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The Doves of Venus

Before the Struggle For Resources and the Struggle For Peace consumed the world some nations had taken steps to study the oncoming ecological disaster as well as developing the field of material science. The Venus Mission established in the early 21st century was to launch a large crew of scientists and supporting staff to Venus in order to set up a partially self-sufficient settlement.

In order to save on the tremendous amounts of resources required to launch a fully functional settlement into Venusian orbit, several intermediate steps were taken in advance. The most alarming contemporary choice was the establishment of a mass driver system on Luna to launch materials and supplies into the Low Venus Orbit. This contravention of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty was one of the precursors that destabilized Earth prior to the twin Struggles.

The second step was ensuring the entire team was female. Women present an unusual advantage when it comes to launching cargoes and personnel across the vast gulfs of space. The nation behind the Venus Mission had determined that women not only average less mass than men but additionally consume less oxygen and food per person resulting in more Delta-V apportioned to necessary materials and supplies for the settlement to be.

Venus’ Aerostat One was a considerable achievement for its time and the settlement remained largely self-sufficient throughout the twin Struggles. The aerostat was floated 50km above the surface of Venus using a breathable air envelope ensuring near-Earth conditions: temperate temperatures, 1 bar pressure, and gravity just below Earth's norm. A variable ballast system allowed for relatively cheap mass driver payloads to send back to Earth. After the UN took possession of the former research colony, it was decided to turn Venus into a staging ground for expeditions toward the asteroid belt. Two expeditions were mounted making use of similar recruitment criteria that had astronauts sent as far as Ceres and Vesta. Venus' orbit resulted in a more optimal launch window towards Ceres, though the transit still required nearly a year to complete.

Following the completion of Earth's arcologies, the decision was changed to decommission the project in favor of long-term Mars colonization. It was considered necessary to ensure that the staff aboard the aerostat were gainfully employed during this process. The UN had just managed to emerge triumphant from a global conflict and did not fancy Venus deciding to adjust trajectories on their mass driver payloads due to disagreement with decommissioning. The vast majority of the aerostat’s engineers, scientists, and staff agreed to work with the UN and were picked up by Ereshkigal Freighter. Coupled with volunteers from Ceres and Vesta's minor colonies, they became known as Mars’ second wave of colonists.

Each of the colonists in the second wave had already spent significant time off Earth in complex conditions. Their knowledge of existing UN machines combined with their research was sure to provide them an edge when digging in on the surface of the red planet as the UN’s UNJAM project geared up towards full colonization.

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