Mars Prosper League - History | Starborne

Mars Prosper League - History

Tue Jul 26 2022 (Updated: Tue Jul 26 2022) - 4 min read

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Addendum 1: Historical information
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History:

   At the conclusion of the First Lunar-Martian war in 2144, Martian nationhood was finally acknowledged in the wider solar system. For the Martian landholders, who had already banded together as the Mars Economic League (MEL), the next question was how they would organize their ongoing cooperation. After a long deliberation it was decided in 2146 to split the MEL into two parts. The official government of Mars would be the newly founded Commonwealth of Mars, while the private economic side of the alliance would transition into a public corporation, named the Mars Prosper League (MPL).

   In the following decades, the MPL became an unmitigated success story. Since many of their major shareholders were senior figures in the Martian Commonwealth, the MPL enjoyed a privileged status that allowed it to exploit various legally questionable opportunities both on Mars and within the unclaimed reaches of the Sol system.

   The ability to exert its vast influence virtually unsupervised within the Commonwealth allowed the MPL to maintain a dominant position even through the Energy Tech Revolution in 2179, and its many opportunities and challenges. The largest of these was undoubtedly the production of the Sol Dyson Sphere. The MPL made an aggressive bid to secure the construction contract, but the Commonwealth ultimately bowed to Lunar pressure and agreed instead to the creation of a new organization to oversee the project: the Terran Combine. This decision resulted in a lasting sense of anger and resentment towards the government from several MPL Board members.

   After the Dyson sphere was completed, the MPL managed to contribute in some minor ways to those first interstellar expeditions by providing designs and construction work, but mostly found themselves shut out by the Lunar Directorate, who favored their own economic and academic institutions. However, at the same time, the MPL adopted a major role in Martian infrastructure projects, resulting in the construction of a network of stations with small jump capabilities that reduced the need for a Dyson sphere.

   Ever since the sphere's completion, the Lunar Directorate had faced increasing pressure to open its interstellar bridges to the public. When they finally caved, the MPL leapt at the chance to exploit the new riches of the Frontier, and shouldered its way to the front of the line. Without the means to intervene, the Directorate was faced with the growing, frightening prospect of a MPL monopoly on the Frontier. In response, in 2300 the Lunar Directorate created its own economic champion, the Atlas Syndicate. Since then, these two behemoths have been engaged in an economic proxy war.

   As the "Atlas problem" grew, the League doubled down on resource gathering in unsupervised sectors of the Frontier, where the lack of oversight or law enforcement created fertile ground for their abusive business practices. Free from restraint, MPL's prodigious mining and production capacities swept vast fortunes into shareholder coffers, regardless of local complaints or opposition.

   In 2340, the Terran Combine revealed the construction of its own Dyson sphere and declared independence from the powers of Sol, an announcement that blindsided the MPL. When several other factions followed suit in the coming years, the elites of Mars began to worry they would be left behind by a new era of corporate sovereignty. To keep up, the Commonwealth pushed the MPL towards nominal independence, backing the construction of a Dyson Sphere to be used by the League. In reality, the League remained a proxy for Martian interests.

   After suffering a major setback in 2346, one that both the MPL and the Commonwealth did their best to downplay, in 2349 the MPL finally unveiled their own Sphere in the Heaven’s Crown system. Due to the delay, the MPL became the last major faction to declare independence and become part of the group later known as the “Sovereign Six.”

   Reaping the benefits of its new independence and private travel network, the MPL rapidly continued to expand its reach and status throughout the galaxy. However, this period of growth stalled when the second Lunar-Martian war broke out in 2385. Given the entanglement of Martian elites with the MPL, the organization was tacitly aligned with Commonwealth interests, and expected to provide resources and production capacity for the war effort.

   In the aftermath of the war, the Martian government rethought its decision to allow even the limited independence enjoyed by the MPL. There was a growing call for the League to officially realign itself with Commonwealth interests by banning all trade with the Lunar Directorate and newly formed Union of Sol. In 2397, the MPL Board refused to comply in a shocking 4-3 vote. This decision marked the greatest divergence between the League and Commonwealth since their co-founding more than two centuries earlier, and the final full realization of the MPL's independence.

   In the following decades, the MPL divested itself from many Martian territories and focused its efforts on the frontier regions. They eventually arrived at a tacit understanding with their major rivals in the Atlas Syndicate and Terran Combine to leave behind the squabbles of the core systems in favor of opening sectors for colonization further afield, where they can avoid the political pressures and costs of the warfare among the major blocs.

   The latest colonization effort has seen the opening of long range bridges towards the Spiral Expanse, where densely clustered systems and vast clouds of interstellar gas promise vast resources and big margins.