Wednesday, 11 December 2013
The Makeshift Rocket III
If artificially generated gravitational fields were used to colonize the Asteroid Belt, then a cluster of asteroids might be organized as a Kingdom or Republic with each asteroid as a county or shire? And an asteroid on a separate orbit might be like an island - that could have disputed sovereignty?
The main difference is that all these objects are moving and, with artificial gravity, can be moved again. Thus, on the last occasion when the clusters of the Irish Free State (Saorstat Erseann) and the Anglian Kingdom approached conjunction, the independent asteroid Laoighise (Lois) moved between them. Anglian prospectors, finding valuable praseodymium on Lois, claimed the asteroid for King James IV and moved it into the Anglian cluster. But, since an Erseman had discovered, landed on and named the asteroid, the Erse Republic claimed sovereignty. However, Ersers cannot take any action until the two clusters again approach conjunction and their first act is to occupy not the heavily guarded Lois but the defenseless Grendel.
So far, the main drama of the story seems to be not this international conflict but the consequences for Mercury Girl's business of being quarantined on Grendel for an expected six weeks. I will read the rest of the story with some interest but without any anxiety about the outcome.