Scenario: The Federation Council has voted to make the essential orbital adjustment of a planet. Once accomplished, it will bloom to life with little terraforming help. This can be accomplished by the immense, stately Peach Fleet (description below).
Problem: There are people who really, really, don't want this new planet to come alive.
- It would quickly become a trade up, taking commerce from someone else.
- A nearby empire (take your pick) will view it as strategically threatening.
You guessed it. Sabotage, cloaked raiders, blackmailed fleet controllers, political backdoor agreements... every conceivable monkey wrench is being thrown against this Federation effort.
This mission suggestion might actually be the very first test of Peach Fleet.
I can think of a few empires in the quadrant who recognize the potential and don't want the Federation to have this.
The Planet-Moving Peach Fleet was born amidst widespread, nay-saying ridicule much like Fulton's Folly and Seward's Folly. Many so-called experts vociferously criticized the project as an extremely expensive effort that was doomed to fail from the start.
Many planets and colonies across the galaxy face extinction from hazardous solarian orbital shifts. Too cold, too hot, too much radiation, a minor theoretical shift would set things right. (As a point of comparison, if Planet Earth were to be 10% closer or further from our sun, it would be completely uninhabitable.) More than that, minor orbital shifts could enable terraformers to convert otherwise desolate planets into veritable paradises. Historically, however, attempts to use gravity fields to pull planets had failed. Many different methods were tried, but they usually resulted in severe weather disturbances, oceanic violence, and even tectonic damage.
Mister Cobalt (a tycoon), however, used his status and influence to persuade the Federation Council to support limited production to test on small moons. For a long time, he had watched the gravity engines used in Gorn asteroid mining. He was sure that a large scale version of this could make adjustments to planetary orbits, very slowly and very gently. The Ebon Megacorp of Ferenginar took a particular interest in the terraforming potential and became a project partner.
Using a combination of propulsions, including hypersails, a fleet of gigantic gravity ships was constructed, well over a thousand. Carefully deployed by astrophysicists, they generated a large, integrated gravity field in orbit of a planet. This field didn't just pull at a planet, it enveloped it.
Critics mocked the project by likening it to the ancient Earth children's story 'James and the Giant Peach'. In this story, five hundred seagulls lifted a mythical giant peach out of the ocean and flew it great distances. After the gravity fleet's first successful save of a planet, Mister Cobalt found satisfaction in immortalizing the name, "Peach Fleet". With Ferenginar Marketing behind him, the name was guaranteed to stick.
Today, Peach Fleet is in very high demand. It typically requires many months of constant, gentle 'fielding a planet' to accomplish the needed, small orbital adjustments. In addition, the giants require immense power & resources. But this has spared the Federation from the daunting task of evacuating entire doomed planets full of people. More than that, the quadrant is beginning to come alive now that more planets can become terraform-viable. It isn't hurting Ebon's business empire any, either.