AN OUTLINE OF FUTURE HISTORY
BASED ON THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE
by Chuck Graham
Author's Preface, Feb. 2000:
The following was written in early 1974, based solely on historical references from the original series. Considering how the "STAR TREK canon" later developed, I didn't do too badly, did I? My only regret is that, as actual historical events have overtaken the earliest future (at that time) predictions made in 1966-69, space exploration is not proceeding at nearly the pace I hoped it would, even with the slow-down of the early 70s taken into account. I'm still hoping that the 21st century will be a time of exploration of the solar system, but am wondering if a manned probe will even make it out to Mars by the time 2100 rolls around. I'm also quite a bit more cynical than in my (naive?) youth about the chances of any sort of world government ever being formed. I'm not so sure now - if indeed I ever really was - that it would be a good thing! Will the human race progress any further in the next 300 years, spiritually and morally, than it has come in the last 5000? I doubt it. Civilization remains a very thin veneer over savagery and barbarity, and it doesn't require much to strip it away.
(P.S.: It is an honest-to-God coincidence that the name I chose for the ship that made the initial contact with the Romulans is the same as that of the ship that first encountered the Minbari in BABYLON 5 - the Prometheus. Go figure!)
What follows is an attempt to write "future history," based on Star Trek, from the present time up to and including Star Trek's Twenty-third Century. My main sources of information are, of course, the references to historical events given in various episodes of the show.
The assignment of exact dates to particular events is a purely arbitrary attempt to lend greater coherence to the presentation. Many of the events discussed in great detail here were never even mentioned on the show. However, what I have tried to do is to fit the historical references that were mentioned into a coherent framework covering the next three hundred years, and to present one possible way in which future history will unfold. If my own opinions and biases show through at times, it is because I wish them to do so.
Basic to the presentation is the assumption that Star Trek takes place approximately three hundred years from now. This immediately brings up a conflict with one historical reference I have deliberately overlooked. In the episode "Space Seed," Captain Kirk tells Khan Noonien Singh, a man from 1996, that Khan has been sleeping in suspended animation for two centuries. This would place Star Trek's time at the end of the Twenty-second Century.
However, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Kirk records that the ship whose disaster recorder the Enterprise found, Galactic Survey Cruiser S.S. Valiant, has been missing for nearly two centuries. This would place the voyage of the Valiant only a short time after the disappearance of the super men in the DY-100 craft, S.S. Botany Bay.
This I cannot accept. The Botany Bay is described as requiring months to make a mere interplanetary voyage; a more advanced craft, the DY-500, is not described as having an interstellar flight capacity. It seems to me that a months-long interplanetary voyage cannot, or logically should not, be followed almost immediately by a trip to the edge of the galaxy.
Therefore I've decided to deliberately overlook Marla McGivers' comment in "Space Seed" that warp drive was invented in the year 2018, and posit the Twenty- first Century as a time of exploration and colonization of the Solar System. I feel this is justified by both the above considerations and the recent considerable slow-down in the pace of the United States space program. I'd like this presentation to appear as a logical extension of present history; "Space Seed" appeared at a time (1967) when the NASA budget was much larger than it is now, when the country was much more enthusiastic about space than it is now, and when few foresaw the drastic declines in both funds and enthusiasm that followed the initial successes of the Apollo program. As things stand now, we can only hope that interplanetary ships like the DY-100 will exist by the mid-1990's. I proceed on the assumption that they will.
I'd like to acknowledge a debt to Arthur C. Clarke, whose excellent books "The Exploration of Space" (Harper & Row, 1959) and "The Challenge of the Spaceship (Ballantine, 1961) provided much invaluable information about problems likely to be encountered in space flight, the exploration of the solar system and beyond, and planet colonization -- prob1ems which, as we all know, have been solved in Star Trek's time.
After the end of the Apollo program, the pace of the United States space program slowed considerably. Although unmanned probes such as Pioneer 10 and 11 (and later the Viking Mars 1anders) were sent out to explore the solar system, manned missions were restricted to Earth-orbital flights: the Skylab series. These flights proved the ability of man to live in weightless conditions for the extended periods of time unavoidably required for further exploration.
The year 1975 was marked by the first joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. space mission, involving a linkup between an Apollo and a Soyuz spacecraft. This flight set a precedent for developments in the next decade.
Space shuttle technology was perfected by the late 1970s. Not only did the shuttle greatly reduce the cost of space flight; it also helped extend the lifetimes of many valuable earth-resources and communications satellites, plus other expensive space hardware, through maintenance and repair.
Next on the space agenda was the construction, in the late 1980s, of a permanent manned orbiting space station. This was a joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. effort in both technology and financing. Space shuttles were used to transport up the prefabricated components and the station was assembled in space. For the first time, American and Russian scientists and technicians worked together on every phase of a space venture. The involvement of such men from still other nations in the research carried on lent the project a truly international flavor. This station was to remain in operation for decades before a more advanced model finally made it obsolete.
Sympathy in Congress finally led in 1991 to a much-increased NASA budget and a revival of the NERVA nuclear rocket research program abandoned twenty years previously. A nuclear-propulsion engine was soon developed and a new type of space vehicle, larger and more sophisticated than anything else at the time, was designed to accommodate it. The vessel, called the DY-100, was intended as both an all-purpose space ferry and as a possible vehicle for future interplanetary flights, none of which had yet been made. Research also began into the possibility of using suspended animation equipment on such flights.
But many years were to pass before this technology could be applied to further exploration. Intervening was the "Struggle Against Tyranny," a synonym for the Eugenics War -- World War III.
Biological and behavioral research, always more warmly received in governmental circles than space exploration, had made many advances during the 1970s and 1980s. Many of these advances were in how to improve both the physica1 and mental capabilities of man so as to create a new and better type of human being.
One group to take advantage of these achievements -- for their own ends -- was an international group of biologists and geneticists who, since the mid-1960s, had ignored their own consciences' accusations of "trying to play God" and, using in many cases their own children and also those obtained through sometimes-legal, sometimes-illega1 means, determined to create a race of "supermen" with capabilities far beyond any ever seen. Research was carried on in secret study centers throughout the world, as the children of both volunteers and those forced to participate in the genetics experiments were born and grew up under carefully-controlled conditions. They were taught that they shou1d use their great powers to better mankind -- but not, significantly, how this should be accomplished. By the early 1990s these "supermen" had reached maturity and were deemed ready to go into the world and -- hopefully -- change it for the better. However, succeeding events showed that the project's controllers had forgotten one important factor in the creation of their supermen -- their emotional, moral, and spiritual make-up.
The controllers naturally had connections inside most of the important world governments (through which much of the funding for the program discreetly came), and these connections saw to it that, once the supermen were released into the world, they would be given responsible positions in the governments of areas deemed to have the greatest need. Most of the supermen ended up in the even-then-underdeveloped areas of the Third World: in Latin America, Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa, and central Asia.
Once entrenched, the supermen were quick to take advantage of every opportunity to gain power. By gaining allies in military establishments and important legislative assemblies, and through intensive propaganda campaigns, these men managed to gain control of countries in the aforementioned areas. To the Latin Americans they made perfect caudillos; and to the Moslems of Asia and Africa they appeared as deliverers sent from Allah -- a mahdi for every land. Referring back to the political chaos that had characterized the history of these areas during the latter decades of the Twentieth Century, these men offered the world order. And the people believed them; in droves they flocked to be their disciples.
Perhaps inevitably, the supermen began telling their people that it was their responsibility to extend the blessings of order to other areas of the world, and thus end the exploitation which, they declared, had been going on for so long. Thus it became amply evident (although belatedly) to the project controllers, and to the rest of the world generally, that these men, who had been greeted with a sort of guarded optimism when they first appeared, had acquired great power, but not the ability to use it wisely. The leaders of the world's major powers recognized this and realized the great threat that the supermen presented to world peace. It was decided in the high councils of the United States, the Soviet Union, England and other powers that the quicker the menace was eliminated, the better. Each nation would be responsible for erasing the power concentration nearest to it; and, while the operation was to be overseen by a general staff comprised of military men from all the threatened powers, each nation would operate independently. "Hot lines" were secretly set up between all the involved capitals, and military preparations -- ostensibly for defense against a possible attack -- began.
It was thus the great powers that began the Eugenics War. On a never to-be-forgotten day in September 1994, coordinated air and ground attacks were launched into all countries where supermen had gained control of government. It was hoped that once the "order movement" had been deprived of its leaders and its military strength neutralized, it would collapse. However, this was not to be the case.
Both the initial attacks, and the savage resistance offered to them, took those not involved completely by surprise. No one had realized that the massive military operations occurring at bases throughout the part of the world not dominated by the supermen were for any purpose other than defense.
Likewise, the incredibly tenacious resistance encountered by the invading forces was completely unexpected. It seemed as though the peoples of the Third World had placed all their hopes for deliverance from poverty, disease, hunger, economic exploitation -- all the maladies even then continuing to plague them -- into the hands of the supermen; and they fought with the fury of desperation. Their leaders, too, were not about to let; their dreams of world domination slip out of their hands. Many were killed in the ferocious battles that raged throughout the Third World. Perhaps the most amazing thing about these conflicts was that in only a few instances were tactical nuclear weapons used; apparently no one desired to inherit a radioactive world.
Despite this, over 37,000,000 people died in the fighting. The most savage battles of all raged along the 4000-mile border between tho Soviet Union and Communist China, where the long-standing Sino-Soviet rivalry erupted into a bloodbath as 150 Russian divisions smashed southward into the area controlled by Khan Noonien Singh, who had brought all of Southeast Asia and much of China under his control. He was considered the leader of the supermen.
After more than three years of unrelenting conflict, only a few small enclaves remained in the hands of the supermen. Khan Singh, still holding out near Angkor Wat in Cambodia, issued a call for his surviving comrades to join him in a fina1 stand. As Russian forces closed in, it appeared as though the supermen meant to fight to the end. But when the last opposition was finally overcome, it was discovered that Khan Singh and the rest of the supermen known to be still alive had vanished without a trace!
No one knew what had become of them until word came from the Kennedy Space Center in Houston, Texas, that a desperate cry for help had been received from the space station, orbiting 1500 miles overhead. The supermen, it seemed, had somehow stolen a space shuttle, and had forced their way into the station, perhaps intending (or so the sender of the message speculated) to make their last stand there. The message ended with a plea for immediate aid, declaring that station personnel were woefully unprepared to meet any kind of attack.
When rescue shuttles finally arrived, the station was in a shambles, all its personnel were either dead or injured, and there was no sign of the supermen. Neither was there any trace of the S.S. Botany Bay, a DY-100 craft that had been specially outfitted with suspended animation modules for simulated interplanetary flight experiments. The only possible conclusion was that the supermen had somehow escaped in that craft, destination unknown. All attempts to locate the Botany Bay and trace its course failed. The ultimate fate of the supermen, though, was everywhere considered less important than the simple fact that they were, at last, gone. As the terrible war finally ended, the earth breathed a collective sigh of relief.
World War III, then, set the stage for the most far-reaching and fundamental political change of all history. HorrifIed by the war's carnage, and realizing that there would have been even greater casualties if nuclear weapons had been more widely used, the governments of the world decided to put aside their political and philosophical differences, renounce war and nationalism, and combine into a world state. This was not accomplished easily; in addition to protests from diehard nationalists and superpatriots all over the world, setting up the administrative machinery alone took over two years.
At last, though, it was done; and the nations of the world finally became, in a true sense, united. Most appropriately, the United Nations in New York became the new center of world government. The World Constitution, adopted on the first day of May in the year 2000, followed the American model in setting up a two-house legislature, where each nation could be represented both equally and according to population. From that point on, it was decided, nations would settle their differences by peaceful arbitration rather than armed conflict.
Nuclear weapons were ordered stockpiled at bases throughout the world, to be held in reserve against those who might try to reintroduce tyranny into the world. It was felt that men should direct their endeavors and energies into areas more profitable than finding new and better ways to kill each other.
Thus it was that the Twentieth Century ended on a note completely contrary to what a study of its history might have indicated. The years between 1901 and 2000 had witnessed, with ever-increasing intensity, the most devastating conflicts in earth's history, and unheard-of barbarities by man toward his fellow man. But it seemd as though at last man's spiritual development had begun to catch up with his technological and intellectual achievements.
One of the areas to benefit from the World State's decision to direct man's energies into more profitable pursuits was space exploration. All of the knowledge gained and innovations made by both the Russian and American space programs since the 1950s were gathered together under the aegis of a new space agency -- the United Earth Space Exploration Authority (later changed to the United Earth Space Probe Agency). In 2001 UESEA's directors began to plan a program of space missions which, it was hoped, would answer many of the still-remaining questions about the origin of the solar system, the composition of the planets, etc.; provide possible sites for the establishment of scientific research stations and colonies; and help answer the question men have a1ways asked about unexplored frontiers: "What lies beyond?" Space, indeed, was the last frontier to be explored -- and the exploration would never end.
The first item of business was the reconstruction of the space station, to both repair the damage done by the supermen and modify the station to serve as a transfer point for future moon voyages. During 2002 additional stations were constructed as both scientific research centers and jumping-off points for moon flights. All this had as its prime objective the establishment of a permanent base on the moon. The years between 2002 and 2005 witnessed the construction of a sophisticated underground base in Mare Tranquillitatis as, after an interval of thirty years, man finally returned to his world's satellite.
Many uses were projected for Moon Station I. First, it was to serve as a base of operations for expeditions searching for mineral resources; secondly, and most importantly, the station was planned as a jumping-off point for interplanetary expeditions since the moon, because of its low gravity, had long been recognized as the most logical starting point for such voyages. (In succeeding decades the moon did indeed fulfill all expectations, and more. Permanent "moon cities" were excavated under much of the surface; vast mineral deposits were discovered; an astronomical observatory, too, was eventually set up on the far side. Nearly all of the ships sent out into the Solar System during the Twenty-first Century began their voyages from the moon.)
The DY-100 became the workhorse of interplanetary exploration during the early years of the century. It could be loaded with enough fuel (hydrogen) to carry it to the asteroid belt and back. Its nuclear reactors heated the hydrogen to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit and the resulting expansion of the gas created a tremendous - and sustained - thrust. A round-trip voyage to Mars, it was calculated, could be completed in a little as eight months - far less time than would have been required for a free-fall flight using chemical rockets.
Accordingly, the first manned landing on Mars was made in 2008. Information brought back by the S.S. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky indicated that Mars was a desert world, with an extremely thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, some very primitive types of plant life, and temperatures ranging from as high as 70 degrees during the day to as low as -120 degrees at night. The expedition's report did, however, note that water could easily be produced through conversion of available elements, and that the planet could readily be made suitable for human habitation through the use of pressurized enclosures.
Thus it was that within a few years Mars became "home" to thousands of people - not only scientists and technicians, but also those who simply desired to move away from Earth and make another world their own. Amendments were introduced into the World Constitution to the effect that Mars, the moon, and any other areas where men might settle were to be regarded as integral parts of the World State. In their Fundamental Declaration, the Martian colonists expressed basic agreement with the provisions of the World Constitution. Thus, mankind was established on one more world other than its own, and for the first time children were born whose home planet was not the Earth.
Long a subject of intense scientific interest, the asteroid belt became the next target for the survey ships of the UESEA. While there were never any plans to place permanent settlements on any of the asteroids, they were, as many geologists had predicted, found to be rich in rare earths, uranium, and trans-uranium elements. Thus a seemingly unlimited supply of fuel was assured for the nuclear generating stations which by that time (2012) had become the main source of electric power throughout the world.
By the time of the first exploratory mission to the moons of Jupiter in 2018, a new type of interplanetary ship had been developed. The DY-200, which carried a crew of 21, featured a number of both aesthetic and technological improvements over the admittedly ugly DY-100. These included a greater fuel-carrying capacity, a more efficient nuclear-propulsion unit, and improved radiation shielding. UESEA's designers anticipated needs well: the S.S. James Cook needed all its extra fuel to blast out of Jupiter's intense gravitational field, and measurements taken by the crew on their closest approach to the planet indicated that without the extra shielding they could not have survived. These ships were also designed to accommodate the type of suspended-animation modules first experimented with on a few DY-100 craft; it was felt lthat having only one crew member conscious during the months-long journeys until the destination was reached would not only save supplies but also eliminate much of the psychological tension that might otherwise arise between crew members.
In 2021, for the first time, UESEA lost a vessel. The S.S. Bartolomeu Dias, named after the great Portuguese explorer of the Fifteenth Century who was eventually lost at sea, itself disappeared on the first exploratory mission to Saturn. The last radio message received from the crew was a frantic cry that somehow the reactor cooling system had broken down and the resultingly-superhot core had begun to melt and eat through the shielding. The vessel was never heard from again and the crew was assumed to have died from radiation poisoning.
The next year another expedition was dispatched to Saturn under the command of Colonel Shaun Jeffrey Christopher, a 49-year-old veteran of the Eugenics War who had subsequently joined UESEA and moved his family to Mars. Colonel Christopher's father, Captain John Christopher, had been a U.S. Air Force officer who tried out unsuccessfully for the Apollo program: he was stationed at a midwestern Air Force base in July, 1969, at the time of the first lunar landing. Colonel Christopher's ship, the S.S. Hector Servadac, returned in 17 months, having performed admirably. Mission scientists recommended the establishment of a research station on Titan - many researchers were eager for an opportunity to study Saturn's mysterious rings.
Over the course of the middle years of the Twenty-first Century (2030-2070) the rest of the Solar System was explored. All exploratory ventures followed a standard procedure. First, an initial survey ship was sent out, containing in its crew scientific specialists able to report back on every feature of whatever world was being surveyed. Next, based on their recommendations, other ships would be dispatched to either begin colonization, initiate mining operations, set up research stations, or whatever was thought best.
As things turned out, by 2070 the main concentrations of extraterrestrial human population remained on the moon and Mars, both of which were fairly well-populated by that time. No manned vessels ever touched down on Mercury and Venus, although these worlds were studied by unmanned probes and orbiting vessels. The moons of the outer planets were deemed too inhospitable for colonization, although in some cases operations were set up to extract valuable elements, and small scientific observation stations were built. The most distant outpost was on Umbriel, one of the moons of Uranus.
These years also witnessed the proliferation of many new types of space vessels. Not only were continuous improvements made in the "DY" series of exploratory vessels, but other types of ships were designed for more specialized purposes. Ore freighters brought back valuable materials from the moons of Jupiter and Saturn; giant "space liners" ferried new colonists out to Mars; there was a ship for every need.
The DY-500 exploratory vessels current in 2070 featured improvements in almost every area of spaceship design. Perhaps the most important was in propulsion: an extremely efficient "ion impulse" drive was developed, which combined extremely high temperatures and electrical fields to turn the gaseous fuel into an ionized plasma and eject it at a fantastic velocity. This type of drive was much more efficient than any preceding type, and the sustained acceleration possible with it could drive the DY-500 ships at over 1/10 the speed of light! Another important advance was the introduction of artificial gravity fields aboard the ships, without the need to have the ships rotate.
Many scientific questions were answered as researchers at last learned the exact composition of the outer planets' atmospheres, what the rings of Saturn were, etc. Mining activity on the moons revealed several new elements. Predictably, though, all the discoveries raised more questions than they answered, and basic issues like the origin and evolution of the solar system remained unreso1ved.
On Earth, the administrative machinery set up by the World State at the end of the twentieth century to handle world affairs without open conflict proved remarkably effective. The only interruption to the continued peace of the world came in 2036 when Colonel Phillip Green, an officer in charge of a base in the midwestern United States (each "state" of the World State was allowed to retain its original name) where nuclear weapons were stockpiled, assembled a coterie of power-hungry superpatriots and set out to reestablish the United States as a separate political entity once again, with himself and his cohorts at its head. Green did not hesitate to drop bombs on several major cities as a means of showing his demands were sincere. Although he was eventually defeated and captured by the hastily-assembled armies of the World State, over two million people - mostly in the cities Green ordered bombed - died before it was conclusively proven that tyranny was forever ended on Earth.
In 2073 the decision was made by UESPA's directors to send a DY-500 vessel on an initial exploratory mission to survey the star systems nearest to Earth and determine whether other planets, and possibly other forms of intelligent life, did indeed exist. The vessel, the S.S. Valiant, was equipped with the most advanced ion-impulse engines then available, capable of propelling the ships at about 1/4 of the speed of light. Since the voyage was expected to require at least 30 to 35 years (relative to Earth), if not longer, the ship was equipped with suspended-animation modules for its crew of 47. One man would remain conscious throughout the voyage to oversee everything and awaken the rest of the crew if any emergency arose. This responsibility was to be switched around between crew members at one-year intervals so no one man would have to spend a large part of his life at the job.
The departure of the S.S. Valiant from Moon Station IV on September 8, 2073, was greeted with an enthusiasm not seen since the earliest days of interplanetary travel. Most of the younger scientists present readily expressed a willingness to wait thirty years or longer until the ship returned. Man was going to the stars at last!
Their hopes, however, ultimately proved to be in vain. Only four years later, in November 2077, UESPA Central Control received a weak radio message from the Valiant, much garbled by magnetic interference. The message said that the Valiant, barely one-quarter of its journey to the Centauri star system completed, had encountered an interstellar magnetic storm of unprecedented strength and was being swept off course despite the application of full engine thrust. The captain did not know where the storm would drive the ship or whether there was any chance of eventually returning to Earth.
That was all. Nothing more was ever heard from the vessel, despite the intensive efforts of UESPA Central Control to locate it over the next several years. The loss of the expedition, with the implication that there were as yet unknown forces in interstellar space with which even the most advanced technology could not cope, put a damper on the plans of UESPA's visionaries, and advocates of further space exploration generally. Enough is enough, many declared; man should be satisfied with the Solar System and not attempt to venture into areas where he was not destined to go.
And so it was that the years immediately fol1owing the disappearance of the Valiant witnessed a public and governmental reaction to the space program somewhat like that which came after the end of the Apollo program over one hundred years previously. The directors of UESPA were informed by the government bureau in charge of the agency's budget that all funds previously designated for interstel1ar probes were to be diverted into studies of phenomena such as the storm that caused the loss of the Valiant. There were to be no more such exploratory journeys until ways were found to prevent further losses. Despite the objections of UESPA Central Control, and the efforts of UESPA's allies in the World Senate, these provisions were attached as a rider to the UESPA appropriations bill for fiscal 2079. Space exploration, it seemed was to stagnate for an indefinite period.
Ten years later, however, came a discovery as important to the future of space travel as the pioneering work of Robert Goddard had been in the 1920s -- and perhaps even more so.
Zefram Cochrane in 2088 was a 63-year-old nuclear physicist with a distinguished career behind him as a researcher into the properties of subatomic partic1es. Working at the Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator since 2081, Cochrane was credited with discovering several new classes of particles -- and severa1 new elements as well -- as superheavy nuclei were hurled together within the machine. In 2085 Cochrane received a grant from the Robert Oppenheimer Foundation that enabled him to begin investigating tachyons -- particles which, theory held, could not travel slower than the speed of light, still considered the ultimate speed. Cochrane wanted to know if they did in fact exist, and was curious about the possibility of "anti-tachyons" existing as wel1.
Theorizing that tachyons, as wel1 as gamma rays, might be one of the by-products of the destruction of matter and anti-matter, Cochrane had the accelerator rebuilt so it would generate the same type of strong magnetic field used to contain hot plasmas in thermonuclear fusion reactors. He set up a two-staged experiment in which, first, anti-particles were produced by already-established methods and, secondly, hurled with great force into a magnetically-controlled chamber to strike against corresponding particles of matter.
Cochrane's epic experiment, conducted at Princeton-Pennsylvania on July 16, 2083, turned out just as he had predicted. Not only were gamma rays and tachyons produced by the annihilation of matter and antimatter, but indications showed that the tachyons had flashed across the cloud chamber at a speed _hundreds of times greater_ than the speed of light! The magnetic field generated by the huge accelerator was barely strong enough to contain the energy released. It seemed that Einstein's theory of Relativity, long since regarded as sacred and inviolate, had actually been shattered.
This phenomenon, Cochrane was quick to recognize, could very possibly be applied to space travel if the tachyons and the tremendous release of energy accompanying their creation could be channeled into a coherent stream and used as thrust. At a meeting with the directors of UESPA in January 2089, Cochrane explained and documented the results of his experiments. The directors, desiring to vindicate what had generally come to be known in governmental circles as the "debacle" of the Valiant, were immediately interested, and (although with difficulty) managed to have included in the UESPA appropriation for fiscal 2090 a special fund for "hyperspatial flight experiments."
It was an ambitious undertaking to which UESPA committed all of its monetary and human resources. A new type of engine had to be designed, far larger and more complicated than even the most advanced DY-500 propulsion systems. It had to include 1) fuel bins to store the matter to be accelerated; 2) some kind of target against which particles of matter could be hurled in order to produce antimatter; 3) a reaction chamber for this process; 4) an additional reaction chamber where matter and antimatter could be combined to produce tachyons, gamma rays and energy; 5) some source for the powerful magnetic fields needed to control this reaction and channel its products into thrust.
Several years were required to design and test this engine, but at last the task was done. The most difficult part of it was finding the right type of target for antimatter production. It was discovered that the most efficient antimatter particle-producer was a rare new crystalline element, di-lithium. Di-lithium, discovered on one of the smaller moons of Jupiter in 2043, occupied a niche on the far left side of the Periodic Table in the same column as its namesake, and was found to be the most efficient producer of antimatter, even more so than the element Cochrane had used in his original experiment. Jupiter's Moon VIII - no one had ever bothered to give it a name - suddenly became one of the most important pieces of real estate in the Solar System.
An entirely new class of spaceship - far larger and more sophisticated than the DY-500 - had to be designed to accommodate this enormously complicated propulsion system. Appropriately enough, the first such vessel - the one destined to make the initial interstellar journey at hyperlight speed - was named after the foundation that had made Cochrane's initial work possible - the S.S. Robert Oppenheimer. Its serial number: NCC-1, a notation to be from then on used to register all hyperlight craft.
All was in readiness by March 2096. The Oppenheimer, assembled in orbit around the moon and waiting there to depart, was given the same mission that the ill-fated S.S. Valiant had been given 23 years previously. It was to survey the star systems nearest to Earth and determine whether there were other planets with life, intelligent or otherwise. Now, though, the trip was expected to take considerab1y less time.
The vessel departed on March 14. In a couple of days it had passed through the asteroid belt, using its auxiliary ion-impu1se drive. At that point UESPA Central Control sent out the history-making order to engage the hyperlight drive. All eyes at control were riveted on the monitors indicating the vessel's speed and distance.
Within an hour, the S.S. Robert Oppenheimer had vanished from the Solar System.
Earth waited expectantly for its return - philosophers and theologians as well as scientists.
In November 2098 the Oppenheimer returned to Earth. The news it brought was the most exciting the planet had received in hundreds of years.
First of all, reported Captain Daniel Greenwood, it was indeed possible to travel faster than 1ight. The density of matter in interstellar space was so low that hardly any impacts registered on the antimatter force fields installed around the ship as a precaution. The hyperlight drive had functioned very well, driving the ship at a maximum speed of about 130 times the speed of light. There was no reason, declared Greenwood, why the engines couldn't be modified to produce even greater velocities
Secondly, the ship had surveyed eight star systems, all within eleven light-years of Earth -- including the Centauri stars, Sirius, and 70 Ophiuchus. Among their collective total of 51 planets, there were widely varying types of worlds. There were giant, gaseous globes like Jupiter, burning cinders like Mercury, and, lastly, "terrestrial" planets similar to Earth and Mars.
This last category included nine planets: one orbiting Alpha Centauri; one, 70 Ophiuchus; three, Sirius; and four among all the other stars. Of them, long-range sensor scans taken from orbit indicated that two had atmospheres poisonous to human life; four appeared to be uninhabited and possibly suitable for colonization; and on the other three, sufficient energy output was noted to warrant the probable existence of intelligent life. No spacecraft or satellites had been noted near these planets, so it was assumed that none of their civilizations had any type of "space program." There was no way of telling just how advanced any of these civilizations were, what their inhabitants were like, etc., without closer studies than the Oppenheimer had been able to make.
Naturally, this news brought Earth to a fever-pitch of excitement. There _were_ other planets, after all! And there were other intelligent beings! Many recommended immediate contact - there was no telling just what could be learned.
No doubt existed in the minds of the leaders of the World State about the uninhabited planets. Arrangements were made with UESPA to send out preliminary colonizing expeditions at once (overpopulation, though not as serious as before, was still a problem), with more to follow if they were successful (they were). Accordingly, UESPA's first mission of the new century was to send out, in February 2102, a fleet of four new hyperlight ships, each carrying, in addition to its crew of 112, seventy colonizers. Instructions were to establish colonies on the four uninhabited planets. The ships were to remain in orbit and assist for as long as was necessary to get the colonies going - and, if necessary, evacuate.
All these vessels had returned by mid-2103, and all reported the colonies doing well.
Wisely, though, UESPA and the World State government made no immediate plans to contact the alien civilizations. There were important moral questions to be dealt with first, questions on which, for the first time, philosophers and theologians had to be consulted. The ultimate decision made was to not contact the aliens until more was known about them. Most important was the concern over the possibility of "cultural shock": were the aliens advanced enough to understand the concept of space flight? How would they react to beings possibly radically different from themselves? The prime consideration, it was agreed, was to avoid disrupting alien cultures at all costs.
Therefore, it was decided to restrict initial contacts to those races evidently advanced enough to understand space flight. Of course, there was no way of knowing with absolute certainty how even they would react, but, hopefully, they would accept the presence of alien beings and not react with hostility.
Accordingly, at the same time as colonization of the four uninhabited planets was going on, UESPA began making preparations for further interstellar investigations. How could more detailed information be acquired about alien cultures before contact was made?
One way to determine the level of cultural and technological advancement would be, it was thought, to monitor any possible electromagnetic broadcasts being made - radio waves, video transmissions, anything that could be detected. The presence of any type of space vessel or satellite in orbit would, of course, be a sure indication of advanced culture.
An additional way to obtain information about any planet, it was decided, would be by the use of extremely high-resolution photography, either directly from an orbiting vessel or through the use of one or more small photographic satellites. Cameras current in 2103 could detect objects down to one meter in diameter from as high as 1400 miles, and could be set to detect movement, heat, and a variety of other phenomena.
All these ways, then, were to be used to collect information on initial planet surveys.
UESPA's directors also thought it prudent to arm the agency's hyperlight vessels with offensive and defensive weapons more potent than any carried by the old intra-solar system craft; there was always the possibility of an attack by a more advanced, and hostile, race. Accordingly, all ships of the Oppenheimer class were furnished with powerful laser cannon and defensive, all-enveloping force fields. Each ship was outfitted with an arsenal of hand lasers, as well.
An additional device put on board every UESPA starship (for so the Oppenheimer-class vessels could legitimately be called) before any more were sent out was a "universal translator" to make communication with alien life forms possible. No one thought it likely that aliens would understand any Earthly languages, but several linguists contacted by UESPA expressed a willingness to try and decipher records of any alien languages that might be brought back.
Finally, in 2104 UESPA asked Zefram Cochrane, still at 70 actively engaged in research, to come up with a faster-than-light method of radio communication, so UESPA Central Control would not have to be out of contact with its starships for years at a taime. Cochrane did so, modifying the same principle used to propel starships: a beam of faster-than-light tachyons, instead of waves of electromagnetic energy, would be used to carry messages at speeds far greater than even those of the starships. Cochrane conducted his work on one condition: tired (or so he said) of life on Earth, he desired to be transported out to Alpha Centauri to join the colony and end his days there. UESPA agreed, and Cochrane's "sub-space" radio equipment was installed aboard all vessels.
With all preparations completed, a fleet of five UESPA starships warped out of lunar orbit on January 30, 2105. Its purpose: to go beyond the regions reconnoitered by the Oppenheimer out to a maximum distance of about 26 light-years from Earth. Each ship was given a different course, and a total of about 17 different star systems were to be surveyed. One ship scheduled a stop at Alpha Centauri to drop off the venerable Zefram Cochrane, who was looking forward to retiring on another world.
Within a few months sub-space messages from these vessels began flooding UESPA Central Control. The messages told of scores of new planets which had been discovered; hundreds of alien life forms, both plants and animals, had been catalogued on those worlds where survey parties had been able to land in small ship-to-surface ferries. Libraries, universities, and museums around the world waited eagerly for the return of specimens and information as they began preparations to add entire new wings or sections devoted to alien life. There were also, the reports indicated, several worlds with intelligent life - but none, noted the commanding officers, where contact was advisable. The commanders' reservations were particularly strong about those worlds whose inhabitants, according to survey results, were strikingly different than human beings in appearance.
And then came the message everyone had been waiting for! On August 23, 2105, word came from the S.S. Duke of Windsor that a highly advanced alien culture had at last been contacted. Initial contact had been peaceful - prompted by the discovery of several small satellites in orbit about the planet, and a sophisticated planetary communications network. The planet was the fifth outward from a hot, blue star located about 23 light-years from earth; it was a hot, dry world with a thin atmosphere. It was called - or so the universal translating device rendered the name given by the inhabitants to their world - Vulcan. The Duke of Windsor's message related that the Vulcans were humanoids; there were many internal differences between them and humans, and the more obvious external dissimilarities were in the shape of their ears and eyebrows. But what had startled the Duke of Windsor's contact team the most was the order by which the Vulcans had ruled their lives: it appeared to be one of complete logic, with no emotion entering in. At any rate, the Earth vessel's ruling council had told them that Vulcan's scientists, philosophers and theologians,, as well as those of Earth, had long speculated about the possibility of intelligent life on other worlds, and were gratified that their questions had at last been answered.
The final part of the message related that the Vulcans had agreed to send several representatives back to Earth with the Duke of Windsor to set up cultural exchange programs and establish rudimentary diplomatic relations.
Thus began the still-continuing process by which the horizons of human experience began to recede far beyond the boundaries of the Earth itself. During the years between 2105 and 2140 many additional UESPA survey expeditions were sent out. Hundreds of new planets were catalogued, and fifteen additional intelligent civilizations were contacted. Several of these worlds had their own programs of space exploration, and initial contacts were made in space! Not all of the contacts were without initial periods of hostility and mistrust, but barriers were finally broken down and peaceful relations established. Earth's sphere of influence in 2140 extended out nearly 80 light-years from the Solar System.
Zefram Cochrane disappeared in 2112, in a manner as enigmatic as his career had been successful. At the age of 87, his researches finally terminated due to failing health, Cochrane stole an interplanetary shuttle from the spaceport of New Persepolis, the colony of Alpha Centauri V, and vanished into space. Tracking equipment easily detected the craft and computed its course and speed - but when security vessels arrived to apprehend the "cantankerous old fossil," as Cochrane had come to be known, it was found that his craft was no longer there. All attempts to locate it failed, and the incident finally had to be recorded as another mysterious spaceship disappearance.
Many changes were wrought during the years between 2105 and 2140. As many and more aliens began to appear on Earth, and as Earth scientific and diplomatic teams were themselves left on many of the friend1y alien planets, it was vital that the World State set up formal diplomatic relations with alien governments. At first, a special governmental branch, the Department of Interstellar Relations, handled affairs; but by 2135 the degree of complexity of interstellar relations that had developed on all levels made change imperative. In June of that year the Vulcan ambassador to Earth, Spann, approached officials of the World State, and all the other alien ambassadors then on Earth, with a proposal to, in the interests of administrative efficiency and because the philosophies of all the represented worlds resembled each other so much, combine the diverse governments into one gigantic unit. After much subspace communication between the ambassadors and their respective governments, and much debate in the halls of' the World Senate, the proposal was adopted and ratified on October 6, 2136.
Thus the United Federation of Planets came to be. The Federation Constitution specified that the Federation was a democratic body whose members had equal rights, and equal obligations toward each other in times of need. Provisions were made for the inclusion of colony worlds in the Federation, once they met certain basic population requirements; other clauses set up rules governing the trade and commerce relationships that had grown up between the Earth (regarded as the Federation's home planet and administrative center) and its neighbors. UESPA was allowed to retain jurisdiction over its own vessels, and was given control over whatever space vehicles any of the other worlds possessed; it was directed to actively seek out qualified aliens for starship crews and to set up a personnel training academy for prospective crew members, on Earth.
A standard procedure was set up for further exploration and discovery. Ships making initial contacts would, above all, observe the "prime directive" -- what the UESPA policy of avoiding "alien cultural shock" came to be called -- in initial contacts with alien worlds. Initial survey ships (usually starships but sometimes lesser vehicles) were to report back to Federation Central, and based on their recommendations scientific study teams, colonizing expeditions, or whatever was deemed appropriate, were to be sent out. Many worlds (such as Deneva, in 2141), depending on their resources and general suitability for human and/or alien life forms, were colonized immediately; others received only a few teams of scientific investigators. And occasionally and perhaps unavoidably, a Federation vessel (all such vessels were now designated by the prefix U.S.S.) would fail to report back, One such vessel was the U.S.S. Archon, which vanished without trace on a survey expedition in 2157.
Although most contacts were made peacefully, the Federation did have to fight one war. In 2161, the U.S.S. Prometheus, surveying an odd two-planet system circling a faint star, was attacked by primitive spacecraft from one of those two worlds. The vessel was severely damaged and barely got back to Starbase Three under its own power (starbases could see to the needs of all vessels, and had been set up as both administrative centers for various parts of the Federation and as jumping-off points for survey and other missions, so the Earth and other major Federation planets would not have to serve in this capacity any longer, for convenience if nothing else). An investigating Federation fleet was likewise viciously attacked, and the resulting conflict lasted over a year until the Romulans (for so the universal translator had given the name of this race, whose communications were monitored) were driven back to their planet. Casualaties were very high. The Federation subsequently arranged a peace treaty, recognized a Romulan sphere of influence, and set up a no man's land between the Romulan sphere and Federation territory. To ensure against any future warlike acts, the Federation constructed a series of heavily-armed forts on asteroids artificially placed along the border.
The future history of the United Federation of Planets will be a never-ending story as the fruits of all the above foundations established in the Twentieth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-second centuries continue to be reaped and the horizons of human experience continue to recede with ever-increasing diversity as new life and new civilization is encountered.
* * *
STAR TREK TIME LINE
The following is intended as a supplement to the accompanying outline of future history. It contains many of the events discussed there, plus many more events specifically mentioned on the show, mostly from the period closer to Star Trek's time, not discussed in great detail in the outline.
First lunar landing.
Apollo program continues.
Skylab series proves man's ability to survive in space. Joint orbital mission with Russia. Development of space shuttle.
Unmanned probes land on Mars.
Permanent manned orbiting space station constructed in international cooperative effort.
Revival of NERVA nuclear rocket research program. Designs for DY-100 space ferry completed; prototype built. Nuclear rockets.
Eugenics War, l994-97. Rise, fall and disappearance of "supermen."
Formation of World State and UESEA. More space stations. Moon Station I. First manned Mars landing; exploration and settlement, Fundamental Declaration of Martian Colonies. Asteroid belt investigations begin.
DY-200 ships designed.
S.S. James Cook makes first journey to Jupiter.
S.S. Bartolomeu Dias lost on first Saturn mission.
Hector Servadac completes mission successfully. Birth of Zefram Cochrane, 2025.
Moon and Mars continue to grow in population.
"Space ferries" developed to transport colonists.
Colonel Green's War.
Exploration and colonization of Solar System continues.
Discovery of di-lithium. DY-300 and DY-400 vessels built.
Numerous research stations on distant moons.
Standard procedures developed for exploratory missions.
Solar System fully explored. DY-500 vessels with ion-impulse drive appear. Main concentrations of human population remain on Earth, moon and Mars. UESEA becomes UESPA in administrative reorganization.
S.S. Valiant sent out by UESPA to survey nearby star systems.
Last message received from Valiant. Vessel presumed lost.
Temporary hiatus in exploration due to governmental reluctance. Zefram Cochrane begins work at Princeton-Pennsylvania Accelerator. Tachyon experiment confirms faster-than-light speeds. UESPA decides to apply Cochrane's work to space travel.
Work begins on design of hyperlight engine and vessel to accommodate it.
Departure of S.S. Robert Oppenheimer.
Return of Oppenheimer. Existence of other planets and races confirmed. Colonies established in nearby systems; plans made for further exploration. Such exploration reveals many new planets. First contact with Vulcan.
Cultural exchange programs begin.
Disappearance of Zefram Cochrane from Alpha Centauri.
Exploration and discovery continues. Many new races contacted. Interstellar commerce and cultural exchange begins. Department of Interstellar Relations handles diplomatic affairs.
Proposal to join civilizations into giant political network. Formation of United Federation of Planets. Ratification of Federation Constitution. Starfleet Academy set up.
Standard procedures set up for further exploration. First star bases set up. Aliens begin appearing in starship crews. All starships designated by prefix U.S.S. Colonization of Deneva.
U.S.S. Archon disappears on survey mission to Beta III.
Romulan War, 2161-62 Neutral Zone and asteroid forts established to guard against further intrusions. U.S.S. Horizon visits Sigma Iotia II, leaves "The Book" in violation of Prime Directive.
First contact with Klingon Empire.
Exploration and discovery continues. New classes of ships designed for exploration and commerce. New colonies continue to be establisbed.
Janus VI mining colony established.
Constitution-class starships designed. Twelve built, including U.S.S. Enterprise.
U.S.S. Valiant lost on exploratory probe to Eminiar VII.
Reports that p1anet at war with its neighbor/
Birth of Richard Daystrom.
Birth of James T. Kirk.
Kodos "the executioner" murders half the population of Tarsus IV.
Battle of Donatu V with Klingons; inconclusive.
Installation of Daystrom's computer systems aboard Constitution-class starships. Christopher Pike assumes command of Enterprise.
Talos IV expedition. Cloud-vampire creature attacks U.S.S. Farragut in Tycho star group.
James T. Kirk assumes command of U.S.S. Enterprise. On mission to edge of ga1axy, Enterprise finds disaster recorder ejected from S.S. Valiant 189 years previously.
THE REST IS KN0WN.