Interstellar Polities

Territory in Interstellar Politics

Home space, the volume of the galaxy nearest to Sol, was bitterly contested during the Second Interstellar War. As a result, many borders are firm lines in space, and authority is asserted over vast light-years of empty void for nothing more than political principle. This may be the status quo, but it was not always the case.

During the initial colonization rush, and even after the First Interstellar War, interstellar polities were often quite happy to claim individuals systems almost regardless of their physical location. To be sure, they preferred those nearest them, but few considered interstellar space worthy of claiming - star systems were where the resources and the action were. In the turmoil of the Second Interstellar War, such outlier systems were quickly picked off, and borders consolidated. There are a few exceptions to the general rule, however.

The Extropian Star Consortium has franchised itself across transhuman space. It claims worlds and even entire systems within several interstellar polities, including the Union of Sol, Austrin-Ontis, and Starmech space. The Orion League and the Orlamu Theocracy have also played host to a few Extropian start-ups, and even Insight has developed a working relationship with the hypercapitalists, given their proximity to the megacorporate behemoth of VoidCorp, which neither have any particular love for.

The Hatire have little respect for political boundaries, considering it a sacrament to spread the word of their prophet to every world they can, by force if necessary. In the case of the Thuldan Empire, however, force has not been necessary, and almost a third of Thuldan worlds claim a strong Hatire presence. Hatire missionaries have had tremendous success in Thuldan space, with major segments of the population destroying their own mesh implants and petitioning the Hatire Brethern for indulgences for genecrime - generally given, for no one can be truly responsible for genetic tampering before they were even properly conceived.

The Orion League and the Orlamu Theocracy, being close allies for much of their existence as independent polities, have a diffuse border in the old style. Though a representative oligarchy rather than demarchist, the two have little reason to quarrel over political issues, as the Orlamu respect most civil liberties to a degree the demarchist Orions can tolerate.

Interstellar Polities of 2501

Nomads

Most transhuman and xeno cultures flourish near stars, and huddle about them, claiming worlds and asteroids as their own. Not every culture, however, follows this trend. In the years before the stardrive was developed, hundreds of lighthuggers were manufactured by the Fusers, leaving on decades or centuries-long journeys across space. The advent of the stardrive, however, often meant that their destination world was already colonized by the time they got there. Some stayed and integrated into the new colony. Others just kept on going. Eventually, for some, this became a way of life.

There are two primary types of nomadic culture: system and interstellar. The former, commonly referred to as 'scum' (the word having lost much of the offensive quality it carried some centuries ago), can be found in almost any system, though some polities proscribe the practice of living aboard-ship. System scum can be relied upon to carry morphological modifications well in excess of the cultural standard, and often possess technologies proscribed by the host polity, though they generally keep it under the table.

Interstellar nomads are, by contrast, a more sedate group. Most interstellar nomads are Fusers or fork cultures of Fusers such as Ultimates or Seekers. While their repurposed lighthuggers are almost always equipped with a stardrive, they will at times undertake a sub-light journey for no reason other than that they feel like it. The remaining interstellar nomads are most commonly those traders without a primary home port.

Fusers

An umbrella term for Burnout-descent cultures that heavily hybridize biological and artificial technologies. In most cases, it is used to refer to the root culture, called 'Mechalus' by some, which fought an extended war with Old Earth micropolities immediately after the Burnout. While propaganda of the time portrayed the Fusers as villainous and literally single-minded, a consciousness with many bodies and no individuality that thought only of expansion, the fact is that Fusers do possess individuality. Their group-consciousness occupies a higher plane of thought, and figures heavily in Fuser-to-Fuser interaction.

Fusers played little role as a group in the First or Second Interstellar War, but individuals and groups of individuals sometimes provided assistance or even joined one side or the other (The Borealis Republic owes much to Fuser assistance in the Second Interstellar War in particular). Though they did not generally deploy them, many of the deadliest weapons, including those used to burn entire worlds, were developed as a byproduct of Fuser science. It is for this reason that even those polities openly hostile to Fusers have little interest in picking a fight with them.

Memes: +Research, +Independence/Noninterference
Advantages: +10 to Research, +10 to Infosec, +10 to any Hardware.
Disadvantages: Cannot start as a Flat or Splicer. Must spend at least 60,000 credits on cybernetics and other implants.

Ultimates

A Burnout-descent culture heavy on militarism and personal prowess. In many ways similar to the Thuldan ethic, though they have no proscription against cybernetics and in fact indulge heavily in it. Unlike the mainline Fusers, Ultimates were deeply involved in both major interstellar wars and in most microwars between polities, acting as mercenaries to test themselves against all possible foes. A further difference with mainline Fusers is that Ultimates reject the group-mind in most circumstances, viewing it as a crutch.

Few Ultimate crews are larger than 50 or 60, as beyond that they tend to fragment due to personality conflicts. Too many alpha personalities.

Memes: +Militarism, +Social Darwinism, +Individualism
Advantages: +10 to any weapon skill; +10 to Intimidation
Disadvantages: Cannot start as a Flat or Splicer. Must spend at least 60,000 credits on cybernetics, other implants, and/or weaponry.

Seekers

Shorthand for 'Singularity Seekers.' Unlike the other Fuser cultures, which are usually accepted when they arrive in a system (albeit grudgingly at times), very few polities will even tolerate the presence of Seekers. This is because Seekers are focused (some would say obsessed) with creating singularity events, most of which are not especially healthy for onlookers. The cautionary tale in this case is that of Atoll, a small colony of about four million transhumans orbiting an F1 star. It was completely deconstructed by Von Neumann machines, along with every other object in the system larger than a tennis ball, in order to create a Dyson Swarm around the parent star. As no Dyson Swarm has ever been known to communicate with external stimuli (even with Fusers), it remains unknown as to whether the colonists were forcibly uploaded into the swarm or were simply deconstructed for their carbon load.

Memes: +Research, +Transcendence

Non-National Actors

It was believed, for a time, that expansion into space would render the nation-state an obsolete form. History has not shown this to be the case, but there are a number of groups that operate outside the bounds of loyalty to a state or statelike entity. Some are single-habitat micropolities, others are organizations that span transhuman space.

Autonomists

Autonomists, usually anarchists of one strain or another, tend to congregate in small colonies (Typically one million or less) in space, typically in a Lagrange point. Autonomists tend to operate under non-scarcity New Economic principles, with focus on self-sufficiency. While they are best represented, as a philosophy, in Orion space, the Orion Demarchy is a level of organization to high even for the autonomists; either that, or they use similar principles but decline to enter into a larger confederation. Informal alliances, however, are quite common, as public feeling for an issue can galvanize support. Thuldan and Voidcorp authorities routinely root out autonomist attempts to settle in their space, and most corporate-aligned polities either heavily restrict them or forbid them entirely, save for Austrin-Ontis; while they disagree on economic grounds, many Austrins cannot help but admire the individualist spirit of autonomism, even if they prefer the relative security of a thoroughly regulated scarcity economy.

Argonauts

Descended from a confederation of think tanks dating back to Old Earth itself, the Argonauts are an interstellar community of self-sufficient scientists, operating in much the same manner as autonomist settlements but belonging to a greater fraternity that advocates for rational approaches to situations and for freedom of information, especially technological information. Argonauts tend to have very good relationships with autonomists and with Fusers (some Argonauts are almost indistinguishable from Fusers; some are Fusers), and especially with Insight, which is considered by some to be a band of Argonauts that decided to form an interstellar nation. Naturally, the opposite is true in some cases; Argonauts are simply not welcome in Hatire, Thuldan, or Voidcorp space.

Galactic Concord

Established by the treaty that ended the Second Interstellar War. The Galactic Concord is a distributed supergovernmental organization designed to maintain the peace and enforce interstellar law. It operates on a cell structure for the most part, though there are overarching structures designed to respond to large-scale threats to peace.

As the Concord is made up of systems and populations 'donated' by interstellar polities and has only been around for a few decades, it hasn't really had time to develop an overarching social culture, but conflicts of interest due to previous polity affiliation are studiously avoided, either by population movement or by psychosurgical procedures to eliminate previous loyalties.

The Concord is also furnished with the best of technologies available from each of the parent polities involved, as well as support from several Fuser microcultures sympathetic to the aims of transhuman peace and unity. As a result they frequently hold the technological edge over parties they're responsible for.

Like Solars, Concordans tend to dwell in space habitats, as most interstellar polities were deeply unwilling to donate precious Terra-compatible worlds.

Micropolities

The vast majority of independent polities exist in the fringe areas of transhuman space; Far Reach, the Orion Frontier, and the Verge. The independent polities in core space were almost all consumed in the Second Interstellar War. Micropolities generally only have a single planet or habitat to themselves, occasionally several or an entire system in some cases. There is some considerable strain on interstellar vs micropolity relations in frontier areas, as many were established either by extant interstellar polities or by their predecessors, and simply assumed de facto independence over the extended cutoff from core space. Now their parent polities are returning and demanding that things pick up where they left off.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License