Spectrum Dispatch

Lore

ID:

12956

Comments:

123

Date:

April 11th 2013

Writer's Guide: Part Two

Writer's Guide: Part Two

Hello again, welcome back to another installment of the Star Citizen’s Writer’s Guide. We’re all really excited about the great response to last week’s issue and this feature in general. One change to this week’s installment — I know I said that we would discussing local governments and Citizenship, but as I was writing out the issue, the Citizenship section kept expanding and expanding.

Ultimately, I decided to hold off on the local government stuff until next week so that we wouldn’t have to trim either one. For new readers, please check out our caveats for this series. Here’s a summary: this information is meant to be used for coming up with your fan fiction. Each of these installments is not complete or intractable information about their respective topics. We’re still designing the universe, fleshing out details, and saving information for bigger releases.

ERRATA


In the inaugural installment of Errata, this is where we will address questions, offer further clarity, or present additional facts on topics covered in the previous week’s installment. Last week, we started looking at the human experience, specifically the UEE and its structure.

TIMELINE

As requested, we created a graphic of the timeline presenting the facts depicted in the Time Capsules. It will be posted at the end of the issue.

MILITARY RANKS

For simplicity’s sake, we modeled the military ranking system after the modern U.S. Navy:

Navy Officers (UEEN)

2nd Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Lt. Commander
Commander
Captain
Rear Admiral
Vice Admiral
Admiral

Notes about these ranks: Pilots are 2nd Lieutenant or above. 2nd Lieutenant through Captain are the most common ranks among fighter pilots. Carriers are under the command of an Admiral. Each Squadron consists of a carrier, its various wings, and support crew. Some carriers have Ground Assault Specialists onboard.

As for the Army and Marines, we have not addressed rank structure since we’re focused on the single-player experience at the moment and characters will be enlisted in the Navy. If you want to create a character for your fiction in the Army or Marine, I would recommend sticking with the current rank structure.

UEE SENATE/POLITICAL STRUCTURE There are a couple of updates regarding the political structure. There was a strong reaction against the use of the word Commoner; we agreed and brainstormed an alternative. Here’s an amended chart:

HEADS OF STATE & THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES

We haven’t really fleshed out the day-to-day responsibilities of the political figures but here’s a broad reference guide I keep in mind when coming up with things for them:

Imperator: Originally the dictator; after the Messer Era, the UEE restructured the Imperator to more resemble a President (democratically elected, term limits, not insane, etc.). To quote Ivar Messer, “every ship needs a captain.” The position is there to provide a final decision. Bills and legislation start in the Senate, move up to the High-Secretary, then go to the Imperator for approval or veto.

High-Secretary:  This is the chief executive of anything structural that takes place inside the UEE borders — communications, transportation, sewage, power, agriculture, bills/legislation, etc. Any and all issues regarding the infrastructure of the UEE are debated and refined by Congress, then eventually funneled to the High-Secretary before they are passed up to the Imperator.

High-Advocate: Basically the Attorney General. This office handles enforcement of laws, but also coordinate efforts to make sure that UEE local governments are complying with the latest amendments to galaxy-wide imperial UEE laws.

Senators: Elected by the Citizens of their respective planets and work primarily out of the Congress on Earth (though they will return to put in time with their constituency, particularly when it’s nearing election time). Senators do not directly create any local legislation or appoint local officials, but their endorsement and influence are undeniably powerful.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Due to the massive size of the UEE, there are dozens, even hundreds of political parties but there are three that dominate the political landscape.

Universal - Institution-focused ideology. Government and systems will guide the people. Seen by some as a blue-blood, wealth-based ideology.

Centralist - Traditional even somewhat libertarian-styled political ideology. It’s about sustaining and maintaining the status quo, and excelling through the values of humanity. Embrace the past, be proud of where you came from, etc. Needless to say, they support keeping Earth as the capital.

Transitionalists (Transits) - Relatively recent “People’s Party” formed around promoting a progressive human agenda. Most of their rhetoric is aimed towards “the future.” They obviously support Terra as the center of the UEE.

MILITARY HIGH-COMMAND

When Messer consolidated his power and transformed from the Prime Citizen to the Imperator, he also bonded the powers of the High-General to the position of Imperator (in an effort to prevent any other faction of the government from legally wielding the military against him). Therefore, the UEE High Command was created, a committee of representatives from the branches of the military to facilitate the orders of the Imperator.

Think of it like the Joint Chiefs, a consolidation of high-ranking military officials who organize and brief the Imperator about military matters.

CIVILIAN VERSUS CITIZEN


The general public are known as civilians (or Civs used with varying levels of derision). They are the salt of the earth, the workers and the masses. Everyone’s born a civilian, only the civically minded become Citizens. Civilians are still registered residents under the UEE. At the age of seventeen Standard Earth Years, they start paying taxes, can own property, and vote in local elections and legislation if they’re registered to a system. Citizens are chosen members of society.  This is a status that has to be earned. In short, you must show an active commitment to furthering the interests of the UEE, which can be done through distinguished military service, community service, or application (that’s the least successful by far). It’s not easy to become a Citizen. It’s not meant to be; the powerful hate sharing their power.

As far as the perks for being a Citizen, here’s our working list at the moment:

  • Allowed to own a Multi-System Corp

  • Pursue political office (on a local or UEE level)

  • Vote for UEE issues (Senators, Referendums, etc.) & Local Elections/Legislation

  • Work for the UEE government (like the Advocacy)

  • Easier to obtain UEE trade licenses to sell/buy from Xi’An or Banu

  • Local Law Enforcement might let you skate on smaller crimes (unofficial perk)

  • They pay a slightly lower tax rate

Convicted criminals are never allowed to become Citizens and a long history of behavior deemed counter to the purposes and dictates of the UEE can cause your Citizenship to be revoked.

LIFE WITHOUT CITIZENSHIP

To many, it may sound like Citizenship is the only way to have a good life in the UEE. Ultimately, it depends on your priorities. There are things that absolutely require Citizenship to achieve (see above list). But if you want to live on the edge, make your living slugging cargo or exploring the depths of space on the fringe, there isn’t much that Citizenship can offer you.

FOR WRITING

This is a big topic, one that is in constant discussion as to how it will be implemented into gameplay. This entry is barely going to scratch the surface about the possibilities that you can explore with Citizens. As I said in the last post, we’re trying to build a universe of greys, not black-and-whites. Of moral complexity, not absolutes. But here are the broad strokes to set the boundaries of where you can go for your own stories.

There isn’t a class war going on … yet. While it’s true that Civilians are the lowest class in the UEE, this is not the Middle Ages. Civilians are not slaves or a subjugated populace. They are not treated like scum or spit on by the powerful. Do some Civilians feel like they’re toiling away while the Citizens live in the lap of luxury? Sure. Conversely, do some Citizens resent Civilians? Sure, there can be fat-cat Citizens who despise the dirty plebes outside their door, but others use their positions and resources to look out for them.

So what is the general sentiment about the Citizens/Civilians dynamic? If you can boil the sentiments of a populace into a single emotional feeling: it’s a system that seems to be working for the most part. For a majority of people, this is just always the way it’s been and it’s not likely to change anytime soon. From the govenrment’s perspective, there are trillions of people in the UEE. Think how difficult it is to have an election with the 120 million or so voting citizens in the U.S. alone. So they needed some way to whittle down the enfranchised populace.

QUESTIONS


From Samden & Gundersum:

Q:  You mentioned the Advocacy as a cold war KGB/CIA mirror, are they still the arm of the UEE which conducts covert affairs and espionage?

A:  I think the Advocacy handles counterespionage while the military handles intelligence/espionage missions.

From corocoro:

Q:  You didn’t mention any form of a judiciary power – has technology made court cases obsolete or are they just too irrelevant to the game/lore? From the Kid Crimson story it sounded like the Advocacy is confirming guilt and then acting based on their findings without oversight (both jury and executioner), but how are low-profile cases and those that are “skirting” the law handled?

A: The Advocacy is responsible for the courts as well. There is still due process (which was probably forgotten during the Messer Era). Advocacy Agents are legally allowed to shoot/blow-up criminals in the field if they are acting in self-defense or if innocent lives are at risk. The existence of ‘kill-orders’ has long been unofficially acknowledged within the UEE infrastructure. Though never confirmed, the rumor is that they are only placed on the most dangerous and vicious fugitives.

It’s been mentioned in some of the comments: the Advocacy is like the FBI. They don’t handle small-fry cases; they come in for egregious inter-system fugitives and murderers. Anything else is handled by local law enforcement and bounty hunters.

NEXT WEEK


We’ll get around to discussing how local governments work and if there’s space, will start covering how the media and communication systems affect the flow of information.


As always, feel free to leave questions about this week’s post or about next week’s topics in the comments below.


Without further ado, here’s the timeline (created by Zane):


2075: Roberts Space Industries introduces Quantum Core Engine Technology. Capable of travelling at 1/100th the speed of light, this new engine allows humanity to travel to the corners of our solar system with relative ease.

2113: Terraforming technology patented.

2120: First attempt to terraform Mars begins.

2125: The Mars Tragedy. Early attempt at terraforming the planet suffers catastrophic failure. Over 5000 souls killed when the atmo collapses.

2140: First commercially available starship.

2157: Mars successfully terraformed. Memorial built to honor those killed in the Mars Tragedy.

2214: New version of the RSI engine released, allowing travel up to 1/10th the speed of light. More ships exploring our solar system.

2232: Artemis Launched. First attempt to have a manned spacecraft fly (slow-burn) to the nearest star system. Captain, crew and thousands of volunteer colonists are placed in stasis for the flight. Ultimately the ship disappears.

2262: A series of ships inexplicably disappear in the same area of space. Drawing comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle, the government declares the Neso Triangle a no-fly zone. There is much more myth and conjecture about why this happens than there are hard facts.

2271: After almost ten years of study, Nick Croshaw goes to investigate the Bermuda Triangle-esque Space Anomaly and discovers the first jump point, becoming the first human to travel to another system and the godfather of the modern Navjumpers.

2380: Croshaw System has been terraformed. The search for new jump points signifies the beginning of Humanity’s expansion to the stars. The Earth’s social and political differences are set aside. We are united in our desire to strike out into the stars. The United Nations of Earth (UNE) is born.

2438: First Contact. It is considerably less cinematic or romantic than many had dreamed of. An explorer encounters a Banu in Davien. He is just as surprised as we are. The Banu are also just beginning to expand into the universe. General Neal Socolovich and delegates negotiate the first intergalactic peace and trade treaty.

2460: Through expansion and terraforming, there are vast amounts of land and territory for humanity to move to. Earth is overcrowded, so more and more people are leaving to stake their claim out in the universe.

2516: Terra settlement established. Found at a confluence of jump points, it’s a perfect nexus.

2523: 70% of humans live off-world. They feel that they deserve equal representation in UNE proceedings. The government changes form once again, becoming the United Planets of Earth (UPE). The new government will be run by a tribunal; a High-Secretary (responsible for maintaining the infrastructure), High-General (responsible for expansion and protection), and a High-Advocate (responsible for maintaining the law).

2530: Discovery of the Xi’An Empire. We stumble into their territory without knowing and are about to start terraforming. High-General Volder receives criticism for being too aggressive, while there is muscle flexing and threats from both sides. A cold war of sorts begins, with occasional casualties, but not full-on open conflict.

2541: The UPE first establish contact with the Tevarin. While not as technologically advanced as us, they were just beginning to strike out into the universe. A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. The First Tevarin War begins. Colonel Ivar Messer, a brilliant and ruthless strategist, distinguishes himself in the Battle of Idris IV. He quickly becomes the pride of the military and the face of the War.

2546: Messer, now promoted to commander, brings the captured Tevarin leader to the UPE floor. He rides the popularity of his victory to become High-General. Claiming the Tribunal is an outdated system and cultivating a fear of the Xi’An, Messer proposes the creation of a new single office with the title of Prime Citizen. Upon election as the first (and last) Prime Citizen, it isn’t long before he restructures the government into the new United Empire of Earth (UEE) and annoints himself Imperator, ushering on in an age of unprecedented expansion and colonization.

2603-2610: The Second Tevarin War. Repopulated after hiding on the Fringe, the Tevarin have spent the last fifty years building their forces for the sole purpose of retaking their homeworld Kaleeth (renamed/resettled by the UEE as Elysium IV. While theirs is a cause that some humans could support, the UEE isn’t about to give up territory. Realizing that they can’t win, the Tevarin decide to make a final desperate push to scuttle their ships on Elysium IV. If they can’t live there, they will die there.

2638: Senator Assan Kieren of Terra publicly decries the pro-military agenda of the UEE and its unconditional support of the military-industrial complex. He calls for another vote of sovereignty for Terra and its adjacent systems. Imperator Messer XI wields the UEE’s brutally efficient propaganda machine to discredit and destroy Kieren, who disappears soon after. There are rumors that he is murdered, but nothing can be proven.

2681: The Vanduul, a nomadic leeward race in the west, starts raiding our new settlements in the Tevarin systems and disappearing. They seemingly have no homeworld; each Vanduul clan is a roaming fleet, making them exceedingly hard to catch.

2715-2788: The military regime reaches a plateau. While the human populace has been somewhat beaten into submission, there’s a current of subversion in the culture. People are starting to see the cracks in the system. Activist groups launch attacks against the political/propaganda machine. The military is stretched thin, bracing for war with Xi’An, chasing down Vanduul raiders, and trying to maintain security on the human systems. The Imperator’s power is waning.

2789: In a daring act of defiance, peace is independently brokered with the young Xi’An Emperor Kr.ē by Senator Terrence Akari of Terra, who refuses to fight open war on his doorstep. Terra blasts Earth for being imperialistic and short-sighted. Xi’An looks at the situation as a potential way to create a divide in the Human Empire.

2792: The Massacre of Garron II. A terraforming Corp begins to terraform an inhabited planet. The inhabitants weren’t star-travellers, just a developing race, which get wiped out from the atmo-processors. The corp vehemently denies that the aliens were capable of conscious thought. Activist vid-footage of the aliens’ rational behavior is leaked to the Spectrum. It is also revealed that the terraforming Corp is closely tied to the Benevolent Imperator’s family. That’s the final straw; the people rise up and overthrow of the government. Erin Toi of Earth becomes the new Imperator and promises an age of enlightenment and social consciousness.

2795: The Fair Chance Act is ratified, decreeing that is a capital crime to attempt to terraform planets with developing creatures. These planets are to be left alone to give the species a chance to advance/evolve.

2800: UEE builds the Ark, a repository of information and culture located in space for all the races in the universe. It is seen by some as an attempt at reparation.

2872: In response to criticism that humanity is only interested in greed and blood, the UEE embarks on its greatest achievement: a SynthWorld, converting a lifeless rock into a life-sustaining planet. Construction begins in Chronos system. It is viewed as the current era’s legacy. A massive undertaking, it will take decades, maybe centuries to complete.

2920: The SynthWorld project is moving slowly and it’s draining the Empire economically. This is the point where our reach starts exceeding our grasp. The disparity between the rich and the poor is reaching an all-time divide, and the poor are reacting with greater and greater frustration. The Vanduul attacks are growing in frequency and the UEE doesn’t seem to be doing a thing about it.

2942: Today…

End Transmission

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