Moments in History (3)

Red Planet, Blue Sky?

The news on everyone’s lips today here in Orbitfall, as well as back home, is the televised deployment of the new soletta array here in Talentar orbit. While not the first step taken, the soletta is the first tangible result of the comprehensive ecopoesis program announced last year by the Spaceflight Initiative, Project Redblossom, which will allow eldrae to walk on the blue-green surface of lowland Talentar without respirators within three centuries. Present with the project lead and the colonial legate at the unfolding ceremony today were representatives from several of the Empire’s constituent nations most represented in the Spaceflight Initiative, and from the newly formed Orbital-Seléne Alliance.

The soletta array is the first and principal orbital mirror in an array which will be deployed in synchronous orbit, reflecting the suns’ light as part of the ongoing effort to warm the planet. Smaller mirrors will also be deployed for use in melting the planet’s surface rock and liberating some of Talentar’s hidden water, presently locked in frozen aquifers.

But not everyone is happy with the ecopoesis program. Diplomatic protests have been lodged by the Cerenaith Alliance, both here and back home, citing lack of consultation and concerns with the potential use of the mirrors as orbital battle platforms. I spoke to one of Project Redblossom’s senior engineers:

“Seriously? If they’re going to complain about the mirrors, what are they going to do when the ice asteroids get here? Lyricen Lacus isn’t going to carve itself, much less fill — this is off the record, yes?”

– from the Imperial Infoclast, summer 2273

Home on Lagrange

It was understood relatively early in Project Redblossom that Talentar would become a major food-exporting planet as the ecopoesis continued. As the major geophysical stages were completed, the planet warmed, water was introduced, and the microbiome became established, it became time to introduce macroscopic flora, among the earliest of which called for by the ecopoesis plan were grasses to bind the regolith dunes.

It did not escape the ecotects’ attention that the grass family included a variety of commercially-viable flora, most obviously the widely used grains landesh and irdesh, and that incorporating these into the ecopoesis plan would help to render it self-sustaining in more ways than one. Thus, an extensive agricultural industry rapidly grew up around the early colonies, especially those located in the lowlands of Kirinal Planum, exporting vast quantities of bread, beer, and raw grain to the system’s expanding population of drifts and orbital habitats – aided in this by the relative shallowness of Talentar’s gravity well as compared to Eliéra’s, and Talentar’s possession of the system’s first orbital elevator. The ecotects required that part of the payment for these goods be made in nitrogenous and other organic waste collected from the habitats, which became feedstock to their dirt farming programs and thus in turn expanded Talentar’s fertile regions; a virtuous cycle.

Unanticipated was what followed. Commercial grains, being insufficient in themselves for a stable ecological tier, were by no means the only grasses spreading on Talentar. Forty-seven years after the initiation of this program, a ranchers’ consortium from the Iniositac-Variasotec Commonwealth, observing the spread of common grasses in less desirable regions of the planet, obtained title to one of the largest contiguous areas of this “Talentarian prairie”. A year later, they introduced the first Rieltelir-adapt quebérúr, modified Eliéran cattle capable of breathing the low-oxygen, high-dioxide atmosphere, shaggier and better able to live in cold conditions, the dung from whose grazing in turn helped expand these prairie regions. While the export of quebérúr meat was much lower in volume than grain exports, it was much higher value due to the near-impossibility at that time of producing such anywhere else in the system with a relatively shallow well, and several fortunes were made in this new business.

And to this day, the Carbon-Carbon Grill at Suléyn Dome still serves the best non-vat quebérúr steak in the Lumenna-Súnáris System.

Talentar Blossoming: the Early Years,
Vallis Muetry-ith-Miritar