One of the spectacular accomplishments of the Mirondian Era was the building of the first Space Elevator. As it became recognized how expensive it would always be to use rockets to get mass out of Earth's gravitational well, physists and space engineers started proposing alternative methods. In the 1960's the Space Elevator concept gained a lot of popularity. But, in practice, the elevator and all the others proposed turned out to be even more difficult to accomplish than sending up rockets.
Until the Mirondians added some of their technical wizardry. Then... Blip!
The project begins with another Mirondian ship leaving the Show Room Asteroid. This one is filled more Mirondian System Engineers (MSE's) and heads for Earth orbit. Once there, the MSE's are close enough to Earth that they can use their Blip management techniques while remaining on the ship as they coordinate with human workers on Earth assigned to the Space Elevator project.
On Earth, a few of the newly hired engineers are gathered in a big meeting room to get introduced to the MSE's. They are of diverse backgrounds, and getting to know each other, as they are preparing to get their first instructions from the Mirondian who will be supervising them. He will be on a screen talking to them from the engineering ship orbiting Earth.
Three of the workers are Jason Furlong, a good looking man in his 30's, Zeb Noches, a bit heavier and shorter than Jason, also in his 30's, and Judy Alonzo, a good looking woman in an engineering way, in her 20's. The three are chatting and drinking coffee when the main screen lights up. They sit next to each other at the large conference table with the others and wait to hear the first news.
Miro-Robert, the Chief Mirondian on this project, appears on the screen. In this first appearance he is new at this talking-to-humans business, but he improves rapidly over time.
Miro-Robert says, "Humans... I mean, ladies and gentlemen. You can call me... I mean, I am... Miro-Robert. ...I apologize for my language, I am still learning your culture.
"I will be your supervisor on this Space Elevator project. As outlined in the job proposals you read before joining this project, your mission is to design the tools that will make the structural members of the elevator tower. These members have to be... smart... I think you call it. They have to change their supporting characteristics in response to several different criterion, such as load, and on the lower elements, weather conditions.
"Is this clear?"
The humans nod their heads. It takes a moment for Miro-Robert to figure out this means understanding and agreement.
"I will send the beginning information to your personal communicators. Use those to send back questions or information.
With that, he signs off. Moving fast from task to task is part of Blip culture.
The speed of his exit surprises some of the engineers.
Jason says, "That was fast."
Zeb says, "Yeah!"
After Miro-Robert leaves the screen information starts coming into the cyber links of the engineers. As they finish absorbing that, they get back into the "real world" and start chatting with each other again.
Judy says, "Lunch?"
Jason says, "Sounds good to me."
The trio head out for the food court. There they eat and chat some more.
Judy says, "This is going to be quite a project."
Jason says, "That Miro-Robert guy is certainly fast presenting."
Zeb says, "I think that’s part of being blip. I’m real curious about that."
Judy says, "Me too."
Jason says, "Well... when it shows me how to get laid faster then I get interested... sorry, Judy."
Judy is not bothered.
"Zeb and I, by the way, go way back. We went to high school together."
Judy says, "Really? Where was that?"
Jason says, "Lexington, Kentucky."
Judy says, "I’m a Colorado girl, myself, Boulder."
The trio work hard together, and well, but the task is a challenging one. It is challenging for many reason, but one is that Miro-Robert pops in frequently on the communicator to change details of their mission. If he was a mortal Earth manager, this would be frustrating and demoralizing -- moving "goal posts" are never fun. But because this is being done Blip style, the changes quickly make sense, and help, and the project keeps moving ahead at a blistering pace.
In just a month they have their part of the project finished. They are in their office admiring a component that has just come off a 3D printer.
Jason says, "Wow! We started this when... just four weeks ago? This should have taken a year and ten people."
Zeb says, "This blip stuff is impressive."
Jason says, "And so are we!"
There are fist bumps all around.
Miro-Robert appears on the screen. He says, "Good work... excellent work. I’m
sending you the next phase." and he is gone.
It is eighteen months later and the Space Elevator is now complete. Cargo units are moving up and down. A huge breakthrough in Earth's ability to reach space is now in place and functioning.
There is a celebration party in progress. Miro-Robert comes down and joins in. He wears an environment suit. He moves quickly from group to group. It is as if he is engaging in blip socializing. The trio, on the other hand, are relaxing and winding down.
Judy says, "Soo... what comes next for you gents?"
Jason says, "There’s a new factory starting up and I have a job there. It will make components for this new intra-solar system propulsion system the Mirondians have sold us."
Judy says, "Neat! What about you, Zeb?"
Zeb says, "Oh... I’m real curious about how this new... build-it-so-fast system works. Real curious. Miro-Robert is going to be teaching a class on how to do 'blip'. I’m going to be taking that for a while."
Judy says, "Neat."
Zeb says, "Neat, but real intensive. It will keep me occupied full time."
Judy looks at Jason, "Not for you, eh?"
Jason says, "Nope, not for me. I figure if I learn blip, the first thing I’ll use it for is drinking."
They all laugh at that.
Jason says, "And how about you, Judy?"
Judy says, "Me? I’ll be staying with the company. Now that we have it figured out, this smart girder business is finding lots of other applications. I figure I’ll be on Earth doing this a couple years, then... who knows... maybe on some colony up above. I’ve always wanted to try living in space."
Zeb says, "Wow! That’s... high ambition!"
Once again there are laughs around.
Two years later there is a conference on the Moon. Zeb and Judy run into each other there.
The climate control is suitable for human beings -- plenty of air and the right temperature -- but it is only at Moon gravity -- .16G -- so people bounce when they walk, and handling objects such as plates full of food is different.
Zeb says, "How are things going for you, Judy?"
Judy says, "Oh just fine. ...Really well, in fact. I’ve just been promoted. I’m now Base Chief at the Belt 226 Transfer Station."
"Really? Congrats! If I’m not mistaken that’s the one that is handling the new cyronics nanoparticles coming from Io, isn’t it? Quite a responsibility."
"You got it. It’s tricky stuff to deal with, but we’re getting the hang of it now. And how about you?"
"Oh, I’m on my third start up right now, still on Earth. The first one fizzled out pretty completely, but the second one did well, and selling out of it let me get this third one started.
"This one is looking hot, white hot. We will be making a new drug, something called Miracoxin. It will be super cold pill. It works directly on the human immune system, not the virus or other foreign agent that is firing it up. Take it and 'flu-like symptoms' will vanish."
"What happens to the virus?"
"Oh, the immune system is still functioning, but it’s not going overboard. That’s the difference. The virus will take a few days longer to be contained, but the person will be feeling normal while it happens. Plus, there will be other drugs that can work on the virus.
"The real key is Miracoxin makes people feel better as soon as they start taking it. That’s why it’s hot."
Judy smiles at him. "It sure sounds like it. Congrats in advance."
Just then they look at one of the display screens on the wall showing a newscast. They notice that it is news about some kind of protest going on on Earth, and there is something happening there that is special for them!
They say together, "It’s Jason!"
The protester being interviewed is Jason. They now pay more attention. They watch him, then give him a call when his interview ends. This shows up on a screen that both can see and talk to.
Zeb says, "Hey Jason! What’s up, ole man? We just saw you on the news."
Jason says, "Oh that! These days I’m the chairman of the Cleveland Mirondians Go Home committee. I lost my job at the factory because they are relocating engine construction to space stations. This is an outrage."
Judy looks at Zeb with a bit of surprise. She whispers to him, "Ouch! That’s one of the projects my group is picking up." Then she says to Jason, "Why is that an outrage? Those engines get used in space, why not make them there?"
Jason doesn’t have a quick answer, but he comes up with, "Well... Umm... Because it cost me my job! That’s why."
Judy says, "So... what are you going to do next?"
Jason says, "I’m not sure. I’m not sure what’s going to open up here on Earth.
"The good news is: I’m entitled. I’m not going to starve or go homeless.
But... man! I still want a job. And I think it’s those Mirondians who are cutting me out of one! That’s why I’m protesting."
Judy says, "You seem to be doing a good job at that. We spotted you way up here on the Moon."
Jason looks a little bug-eyed at that. "That’s where you are? Both of you? Wow! Things have sure changed."
Zeb says, "I’m working on Earth. I’m just up for this conference."
Judy says, "Well, keep looking. I’m sure something will turn up. These are fast changing times."
Jason says, "Given how protester work is about selling something. I’m looking into that now. Bye now."
They break off contact.
After they do, a Mirondian comes up to them. It is Miro-Sam, who looks and sounds quite differently from Miro-Robert.
Miro-Sam says, "Judy, before you leave, please come see me."
He is about to move on when Judy grabs his arm and says, "Wait. I'd like you to meet a friend, this is Zeb. We worked on Elevator together."
Miro-Sam says, "Nice to meet you... Zeb. Perhaps we will get a chance to work together in the future."
He bows and moves on. He is Mirondian: they have met, he gets on with his business.
Zeb says to Judy, "Mirondian... but way different from Miro-Robert."
Judy says, "You noticed it too. It feels like they came from different cultures... maybe even different planets. How could that be?"
Zeb shrugs, "There’s still lots of mystery out there, I guess."
Miro-Sam is walking by again. Zeb stops him, "A question for you, Miro-Sam, if you have the time."
Miro-Sam says, "Please, ask away."
Zeb says, "Are you from the same place as Miro-Robert? You two seem so different in how you communicate."
Miro-Sam says, "We are not. We are both colonists. We come from different worlds."
Zeb says, "Different worlds! How did you both get on the same ship?"
Miro-Sam says, "Like I said: We are both colonists. That is all I can say on this right now. Good-bye again." and he continues on his way.
Zeb says to Judy, "Yeah, I guess they still keep some secrets."
They go on about their conferencing.
One year later there are more surprises.
This time the center of surprise for Jason, Zeb and Judy is in the halls of US Congress. Jason and Zeb are called to testify before a Congressional Hearing.
They are in a hearing room with all the usual hustle and bustle that accompanies a hearing -- committee members, aids, witnesses and an audience.
The Hearing Chairman, a man in his 50's, starts off, "We will now continue our investigation of Miracle. This new recreational drug that may be yet another threat to our well-being that has come from the Mirondian ship.
"Our next witness is Zeb Noches, president of Miracoxin Inc., maker of Miracoxin."
Zeb speaks into his microphone, "Our company acquired the rights to
make Miracoxin from the Mirondians. Miracoxin suppresses the cold symptoms that a person suffers when they are having 'flu-like symptoms' from any source -- flu, cold, drug reaction, whatever. It’s a cold tablet on steroids, and as safe as aspirin. Our company has been making it and selling it, and it has become popular the world over.
"However, six months ago some of those bad apples in the druggie community discovered that if you acidify Miracoxin before you take it, it develops euphoric properties as well -- it makes you feel good as well as relieving cold symptoms. This modified form is called Miracle.
"I would like to point out that this is not a use that Miracoxin Inc. discovered, or recommends. It is also not something that affects the efficacy of Miracoxin. This is not something that should affect our ability to help the world alleviate itself from cold symptoms.
The chairman says, "Thank you, Mr. Noches.
"Our next witness will present a different point of view. Mr. Jason Furlong will you give us your point of view."
Jason talks into his microphone, "Miracle has opened a new front in
the War on Drugs. It’s not like we didn’t have enough problems in this arena already.
We should not blame Miracoxin Inc. for this problem. No... the ones to blame are the Mirondians! If the Mirondians hadn’t shown up, we wouldn’t have this... Miracle... to worry about.
The chairman says, "Thank you, Mr. Furlong. We will now recess for ten minutes."
The hearing breaks up. Zeb and Jason leave, but get together again in a restaurant at the transport terminal where they are both catching rides home. They catch up with each other.
(Note that with driverless cars, buses and airplanes, transportation is done a lot differently than in the 2010’s. This terminal handles taxis, buses and airplanes, but light rail systems are now an anachronism for passenger use, they are too inflexible in routing to be of much value.)
Jason says, "It looks like it’s been a busy year for you, Zeb. That start up seems to have hit big-time for you."
Zeb says, "It has. Keep it under your hat, but we’re planning on going public, and if it goes as planned I’ll be a billionaire."
"For real? This Mirondian business has treated you right, that’s for sure."
"It has. And apparently this year has been a busy one for you, too, Jason. From man on the street to congressional testifier. That’s quite a move up... in an odd path... I’d say anyway. How’d you wangle that?"
"Keep it under your hat, but Miracle has done well for me. I hooked up early on with some of those 'bad apples' as you called them. I’ve got me a distribution network!" he runs his hands up and down under his suspenders, "and I’ve bought me some legislators. I’m no billionaire, but I’m making a living.
"But... I wish things were going differently. I really do wish those damn Mirondians hadn't showed up. I wish they'd take a hike. I really like to be doing some real work, not the corner whoring I'm doing now."
"I hear you... but I don't agree. Man! We are making such progress these days."
Jason is about to say more, but their respective transports arrive and they part ways.
Judy is attending a class. Her professor, a casually dressed woman in her 40's, is explaining why the human community is getting so restive since the Mirondians have arrived.
"Tension in the human community is high and growing because the things that Mirondians trade to the Solar System community are not as trivial as chests of gold or bags of diamonds. They are much more earthshaking.
"Think of it this way:
"If a man comes to a town with a chest of gold and starts spending it like a young sailor on shore-leave, he is happy and the town’s merchants are happy, but there is little change to the daily life of the town. The gold is nice for the town’s well-being -- it makes the town better -- but it doesn’t change the day-to-day life of the town. The town lives on, and simply waits for the next man with gold to come along.
"But if a man comes to town, and it only has people and horses for transport, and builds a big bicycle factory that sells cheap bicycles, then he deeply alters the town’s day-to-day living patterns.
"He provides new kinds of jobs, a new style of transportation, city growth, city pollution... lots of changes... some good, some bad, many that are both.
In short, he changes how the town lives. Some townspeople are going to be happy about the change, and some will be upset.
"It is the bicycle factory kind of change that Mirondians are bringing to the Solar System. The changes we are experiencing are huge."
Judy raises her hand, the professor recognizes her, "Speaking of transportation
revolutions, that’s what I’m involved in. My company is making
some of those new constant acceleration propulsion systems."
The professor says, "The ones that are cutting Earth-Mars travel times from years to weeks?"
"Um humm, plus making the trip healthier because the gravity stays higher while the trip is in progress."
The professor asks the class, "What other changes will this bring?"
Another student answers, "That, plus the space elevator, mean a whole lot more people are going to be leaving Earth."
"Leaving in what sense? Vacations?"
"No, as in emigrating -- going to other places to live and work."
"What’s another change that is needed for that to happen?"
"We need to be able to build infrastructure fast... blip fast. That’s what I’m involved in. We are projecting growth from the thousand off-Earthers when the Mirondians arrived to more than a million by the end of the year."
The student nods.
"So, yes indeed, our world is changing quickly. And I predict even more surprises coming."
Not just humans are prospering. The Mirondians are prospering as well. This means more vacation time for them, and they are spending that time where they love it: at the beach.
Miro-Sam, Miro-Alex and Miro-Bob are back at the beach in their environment suits. The suits are improved. The trio can now splash around in the water as well as wander the beach.
They approach some jungle, curious about it. As they do, Irving Eggelston, an eccentric British birdwatcher in his 30's, pops out with camera in hand. He is surprised as well.
He says, "I say! You’re not from around here, are you!"
There is a pause while the Mirondians figure out what they have just heard.
Miro-Sam says, "We are from the Mirondian ship."
Irving says, "Ah... that explains the suits."
Miro-Alex says, "We are here to look at the jungle."
Irving says, "I’m here to look at the birds in the jungle. They are so colorful. When I see them, I shoot them."
The Mirondians look at each other. This seems barbaric to them. Eggelston notices their concern. He holds up his camera, "With my camera, that is. I don’t kill them.
"Would you like to join me as I look for more birds?"
The Mirondians agree to this, and the foursome walks into the jungle with Eggelston at the lead.
It is New Year's Eve. It is Year Five since the Mirondians arrived. There is a gathering of thousands of people in a city square. But more than the New Year brings them. The Mirondians say they have a big announcement to make as well.
Miro-Robert shows up on the big screen to make an announcement to the crowd. He is beaming, this is a joyous announcement for him.
"We are very pleased with how our trading and relations with this Solar System are progressing. We are delighted at how generous and responsive you people of the Solar System have been. Thanks to your wholehearted cooperation, we have both prospered mightily. We are so encouraged that we have decided to start what for us is a most precious project: the building of a new star ship.
"This is not a project we take on lightly. And we do it only because we think Earth and the Solar System can add so much value to this endeavor.
"Congratulations to you people of the Solar System. You have proved to be wonderful trading partners."
The people watching are speechless... but not with the same joy as Miro-Robert. They are speechless with surprise.
Jason, Zeb and Judy come in to a restaurant and wait for a table. Judy wears an exoskeleton to help her deal with Earth gravity -- she has become well acclimated to the low G of the space colonies and moving around on Earth is
now a big effort. They chat as they wait.
Jason says, "What brings you down to Earth these days, Judy? It must be something special. You look like Iron Man."
Judy says, "It is. I’m here for my Dad’s funeral."
Jason says, "Ouch! Sorry to hear about that.
"I guess it’s a double ouch, actually. You have to wear that get-up, too."
Judy says, "Yeah, I admit, I’ve gotten real used to being above the clouds. Being down here is a lot of work for me now. I do most of my Earth meeting through a video connection."
Zeb says, "Are you going to be OK? ...Oh, and sorry about your dad."
Judy says, "I’ll manage... and be real happy when The Elevator is taking me up again."
They get a table, sit down and order. Judy starts off the talk about the big news, "Well, boys, what do you think of this big news the Mirondians dropped on us?"
Zeb says, "Are they planning on crewing it with Earth people? If I was ten years younger, I’d be out in a heartbeat."
Jason says, "You’d go off to who-knows-where, and pay the Mirondians a pretty penny to take you? I guess it’s a good thing you’re an old, rich man now."
Zeb says, "You wouldn’t go? What an opportunity."
Jason says, "If they start sending stuff away from here, stuff will come back too. Real strange stuff. Maybe not such good strange stuff, either. Mark my words!
"And in the meantime, we’ve still got lots of poor people here. We should be doing more to help the poor, not build some fancy-ass, interstellar space ship."
Judy says, "This big, and I'm mostly looking forward to the contracts."
Zeb says, "Think of the opportunity... Humanity can expand across the galaxy."
Jason says, "Pfft! I’ve heard that before... all the time in science fiction movies."
Judy says, "Across the galaxy is a stretch, but
at least a lot of places nearby. Even the Mirondians don’t go across the whole galaxy. It’s too big.
And as best they know, there’s no 'Galactic Empire', either."
Jason sums up his point of view, "Fix home first." then changes the topic, "Say, you been following the Ram Jets lately? They just won number five-in-a-row."
As they eat it is Open Mike night for comedians. Sally Forth, an aspiring comic in her 20's, gives her monologue.
Sally says, "In Mirondian eyes, this announcement is supposed to have been one of great joy for both Mirondians and Solar System people. For them it is like when a young bride gets dewy-eyed, cuddles up to her new husband, and whispers in his ear, 'Darling, I have something special to tell you.' and he smiles back, hugs her, kisses her, and knows that their baby-making exercises have been successful.
"In Solar System eyes, this is like when a dad’s sixteen year-old daughter cuddles up to him and tells him she has had the same success with her high school boyfriend. The dad says, 'Whoa! Lets talk about this!'"
Six months later, Miro-Robert is on the Mirondian News Channel giving further details about the new Mirondian ship that is to be built. Diagrams come up to emphasize the points he is making. The diagrams show that the new star ship will be huge. This was going to take a lot of resource, even for a solar system which has an Earth-style planet in it.
Miro-Robert says, "Yes, it will be a grand ship. It will be five times bigger than our current ship. It is the size of a comet, and it will hold a medium-size city’s worth of people in it.
"And, it will be finished in five years."
The human commentators are buzzing about this announcement Miro-Robert has made. Myrtle is right on top of it on her show. Judy is on one screen as an off-world expert. Miro-Robert is on another.
Judy says, "There are far too few MSE’s -- System Engineers -- to get this project completed as scheduled. This means that Mirondians were going to have to teach even more Blip construction and management techniques to a lot of Solar System people.
"I don’t know about how other people feel, but I want to be first in line."
Myrtle says, "Who is going to crew this new ship... and who is going to pay for it?"
Miro-Robert says, "We will issue contracts, as we always have.
"You, people of the Solar System, will help us man the ship. It will be an honor for many of you. Your chance to see the wonders of other star systems, and spread your seed to other worlds."
Yes, the Mirondians kept secrets, but for the first five years the distaste caused by the secret keeping was overshadowed by the spectacular benefits of the trading. But tension was growing in the Solar System community, and as the Fifth Anniversary of the Mirondian Arrival approached in 2479, it was high.
One example is the transportation revolution. Before the Mirondians came, mankind was moving around the Solar System using boost-and-coast rocket technology. This was the same technology that got man to the Moon in the 1960's. Mankind was moving around, but the process of moving people and goods from one planet to another, or from a planet to an asteroid or moon, took weeks-to-years, and it was expensive. As a result the off-Earth colonies were small, supported only by science aspirations not commercial activity, growing slowly, and only importing the most important things they needed, no luxuries. The Solar System was Earth-centric. The Moon had the biggest off-Earth colonies because it was quick to get to from Earth, and Mars had the next biggest for the same reason.
The Mirondians traded to Earth a constant acceleration propulsion system that could sustain .5G acceleration to anywhere in the Solar System. Using their blip construction techniques, a factory making these ships at the rate of one a month was available six months after the Space Elevator opened, and it was expanded to two a month at the end of the first year when it was clear that demand for these ships was huge. A year after that, the human propulsion people made a breakthrough, and 1G propulsion systems became practical for luxury ships.
On these new ships a trip from Earth to Mars took a few days to three weeks depending on their orbital relation. Even more important, ships could launch at any time -- 1G acceleration was so powerful that orbital niceties such as optimal intercept times could be ignored. And, with constant 1G acceleration, the bad health effects of low-G travel were avoided. Traveling around the Solar System became nearly as comfortable and convenient as traveling around Earth.
As a result of this new ease and cheapness, first thousands, then millions more "Earthlings" were willing to travel in space and take up residence in colonies. This uptick in willingness to travel would have caused a huge housing crisis on the colonies, but blip construction techniques were reducing housing construction times by five times. The colonies were able to sustain huge growth. Roughly a million Earthlings became colonists in Year Five, which increased the off-Earth population of the Solar System one hundred-fold. They emigrated because they were curious, and because there were hundreds of new off-Earth mining, manufacturing and construction projects being initiated thanks to new Mirondian products and new Mirondian technology. A million moved, but a million did not stay. Most went for a while, then came back to Earth, then went out again. But many stayed, then brought their families. Mixed in with the million or so Earthling colonists moving back and forth were a few hundred MSE's from the Mirondian mother ship.
The physical facilities were able to sustain this population surge, but the social facilities were overwhelmed. Before The Growth of Year Four, the colonies were neighborly places. The colonial governments were informal, and everyone in a colony knew everyone else. There was a lot of hazard outside the colony walls, so cooperation was high and crime was low. Mirondian technology cheapened everything in a colony. Housing, food, life support, entertainment... social values... everything got cheaper. Many pre-Mirondian residents of the colonies got deeply upset at the cheapening social values; many did not because they loved the new people and because they could now import "frivolous" things, such as flowers. Those who were made billionaires by the changes tended to say the problems were deplorable, but bearable.
This transportation revolution, and the colonial social revolution it brought about, is one example of the hundreds of changes that came with Mirondian trading, and it is an example of how each change raised the tension in the various Solar System communities. The tensions were high, but the wonderousness was high, too.
The Solar System community was probably not alone in feeling the tension. The Mirondians were trading because they were getting wealthy, too. We don't know much about their community, but it is hard to imagine that their community did not undergo some wealth stress as well. What is known is that the Mirondian community seemed to fall in love with Earth. The Mirondians came as tourists to visit Earth, and then kept coming back. They loved seeing lush life. They loved coral reefs, temperate and tropical rainforests, cities and zoos. Mountain ranges left them cold. Interesting rock formations caused by erosion held their interest briefly, but life... thick life... was a magnet to them -- they couldn't stay away. The rest of the Solar System communities got somewhat envious of this, but there wasn't much they could do about it. What made this even more ironic was that the Mirondians had to experience Earth from inside environment suits -- their native conditions were not Earth-like. So when they visited somewhere such as Yosemite Park, they stood out. They were the ones in the "space suits", surrounded by the flows of casually-clothed humanity.
The announcement of building a new mother ship started a firestorm of discussion about the Mirondian - Solar System relation. Many Solar System communities started seriously reviewing the question, "Just who is getting what from this relation?" Those who were unhappy, or passed by, or just looking for some anger to exploit started talking about all those things that had gone wrong since the Mirondians had come. Since there had been a lot of changes, a whole lot, there where plenty of sour stories to tell. (There were plenty of good stories, too, but the people who were part of the good stories were usually too busy doing better to make good story tellers.) Here are two examples:
The first example is a fairly simple one. First, there were chronic headlines of "[Community Name] unsettled by Crime Wave. Are new settlers to blame?" The article would then go into a discussion of various high profile crimes of the community, who was moving in, what good they brought, but that there were a few bad apples in the mix. It would end with some local politician or NGO leader (Non Government Organization) campaigning for better screening of immigrants. As people got angrier, these balanced stories evolved into sensational stories about lurid crimes and immigrant gangs running amok.
The second example is the Miracoxin/Miracle evolution partly described above. After the Miracle discovery, the anti-drug groups were spreading stories that Miracle/Miracoxin was not as safe as was originally reported, and the whole anti-drug abuse establishment had a new target. They loved it! Memberships in anti-drug crusades tripled. The problem was, Miracle was safe -- no reasonably neutral study would confirm the accusations of the anti-drug movement. The result of this mix -- an attractive drug and deep worry about its attractiveness -- was a new battlefield in the War on Drugs. And the battlefield was blamed on the Mirondians. "If the Mirondians hadn't shown up, we wouldn't have Miracle to worry about." argued those anti-druggers who were frustrated that they couldn't win on this battlefield, either.
These are just a couple examples of the controversies that grew out of the huge social changes that Mirondian - Solar System contact brought to the Solar System. The Solar System was fast getting to be a better place for humans, but those benefits were hard to digest, and they caused many people a lot of worry and stress.
To those humans who wanted to voice discontent, the new starship announcement became a lightning rod. The Mirondians were tightlipped on the starship issue, which made controversy easier. For six months after the announcement, the Mirondians had little further to say on it, other than, "We are doing the planning now. Please have patience." People were not patient, they bellyached a lot and there were protests building.