The first decades of the 21st century saw agile private corporations ascend and lead the way in space exploration. As these ambitious, innovative organisations took on the challenge of sending missions to Mars and building lunar bases, the leading nations of the world came together to direct this new effort. In 2031, converging interests finally led to the establishment of the United Nations Solar Assembly to ensure a voice of authority in this new, distant frontier.
The following year the central banks of the US, China, EU and the Commonwealth21 created the first collective cryptocurrency – Solar Credit (SC) – for off-world trading. Backed by governments, the Solar Credit was designed to provide a uniformly stable currency for space transactions, guaranteeing goods and services could be traded anywhere without time variance bankrupting corporations across the great gulf of space. Market fluctuations caused by information lag had been one of the major problems of early Martian colonisation.
By 2036 the commercial potential of asteroid mining was beginning to show itself when a little-known Russian operation Zutnik s.a. returned a 50-kilo diamond rock from the asteroid belt and collapsed diamond prices. It was clear that order and oversight of solar exploration and exploitation was needed if the world was to avoid a new era of financial instability brought about by commercially driven opportunism. By 2039, hastened by the Aqua-Boreum Scare (Martian Mare Boreum ice water returned illegally to Earth and sold over the internet was initially thought to harbour dangerous microbial life forms), the UN Solar Assembly became the proxy governing body of humanity spacewide.
In 2037 the principle of the Earth Edict was first debated at the G24 meeting in Lausanne and in the UN Solar Assembly. Finally, in 2040 the Edict was brought into existence with all financial aspects under the control of the United World Bank (UWB). Backed by the G24 as well as banks (all with varying stakes in the UWB) the Solar Credit currency quickly proved to be the most stable currency in global markets.
Today the Edict remains the only legitimate means by which off-world resources can be exported to Earth to meet industry and consumer demand. The Edict has proven to be an effective control over the commercial interests seeking to exploit the riches of the solar system while at the same time spurring on scientific and engineering advances on an unprecedented scale.
Explore, Extract, Export, Expand
While the UWB regularly issues licenses across all categories of licencing they have restricted the availability of 4E Edict licences to only the most capable organisations able to demonstrate not only technical proficiency and financial strength but also the management expertise necessary for conducting deep space activities where human life may be put at risk.
To date 47 organisations have applied for 4E Edict licences and 5 have been granted. The recipients of these licences cover a wide variety of set ups, from engineering giants to industry bodies. However, all 4E Edict licence holders benefited from significant governmental backing; threatening to bring national interests to the frontiers of space.
More 4E licences are due to be issued in the coming years. Many governments and businesses see the space sector as the new engine for industrial growth and human advancement.
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4E LICENCES HOLDERS
Last of the Oil Producing Export Countries, the rump of the old OPEC cartel has banded together in a final roll-of-the-dice gamble for survival, seeking a new cartel to dominate the future of humanity in outer space. While limited in space technology, LOPEC has considerable financial muscle and the political clout of a dozen countries across the Middle East and South America.
All stock held by member governments.
The behemoth of Earth retail, once coined East eats West, has set its goal to be No. 1 in solar delivery and retail development. With the full support of the CCP which previously underwrote the financial takeover of its American rival, Alizon has muscled its way onto the top table with a mix of proven cost efficiency and political savvy.
20% stock traded on the Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and London Stock Exchange. The rest held by the CCP.
Wunderkind & Co
A Fortune 500 by the time he was 25 and with his sights set on space, Leon Wunder, maverick technology billionaire leads Wunderkind & Co. to drive humanity to the next stage of civilisation. Wunder hopes to emulate the achievements of the pioneers before him and earn himself a place in the history books.
A private company.
Often described as the unwanted licensee, the Kremlin Collective, led by a charismatic yet ruthless political leader, seeks to exploit the solar system to maintain respect at home while leveraging new influence beyond Earth. The combined resources of the countries of the former Soviet Union allied to questionable commercial and political tactics is said to have forced the UWB to issue a licence despite grave misgivings.
A private company. 5% of stock placed in a Deutsche Börse IPO.
UN Solar Assembly
Representing Earth’s nations who cannot afford to go it alone, the U.N. Solar Assembly is the only Edict licence holder that seeks both scientific and humanist goals. Constantly suffering from underfunding, the mission nonetheless benefits from preferential recruitment of management executives looking for public sector experience.
All stock held by participating member countries. Funding via mixture of subscription and convertible development loans from G24 members.
Powered by the wealth of modern connectivity, Utopia Extend emerged from Silicon Valley as a new quasi-religion for the 21st century. With the formidable backing of millions of genuine believers and an army of activists who seek a new form of humanity, many governments secretly desire the prophesised UE Exodus to become a reality.
Although UE is a private charitable organisation, vast donations from their members and devout believers in positions of power has given the organisation incredible leverage and capability.
Quoted on the main European stock exchanges through multiple subsidiaries, New Nationale’s emergence as a credible right-wing industrial-political complex with widespread public support is forcing change on the socialist EU. Visions of Europe pioneering a new age of discovery has caused great fanfare and worry across the continent; New Nationale is taking the initiative and has reignited the industrial heartlands.
Brought to life by Princess Ratoe and backed by several powerful South East Asian and Middle Eastern families, Al Tufnu was created as a vehicle for missionary work in space. Aggressively acquisitive in the AI and on-line publishing industries, Al Tufnu is frequently used as an example of an adverse corporate influencer on society and was recently accused by several European governments of facilitating quasi-religious censorship within its own business empire.
A private company with a minority shareholding traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Influential parties have used governmental leverage to bypass many licencing protocols.
Brandon’s Ultra Freedom Party
Led by the divisive firebrand Brandon T. Wylie and described by his followers as the President America never got. Brandon’s Ultra Freedom party (or the BUF party as the membership like to call it) is acknowledged to have singlehandedly reinvigorated the right wing of the Republican party, Brandon’s narrow interest politics has attracted a broad church of support from corporations and gun licence supporters who see space as the new frontier.
Following the US Government’s acquisition of Space X, CEO Elon Musk launched his next venture. Space Y? sets out to answer the big questions and establish humanity permanently beyond Earth. Along with its multitude of technology subsidiaries, Space Y? is a new force for innovation in the 21st century. As one of the principal agents that pioneered a new ear of space travel, Musk and SpaceY? are to receive an honorary 4E licence.