The Infinité was launched from Amondiage on New Years Day 4952AD. Six months later it departed for the La Mère system, carrying 30,000 colonists, mostly of Amondiagian nomad stock. In 5067AD, after stopping off at the new colony of St. Denis, the Infinité arrived at its destination.
It had been decided that Sansterre was the best place to plant a colony in the system, and suitable equipment had been taken along. The Infinité landed in the ocean (it had been designed to allow the use of its empty fuel tanks as floatation chambers) and disgorged a cargo of prefabricated undersea environments, which were then tethered to the ocean floor.
Some of the colonists worked in the habitats and began to set up a basic manufacturing industry, while the rest used hundreds of small ships that they had brought with them. From roaming the deserts of Amondiage to exploring the seas of Sansterre was not a great change for the Nomad peoples. They learned to fish for food, and swiftly grew to enjoy the life. Following their custom from Amondiage, the Nomads organised themselves into Caravans, which wandered the oceans for about 4 years before gathering for a global Moot, where decisions were made and bargains struck.
The seabed industries expanded slowly but surely, until they could supply the technological needs of the surface people without assistance from the Infinité. The first settlements consisted of vast floating pontoons, used for agriculture, and limited undersea dome habitats. The domes were immediately used as a base for mining operations. Soon a flow of basic raw materials was established, and the growing population could begin to move into disused and refurbished undersea mine workings.
In 5104AD the great colony vessel finally departed the system. It went to New Home, where it picked up colonists, but the ship and its new passengers were forced down on Sturgeons Law.
5105-5166AD Well Managed Growth
The great task of building a stable human colony on Sansterre was overseen by the Colonial Council. The council was made up of representatives from each of the important colonial groups; nomads, settlers, miners, construction engineers and security personnel. The Council was given sweeping powers to enforce its control. The planners of the colony back on Amondiage had correctly foreseen that discipline would be essential for the new colony. Only by working together could the colonists build lives for themselves in such a hostile environment.
The importance of co-operation was clear to everyone, and so the programme was remarkably effective. Bar a few minor disciplinary problems (swiftly dealt with), the colonisation plan was implemented successfully and ahead of schedule.
Within 50 years the population had grown to 150,000. The undersea habitats were stable and complete. The floating raft cities were producing power and agricultural goods, and the nomadic fishing people were receiving newly built ships.
There was always a danger that conflict would arise between Sansterres various interest groups. The planners of the colony had addressed this issue by ensuring that the undersea communities provided hospital and child-rearing facilities for all colonists, especially the nomads. The cities were to serve and complement the nomads, never to dominate them.