Red turns Orange
A part of a side show not related to the main RTL timeline but a fun side project. This is a continuing side project not a part of the main RTL timeline and a fun side project and a work in progress. From Orange to rust is a side project that takes a premise not often explored within science fiction. That of the Dutch going to space, in this world the goal is to explore the effects of the Dutch moving to mars, its a future alternate timeline and it will aim to be a realistic as possible using as inspiration sources, the Expanse, Isaac Arthur science and futurism and other hard sci fi sources.
Global warming eventually took its toll upon the Netherlands and all her attempts like the north sea enclosure damm never got off the ground and then what followed were great floods. The Netherlands decided to look somewhere else to make their home, a place where they could make their own rules and make their own paradise. In 2050 the first steps of what came to be known as the Grote Trek started, what followed was a period of 55 years during which the majority of the population of the Netherlands moved to Mars. They chose it as it was a place far away from those who had betrayed them, it was a place where they could make a new home. It was the start of what would eventually become the start of a new state, a new people, and is today considered a critical moment in human history.
Mars prior to the Grote Trek
Prior to the Grote Trek Mars had seen and was seeing limited small-scale settlement, it was no longer a red rock and slowly but steadily both national and private colonial ventures were taking place. Several bustling colonies could be found on its surface, these ranged from being national ventures to being private ventures by mega-corporations and smaller corporations. By 2063 the Martian population was that of around 11,381,192. It consisted largely of first-generation and second-generation settlers, the first martian baby having only been born in 2047. It thus still had a long way to go before it truly could become the second home of humanity.
Mars could be divided into three major settled areas, those settlements belonging to China, those settlements belonging to the United States of America, and those belonging to private ventures. Scattered through the planet where several UN mission and ESA missions from before its fracturing due to the collapse of the EU. The three largest settlements were those of America in the Tharsis mountain region with its capital being that of Lewis Town, the Chinese settlement capital of Huo Xing in the Hellas Planitia, and the third being in the private corporate zone in the Valles Marineris where the city of Ares laid owned by the Ares mining group one of the largest mining groups not on earth. With many hundreds of smaller settlements spread through the planet.
Through the early period of Martian colonisation through the 20s 30s and early 40s earth had supported the effort with all it had. Yet as the 2040s progressed the political stability that earth had enjoyed began to lessen and interests in the colonisation of some far from the planet became less and less, as more local matters became more pressing. While support was never cut off as the population on Mars had become too large to ignore, they had been cut off largely from major backing, the American and Chinese colonies still enjoyed support but they were no longer a priority for those nations. This period of less direct government support meant that the private entities on Mars began to act more and more like various city-states in ancient Greece. During this period of less government support, the various colonies and settlements began to trade more and a small but emerging economy began to form, yet national rivalries remained omnipresent. It was to this world a world of growing autonomy, yet still, a tense atmosphere that the Dutch arrived over the period of 40 years, growing the population of mars from 15 Million in 2078 to 37 Million.
De grote trek
By 2105 the Dutch exodus had been completed, started in the 2050s, and slowly progressing from there, it had taken some 55 years of constant work, of spending the entire GDP the entire scientific and engineering capacity of a people on a project, to get the 19 million Dutch people towards mars. They had not arrived all at once, before 2105, there were numerous waves, 5 in total, the first wave in 2057, scouted the planet already somewhat settled limited as it was, There they scouted the positions that would be the new home for the Dutch people, they settled upon the Valles Marineris as the main area for settlement. The second wave started in 2070 when after years of construction the first so-called construction fleets and the first small waves of 100,000 colonists, consisting of engineers, scientists, and builders. They arrived in the orbit of where they would build the Kuiper station, a large O’Neil cylinder hub and from there they built a space elevator down to the planet’s surface. These first 100 thousand colonists this first wave these pioneers laid the foundations down of the first cities, colonies of the Dutch settlement of the planet. They laid down the orbital infrastructure and from there moved down with the construction of a space elevator and from there created the layout of what would be the core of the first major city of the Dutch on mars.
The third wave was launched in the 2080s, when the political situation on earth, as well as the climate situation, was reaching a point of no return, it was during this time that the first mass waves of the exodus were started. Since the 2060s large-scale martian colonization vessels were built, not just ships that transported people, but also ships that transported scientific equipment, factories, the most advanced production facilities as well. Entire factories were shipped off as well as resource extraction, storages of the seeds and the genetical codes for many of the animals, the idea was quite simple that only the most priced artifacts, the art of the old masters, and so on would be taken with them towards Mars. everything else would be created a new there for a new future however one thing that was decided that from every city every town in the Netherlands, one brick would be taken that would be placed in every new settlement that would be built by the Dutch from that time onward.
During this period the so-called “Groten Trek” took place between the 80s and up to 95. This was the time during which a majority of the Dutch population would leave towards mars. 15 Years of near-constant flights between earth and mars. In those 15 years, millions would pass through Kuiper station, itself growing into the largest man-made object in history as O’Neill cylinder after cylinder attached itself to it, as the cyclers between earth and Mars brought the millions over, then down to the planet and from there the outlines of the city were build upon. A new city began to rise, as parts of the mariner valley that had been closed off were beginning to be Peraterraformed at the same time they expanded into the valley further, as well as outside of the valley, setting up the transport network between the various colonial settlements inside the main Dutch settlement, and in between the settlements outside of the valley.
As the Dutch were expanding upon Mars back on earth they made the final preparations to leave the planet once and for all. This happened during a time when on earth tensions were heating up and large parts of Eurasia had been set ablaze with proxy conflicts, as well as a civil war within the African Union. During this time the Netherlands was completely abandoned by the Dutch leaving their homeland of over a thousand years behind once and for all. During this phase of the program, the final settlers left and things like more specific equipment were brought over, this included the military know-how and it was said that during this time the last Dutchman set food in the Netherlands, was a man named Klaas Akkerman, it was said he was the last man that left from Schiphol and the man that pushed the button that ended the Netherlands.
Thus a new era for the Dutch began an era that would see the red planet turn orange.
The Rim conflicts
With the battle for Mining outpost 19 fought and won the nature of the ongoing dispute between the Dutch state and the Wells settlement society changed and it escalated into a full-on conflict. This series of conflicts lasted from the 18th of June 2124, starting with the battle of mining outpost 19 and ended when Horison city, the capital of the Wells settlement society, was captured on the 18th of December 2126. The conflict often by earth historians called the first Martian conflict, changed the balance of power in the Valles Marineris. It saw the first forceful territorial expansion in Martian history, a breach into what had before been known as the “Corporate zone” and a sudden rise of a new power on the block.
In 2105 the Netherlands had moved the vast majority of its population, from Earth to Mars in what was to be known as De Grote Trek. As soon as the first waves of pioneers arrived in the late 2060s that had begun to build the outlines of the cities, production centers transportation infrastructure, and other critical infrastructure on the ground as well as the orbital infrastructure designed to handle the incoming and massive influx of immigrants. Thus as the second waves arrived and hundreds of thousands of people arrived, small cities were formed at the bases of the space elevators and rails, domes cities, and everything required for a proper long-term self-sustaining settlement began to appear. Then later as the third waves arrived these small cities expanded rapidly as where possible valleys were domed and walled off. At the same time cities were cut into the rocks growing rapidly and massively, the road & rail grid was expanded rapidly and massively. Not just within the principal large settlement in the Hebes Chasma but also in the second major settlement, which had 35% of the population, in the Tempe terra region.
By 2105 some 55 years after the start of the Grote trek, the Dutch regions of mars, commonly known simply as Mars-landen, were the most developed and populated settlements on the red planet. With a total population of 27,918,390 of which 35% lived in the Tempe Terra region, 60% living in the Hebes Chasma region, and the settlements in the Candor chasma rim region in the northwestern Valles Marineris region. With 5% living in Kuiper station that was the principal spaceport from where the space elevators went down. There were also growing settlements on the Martian north pole and large-scale infrastructure projects aimed at connecting the northern pole settlements to the tempes terra settlements and thus the main settlement. This did not include the dozens upon dozens of frontier settlements and mining outposts spread through the territory that the Dutch controlled.
Within the Dutch settlements, the economy was largely built upon the ongoing expansion of the settlement, mining, technological development, biotechnological development, and advanced production, it was in most things self-sufficient yet not in a critical area. It was reliant upon outside sources for the ice water needed to accommodate its expansion, as the population was growing and while recycling was effective it needed more to accommodate the expanding population.
They were reliant on their import of water ice, at least until the north pole colony was capable to deliver it and the infrastructure project was finished, which experienced numerous delays. Until that was finished it was reliant for its ice water on the Wells Settlement Society (WSS) that held a near-monopoly as much of its claim, not recognized, territory held the majority of the ice reserves in the upper Valles Marineris. It directly bordered the Dutch their own territory, this direct access was essential for the transportation of ice, as around the 2110s the situation on earth had deteriorated and Asteroid extraction was not deemed fast enough, it was the Dutch their only immediate source. While at first from the 2080s onwards both settlements traded peacefully with one another without any issue, as the 2110s proceeded this began to change.
A combination of a lack of other ice sources, continued Dutch expansion into the Valles Marines her Candor Chasma Rim region, often crossing what the WSS considered its territory, not just with scouting missions but with permanent mining outposts, water extraction facilities, and even frontier towns. While this in itself would have led to some issue but possibly be solved peacefully, it stood not on its own. As the Dutch population in the 2110s experienced rapid growth and thus its cities & in the mountains and domed over valleys expanded thus as well. Thus the Dutch demanded more ice and encouraged into WSS territory, it came to a point where the WSS (with a population of around 490,190) feared that soon it would not be able to meet its own consumption in the long term. Their reaction was quite simple and quite direct.
By 2117 the WSS had increased its price for water ice, as it knew the Dutch had few other sources and still needed to expand and desperately needed the water. It was hoped by the WSS that this would halt Dutch expansion and for about 1 year it did. Yet then the Dutch continued to build up extraction outposts in the region that they now occupied but the WSS considered its territory. It was for the simple reason that they had discovered large quantities of water ice, that would allow them to expand and stock up their reserves. By their current calculations, they would have reserves for about 60 years at current expansion levels and para-terraforming efforts. This led to the worst-case event from taking place and the WSS banned the export of its water ice to the Dutch state and it hired a private security firm to handle its border guarding duties, thus the Dutch were thrown into a sort of crisis.
The effect of a crisis
The crisis that resulted from the ban was something that could be felt through Dutch society, to extend their reserves rationing was initiated and expansion was temporarily halted. A debate within the staten-generaal emerged. It was a debate about how they should proceed, they knew that they could expand for some time without rationing, but they could not come to a negotiation table, as it would show the WSS that they could them around. This was something that many delegates of the staten-Generaal, having been born on earth in the final years of the Netherlands and having experienced the floods and the lack of aid from other nations, had made them rather cold-hearted. The debates went on for some time and where between two options, either pushing into the territory of the WSS to secure the ice or wait on the north pole settlement and facilities and transportation systems to be completed. The latter option was considered but the timetable for that project was 15 years, it was possible for them to wait but it would mean they would empty their reserves to an extent that it would be dangerously close to going to rationing levels.
To many, the option of risking a further escalation in the existing tension, by continuing to expand into the Rim region was more preferable. It was also due to the fact that the Candor Chasma Rim already had a large number of major settlements, like the Nieuw-Limburg valley settlements or the Nieuwe Ardenne. It would however mean the possibility of an escalation and possibly even the usage of hostile force, thus when it was decided in 2119 at the same time the Krijgsmacht was ordered to begin preparations on how to effectively operate on Mars and become an effective tool of policy.
With the policy of continuing to expand having been decided upon in June 2119, the following months were marked with the creation of a more coherent plan of expansion and securing the critical resources, by the cabinet of the newly elected Prime minister Willem Maartense. While at the same time the Krijgsmacht, which had for nearly 2 decades been a simple heavily armed police force, began to prepare for the effective conduction of a use of force on Mars. Recruitment offices were opened and contracts were sent out with requirements of what the Krijgsmacht, more precisely the Landmacht wanted to have in its mobile vehicles, as well as a request to several UAV construction companies to modify existing designs to create more weaponized variants. This preparation took place for a good 2 years, as the creation of a grand strategy and the build-up of military forces took some time yet by 2121 the Dutch started to push once again into WSS territory.
The start of a new phase
The first new push into WSS territory or perceived territory took place in August 2121, when from the Nieuwe-Ardenne settlement. Large groups of automated construction units, pioneers, and mobile hab units. They traveled through the valley in the great 6 km deep plain and crossed a so-called red line, that the WSS had informed everyone that they considered their territory. There the various groups set up mining outposts and water extraction facilities and command centers and small frontier towns.
This caught the eye of the Iron Guard, the private security firm that the WSS hired to handle their border as well as the WSS itself. The WSS send a political complaint about this sudden unprovoked and in its words hostile Dutch action. Yet nothing happened through the remainder of 2121 and up until the 7th of February 2122. Occasionally some Iron guard drones flew over Dutch outposts and vice versa. Yet through the months while nothing happened on the border, what was happening, in reality, was that the Iron guard was hiring recruits from the earth and shipped them to Mars. The WSS considered her own long-term stability to be at stake, as its economic fortunes seemed to worsen as the Dutch continued to extract water ice from the frontier regions, and now the WSS her own long-term water security seemed to be threatened. Feeling that they to were now under threat they allowed the Iron Guard to not just get more recruits from the earth, many of those recruits being veterans of the many proxy wars going on, but also it started to requests its backers on earth for support. Yet due to the situation on earth being rather dire as the third world war her effects were still very much present.
Yet the Iron Guard recruited from the veterans of the proxy conflicts in Africa and with a large loan, had armed itself up. Its reinforcements arrived on Mars in early 2122 and using the larger Musk space elevator they began transporting their men and equipment towards the WSS and from there move towards the border region and from February onwards the tensions entered a new phase. A phase where drones being lost became an ever more present event and where through 2122 and into 2123 the Iron Guard began to actively set up border outposts, defense outposts, and major installations. The Iron Guard as of 2123 had a total force of around 23,000 men on mars, armed with armoured vehicles, armed sentry drones, armed sentry droids, and remote weapon systems. They in total had a force of some 67,000 sentry droids under their command. They thus had begun to set up the defensive network and more outposts and this hindered the more regular Dutch scouting operations as the grand strategy was a slow but steady one. Yet the Iron Guard was preparing for their own plan as well, to push the Dutch back to the original border, maybe taking the mining installations for themselves to make themselves some nice profits. All of these factors combined in what eventually would become known as the Battle for mining outpost 19.
The battle took place on the 18th of June 2124, when a standard Dutch patrol was destroyed by Iron Guard units. This caused the Dutch to respond in force in a coherent long-range counterattack to secure the outpost. this counterattack involved a total of 490 Dutch soldiers and armoured vehicles including the newly developed mobile gun system. The counterattack was swift and brutal and the 590 Iron guard men that guarded the outpost and the surrounding forward operating bases were all killed in a decisively precise and brutal offensive.