In the beginning, there was the Guandong Industrial Investment and Financial Group, and the group was very wealthy, and very powerful. The group was interested in created a stronger beachhead in the interplanetary resource market, and was in a unique position. The Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was flush with success as their venture to stake a major claim on Mars had been a resounding success, driving away even the vaunted might of the Atlantic Federation Space Fleet.
Nuevo Tortuga, or Ceres
Also known as the asteroid Ceres, Nuevo Tortuga had been functioning as a
freehold in the asteroid belt. The meager facilities on the asteroid
were beholden to no nation or power, and it was a den of scum and
villainy. Banditry and piracy were fairly rampant in the belt. Often the only
difference between belt miners and pirates was the amount of weaponry
the potential ship to be raided was carrying. This made belt mining dangerous as well as highly profitable, kicking off a brief era of space piracy. The asteroid base, as ramshackle and cobbled together as the Kashmir Orbital Annex was the home of much of the pirate activity. The pirates avoided Federation shipping and mining as it had the power to hunt them down and crush them, and instead chose to harry everyone else who had staked a claim in the belt.
This lasted until the Emperor of China decreed that the belt pirates needed to be destroyed. The ACPS had long been a preferred target, as their ships were few in number, poorly defended, and the ACPS was far away and unlikely to send retaliation. The 1st Improvised Fleet, spearheaded by the cruiser Admiral Yi, contested Nuevo Tortuga, and fought a pitched battle against the pirates. The 1st Fleet took moderate losses, including losing the Admiral Yi, and half of the destroyers committed to the fight, but won. Nuevo Tortuga was destroyed by naval bombardment with an unknown loss of life on the residents. There were scarcely more than a dozen survivors of the battle.
With the Belt Pirates thinned and their base shattered, the ACPS rebuilt Nuevo Tortuga into their own stronghold, with the intent of claiming sovereign rule over the belt and it's resources, as well as separating the valuable Jovian colonies from Earth. With control of Huo Hsing consolidating, the emperor was in position to make a sweeping blow against the other terrestrial nations. To this end, he commanded the construction of mining and refining facilities on Ceres, and for it to be the base for a ACPS space mining fleet. It's wealth would build the Emperor a fleet to shame the Federation, and cow the insolent Eurasian Alliance, and force the capitulation of the Nippon.
The Five Metal Dragons
The ACPS sourced and built five high quality AISCs and housed them on the asteroid. Each had a specific purpose, and a role to play in the Chinese Hegemony over space.
Jugan was tasked with biosciences, life support, food production, and reproductive services for the Belt and outer territories. This would grow a Chinese population in space without the need to export them, as well as producing the food and other consumables required for colonization of the new fleet, mines, and habitats that would grow from the Emperor's mighty seed.
Keiga was given dominion over communications and surveillance, and what happened on Earth and in the Belt would be it's jurisdiction. The AISC was to serve as the administrator over the ACPS CogNet in the Belt, as well as it's central node. This would free the Emperor from the tyranny of the M12, even if just in one part of the Solar System.
Kokusho was granted power over the operations of the new space fortress, and control of the mining operations, and would be the overlord of those who toiled for the Emperor.
Ryusei was the fist and sword of the Emperor, and all matters military were under it's dominion. The warships of the fleet were under the AISCs control. Likewise, the generals and admirals of the new space military bowed to the wisdom of the great machine.
Yosei was the ultimate of the dragons, and was the master of the others, able to overrule any of them, to take any of their places, and to serve as the most exemplary of the Emperor's servants.
The Five Metal Dragons worked together in harmony and quickly established their dominance over the Belt. The facilities on Ceres were proven capable of turning space debris into new mining ships and worker droids, through the biogenics program lagged, as the technology for seeding humans into space wasn't quite up to par. The ACPS ended up relying on sending convicts, dissidents, and volunteers into the Belt to populate their operations, slowing the pace of plans.
Gushen Xing, the Lair of Mighty Wyrms
The Emperor struck down the name Ceres, just as he had struck down the name Mars, and replaced it. Ceres became Gushen Xing, or the Lair of Mighty Wyrms. The asteroid housed the AISC cores of the dragons, and is the logistic hub of their domain. The Five Metal Dragons haven't engaged in militarism and do not have vast mechanical armies, as the Seibertronians have. Instead, the Dragons have built ships. They have built a lot of ships. It is a common misconception that each of the dragon AISCs are housed in the various massive ships that transit the asteroid belt with Gushen Xing as their home base. These ships have their own droid intelligences, but none are AISCs.
The Five Metal Dragons caused quite a stir. No one had expected the ACPS to make such a bold move, or such an expensive one. Between Huo Hsing and Nuevo Tortuga, the ACPS had lost almost a dozen ships, thousands of sailors, plus hundreds of mecha, aerospace fighters and power armors. The grab was successful, and once dug in, it was estimated that it would take a massive amount of force to remove them. This escalated tensions across the Solar System. The Jovian colonies were fearful of Chinese aggression, and the other residents of the Belt were concerned that the ACPS would simply destroy their habitats and ships and move on without even parlay.
The Vesta Incident
Tensions remained high, and seemingly reached a climax at the Vesta mining center. A Federation outpost, the Vesta center housed close to 3500 personnel, plus a number of refineries and docking facilities. After Ceres, it was the second busiest base in the Belt. The Incident occurred when three groups of warships moved within 2000 kilometers of each other. The first was the Vesta Naval reserve, a token force of second line frigates and a destroyer. The second was a Seibertronian harvester group escorted by a lone Decimator warship. The final group was a task force of patrol ships, the cruiser Sao Feng, and a mining flotilla.
It seemed that was was inevitable, and that the dance would play out with the ACPS fleet attacking and attempting to take Vesta. It was likely that the Sao Feng was no match for the Seibertronian's Decimater, but it didnt matter who won. The Emperor would claim a military attack on a mining expedition, stirring up anti-seibertronian sentiment, as well as trying to garner support among the enemies of the Federation.
Except nothing happened. The Sao Feng and the Decimater 03 passed within 10 kilometers of each other without so much as an active scan. Likewise, the Vesta task force never engaged their weapons.
The Callisto Summit
was unexpected, and devastating. The Five Metal Dragons, ensconced in
their cradles on Gushen Xing, seceded from the ACPS. The machines and their
fleets of ships and array of mining colonies and relays all switched
from Zhongguo to a neutral stance. This was greeted warmly by the
Atlantic Federation and the seibertronians, who desired a peaceful and
profitable trans-solar economy. The Emperor's rage was boundless and he
decreed that the machines were to be destroyed, their ships burned, and
their code broken. There was a moratorium placed against building new
AISCs, and those that were being built were destroyed. The Emperor's
Rage against the machines was futile as the ACPS space fleet was a minor
player to begin with, and with the loss of the Dragons, it was cut in
half. Efforts have been instituted to restore the fleet, but
construction of new ships has been slow, and the majority of the new
ships built have been destroyers, frigates, and military carry-alls.
The Callisto Summit was held a month after the Vesta incident, and representatives from the Federation, New Seibertron, and Gushen Xing attended. The talks were relatively brief, as they were all handled by machines. The Federation's MAGI and the Five Metal Dragons quickly came to an accord, and the Seibertronian envoy, Dinamitador, was highly amenable. All of the factions desired peace in space, as warships blowing each other up tends to be expensive, and causes a good deal of collateral damage.
Callisto Summit saw a three way treatise signed between the Atlantic
Federation, the Five Metal Dragons, and the Ganymede based Seibertronian
faction for a peaceful expansion of influence through the solar system.
Dozens of nations were enraged by this, mostly through their
non-inclusion. The Seibertronian scientist Shockwave informed the
aggrieved parties that if they had a measurable amount of influence in
space beyond the orbit of Luna, they would have been included. This was
followed by a comprehensive list of ships available to each of the
non-involved parties, listed in order of tonnage. The ACPS was almost at
the bottom of this list, having a space fleet comparable to the
entirely terrestrial nations of the EUdAS (United States of South
America) or the South African United Republics.
The Emperor's bile boils anytime he
considers the fact that the Dragons are now an ally to the Federation.