World War Four
From the late twenty-first through the early twenty-second centuries, Humanity sent exploratory vessels to dozens of systems and It resulted in a handful of colonies. The outflow of massive populations to new colonies brought with it a relief of stress on Earth’s resource economy and an influx of new knowledge, materials, foods.
Within two generations, the people of Earth went from an animal licking its wounds to a spoiled house dog. Still, the ancient tensions and unresolved issues from the previous war bubbled beneath the surface. Alliances coalesced into larger factions as smaller countries tried to keep up with unrelenting technological progress. A sense of competition perpetuated itself into contention.
The Alliance was a cooperative conglomerate that included the United States, Japan, and the European Union. Their namesake came from the idea that nations working together in alliances would create a more prosperous world. They were the first of the coalitions.
The Federation of Free Lands included Russia, China, and the Mediterranean Union. While the Alliance encouraged the world to follow their lead and do as they did, The Federation took a stance of cooperative non-interference. They provided aid but did not make ethical impositions.
The Latin-American, African, and Oceanic conglomerates did their best not to come between the two largest factions. The three became closer allies as a result and cooperated more with each other than the Alliance and Federation. They became known as the Independents.
With both sides holding a grudge from being wronged by the other in the past, be it maliciously or incidental, the crews of Alliance and Federation ships traveling the colonies felt liberated of Earth’s laws and took opportunities to take out their frustration on the other faction. This would manifest as bar brawls, swooping on the other faction’s shipments, or severely undercutting their prices.
The tensions were brought home, fanning the fire between the two factions. Earth laws extended into the colonies, but only within the cities themselves for the countries which founded them. Jointly founded cities met halfway wherever they could. Earth factions began to impose their will upon the colonies, forcing them to pass laws that handicapped the other faction.
Colony cities established cooperatively were hit the hardest, as within their own city the implementation of both sets of laws became problematic. Still partially dependent on Earth’s resources and economy, tensions within the colonies grew as a result of the squabbling factions. They even went so far as to declare themselves their own mega-faction which chose to refrain from their conflicts.
When war broke out between the Alliance and Federation, avoiding combat became difficult. The Alliance and Federation focused on war, which often led to fighting in the colonies with each faction defending their ships from an aggressive enemy. Sometimes, ships from the Independents were caught in the crossfire and it was not long before they began to defend themselves. With the Independents firing on Alliance and Federation ships, both factions declared war on the Independents, who wanted no part of the war.
With great remorse, the Independents informed the colonies it would be difficult to reliably send supplies, but clued them in on Earth’s shipment tactics. Many of the supplies the Colonies received were from other colonies. The Independents supplied them with any seeds and supplies they could before they were overwhelmed with a full-scale war that spanned colonized space.
Warring factions would steal from colonies that belonged to the enemy. Colonists from enemy cities were treated as enemy combatants. Supply shipments were intermittent, more so as the war went on.
The colonies suffered more and more each year of the war. There were food shortages, disease, and rampant crime. Ternaria was hit the worst, with rumors of extreme lawlessness and cannibalism. Each year things got more out of control, but once the Independents were swept into the war and provided them that crucial information, they began to trade with one another. Each one provided the other with whatever it needed. Things got better, and the Independents managed to provide them with the few requests they made for things they did not have.
The Colonies declared independence from Earth in 2161. Each established their own governments, laws, and began to charge Earth accordingly for all its colonial imports, including a hazard fee because of the war. World War Four ended the following year.