CH. 10 «The Second Belt War»

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There’s a fable I’ve heard repeated about an ancient lost world that used to exist nearby. As legend had it, a large rocky planet named Cybele resided between Jupiter and Mars; a link between the inner worlds and the gas giants. This planet of myth had a people far more advanced than the rest of Sol, supposedly because they were direct descendants of the very alien race that brought life to our star. Few of their gifts were ever passed down, though. They were a wonderfully diverse culture that are said to have operated at a higher level of consciousness and hold intimate knowledge of dimensions beyond our own. The lost civilization spread out over all the land comfortably with these powers and the aid of their great technologies.

The way one historical account ends is by the very machines that helped this people settle this undiscovered planet. Some combination of their prolonged manipulation of nature, hubris, or the straight-up failure of their complex weather-control equipment is said to have triggered an irreversible environmental catastrophe.

Another version paints a different image of the demise of Cybele and its harmoniously advanced race. This interpretation speaks of a faction springing from within them that was fiercely territorial and aggressive. These new people were discordant and cut-off spiritually, seeming less-evolved by contrast to the enlightened race; so much so that debate has arisen about the origins of their particular ancestry. The growing animosity between the peaceful and warlike peoples drove them to civil war, one that continued to escalate until the planet was finally destroyed.

Like any popular legend, the storyteller is going deem it necessary to alter certain details, as long as their yarn contains some key plot patterns. A commonly included chain of events was woven into the plot of a hit action 3D by a director whom I often accuse of stuffing too many explosions in his movis. He and the film shall remain nameless. It came out pretty recently so if you haven’t viewed it yet: BE WARNED! This portion contains SPOILERS! You may want to scroll ahead.

This blockbuster of an adaptation portrayed the incident that destroyed Cybele not only annihilating their civilization, but destroying those of neighboring Ancient races. Debris from a planet being ripped to shreds rained down upon the remaining corellian worlds. Even distant Venus was stricken, her atmosphere tainted and turned toxic from fallout. The skies above the Venusians suffocated them in sulfur and dissolved their bodies without a trace. The poor Martians melted when a massive chunk of Cybele pierced their planet’s core. Enormous volcanoes (like Olympus Mons) arose and erupted for an eternity until Mars had bled out all the magma he had, and his tectonic activity finally ceased. It was a pretty graphic movi, especially in 3D.

The story you heard may change depending on why it was being told to you. The nursery rhyme I remember explains how the fall of Cybele forms The Middle Asteroid Belt and how Ceres and the other belt worlds are born. It claims that by passing to us our moon, life is able to begin on Earth. These notes seem to find their way in most renditions, whether or not they’re lullaby themed.

The point of the fable is to explain the current state of the Solar System. Why we’re here and why things are the way they are. The song of Cybele’s destruction is our hymn of creation. The transition from the original order of the universe to the world we’ve come to live on. Most believe the refugees of the disaster scattered throughout and settled throughout the other planets of Sol in exile. They insist the ancient worlds were founded on the gifts of science and society they brought, and that this is how life as we know it came to Earth.

I’m not going to assert that I subscribe to any of these notions explicitly, my beliefs are much more flexible. I know that because of strong beliefs being held there is now war on Ceres. Two of the largest tribes of Belters currently reside there and live perpetually poised to put an end to each other. It holds interplanetary concern for humanitarians everywhere, attracted by most wars and their atrocities, but of economists as well.

The Middle Asteroid Belt is made up of millions of planetoids covered in nothing but desert. Though they’re devoid of most exportable goods what they are rich in are fossil fuels and plutonium; the cornerstones of Space Travel. Theres a wealth of these revered resources on each planet there, but Ceres is the only belt world large enough to harbor a major spaceport. The Cereans control the trafficking of goods through The Middle Belt and the value of fuels cells through out Sol. It’s assumed whoever controls Ceres can set the prices for most of the traded commodities today. Of course there are a number of integral mining operations throughout the asteroid belt, namely on Pallas, Juno, and Vesta, but Ceres is the true KEY to The Belt–to have her is to have the galaxy on your ring.

It can’t be known if the legends are true, or if the Belters aren’t the descendants of a lost world, still fighting it’s war to a bitter end. You can be sure in these advanced times, though, that someone is going to try and interdict a conflict like this… for whatever reason they have.  The last time The Union became involved in the affairs of The Middle Belt was to supposedly prevent a despot from encroaching on his neighbors. It was swiftly resolved with a modest flex of our military muscle. Now, in this Second Belt War, The chivalrous UT of E has again stepped in to be the self-appointed Solar Police.

This time around the stakes are a little higher. There no an identifiable enemy to target anymore, no singular nation we’re opposed to; it’s a group of idealists labeled as Terrorists. And not only are radical fundamentalists attempting to annihilate each other, but trying to wipe out any other way of life but theirs; particularly the Inner World Way. Of course we appear as bad guys if we try to destroy or “preemptively pacify” them; It’s just another example of the Earth stretching its long white arms to strangle the galaxy into submission. I tend to disagree with the things my government has done recently, but I’m left rather unsettled by this choice to go to war. War for what? It may be even more publicly unfavorable than the Martian-Terran War was, this act of aggression having absolutely no support from the home front or any of the other worlds in the United Planets.

I dread the news to come that a drafts become instated for the first time since the Tethan War. Even worse would be to use the guise of nuclear disarmament to invade Ceres’ peaceful, cosmopolitan neighbor, Pallas. If that happens, I’m fleeing to a non-partisan planet to wait it out. The prices and availabilities of the markets don’t concern me until I need to fill my own fuel tank…or pipe. I’m certainly not motivated enough to want to fight a war over it. If I’m gonna die for a nation you better gorking believe I’ve gotta first be able to stand for that nation’s ideals… perhaps agree with its politics?

Ceres is thus crossed off my travel list until further notice.

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PREV: CH. 09 «I Hate Martian Girls»

PREV: CH. 09 «I Hate Martian Girls»

NEXT: CH. 11 «MODEL:Z-140x»

NEXT: CH. 11 «MODEL:Z-140x»

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