Protean League

Due to the valuable colonization target of the large moon of Triton, Neptune was an early settlement focus in the diaspora of the solar system. The Oceanic League poured vast sums of money in a partially commercial, but in truth mostly ideologically driven goal at spreading humanity as far and fast as possible.

While the rapid growth of Triton itself brought riches enough to Neptune as a whole, there are always unrewarded margins in such situations, and this was no exception. The myriad mining colonies on the periphery of Triton's reach saw little of their larger sibling's wealth, and their lower share of the population meant that political amalgamation was never a tolerable consideration.

  •  Protean League
    • Proteus
    • Nereid
    • Larissa
    • Galatea
    • Neptunian Trojan Belt

For long decades, discontent simmered below the surface, the "Fringers", as the inhabitants of these dispersed moons and trojans were called, living lives of liberty from the rule of the Democratic Republic of Triton, but at the cost of lives filled with economic hardship and privation. The rule of law by force of arms became institutional, and Fringers gradually became a synonym for smugglers and pirates. For Triton, the situation was largely tolerable as these fringe moons served as a cultural safety valve for the increasingly rigid life of the average citizen of the Democratic Republic of Triton.

In 2441, a woman by the name of Mallory Kalmes consolidated power over the moon of Proteus. Within a dozen years she managed to bully, cajole, or dominate all other serious rivals among the Fringer population, establishing a political entity known as The Protean League. Deftly manipulating long-seething resentments against the Democratic Republic of Triton, Mallory Kalmes focused the Fringe and the nascent Protean League on a mission of vengeance against that seemingly monolithic power. Piracy turned into commerce raiding, and commerce raiding turned into military raids, until the conflict known as the Long War has dominated the politics, economics, and military of Neptune.

Southern Bloc

The Southern Bloc represents the youngest and most vibrant of the great national polities of Earth. Rather than coalescing around a singular cultural identity, the Southern Bloc formed as a direct response to the rise of the powerful states of the post-Great Contraction world; as the nascent polities of State, Union, and the Eastern Federation rapidly expanded in the wake of the global disaster, many smaller nation-states struggled to maintain their independence.

  •  Southern Bloc
    • Southern Bloc

The horrific events of The Great Contraction in the latter part of the 21st century when nearly 5 billion human beings lost their lives to the varied depredations of war and famine struck Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia harder than almost anywhere else on the globe. Nation-states fell almost overnight as first millions, then tens of millions starved to death or fought a desperate battle for survival in a world gone mad.

The Sino-Russian War of 2105 resulted in the annexation of the better part of Siberia by China, a refocusing that also reflected a general withdrawing of large scale investment in Africa, an action that eventually indirectly triggered the East African Famine of 2122. Although itself brutally ravaged by The Great Contraction, India nevertheless sent a stream of food and medical aid to the East African port of Mobasa that became a lifeline for a population struck again by catastrophe so soon after the events of the 21st century. While India's efforts merely blunted the effects of the famine, the gesture was not forgotten and opened the door to a longterm expansion in mutual trade and cooperation across the Indian Ocean.

By 2140, the People's Republic of China had begun to expand aggressively across Asia, in rapid succession absorbing Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and, most alarming of all, Pakistan. India, alarmed that it would soon become the next target, began to reach out to other polities on the political and military periphery of China.

A collection of national polities including India, Iran, Turkey, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa began to be informally known as "the Southern Bloc", as they tended to provide a unified front against territorial and commercial incursions by both Union and the Eastern Federation. At last, in 2353 the informal coalition became a formal political entity.

Continuing to expand through the Middle East and Africa, the Southern Bloc has steadily expanded its reach, even to the point of extending feelers to Brazil in South America in attempt to extend the reach of the Southern Bloc across the Atlantic Ocean. Even more importantly, in recent decades the Southern Bloc has begun to extend its reach into space, attempting to make up for lost time. While the most desirable real estate through the solar system has already been claimed, the Southern Bloc is the fastest growing polity on Earth in terms of both military and commercial power. Several orbiting stations now construct Southern Bloc-designed dreadnoughts and destroyers, and politically and commercially the Southern Bloc has begun to apply pressure to the Asteroid Belt in an effort to make its influence there a reality.

Spacer's Cant

The 21st century oversaw perhaps the single most severest decline in number of distinct languages the human species has experienced in its history. In the year 2000, there were approximately 6,500 spoken languages in the world. By the end of the massive population decline from the Great Contraction in the latter half of the 21st century, less than a thousand spoken languages with more than a thousand speakers remained. For a time, it indeed looked like the human species was rapidly headed for a mono-lingual existence.

With the end of the Great Contraction, a period of aggressive, even breakneck colonization of the solar system ensued. The increased isolation bred by the vast distances of space combined with increasingly sophisticated translation software resulted in am abrupt reversal of this trend; while the overall number of languages spoken is still, in fact, decreasing, the rate of decrease has greatly diminished, and some distinct spoken dialects have begun to compete with the established lingual hegemony of Earth.

In the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter lies the debatable land of the solar system where legal recourse is limited and the competition for resources is rich. Many different polities inside the Belt along with external polities have laid claim to various asteroid clusters, with the result being a tapestry of political, cultural, and linguistic variation.

Spacers, in particular, face a lonely, nomadic lifestyle. While transit times have dramatically improved since the early days of the Diaspora, the fact remains that the pilots, engineers, and others who run the innumerable frigates, research vessels, and other, less savory vessels visit many ports of call and must deal with dozens of languages. Often, entire generations of families are born, grow up, and die shipboard, never putting down roots at all. While most spacers do pick up a smattering of many different languages as a simple survival skill, spacers as a class have contributed to the development of a common pidgin called Hilde.

Hilde originated in the Hildas Triangle, a loose national polity sprawled across a large geographical area of the Asteroid Belt. While the Hildas Triangle is far from the most populated region of the Belt, it has achieved an outside influence as a widely-spread culture that is found frequently throughout the solar system, yet itself holds no political or military aspirations of hegemony.

Exalted Sanctuary of the Triforce Supremacy

By 2290 a mix of powerful national polities and multinational corporations that were often de facto laws unto themselves had sponsored colonies and outposts on dozens of worlds throughout the system. The largesse of the early expansion into the solar system was not evenly enjoyed, and among the dispossessed and disenfranchised grew a number of eccentric and at times bizarre ideological and religious movements.

  •  Exalted Sanctuary of the Triforce Supremacy
    • Nysian Cluster

One of the largest - and certainly oddest - of these neo-religious movements was that of the Triforce Supremacy, by 2290 itself firmly established under the leadership of Dr. Naomi Butler, a doctor of philosophy of the University of Santa Cruz of the regional polity of Pacifica on Earth.

In 2290, Dr. Butler chartered a colonial effort to the Asteroid Belt with the intent of setting up an independent colony free of the political requirements of any government on Earth. Purchasing a moribund mining colony on the asteroid Nysa, her followers became miners first and a self-declared free state the day after, and the Exalted Sanctuary of the Triforce Supremacy was thusly born.

The core beliefs of the Triforce Supremacy center around a humanic approach to technological development eschewing the breathtaking developments of Artificial Intelligence and even, where possible, advanced computer systems at all. Rejecting all but the most basic computer systems, the Triforce Supremacy adapted by developing an extremely sophisticated school of mechanical engineering that while lacking in the response times afforded by modern computer systems maintained a robustness and reliability that was rarely matched throughout the solar system. Even today, while the beliefs of the Triforce Supremacy are the butt of jokes throughout the solar system, mechanical engineers from the Nysian Cluster are respected, if considered exceedingly strange.

Relations with the various polities of the Asteroid Belt are complicated by the fact that no other polity recognizes the Exalted Sanctuary's claim to political independence, and in fact, legally most polities consider the Exalted Sanctuary to be under the jurisdiction of the Independent Republic of Ceres, although Ceres has thus far not chosen to press that claim.

Republic of Titan

Although the Commonwealth of Callisto has a larger population that Titan proper, Titan as a political entity has the single highest population under any single polity of the Outer Worlds and the largest single Outer World economic base.

Unique in many ways among the Outer World, Titan possesses staggering amounts of hydrocarbons, nitrogen, water ice, silicates, and metals. With thick atmosphere of its own, its air pressure and insulation from radiation made Titan one of the first targets for human colonization among the Outer Worlds. This early start, combined with robust investment from state polities on Earth, several of which would eventually come together as the Oceanic League, resulted in a powerful economic colony under the potent auspices of the Titan Corporation.

  •  Republic of Titan
    • Titan
    • Tethys
    • Phoebe
    • Janus
    • Enceladus

Referred to jokingly as "The New World" for its economic dynamism, the Titan Corporation's early years were set against a backdrop of desperate, explosive growth such that the Titan Corporation struggled to manage the disparate enterprises in such as way as to at the same time profit off of their prosperity, manage the colony's overall development, and not discourage the welcome surge in people and money pouring into Titan.

The Titan Corporation's solution to this was to create a system of sub-contractual agreements allowing for almost unfettered development by individual investors with a few key caveats. Instead of a set of corporate law, the Titan Corporation developed a system of cooperative law. Cooperatives were licensed with a strict 40-40-20 division, with 40% of declared profits and voting power going to financial investors, 40% going to the individual employees and even contractors, and 20% being funneled to the parent corporation - that is, the Titan Corporation itself.

As a result, Titan developed into an economic giant, but a maddeningly decentralized and uncontrollable giant. The pursuit of profit is not simply a corporate doctrine, but a cultural one, as Titan's unusual system of cooperative law creates as much incentive for employees and contractors to identify with and support the commercial enterprises of their employer.

As economic exploitation of Titan expanded, it was decided to relocate both naval shipyard and security operations to nearby Rhea in an effort to ensure security functions, as the commercial enterprises on Titan were so disparate and so uncontrolled as to make the central governing body's hold tenuous at best.

After the fractious governing of Titan became impossible under the existing system, the Republic of Titan was organized, though the finished product was only dubiously more effective than its pre-republic state. In spite of considerable public outcry, pre-republic Titanian authorities exempted the Rhean Divisional Authority from republican sovereignty, as neither the pre-republic Titanian authorities nor the military governor of the Rhean Divisional Authority trusted what they feared could become mob rule in the new Republic of Titan.

Mars Republic

Although temporary bases had been periodically established on Mars before and even sporadically during the hard years of the Great Contraction, permanent settlement on Mars did not occur until 2118 with the establishment of Mariner Base (eventually Mariner City) in the canyons of the Valles Marineris. Corporately controlled with just the right number of government pay-offs to polities back on Earth, the Mars Corporation was the first major human settlement off of humanity's home. The expenses were vast, the risks massive, and at first there was no concept of political independence, but rather commercial and scientific exploitation.

  •  Mars Republic
    • Olympus Mons
    • Valles Marineris
    • Deimos

As the population on Mars ballooned over the subsequent decades, the Mars Corporation by necessity took on many of the practical duties of a sovereign nation, simply without the common conceptions of political representation. Colony sites and commercial exploitation were rigidly controlled by the Mars Corporation whose directors began to resent the increasingly peremptory demands of State, under whose law the Mars Corporation was technically founded.

After a series of unsuccessful political maneuvers throughout the 23rd century failed to significantly deter the influence of State, the Mars Corporation took advantage of a severe recession gripping Earth in 2401 opted to nationalize themselves as a means of creating the political pretext necessary to sever State control.

An angered State was kept in check only by the rapid signing of preferential trade and military understandings with Union, something that had been carefully planned before the nationalization of the Mars Corporation. Union warships rerouted to Mars, though State still legally controlled the moon of Phobos, maintaining a small research station there until 2145 when construction of Laputa Station, a naval base, was begun.

The new Mars Republic began a def campaign of playing State and Union against each other as it slowly strengthened its own military and economic position. Before the labor riots in the northern polar region of the Borealis Basin in 2465, the Mars Republic was well on its way to being a powerhouse in its own right as the de facto "Gateway to the Outer Worlds".

The Martian Civil War crushed this hope, and as hostilities have worn on for the better part of the last decade, the Mars Republic's efforts at containing and subduing the dissidents of the so-called Free State of Mars have proven extremely expensive both economically and politically. Union, well-aware of its position as counterbalance to the military might of State, has used its position to wring concession after concession from the Mars Republic to the point that many in the republic have begun to wonder if Union's patronage has become a devil's bargain.

Dev Diary #15 - Xenoarchaeology

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When humanity first sent probes into the great black deep of space, it expected nothing but barren rock and ice among the worlds of the solar system. With the discovery of liquid water oceans beneath the desolate, frigid crusts of many of the solar systems moons and asteroids, however, all of that changed. Signs of bacteria and microscopic exophile organisms, while hardly the alien life many might have wanted to discover, still shook the foundations of both religious and philosophic thought.

When the great burrowing machines plunged into the almost unimaginable depths of Europa, the tiny blind pale fishlike organisms represented an alien life even farther beyond what anyone had hoped for.

Then it happened.

In late November of 2420, an experimental Europan research submersible exploring deeper than had ever been possible before drifted through a forest of tiny fluorescent plasmic organisms the likes of which had never been recorded before, even on Europa. Samples confirmed the impossible - the samples were not native to Europa, but something very different and very much more complex than Europa's simple fish.

Art Diary #3 - Destroyer Class Ship

The process of creating ship models involves a multi-stage process starting with the construction of the ship in a 3D modeling program, continuing on to texturing of the surfaces, and finally finishing in the posing and lighting of the model in the various scene shots.

In the universe of ORG, the destroyer class of ship is the smallest dedicated battleship - while frigates are often used in confrontations and raiding, naval combat is not their primary purpose.

The destroyer class, on the other hand, is a dedicated war machine. Even more notably, it has no human crew, instead relying on a complement of Artificial Intelligence modules ranging from one to five A.I. depending on mission parameters and availability. With no human crew, destroyers need not obey normal acceleration limitations, allowing velocity changes that would crush a human crew. Ranges and mission lengths are similarly highly extendable, with destroyers being excellent choices for long-range pickets, suicide missions, and similar missions.

Continue on for the full article with more view shots and close-ups of this pre-textured model of the military workhorse of the 25th century solar system.

The Free State of Mars

After a series of unsuccessful political maneuvers throughout the 23rd century failed to significantly deter the influence of State over economic and political affairs on Mars, the dominant corporate oligarchs on Mars took advantage of a severe recession gripping Earth in 2401 opted to nationalize themselves as a means of creating the political pretext necessary to sever State control.

  •  Free State of Mars
    • Borealis Basin

While this succeeded in cracking State's stranglehold over Mars, it did nothing to help the large underclass working the ice and silicate mines concentrated in the northern polar region of the Borealis Basin. By 2465, the situation had reached a boiling point, and as waves of riots and shutdown swept the Borealis Basin, radical labor elements unilaterally declared the formation of a Free State of Mars in the northern part of the planet.

As the Mars Republic had long since turned to Union patronage to hold State at bay, it was only logical for the nascent Free State of Mars to accept aid and succor from State. As State still controlled the powerful military base of Laputa Station on Phobos high above the Martian sands, this provided a critical lifeline and desperately needed political support.

In the seven years following the emergence of the Free State of Mars, the Martian Civil War has lurched on in fits and starts. While the Mars Republic vastly outstrips the Free State of Mars in resources and population, the Borealis Basin is nevertheless the source of critical industrial infrastructure that the masters of the Mars Republic are loathe to see destroyed. Moreover, State sponsorage of the Free State of Mars prevents aerial bombardment or blockades, reducing the course of the Martian Civil War to an endless series of precision (and sometimes not-so-precise) raids and low-altitude drone strikes on the "economic terrorist camps", as the Mars Republic refers to the forces of the Free State of Mars.

Meanwhile, the population of the Borealis Basin has suffered horribly, living in appallingly poor conditions, all the while stirring a pot of resentment and nascent political nationalism that leaves little room for compromise, nor appetite for diplomatic solutions. While the Mars Republic retains a superior military posture in the conflict, it nevertheless lacks the popular support among its own population for the kind of scorched earth tactics likely necessary to bring the rebellious territory to heel.

The Quorum

The Quorum is an authoritarian, monomaniacal psychological self-actualization program writ large. Variously casting itself as a political entity, a social movement, or a religion, the Quorum considers itself the logical cultural evolutionary next step in human social organization.

  •  The Quorum
    • Quaoar
    • Weywot

With the twin drives of self-improvement and the at times morally questionably aggressive pursuit of pure research, dissent - often framed as "suppressive personalities" - is both socially frowned upon and politically dangerous. Quorum Organizational Security (QOS) operates quietly and efficiently without uniforms or pesky things like public trials. Informing on dissenters is considered a civic obligation and a religious duty.

The Quorum maintains an active missionary arm that aggressively proselytizes throughout the solar system. This effort is handled through designated "Education Institutes" and presented as a form of psychological self-improvement education. In practice, these efforts tend to be very aggressive, and attempt to leverage new recruits by using them to recruit family members and friends. When this fails, if family members or friends react negatively to the recruit's experiences with the Quorum, that hostility is manipulated to encourage the recruit to cut off their family members and friends as "suppressive personalities".

Quaoar is not particularly rich in resources, although it does have a healthy mining industry in iron and other metals. The primary industry of the Quorum is in fact research. The Quorum aggressively buys, trades, and sells research throughout the solar system, in addition to furthering research natively on Quaoar and Weywot proper - usually in those areas of research that other polities are reluctant to engage in out of ethical or similar concerns.

Haumea

The dwarf planet of Haumea is a reminder of the harsh realities facing colonists of the Outer Worlds. By the standards of the solar system a very young settlement, Haumea traces its formation as a polity to twenty years ago with what was essentially the largest prison break in human history.

  •  Haumea
    • Haumea

The polities of Saturn have long used the moon Hyperion as a kind of Botany Bay for political enemies, malcontents, debtors, or undesirables of any sort. None of Saturn's polities with the exception of the Alliance are innocent of this practice, though each utilizes the moon as a jointly-managed prison to differing extents.

Conditions on Hyperion remain some of the worst in the solar system. The average lifespan of a newly transplanted "citizen" of Hyperion has always been appallingly bad - two years is average, though the constant influx of new "citizens" has kept the population healthy. While security forces technically hold sway, in reality it is ruthless gangs that run the colony.

Twenty years ago, with the help of external contacts and a sympathetic org based in the Kuiper Belt, twenty thousand of Hyperion's involuntary citizens escaped the prison by means of hijacking incoming prison barges, reprogramming them, and sending them out to the dwarf planet of Haumea in the Kuiper Belt, where aid workers from the Kuiper Compact had prepared a refugee settlement.

In the intervening years, a flood of additional refugees and escapees have joined the original settlers. The political situation is precariously fragile, with a large majority of Haumea's income being in the form of foreign aid, and most of the remainder from relatives, most often from the various polities of Saturn.

The resulting political and economic instability has bred a generation whose hatred of Saturn in particular and many of the major polities in general knows no bounds. With no military to speak of, radical elements on Haumea have taken to a campaign of asymmetrical warfare including commercial hijackings, kidnappings, bombing campaigns, sabotage, and assassination.

Art Diary #2 - Ship Modeling

Early on in the development of ORG we had to make some fundamental decisions about how we were going to approach ships and facilities.

One option was to utilize 2D illustration for ships and facilities; the other option was to utilize 3D modeling.

The benefit of the 2D approach would be that very little infrastructural work would be needed - each piece would require about the same amount of time and effort, and we could get start getting work done fairly quickly, especially as good 2D artists are a lot easier to find than good 3D artists.

The problem with this approach, is that we had decided we ultimately wanted hundreds, if not thousands of images. We didn't just want a single shot and angle of a freighter, but that freighter in dozens of different perspectives, backdrops, and secondary props. To do this, we had to go with 3D, even if it meant a lot more startup time as we had to model, texture, and then pose each type of ship or facility.

The Vesta Compact

Like Ceres, Vesta was an early target for colonization and exploitation of the Asteroid Belt. Unlike Ceres, Vesta declined the generalized, open economy of its larger cousin in favor of a fully-corporatized economy focused on the huge zero and micro-G pharmaceutical market.

  •  Vesta Compact
    • Vestan Cluster
    • Palladian Family

Several critical markets became dominated by Vesta's corporate masters including pharmaceuticals for cryogenics, micro-gravity acclimatization, clone development stabilization, human military enhancement, and longevity treatments - among many other lesser markets.

While the Vesta Compact has a robust general economy as well, its specialization to its primary business has meant a streamlining of policy and interests that has seen the region dominate its chosen markets. Even more so than the Europan Consortium, the Vesta Compact's priority is on the business of business, and political entanglements are - as much as is possible - avoided.

The one exception to this policy of apolitical attention is the Independent Republic of Ceres, which due to its proximity, shared interests, and competition for dominance of the Asteroid Belt has become a competitor that has been inconceivable to ignore. Relationships between the two powers have always been mixed, though neither has shown any appetite for military conflict, and in fact both do cooperate in a few common areas such as piracy and their mutual interest in keeping the leviathonic powers of Earth at a safe distance.

Xena

Founded in the heady days of the colonization of the outer worlds, Xena was settled soon after Pluto. Unlike Pluto, however, Xena was settled without significant metanational influence, instead the result of a combined grant from the Oceanic League's "Great Diaspora" project and State in support of an association of scientists determined to create a haven for scientific knowledge and exploration.

  •  Xena
    • Xena
    • Gabrielle
    • Gebel

Xena's hopes and euphoria of a scientific utopian ideal led to several unique political and cultural aspects. Similar to the Sedna All-Thing, Xena is an absolutist direct democracy, Xena's decision making system referred to as "The Xenan Consensus".

Unlike the Sedna All-Thing, however, the Consensus has no system of proxy voting, and indeed has aggressively outlawed numerous informal mechanisms to replicate such. The resulting political culture is a society devoted to the exercise of popular sentiment, media manipulation, powerful public relations conglomerates, and so-called "Kharis" (kah-REES), charismatic personalities that command followers eager to cast their votes in line with their heroes.

Despite a potent economic machine, the rapid and profound swings of policy have resulted in Xena being less effective as a unified state than its size and power would otherwise suggest. Even its entrance to the Kuiper Compact was a long and tortuous process, something well-reflected in the polity's current political relationships today.

One side effect of the Consensus' chaotic system of governance is that Xena has become a center for research into sociodynamics, psychology, and culture. Especially on Xena, research foundations are seen not merely as academic institutions but as engines for the development of practical sociological resources and methodologies. The continuous struggle for social opinion in the Consensus has resulted in a degree of memetic engineering expertise that has achieved considerable repute throughout the solar system; even the militaries of foreign polities have been known to enlist Xenan memeticists in the development of campaigns of incitement and subversion of enemy populations.

The Rhean Divisional Authority

After its coalition partner the Republic of Titan, the Rhean Divisional Authority represents the single largest polity of the Saturn system. The Divisional Authority's economy is utterly intertwined with that of the Republic of Titan, a collaboration that derives directly from the two polities' own shared origins.

  •  Rhean Divisional Authority
    • Rhea
    • Mimas

As economic exploitation of Titan expanded, it was decided to relocate both naval shipyard and security operations to nearby Rhea in an effort to ensure security functions, as the commercial enterprises on Titan were so disparate and so uncontrolled as to make the central governing body's hold tenuous at best. The Rhean Divisional Authority thus formulated turned Rhea - and later Mimas as well - into a giant military base. The naval shipyards in orbit were initially mostly used for repair, refueling and retrofitting, but eventually began to construct ships of their own. Today, Rhean shipyards are capable of constructing destroyer-class vessels, and in 2470 completed a pilot project to construct a prototype Dreadnought-class battleship.

After the fractious governing of Titan became impossible under the existing system, the Republic of Titan was organized, though the finished product was only dubiously more effective than its pre-republic state. Amidst considerable public outcry, pre-republic Titanite authorities exempted the Rhean Divisional Authority from republican sovereignty, as neither the pre-republic Titanite authorities nor the military governor of the Rhean Divisional Authority trusted what they feared could become mob rule in the new Republic of Titan.

In the ensuing decades, the Republic of Titan and the Rhean Divisional Authority continued to maintain extremely tight military and commercial ties with considerable interchange of officers. Factions in both governments maintain some distrust of the other, however, with the Republic of Titan constructing its own military forces to "supplement coalition naval forces" on the one side, and the Rhean Divisional Authority consistently denying Titanite corporate access to Rhea's ice-water, something that has forced the Republic of Titan to deal much more aggressively with the Iapetus Coalition's water-miners than it would otherwise have.

Until the territorial encroachments of the Alliance, the Titan-Rhean Coalition was steadily pressuring the ancillary polities of the Saturn system to accede to Titan-Rhean hegemony, if not outright annexation, but the arrival of the Alliance juggernaut has upended that trajectory. Although the Rhean Divisional Authority's navy is significant, it is still not large enough to safely take the offensive upon the Alliance.

Dev Diary #14 - Crafting of the Mind

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People are very familiar with crafting as it exists in literally hundreds of games out there. You take certain quantities of certain materials and through the mechanics of whatever game you're in, you combine them to make a finished product. Perhaps that product has an immediate use; perhaps it is simply a stepping stone to still another product.

ORG, as we've talked about in previous dev diary blogs, definitely utilizes this kind of crafting, complete with the mining of raw materials, refining, building components, and assembling components to create finished products in the forms of ships, facilities, equipment, and components in the form of ship and facility traits.

All that's well and good, and represents a critical role in the player economy, but that really just touches on the Commercial (and, to a lesser extent, the Military and Research categories). How does the concept of crafting apply to categories like Cultural or Political?

The Dominion of Titania

The earliest settlement of the moons of Uranus were the result of efforts from the remnants of Korean metanationals seeking refuge from the nuclear and biological disaster of the Night of Black Rain in 2141.

  •  Dominion of Titania
    • Titania
    • Umbriel
    • Sycorax

With few friends on Earth willing to provide anything resembling substantial aid, in final act of post-national nationalism a collaboration of Korean metanationals funded an ambitious project to relocate the core of what remained of Korean commercial interests to what was at that time the farthest frontier in the solar system, the Uranus system.

In 2153, remotely-operated drone supply ships began to set up manufacturing and mining capabilities on Titania, all in preparation for the first wave of permanent settlement which was to arrive in 2157 and continue unabated for the next forty years. By 2190, the slowly dying land that had been Korea was depopulated, the survivors having starved, emigrated to China, Japan, or Pacifica, or - for those deemed to have sufficient value - transported to Titania, and later the moon of Umbriel as well.

Over the next two hundred years, the Dominion of Titania steadily grew, utilizing the generous resources of Titania and Umbriel to build a potent, generalized economy with an array of mining, hydroponic, and manufacturing capabilities. When the Guangdong-led metanationals began colonization of Oberon and several of the other mid-sized moons of Uranus, the Dominion of Titania provided generous support.

Whereas at first the Dominion of Titania was the senior partner in the venture, the aggressive pursuit - and eventual cornering - of the Helium-3 gas mining operations by the newcomers would eventually reverse the arrangement. By the time the Alliance who would be playing the driving political and commercial role in the system.

The Collaborated Union of the Hildas Triangle

Most of the clusters of the Asteroid Belt are linked by common origin; the constituent members of the Hildas Triangle are instead defined by their common orbital resonance with Jupiter such that all are constantly shifting positions around a kind of triangle.

  •  Collaborated Union of the Hildas Triangle
    • Hildas Triangle

This peculiarity is actually an economic and political boon for the polity known as the Collaborated Union of the Hildas Triangle, for each of its member in turn is near each other, as well as Jupiter itself. Further, the asteroids of the Hildas Triangle do not have a common origin, meaning that the Collaborated Union has a broad selection of raw materials to draw from and is thus more self-sufficient than most polities of its size.

Colonized later than Ceres, the Hildas Triangle shares a common origin with Ceres in that both were settled predominantly by corporations based out of the powerful polity of Union on Earth. Today, the Hildas Triangle maintains close political and economic ties with both Union and the Oceanic League, although it is beholden to neither, and in fact differs substantially with Union on certain political matters such as the Martian Civil War.

Economically vibrant, the Collaborated Union has attempted to chart an independent yet unoffensive course through the politics of its larger and more powerful neighbors. Partially this is due to self-preservation, as the nature of the Triangle is such that individual asteroids within the Triangle are inevitably spread across the entire orbit of the Triangle as a while, meaning that any military action against the Triangle would be difficult to defend against.

The Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione

A minor polity on Saturn's moon of Dione, the Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione have inadvertently become both pawn and cat's paw in the Trans-Jovian War between the Alliance and the Titan-Rhean Coalition.

  •  Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione
    • Dione

Long dominated by the powerful coalition, the arrival of the Alliance in Saturn's system has de facto turned Dione - along with the Iapetus Coalition - into a border principality whose allegiance has become currency in a rapidly heating up war between the Alliance incursions and the old powers of the Titan-Rhean Coalition.

As Mexico stabilized itself in the wake of The Great Contraction, the nascent polity of State was rapidly establishing a hegemony over much of the old territories of Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean, and it was not surprising that State would eventually turn its attention to its southern neighbor. State had thus achieved its aims mostly by cajoling and diplomacy, and its approach to wooing Mexico was no different.

Even early on in the initial period of State's courtship of Mexico it was obvious to disgruntled elements of the Mexican people that amalgamation was an inevitability, whether by fiat or rigged vote. Leveraging historical conceits of old images of Mexican nationalism, eight corporations formed an alliance to preserve México Real before it was swallowed up by the beast of State to the north. Together, these eight corporate entities were able to muster the financing to establish colonies on Saturn's moon of Dione.

The colonies of Dione were relative latecomers to Saturn's system, and overshadowed by the economic might of neighboring Titan and her junior partner on Rhea, Dione found itself the frequent subject of economic and political threats in an attempt to move it closer to the Republic of Titan's own aims.

With the arrival of the Alliance, the equation has suddenly, radically changed. No longer is the Titan-Rhean Coalition the undisputed power of Saturn's system, but now it has been forced into a slowly losing fight with a political and economic power that outclasses it. While not displeased to see the Titan-Rhean Coalition's throat-hold on Dione loosened, neither do the Amalgamated Calpultin of Dione truly trust the Alliance's motives, either.

The Oceanic League

Although the Oceanic League is not numbered among the three great powers of Earth, it was one of the earliest and most aggressive supporters of the Diasporan ideological movement following in the demographic catastrophe of The Great Contraction in the latter part of the 21st century. Since its inception, the Oceanic League's efforts have resulted in numerous colonies in the outer reaches of the solar system, most notably on Triton, Makemake, Xena, and Quaoar.

  •  Oceanic League
    • Oceanic League

As with many of the modern powers extant today on Earth, the inception of the Oceanic League had its roots in the The Great Contraction of the latter part of the 21st century when nearly 5 billion human beings lost their lives to the varied depredations of war and famine. As drought and profound income equality tore the old United States apart at the seams, local populations were forced to fend for themselves in an effort to establish some degree of sanity and order.

Abandoned by the American states east of the Rocky Mountains, the coastal states from Mexico up through Canada and Alaska banded together in an association of convenience and mutual treaty obligations not dissimilar to the old North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that arose after World War II. By the time the population crash had stabilized, what had started as a treaty of mutual cooperation and military defense had extended its reach to include Hawai'i, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. In the face of aggressive political consolidation in the form of the Eastern Federation and State, the treaty organization evolved into a formal association of confederation known as the Oceanic League.

Scattered across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean and hedged in by larger, more powerful neighbors, the Oceanic League allied itself with State and incorporated into its numbers other, smaller states on its territorial periphery.

With The Great Contraction behind it and the consolidation of state polities proceeding aggressively across a resource-strained Earth, the Oceanic League took inspiration from the Polynesian explorers of the Pacific Ocean of the pre-modern era, investing vast sums of money into colonization efforts of the solar system as part of what would become known as the Diaspora - an effort to scatter the seed of humanity so far that no single disaster might ever again threaten the entire species' survival.

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