December 1962 and five astronauts get the fright of their lives.
Years before man first landed on the moon, the secret 'Tenjin' mission led by intrepid mission commander Hill had a most ambitious goal - to start a human colony elsewhere in the habitable solar system. Rocketing away from Earth towards planet Mars was the beginning of a journey that would span six months and 300 million miles.
The journey to the mysterious red planet was as uneventful as it was long. That was about to change, Mars orbit wars hours away. Excitement building, commander and crew prepared for entry into the thin cold atmosphere, ready for descent and eventual landing near to the frozen lakes of the northern lowlands. Messages exchanged. Communications went dark.
Mission control heard from neither commander nor crew ever again.
We're alive! Elation soon gave way to dread. Having crash-landed adjacent to what appeared to be the sophisticated entryway into a larger underground complex, it was obvious our explorers were not alone on Mars.
Martians! Who knew? The commander would have to broach first contact. Hill suited-up and prepared to exit her ship's barely functioning living quarters. Imagining that she might take one giant leap onto the martian surface, Hill decided to carefully descend via the ladder. Mars was hard and dusty. Here goes nothing.
After what seemed like an age she returned to a very nervous crew. Don't worry, she informed, these martians are a friendly bunch! Invited to a martian banquette in their honour that evening (the martians had language translator apps) our Earthly explorers learned the martians themselves were a long lost tribe of humanity recently arrived from a nearby galaxy. Resident on Mars for a mere twelve months and numbering one-hundred and ten in population - these new martians were here to stay. But something didn't add up. The martians freely explained their new dwellings and infrastructure extended a hundred square underground miles. How could so few have produced so much in such a short time?
A Real Resource
In the tea leaves this mystery was soon solved. Along with ships full of materials, solar generators and atmospheric oxygen extractors, the martians had brought tea plants from their home world. Grown in the weak Martian gravity and rich volcanic soil, this crop made for a powerful brew. One hot cup of tea every morning enabled a martian to perform the work of ten; flourish on three hours of sleep at night and - they claimed - progressively reverse the signs of ageing over time.
Incredible! Our explorers were unanimous, this brew (amongst other services), are what we will need to thrive on Mars. A little light exploring, then we'll get straight to negotiating an immediate increase in tea crop production. Then it hit them. There was a flaw in their plan. Thing is, the martians seemed perfectly happy, planting, building, refining (they discovered fossil hydrocarbons); looking after one another in their cooperative favour-based non-monetary community. Producing additional tea crop for alien arrivals might not be a priority. A one-way radio antenna, leaky battery and fast dwindling supplies of freeze-dried chicken, the astronauts realised they had nothing these new martians needed.
An enjoyable evening slipped into a week of deliberation. The martian accomplishments were tremendous. But, something was clearly missing, a proper plan for the community and the organising structures to implement policy. It was time for a new reality.
A Monetary Solution
Unfortunately, the earthly explorers were at pains to explain to the martian elders, your community and dwellings - everything you have built - are in danger. Evidently, 'less than friendly' earthlings were sure to arrive soon. But not to fret. We have the training and skills not only to protect you from troublesome others, but also instruct you in the art of social etiquette. We have a plan for the community. Best all round if you submit to it voluntarily.
Somewhat bemused (and looking sheepishly towards their new homes), the martian elders acquiesced to the ambition of their new friends. All agreed. Tenjin mission commander Hill would serve as Governor of a newly formed legislative council.
This was now Hill's republic of Tenjin. Hill swiftly proceeded to define legislative conditions, principally, the role legislative council would play as monopoly creator of republic money.
Initiated immediately (because security doesn't come free), a 'Dwelling Security & Protection' tax will be levied on each martian dwelling, to be paid only in the new money of the republic, Tenjin Republic Dollars (TRD). Tax payments will be collected without fail on the last day of each Earthly financial quarter, starting next quarter.
Of course, to ensure the security and future prosperity of the republic, the governor's officials (earthling and martian) will purchase from members of the republic a set amount of tea crop (and other services) on the first day of each Earthly financial quarter, starting next quarter. Members will be credited with a given amount of fresh new TRD in payment for their surplus.
This was Hill's new republic. Time to get going.