Solar Confederate Government
The Solar Confederate Government, or SolGov, is a mostly-human governmental entity based on Luna and extending throughout a sizable area of the surrounding galaxy.
SolGov defines top-level law (such as sapient rights and transgressive technology) and acts as an intermediary council for problems involving member states, but leaves most other law for states to define themselves. The member states of SolGov obey these laws, pay confederate taxes, and provide each other with military aid, in exchange for membership in the largest free trade, customs, and military union in the known galaxy. Each state appoints at least one representative to the Colonial Assembly where issues are voted upon. The number of representatives from each member state is theoretically proportional to population, but in practice this is rarely the case. The vast majority of human states are members of SolGov.
Sol's military forces are traditionally divided between central confederate forces and local defense forces, reserving the right to nationalize defense forces in the event of a major crisis, such as during the SolGov-Hegemony War or Almach Crisis.
Following the events of the Skathari Incursion beginning in 2566, greater autonomy was granted to member states and the influence of SolGov has become much reduced. Many once confederation level matters, including most military and trade policy, have been devolved to new regional blocs who remain under broader SCG oversight.
Early space colonization was conducted by national interests and remained tied to their host countries for many decades. But during the political instability of the late 21st century, many colonies lost their ties to their host nation, some of which even carried out joint colonization to produce settlements not connected to any earthbound nation. The Solar Confederate Government is a former branch of the United Nations created to police and administrate these colonies, as well as later colonies created by corporate or scientific interests. It has since grown to include all Earth nations and the majority of humanity's colonized systems.
Disruptions to travel caused by the "tachyon downtick" surrounding the Skathari Incursion severely impeded SolGov's capabilities to materially support, and to a degree even communicate effectively with member states beginning in 2566, leading to unprecedented loss of territory. The systems comprising the Five Arrows ceded to form a wholly independent regional government in 2570, leading to the formation of official regional blocs within the SCG with increased autonomy in an effort to prevent any further dissolution. Later, several systems in the Bowl would be diplomatically ceded to the Tajaran Pearlshield Coalition, who were better placed to defend the distant area from increased pirate raids.
While a state's association with SolGov is technically free and open to termination by either the confederate government or the state itself, the fact is that most states depend on imports from elsewhere to survive, and leaving the SolGov military and trade union is not a decision made lightly or often.
The main body of SolGov is the Colonial Assembly, located on Luna. It is composed at least one representative from each member state. Representatives are chosen by the member state by any process chosen by the member state itself, be it direct elections, representative elections, top-down appointments, or even blatant bidding wars. In turn, the Colonial Assembly issues confederate laws and mandates and appoints among themselves the various members of the Cabinet. The Colonial Assembly is a highly prestigious house of legal power and the position of a Representative is an envied one. A Representative needs to be at least thirty years old, be a SolGov citizen, have no felony criminal charges levied against them, and be impartial and incorruptible... a standard that is not always met. Corruption is present inside the Assembly, as in any large governmental body, although many disagree on its exact extent.
The Confederate Cabinet is the executive branch of SolGov, considered to be subservient to and controlled by the Assembly. There are more than two dozen Cabinet members, called Executives, each overseeing the agencies involved in such broad sphere of influence as Labor or Foreign Affairs. Cabinet members are appointed by the Assembly and subject to recall by a majority vote of the Assembly, but hold their positions until recall, death, or retirement.
The other important body is the Colonial High Court, set up to deal with legal disputes among the member states and to properly judge any criminal who has committed crimes against sapient rights. They deal with violations of the Five Points of Human Sanctity, gross violations of civil rights, and major terrorist organizations. High Judges are appointed by the Colonial Assembly, although Cabinet members and and Councilors are barred from being appointed High Judge. Candidates for High Judges are often highly renowned lawyers and judges known for their keen sense of justice and legal skill.
New colonies must meet a minimum level of legal and political stability, population, industrialization and economic strength, adherence to SolGov law, and military strength before they are considered full member states and allowed representatives in the Assembly. Upon a colony's petition to officially join the SCG, these criteria are assessed by an independent commission overseen by the Executive of Development, the Committee of Colonial Representation. Prior to admission, any colony established by an organization based in SCG territory is considered a Protectorate. While they enjoy the protection and social security of SolGov, they are not represented inside the Colonial Assembly. While one of these criteria is independence from any foreign government or single corporate entity, in practice corporations, being integral to the economic development of most states in SolGov, have a great deal of power over which Protectorates are elevated and which languish.
Should a state break the laws set by SolGov or refuse to pay taxes and provide military support to their neighbors, the Colonial Assembly has the option of putting the state on trial. If the High Court finds the government inept, the state's government is dissolved and replaced with a restructured one, usually in the mold of SolGov itself. While this maintains freedom from the worst excesses of corporate oligopoly, state capitalism, or even neo-feudalism, this clause is commonly cited as a gross overstep of Confederate authority and is considered an act of last resort. In the past, some states have seceded before being brought to trial, although the economic effects were usually severe enough that they reconsidered.
Beginning in 2570, the Solar Confederate Government officially divided its colonies outside the immediate Sol core into Regional Blocs in an effort to stymie further calls for independence from systems that felt ill-served by the confederation during the Skathari Incursion. These blocs, formed roughly along traditional cultural and economic lines were granted additional powers in determining and organizing local laws, particularly in regards to international trade, in exchange for being expected to be largely self-reliant in local military matters.
As of the present day these regional blocs and their major member states are:
- The Golden Crescent Alliance Bloc (Vir, Oasis, Gavel)
- Precursor's Crypt Regional Government (Terminus, Raphael, Rubicon, Nyx)
- Frontier Post Regional Government (El, Jahan's Post, Abel's Rest)
- Inner Bowl Regional Bloc (Love, Zhu Que, Isavau's Gamble)
Alpha Centauri, Procyon, Tau Ceti, Kess-Gendar, Altair, New Ohio and Saint Columbia remain as "direct" SCG member states due to proximity to Sol or presence of major government infrastructure.
It is the duty of a member state to surrender some of their wealth to provide monetary support to poorer member states and protectorates within their regional bloc, and to finance the function and agencies of SolGov. This redistribution of wealth is the life vein for many frontier settlements, as the initial start-up of colonies is an extremely expensive undertaking. Unfortunately, this government support is often not enough, and many colonies are left reliant on corporate support, with all the unethical practices that may entail, and resulting states are more likely to be left as corporate puppets. SolGov offers freedom and monetary support - although once admitted to the Assembly, members are required to eventually pay off their debts, and cannot voluntary leave SolGov during their indebtedness without an appeal before the Colonial High Court. There have been allegations that government officials of some protectorates may keep their colonies artificially impoverished and ineligible for membership, in order to continue exploiting SolGov backing to line their own pockets.
Another duty is to provide for the common defense by maintaining a Defense Force in keeping with the state's population and economic base. This requirement is notably waived for Protectorates, who are guarded by nearby Defense Forces and central military forces. Nearby states are free to collaborate to produce a shared Defense Force, most notably with the various states of Earth, Mars, and elsewhere in the Sol System, who all contribute to the Sol Defense Force. This clause makes it easy for collections of small states to meet the defense requirement and thus become full members, which has led to accusations of stacking the deck in favor of Sol, Tau Ceti, and other core systems.
In the event of a major military crisis, the Defense Forces were traditionally nationalized under the command of the Sol Defense Force. This happened most recently during the Skathari Incursion of 2566, Almach Crisis of 2562-2564, SolGov-Hegemony War of 2508-2520, and before that during the Third Cold war. Slow response times and lack of materiel during the Incursion led to many of these responsibilities being reduced to the regional level, where smaller combined forces would be more able to respond to unpredictable local threats such as pirates, Vox and Skathari.
One of the most commonly acted upon duties of SolGov is that of keeping the peace between its member states. This is not to say that any state under SolGov are engaged in open war, but there are still internal conflicts that arise. SolGov has ambassadors and peacekeepers that it sends to member states to attempt to seek peaceful resolution. Ambassadors may not be tied to any of the entities within a conflict, and must remain as neutral as possible. The success of ambassadors and peacekeepers varies greatly depending on the source of the conflict.
The duty of SolGov's military forces is singular: Protect the boundaries of human space and the members of SolGov. A purely reactionary force, they protect member states and protectorates from foreign incursions and attacks, such as pirates, non-SolGov Human states, or significant alien threats. For SolGov's own military forces to act freely, the member must notify the Assembly that they cannot handle the threat on their own. Fighting between member states is both heavily frowned upon and very rare, usually incurring domestic sanctions that force the belligerents to a standstill - however SolGov refrains from interference into small conflicts militarily unless there is pressing reason to do so, such as the possibility of war crimes.
SolGov's military is separated into three branches, each of which serves a different purpose.
- SCG Fleet: The collective term for the warships counted in the SolGov military, and the individuals who crew and service those ships, the Solar Confederate Government Fleet is the largest collection of warships in human space, and its personnel make up the bulk of the SCG's military. Though based on Luna, their expenses come almost entirely from member state taxation, and a significant portion of vessels are provided by local shipyards throughout SCG territory. Fleet vessels serve a variety of roles as diplomatic craft, transports, emergency medical responders, exploration and survey ships, and a variety of warships - though fleet combat is uncommon due to the low threshold for acceptable damage. Large parts of the Fleet are often involved in anti-piracy actions, which justifies to many the cost of arming and maintaining warships.
- SCG Marine Corps: The Solar Confederate Government Marine Corps is a ground force that is typically deployed by Sol Military Command when severe ground based resistance is met. They pride themselves on their record of siege-breaking and riot ending, a reputation that has, on occasion, convinced troubled groups to reconcile from just the threat of Marine deployment. Occasionally referred to (mostly by themselves) as SolGov's Peacekeepers. The SCG Marine Corps is comparatively small, and used for troubleshooting, deployed in situations where the local Defence Forces are unable or unwilling to take action. The Corps has a perfectionist bent, made only worse by the fact that they are the most well known of SolGov's ground forces, and despite being dwarved by other branches numerically, have a reputation for ego. In times of peace, the Marine Corps are often simply utilized as garrison forces in SCG facilities, often much to their displeasure.
- SCG Defense Forces: The SCG military claims overall command of local military forces for any SolGov colony, meaning they technically answer to the SCG branch, though outside emergencies the local branches are mostly left to their own devices. Defense Force assets remain in their home systems unless rallied by Sol proper in times of war. This helps lower SolGov's costs, as well as unrest among colonials, while still allowing enough manpower to mount a strong defense in times of need. Member states are free to choose their methods and standards of recruitment. The majority have volunteer service, but in some less stable areas selective service has been enacted.
Transgressive Technologies Commission
The regulatory body in charge of adjudicating and enforcing laws surrounding the research, development and utilization of technologies that have been deemed to be transgressive, including determining whether new technologies meet that (sometimes dubious) definition. The core focus of the Commission is on genetic modification technology, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence.
This most notably includes enforcement of the Five Points of Human Sanctity.
Emergent Intelligence Oversight
The EIO are the classification and enforcement branch of the TTC focused on the identification, investigation and elimination of emergent artificial intelligences. All drones, particularly those of higher classification are subject to monitoring and inspection by this agency. Any Drone intelligence deemed to have exceeded the rated abilities of its assigned classification is highly liable to be targetted for collection and disassembly. The EIO's stated goal is to prevent at all costs the intentional or 'natural' development of an intelligence capable of recursive self-improvement, leading to a feared technological singularity.
Colloquially referred to as 'Old MacDonald', the EIO have a ruthless reputation and are frequently accused of unfairly targetting Positronic individuals. Advocates for the rights of emergent drones are also a frequent target of suspicion.
Galactic Survey Administration
Working closely with the SCG Fleet, the GSA is the governmental agency in charge of the survey and exploration of the galaxy, including investigation and classification of planets, anomaly research, and first contact procedures. This also includes the designation of systems as suitable or unsuitable (Such as the home system of the Qyga) for private colonization efforts.
Extraplanar Discovery Division
The EDD are the branch of the GSA responsible for exploration outside the galactic plane, specializing in the unique astronomical anomalies and potential lifeforms that exist outside the tachyon-dense spiral of the Milky Way. Extraplanar expeditions typically last one full year, excepting special circumstances. No new expeditions have been launched since the dramatically increased risk caused by the Skathari Incursion