In 2246, a pioneering group of several thousand set off from Earth, on a generational ship, bound for a system 14 light years away with an identified, habitable planet waiting for them. A dying Earth, and the only slightly more palatable prospect of a difficult life on an overcrowded Mars, had left their journey as one of the only remaining options.
On the way out of the Solar System, while passing through the extreme outer reaches of the Oort Cloud, and in an incredibly poor stroke of luck, their ship passed within 100,000 kilometers of a previously unidentified dark and icy exoplanet. The significant gravitational perturbation pushed them well off-course, and with limited excess fuel to re-adjust, eliminated their prospects of reaching their initial destination.
An emergency meeting was called, and the decision made to target a new system within their reduced range. It had five planets, and although there was no certainty any of them were habitable, it was their only chance to avoid effectively drifting until their reactors gave out.
Nearly 150 years later, the pioneers' grandchildren completed their long deceleration burn and arrived in their system of refuge, Adalia. However, initial jubilation was rapidly tempered as each of their five scan probes returned from surveying the planets, Adalia A through E, reporting hostile, uninhabitable environments on each.
As a last resort, they turned towards the asteroid belt situated between Adalia B and C. After a quick scan there appeared to be roughly a quarter million asteroids over 1km in diameter. The pioneers placed themselves in orbit around a large asteroid, TG-29980, and decided to allow the pioneers to purchase mineral rights to the individual asteroids.
Additionally, to encourage rapid development and exploitation, all scan probes on-board were to be made available to the new prospectors.
With a better understanding of the resource abundance across the belt, the prospectors moved out to begin extraction. Mines were established, metals, volatiles, and organic materials were pulled from the ground, and burgeoning supply chains started.
Before long, certain asteroids were developing into specialized manufacturing centers. The entire surface of some were covered in factories receiving regular shipments from across the system.
Market hubs also sprung up along major trade routes facilitating a stabilization in the economy and making more than one fortune.
Earth was 150 years behind them, but technological progress had largely halted during the journey with no impetus for advancement within their self-contained vessel.
With the pioneers' future now increasingly secure, as settlements began maturing, they looked towards a higher quality of life. Increased automation was allowing for more and more time to be set aside to the pursuit of higher learning, and with it, the potential for scientific and technological breakthroughs.
New ship designs, novel propulsion methods taking advantage of the asteroid's near zero-G environments, and more efficient processing and manufacturing methods became their primary focus. They would establish Adalia as a home, and not just a refuge.
Influence strives for a realistic vision of a future, space-faring civilization. That vision is reflected in Influence's concept art, created in partnership with Marina Ortega, who has produced concept art for several other award-winning projects like The Forest, Beyond a Steel Sky, and Magic the Gathering.