Star*Drive: Visions of the Verge
Formed from the wreckage of the Second Galactic War, the Galactic Concord stands as manual’s hope for the future. Cobbled together from the losers and leftovers of the war by the surviving nations, the Concord is an arbiter in the affairs of the stellar nations. The Concord has been described as humanity’s jury, a moral compass intended to keep all the stellar nations in line.
The Treaty Of Concord
The Treaty of Concord established the groundwork for the Galactic Concord. The treaty finalized the borders between the stellar nations, established Concord Neutralities, allocated resources from the existing governments into a pool that became’ the property of the Galactic Concord, protected the t’sa by establishing their cluster of space as a Concord protectorate, and created the 13th stellar nation.
The Concord was established along the same lines as other stellar nations. Understandably, many nations feared the creation of a supernation that could one day overthrow them. The lessons of both Galactic Wars and the secessions that came with them were still fresh in the minds of the delegates.
The nation created by the treaty is a hybrid unlike any of the other stellar nations. Its borders are scattered across Old Space, creating neutral territory between wartime enemies. Its governmental bodies contain members from all of the stellar nations, each dedicated to governing on both a macro and micro level. The Concord’s military is likewise composed of members from every nation and species. In the years since the war, Concord authorities have successfully brought numerous small conflicts to a close. Skirmishes have proven Star Force and the Galactic Marines surprisingly effective after only a few years of organization.
Officially, the T’sa Cluster remains a Concord Neutrality, protected from interference through the Treaty of Concord. The existence of the t’sa as an independent force in human-controlled space is still a matter of great concern to many; humanity’s manifest destiny to the stars is a popular Concept.
The leader of the t’sa, Chaluk Chisier, is a far-sighted t’sa of great diplomatic skill. While the t’sa have proven their unwillingness to bow to human military force, they’re not interested in an armed conflict, either. Both Chisier and the human leaders of the remaining stellar nations understand that such a direct confrontation Could spark another interstellar war.
Visitors to the t’sa Cluster are warned by Concord communication drones that the t’sa operate under their own laws and that the laws of human space not apply there. The Same message greets every visitor: ‘Welcome to the T’sa Cluster. Your ship has entered the jurisdiction of the t’sa. Military Vessels may not proceed without a security escort. All other vessels should be aware of the cluster’s customs and regulations, the details of which are available on the Grid.’ In the Cluster, humans always travel at their own risk -though the t’sa are friendly, they owe no allegiance to any stellar nation.
The Galactic Concord is composed of five branches: executive, judicial, diplomatic, legislative, and financial. Two branches
legislative and financial are totally autonomous from the stellar nations, but they are also the weakest of the Concord’s divisions, restricted to internal operations. The judicial and diplomatic branches are extremely powerful, but their power is checked by appointees from each of the other twelve stellar nations. The executive branch has the authority to act independently, but it is restricted from significant expansion by the treaty.
All branches of the government meet On the Planet Concord, located in the center of Concord Prime. The planet is open to visitors, tourists, and lobbyists of all species and nations, but the Concord’s space-to-ground security is quite thorough.
Of all the powers that the Treaty of Concord gave to the Galactic Concord, the survivors of GW2 feared the diplomatic branch, the Galactic Consulate, the most. It reminded some delegates of the Terran Empire’s Imperial Council, whose high-handedness sparked the First Galactic War. Others feared that the Consulate would only serve the greatest of the stellar nations.
The Consulate is composed of six ministers from each of the stellar nations, plus two ministers from each of the alien nations. The Galactic Concord itself has nine ministers in the Consulate, though it started with only two ministers and worked its way up to its maximum in 2496. The Galactic Consulate is currently at its maximum size of 91.
The selection of ministers is left to each stellar nation. Many nations appoint representatives for a variable number of years; others serve as long as their particular political faction retains control. The fraal, by counterexample, appoint their ministers for life. Typically, membership in the Consulate is a prestigious position, seen as a stepping stone to power in the stellar capitals. To the masses, the Consulate ministers form a modern nobility, the core leadership of the sentient species.
The Consulate creates laws that govern the relations between the stellar nations and finalizes laws passed by the Concord Assembly. Recent laws passed by the Consulate include the establishment of shipping lanes throughout the Stellar Ring, the Code of Galactic Salvage measure, and laws to punish Grid terrorism. The Consulate is in session year-round.
The Treaty of Concord requires a two-thirds majority (61 votes) for any measure to pass the Consulate. As a result, most local issues remain in the jurisdiction of the stellar nations, and the Galactic Consulate concentrates on issues of importance to all of explored space.
Ministers act and vote independently; it’s not uncommon for one minister in a national delegation to vote in opposition to an- other. This is especially true when ministers are appointed from governments Containing factions vying for control The singular exception to this democratic process is VoidCorp; to date, Void- Corp ministers and their sesheyan clients have voted in a bloc without exception. This pattern has earned them a nickname among the Concordans; the VoidCorp bloc is often referred to as ’The Eight Gods of Happiness.”
One of the Consulate’s many subcommittees, the Committee on Verge Integration, is composed of one minister from each stellar nation. Chaired by Undersecretary Michael Thayne (Hm/StarMech/DFA-19), the committee’s official goal is to bring the Verge back into the galactic community. More practically, each nation has its own vision for the Verge’s future.
Five of the committee’s members make regular forays into the Verge, reporting their findings back to the other members. Undersecretary Thayne and ministers Bruce Hale (Orion), YC937 59NMP (VoidCorp), Relitalia Yonce (Rigunmor), and Philosopher Karel Denisenko (Borealis) are regular visitors to the Verge.
The First Secretary
Elected by the ministers from among the Consulate members for a four-year term, the First Secretary is responsible for directing the flow of debates and votes, calling the Consulate to order, sanctioning recesses, and overseeing other legislative matters. In exchange for the power to direct the Consulate, the First Secretary loses his or her ability to vote. The only exception to this rule is when a single vote will decide the outcome of an issue. Interestingly, in every election since the Concord’s founding, a Galactic Concord citizen has been elected to fill the post of First Secretary. It seems that none of the stellar nations desires a competitor from an opposing stellar nation to rise to the position. First Secretary Derek Orthen started serving his second term in 2500.
The First Secretary can be removed by a vote of no confidence by the Consulate, which requires a two-thirds majority and which permits the Secretary to vote in his or her own defense. If the vote passes, a new First Secretary is elected.
The First Secretary appoints six Undersecretaries to assist him. The Undersecretaries act as the First Secretary’s mediators and ambassadors. While they may act independently, the First Secretary can replace them at any time. No more than one Undersecretary may serve from any single nation. Under the Concord’s charter, at least one Undersecretary must be an alien.
The current Undersecretaries are Princess Cestre (Solar), ZH937 57ILK (VoidCorp), Kipma Loric (Mechalus), Alexander Foss (Orion), Richard “Nickelshot” Kessel (Austrin-Ontis), and Michael Thayne (StarMech).
Playing A Concordan
Members of the Galactic Concord have a knack for reading the political climate of the times, and they realize that they have both great power and responsibility in dealing with the other stellar nations. A Concordan in a position of authority knows that rash decisions
even moral decisions, in some instances could catapult human space into another war.
While most Concordans have a strong sense of right and wrong, they realize that such tender sensibilities must sometimes be sacrificed to interstellar diplomacy and peace. The Treaty of Concord is a model of such realism, often acceding to the demands of the strong with few apologies to the weak. Concordans take extraordinary risks to do the right thing, even if it means ruffling a few feathers along the way. Concordans excel at knowing where the thin gray line begins and ends, having an innate understanding of just how far to push before backing down.
Joining The Concord
In 2472, approximately 500 billion humans and alien sentients became citizens of the Concord. Most were given no choice; the Treaty’s new boundaries dictated the change. For others, each home government provided an incentive for its citizens to join the Concord. Defeated nations transferred all their military units to the Concord at the end of the war; since their old nations were extinct, these units became loyal to the Concord.
Today, the decision to join the Concord is always voluntary -if anything, the Concord’s high standards make immigration more difficult than ever. In practice, the process is fairly simple; the applicant just files a few electronic forms with his home government. To gain citizenship, an applicant must have one of two qualifications. The first is to prove status as a political refugee. The second is to demonstrate a skill that Concord officials consider valuable. Of course, some citizens, such as Employees of VoidCorp, can’t legally terminate their former citizenship.