Star*Drive: Visions of the Verge
The galaxy needs equality. Who has not heard the cries of men and women for the end of inequalities? ask the Nariacs. Inequalities of species, gender, and social rank. 0nly the Nariac Domain promises a life without such human pettiness and short-sightedness. No, life in the Domain is not perfect and often isn’t easy. Life will always force struggle upon those who want to succeed, but at least among the Nariacs you know that you work alongside brothers and sisters for an equal division of the fruits of your labor.
Despite the passage of time, many stellar nations can trace their origin back to an Old Earth government, corporation, or individual. The Nariac Domain is an exception to the rule. Be- fore 2267, no Domain existed.
For a variety of political and economic reasons-chief of which was fewer habitable worlds per cubic light-year -no powerful organization staked out a claim in the stretch of space the Nariac Domain would later occupy. Instead, independent colonists explored and settled the region. Ever since the production of stardrive vessels began in the second half of the 22nd century, wealthy enthusiasts and dreamers had taken to the stars to find their perfect tomorrows. While many visionaries saw their amateur colonies end in disaster, overpopulated Earth sent out its hopeful in droves. By the time the Terran Empire was declared, the Nariac sector was well populated with colonists from two dozen sources.
Settlements on Naria, a harsh planet wracked by earth- quakes and hot winds, experienced a unique evolution. Like many colonists, the Nariacs survived their first few decades without any formal system of government or leadership. Instead, each member of the early community worked for the betterment of all. On Naria, the choice was simple: cooperate or die. Because the success of the community was more important than any individual, no one individual was held up as superior to any other. Private property would stratify the Nariacs and create an elite class. To prevent this, the community owned all property on Naria, and the individual owned none.
Naria’s development was truly curious, since its colonists never attempted to develop another system. Not only did the settlement survive its first two decades, it flourished. Naria’s rich heavy-metal deposits made the colony profitable even as the unkind planet discouraged immigration to its surface. The Nariacs solved the problem of a small labor pool by investing heavily in cybernetics. With each Nariac’s productivity multi- plied by electronics, the colony’s economy grew by leaps and bounds, becoming a center for trade and commerce among nearby systems.
Naria’s colonists attributed their achievements to their unique birth and society. Nariac histories boast that the circumstances of their creation allowed them to choose only the best elements of Old Earth to incorporate into the Nariac way of life. Early critics of the Nariacs disagreed with the choices that the space-born empire made. After all, they claimed, communist societies failed in both the 20th and 21st centuries. The only Nariac answer to those criticisms was the Domain’s thriving empire.
It was only natural that the Nariacs spread their success throughout local star systems. They gained economic leverage, then a growing military, as system after system joined the Nariacs and their way of life. Many colonies willingly joined the newly formed Nariac Domain in hopes of simply participating in their economic success. Others found themselves surrounded by Nariac traders and the Nariac Navy. Either way, those integrated into the Domain’s fold adopted the conventions of Nariac society, including the aggressive use of cybertech.
The First Galactic War marked the high point of Nariac expansion. At the start of the war, the Domain numbered several dozen systems, and the Domain joined many fledgling stellar nations in 2304 in declaring independence. Following the Thuldan lead, the Nariacs sent resources, ships, and soldiers into war. In large part, though, the fight for independence covered a darker plan, because the Nariac Domain considered GW1 a prime opportunity to extend its borders. During the thirteen years of the war, most of the Nariac military fought against their young colonies and budding empires. Few Nariacs went to battle the Terran Empire.
The Treaty of Earth ended GW1 and likewise ended Nariac expansion. Nariac borders stood about where they rest today. Further growth was difficult; at the war’s end, the Nariacs were surrounded by the radical capitalist states of VoidCorp and Austrin-Ontis. Philosophical disagreement and competing ambitions made conflict in this sector of human space inevitable. Even as most stellar nations devoted their resources toward exploration and colonization of new borders, the Nariac Domain found itself fighting frequent skirmishes with VoidCorp – and losing.
The Second Galactic War
VoidCorp representatives, hated as they had become over the previous three decades, made an irresistible proposition to the Nariacs in 2344. The Nariac Domain joined the Dreth Commonwealth in a treaty with VoidCorp calling for a cessation of hostilities and mutual defense. Everyone could see another interstellar war coming, and the Domain desperately needed allies. Moreover, all three empires saw conquest as a valid way to increase their power.
As the Nariac war engine turned against Austrin-Ontis Unlimited at the start of the war, Nariac ties to VoidCorp grew. To defend their ally, VoidCorp warships roamed Nariac space. Within a decade, the truth was clear to those in power: The Nariac Domain had become a client state of the VoidCorp monolith. VoidCorp used the Domain as a buffer against the enemies of the Expansion Pentad; Nariacs took the heaviest losses in conflicts against the Solar Union and Austrin-Ontis. Nevertheless, the war went well until the Orions and Orlamus intervened on behalf of the Austrins. Forced to compete with both FreeSpace and Profit alliances, Nariac Domain saw defeat piled on defeat throughout 100 years of Warfare. The region between the Nariacs and Austrins was one of the fiercest battlegrounds of the war, and literally dozens of systems were laid waste.
Officially, no ruler stands over the Nariac Domain. All Nariac citizen-workers are equal. This equality is preserved by the simple fact that private ownership does not exist in any form. Competition, independent corporations, and private enterprise remain forbidden through all Nariac reaches. Instead, the Nariac state makes all decisions for the economy. Both selling and buying prices are fixed by central planners. Quotas for production are mandated for each factory and source of production. All transactions are authorized and monitored by the state economic AIs. Those who deal with foreign powers or traders are especially scrutinized. Rigorous educational testing places each Nariac in a field suited to his or her ability.
In Nariac society, the government bureaucracy is merely another source of production, at least in name. Centuries ago, the Nariac assertion that members of the government bureaucracy held no more rights or claims may have been true. Today, as an instrument of the Nariac will, the government bureaucracy must act to preserve the integrity of the society and the well-being of all. Cybertechnology is the Nariac solution. Originally employed to multiply the labor capital of an underpopulated society, today cybertechnology keeps order throughout the Nariac Domain. Implants monitor the activity of Nariac citizen-workers, and only a few refugees of the Nariac Domain are without cybernetic implants. Nowhere is the tendency toward implantation more evident than on the Nariac’s homeworld, Naria. There, the Domain has encouraged the development of cybertechnology as an art form.
Nariac military forces are strong, and the Domains emphasis on heavy industry and cybernetics has made its armed forces mighty. Although military service is no longer mandatory, the Nariac army remains a popular choice among the stellar nation’s younger generation. After a few years of service, enlistees can retire and keep their military-grade cyberware. Eleven fortress ships serve the Domain, including the famous NDS People’s Justice.
Since the conclusion of the War, Nariac relations with other nations have grown more unsure. After the Insight secession, VoidCorp’s control over the Nariac Domain has waned. VoidCorp executives still make pointed suggestions about the Domain’s foreign policy. Most Nariacs look forward to a day when VoidCorp is driven from their nation. The Nariac Domains links to other stellar nations are neutral at best. The enemies of past wars hold to their hostile attitudes.
Recently, the Domain appears to have given up on conquering the stellar nations directly. Today, the goal of the Nariac seems to be the subversion of the stellar nations and the Concord. Nariac envoys travel far and wide to speak to the workers of foreign powers, inspiring them to seek out better conditions and better government. None of the stellar nations has yet to view the activity as a serious threat. The Nariacs view their toil as laying the groundwork for the interstellar revolution of the masses. On that grand day, human and alien alike shall stand together for a better future.
Playing A Nariac
An individual Nariac – the idea is alien, bordering upon the absurd. It’s true that individuals and individual freedoms exist with the Domain, but to define a Nariac is to describe a member of a thriving community. Just as the Domain rewards each of its worker-citizens with a livelihood, employment and a place to live, the Nariacs contribute their skills and hard labor for the betterment of the whole.
Of course, that’s not to say that the Nariacs claim to have erased the human ego and its avarice, ambition, and envy. Yet in a community in which there is no individual property, greed becomes pointless. In the Domain, personal ownership is a thing of the past; the Domain legally owns all material goods. Individual citizens only register use of objects, land, and other possessions. It’s not a perfect system, as Nariac bureaucrats admit, but it’s a clear improvement over systems that permit the greed of a few to inhibit the greater good of the many.
Nariacs, for the most part, respect and value their system of government while simultaneously quietly questioning the integrity and motives of the Nariac leadership. Cybertechnology prevents any organized disruption of the Domain, but its invasive presence
and the utter lack of privacy in the nation is something that even the Nariacs sometimes have difficulty with. Of course, most Nariacs understand the necessity for such precautions: Humanity is filled with those who wish to harm the Domain. Agents and spies from Orion, VoidCorp, and elsewhere attempt to despoil Nariac prosperity. Nariacs understand that once the galaxy is united, the true utopia will issue forth. For this reason, Nariacs travel far from home and family and the comfortable order to which they are accustomed. They risk their lives to educate the workers of the galaxy.
The practice of religion, or any similar outdated concepts of worship, is frowned on within the borders of the Domain. Only a small number of Nariacs acknowledge a religion, and these pariahs face public mockery, government scrutiny, and possible expatriation. Missionaries from several faiths occasionally enter the Domain in secret, only to find their mission near impossible. The few organized churches have been forced into a clandestine, underground existence, to be quickly destroyed if their presence is discovered.