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History of New Esrii
During the 2800 years since the ancestors of New Esrii left old Earth, their existence had never been in as much peril as it is now. Not when they were ostracized from Earth to become only the third colony in space; not when they were shunted aside by the Earth-based Space Population Regulation Committee (SPRC)&emdash;SPRC always moved their requests, concerns and grievances to the last folder to be considered. They were a small group, after all, with only a fifth of the population of the next smallest colony. At that time, they were called ESR II.
When in 2588, Earth's moon was damaged; communication from SPRC dwindled. A few colonies turned to New Esrii's ancestors for advice, because those people, then living on the satellite-cluster system they called ESR-II, had been thriving for many decades. After eight years not a single science center could get even a whisper of activity from Earth. The space colonies reluctantly surmised that Earth as a governing force, as a home base and seat of humanity, might be gone. The ancestors of New Esrii had predicted this and their prescience made them more outcast, as if their certainty of doom had caused it.
This was the very thing that had flung them from Earth those many centuries before—their denouncement of environmental procedures, of the excessive use of AI, nanotech and gene modification. From around the globe those conservative thinkers banded together, pooling resources and knowledge (a lot of knowledge) to counter the majority societies' direction. Outcries arose against them; they were suspected of all types of egregious acts and accused of anarchy. They had fled to the star colonies to keep their great thinkers and funds from being usurped by the rapidly-changing world government.
In 2604 Earth's influence with the star colonies had ended, the prejudice against these people increased. ESR-II was wealthy: they had the best medical scientists, led the way in astronomy and engineering. They also had the healthiest population: few if any suicides, no murders or theft. Their quasi-communal living was scorned and the quickly-formed Federation of Colonies (FOC) gave them only two seats on the council, while the other colonies had seven each. Quick-fix legislation was put in place until they could make contact with Earth and SPRC. "There will be no contact," said the delegates from ESR-II. "It's over."
Illegal lease permits were activated, and the cluster system of ESR-II, which they had designed and maintained with no help from SPRC, was suddenly dunned for exorbitant amounts, the funds going into the FOC's advancement program, where new mining was approved for fragile environments, where Artificial Intelligence became the priority endeavor, "To shore up our declining populations."
Again ESR-II people retreated. They had retained rights to two of their five living clusters, and towed those along through space, constantly on guard for pursuers as they hoped to leave all that was Colony and Earth behind them. Not that they didn't respect their beginnings, but they had no doubt that the artifice of the current system would result in disaster.
The disaster came to the other colonies, but not as expected. First contact! And the other space beings were not friendly. Reports came to the meandering ESRII ships of the meeting, then of negotiations, and some conflict. Peace teams were deployed. ESRII kept their efficient ships moving, silenced communications with the Federation of Colonies, hoping their little band of so-called dissident humans would not be found. Kept moving, gliding among the stars, advancing their galactic knowledge as they went, searching out a place so remote they wouldn't be pulled into any conflict—where they could be left alone to follow what they believed was the only sane way to live. They found a habitable planet in a far-off galaxy. They made landfall in old-Earth-year 2784; they began a new calendar and a new existence.
Yet now, after 820 years living on this planet they call New Esrii, they are in peril from a double threat: environmental and social.