The history of the future, as viewed from the perspective of the Space Family Gray
1968: Kenichi Suzuki born in Hakodate, Japan. He grows to adulthood in Hokkaido, and is captain of his High School Kendo team, leading the team to victory in the All Japan Kendo student championships.
1987: Though accepted to prestigious universities in Japan, including Tokyo University, Kenichi elects to study optics at the University of Arizona, which he selects for the University’s reputation among space travel enthusiasts, as well as repeated viewings of movies filmed at Old Tucson studios. In Tucson, he meets Suzann Beckenbach, a veteran of the US Navy attending the U of A on the GI Bill. After an initially rocky courtship, the two marry, and Suzuki remains in Arizona.
1994: Rihoko Suzuki born at Tucson Medical Center. From the age of four until the age of thirteen, she spends summers with her grandparents in Hakodate. During high school, she learns historical European style fencing from her involvement with the Society for Creative Anachronism, a historical reenactment group.
1998: Jane Gray born in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Growing up, she spends most of her leisure time with the family’s horses. She begins to fall ill in high school, and is diagnosed with Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite her illness, Jane graduates high school, though she defers her college plans while she struggles with the condition.
2012: Rihoko Suzuki attends Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, where she falls in love for the first time -- with a woman from Korea. Unlike her parents situation, neither nation recognizes same-gender marriage, and at the end of Ji Hun’s year at NAU, the two are forced to part.
2017: Rihoko secures a reserve commission in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer, and begins active duty service aboard USS New York (LPD-21).
2020s: As expert systems begin taking over more customer-service tasks, unemployment skyrockets. The Upheavals begin as disenfranchised poor increasingly feel they have nothing to lose from throwing off civil compacts. Revolutions, bread riots, wars and rumors of war spread.
Jane Gray, in a period of remission, attends Vanderbilt University while debating between pre-law and pre-med. She does not complete her studies, but does meet Eric, her first husband. The marriage lasts three years before Eric finds the demands of her illness too great, and leaves.
Rihoko continues her career as a Naval officer.
2030s: Japan opens their space elevator to public traffic. The downport is located on Aranuka atoll, an island leased from Kiribati. Japanese Empress Aiko becomes the first sovereign to visit space. Within the decade, Ravenstone Investment Group (IG) has built a SeaStead in the American territorial waters south of Baker Island to serve as the downport of a second elevator. Lunar stations are opened by the United States (Armstrong Station) and Russia (Lunagrad), as well as by commercial interests (Heinleinburg and Shin-Shimizu).
A nuclear weapon is detonated in Seoul. Although it is not clear how the weapon arrived in the city, blame is immediately placed on North Korea, and a retaliatory strike is launched against Pyongyang. To the surprise of the world, China joins the war on the United Nations side, and the conflict lasts less than a year. Following the war, reconstruction efforts begin on a single, reunified Korea.
Suzann Suzuki dies in a bicycling accident in a national park.
A better therapy for SLE is developed, and Jane suffers no more flare-ups. She meets and marries Conner, her second husband. He, however, becomes abusive, and the two divorce less than a year later, after which Jane resumes her interrupted studies and eventually graduates from Harvard medical school.
Rihoko retires from the United States Navy as a Commander.
2039: The Great Chiba Earthquake. On March 24, an earthquake of magnitude 9.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicenter under the city of Chiba, shakes the Kanto region. A week later, on 1 April, Mount Fuji erupts. This is widely seen as the worst April Fools prank ever. Before the disasters, forty-two million people live in the Kanto region. After the disasters, there are twenty-five million refugees.
2040s: Japanese diaspora begins. The first large scale orbital colony is built by Ravenstone I.G. using material from Earth-crossing asteroids. It turns out that gravity is required for the development of fetal neural tissue, but it also turns out that rotational inertial provides a sufficient simulation of gravity for normal fetal development. "Island One" is a 512-meter radius sphere with a water shell for radiation protection.
Rumors begin to spread of anti-geronic treatments available to the very wealthy at spas in Europe and North America. Then, in a surprise move, an Israeli medical group drops the full protocol and formulary for a rejuvenation treatment on the open internet. Within a year, most people have taken it, and resumed the appearance and functional health of a person in their mid-twenties.
2050s: First Earth-Mars cycler, Buzz’s Dream, launched by Ravenstone I.G. The American Space Agency buys transport for a series of escalating missions to Mars; by Ares IV, a permanent base has been established inside a lava tube, and robots begin construction of a mass driver on the upper slopes of Olympus Mons.
Λόγχες του Άρη, pagan extremists, hijack an asteroid resource extraction ship from an Earth-Moon L4 construction facility and shape a course for Mars. Everyone in the solar system watches as the craft closes on the red planet. Ares IV mission commander Bjorn Valentine succeeds in contacting the ship, but the hijackers will give no proof of life of the dockyard hands missing since the ship was seized, and communicate little other than reading a prepared statement about the destiny of Mars. Faced with the possibility of armed extremists attacking an unarmed base full of scientists, Valentine uses the Olympus mass driver as a kinetic kill weapon, destroying the ship.
When Ares IV is relieved by Ares V, Valentine returns to Earth, where he faces a Board of Inquiry. His actions are upheld by the international panel, and the United Nations security council rules that, though individual nations are prohibited from taking weapons of mass destruction to space by the Outer Space treaty, the UN itself has the authority to do so. The United Nations Space and Planetary Authority: Customs and Excise (UNSPACE) is founded, with two initial divisions: Orbitguard, which monitors Earth-Moon space, and Spaceguard, which monitors trans-lunar space.
Rihoko and Jane separately decide to undertake a more extensive body remodeling; Jane to repair the damage from SLE, Rihoko as a result of injuries sustained during the Two Koreas war. While in the clinic, the two women meet and fall in love, though it will be over a decade before they marry.
2060s: With population pressures growing due to negligible age-related death, off-Earth settlement increases. This era marks the end of the Upheavals, as economic conditions improve and new frontiers open.
Spaceguard adopts the nomenclature of the American Coast Guard for its patrol ships, and the first UNSPACE cutter, UNSC Dag Hammarskjöld, is commanded by Captain Bjorn Valentine. As Earth-crossing asteroids begin to be rarer, resource extraction pushes out toward the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Following her rejuvenation and body repair, Rihoko Suzuki joins UNSPACE.
Meanwhile, Jane Gray leaves the practice of medicine for the practice of law, earning her JD from UC Berkeley. She specializes in interplanetary law, and joins a law firm at Baker Island high port, located in geosynchronous orbit and attached to the Baker Island elevator. This posting brings her into regular, though widely separated, contact with Rihoko. The two maintain active correspondence.
Late in the decade, Rihoko and Jane marry. Rihoko believes families should have a single name, but Jane, already married and divorced twice, is reluctant to make changes. Rihoko she adopts Jane’s family name, becoming Captain Rihoko Gray.
2100s: Rihoko, now a full Captain in UNSPACE and in command of UNSC Madeleine Albright, retires from active service. She accepts a reserve commission. Jane feels ready for another career change, and finishes the coursework required to test for an interplanetary engineer’s ticket. She takes the test to coincide with Rihoko’s retirement, and the two buy a small asteroid resource extraction ship and head for the main belt.
2130s: Over the course of decades, the Grays gain experience with asteroid resource extraction, and decide to focus on volatiles, pushing their range to the Jupiter side of the main asteroid belt and beyond. After much planning and dreaming, they commission the construction of a large ship from the Ceres yards. When it is complete, they name the ship Gray Maru. They set off to fill the cargo capacity with CHON mined from water, ammonia, and methane ice.
2140s: With full holds, the Grays drop down to cis-Lunar space and sell their cargo. While in proximity to Earth, they commission two daughters created from the mingling of their genes. While both girls have matching tissue and bloodtypes, and similar phenotypes, Autumn has Jane’s red hair, while the other girl, Winter, takes after Rihoko’s black hair. It is the Grays' plan to slowy fill Gray Maru with their extended family. To this end, they invite their only surviving parent, Kenichi Suzuki, to join them aboard ship. Though it is not initially planned, Kenichi becomes the primary caregiver for the young girls as Gray Maru moves back out to the deep belt and resumes ice mining.
Cis-Lunar space is becoming crowded, and habitats begin to be built at the Sun-Earth Lagrange points. The phrase “the Greenbelt” becomes common for the expanding sphere of human settlement inside the main asteroid belt.
2150s: Late in the decade, the Grays time their next trip to the Greenbelt to coincide with Autumn and Winter’s college acceptance. Autumn chooses to attend Jane’s alma matter, Vanderbilt University, located in Tennessee; Winter attends Transylvania University in Kentucky, drawn mostly by the name. The 350 kilometers between the two universities is the furthest the twins have ever been separated, or ever will be within the scope of this history.
While at Transylvania University, Winter uses an expert system match-maker to locate a suitable life partner. In her third year, she meets Sarah, whom she will eventually marry. Autumn dates, but shows no interest in long-term commitment. Upon the twins’ graduation, Gray Maru returns to Earth to pick up the three young women… and two more daughters for Jane and Rihoko, whom they name Ren and Ran, Japanese for Lotus and Orchid. Satisfied with their elder daughters, Jane and Rihoko see no need to remix their genes, and Ren is Autumn’s clone, while Ran is Winter’s.
2160s: Following a trip out to the Jovian Trojans to fill Gray Maru’s cargo capacity once more with CHON, Gray Maru is headed to Vesta to sell her cargo when a strange signal is intercepted, changing the Grays’ plans.