- 400 years ago
- 4 out of 5 colony ships choose the Hyades cluster.
- Some time between
- AI wars
- 4 years ago
- War between the League and the other guys ends.
History and Politics
History – A Primer
The Hyades star cluster (more properly star system) was the target of a CoDominium colonization effort during the last parts of the twenty-third century. On Old Earth, artificial intelligences were able to engineer and control the massive effort to design, build and navigate the necessities of interstellar colony vessels.
Five of the six colony ships which departed Earth arrived (Liberty, Mistral, Tsu-Wa, Cibola and Yedinstvo) arrived in Hyades. The sixth ( the Hatima) was presumed lost with all hands, although legends of the lost colony ship remain rampant.
Upon arrival, the presence of numerous planets within habitable zones astounded the colony leaders – it was well beyond anything predicted by Earth-based stellar cartography.
The original colonies met with success and soon (within a century) they were able to produce crèche-colonists to expand onto worlds and moons newly terraformed. The four core worlds (Liberty, Bretonia, Bolivar and Gonghe) founded a Council government made up of equal members – the Union.
Unfortunately, during this first thrust into colonization the system encountered its first crisis: the AIs responsible for the interstellar journey attempted to take control of the colonies. Presumably this was to further their stated mission of protecting the mission but as colonists resisted, violence broke out. Two colonies were completely destroyed and only by eventually removing the expert systems were the colonists able to regain control of their destiny.
This event left a tremendous mark upon the psyche and methodologies of the Hyades. Systems with synaptic processing were outlawed, leaving the system to rely upon human engineering for incredibly delicate work: terraforming, starship design. Even today, ships are forbidden to have interlocking systems – each must have an independent expert system.
Despite the setbacks of the Architect’s Plot, colonization began again in AA (After Arrival) 130. By AA200, several secondary colonies were vibrant and growing affairs. Then, the second struggle began. Homeworlds saw the colonies as investments and extension of their planets holdings. By AA250, the world of Cassidine (a colony of the original Mistral mission) attempted to vote secession – to brutal conclusion. The struggle lasted two years and cost ten thousand lives. It was the First Colonial War – but it was not to be the last.
It is the year AA981.
Nearly a thousand years after the founding of the Hyades no communication has been received from Earth. The population of the cluster continues to grow: thanks to a enthusiastic crèche program in the early years of colonization, nearly six billion souls call the Cluster home, spread out across thirty-one major colonies.
Five Colonial Wars have been fought – leaving the Cluster a torn place. Each has been more vicious than the last and victories have exchanged hands several times. The Fifth Colonial War has just concluded three years ago. Members of the Free Worlds League sought to end domination of Union trade law and free space trade and travel for good. The struggle raged for nearly five years, with the Union able to field large forces but the League having tactically superior leadership.
Ultimately, the war concluded (without armistice) following the Renford-Mendez exchange. Admiral Renford, leader of the Union Expeditionary force fought his way into orbit over Essen – a major manufacturing center for the League- and threatened to destroy it. When League forces refused to surrender (digging in for a ground assault and daring the Union forces to try and take it) Renford ordered an orbital bombardment. Union leadership was shocked at the staggering loss of civilian life and Renford was relieved (and ultimately executed) for his actions.
The League was infuriated by the action and the war council ordered reprisals. They selected Commander-Colonel Victor Mendez to conduct an appropriate response. To this end, Mendez seized the mining complexes on the moon over Gonghe and used mass driver technology to drop meteoric payloads on several facilities. With the realization the cost of continued conflict could get very high, the sides agreed to ceasefire – which is still in effect today.
Politics – A Primer
Numerous major political powers exist within the Cluster.
Ostensibly Liberty, Bolivar, Bretonia and Gonghe (the original four colony worlds) and Normandy (a “department” of Liberty) form a unified bloc of political power. The raw material worth of these worlds overshadows the wealth of the other colony worlds – but all is not that simple.
Two major political factions exist within the Union – the Alliance (consisting of Liberty and Normandy) and the Coalition (Bolivar, Gonghe and Bretonia). This break came during the Third Colonial War when Liberty used its manufacturing capabilities to browbeat the other members into following its lead in the War. If the conflict had gone well, the Coalition might never have been formed. Today it is a well-trod path of discord.
Other political factors affect the Union as well.
Corporations are very powerful within the polity. They can (with some effort) affect political and legislative changes. They can field large groups of armed men, (During the last Soy Riots on Gonghe, government forces relied upon the forces supplied to them by Hyperion Technologies and Russo-American Merchantile (RAM) to quell the riots) and they have political desires.
The Sons of Normandy is a counter-government organization that could upset the status quo if they can get enough popular support. They fight for the freedom of Normandy (the last remaining Second Wave colony in the Union) and if they succeed, the Alliance faction will lose their parity – forcing an internal showdown.
The Free Worlds League
Consisting of seven worlds (Artemis, Cassidine, Elysium, Essen, Kusari , Lyonesse and Shiloh) the League is a raucous mixture of threats, bluster and backroom dealings. Technically a confederacy, it very loosely organized – except when it’s not. Over the past hundred years of its existence, the members of the League have shown remarkable ability to set aside their differences at exactly the right moment and act decisively. The rest of the time….
Within the League, individual worlds sport their own armed forces, making them significantly more diversified (some would say chaotic) than their Union rivals. However, growing military traditions have allowed them to maximize efficiency of these differences by providing standardized military training.