History of settlement
Beta Coma Berenices is a G0V star 29.8 light-years from Sol. It was scouted by a JAFAL probe that had been launched by NASA, but from which no report had been yet been received in 2118. The NACC sold the rights to Beta Coma Berenices in AD 2117 (when Chi Draconis V was confirmed habitable), calculating that one colony would suffice it for centuries. The rights were bought by Anchises Inangulo, a secretive tycoon domiciled in Tunisia. Inangulo has been described variously as ‘eccentric’ and ‘sinister’, ‘philanthropist’ and ‘megalomaniac’.
Beta Coma Berenices is reasonably close to the point in the sky directly opposite from Tau Ceti. Bifrost did not serve Beta Coma Berenices because its eccentric orbit gave it a perihelion too close to the Sun for the flinger to function there. But when the new flingers were built in 2120 both the North American and the Chinese ones orbited in planes that lay close to Beta Coma Berenices, close enough to offer one launch slot per orbit. Moreover, when the Interplanetary Society built its new flinger to replace the aging Bifrost it chose a plane of orbit in which Beta Coma Berenices lay exactly, offering a full set of launches. That put Inangulo in the position of monopsony buyer of non-monopoly services that were produced as a cheap by-product of sunk investment in providing launches towards other colonies. That is, he could get JAFAL launch services to Beta Coma Berenices cheaply.
Inangulo’s program was organised as a trust called “Aeneas Mutual Emigration Society”, which was supported by an network of international holdings designed to conceal the ownership and control, ultimately vested in a charitable foundation, registered in Luxembourg and with the stated purpose of “guaranteeing the posterity of the Human species by establishing one or more viable interstellar colonies”. Emigrants joined the mutual society — contributing all their wealth on Earth to it — and became beneficiaries of the trust.
The Aeneas colony was carefully planned and amply (but not lavishly) supplied and equipped. Inangulo’s Luxembourgish foundation made up the excess of costs over members’ contributions, so it was able to accept poor applicants and had a numerous stream of well-qualified applicants. As a private organisation the mutual society was able to choose its members according to opaque criteria, which were never published.
Having plenty of volunteers to choose from, Anchises Inangulo was able to select strongly. He chose only health young adults for the first fifteen years, then accepting also healthy parents with dependent children. He favoured both athletic and academic accomplishment, also of literary, artistic, and musical talent, and was careful to include volunteers from a range diversity of racial backgrounds (to preserve genetic diversity). Aeneas Mutual accepted only members who gave indications of social responsibility and community involvement. Applicants were screened for known genetic diseases, and above all, they required respectable qualifications in the professional and technical fields that would be needed to terraform the world and establish the colony. The result of all this was that the membership of Aeneas Mutual rather resembled the body of recipients of scholarships at a well-regarded university.
Anchises Inangulo’s private conduct was irregular. He lived semi-recluse in a palatial apartment in a mixed-use tower in Carthage, which was entirely occupied by his firms, employees, and dependents. He travelled only in semi-secrecy, and made scheduled appearances rarely, and only (a) at important conferences and occasions of public diplomacy, and (b) with extensive measures for his personal security. He also had at least 22 children by six different women, with up to four contractual “wives” at a time. His wives were recruited for their athletic, intellectual, and artistic or musical gifts, were of six distinctly different racial types, and were munificently rewarded for their services, all elevated for modest origins to considerable wealth, besides their children by Inangulo being established in opulence.
In AD 2151 an investigative journalist published an exposé of Anchises Inangulo’s activities that disclosed the irregularity of his family affairs, denounced the arbitrary and apparently capricious way he was toying with the fate of his colony. It insinuated that he had a eugenicist agenda and that he was trying to create a master-race to dominate the future universe, and it revealed that he had contrived to send several of his numerous children and grandchildren to Aeneas and Tau Ceti, besides at least one to each of Paraíso and Mayflower. Inangulo was assassinated eight months later, in a terrorist outrage that also killed five thousand bystanders¹.
Anchises Mutual went on after Inangulo’s death, executing algorithms that he had written through its own bureaucratic inertia, and in the hands of a cabal of dutiful trustees. It was not until 2163 that prosecutors managed to wind up his estate and the trust and expropriate the wealth thereof. The rights to colonise Aeneas were sold to the benefit of the municipal government of Carthage, and Aeneas afterwards became a commercial colony to which people emigrated on payment of a fee, and taking whatever cargo their thought good and could afford.
¹ In versions of this material before 2001 I supposed that Inangulo’s murderers had flown a hijacked passenger aircraft into his tower in Carthage. It hasn’t seemed in good taste to retain that event.