You two want Icanus exposition? You get Icanus exposition!
This piece was originally written by Darius, and is used in NuINF canon with his permission, and with modification to fit said NuINF canon.
Icanus: The Best of IntentionsFederal HallJohannesburg, Africa, Sol1:22 PM TST, January 4, 2372
The Great Hall of Representatives gave audience to a distinguished academic. He was softly-spoken, with a gentle accent that suggested an origin somewhere in East Africa.
"Representatives of the Earth Alliance General Assembly, I thank you for your audience and for your charity in allowing me to appear today. I know that in this time of upheaval and rebuilding, you are hard at work establishing a new Sol. Yet it is crucial that we do not lose sense of who we are, and we must always remember why Sol tore itself apart in civil wars. I am here to propose a project which will reunite all of humankind in the very essence of humanity that binds us."
The lights in the great hall dimmed, and the giant screen behind the speaker's dais lit up in a holographic display. The image of an Orion
-class destroyer became visible, a wireframe set against a backdrop of stars. The symbol of the Galactic Terran Alliance was superimposed against the image,.
"In the years leading up to the Great War, our destroyers embodied our military strength. Citizens of systems protected by destroyers were assured of their safety. They were a symbol of what all of humanity could achieve, if we only worked as one.
"The Vasudans came, then the Shivans, then our fratricidal wars.” Service histories of the GTDs Galatea, Bastion,
and others flickered across the screen. “The need for these beacons of hope became more powerful. Legends were born.” The Orion
icon faded out, replaced by the newer Tereus
-class destroyers. “For better or for worse, these great warships have symbolized and guarded Terran governments and peoples.”
"Now, to re-knit our common ties of humanity after decades of war, we need a new symbol."
The wireframe representations of the Tereus
were replaced with a massive, bulky warship. The GTA symbol disappeared to make way for the globe-crest of the Earth Alliance. Those delegates who were previously affecting a mild interest in the proceedings now stared at the screen with interest.
"Members of the assembly, I present the Icanus
. My team of researchers have drafted a preliminary design for a new class of vessel that exceeds the specifications of the SD Lucifer
by tenfold. Utilising the most advanced armour composition that is available, she will be all but invulnerable to even the strongest Shivan weapons encountered during the Great War. My team expects-"
The speaker looked up, his address interrupted and his momentum disturbed. Marcos Ienou was looking at him, his severe features matched by the expression on his face. "I'm sorry, Minister-in-Chief. Is...is there a problem?"
"I apologise for the interruption, Professor, but I must have clarification over a few issues before we proceed." Chief Minister Ienou looked down at his desk, and Professor Zuma realised that he must have been taking notes during his speech. "First item. What you are describing, Professor, is essentially a new flagship for the Earth Alliance. Am I correct?"
"Yes, Secretary-General...well, almost. The Icanus
will be more than just a warship. She was also designed to harness pride and unity in our race, and serve as an icon of Earth military power."
"Which are all desirable properties of a flagship, Professor. However, we already have a flagship, one which has already been blooded in defense of Sol. Why should we spend billions to replace the Nemesis
Professor Zuma had expected this objection. “With all respect, her service history is one of bloodshed. We need a symbol of humanity reunited, a ship built by all Sol, if we are to put that era behind us.”
Ienou’s eyebrows narrowed. “Are you suggesting that we of the Earth Alliance should be ashamed of our war history? That we should seek to whitewash the sacrifices our military made to defeat the Jovians and their unprovoked aggression?” Some murmurs from the audience.
“Certainly not, Chief Minister.”
"If we are going to approve this project, Professor, then I'm afraid you must outline a more productive role for this Icanus
"Yes, Chief Minister."
"Second item. How do you propose to resource this project? Between replenishing our conventional fleet and rebuilding infrastructure across Sol, our budget and our credit are stretched to their limits."
"Ah." Professor Zuma licked his lips nervously. He was not sure how his next statement would be taken. "As I was about to mention, Minister, the ship is designed to be invulnerable to all known weapon systems, and forwards-compatible with future weapons developments. She will be more effective than her equivalent cost in destroyers. Therefore, I propose that funding be diverted away from the fleet reconstruction program into this project."
This remark caused several of the delegates to mutter darkly to one another. Marcos Ienou cleared his throat. "I'm afraid that your proposal is not feasible at this time, Professor Zuma. We require fleet assets to maintain a powerbase in this system, and there are still rogue Jovian elements in the outer rim that require neutralization. Let us not also forget the possibility of a Shivan incursion into this system. Twenty current destroyers will provide us with a far better projection of force than a single ship."
"I...understand, Chief Minister." Zuma bowed his head in resignation.
"Is there anything else before we submit a motion?"
"No, Chief Minister."
"Then I hereby submit a motion to approve Professor Zuma's Icanus
project. All those in favour of approval?"
The Assembly made their votes, flickering across the screen. Only thirteen percent were in favour of approval.
"Secretary-General." A voice from the general assembly. A tall, blonde-haired man with severe features stood up from his desk, standing at attention. "Professor Armand Eriksson, Geneva Tech, Applied Energy. I beg leave to address the assembly." Ienou appraised the newcomer for a few moments, and gave a nod of assent. Eriksson continued. "I've read Professor Zuma’s papers on the Icanus
project, and I’d like to contribute a few points to the discussion."
Professor Zuma looked up at his unlikely ally. Eriksson was the head of the original Flux Cannon research team, building modern EA beam cannons from highly-classified data gathered during the Great War and what could be salvaged from the shattered Lucifer hulk. The most notable achievement had been the construction of the Punisher: a huge platform-based cannon deployed in Earth orbit should the planet ever be threatened. Zuma had had deep personal misgivings about the prospect of a weapon capable of one-shot, 100% casualty-rate planetary bombardment orbiting Earth.
"Professor Zuma's ship concept may seem unfeasible when used in a standard destroyer role, but I see a potential alternative use of the design. If we can amalgamate the Punisher cannon and this new ship, then we may have a new mobile weapons platform. This will substantially increase the versatility of the Punisher cannon, while giving us a powerful fleet asset. The Icanus
will be able to destroy any projected Shivan warship class in one shot, and discourage future planetary rebellions." The Outer Planets’ delegates did not miss the thinly-veiled threat.
"That is an interesting concept, Professor Eriksson," said the Secretary-General. "It provides an elegant and feasible solution to the first item of contention. However, what of the second? Where are we to find enough resources to build this ship?"
"Not with our current crippled resource base, Chief Minister. However, I propose an alternative method to extract minerals previously beyond our reach." He keyed in some data into his desk screen, and broadcast the information to other delegates in the assembly hall. "There are currently four privately-owned mining corporations on the surface of Mars that are still active. By implementing wartime advances in resource-extraction, and by combining these corporations into one government-controlled super-corporation, we can finally harvest Mars's untapped deposits at a much larger scale."
Zuma looked down at the data on his screen, and was horrified. "Professor Eriksson," he said. "What you propose is the complete strip-mining of the planet." Shocked whispering was heard from the Martian delegates.
"What I propose, Professor, is the acquisition of badly-needed resources at a time when the Earth Alliance sorely needs them most. Moreso, the choice of Mars is a prudent one, as it is highly centralised and in close proximity to Earth. Security of the project would be easier to enforce than if the project was based in, say, Europa."
"But there are three hundred million people on Mars!"
"Professor Eriksson," said Secretary-General Ienou, "Your colleague's objections are not unfounded. Has your team conducted any tests to evaluate how the surface of the planet will be affected by global mining of this scale? I remind you of the terraforming project that is currently under progress, and also that Mars is a founding member of the EA."
"Unfortunately, Chief Minister, our study did not find any conclusive evidence on the mining's effects on the planet's surface. Tectonic activity may increase, but it should not endanger residents currently on the surface. The terraforming process may slow, even halt, but I assure you that it will not be reversed. In any case, I request that the motion be resubmitted." Professor Eriksson turned to Zuma with a sardonic smile. "In the event that Martian residents experience a decrease in living standards...surely those patriots can bear another economic sacrifice, for the sake of a better-defended and more-unified Sol."
"Sacrifice?!" cried Zuma in disbelief.
"Calm down, Professor Zuma," chided Ienou. "Professor Eriksson has provided possible solutions to both points of contention, which seem feasible enough to carry out at this time. I will hereby resubmit the motion to approve Professor Zuma's Icanus
project. All those in favour of approval?"
The screen at the head of the assembly hall lit up again. A full seventy percent of delegates approved of Professor Zuma's project. The Martian delegates and the outer-worlders objected en masse, but their voices carried little weight in the population-based Assembly.
"It has been decided. Professor Zuma, the Icanus
project has been approved, incorporating Eriksson’s Punisher cannon suggestion, with construction facilities in orbit of Mars. Under these conditions, are you willing to undertake directorship of this project?"
Yakubu Zuma looked over at the animated assembly, and at the smiling face of Armand Eriksson. He felt his control over the proceedings slipping through his fingers, and he saw his dream of uniting humanity twisting into something entirely different and sinister. Under these new conditions, the Icanus
would be nothing less than a mobile planet-killer. An iron fist, wielded by the dominant Earth power bloc to keep the outer planets prostrate. His heart now went out to the Martian delegates. But he could do nothing to stop his own proposal.
"Yes, Minister-in-Chief." The only thing he could do now was fight, and try to shift the project back towards the noble ideology that he originally envisioned. No matter what happens,
he thought, I will make sure that this ship is constructed for the good of
Deep inside, Zuma knew how little it would truly matter.