared a new program to develop better military technology. The program yielded results in only two years. The nuclear physicists had created a new type of nuclear weapon, the thermonuclear bomb, or fusion bomb. This bomb used the x-rays from a fission bomb to compress and ignite lithium deuteride fusion fuel, causing an explosion that can sometimes reach 60 PJ. Testing began in 723, and the weapon was considered combat-ready in 721. Another important technological event was the first supersonic aircraft, which flew in 722, reaching Mach 1.09. In 720, the population of Nivenia Prime was 16,722,492,591, and the population of the ANWS was 5,319,673,085.
719 BNE to 710 BNE Edit
The decade of the 710s BNE started rather well. The first Nivenian satellite went into orbit in 719, on a repurposed missile built and launched by the ANWS. The ANWS put a Nivenian into orbit just a year later. Then, disaster struck. Dr. Rebecca Fulton died. This left a power vacuum in the government, which lead to a faction of rebel military officers attempting to establish a military dictatorship. Before they could succeed, a rival faction of military officials launched several thermonuclear warheads at all who opposed them, starting the ANWS civil war in 717. The civil war killed tens of millions, but finally both sides wore each other down to the point that a third faction, lead by bureaucrat Craig Howard, managed to take over in 714, attempting to establish a system where qualified engineers, scientists, and bureaucrats could vote on a new ruler if the old ruler died, as a method of easing the transition of power. Of course, Howard would be dictator until his death in 641.
During the civil war, the UEFJ had managed to get a Nivenian into a higher orbit than the ANWS did before its collapse, and had completed the first spacewalk, both in 715. Eager to beat the UEFJ, the ANWS under Howard formulated a revolutionary new plan to "win the space race" by establishing a permanent space station. This space station would sit a thousand kilometers above the planet, and be armed with nuclear missiles and carbon dioxide lasers. It would weigh 580 tonnes and have room for 8 inhabitants, and be powered by newly invented molten-salt nuclear reactors. It required a massive diversion of manufacturing capabilities, and was completed and launched aboard a kerosene-oxygen rocket with a nuclear thermal second stage in 712. The ANWS had won the space race. In 710, the population of Nivenia Prime was 18,671,003,583 and the population of the ANWS was 5,823,267,840.
709 BNE to 700 BNE Edit
In 708 BNE, the ANWS continued spearheading technological progress with the construction of a liquid helium-cooled superconducting particle accelerator fifteen hundred kilometers in circumference. Using this device, many discoveries were made in a very short period of time. Quarks (all six), tau particles, an assortment of hadrons, the higgs boson, the Z and W bosons, and a new assortment of elements all the way up to Undiseptium by 705. New facilities were also created to attempt nuclear fusion as a power generation system via the CNO process. This lead to the development of a lot of test apparatuses trying to simulate the conditions inside massive stars, and then contain it. Between 706 and 702, many of these facilities exploded since the pressures and temperatures necessary to create a CNO reaction were not being reached, the reaction could not generate power, and the magnetic confinement failed. However, many technologies were gained from this, such as N-stage thermonuclear bombs, which could be scaled up to arbitrary sizes in 701.
On the engineering side, developments were underway to dome over cities to mitigate pollution problems. This was put into effect with the help of generous donations from industrial leaders, who had long since figured out that more industry in one place eventually created diminishing returns as the workers would be less productive because of the pollution. If the cities could be domed over with plexiglass, smokestacks could be put above the city, and air could be filtered. This would allow for more industry in a smaller space. A project to dome over 1300 square kilometers of the capital city of the ANWS began in 705 to reduce pollution (Howard thought that this was a good idea too, since more industry means more productivity which means more taxes.). The project was completed in 701, and a 500-meter high plexiglass ceiling was placed on top of the city, being supported by skyscrapers and smokestacks below. The ceiling had 4-meter deep drainage ditches every 100 meters, feeding into the city reservoir for storage and subsequent purification. The city was now climate controlled, perpetually 20 degrees Celsius and 70% humidity. The city then had a huge industrial boom, which produced new jobs while conveniently making the suburbs uninhabitable so new workers could move to the city. The project payed for itself by 698, a huge success. In 700, the population of Nivenia Prime was 20,843,043,986 and the population of the ANWS was 6,238,091,319.
699 BNE to 600 BNE Edit
This century, known later as the century of chaos, showed rising tension, a devastating nuclear war, and the start of a more efficient society. Note that even by the end of this century electrical computers did not yet exist. Relay computers, electromechanical and extremely slow, were used when precise measurement was needed.
699 BNE to 690 BNE Edit
The completion of the plexiglass ceiling in the capital sparked an entire wave of city-doming projects spanning the country. The new clean air sparked a boom in births in the ANWS, with birth rates at twice their previous levels. The UEFJ and PRSS, however, were beginning to feel left behind in the technological dust. To maintain their military standing, they both stole the secrets of N-stage fusion bombs from the ANWS, started research, figured out that the other one also had them, and promptly declared war on each other in 698. The fourth trans-hemispheric war, as it was called, happened much like the previous ones: Nuclear exchange, tens of millions of deaths, soldiers get riled up, and the battles consume the regions, blow up everything important, and eventually realize that they are not doing anything except destroying stuff, wait another year, and then finally sign a "peace agreement." The war ended in 694 with two hundred million casualties, and both sides began building more thermonuclear weapons, and continued throughout the rest of the decade.
Meanwhile, the ANWS realized that the new domed cities could be put on nightside and be run by lamps and electric power. Thus the colonization of the night began! Nightside countries were small, primitive, and sparsely populated, so armies could march through without much resistance. The northeastern nightside regions directly bordering the ANWS were colonized first, starting in 695. Meanwhile, the fusion experiments seemed to actually be getting somewhere, and in 693, the first energy-positive CNO proton fusion reactor was constructed 500 kilometers from the capital (for safety in case it blew up). Economically viable reactors followed shortly, in 690. In 690, the population of Nivenia Prime was 23,542,484,102 and the population of the ANWS was 7,112,741,204.
689 BNE to 680 BNE Edit
The beginning of the 680s BNE showed great promise, as the new fusion reactors promptly lowered the cost of energy in the ANWS threefold, and made cheap, clean, renewable energy. It also made tritium as a by-product. This tritium was usually just buried. This lowered the cost of living by half, which lead to increased prosperity and another growth in the birthrate. Once energy started being exported, the birthrate was climbing all over the planet, and ANWS corporations were getting rich. This new influx of energy lead the UEFJ and PRSS to do colonization of their own in the mid to late 680s, halting the ANWS expansion at the central nightside regions. Countries in the northern central regions were now being re-absorbed into the UEFJ at an alarming rate, and the number of sovereign entities was rapidly declining. By 685 it was as low as 17. The ANWS, now awash in cash, domed over most of its industrial centers, and newer methods of manufacturing steel lowered the costs tenfold. These new prices made it economically viable for construction companies to build building like nuclear bunkers, with a meter of steel on the outside. These new buildings were designed to withstand anything short of a point-blank nuclear fireball. An exajoule bomb might destroy hundreds of city blocks, but not the entire city, as it would have 10 years before. By 682, most cities over five million had at least 30% steel buildings with more than 50 cm wall thicknesses.
All three major powers were building 3- and 4- stage nuclear fusion bombs by the ten thousand by now, and nuclear stockpiles were getting to the point where nuclear exchanges could destroy an entire nation. Nuclear weapon yield was increasing too, with exajoule bombs now commonplace. Tensions were mounting, and by the end of the decade there were only three countries left on the planet: the ANWS, the UEFJ, and the PRSS. In 680, the population of Nivenia Prime was 27,802,874,754 and the population of the ANWS was 8,403,325,986.
679 BNE to 670 BNE Edit
The 670s began well enough. This was the calm before the storm. While all three countries were building nuclear weapons, the ANWS was covering its cities with new carbon-dioxide lasers to intercept oncoming nuclear missiles, and encouraging its population to move to cities. Hydroponic and aquaponic farming methods were becoming more and more commonplace.
In 674, the PRSS finally snapped, launching missiles at the UEFJ and ANWS. What followed was the most brutal war the planet had ever seen, as the total world nuclear stockpile was airborne in less than an hour, and detonated or shot down in less than two. The thirty yottajoules of energy released from several million 4-stage thermonuclear warheads was enough to heat the planet up to 350 degrees Celsius for several weeks. While nearly all UEFJ and PRSS cities were destroyed, the air-conditioned, fusion-powered ANWS domed cities held through, blowing up the nuclear missiles with their lasers, and cooling the cities at maximum capacity. The world was now a charred, radioactive wasteland devoid of all life except the hardiest bacterial extremophiles buried deep underground and the ANWS domed cities. The ANWS subsequently declared itself the unified government of Nivenia Prime. For the next four years, new cities were constantly being constructed, population growth surged, and there were no longer any rivals to the new empire. In 670 BNE, the population of Nivenia Prime was 4,948,563,198.
An interesting side note is that this event may have accelerated the development of the Nivenian Empire in the long run, since the total environmental destruction was (understandably) the end of the environmentalist party, which had dissented wildly over the previous few decades over the domed cities. In other words, now that the environment was already totally destroyed, the Nivenians could do whatever they wanted to Nivenia Prime.
669 BNE to 660 BNE Edit
The 660s started with the rapid population growth that accompanies large reductions in the population combined with demilitarization. The new economy thrived, deriving its energy from nuclear fission and fusion, building domed cities, and strip-mining the planet for resources. The birth rate had reached 45 births per 1000 per year in 668, and 60 per 1000 per year in 665. Since the entire planet was unified, the economy was booming, and even if the outside world was completely barren of life, the atmosphere was breathable, and Nivenians are quite resistant to radiation. This event made the Nivenians even more resistant, as the global radioactivity level prevented births in those more susceptible to it, while those less so were repopulating very quickly.
The more people were born, the larger the economy got, and the birth rate would remain constant. Howard was a primary motivator for the high birth rate, advertising the benefits of a larger family, and by extension, a larger population. Experimental science was formally resumed in 663, when the successor to the now-destroyed superconducting particle accelerator was completed. The new "Huge Experimental Super-Colossaltron" was another superconducting particle accelerator, but this one encircled the entire planet. The HESC was able to accelerate protons to 100 ZeV energies, just barely reaching the bottom of the grand unified theory scale (when the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces become one). This confirmed several theoretical grand unified theories and invalidated several others between 663 and 660. In 660 BNE, the population of Nivenia Prime was 7,274,928,004.
659 BNE to 650 BNE Edit
In the year 659, Howard announced that plans for a new station were underway. This station, larger than the previous one, would rotate to generate artificial gravity and could support a maximum crew of 750 Nivenians. The station would have a diameter of 80 meters and a length of 200 meters. This station would act as a new trade hub in space, where asteroid miners could use the station as a refueling point. Asteroid mining began in earnest after the station was put up in 656, yielding thousands of tons of materials for space infrastructure.
In 655, however, there was a mass uprising against spending so much money on space, and a third of the army defected. This civil war took sixty million lives, but was ruthlessly quashed by Howard's regime in 651, which vowed not to let something like this happen again. Howard, to preserve peace on Nivenia Prime, had the brilliant idea of creating a defense grid in middle orbit of the planet of gigawatt carbon dioxide lasers. This stirred fears of a totalitarian regime in the public, but the lasers were a lot more precise than nuclear weapons (which Howard already had), so the discontent was not widespread.
652 saw the invention of a new compact power source, the muonic fusion generator. This used muons to lower the distances between nuclei in a molecule, increasing the likelihood of cold fusion. These generators were not as efficient as CNO fusion generators, but they were very compact. 650 saw another important invention, the closed cycle gas-core nuclear thermal rocket, or nuclear lightbulb. This new rocket could generate specific impulses of over 3000s, making them invaluable to the exploration of space. The population of Nivenia Prime in 650 was 10,837,014,598.
649 BNE to 640 BNE Edit
In the year 648, a program was launched to try and colonize another planet in the Nivenia system, A11 (Space Engine designation). This program would use the nuclear lightbulb rockets to land a fusion reactor and domed city of the planet. Most of the preliminary orbital infrastructure was complete when the program was delayed in 645 due to a stupid technician accidentally putting plutonium in one of the thermonuclear igniters instead of uranium. The igniter exploded, destroying the lab and public confidence in the plan. A new party, the industrial safety party, formed in the aftermath, claiming that if one of them had been in charge, the accident would not have happened. Another party rose to oppose the industrial safety party, calling itself the industrial progress party. As if to make the fervent political polarization worse, Howard died in 641, leaving the parties to compete for the votes of scientists, engineers, and bureaucrats in the 640 election.
The 640 election was rife with corruption, scandals, and popular discontent. The candidate that finally came out on top was a member of the industrial progress party named Lisa Sanchez. Sanchez would rule until her death in 549.
Sanchez's first policy of note was her re-activation of the program to colonize A11. The program was estimated to finish in 629. The next important discovery was that of a machine that could mass-produce rubies directly from boxite. With hundreds of tonnes of synthetic rubies easily available, ruby-reinforced steel became commonplace as a construction material. With the growth of the domed cities, large-scale mass-transportation became a major bottleneck on population. To mitigate this, the expressway system was created. This system consisted of dozens of moving conveyor belts that one could horizontally move on to accelerate and decelerate. Typically, the belts of the right moved forward and the belts on the left moved backward, with the ones in the middle moving the fastest and a moving guardrail on the fastest belt on each side. While these were over two hundred meters across, they could transport millions to work easily in minutes. The population of Nivenia Prime in 640 was 16,529,065,198.
639 BNE to 630 BNE Edit
The year 639 was quite an interesting one, as a new material was discovered that could be made into a superconductor at only -64 degrees Celsius. This was higher than most of the underground nightside permafrost in the colder regions. As this temperature could be easily maintained, superconducting cables could be used for lossless electrical currents to flow through this region, increasing the incentive to build there. Within a year, prospectors were buying up land in these regions of nightside to use as fusion plants and domed cities. In sunside, three close domed cities were now merging together into a single domed megacity, with the capacity to support over 400 million Nivenians. Population growth was allowing for massive strip-mining operations all over the planet, allowing metals to become cheaper than ever. In 635, a process was invented that took the ashes of the former biosphere and reacted them with oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to create fertilizer for the hydroponic and aquaponic farms. This process pushed out the capacity of the current farms to over three times what they were before, halting the growing concerns of Malthusian doom.
In 633, a new process was invented that allowed mining to become more productive than ever. The process involved using nuclear weapons to dig boreholes into the mantle, exposing huge geothermal on-site energy sources that could be used to extract the magma below for refining. This boosted mining yields and lowered the price of building materials even further. These technological boosts were however coupled with a growing political instability in the ever-more-prevalent bureaucracy. The bureaucracy had been growing steadily since the 660s, and was getting completely out of hand. Not only were there ridiculous amounts of paperwork and absurd legislation, but the system was more corrupt every day. Eventually, large strikes were held against "the establishment," meaning large corporations and the government, and a political movement of Nivenians desiring a simpler way of life quickly developed. These Nivenians typically wanted to move back to conventional agriculture, but soon realized that the planet they lived on was a barren, irradiated wasteland covered by only ice, cities, and strip mines. These Nivenians responded to this realization by becoming the radical environmentalist movement, a new political party rapidly gaining support from students, extremists, general environmentalists, and many others. While this party never reached the level of membership that the industrial safety party or the industrial progress party had, it was quite prolific at delaying things for decades to come. The population of Nivenia Prime in 630 was 28,093,184,316, now fully recovered from the nuclear apocalypse.
629 BNE to 620 BNE Edit
The colonization of A11 was now beginning to reach the point where a manned base could be set up. A fusion reactor, ice mining equipment, and a pressurized dome complete with life support were now established on the planet. The plan now called for 750 Nivenians to launch from Nivenia Prime and land on the planet for permanent habitation. The rocket was set to launch in early 628 BNE, but protesters from the radical environmentalist movement delayed the launch for several months, shouting slogans like "How can we colonize another planet when we have so many problems on this one?", which were maddening for all of the Nivenians who had been working to make this launch happen for decades. Eventually, the rocket was launched, and the colonists arrived safely on A11 in 626. Over the next few years, the population would grow, and the colony would begin to send shipments of harvested ammonia (useful for its fixed nitrogen) back to Nivenia Prime.
The radical environmentalist movement also managed to cause major problems when several of the largest mining sites were blockaded by civilians in 624, claiming that they were "damaging the environment," never mind that there was nothing but rock and water and air anyway. This caused consumer prices to spike, leading to counter-protesting, and riots all over the planet. The riots were quelled via liberal use of tear gas in 623. The population of Nivenia Prime in 620 was 41,950,643,188, and the population of A11 in 620 was 2,137.
619 BNE to 610 BNE Edit
In 618, a new rocket engine was invented that allowed the colonization of A11 to proceed at a greatly accelerated pace: the nuclear salt-water rocket. The nuclear salt-water rocket worked by maintaining a continuous nuclear explosion in a magnetic nozzle to generate thrust. Saturated aqueous uranium-235 hexaflouride is pumped into the engine, where the fuel reaches supercriticality, explodes, is ejected out the nozzle, and causes the rocket to accelerate. This method can be used to achieve an effective exhause velocity of 2,500 km/s, allowing for rockets that are more than three quarters payload to reach A11 in less than a year. The main drawback of nuclear salt-water engines is their radioactive exhaust, which means that they cannot be used on the ground. This meant that nuclear lightbulb rocket engines were still used for planetary operations, despite their lower performance. The nuclear salt-rocket engine also indirectly created interest in colonizing the A12-A12.1 binary planet system, which was focused on because of its constituents' large size and mineral abundance.
On Nivenia Prime, two other technological breakthroughs occurred: the construction of an orbital ring, and the commercial usage of cathode-ray tubes for display of visual information. An orbital ring is a planetary transport and launch structure that consists of two components: a stationary component tethered to the planet via cables and accessible by elevator, and an active support structure moving faster than orbital velocity that pushes on the stationary component via a magnetic sheath. This allows for cheap equatorial launches and fast planetary transport via coilguns mounted on the sides of the orbital ring. The first orbital ring around Nivenia Prime was built in 613. The commercial usage of cathode-ray tubes for display of visual information, a method invented in 610, created new opportunities for political advertisements, commercials, and
mind control making current events accessible to the masses. The population of Nivenia Prime in 610 was 62,493,025,732 and the population of A11 in 610 was 131,846.
609 BNE to 600 BNE Edit
The rockets to A12 and A12.1 were launched with 50,000 Nivenians in 609, followed by huge shipments of mining equipment to A11. A11 was now exporting millions of tonnes of fixed nitrogen in the form of ammonia, a vital component in hydroponic and aquaponic farming. The domed cities on Nivenia Prime were getting bigger and bigger, with mergers occurring whenever two cities' borders touched. The waste heat from urban developments and mining was beginning to melt the ice and permafrost on nightside, which could be harvested for even more fixed nitrogen. Large aquaponic plantations were developing on the outskirts of cities, but were quickly absorbed after their construction. The mergers, more and more frequent, prompted Sanchez to divide the planet up into administrative districts instead of dividing it up into districts of a single city and its immediate surroundings. The rural areas of the planet were strip-mined more and more to bring in material for the cities, and the buildings inside the cities were getting taller too. These factors lead to a push for the colonization of space, with A4 seen as another promising candidate once a working model of a habitable aerostat colony was developed. A rocket was sent to A4 (which had huge supplies of organic compounds in its hydrogen atmosphere)in 605, with a pre-fabricated aerostat colony on board capable of supporting 75,000 Nivenians. Infrastructure around Nivenia Prime was growing too, with a new space station developing with multiple rotating habitats attached to provide living quarters to those on board. While insurgencies on Nivenia Prime occasionally arose, the government had thousands of carbon-dioxide lasers in orbit for use quelling rebellion.
The colonization of A11 was proceeding as planned, and by 603 there were 4 million Nivenians on the colony. The first domed city of A11 was under construction, and plans were being made to electrolyze the water and ammonia ices on the surface to create an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. While this atmosphere would still be extremely cold, the domes could be less expensive since being completely air-tight would no longer be a concern. Longer-term plans involved using mirrors to reflect solar energy to heat up the planet. While these colonies were not ready to transport a large part of Nivenia Prime's population, there were growing quickly. The population of Nivenia Prime in 600 was 104,518,046,381 and the population of the Nivenian Empire was 104,527,482,946.
599 BNE to 500 BNE Edit
The interplanetary century, as it was later known to historians, was a century of expansion, with the scope of the Nivenian Empire growing wildly, and the population grew wildly throughout this time period. The first vacuum-tube computers were also developed.