I had penciled in the character notes that the captain (actually Commodore) of our hero ship is a war hero. Given the decades since the last thrown between the two superpowers I was wondering if I needed to throw that out, or rework it.
But as I developed the economy of ISTO I realized that the only way someone would rise to the position of being a starship captain would be through celebrity. And one of the best ways of being a celebrity would be to be a war hero.
The political map of the Solar system has things as a military stalemate between the two superpowers (ISTO and Krasnovia). However, there are entire worlds in between that could be hotbeds of conflict. Worlds ruled by shady individuals, who are not averse to piracy or mistreating their population.
Each of the superpowers has had their equivilent of Afghanistan. A world they took over as a police action. They invade over the course of a week to fanfare. They find themselves STILL occupying that world 20 years later. And at a cost of military personel, ships, and face.
For ISTO, Eros is a bit like Panama is to the United States. ISTO backed a warlord who staged a coup. In exchange for their material and political assistance, the Warlord allowed ISTO to build an enormous infrastructure project. (Their shipyard.) After the war, ISTO had to back out of the arrangment. This put the ISTO friendly warlord on the back foot. The former warlord managed to secure some backing from Krasnovia, started a Marxist movement, and decided in the late 1970s to take back their planet. Especially now that it includes a brand new city, harbor, and massive shipbuilding facilities.
The ISTO Backed warlord fled into exile. ISTO issued a series of trade sanctions. This lasted until Eros's orbit carried it beyond Mars. After which, ISTO invaded with her fleet. The invasion was over in a week.
However, the months sanctions and blockade turned the local population against ISTO. The former warlord also had made quite a few enemies. When ISTO reinstalled him to power, it infurated those who saw the Maxists reforms as a genuine improvement to their lives. This led to a series of uprisings that ISTO found itself having to put down.
Ben (the Cézanne's captain) commanded an assault vessel during one of these uprisings. Terrorists managed to infiltrate the port they were operating in, and destroyed both his ship and the port with a dirty bomb. While Ben's troops fought with distinction, radiation sickness took its toll on them. Ben, himself, was medically retired from front-line service.
The bombing completely changed the character and prosecution of the occupation. ISTO rolled in with a several carrier group, and thousands and thousands of troops. The marxist leaders were captured and tried for war crimes. ISTO even maintained their occupation (complete with ship movements) as Eros crossed back inside of Mars' orbit. They called this a "Police action".
Krasnovia challenged this state of affairs by sending their own fleet to occupy the planet. ISTO's troops offered no resistence. Nor did they retreat. The Krasnovians were allowed to dock, and disembark their troops. The two forces then proceeded to battle things out over a game of spaceball.
As of the events in "Project Gilgamesh" (circa Star date 53932), Eros as evolved into a strange sort of cooperation/competition (coopetition?) between the ISTO and Krasnovia. Both sides maintain an "occupation" force. Both fleets enjoy port access. The two sides compete with each other backing elaborate infrastructure projects, including a massive resort, an olympic complex, and one of the most advanced Tegic research facilities in the Solar System. All of this infrastructure spending has supercharged the local economy.
Every year on Eros, the war is fought in the form or parades and sporting vents. The local population divides itself into factions by drawing lots. The factions assemble their teams of warriors. ISTO and Krasnovian occupation forces also field their own teams. A series of parades and tournaments decide this year's "winner". There really isn't any prize for "winning", save that there was no real war this year.
A rebellion on Ganymede overthrew Krasnovian control of the planetoid. Krasnovia issued a brutal crackdown. But despite decades of oppression, the rebellion only grows stronger. Over time, the planet has evolved into a semi-autonomous province. The rebellion is supplied (secretly, of coure) with food and weapons by ISTO. Krasnovia has had to patrol the space around Jupiter to prevent ISTO supply ships from reaching the rebels. This had led to exchanges of live fire as innocent (or not-so-innocent) ISTO vessels wandered into Jupiter's orbit. (Or nearly Jupiter orbit... or sometimes simply being on the same side of the Solar System as Jupiter...)
Krasnovia still maintains that Ganymede is one of their colonies, and within Krasnovian controlled space. The Rebels have sought international recognition. Nobody (not even ISTO) really wants to recognize them, as this could potentially throw the entire framework of the The Treaty of Reykjavík out the window. And throwing the Treaty out the window could potentially plunge the Solar system into another war between the superpowers.