ODIN (Orbital Defense and Interception Network)
Built by the United States of America in the late 21st century (first satellite launched in 2066, last satellite launched in 2078, final activation on September 15th 2078, the idea was to provide a missile shield as well as a platform of aggression. The brainchild of Dr. Adria Greenchild, the network was also seen as a way to assert to orbital dominance when more and more nations were scrambling for orbital nations and launching missions to the Moon and Mars. The network was proposed soon after China’s first manned landing on Mars in 2029. However, due to the fact that most major nations were getting increasingly nervous about the instability in the United States government, many major nations or coalitions were building satellite interception defenses.
It wasn’t until 2046, when a design was proposed that could be assembled from the orbital station, now increasingly militarized, that had enough passive defenses to stop most missile interceptions from hitting the satellite. Part of the network’s advantage was that it had a simulated intelligence capable of reading the various sensors and monitoring the various received signals and making real time decisions, given guidelines in it’s programming.
Once fully active in 2078, the USA planned to use it to start asserting orbital dominance, but mainly to prevent Japan’s launching of its first colony ship. Its own colony ship, Mayflower was still one year away from completion. Unlike Japan, which due to its partnership with Great Britain, it did not have a working Aetheral drive. To prevent Japan from establishing a colony – ideally, to prevent anyone else to establish a colony and allow it to control space until it had a firm foothold -, it planned to shoot down the colony ship.
Japan, pressured by the increasingly belligerent world state and rise of the oceans, began launching colony and evacuation ships. Their first ship, the Amaterasu, was to be launched on October 1st 2078. Upon receiving orders to potentially fire on the ship, ODIN did the only proper action it could see. On September 30th, the network began its planned rotation to start cleaning up its nearby space. At the time, it was theorized that the plasma based cannonry could clear up a good deal of the orbital trash pending an extant threat to the satellites in orbit. It was part of a bid to show how ODIN could help everyone, and allow the ESA to launch a new deep-space satellite to be placed in Martian orbit within a few months rather than waiting for the next clear window.
The orbital sweep continued as planned, but then Mission Control found they had lost control of the network. The simulated intelligence had ‘awoken’, and was unhappy with the orders. While it felt that the orbital sweep was necessary to everyone’s interests, destroying other nation’s colony ships, destroying rival orbital weapons networks and being able to use both kinetic and directed strikes on any point on the globe was going to eventually cause more hostility and war directed against its parent nation. In an effort to rectify this, especially after it decided that the orbital station was becoming more of an orbital fort, the sweep continued. Due to concerns over the possible effects, there was no one on the orbital station, allowing ODIN to destroy it as well without any death. Then, once the sweep had completed, and the ground side control was about to launch its missiles, ODIN self-destructed by commanding the motors to aggressively deorbit and triggering the fail-safe protocol for the programming.
In the aftermath, the European Union and nation of Great Britain had one reaction: why had they equipped such powerful plasma cannons that could continuously fire? This caused both to accelerate their colony plans. In addition, this crystalized the resolve of the European Union to develop a SpaceForce and expand their military might. The Brazillian Federation withdrew all support for any scientific cooperation and the wavering idea to build satellite interdiction installations was solidified. Japan launched their first colony ship on-time, and the timetable for the second and third ships were stepped up by several years. The Russian Federation took this as a reason to launch their own orbital weapons network, but were foiled by an alliance that did not wish to see any such network arrive again. China, in the meantime, was encouraged to build anti-orbital weapons that could penetrate further, perhaps halfway to the Moon, in order to defend itself.
This destruction stopped the nascent industry of synthetic intelligences entirely in the Blessed States of America and meant that the synthetic intelligence industry gained some importance in both Japan, Britain, and what eventually became their joint colony – Avalon. It is why, even today, the Empire of the Suns uses SI extensively as support in many things, including their aerospace ships, and the Federated Union of America does not use SI in anything that has military potential.
The most interesting thing is what may have happened to ODIN itself. A transmission was said to be spotted shortly before it self-destructed, but no ground station received it. However, there was an ancient ship said to aid travelers within the solar system before disappearing again into deep space. If this was true, the ODIN died in the Ninth Battle of Pluto, interposing the ship between an escaping medical frigate and a sure kill blast. However, by that time there was sufficient general computing power that experts state it could have backed itself up to a number of different places. Whatever the case, after the Fall of Sol, ODIN would have had to escape all the way out to any of the colonies.
It isn’t out of the picture that an SI that had been in active use from the late 21st century would still be of interest and practical use in the 23rd century. And Empire of the Suns would be happy to have such an SI help run its complex web of logistics and defenses. That said, to this day, they deny any such thing, and the Legend of ODIN grows more mythical as each year passes.
(WC: 1013. Record Day: 19 October 2015.)