Federation of Mankind is the second-largest galactic power in the universe that it shares with the Imperium of Sidhae and the Skargh Empire. It is a loose federation encompassing the majority of worlds settled by Humanity.
The first vestiges of the Federation of Mankind were formed in the post-Confederate Era spanning the mid-21st century, i.e. 2044-2065. After the fall of the Terran Confederacy and the exodus of Confederate leadership and loyalists who would become ancestors of the Sidhae, Mankind again relapsed back into it's factionalized pre-Confederate state, divided roughly along ethnic and historical nation-state lines.
The Confederate legacy of a large-scale interstellar colonization program, however, remained. With Earth's ecosystems in a rather pitiful state following two world wars that were necessary to attain unification of Humanity, many were keen to set out for a new and more hopeful start among the stars.
In the coming two decades, millions of humans from all around the world would leave Earth to establish extrasolar colonies. Unlike the Confederate exodites, who had to leave in haste without any sort of a colonization plan, the follow-up generations of colonists did have a pretty good idea of where they were heading, dozens of new habitable worlds being discovered by astronomers and deep-space explorers in the years following the fall of Confederacy.
However, political divisions on old Terra again set Mankind on a path to war. Surviving records from this period are scarce, but all indicate a general division between two factions dubbed "Blues" and "Greens" in this period. The Blues argued in favour of a restored Confederacy in a more moderate form, citing the need for a world government to manage the global issues faced by all of Mankind, such as the ecological crisis and depletion of natural resources. The Greens in turn sought to retain the pre-Confederate principles of national sovereignity, an advisory body similar to the defunct UN being the most they were willing to agree on. Still more wanted to have nothing to do with either of the two factions, just to get on with their lives and settle somewhere off-world if necessary.
Whatever the case, the conflict between Blues and Greens eventually polarized Mankind to the point of another World war, known as the Final War in later histories. Realizing that an all-out war was inevitable, the governments of both sides organized an evacuation effort, placing as many of the civilian populations on colony ships bound for the stars as possible. The very last of these colonists would narrowly escape the final showdown of the war in 2065 as Terra was engulfed in a deluge of nuclear fire. With Terra now rendered uninhabitable, the remainder of Mankind had to start anew in the vast reaches of space.
Ironically, the supporters of Blues and Greens among the colonists were now able to strike a compromise in the interest of mutual survival. Assembling on Novaterra, the very first extrasolar colony of Mankind, in 2068, delegates from 13 human worlds struck an agreement to form a unified federal government that would pursue a centralized economic, foreign and military policy while retaining a high degree of local independence otherwise - a solution satisfactory to both Blue and Green sympathizers. It took another two years to resolve all the outstanding legal details and draft a mutually-satisfactory Constitution, until the formation of a Federation of Mankind was formally announced on July 4, 2070.
In the following decade, more than three dozen other human colonies joined the nascent Federation, sometimes less than willingly. Most local governments, however, recognized the benefits of a unified central government and the economic and military advantages it conferred, and hence needed no compulsion to join. In a relatively short span of time, the Federation controlled nearly the entirety of known settlements of Mankind.
Skargh Wars and the War of Terra
In the early 2080's, contact was reestablished with the Confederate exodites, now known as Sidhae. Despite old grudges and mutual animosity, the initial relationship between the two nations remained civil, if cool. It was only in 2098 that an all-out attack by the Skargh forced the two sides in a closer cooperation. After much argument, the Emperor of Sidhae, being the most experienced and accomplished military commander of Humanity alive, was granted supreme command over the armed forces of both sides, inflicting a series of humiliating defeats upon the Skargh, who had expected an easy victory and had no previous experience in battling a technologically-comparable foe. The joint human-Sidh victory in the Skargh Wars marked the high point of human-Sidh relations.
These relations would steadily decline in the coming years, however, as all three established powers began to plot for the retaking of Old Terra. After deep-space scouts had determined that Terra hadn't been completely extinguished of life, and the ecosystems were beginning to make a slow but steady recovery, both the Imperium and the Federation forged plans to retake their original homeworld for themselves, success no doubt providing a huge morale and political boost to whoever succeeded in that goal. This in turn prompted the Skargh to conceive a plan for the conquest of Terra as well, exacting revenge on the Terrans for the defeat in the Skargh Wars by claiming their homeworld for themselves.
The tensions culminated in 2124, when battlefleets of all three sides met in the orbit of Terra, engaging in a heated exchange that was only halted by the intercession of a native Terran leader named Verlock D'Averain. Impressed by his rhetoric, the three powers agreed to a cease-fire, which was later upgraded to a full armistice and the signing of Treaty of Terra.
In Treaty of Terra, all three sides agreed to relinquish their claims on Terra and recognize it as a sovereign neutral world. In truth, with much of Terra's industrial capacity and infrastructure of the past gone, and the population being reduced to a few dozen city-states and nomadic tribes of mutants and scavengers, neither power had much reason besides purely political ones to invest serious resources in claiming Terra for themselves. With the galaxy's economic and political centers having shifted elsewhere, Treaty of Terra essentially enforced Earth's status as a largely-forgotten backwater that it retains to the present day. However, the Treaty of Terra also marked the beginning of an unprecedented age of peaceful development and commerce later known as the Age of Peace.
Age of Peace
With the earlier disputes resolved peacefully, the Federation would turn the entirety of its resources to the pursuit of industry, commerce and peaceful expansion. In the coming century, thousands of worlds were colonized and developed into rapidly-growing settlements. Economy thrived, Humanity attaining thereto-unseen levels of prosperity, when even the lowliest working-class citizens could afford a private house with two cars on the more developed worlds. Culture and art thrived, many cultural masterpieces being created in this period of peace and plenty. Trade with the Imperium and the Skargh likewise flourished.
Yet for all the seeming idyllic peace, there was an invisible war for influence going on. Espionage by all sides was rampant, and all three powers continued to build up their armed forces, ostensibly to maintain the "guarded peace", in an ever-increasing arms race. While never advertised widely, and largely unknown to at least the Federation's citizens, the arms race was a fact to those in the know, no expense being spared to stay competitive at it.
Ideological differences further deepened the divide. While the Skargh, being aliens, were naturally viewed as the likeliest enemies by both Mankind and Sidhae, their own mutual differences grew as well. Sidhae had initially regarded themselves as stewards and protectors of Mankind, destined to protect the rest of Humanity despite their rejection of Sidh ways - a view cemented by the experiences of the Skargh Wars. However, in the post-Skargh War period, the humans made it abundantly clear that they neither desired nor welcomed any such protection, preferring to strike out on their own, more often than not at the expense of Sidh interests. From a human perspective, Sidh efforts to assume the role of protectors were seen as nothing short of patronizing and thinly-veiled attempts of domineering. Further ideological conflicts arose from their drastically-different takes on the desirable government system, with Federation continuing with the established pre-Confederate Western traditions of parliamentary democracy, while the Imperium embraced the starkly-different hybrid system of elective monarchy/stratocracy.
The Federation intelligence services were keenly aware of the ongoing succession disputes in the Imperium after the Emperor of Sidhae announced his intent to retire within the next 10 years in 2230. This prompted the Clans of the Imperium to fiercely compete in hopes of advancing their own candidate as the next Emperor, the competition sometimes going as far as devolving into violent skirmishes. Disgusted by their bickering over a throne that wasn't even vacant yet, the Emperor proposed his own daughter, the future Empress, as a candidate of his own for the throne. His candidacy was technically valid, the Emperor and his personal domain and armies meeting every criteria to legally propose a candidate for the throne save for being formally recognized as a Clan. This in turn sparked a heated argument between the four most powerful Great Clans and a number of lesser client clans, who saw this as the Emperor's renegation on his own laws and an infringement on their privilege to elect a new emperor, and loyalist Clans who supported the Emperor if only to spite their rivals, being unlikely to land their own candidate on the throne in any case.
What happened next is a matter of ongoing historical controversy. Some historians argue that the Federation involved themselves in the dispute over a mistaken belief that the four dissenting Clans intended to make pro-democratic reforms, changing the Imperium's government to something more acceptable to the Federation sensibilities. Others dismiss this, claiming that the Federation authorities were keenly aware of the Sidh clans having no such intentions, and merely supported them to sabotage their long-standing rival and replace the Emperor with someone hopefully more pliable. Whatever the case, Federation intelligence services were instrumental in the conspiracy to assassinate the Emperor as hatched by the four dissident Clans, providing vital intel and materiel for the assassination by means of diplomatic mail. Consequently, the Emperor of Sidhae was assassinated in September 1, 2232, heralding the infamous Age of War.
Age of War
Almost immediately after the Emperor's assassination, the Imperium of Sidhae descended into a maelstrom of civil war, the Loyalist Clans rallying around his daughter whom they recognized as their rightful Empress. After a perilous three-month journey from the Frontier known as the Flight of the Luminon, the Empress assumed throne on New Aedun, the capitol world only being preserved in Loyalist hands through the valiant efforts of the Imperial Guard. In order to prevent the Sidh reunification around her as the Emperor's successor, the Federation authorities would grant full open support to the Traitor Clans. However, as it became evident that the Traitors had no intentions of placing a cooperative, easily-manipulated candidate on the throne, but merely intended to pursue traditional Sidh policies according to their own interpretation of them, Federation pulled their support and instead opted for a full-scale invasion of the Imperium with the intent of either annexing it, or in the very least, effecting a full regime change there.
Keenly aware that they lacked the military power to take on the superior Sidh forces alone, the Federation leaders invited the Skargh in an unholy alliance against the Imperium, enticing them with the promise of revenge and rich spoils. The Skargh, themselves having long looked for an excuse and opportunity to wage war against the Sidhae, gladly accepted the opportunity.
The Sidhae would never forgive Mankind this betrayal, especially after their involvement in the assassination of the Emperor became known. As the war dragged on, all sides committing unspeakable atrocities against one another, Sidh attitudes towards Humanity (and more broadly all non-Sidhae in general) devolved from simple bitterness and ordinary rivalry to a rabid xenophobic hatred.
Despite the successful Imperial reunification after Battle of Kentares in 2245, and the following Sidh victories in Battles of Crodoss VII and Charybdis Rift, Federation-Skargh coalition was making steady gains. In their desperation, the Imperium would develop the ultimate method in attrition tactics - the Omega Protocol, which entailed planned destruction of planets about to be overrun. The tactic proved effective at the cost of 28 destroyed worlds, decimating the human and Skargh forces to the point of stalling the advance. Eventually, the offensive was thwarted entirely in the Battle of Hades Gates, buying the surviving Sidhae time to evacuate their remaining worlds into uncharted space.
While the Sidhae retreated into unexplored space, effectively leaving the war, the extreme casualties and minimal gain led to infighting between human and Skargh commanders, each side blaming the other for the losses and failure at securing strategic objectives. Common bickering soon devolved into violent skirmishes, the alliance eventually collapsing into an all-out war as the two former allies began to battle over the spoils of war. Untold destruction was visited by both sides upon the other, war raging on almost incessantly for two centuries until eventually expiring in an exhausted stalemate, neither side able to secure victory. Both rivals settled down for an unspoken armistice, frequent border skirmishes continuing well into the 2400's, but nowhere near the extent of the wars of previous centuries. In the meantime, Sidhae were all but forgotten, presumed extinct or having left these parts of the galaxy for good.
The overwhelming need to finance and supply the war effort during the Age of War led to the pre-eminence of mega-corporations that formed the Federation's military-industrial complex. During the Age of Peace, various megacorps, some of which had carried on from old Terra, existed but did not really stand above government authority. As their wealth and influence grew during the Age of War, however, mega-corporations oftentimes became essentially synonymous with government especially where it became too costly for the central government to maintain it's authority directly. Consequently, tasks like administration, law enforcement and security were increasingly outsourced to private contractors, many of whom were subsidiaries of megacorps. This eventually led to megacorps attaining equal status to planetary governments in the Federation Senate, having their own senators and private armies rivalling the largest planetary defense forces in size and power.
The first half of the 26th century was the high mark for corporatocracy and political corruption in the Federation. While still formally retaining the trappings of popular democracy, Federal government had essentially become a privately-owned entity, political candidates without the backing of megacorps effectively being reduced to non-entities with only a symbolic authority. Vying for power, the megacorps were locked in a constant struggle, no method including sabotage and assassination being off the book. Although violent struggle was mostly restricted to covert operations, on occasion the private security forces of the megacorps would even clash in episodes of open warfare, lending the first half of the 26th century the name of Corporate War era.
During the Corporate Wars, entire planetary populations were essentially reduced to serfs in all but name, the government policies dictated by corporate interests keeping the majority in perpetual wage slavery. Dissidents were dealt with ruthlessly by corporate security forces or PMCs on their payroll. In reaction to the excesses of corporate rule, many worlds would develop strong nationalist sentiments and rally around nationalist leaders. On quite a few occasions, these leaders would increasingly promote separatist tendencies, regarding the Federation as hopelessly corrupt. The Federal government had to deal with dozens of rebellions and separatist insurgencies at this time.
It was in this condition that the Sidhae found the Federation when they decided to strike back after centuries of rebuilding their empire, and exact a terrible vengeance for all past betrayals and grievances.
Although intelligence reports had warned of Sidh activity in the outer regions of the Federation for over 2 years, the authorities had paid them little heed, dismissing them as little more than pirates using derelict Sidh ships from the Age of War era. Consequently, the bulk of Sidh invasion fleets arrived at the outskirts of the Federation entirely unchallenged in 2549. Commencing on September 1, the anniversary of the Emperor's death, the invasion simultaneously struck over 50 star systems. Most of them fell within a week, the invasion progressing at such a pace that local authorities were still arguing on what to make of the received distress calls reporting a massive invasion when they were overwhelmed by Sidh invaders themselves, unable to relay the information further. In the initial shock, the Federal authorities tried to cover up the extent of the invasion to avoid mass panic. Over 500 star systems had fallen by the end of the year before the Federation government formally acknowledged the Sidh invasion.
The ineffectiveness and indecisiveness of the corporate-run government sparked a revival in Federation politics, a new generation of non-corporate politicians being elected into power and passing legislation that considerably curbed the corporate power. However, it took almost a decade and the loss of over 5000 worlds before the Federation was able to halt the onslaught of the Sidh juggernaut. Driven by a thirst of revenge, Sidhae would commit unspeakable atrocities upon the conquered human and Skargh worlds, wholesale slaughter of entire planetary populations being enacted at the slightest provocation. For the Federation, matters were complicated by the centuries-old fear and distrust of the Skargh who were expected to take advantage of the distraction provided to the Fed armed forces by the Sidhae, even as they themselves were faced with the same threat.
After a brief lull to regroup and rearm around 2560, the Sidhae continued their offensive, but this time, the Federation was able to counter them more effectively, having upgraded their forces and tactics during the brief lull in the fighting. From 2575, the war was largely reduced to a stalemate, Sidh forces making only minimal gains and even losing ground on occasion, other disputed locations changing hands dozens of times with no decisive result.
The Reconquest Wars eventually ground to a halt in 2583, shortly after the infamous Purge of Pnakotas, the Sidh suppression of a pro-Fed rebellion on the conquered human world of Pnakotas that saw the extermination of 250 million civilians, essentially the entire population of Pnakotas. Despite the outrage it caused, the Federation military was simply in no condition to wage further offensive war, human diplomats hence resorting to attempting an alliance of convenience with the Skargh. Faced with the prospect of a human-Skargh coalition, Sidhae too ceased further offensive operations, the war pewtering out to minor skirmishes without any of the sides attempting further major offensive actions.
As of the present day, the Federation continues to maintain a bitter feud with the Imperium and the Skargh. Despite incessant border skirmishes and tens of millions of casualties yearly, the seemingly-perpetual war has effectively ground down to a stalemate once again, neither side willing to risk escalating it to another Age of War by mounting a major offensive. Informal agreements exist among all three belligerents that should one power attempt a wholesale destruction of another, the other belligerent would rush to the defender's aid. Matters are further complicated by the fact that all three nations are powerful enough to fight off even the combined efforts of the other two, albeit at a terrible cost, there being no victors in such a scenario where the surviving remnants of the warring nations would collapse in on themselves afterwards. This essentially sets the stage for the ongoing perpetual war between Mankind, Sidhae and the Skargh.
Despite being named so, the Federation of Mankind is more of a confederacy of semi-independent human worlds than a true federation. While the planets of the Federation pursue a joint economic, military and foreign policy and have agreed to adopt certain federal laws, member worlds are otherwise largely independent from the central authority. Consequently, local forms of government vary dramatically, ranging from direct democracies to hereditary monarchies and military dictatorships. While a formal requirement exists for member worlds to have a democratic form of government, it is little more than a legal technicality, non-democratic planetary governments have found plenty of ways to bypass the law, such as by maintaining nominal trappings of democracy.
Ideologically, the Federation is comparably diverse, with ideologies ranging from social liberalism to hardcore Stalinist communism, with everything including Fascism in between. Although the overall ideological tone of the Federal government can be described as market liberal, it is hardly a universal trend, predominating mainly on the core worlds. Things are furthermore complicated by the eminence of megacorporations, which shun any ideological affiliations and are merely interested in maximizing their profits.
Generally speaking, the diverse peoples of the Federation have little if anything in common politically and ideologically besides the common desire to survive against the alien menace, and it is largely this threat that keeps the Federation from falling apart, there being ample grim examples of worlds who decided to strike out on their own only to end up swallowed whole by Mankind's enemies.
The Federation maintains a bicameral legislature similar to the historical United States of America.
The preliminary legislative process takes place in the House of Representatives. Each Federation planet with full membership is entitled to representation, planetary representatives (but not necessarily planetary governments) as a rule being directly elected. Megacorporations with sufficient territorial holdings are also eligible to be represented. Once a legal bill has been drafted and received the approval of at least 2/3 of the Representatives, it is forwarded to the Senate, which consists of a fixed number of 1200 senators, upon whom it falls to approve or reject any new laws proposed by the HoR.
Since most individual worlds are unlikely to have sufficient influence to have their own senator, Federation worlds often team up to form planetary unions, sub-national alliances divided vaguely along the lines of similar ethnic, religious and cultural make-up and similar planetary government systems and ideologies. Megacorporations, often being the leading political authorities on many worlds, also qualify as de facto planetary unions in this respect, having their own senators representing their interests. The exact criteria to what makes any world or faction eligible for representation on the senate is rather arbitrary, and depends on the said group's general political influence than any fixed set of rules. More often than not, this allows the system to be manipulated by megacorps who use their enormous influence and wealth to pave (often by quite literally buying) an unrepresented faction a seat on the Senate in return for their allegiance.
Every five years, a Prime Minister is elected in a general Federation-wide election. Again, similarly to the historical United States, the votes are counted independently in different sub-national election districts, a candidate's victory in one counting as one vote in the final count. The difference here, however, is the absence of partisan politics - while organized political parties do exist at local levels, there are no formal parties with distinct ideologies in the Federal legislature, the idea being that members of the government must look out for the interests of all Mankind rather than any special interest groups. Hence, while candidates no doubt represent certain ideological trends and have the backing of their respective sympathizers, their success in elections depends largely on their personal charisma (and sponsorship) rather than the influence and popularity of the parties they'd represent.
Since PM candidates do not represent specific parties, preliminary polls are held at the onset of elections along with candidate debates and other promotional activities, gradually eliminating all but two most promising candidates who then face off in the main election.
After election, the Prime Minister selects his Cabinet, the executive branch of the Federal government for the duration of his tenure. A Prime Minister may be elected for a maximum of three terms, although some exceptions have been made during the Federation's history, usually in times of emergency.
The judicial branch of the Federation is the Federal Supreme Court. All Federal judges are appointed for life (i.e., until death, resignation, retirement or impeachment) by the Prime Minister with the approval of the Senate.
While the Federal government is democratically-elected, the same cannot be said about planetary governments. Federal government maintains a general hands-off policy where it comes to domestic affairs of it's many member worlds, largely regulating only the fiscal, military and foreign policies, so the local forms of government are largely dependent on local laws, traditions and circumstances, and can range anywhere between direct democracy and hereditary monarchy, also including military dictatorships and everything else in between. Consequently, despite Federal laws guaranteeing protections of basic rights to all citizens, the actual degree to which citizens of different Federation planets can enjoy civil liberties varies considerably. It matters little to the Federal government, however - it is willing to tolerate just about any form of local government and ideology short of downright genocidal ones, as long as the authority in question pays its yearly dues and provides its fair share of troops and equipment to the Federal military. Such indifference isn't motivated by hypocrisy or negligence, but purely pragmatic issues. The overriding purpose of the Federal government is to ensure the survival and (relative) freedom of the human species, so it cannot be bothered by ideological and moral trivialities of its underlings as long as they are willing to contribute to the aforementioned goals.
In order to further their influence and interests, many worlds that lack the necessary influence individually band together in planetary unions, sub-nation political, economic and oftentimes also military alliances. Since most of these unions are formed by worlds with a roughly similar ethnic and cultural composition, government system and ideology, many of them are effectively an evolution of Old Terran nation-states, and indeed regard themselves as such - independent nations within a broader Federation of Mankind.
Some of the more notable planetary unions are:
- European League - considering themselves the successors of the European Union, the EL is a loose alliance of planets with a predominantly British, French and German population.
- United Systems Alliance - an alliance of worlds with predominantly-American settlers and culture. Based around New Washington, it considers itself the successor of the historical United States of America.
- Anzac Territories - originally settled by Australians and New Zealanders, this union of mostly-agricultural worlds maintains a distinct militaristic culture of soldier-farmers.
- Islamic Worlds Union - based in New Mecca, IWU encompasses most of Muslim-majority worlds.
- Rheinland Dominion - perhaps the most distinctive of Federation's sub-factions, Rheinland Dominion is run by an autocratic military government with strong white nationalist leanings and consciously immitates the Third Reich in many respects.
- Nordic Nations - formed by colonies of former Scandinavian states, the people of Nordic Nations share the principles of direct democracy and tolerance as their main values, at times being deemed excessively liberal even by humans from other relatively-tolerant places.
- Aurigan Treaty Systems - a vague equivalent to the historical Warsaw Pact, the Aurigan Treaty unites a diverse array of human colonies dedicated to building Socialism. Their Socialist tendencies often put them at odds with megacorporations, and even many in the Federal government view them with suspicion as potential separatists, given the general climate of predatory capitalism that reigns in the Federation.
- New Canton Bloc - a powerful alliance of industrialized worlds with a Chinese-speaking majority population centered around New Canton.
A number of lesser unions and alliances exist along with these major entities, usually affiliating themselves with one of the more powerful groups for more political leverage.
A number of megacorps, which often directly control dozens of colonies, are also represented in the House of Representatives and the Senate for this reason, and it is not uncommon for minor powers to affiliate themselves with a megacorporation as well. Unlike ethnically or ideologically-based planetary unions, however, megacorps care not for ideas or people, but for the bottom line at the end-year financial report.
Law and order
Federation's laws can be broadly divided into federal and local laws. Federal laws, binding for all member worlds, are relatively few in number, and deal mainly with matters like taxation, military, national security, foreign policy, interstellar business and commerce, consumer rights and environmental protection. Most civil and criminal justice is legislated locally, hence the regulations pertaining to the same matter and penalties for the same offense can vary greatly between worlds, and even between locales of a single world.
An interesting trait of the Federation laws is the degree of permissiveness for consensual contracts, even normally illegal practices being legal if consented to by the involved parties in written form in the presence of witnesses, as long as non-participants or their possessions aren't put at risk. This is particularly advantageous to the megacorps, which can seriously impair the civil rights and liberties of their employees under added clauses of employment contract, at times essentially reducing them to indentured servitude. Such practice, while immoral, is completely lawful from a legal standpoint.
Articles of Colonization
The Federal constitution is expressed in the Articles of Colonization as signed by the original 13 colonies in 2070. The Articles decree that no future law, federal or local, shall contradict the provisions of the Articles, and proceed to list the rights and privileges that signatories shall endeavor to grant their citizens. Articles also list specific aspects of legislation that signatories shall defer to federal authority and judgement. Every new world joining the Federation is required to sign and ratify the Articles of Colonization.
Unlike many previous democratic constitutions, the Articles notably make no mention of various civil liberties taken for granted in the democracies of old. The key paragraphs pertaining to civil rights and liberties state only that signatory parties shall not arbitrarily deprive their citizens of life, limb, freedom or property without due process and judgement of a court of law, shall endeavor to provide equal protection of law to all members of the human species, and shall refrain from imposing inhuman, degrading, arbitrary or otherwise excessive punishments upon lawbreakers. No mention is made of things like freedom of speech or assembly as granted rights. For this reason, many undemocratic and downright dictatorial planetary governments can and do indeed exist within the Federation.
While the Articles specify that members of the Federal government shall be elected in a general Federation-wide election, all free (as in "non-imprisoned") citizens of sound mind and the age of majority having suffrage, the same is not necessarily true for local governments, the Articles deferring the form of planetary government and methods of its selection to local law and custom. Since in Federal legal tradition, the government's right to rule derives from the people and their willingness to obey, the Federal government is willing to tolerate just about any kind of local government that doesn't suffer from regular uprisings requiring attention from the Federal military.
Notably, Articles of Colonization do not apply to worlds without a signatory status and hence without representation in the parliament - usually recently established colonies and worlds under colonial administration of a metropolis entity. This loophole is often abused, especially by the megacorps, who deliberately stifle efforts of worlds under their control to get representation in the government. Without protections of the Articles, entire populations of colonists are subject exclusively to internal corporate laws, effectively making them corporate serfs bound by contracts in all but name. Since the Corporate Wars, the Federal government has taken steps to improve the situation and passed a number of federal laws reining the megacorps in somewhat, but resistence to change is high and slow to take place, every corporation committing entire legal research institutes to finding loopholes and technicalities that would enable them to skirt the law.
Federal laws are enforced by Federal Investigation and Enforcement Agency (FIEA), whose agents have a Federation-wide mandate. FIEA is modeled after historical agencies of similar kind, such as the FBI. FIEA works closely with other state services, such as State Treasury, to investigate potential offenses against the state interests, such as tax evasion. FIEA also keeps tabs on troublesome citizens who have voiced extremist views or otherwise subversive ideas, and will occasionally intervene if the individual's actions are deemed to "treaten national security".
Local laws are accordingly enforced by locally-raised police forces, and vary wildly between different worlds. Traditional civil police forces coexist with paramilitary gendarmeries and militias, and even private security companies with a specialization in policing. Private security in the capacity of police is especially prevalent on corporate worlds.
Fringe settlements too small and too poor to afford hiring a security contractor to provide a professional "civil protection" force are protected from wrongdoers by Colonial Marshals. These gruff and tough gunslinging individuals are rarely if ever appointed from outside and often themselves have a checkered past, oftentimes the only difference between them and the criminals they hunt being their willingness to protect innocents without immediate material reward. A Colonial Marshal, much like the town sheriff of Old West, is elected by the colonists themselves to serve as their protector and guardian - or more often simply becomes recognized as such over time through merit.
In a place as vast as the Federation, eluding the law is often easy even for men without large fortunes. For this reason, a bustling market for bounty hunters exists. An accepted and respectable profession, bounty hunters have an official government sanction to track and pursue fugitives Federation-wide, though local legislations may impose restrictions on their activities. These hardy agents are a diverse bunch, from gruff "lone gunslinger" freelance bounty hunters to highly-organized professionals employed by dedicated companies. They are most commonly seen in the Fringe, where the capabilities of traditional law enforcement are often limited. The degree of force a bounty hunter is authorized to use varies between worlds, but most respect their right to apprehend fugitives from law "dead or alive". The only region where the activities of bounty hunters are expressly restricted are the original 13 colonies and a handful of other core worlds whose authorities feel their operation would undermine the credibility of their own police forces.
Just as the local legal systems can be very diverse, so too are Federation prisons vastly different, conditions within depending strongly on their location and operator. Some, such as those in the Nordic Nations, are little more than well-guarded country clubs, focused entirely on rehabilitation of the offenders. Others like the notorious KZ camps of Rheinland are hellholes intentionally designed to break inmates.
Most Federation prisons, however, fall somewhere in between, leaning more towards the worse side. The majority of them are privately owned and run for profit, the largest and toughest installations being located on remote non-Article worlds where government protections of basic civil rights aren't in effect, leaving the prison owners largely free to exploit the inmates however they see fit.
Asides from being exploited as legal slave labour and oftentimes also less-than-willing medical test subjects, convicts often find themselves fighting in gladiator arenas on live TV. Such blood sports have proven hugely successful and popular despite the protests of human rights activists. Since participation is consensual and motivated by desire for a reduced sentence, gladiatorial combat to the death between convicts and also free volunteers is completely lawful from a legal standpoint, provided a waiver is signed without coercion beforehand. Some classess of criminals like child molesters and rapists, however, are so despised that the public would never stand for their early release, and are hence assigned the roles of expendable cannon fodder in the televised gladiatorial spectacles.
The Grand Tournament is the largest of such spectacles. Started by the now-defunct Liandri Corporation in 2228, the Tournament attracts tens of billions of viewers and hundreds of non-convict fighters every year, several television channels being dedicated exclusively to Tournament fights. Currently under shared ownership of several megacorps, the Grand Tournament is one of the most profitable franchises in the history of Mankind. Tournament organizers work in close cooperation with the penal system, drafting prospective candidates for the arena much like any professional sports league, the most successful fighters enjoying celebrity status. Despite constant protests by anti-Tournament activists, organizers argue that the Tournament helps society both by reducing expenses of maintaining the penal system, and by providing legal employment to former convicts - indeed, champion fighters have no shortage of job offers after their release, many rich folk wanting to show off their wealth and status by having a Tournament champion bodyguard in their retinue. Still others remain with the Tournament, either as free professional fighters or trainers and mentors to new fighters. Although the life of a Tournament prize fighter is dangerous and often short, the celebrity status and accompanying living standards are often well-worth the risks, given the background of most prisoners.
Asides from the Tournament and lesser gladiatorial franchises, convicts are also exploited as labourers in various penal colonies. In keeping with the traditional legal fiction of consent, prisoners are duped into accepting dangerous work assignments in exchange for reduced sentences. In areas where corrections are handled by government rather than private entities, laws often do away with such trivialities and simply proscribe hard labour as part of their sentences.
Crime is a major problem especially on the overcrowded urbanized core worlds. Less than 10% of registered crimes are solved or even responded to in places, lawless no-go zones in the slum districts being commonplace. Consequently, many local authorities have adopted a free-fire policy in high-crime areas, shooting first and asking questions later.
Piracy is another problem especially in the more remote regions. Oftentimes, the lines between legitimate mercenaries and pirates are blurred as both take to legitimate jobs and pirate raids in equal measure. Pirate raids are resisted by colonial militias and mercenary units hired for protection by colonists. At times, these mercenaries are little more than pirates themselves, just as likely to turn on their employers if they fall short of expected payments. This makes private security a particularly lucrative business in the Fringe regions.
Another major problem is organized crime, powerful criminal syndicates rivalling nation-states in size and strength. Although having little if any historical ties to the Old Terran criminal organizations, many of them name themselves after powerful crime syndicates of old.
Some of the more powerful syndicates are:
- New Canton Triad - arguably the most influential criminal syndicate in the Federation, specializes in human trafficking and protection racketeering.
- New Colombian Cartel - the largest supplier of illegal narcotics.
- Los Aztecas Cartel - a major supplier of narcotics, sworn enemies of New Colombian Cartel.
- Ivangrad Bratva - the vague equivalent of Russian Mafia, specializes in illegal arms and prostitution.
- La Cosa Nostra - based on Novaterra, the modern Cosa Nostra has little beyond name to do with the original Sicilian Mafia, currently being a multi-ethnic criminal enterprise immitating the traditions of its predecessor. Cosa Nostra specializes in gambling and protection racketeering.
- Yakuza - the only contemporary criminal organization with a legitimate claim to being a direct successor of an Old Terran namesake.
- Fedayeen - a crime syndicate with an Islamist political twist. Despite being classified as a terrorist organization, the Fedayeen are little more than common criminals behind a thin veil of religious extremism. For the right price, will supply even openly anti-Islamic causes.
- The Brotherhood - an international syndicate of pirates open to members of all species, Sidhae and Skargh included. Specializes in smuggling.
Numerous lesser criminal organizations exist besides these, oftentimes having de-facto control over sizable regions of Federation planets - usually the most impoverished and disenfranchised areas with little trust in the central government.
Separatism and political terrorism is another major issue that Federation law enforcement must contend with. Many planets disaffected with Federation rule seek to break away, especially in regions well away from Sidh and Skargh borders, where the threat of alien occupation isn't a credible deterrent. Still others deem violence an acceptable method to fight against what they deem unjust and oppressive laws, especially on worlds dominated by mega-corporations.
Corporate enterprises hold a very prominent role in Federation society, directly and indirectly dominating economy, politics and other aspects of society especially on the core worlds. The largest of these entities, more powerful than even the greatest nation-states of old, are known as mega-corporations. Essentially being states within a state, with their own territory, internal economy and armed forces, the megacorps are effectively equivalent to the more traditional nation-style members of the Federation, even having their own representatives in the government.
Some of the more notable megacorps are:
- CyberTech Inc. - perhaps the largest megacorp of Mankind, specializing in consumer electronics and vehicles, including military vehicles. Owned by the Phayders family, which is reported to be direct descendants of the Emperor of Sidhae by some. Although not deemed credible by Fed or Sidh sources (the latter considering the very notion blasphemous), these rumors are given some credibility by the generally-good relations with Sidh authorities on the rare occasion the two groups happen to interact. A more probable cause for that, however, is CyberTech's willingness to flout the Federal government's embargo on trade with the Imperium.
- Axon - specializes in the development of artificial intelligence and robotics. Known for it's rivalry with Izanagi Corporation.
- Izanagi Corporation - specializes in deep-space mining. Sworn rivals of Axon despite different specializations.
- Asahi Corporation - produces a wide variety of household and consumer goods, specializes in consumer electronics.
- Cyberdyne Systems - leading in robotics.
- Union Aerospace Corporation - leading in shipbuilding and aerospace industries.
- Galactic Spanning Corporation - specializes in deep-space mining and the construction of starbases.
- Krupp-Rheinmetall - a direct descendant of the namesake Old Terran corporations, specializes in armor and heavy weapons.
- Mitsubishi - specializes in aerospace industry and machine building. One of a handful of Old Terran companies to have survived into the present day.
- Liandri Corporation - now defunct, mostly known for the establishment of the Grand Tournament. Notorious for its predatory business practices, the Liandri Corporation went bankrupt in 2557 in the wake of new anti-corporate legislation and a scandal over tax evasion, resulting in the incarceration of much of the company's CEO board and several trillion dollars worth of fines. With the company stock values plummeting, Liandri filed for bankruptcy and was consequently bought out and dissolved by its rivals.
- Laxingham Industries - a major producer of industrial goods.
- Denel Security Services - one of the largest arms manufacturers and PMCs.
- Atlas Defense Industries - another major arms manufacturer/PMC.
- Armat Battlefield Systems - the leading arms manufacturer of the Federation.
- General Atomics - despite the name, GA has no direct connection with the Old Terran company of the same name. Specializes in nuclear technologies.
- Monsanto - another surviving Old Terran megacorp, traditionally specializes in agrochemical and biotech production.
- The Coca-Cola Company - self-explanatory. Has a near-monopoly on soft drink production.
- Apple-Microsoft - the result of the unholy union of Old Terra's two largest computer technology giants. Still one of Mankind's leading software developers.
These and other megacorporations hold a dominant role in Federation industry. On many worlds, their word is law. As far as federal authorities are concerned, they contribute to the survival and well-being of Mankind as whole, hence being benign and beneficial to all of humanity.
In practice, the megacorps compete fiercely in the cutthroat business environment that is largely unregulated by the state. Merciless exploitation of natural and human resources, predatory business practices, rampant industrial espionage and at times even downright assassination and sabotage are all part of the corporate world in the Federation. As long as the megacorps do not attempt to evade taxes (which they often do) and keep the collateral damage of their rivalries contained to minimum, Federal authorities rarely intervene in their affairs, in no small part because of the huge economic and political influence that the corporations exercise. Attempts to rein them in are fiercely resisted, even rivalling companies setting aside their differences to pool their influence in the government and block any anti-corporate legislation. So far, the only major success in passing such legislation took place in the mid-2500's, at the height of the Reconquest Wars, when the megacorps themselves reluctantly agreed that certain restrictions were necessary to curb their rivalries in wartime.
Although most corporate battles are traditionally fought in the courtrooms, Mankind's business giants aren't above using more direct blunt-force methods to gain advantage as well. Corporate private security forces, which often rival planetary defense forces in size and are equipped on par with the Federation military, will often attempt to provoke each other. While open battles between corporate securities are rare and carry heavy fines, they do happen occasionally, sometimes devolving into full-scale battles, although in such cases the Federation military is bound to intervene and both perpetrators are bound to face fines in the hundreds of billions. A common method to preserve plausible deniability is to hire unaffiliated mercenaries to attack a rival corporation's assets. Clandestine sabotage is likewise a time-honoured tool in the corporate arsenal, so company security forces must be ever vigilant for potential intruders.
It goes without saying that human life means little in these business conflicts. At most, the megacorp responsible for collateral casualties will pay the dependants of the victims a modest sum in damages, usually in an out-of-court settlement. The usual victims can rarely afford to hire a lawyer, let alone afford the expenses of a sustained lawsuit (with corporate lawyers being adept at protracting legal cases), and more often than not are themselves corporate employees, prevented from suing their employers by a fine-print clause in their contracts or other comparable legal technicalities. The only effective means for the common citizens to obtain justice against the megacorps is a class-action lawsuit, and even then success isn't guaranteed, as the corporations have ways of dissuading activists from pressing such lawsuits, ranging from bribery, smear campaigns, blackmail and intimidation to downright assassination. Although "accidents" happening to whistleblowers and union activists aren't a common occurrence because of the large amounts of bad publicity and unhealthy attention from the authorities they tend to attract, the megacorps certainly aren't above murdering their opponents. Most usually, however, such inconvenient activists are either bribed into backing down or silenced by being discredited, the company's muckrakers digging up some dirt on the individual and blackmailing him into silence, setting him up in a compromising situation, or simply fabricating false evidence fail everything else. Indeed, every megacorp has an entire department of its public relations division dedicated to black PR, including the character assassination of uppity activists.
Not all citizens of the Federation are willing to put up with corporate tyranny, however. Labour unions form a force that even the megacorps have to respect, and many local governments have imposed additional restrictions on corporate activities within their domain. Most notable of these are the Auriga Treaty Systems, signatories of the Auriga Treaty of 2483. Created in reaction to corporation excesses, the Auriga Treaty was essentially an effort to form an alternative economic system without corporate presence. Signatory worlds would therefore agree to expressly ban megacorporations from operating in their territory, seizing and nationalizing any corporate assets present there. Signatories would also agree to adopt Socialism as the guiding principle of their future economic policies, with local governments either assuming direct control over the seized corporate assets, or reforming them into people's cooperatives, with every employee deemed to own a share of the enterprise and entitled to an equal share of the profits. With over 370 worlds having joined the Auriga Treaty to present day, the ATS is viewed by the megacorps as the single greatest threat to their dominance. Despite being constantly vilified by the corporate media and subject to various trade sanctions and acts of sabotage by the megacorps, the Auriga Treaty represents a viable alternative to the corporate-dominated capitalist economic system prevalent throughout the Federation. To the credit of the Federal government, their attitude towards Auriga Treaty Systems is comparably impartial to their treatment of the corporations - as long as the Treaty worlds pay what's due of them and do not attempt to secede, there is no real reason to take action against them.
Although megacorporations, being private businesses rather than national entities, are nominally ineligible to be represented in the Federal parliament, they still do have a rather sizable direct representation in the government. This is due to a legal technicality of every Federation world being eligible to representation in the government. Since many corporations have their own space colonization programs, that puts them in direct control of entire planets, whose local authority may then request to sign the Articles of Colonziation and accede to full membership of the Federation with a corresponding seat on the House of Representatives. With a sufficient number of corporate-controlled worlds forming a nominal planetary union, they may eventually also get a seat on the Senate. While formally the representatives of these corporate colonies represent the citizenry of their homeworlds, de facto they represent their employer - the megacorp that owns the colonies they formally represent. The Federal government is keenly aware of this legal loophole, but few efforts have been made to fix it, both because of corporate resistence and a lack of a sufficient reason to do so - greedy and unruly as they are, the megacorps are still the pillars of Federation economy, so there's no pressing reason to deny them representation on the government, even if acquired through a legal loophole.
The people of the Federation are an extremely diverse bunch, representing the near-entirety of Mankind. There is no race, ethnicity or creed that wouldn't be found somewhere in the Federation, in all likelihood having at least one planet of their own to call home.
The overall racial and ethnic makeup of the Federation is similar to that of Old Terra. People of the Federation tend to aggregate along the same ethnic, cultural and religious lines, so most Federation worlds will have a distinct ethnic and cultural majority. The core worlds, being centers of politics, culture and commerce, tend to be much more multi-cultural and cosmopolitan.
Along with the established ethnic groups of Old Terra, a number of new ones have emerged in the Federation. New ethnicities with their own distinct cultures have evolved, identifying with their homeworld and its place in the broader universe rather than any of their Terran predecessor groups. Even new races of Mankind have emerged over centuries of interbreeding that did not historically have much opportunity to occur on Old Terra, the most notable of them being Afronese (from Afro-Chinese) and the "generic human" of extremely multi-racial ancestry characteristic to the cosmopolitan core worlds.
As a general rule, the larger and more influential an ethnic group is, the closer it's homeworlds are to the core of the Federation, the less significant and marginalized communities having to settle down further from the core worlds. The Fringe, the outer rim of human colonization consisting mostly of new settlements without full Federation membership, is home to both adventurers and opportunists seeking to make their fortunes, ordinary folk looking for opportunities denied to them in the old home for various reasons, and also the outcasts of Federation society - cultists, fugitive outlaws, pirates and other crazy and/or criminal characters.
As with Old Terra, the religious make-up of the Federation is extremely diverse, though similar trends to Mankind's old homeworld are evident, with traditional major religions still predominating among the believers.
The different branches of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism still predominate among much of Mankind's religious folk. While people tend to be less religious overall in the present age, especially on the core worlds, that is not necessarily the case further away from the center of the Federation, with colonies often being founded by religious communities seeking to live an independent life in accord with their creed. Hinduism and Judaism hold a stable second place as the most prominent secondary religions.
Among those disinclined towards traditional worship, new religions and philosophies are often popular, one such being Neo-Confucianism and Neo-Gnosticism, one being more of a civic philosophical code than a proper religion, and the other being based in the historical Gnostic mythos.
Neo-Paganism in various forms has gained popularity as well, entire populations officially following various Neo-Pagan creeds. The most prominent example of this are the people of Rheinland, notable for being one of the few core worlds with an official religion that is non-Abrahamic. The majority of Rheinlanders practice "Neo-Norse" religion, a reconstruction of the ancient Nordic faith. Among more exotic religions, various belief systems of Native Americans have attracted a significant following, the majority ironically having no Amerindian ancestry whatsoever. Other shamanistic religions remain popular among the more backwater populations of the Federation, with the exception of Shinto, which still remains the national religion of the Japanese people along with Buddhism.
A myriad of cults exist alongside more established religions as well, some of them quite bizarre. Most are merely heterodox sects of existing religions, while others are downright original and outlandish, often centered around self-declared prophets with questionable motives. These cultists, especially of the more crazy variety, often find home in the Fringe, away from the prying eyes of the authorities.
Religious freedom is protected by Federal law and the Articles of Colonization, though not always respected in equal measure. While it is forbidden to openly discriminate based on religious belief, local authorities still retain a say over who gets to settle in their domain, and may reject any would-be settlers of undesired religions without having to explain themselves. While religious belief does not exempt one from the protections of Federal law, local laws may still not treat members of different religions equally, as long as this different treatment isn't in flagrant breach of basic human rights granted by the Articles.
As far as religion is concerned, Federal laws are exceptionally tolerant, and will readily tolerate even cults that practice human sacrifice - on the condition that sacrificial victims are of legal age and provide written consent without duress to being sacrificed. Locally however, such cults are mostly treated with due revulsion and outlawed, being relegated to their proper place among Fringe extremists and crazies.
As with other things, there is no definitive "human" culture, only a diverse mix of many, the diversity of human cultures baffling aliens to no end - the cultures of the Skargh tribes never diverged to the same extent that human ones did, and Sidhae have deliberately rejected cultural diversity in favour of uniformity. Different worlds and ethnic groups inhabiting them have their own distinct cultures, oftentimes followed more rigorously than historically, as a shared cultural identity provides a sense of stability especially in new colonial settlements.
What all humans of the Federation do share, however, is the belief in mutual cooperation as imperative to the survival and prosperity of Mankind as whole. Even sworn enemies will set their differences aside when faced with an alien menace, such as the barbarous Skargh or the inhuman Sidhae. All humans believe that competition and rivalry between them is inevitable and beneficial, as long as sight of the bigger picture isn't lost to those involved.
The cultures of the Federation tend to align along ethnic and religious lines throughout the majority of the Federation, forming a distinct "traditional culture belt" that spans mainly secondary and tertiary worlds. Primary and core worlds tend to have very mixed and cosmopolitan cultures, while the Fringe colonies tend more towards either non-descript pragmatism or cultural extremism.
A distinct corporate culture also exists especially on the core worlds and those planets controlled by the megacorporations. Not limited by ethnicity or any other private beliefs, the corporate culture of the Federation revolves mainly around duty, unquestioning loyalty to the company and obedience to its hierarchy, rules and policies - in some respects quite similar to the Sidh culture. As opposed to the Sidh ways, the darker side of the corporate culture, however, encourages ruthless competition driven by greed and ambition, only those who are willing to walk over corpses to meet their goals being considered worthy of success. Corporate culture essentially encourages adherents to be ruthless and manipulative pragmatists.
Federation armed forces are predominated by the Federal Army and the Federal Navy. Federation Colonial Marine Corps makes up the third branch of the Federal armed forces.
The billions-strong mainstay of the Federation military, the Army is a diverse bunch of locally-raised forces united by a common doctrine and purpose.
While huge ethnic and cultural diversity exists between different divisions of the Federal Army, the command does their best to mix the troops, so that men even from rival worlds learn to cooperate and set their differences aside. And true indeed, it is not uncommon to see a Rheinlander and a Black Muslim fighting side-by-side in Mankind's battles against their foes.
The Federal Army maintains a similar organization to Old Terran NATO states. Since the armed forces have grown way beyond their Old Terran counterparts in the centuries since, it is not uncommon for divisions to number in the hundreds of thousands, distinguished only by their world of origin or some other comparable feature, but the traditional 10-15 thousand-strong divison still remains the primary large-force unit.
The Army maintains a rather intense inter-service rivalry with the Colonial Marine Corps. The Marines regard themselves as entirely independent from either the Army or the Navy, and are insulted by the suggestion that they might belong to either.
The primary task of the Federal Navy is, unlike that of their Sidh counterpart, to establish aerospace superiority. For this reason, Federal Navy is based around relatively small Carrier Battlegroups (CVBGs) rather than the massive Imperial "battlefleets" and "armadas".
The cooperation between Federal Army and Navy is somewhat more complicated than in the Imperium of Sidhae, or the Skargh Empire, where ground forces typically have their own dedicated naval forces attached to them. Federal Navy operates largely independently of the Army. While this seriously affects their combined-arms capabilities, it also means the Navy is freer to pursue it's own strategic goals.
Consequently, the Federal Navy is better at exerting long-range aerospace superiority than it's counterparts while being somewhat lackluster in comparison in their ground support capabilities. Fortunately, these shortcomings are somewhat made up for by the Colonial Marines.
The Federation Colonial Marine Corps is a separate branch of service, somewhat in immitation of the United States Marine Corps. Largely independent of either the Army or the Navy, the Marines serve as a rapid-deployment first-response force.
Although the Colonial Marines take great pride in lacking the ethnic and cultural divisions generally respected by the Federal Army and Navy, they too aren't exempt of their effects. Such divisions do in fact exist, merely being overlooked more than in other branches of service.
Despite a unified command structure, Colonial Marines are predominantly locally-raised forces as opposed to the Federal Army or Navy. Consequently, they tend to undertake operations more actual to the local population, contributing to their reputation and popularity. This, however, also makes them more prone to being manipulated by the megacorps into doing their bidder.
Colonial Marines are frequently at the forefront of any conflicts fought by the Federation, foreign or domestic. Their tasks range from suppression of domestic insurgencies to vanguard deployments into enemy soil to fighting against unknown xenos threats.