Mecha and Mercenaries
In this tiny crowded Solar System of ours, man rises up against man in the bloody struggle. Those who have enough feel the ever-burning craving of desire while necessity makes some men strike their neighbors, as beasts. From this sea of chaos, order grows, and from order, inevitably, comes war, conflict, and chaos once again.
Mercury: Run by Earth. Offworld mining colonies. Total and absolute shithole, if it wasn’t for the vast riches available under the surface no one sane would live there. Entirely possible that no one sane does anyways.
Venus: Earth’s equivalent of the outer system. Most colonization on research labs on aerostats in the upper atmosphere. Not a pleasant place to live, but when your nanotech experiments go amok or your antimatter production facility blows up, no one notices because there isn’t an environment to damage anyways.
Earth: One of two Great Powers in the Solar System. Run by the Terran Alliance, an outgrowth of the old United Nations, it asserts dominance over Earth and points Sunward. European-style welfare state made functional by control over the single largest industrial base in the Solar System, fuelled by aggressive expansion of client states on Mars, claims in the belt, and resource exploitation on Terra, Luna, and Mars. Highest average technology levels in the system, modern technologies have penetrated all levels of society, especially genefixing and gene modification.
Mars: The Balkans, the Southeast Asia, the Africa of the system. Split between a dozen feuding nations with varying allegiances, pretty much everyone in the system wants a bigger piece of the Martian pie. Has been the subject of halting terraforming efforts for the past hundred years, but Jovian efforts have pushed a few of their client states towards a crash terraforming program that will either transform the Martian landscape permanently or utterly wreck the planet’s fledgling ecosystem.
Asteroid Belt: Inhabited by an eclectic mixture of freeholders, anarchists, pirates, misfits, and semi-autonomous corporations scrambling for resources, the Belt is the other major battleground between Earth and Jupiter. Both Earth and Jupiter make token attempts at policing the Belt, but there’s just too much space to cover with too few resources, so might makes right in a lot of places. Great for mercs, so long as you don’t mind eking out between slim pickings on contracts and getting paid in salvage and what people either dig up or make, rather than hard currency.
Jupiter: Second of the two Great Powers. The Jovian Federation is a relatively young space nation formed 70 years ago in the War of Jovian Independence. Rapid expansion to cement claims over entire Jovian system, including Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids have given Jupiter one of the largest resource bases in the system, if not the industry to fully exploit it. Focus on free markets, fair trade, and rights of man have attracted both corporations and idealistic individuals — the nation is defined in many ways by its opposition to Earth. Strongly bioconservative and religious nation, while high technology has high penetration in the public sphere, not so much in the private — Jovians are less likely to be genefixed and so have a shorter life expectancy and higher rate of genetic defects.
Saturn: Run by a coalition of He3 mining interests, the Saturnian system is ostensibily neutral. However, He3 is the fuel for every war machine in the system, so when people are fighting, the He3 business is good. You can fill in the rest.
Uranus, and Points Spaceward: The outer system past Saturn is sparsely populated for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s just straight-up hard to get there — climbing that far out of the sun’s gravity well is neither easy nor cheap. Secondly, living is hard as hell. It’s cold, it’s dark, and anywhere you go is even less hospitable than any other place in the system, short of Mercury or Venus. This is, however, in many ways, an attraction. The same sort of people that populate the Belt are occasionally drawn to the outer system — the moons of Uranus and Neptune offer the same opportunity for personal freedom or a homestead that the belt does, and there’s fewer people competing for more resources. The other type of people that go to the outer system enjoy things like making illegal antimatter, black biotech, or grey goo-class nanotech — and while the penalty for illegal technology is still the same out in the deep beyond, you’re less likely to get found in the first place.