The Duchy of Callisto Former holding of the Terran Empire
The Duchy of Callisto has claimed neutrality since the great civil war overtook the Terran Empire. While technically beholden to the Terran Empire, the ensuing power struggle saw the colonial holding choose to not involve itself in the bloodshed and fighting that engulfed the rest of the Sol System. Currently, it would be under the defacto control/owe fealty to The Second Terran Empire, though the former Imperial powers of Venus have yet to exert their control/dejure rule over the colonial world.
The Duchy of Callisto's assets primarily centered around massive super freighters, both before and after the Empire. Subsequent assets include frigates and interceptor fighters meant for supporting the freighters during their hauling operations, a modest security attachment of men and women (modestly armed and armored), and a few hundred armored fighting vehicles. During Imperial control, Callisto served as little more than a supply and repair station outpost for ships heading further out into the system, slowly expanding into a full fledged hub world*1 before the great civil war. Based out of the Domed Colony City of Callisto Prime, both ground and orbital assets include solar arrays, repair stations, fuel depots, dock yards, drop yards, non-freight oriented assets*2 and arguably the largest freight hub in the entire Sol System.
Item 1: A Hub world denotes a focus on the Hub and Spoke strategy in the consolidation of transportation assets through "Hub" locations that then connect to and from multiple "Spokes," or destinations, along the Sol System freight network. Callisto became designated for development into a "Hub" world as the Terran Empire saw the rising logistical strain of operating deeper into the outer reaches of the Sol System. Hub worlds are purpose built to support the logistical transportation of heavy freight in a timely manner, ensuring that trade/military goods flow smoothly along the freight network.
Item 2: Callisto has a modest amount of hydro farming, both agrarian and livestock, a small hotel and casino industry, local tourism of remarkably well maintained Imperial era architecture and artifacts, and a fledgling mining industry.
A massive purpose built freighter, measuring 2,245m X 250m, the Pilgrim Class serves as the backbone of the Duchy of Callisto's hauling fleet. Manned with a crew of two hundred, the ship consists of massive cargo bays and modules, sixteen Mk3 Flak cannons*1, and three Mk2 Scatter Turrets*2, and enough supplies to endure the long freight runs between the terminals of the Sol System.
Item 1: Short-range concussive blasts effective against fighters and incoming missiles, but useless against capital ships. Roughly a 500m maximum range.
Item 2: The Scatter Turret fires steel projectiles at an extremely fast rate and velocity, with limited accuracy. It suffers from slightly diminished shield penetration. Roughly a 2000m maximum range.
Based off an older Imperial Era design, the Grail Class Frigate serves with distinction as the Duchy's only real naval asset of any offensive power. However, unlike the old Imperial era ships, the Grail's are built with defense on the forefront, with their main goal being the protection of the larger, more ungainly Pilgrim class freighters. They measure 175m X 27m, heavy armor for their size, crewed by seventy five, and armed with five Mk3 Twin Pulse Turrets*1, nineteen Mk3 Flak cannons*2, two Mk3 Plasma cannons*3, and twelve missle/torpedo shafts that can carry a complement of anti-fighter or anti-ship ordinance.
Item 1: The double-barreled Pulse Turret fires two projectiles at once. This weapon is moderately effective against all targets and defenses and offers good long range effectiveness. Roughly a 3200m maximum range.
Item 2: Short-range concussive blasts effective against fighters and incoming missiles, but useless against capital ships. Roughly a 500m maximum range.
Item 3: The Plasma Turret is slow to recharge but is devastating against both shields and capital-class deflectors. It is especially useful for breaching capital defenses, while also deadly against moderately maneuverable fighters. Roughly a 2550m maximum range.
A tried and true interceptor, having been derived from old Imperial era fighters, the Realm Class Interceptor provides close range naval support to both the freighters and frigates of the Duchy of Callisto. Furthermore, the Realms have made it known to the occasional pirate or would be smuggler, that the territorial space about Callisto will be defended to the best of their ability. The small two man vessel measures 18m X 20m, and is armed with four Mk3 Scatter Cannons, two per wing.
A standard armored vehicle, used to patrol ground installations of the Duchy of Callisto. Featuring a 20mm anti-armor cannon, the fighting vehicle provides rapid mobility and a modest punch for the security forces of Callisto.
More of a private police force or a local levy, the Security Forces of Callisto protect and defend the Duchy, its people, and its property. They are locally born, raised, and trained; men and women who chose to don the Sapphire and Ivory of the Duchy. Overall, they number perhaps some 60,000 strong, ranging from walking the streets and avenues of Callisto's settlements, flying the fighters and larger ships of the navy, to serving as guards for the nobility.
Lightly armed and armored, they are equipped more to defend against riots, occasional pirates, or perhaps a group of interloping rebels. Their firearms are locally sourced and built, a throwback to a bygone era that favored reliability and durability over aesthetic and technology. Their armor and garb look more akin to police officers, but then again, they are that and a military force second. Something of note, to visitors of the Duchy, is that the Security Forces always wear their helmets with visors down when on duty, their true identity hidden behind the tinted armored visors.
Founded in: Data Redacted Headquarters: Callisto Prime, Callisto, Jupiter Chief Executive Officer: Duke Tancred II d'Callisto 2019 revenue: $374 billion Employees: 495,000 system wide (413,000 on Callisto)
Average yearly revenue: $161 billion Average yearly system delivery volume: 5.5 trillon tons Daily system delivery volume: 21.9 billion tons Daily Jupiter System Space Volume: 3.5 million tons Daily Sol System volume: 3.2 million tons Service area: More than 220 satellites and territories Online tracking: 894.9 million tracking requests per day Delivery fleet: Redacted
Callisto Spacecraft: Operating Data Redacted (owned and finance leases) Operating leases and chartered from others: Data Redacted Daily flight segments: Domestic - 1,154; International - 1,131 Spaceports served: Domestic - 401; International - 406 Space Hubs: Redacted
SUPPLY CHAIN AND FREIGHT
2019 net revenue: $113 billion Callisto Supply Chain Solutions Key services: Logistics and distribution; transportation and freight (space, air, sea, ground, rail); freight forwarding to more than 200 satellites; international trade management and customs brokerage. Specialty services: Service parts logistics; technical repair and configuration; supply chain design and planning; returns management. Facilities: Redacted
Callisto Freight Key services: Leading provider of less-than-shipload and shipload services Mercury-to-Pluto Delivery fleet: Redacted Facilities: Redacted
Publicly listed historical records annotate the Duchy of Callisto created on Data Redacted, by royal decree of his grace, Emperor Jarus Augustus III, his 23rd decree, turning the military outpost of Callisto into a fully recognized settlement and duchy within the Empire. The former military outpost was quickly redeveloped into a functioning colony, charged with serving as the central hub along the Sol System freight network. Over the course of Data Redacted.
The great civil war saw the Duchy proclaim neutrality overall, while retaining fealty to the Empire. As battles raged all across the Sol System, Data Redacted, Duke Data Redacted defeated a combined rebel force of Data Redacted.
Currently, as the power of The Second Terran Empire continues to grow, the Duchy of Callisto remains faithful and loyal, serving dutifully in their originally created role, the freight hub of the Sol System.
Extreme WIP. Hope my ideas for helium-3 mining jive with my moon neighbors.
The Kingdom of Jupiter
Government Type: Absolute Monarchy
The Kingdom of Jupiter is a feudal monarchy that lays claim to the planet of Jupiter and its closest Galilean moon, Io. The kingdom is ruled by the House of Saint-Laurent, a powerful family descended from the upper echelons of the Terran Empire’s IX Expeditionary Group. The monarch’s seat of power is the Jovian Palace, located on the floating city of Prosperpina. This monolithic structure is the de facto capital of Jupiter and home to millions of Jovians. Other cloud cities dot the planet’s atmosphere, each ruled by a noble house subordinate to the ruling family.
Io is granted special status as
Demographics: The ruling aristocracy of Jupiter’s cloud cities are nearly all pureblood humans.
Economy: Jupiter’s economy is extremely reliant on its helium-3 mining industry. It both consumes and exports vast quantities of the gas, which is used as fuel in nuclear fusion reactors. The kingdom is very protective of its monopoly on helium-3 and mining rights are rarely distributed. It operates nearly all harvester factories in existence and hoards the Empire-era technology required to construct them. Jupiter actively hunts down unsanctioned mining operations, which it classifies as piracy. Jupiter’s cloud cities lack the space or infrastructure for other large-scale industries, so they must import the majority of their necessities.
On Io, geothermal energy is the moon’s main source of power. Sulphur and other materials are mined from its surface.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people,” by John B. Maple, repeating the ancient words stated by Abraham Lincoln, shortly before shot dead by Ustra agents for worker’s activism.
The Federal Republic of Ustra, better known simply as Ustra, is a liberal democracy and federal constitutional republic on its surface. Its origins stem from the death of Jarus Augustus IV and then the fall of the Terran Empire, giving rise to liberal revolutionary factions on Uranus and its moons. Since then, the newly declared Federal Republic of Ustra has defended its existence from various outside forces. To the foreigner, Ustra appears to be a thriving and rapidly growing nation-state with a very strong economy and military to boot. This is the land of opportunities and freedom to pursue your greatest dreams. Work hard and you’ll make it someday, the Ustraian Dream. While very shiny and polished on the outside, Ustra is far from that. The average Ustra citizen lives in a dystopia, not one from the likes of Orwell 1984 and elsewise, but a boring reality of an uncaring state that peddles itself as a moral high-ground of great ideals, before stripping its citizens of basic human rights, liberties, and the right to a decent life, for the unwashed masses of billions.
The multiple parties that exist are nothing but puppets to corporations, with every party only different in terms of name and branding of its image. What party that remains true to their message, ideology, dignity are rare and are out outclassed in resources and funding provided by the massive private sector that has no interest in upsetting the status-quo. The corporations have no limit in their question for power and growth, doing anything in their reach to ensure high growth numbers. The federal government has a stable and loving relationship with the various big-name corporations, giving heavy benefits and turning a bilnd eye to civil rights violations for the free market.
The federal government of Ustra is the national government for the Republic of Ustra, a federal republic that composes more than 160 states/districts. The original federal bureaucracy has long since greatly expanded over the many years that it has been in power since its conception. Today, the federal government is still composed of the three branches, Congress, Executive, and Supreme Court, and their functions to the Ustra and its people still remain the same as always. The states that make up the Federal Republic of Ustra have their powers greatly diminished and more powers given to the federal bureaucracy in order to manage the growing nature of Ustra. The role of the federal government has expanded to its greatest extent then it had ever before in Ustran history. The federal government has its toes in major sectors like education, health, police, and likewise. That is not to say that the states have lost power, but it shares power with the federal government being the most dominant in the power relationship.
Sadly, the federal government is not in its prime. Political gridlock has its hands gripped around the nation. No party can truly operate the government without meeting heavy resistance by another party, and or interest group. Given the role of the federal government, any party that wishes to make change and insert their political goals will have to control the branches of the central government. This has turned into a dirty cut-throat environment with Congresspeople, senators, mayors, and whatnot, trying to undermine each other for their party or own goals in mind. The hyperpluralism of different flavors of capitalism (liberal, neo-liberal, conservative, etc) in the Ustran government has harmed the federal capacity to make critical decisions in halls of government. What is worse is the lack of staff and experienced bureaucrats are slowing down the federal capacity to manage its ever growing nation due to the shifting of staff to the military industrial complex.
On the surface, the parties appear to be fighting for their own ideals and political goals of their own ideology. In truth, all things matter not. For everyone in the halls of the Ustran government understands that without the support and interest of the mega-corporations, no-one is able to rule the central government. Why not? Well, good question. The various mega-corporations that exist can make any president and party's ruling a living hell, if the ruling party and their president do not agree with the mega-corporations. For the Ustran mega-corporations, they have not needed to do such things as each sitting president has always loved the company of corporations at their call. Any kind of reform passed, which may or may not improve the actual standing of living for the workers, is a cover-up. A band-aid for a gunshot wound for the systematic issue of capitalism and the federal system - where any parties that rules does not actually care for fighting for their own ideals, but to keep power and luxury to the elites and give little to nothing to the masses that need it.
The military industrial complex had also played a role in the staggering capacity of the bureaucracy. This powerful interest group, which has always been a major compact to the Ustran political system, has been expanding at the expense of other departments and bureaus. No one is able to challenge the political giant that is the military industrial complex due to the likely immediate loss of jobs and economic downturn that would follow, no matter the long-term thinking. If not that then the powerful connections and lobby that the military industrial complex will be able to wield can quickly drain the will of anyone or group in a long battle of political attrition. As a result, The largest defense contractors are able to easily convince Congress to give more resources and funding to new arms programs and build-up of ever more arms stockpiles. Meanwhile, departments like the Department of Human and Health Services, have been understaffed, underfunded, and given not a lot of resources to properly manage and run the "universal" health care program.
The extreme maldistribution between the various departments, agencies, and bureaus, have caused troubles in the general population. Wealth inequality and poverty are present issues in the streets of major cities. Various corporations do not like to raise its benefits or wages, and the majority of Congress cannot give a single fuck about the lower classes that they are to represent, arguing among themselves at the illusion of reform and change, unable to understand the true issues that plague their nation. Even if they wanted to force their hand onto those corporations, the hyperpluralist and gridlock nature of the system will not allow so. The executive branch is no better as any new resources or funding is given to the military industrial complex, and scraps are left to be given to the other departments and bureaus. Thus, the departments that serve the people cannot give and treat everyone because they do not have the capacity to do so, and they are alright stretched so thin in staff and resources.
The Martian Soviet Socialist Republic (Martian SSR or rarely MSSR) is a soviet democracy assisted by specialist artificial intelligences in accordance with modern cybernetic and informatic theory. The building block of the Martian state is the soviet, a local council of directly elected and instantly recallable delegates. A Martian citizen will be in the electorate of at least two soviets, their residential district and their workplace, but may potentially vote for or even be elected to many more depending upon their education and hobbies. Assignments to soviets, the number of delegates a soviet is entitled to, and running elections for soviets are complicated tasks described in monolithic equations maintained and executed upon by a robust system of AIs, making the Martian model also a case of cyber democracy. A delegate to a soviet operates under a mandate that may be revoked at any time, triggering an immediate election that is typically resolved within the day.
A local soviet representing a factory, work place, or mathematically defined subsection of an intellectual community has complete executive and legislative power over its area of influence, save for anything that effects another soviet. Such areas of overlap are handled by having the constituent soviets elect delegates from their own ranks who then comprise a higher soviet. This is repeated across all facets of the state, culminating in the All-Martian Congress of Soviets, also known simply as the Martian Soviet.
At the apex of the Martian state is the Presidium, an executive committee elected by and within the Martian Soviet to handle day to day affairs. The Chair of the All-Martian Congress is, ex officio, Chair of the Presidium and is referred to as the Premier, the single most powerful official within the Republic. Parallel to the elected soviets is a professional bureaucracy tasked with implementing the will of the delegates. The paramount body of the bureaucracy is the Council of Ministers, with the Chair of the All-Martian Congress also, ex officio, holding the title of Prime Minister.
The same structures, in miniature, are duplicated upon Mars' terrestrial holdings - the territory legally speaking comprised of two sister republics in union with the Martian SSR. By far the more populous of the two is the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic, the African nation acting almost entirely autonomously - except in regards to foreign affairs. In comparison the Saharan Soviet Socialist Republic is nothing more than a legal fiction, the land effectively governed by the Ministry of Terraforming - the same techniques restoring Mars used to greenify Earth's greatest desert.
All of Panhumanity is welcome on Mars, and of the various forms mankind has taken the vast majority can be found on, beneath, or above its surface. Baseline humanity makes up perhaps a third of the population, mostly descended from those who immigrated from earth after terraforming had been well under way. A slim majority is made up of the so-called original Martians, or Reds, who trace themselves back to one of the earliest offshoots of humanity.
Designed so early as to not have a formal name, the process that created the Reds was above all steeped in practical concerns. A suite of genetic tweaks permitted them to survive indefinitely on the original surface of Mars in only a pressure suit without the need to carry external air or heavy layers of insulation. The modifications made that saw them require far less oxygen, as well as being far more tolerant of carbon dioxide are effectively invisible, aside from cases of hyperoxia in Earth like atmospheres, but the last change is anything but subtle. A high dependence upon iron was purposefully engineered, the metal exceedingly common on the surface, with the excess deposited upon the outer layer, giving them red skin.
Industry is the beating heart of the new Mars, the past two centuries having rapidly rebuilt what was lost in the civil war. Centrally planned and managed by teams of panhuman economists and AIs from the Ministry of Development, the Martian Miracle saw a planet devastated by the whims of nobles come roaring back to life. Information theory is at the heart of this management, with the daily output of individual factories scrutinized by both man and machine to maximize production. In this way, the three great goals of the Martian state shall come to pass.
Defend the revolution. Already, the Martian People's Navy stands ready upon its base at Deimos, and every day its strength grows. The labor of millions working tirelessly have created a massive network of fortresses and defense batteries. Almost every Martian knows someone who is directly involved in the production of weapons of war.
Establish a workers' paradise. With the fall of the Empire, and the Martian nobility fleeing to other worlds in the solar system, great surplus capacity that had once gone to the vanity and gluttony of the ruling class became available to all. The same vineyards and fields that provided bounty to banquets are still worked, if they survived the Collapse at least, but now open to all to consume. Arts and culture began to flourish anew after the first decades of chaos had passed, and though few Martians live in luxury, all are comfortable.
Resume terraforming. The great effort of centuries to terraform Mars was undone in moments by the horrors unleashed during the collapse, and only recently has agriculture started to return to where it was under the Empire. It is a bitter irony that only the great death of the war ensured the battered biosphere was able to feed the remaining the Martians. The last domes and caverns were reopened within living memory, but even so the work continues.
The Martian People's Army and Martian People's Navy comprise the military, the former the older but far less funded of the two services.
Born in the Dhanus Revolution, the People's Army fought for and won the liberation of the Martian worker. Today however it is little more than a garrison force, the vast majority of its personnel operating the great surface to orbit batteries that defend Mars from any attack. It is a point of pride, and official propaganda, that the Army is utterly incapable of occupying any other stellar power. Indeed, the only force that is even properly equipped for ground fighting is on Earth, defending the Maghrebi and Saharan Soviet Socialist Republics from imperialist powers.
Though the chaos of the collapse and revolution saw the Martian state acquire numbers of warships, it was only recently that a formal navy was constituted. With the restoration of the biosphere permitting work beyond that necessary for survival, shipyards that had lain dormant for generations were pressed back into service in the past century. Dedicated almost exclusively to defense, the MPN's vessels are slow and ponderous, designed to fight within the orbit of Mars itself. At that mission, it excels, the seemingly underpowered drives able to precipitously decrease their operating range in order to intercept any threat to the Republic. Its crews remain green however, with little combat experience save for skirmishes in the belt.
The oldest daughter of Earth, Mars was in many ways the second planet of the Empire. Panhumanity flourished across its surface before the jump gate network was devised, and the riches of the stars flowed towards it in almost as great a flood as the mother world. Within decades, what had once been a hardy frontier became a decadent playground for the wealthy and indolent, the Princes of Mars holding court from the great Olympus Palace.
But a storm was coming. The death of Jarus Augustus IV seemed the perfect opportunity for the last Prince, Galatian Augustus, to trade in his crown. A distant cousin of the Emperor, the rulers of Mars were considered a collateral branch of the imperial family, the logical successor to the throne. When Galatian arrived on Earth to be proclaimed Emperor however, such tidy thinking was replaced by horror as SolSec ruthlessly gunned him and his family down - the last Prince of Mars learning too late that the codes Emperor Jarus had entrusted to him were fakes, the defense network programmed to consider him and his line to be traitors to be exterminated if they were ever used.
Shock and grief among the nobility provided an opportunity unlike any seen before. In the midst of the chaos, before any serious contender from beyond the jump gates had arrived, the Martian Social Democratic Labor Party made its move. Having long agitated among the workers that toiled for the imperial nobility, their startling success only grew their numbers.
By the time a claimant arrived to attempt to have Mars support their bid to the throne, the fleets that had guarded the empire's second planet had already defected or had been captured - and all flew the red banner. Through long conflict and struggle in high orbit, upon the ground, and in the ancient cave cities of Mars, victory was at last secured. It was upon a broken and battered world that the Martians emerged, but one that was theirs.
Two centuries of peace and prosperity have come and gone, and the scars of the past have begun to heal. The Martian people gaze out upon the solar system with despair. Slowly at first, but more and more with each day, the digital and very real forums of the Republic are filled with voices wondering if now was the time to go beyond their fortress, and to spread the revolution to all Sol.
Premier of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic Chair of the All-Martian Congress of Soviets Chair of the Presidium of the All-Martian Congress of Soviets Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic Chair of the Central Military Commission of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic
A Red in both senses of the word, Ivanova was originally an engineer from Elysium Mons, specializing in mining equipment. First elected to her soviet without being aware she was running, she is respected as a risk taker who never attempts to deflect blame for when said risks fail. A sprightly thirty-three Martian years old - approximately sixty-two according to Earth calendars - she seems poised to be the longest serving Premier in Martian history despite the checkered performance of the state during her tenure. I is felt throughout the entire planet that the coming days require decisive action, not methodical planning.
Marshal of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic (Martian People's Navy) Vice-Chair of the Central Military Commission of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic
Born on Deimos to a mainline human family that had served in the Martian People's Navy since its formation, with ancestors among the original defectors in the Dhanus Revolution, military life was all but predestined for Julian. Yet his success was anything but, the AI guided double blind merit system on all officer's exams letting him know that it was aptitude and not his name that placed him with the awesome responsibility as first line of defense for the Martian people.
Premier of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic Chair of the All-Maghrebi Congress of Soviets Observing Member of the All-Martian Congress of Soviets Chair of the Presidium of the All-Maghrebi Congress of Soviets Prime Minister of the Council of Ministers of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic Chair of the Central Military Commission of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic Observing Member of the Central Military Commission of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic
Native to Algiers, Hocine has spent almost his entire adult life within the soviets, winning a recall of a delegate who thought the mundane concern of a broken water pipe beneath his dignity. He retains the humble dignity and servant mindedness of his first election, a tendency that the less charitable would say perfectly suited his Martian masters. The truth of such claims is irrelevant to his people, who see in him only a leader who can ensure that their Martian comrades defend them from the imperial menace on the other side of the Mediterranean.
Marshal of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic (Maghrebi People's Army) Vice-Chair of the Central Military Commission of the Maghrebi Soviet Socialist Republic Observing Member of the Central Military Commission of the Martian Soviet Socialist Republic
Grigori's position puts lie to the idea of the Maghrebi SSR as its own state, the man having been born on Mars in Arabia Terra. The composition of the Maghrebi People's Army is at least half Martian, and its senior leadership is almost always from the Red Planet. He is a soldier's soldier, one who grimly accepts the reality that war will soon be upon humanity once more, and that to defend the paradise of his homeworld he must fight upon panhumanity's homeworld.
@SigmaI'm interested in this, since you seem to still be looking for folk, so I wanted to ask about something and throw around a concept with you. In the opening to the OOC you mention the Jump Gates that allowed for faster-than-light interstellar travel, with their loss being significant. I wanted to ask if you had anything in mind on an equivalent system of interstellar infrastructure for faster-than-light communication, and if so, would it be possible to play an organization acting as the impartial mediators keeping that system operational in the wake of the collapse of the Empire and the years following?
Essentially I'm thinking the same core concept as ComStar from BattleTech(Click Here For More) but with a distinct setting-appropriate spin on the idea. No AI, I don't wanna step on SolSec's toes with the idea of an AI remnant of a government service, but essentially the idea of an organization holding an apolitical infrastructure service "hostage" for the ability to operate politically and independently of any other nation-state.
@ReedeThe23rd Alright, now that I've familiarized myself. While interesting, I would prefer to keep things contained in Sol for the time being, in that contacting outside systems would be an impossible task at present time. Unless you meant something more local?
Although I have a fun suggestion. Maybe you could play as a group that is trying to reestablish communications with outside systems, which so far is met with little success.
@Sigma That's definitely an interesting idea. The main thing I was looking at with this concept was an organization descended from a pre-war Imperial service of some kind that was too important to let fall in the collapse, and maintains political power and independence through the importance of said service. The Communications grid was just an example that came to mind.
Keeping with the Comms Grid idea, one idea that comes to mind is a non-Venusian remnant of the pre-war grid attempting to contact extra-solar fringes for support, while struggling to maintain their portion of the grid as an independent means of communication.
Of course, if you have any other ideas that fit this general vein of "independent organization holding onto the remnants of vital pre-war infrastructure" I'd love to hear it.
The Mercurian government can best be described as two entities, the official one enshrined in law and presented to the solar system as legitimate, and the unofficial one that makes, effectively, all actual decisions. The official government is one of the nobility that, legally, exercises total and complete authority over the planet. Nominally they are totally divorced from the whims of the people and more than able of passing laws merely because they suit them. In reality? The nobility would be lucky if they could secure passage outside one of their sealed communities.
This is because the unofficial government, the Mercurian Assembly, exerts the only real authority on the planet. They, in theory, are a pointless chamber that presents petitions to the noble government, but this has not been the case since they effectively ‘took custody’ of the planet's nobility during the beginning of the civil war. It was the assembly that declared Mercury’s position of neutrality, and it is the assembly that keeps the Mercurian nobles in gilded cages.
The vast majority of Mercury’s population is, of course, Mercurian. Engineered to surmount the unique challenges of colonizing Mercury, especially the claustrophobic conditions of the tunnels, Mercurians are notably shorter than other humans and demi humans. Males top out at about four feet five inches, and women four feet. Additionally Mercurian eyes function best in far red, which is the sort of light most often seen in the otherwise pitch black tunnels they inhabit. Overall they are small, but hearty people.
The Mercurian economy, simply put, is colossal. The planet declared neutrality at the very beginning of the civil war which eventually destroyed the gate network, and to this day it maintains that position. Conveniently, this makes Mercury one of the only territories in the Solar System that SolSec, the great fortress around the Sun, does not target. In fact, in exchange for ‘taxes’ the SolSec AI has largely acted to protect Mercury. This has allowed Mercury to invest into one of the largest merchant fleets in the system, one willing and able to take any contract, for any player.
Additionally, Mercury conducts much of SolSec’s trade. While the AI demands ‘taxes’ in the form of raw materials, Mercury has long since exploited the fact that SolSec will accept processed goods as well. At any moment some percentage of the Mercurian fleet is shipping goods for SolSec, but which ships are doing what is a secret that Mercury guards closely. Thus, to protect its own assets, SolSec has occasionally acted in favor of Mercurian shipping. Something which has been a powerful, even if mostly illusory, deterrent to pirates and raiders.
SolSec aside, Mercury is also a natural port. On average it is the entire solar system's closest neighbour, and thus it not only has an advantage in exporting raw materials and processed goods but in shipping things from one planet to another. Further, its neutral position has allowed it to make goods normally available only in one belligerents market accessible from others. In this way Mercury is one of the solar systems great links. Even as nations battle, Mercury connects their economies.
Of course, that is not the only way Mercury benefits from the battles that still rage across space. The planet officially prohibits arms exports, but only to government entities or from government entities. It is because of this, rather obvious, loophole that there is a vast weapons market on Mercury, dominated by tens of thousands of firms of varying sizes. Beyond weapons, massive amounts of conventional goods are shipped from Mercury. The Mercurian economy will cater to anyone, even and especially when it becomes difficult for them to source whatever they need. It needn't be said aloud, but Mercury has armed countless rebel groups with one hand while outfitting their governments on the other.
The Syndicated Traders of the Inner Belt (The Belt Syndicates)
“Extremitas usque Extremitas” [End to End]
Capital: Pallas Central
Head of State: Liu Xianyang, Chief Executive of the Syndicates
Currency: The Syndicate Credit Unit (USC)
The Belt Syndicates are best described politically as a corporatocracy, or rather a group of corporations operating in and administering the Inner Asteroid Belt. The Syndicates as a whole are governed by the Commission, a set of twenty men and women (ten elected by the Civil Colonies, and the other ten appointed by the largest corporations in the Belt) with the authority to draft and enact laws enforced throughout the Belt. The Commission is elected once every 10 Terran Years
The Chief Executive of the Syndicates is appointed from and by this Commission to handle the day-to-day governance of the nation. They are given the power to appoint government ministers without need of the Commission’s say. They are also Commander-in-Chief of the Inner Belt Security Force (ISBF). There are no limitations on the number of terms they can serve, and historically they have served many, many terms. The only limitation to their powers are if 15 members vote to depose them through a vote of no confidence.
Within the Belt; however, there is a special territory known as the Vesta Exclusionary Zone (VEZ). The Vesta Exclusionary Zone is an area defined by a 1,000 km radius from the center of 4 Vesta and from its orbit (except where it coincides with 1 Ceres). The VEZ is neutral ground, where no military presence from any nation is allowed, and direct oversight from the central government on Pallas is minimal. The VEZ is ruled by the Prefect-General of Pallas, elected every five years and the Prefectural Council, whose members are elected to serve for life.
Corporations participating in the Syndicate (basing themselves in any of its territories, including the VEZ), are subject to its laws and protection provided that they affirm their participation through their placement on the Pallas Charter. In doing so, they are considered citizens of the Belt, and of the Belt alone.
The original corporations that formed the Syndicates, along with the colonial administrations, are still part of the Syndicate today and form a vital part of its society and economy.
Each Syndicate Colony can be categorized as one of two types - Corporate Colonial Holdings, and Civil Colonies.
Corporate Colonial Holdings (CCHs) are colony-sized stations owned and operated by corporations. These stations potentially had their origins as mining stations, existing as nothing more than a drill extending into an asteroid, or as small shipworks that built escort-sized craft. They would eventually grow and develop into fully self-sufficient habitations, with their own amenities, commercial districts, hydroponics farms, police forces, and civil administrations. Contrary to expectations; however, these holdings aren’t lawless corporatocratic anarchy. Although the owner tends to have a strong influence upon the colonies, sometimes owning a monopoly over all commercial services in the area, the employees tend to also form strong workers unions, and generally have control over the police force and hospitals. Furthermore, though CCHs tend to attract large numbers of immigrants, they are extremely stringent with their acceptance requirements, demanding only the best and brightest to take part in their limited resources. CCHs are also directly overseen by the Syndicated Traders’ Unions (STU), which enforces labor protections, sending inspectors out to suspect holdings and even having moles in some of them. They are given the authority to report violations to the Syndicate Government, and sanctions may include the confiscation of the holding, resulting in its conversion to a Civil Colony. Despite this; however, the CCHs still possess significant autonomy from the central government.
Civil Colonies are structured somewhat differently. A vast majority of them are former CCHs confiscated in the aftermath of the General Syndicated Strike and the subsequent Labor Wars. A few are the oldest colonies established in the Belt, including the 2 Pallas Super-Colony (aka Pallas Central), and the 16 Psyche Colony. At least three, and at most five are organized into Asterisms based in a single large colony. Each Asterism is responsible for public inter-colony transportation, and maintaining a central police force within their respective colonies. They are also required to provide a quota for soldiers and crewmen to be sent to Pallas in times of war. Asterisms are further organized into Constellations, of which there are four (excluding the VEZ, which is also considered a Constellation). These are governed by Constellar Prefects. Each Constellations is responsible for policing the space between them, and resolving disputes between Asterisms. Each Constellation is also given a quota of ships to be sent to Pallas in times of war (and a smaller quota in times of peace). Asterisms are regularly switched between Constellations due to fluctuations in orbital position. Each Constellation elects two citizens to take part in the Commission.
Pallas Central is the administrative center of the Belt, and was the second colony ever established in the region (Ceres being the first). It was formerly an inter-belt transport hub, it being one of the first colonies (having been established by a United Nations expedition). This role; however, has been lost to Vesta Elyon due to its orbital inclination. Nowadays, it is known as the administrative and military center of the Belt, and also maintains close ties with Earth. Its large size compared to the other asteroids; however, allows it to support large-scale hydroponic operations, making it a breadbasket amongst a thicket of dead rocks. It is considered a super-colony, and rightly so, having the largest population in the Belt aside from Vesta Elyon.
Psyche Eros (16 Psyche Colony)
Psyche Eros is the administrative center of Constellation Psyche. It was originally a major mining center, originally built by the Tsukahara Interstellar Group on what was then, and still is, the largest M-Class Asteroid - 16 Psyche. Tsukahara still maintains most the mining operations on the site despite its influence in the mining sector being overshadowed by the Ngamba Corporation. Today, industry on Psyche Eros has diversified into metallurgy and intermediate goods manufacturing. Nearby is the station Psyche Helios, the shipyard of the Belt. Helios is the only construction yard in the Belt capable of constructing capital ships (though such is rarely undertaken). Several other stations nearby are also specialized in ship and weapons manufacture, including some corporate holdings, but none are as large or as vital to the region as Helios.
Hygiea Tala (10 Hygiea Colony)
Hygiea Tala, center of Constellation Hygiea, was originally founded by a conglomerate of several prominent universities on Earth. It was intended to serve as a research center, conducting experiments in microgravity. One of those experiments, in fact, almost ignited the carbonaceous asteroid. Later, Hygiea became a center of learning in all fields, becoming a school among the stars. It broke off from its Earth-based owners, and was one of the flashpoints involved in the Belt Independence Movement. It would also be a haven for labor activists and unionists in the leadup to the General Syndicated Strike a decade after independence. Today, Tala stands as a beacon of higher learning among the asteroids of the belt. Two major universities currently dominate the small world, the Tala Institute and the Baodong University, along with many, many more. It is also home to the Fuyutsuki Robotics Group, a leading robotics company, and the Belt military’s primary contractor for automata and equipment.
Astraea Chang’e (5 Astraea Colony)
Astraea Chang’e is the capital of the Constellation Astraea. It was originally built by the Green Group, an Earth-based environmentalist group that wanted to create a replica of the homeworld before it was all lost to inevitable catastrophe. They accomplished their goal, and built the Chang’e Geo-Preservation Center, a nature reserve taking up 50% of the station’s size.Today, the GPC is run and maintained by the Vesta Genesis-based Ad Astra Incorporated. Aside from the Preservation Center, the colony also boasts a physical library of ancient Earth literature (including classics such as Twilight, Fifty Shades of Gray, and the film “Minions” on a floppy disk), and several museums. Chang’e is also known for a red-light district which sprang up due to the robust tourism sector in the area.
Vesta Elyon (4 Vesta Special Zone Colony)
Vesta Elyon is the center of the Vesta Exclusionary Zone, the heart of trade and commerce all throughout the Belt. Originally one of the first civil colonies established by the government of Earth. The colony grew and evolved as a larger partner to Pallas. While Central became a center for passenger travel, cargo passed to and from the inner system worlds via Elyon. The colonial government; however, began taking advantage of this, slowly easing regulations in order to make Elyon into an ideal location for corporate activities. The corporations that would base themselves at Elyon would later have a pivotal part to play in the foundation and politics of the Belt Syndicates. Today, Elyon and the 1,000 km radius around it have special protections enshrined by law. Any and all legal income-generating operations at Elyon receive decreased tax rates.]
Homo sapiens astralis
The Astralis subspecies of “modern” Homo sapiens was first designated by the Tala Institute’s National Institute of Biological Sciences in the late Jump Era to describe standard unmodified humans which had spent a long time off of terrestrial habitats under the influence of artificial gravity and other factors (artificial and natural) which had physiologically modified them to be distinct from terrestrial humans. Artificial gravity especially has a strong effect on their physiology due to the inability of artificial gravity technology to replicate Terran gravity’s full strength until relatively recently, at which point the reduced strength was simply retained. The main differences between them and the Sapiens subspecies are anatomical, with Astralis possessing relatively weaker bones and hearts and taller builds. They are also noted to have slightly weakened immune systems due to a historic background of relatively weak radiation shielding. Humans in the Syndicate compensate for this with sterile internal environments, and a societal reliance on a robust healthcare system.
Astralis make up the majority of humans in the Syndicates.
The Belt’s economy is heavily reliant upon its past as a string of mining colonies. Once solely involved in mining operations, over the centuries, the region diversified, specializing in ship-building, manufacturing, and research. Meanwhile, its importance as a transport link from the inner system to the outer system made it into a transport center. All of this attracted more and more people from the overpopulated Earth and the rest of the colonies. The Belt soon involved itself in finance, which based itself in Pallas and Vesta.
Today, the Belt specializes in several fields, from robotics to creative works. Their strengths; however, lie in the following sectors:
Mining and Manufacturing based in the Psyche Constellation; largely dominated by the Adeyemi Mining Corporation, and Castello Materials and Metallurgy
Shipbuilding also based in the Psyche Constellation; largely dominated by Castello Megaworks. Ships are; however, limited in size, with production tending to small, compact and efficient crafts.
Robotics based in the academies of Hygiea Constellation, and relying on the Psyche Constellation’s production; largely dominated by Fuyutsuki Robotics Group, and Solar Dynamics Corp.
Finance based in the Vesta Exclusionary Zone; largely dominated by the familially-structured Almeida Finance Clans, and the more corporate Daofu Group.
The Belt also possesses some strength in the following sectors:
Export-focused Agriculture based in Pallas Constellation, focusing more on cash crops than food; largely dominated by the Narra Botanical Company.
Research and Academics based in Hygiea Tala; largely dominated by Tala Institute and Baodong University. Tourism based in Astraea Chang’E; with the entire industry indirectly controlled by the station government.
The Belt’s history began with the first batch of asteroid belt colonies. By this time in the early colonization period, space travel had become commercialized, with large and medium-sized Earth-based corporations able to launch their own expeditions. These first colonies were mining bases, extracting precious minerals to be sent to the resource-starved, and overpopulated Earth. The discovery that asteroids were far more profitable than originally projected led to a gold rush, and prospecting individuals and corporations alike struck out on their own, into the Belt. Regardless of whether the Belt Rush was truly a success for the participating individuals, it was certainly a grand success for the corporations, which continued to enormously expand their operations in the Belt, attracting more workers and capital alike.
As colonization efforts proceeded outwards and into the Jovian planets, the Belt was recognized as a vital refuelling and resupply station. Though Mars was closer and relatively far more developed, there was abundant carbonaceous fuel in the Belt, easily mined and transported to Belt transport hubs such as Ceres and Pallas. At this time, the heart of the belt was Ceres “Station”. It was less of a single unified polity; however, as the “station” was a conglomeration of several independently operating corporate and supranational entities, with confusing legal jurisdictions and property disputes.
An incident during the early Imperial Era known today as the New Halifax Disaster caused a third of Ceres station to be totally destroyed, with billions of dollars in ships and cargo to be lost after several ships with explosive or volatile cargo in Sector Halifax on the Commonwealth United Corporation’s Ceres Outpost detonated in a catastrophic chain reaction. The explosion and debris were then propelled outwards, into the rest of the stations. Power cables, oxygen and fuel lines, and water conduits were severed, exacerbating the disaster. Entire sectors blacked out and ran out of oxygen, airlocks and door systems failed, throwing their inhabitants into space, several sectors were even known to have explosively decompressed. The numerous computer systems running on the station were unable to cope with the massive loads, and sometimes worked against each other, with one rumored to have even gone rogue.
The disaster was only ended after the remaining civilian population was evacuated, and the entire station completely powered down. A third of the station was completely wiped out, and almost all of the rest was damaged beyond usability. Ceres itself was significantly destabilized. The death toll was in the hundreds of thousands, and the number of injured reached a million, straining the entire Belt’s medical sector for several Terran months.
In the aftermath of the incident, all corporations involved were required to pay massive indemnities, and the Imperial Government established the Three Tenets of the Belt Charter. First, no asteroid could have more than one station operating on it. Second, all stations were ultimately under the purview of and subject to regulation by the Imperial Government. Finally, the government decreed that all stations on Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta were to be placed directly under Terran control through the Belt Stations Civil Administration (BSCA).
The Belt experienced prosperity under the Terran Empire, serving as a vital link between the inner and outer worlds of the Solar System. Colonies; however, over time became marred by widespread poverty as corporations continued to tighten their grip over the Belt. This was later remedied by labor and union reforms undertaken by the BCSA during the Late Imperial era. This came to a screeching halt when the Empire fell and the jump gates collapsed.
As the rest of the solar system collapsed into nigh-total anarchy, the Belt faced the apocalypse. War raged closer and closer, and the intensity of the gunfights led to stray shells hitting the stations years after they were fired from the furthest reaches of the system. The economic collapse from both the war and the fall of the jump gates shook the Belt to its core, and completely paralyzed it. Once-major corporations were suddenly light years away, without contact. Entire colonies suffocated, starved, or simply disappeared in the vast expanse of space without their supply shipments. Cases of colony-wide mass suicides were not unheard of.
Through all this, the BCSA was rendered powerless as the Belt succumbed to the dark. In desperation, several colonies surrendered themselves to the new warring factions in the battle for control of the system. Ceres itself was taken over, its population wholly enslaved by Solar Security, and turned into a super-fortress.
After 9 years of political intrigue and struggles against foreign powers, the BCSA fell under the control of Deputy Governor Amon Cavassa. He aligned it and their fleet with the burgeoning alliance against Solar Security. In return, members of the alliance agreed to recognize the administration’s control over portions of the Belt. By now, the BCSA had just barely retained control of Pallas and Vesta. With the destruction of Ceres, Psyche and Astraea bowed before Pallas. A few years later, the colonial administration of Hygiea severed their ties with IMET, and the Belt Stations Civil Administration became the Belt Civil Administration, and declared themselves the United Stations of the Inner Belt (UnSIB). Governor Cavassa then surrendered his position as ruler of the Belt to make way for his successor, Anita Mikatsuni, who would be elected Presidium of the United Stations.
Resurgent corporations; however, still controlled a slim majority of the remaining stations in the Belt. The Castello Materials Cartel, in fact, was the de facto controller of Psyche and its shipyards. Through deft political maneuvering, Anita managed to whittle away the Castello’s fleet, confiscating ships for the United Navy. Years later, she would then use these ships to peacefully force the Castello’s from Psyche in exchange for a seat in the Commission. Other corporations soon followed. With Anita’s death; however, she would leave the United Stations government weaker against the corporations.
Then, centuries later, after ages of workers’ abuse, the Great Syndicated Strike occurred and crippled the Belt. Laborers all across the Belt walked out of their manufactories and staged widespread protests, with some militant groups kidnapping corporate heads and dragging them to Pallas for a public show-trial, other groups actively moved to destroy some companies (such as the Liscada Group, which was completely dissolved by the end). This period of minor skirmishes was known as the “Labor War”. The weakened Union government could do nothing but watch, and secretly was supportive of the movement. Corporate control over the Union was eroded as the Belt was reformed into the Syndicated Traders of the Inner Belt. Corporations were required to be at least partially run by syndicates of workers, with colonial holdings required to be wholly managed by the workers that staffed them. Some high-level corporate officers were eventually freed, but kept under close watch. Several large corporate colonies were confiscated and placed under the civil government’s control.