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 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.

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 Titanian 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

Heretic's picture

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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 2121.

  •  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 2133, 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 2137 and continue unabated for the next forty years. By 2180, 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.

Makemake

One of the major worlds of the Kuiper Belt as well as one of the founding members of the Kuiper Compact, Makemake is the third largest population center of the Kuiper Belt.

Founded by the Oceanic League in 2310 during the expansion following the grim years of the Great Contraction on Earth, Makemake is a study in voluntary political communalism combined with a system of personal patronage that has resulted in an unlikely blend of libertarian and socialistic ideals.

  •  Makemake
    • Makemake

Although considerably weaker in political and military power, in the years following the Great Contraction the Oceanic League was one of the first major polities to embrace a policy of extremely aggressive colonization. Arguably due to a relative lack of power on Earth, the Oceanic League took to colonization as an outlet for the dreams and aspirations of its disparate populations. This "Diaspora" mirrored the old Polynesian voyages of exploration and colonization with the first major colony being that of Triton, and Makemake, even farther out, as the second.

Relatively inwardly focused, Makemake was as much a social experiment as it was a safety valve for a rapidly centralizing population on Triton. Originally with virtually no military to speak of, Makemake became a strong backer to the Plutonian Assembly's proposal for a weak federal union in the form of the Kuiper Compact.

Since the formation of the Kuiper Compact, Makemake has focused on a number of ambitious plans, by far the boldest of which is the construction of a monstrous generation ship intended to take colonists to our nearest stellar neighbor of Alpha Centauri, part of a trinary star system a little over four light years beyond the confines of our own solar system.

Microtransaction Discussions

Heretic's picture

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Hey guys. We're in the process of finalizing models for support of the game, and would be very interested in your feedback, ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Some comments:

  • It will be possible to play the game (the WHOLE game) for free. We're not going to put up either hard gates (such as, "You can't play after X amount of time") or soft gates (such as, "You can technically keep playing, but without buying X it becomes increasingly impractical and unrealistic".)
  • While we aren't at this point ruling out some kind of supplementary or optional subscription method, that is not in the current plan.
  • We're likely trying to avoid boosts, as this can de facto create a lot of the above kinds of soft gates, though there may be certain types of numerics for which this could be done more safely.
  • Political Influence (but just Political) specifically we'd like to monetize in some way. Makes the category unique, and seems appropriate (corruption and all). Note that you'd still be able to get Political Influence from just playing the game.
  • One of the big debates internally is how much (or little) to lean on direct purchases with or in addition to a pack model. There are a lot of variations on this (I have a long article on "High Ceilings and High Floors" on my personal blog that goes into my philosophy on this). I think a pack model as part of this could be made to work, but I am not married to it.
  • What things are purchasable? Numerics? Minions? (All, or just some categories?) Traits? (The things that you can apply to Minions). What about minion experience to improve quality?

Looking forward to any feedback people might have!

Union

One of the three traditional great polities of Earth, Union has long been an advocate of "soft power", forgoing the ostentatious trappings of imperial might. Under Union's debatably benevolent tutelage, myriad colonies and polities off-Earth have emerged since the ravages of The Great Contraction, several of these - most notably the Venusian Republic - becoming significant powers in their own right.

  •  Union
    • Union

Regardless of Union's preference towards influence over direct control, Union's power and reach are neither altruistic nor always for the benefit of its dependencies. Indeed, while Union makes great efforts to preserve the appearance of political independence on the part of its satellite polities, it does this at least partially to relieve itself of any legal or moral requirement to maintain the well-being or military protection of said polities when such would become inconvenient, or simply too expensive.

Some such polities such as the Independent Republic of Ceres have even tilted in favor of other powers in an effort to disentangle themselves from carefully crafted "legal obligations" engineered by Union lawyers and bureaucrats to bind them ever tighter to Union's political influence.

Despite its name and evocatively European Union-style flag, the modern state of Union owes nothing save a convenient common mythology to that first attempt to bind the states of Europe into a common union. Rather, the modern polity of Union was birthed out of the ashes of the devastating population loss of The Great Contraction of the latter part of the 21st century.

Although numbered among the three "Great Powers" of Earth, Union maintains the smallest military forces, and in fact is being rapidly eclipsed in this area by even the Southern Bloc. This apparent weakness is somewhat misleading, however, as because of its policy of maintaining independent dependents what military might it does have is considerably more concentrated, with the only significant military forces beyond Earth orbit stationed in support of the Venusian Republic and the Mars Republic.

Eunomia

The Eunomian Cluster is one of the largest asteroid families of the Asteroid Belt, home to a scattered collection of private and corporate mining operations, dissident redoubts, and pirate caches. The cluster's namesake is Eunomia, a large asteroid rich in both common silicates but also metals, particularly nickel and iron.

  •  Eunomia
    • Eunomian Cluster

Colonized originally by State in 2185, Eunomia was intended to be State's launching point for an intended domination of the Asteroid Belt and hopefully beyond.

The first twenty years of Eunomia's colonization were rife with constant supply problems, forcing the mining operators to increasingly utilize smugglers and others to maintain supply, and the general level of cynicism and bitterness at the absentee landlords of State on Earth heightened.

State, frustrated by expenses and constant labor problems, attempted to solve "The Eunomian Problem" by importing in additional mining specialists from South Africa and Quebec, contracted out to "solve" the issues. Predictably, the infusion of a large number of specialists merely added to the strife. By 2215 the situation was a disaster, and so much money was being wasted or funneled away via graft that State washed its hands of its failed experiment.

Eight more years of back-and-forth vicious in-fighting, backstabbing, and attempts to forge a unified political coalition finally saw the formal creation of a nominally independent state of Eunomia, though in truth considerable economic support from the Oceanic League was being used as leverage to force all parties to the negotiating table. The resulting unsteady polity stumbled for the better part of the century, only to fall to bickering and sectarian conflict.

Since the collapse of the Eunomian polity, the asteroid has become the picture of a failed state. The mineral wealth of the asteroid is still valuable, but the corporate interests exploiting it have had to resort to extreme security measures, and in truth, even these are only sometimes successful. Every decade or so one faction or the other claims formation of a new Eunomian polity, but the vast majority of these efforts fail before they have even truly begun.

Today, Eunomia ironically represents not only a vibrant market for mercenary and security operations, but also one of the prime recruitment areas for mercenaries, as the near-constant strife has resulted in a population of brutal, ruthless, efficient men and women.

The Orcus Directorate

Orcus and Vanth were settled comparatively late in the settlement of the Kuiper Belt. In the 2360s a private colonization effort associated with dissident political elements from State quietly set up a base on Orcus.

  •  Orcus Directorate
    • Orcus
    • Vanth

Uncommonly in the colonization of the solar system - although not entirely uniquely - Orcus was settled neither by direct national interests nor my metanational interests. Instead, it was the subject of a political, cultural, and ideological experiment. Its founders were wealthy oligarchs, and to recruit sufficient colonists it utilized a combination of promises it had no intention of keeping and pulling from the most desperate classes of society.

The Orcus Directorate is an unapologetically totalitarian state of the likes possibly never seen in human history. Citizens of the Directorate are over 85% clones with no rights and, indeed, little awareness of any existence beyond Orcus - most are not even aware of the existence of humanity beyond the oppressive complexes buried under Orcus' crust. While personal names exist, as with all of Orcus' citizens they consist of a simple name and a number; for example, John 252-223-1 or Milla 201-981-5. Clones are universally sterilized and raised in brutal creches indoctrinating principles of blind obedience.

The Directorate practices extensive eugenics and genetic modification of its population, some of this aimed at creating a more obedient population, some of it at creating what it judges to be a superior population. Some notable characteristics of these experiments include general hairlessness, biological sterilization, improved inner ear mechanics, heightened reflex speed, but reduced lifespan - Orcus' citizenry rarely lives past 40 years of age, an unintended side effect of the state's genetic tampering.

From around 2440, the Directorate has begun a steady increase in its naval and ground military capabilities. With its low population, it has focused primarily on automated units in both spheres, paying for this expansion primarily by leveraging its political and physical isolation as an asset, becoming an invaluable, no-questions-asked vault for information and materials that other polities and orgs would prefer not be uncovered.

The Alliance

The Alliance is one of the rare polities in the solar system that is in the throes of a cultural, commercial, political, and military renaissance.

  •  Alliance
    • Oberon
    • Ariel
    • Miranda
    • Caliban
    • Mab
    • Chariklo
    • Pandora
    • Prometheus
    • Calypso
    • Neso
    • Psamanthe

    On the wings of its extensive mining of Helium-3 - the newest, most sought-after fuel in the solar system, and relatively rare in the Inner Worlds - the Alliance has built a politically unified, commercially vibrant, and militarily powerful combination that belies the relatively small populations of its worlds.

    Where the Protean League rules with authoritarian vigor, the Alliance's own paternalistic political tendencies are tolerated by its population in the name of security and commercial strength.

    The modern Alliance has its roots in the early expansion back into space in the ashes of the The Great Contraction of the late 21st century. As China began politically consolidating its territorial gains into what would eventually become the Eastern Federation, a collection of Guangdong and Southeast Asian-based metanational corporations began commercial enterprises aimed at permanent settlement of the gas giant Uranus' moons in the outer solar system.

    In one of the great technological gambles of the post-Collapse era, these pre-Alliance metanationals moved aggressively to develop and create a cartel controlling Uranus' vast - and relatively accessible - supply of Helium-3.

    Today, it is the Alliance who has reaped the benefits of this early domination of the Helium-3 mining, creating an economic juggernaut that extends all the way back to Earth. The economic juggernaut eventually birthed a military juggernaut to secure its control of the region, for the Helium-3 is found directly in the cloud layers of Uranus, making an effective navy key to maintaining the dominance of this resource.

    The Alliance has since turned both outward and inward; outward to Neptune, where it has established a pair of tiny bases on the outer periphery of that gas giant, and inward to Saturn, pitting the Alliance directly against the coalition of the Republic of Titan and the Rhean Divisional Authority.

    The attempt to create a truly pan-system polity in the vast expanses of the outer worlds is a military experiment being carefully watched by the rest of the solar system. Should it be successful, imitators are inevitable. In the meantime, the Alliance is on a timetable; while currently Saturn and Uranus are growing closer, in about a decade's time they will begin drawing far enough apart to make the maintenance of supply lines increasingly difficult. In other words, the Alliance has about ten years to secure its position in Saturn's system, after which the advantage will begin inexorably shifting to Saturn's own natal polities.

The Democratic Republic of Triton

The largest moon by far in Neptune's system, Triton was also settled relatively early in humanity's expansion into the solar system. The first permanent settlement touched down in 2202, and by the close of the century Triton had become the Oceanic League's primary base of operations off of Earth, and springboard to its colonization of the Kuiper Belt.

Commercially wealthy and one of the outer world's most vibrant economies, the Democratic Republic of Triton was founded with the Oceanic League's blessing in 2330. While Triton's economy continued to be a powerful engine of growth, the myriad groups that had settled on Triton now became a new problem. Political in-fighting turned the vaunted democracy's political system into a morass of gridlock, broken only occasionally by periods of de facto one party rule. These periods of one-party rule almost always simply made the situation worse, as frustration with the existing system almost always led to political overreach, inevitably setting the stage for rivals to come back into power with blood in their mouth and repeat the cycle.

  •  Democratic Republic of Triton
    • Triton

In the early years of colonization of the solar system, while there were certainly better and worse pieces of real estate, there yet were more than enough worlds for both Earth's old national powers and ambitious metanational corporations to plant their flags where they might. As those early centuries of colonization began to pass and the great new frontier started to narrow, the polities began more aggressively organizing. Slowly, subtly, the mood began to shift, and there became a growing realization that competition and conflict were going to become inevitable even in the seemingly limitless expanse of the outer worlds.

Where once the Democratic Republic of Triton's political chaos was a relatively harmless, albeit frustrating, subject, the rise of the Protean League and the growing power of the Alliance changed the calculus. No longer would political gridlock be a tolerably price to pay for freedom, and despite its economic might, the Democratic Republic of Triton began to lose ground, first to the Protean League, and later to the Alliance.

Its allies either too far distant or too weak to lend it substantial aid, the Democratic Republic of Triton is finding itself in the inconceivable position of being slowly cordoned and crushed by polities in theory much poorer or at least much smaller than it. Unable to effectively organize, the Jewel of the Outer Worlds now looks to be the inevitable casualty of war in the 25th century.

The Iapetus Coalition

While the political and economic center of the Saturn system is dominated by the Republic of Titan and her lesser possessions, several other independent polities exist.

One of these independent polities, the Iapetus Coalition, has a long history in the development of Saturn's moons and is at present a major pawn in the military struggle between the Alliance of Uranus and the Republic of Titan.

  •  Iapetus Coalition
    • Iapetus

Iapetus' early settlement was conducted by a coalition of four smaller metanational corporations who, unable to compete with the corporate efforts colonizing Titan proper, took the next best bet in the Saturn system, setting up extensive water ice mining operations on Iapetus. Decades later, water ice mining operations on Iapetus were sufficiently expansive as to make Iapetus an integral player in the system.

Still, Iapetus never attracted the population or generalized industry to become immune to the political influence from Titan. Several times the Republic of Titan has moved to annex Iapetus and secure its vast water ice mining operations, although each time it has been foiled by intransigence by Iapetus' mining community. Before the Alliance's aggressive move into the Saturn system, the Republic of Titan was very close to having finally achieved its long-term plan for annexation. For now, the threat of the Alliance has kept the Republic of Titan quiet in its attempts to annex Iapetus, but if the conflict with the Alliance were to end, the Republic of Titan is all but certain to take up the effort again.

Because of the Republic of Titan's persistent moves towards formal annexation of Iapetus, the Iapetus Coalition has opened up friendly diplomatic channels with the Alliance. For its part, the Alliance has been careful to avoid targeting any of the Iapetus Coalition's commercial interests and has even offered to make Iapetus a military protectorate with political autonomy within the Alliance. The Iapetus Coalition has long valued its independence, but its frustration with the Republic of Titan's repeated annexation attempts now has the serious possibility of resulting in it becoming an Alliance protectorate.

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