April 18th 2013
Hi Citizens and Civs alike. Welcome back to another installment of the Star Citizen’s Writer’s Guide. If you’re new, please check out our caveats and disclaimers here.
2075 – The first RSI engine could travel at 1/100th the speed of light.
2214 – The speed was correct (1/10th Speed of Light) so ship could theoretically travel from the sun to Pluto in 50 hours.
The big conversation from last week’s installment was rank. Again, I apologize for being unclear, but last week’s list was a rough starting list that was primarily being used as reference for designing some of the characters in Squadron 42 and was not meant to be considered the entire ranking structure of the military. Thank you for weighing in with your suggestions. Here’s an amended pass (including the ranks bestowed on members of the military High-Command).
Rankings updated September 2021 to reflect the current hierarchy.
High-Command Legatus Navium (loosely translated Diplomant of the Navy)
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Master Chief Petty Officer
Chief Petty Officer
Jr. Petty Officer
High-Command Legatus Exercitus (loosely translated Diplomat of the Army)
Private First Class
High-Command Legatus Marinuum (loosely translated Diplomat of the Marine)
Trooper First Class
The various ethnicities we know today have blended; now it’s planetary identification. The various languages and roots of names have endured, but you’ll often find them mixed together (“Ivan Suzuki”).
So, we’ve established that planets need to lobby to be included/represented in the Senate. In an effort to keep this manageable, we’ll break local government structures into two categories; unrepresented and represented.
This category can include everything from Terra down to smaller population centers like Magnus.
What we would call nations are now called States, each of which is ruled by a Governor. Sparsely populated worlds can have councils of two Governors while densely populated ones can have dozens. These council meetings are convened to settle disputes and create planet-wide laws by Council vote.
A Governor is an elected position with a six-year term (two-term limit), which can be filled by a Citizen or even a Civilian (the highest political rank a Civilian can achieve). Some Governors attempt to run for Senator after their term is up.
Under the Governor there are a hundred elected Representatives. The number of constituents for each Representative varies based on the population size in the State but there are always a hundred in office — for example, a Representative on Terra represents a million people while a Rep in the smaller States of Davien might represent no more than a thousand. The Representatives are divided and assigned to various committees and departments that oversee and regulate the infrastructure.
Law enforcement is broken down into local and federal police forces. Local Police have their assigned jurisdictions, while the Federal police handle crimes across State lines and report to the Governors’ Council.
Depending on the planet’s location and status, they may be able to call upon UEE military forces for protection/intervention or support in cases of natural disaster.
Life away from the population hubs can be tough. Once UEE Inspectors certify a planet as safe for habitation, usually the first settlers are members of the Terraforming Teams. Smaller ’Forming Corps will often entice workers with land payouts. After that the surveyors start showing up, looking for anything that might establish this planet as a potential population center (looking for rare or unique minerals, a confluence of jump points, etc.) The gamble is whether this world will ‘grow to be something.’ They’re hoping that they’re getting in on the ground floor of the next Terra. These surveyors will snatch up land while they look; if they don’t find anything of interest, they’ll flip the land and move on. All the while, the poor will have been slowly trickling onto the planet, looking for opportunity, a chance to start fresh. Usually their passage is paid with an indentured commitment of some sort.
These planets are also far from the watchful eye and protection of the UEE military forces. While this can be an exciting proposition for traders who want to avoid federal tariffs, it also means that pirates and bandits can lurk around any corner. And that’s not even mentioning the possibility of Vanduul attacks.
Governments on the fringe act on a town-by-town basis, usually headed by a governor or mayor (depending on local preference). It’s not unusual to see towns effectively declare war on each other.
These settlements will usually have some kind of police/militia in place. At best, they’ll have a sheriff or marshal in charge. At worst, the local townspeople band together for protection when a situation arises.
This is frontier life in the future.
As the population on these unrepresented planets begins to grow, the UEE will dispatch political advisors to counsel the planets in the construction of their planetary government, emulating the Governor/Representative structure of the represented worlds. In the early phases of planetary development, there is very little difference between Citizens and Civilians (everybody has to pull their own weight). As the population grows, that distinction begins to come into play. Civilians and Citizens both vote to elect local politicians.
The Governors’ Council applies to the UEE for recognition. If accepted, Citizens are the only ones able to vote in Senatorial elections.
IMPERIAL LAW VS. LOCAL LAW
As part of the UEE, in theory even the smallest settlements have access to and are subject to the full breadth of UEE laws. Enforcement of these laws is tricky, especially when you get to smaller settlements. In short, they basically go unenforced until someone decides to start enforcing them.
Local governments are allowed to establish their own laws as long as they don’t contradict UEE laws.
WRITING FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Again, as with the Government as a Character section in the first part, it’s all about diversity.
Local governments are made up of all types of personalities. Some small-town mayors rule their settlements with a dictatorial thirst for power, some are thoroughly corrupt, some are crusaders, some are puritanical. So use your personal judgment when conceiving of a small settlement’s political structure, but understand that it’s unlikely that someone could be exceptionally crazy and be able to get away with it. Even though the nature of communication means that it takes time for information to spread, there are still people with spaceships so it’s unlikely that a local corrupt mayor could get away with eating his populace (for example) without word eventually getting to the authorities.
As mentioned earlier, the larger and more organized a planet becomes, the more it starts to adhere to the Governors/Representative structure. So if you’re looking to create a more unconventional type of government or political figure for a story, keep in mind that it would have to exist on a smaller size planet.
Many of the forms of entertainment from today still exist, just changed, advanced. For example, there are movies and shows called Vids, that are effectively all on demand. Books are exclusively digital. Painting is as well. Music too. There are still celebrities and NewsOrgs still do local nightly news and produce the equivalent of online newspapers.
Here are the current major NewsOrgs:
New United has been a venerable news organization for centuries. Originally called the United Times, it was one of the last vestiges of the newspaper conglomerates of the 20th century. During the Messer Era, the paper (now called the United/Tribune after a merger with the Sentinel Tribune in 2578) became the unofficial propaganda outlet for the fascist UEE government. In 2792 when the Messer Era finally came to an end, the NewsOrg relaunched itself as the New United in an attempt to distance itself from the sins of the past and pledged to remain unbiased and never buckle to political pressure again.
Terra-based NewsOrg. It tried to maintain its independence during the Messer Era, but was ultimately infiltrated and dissenting reporters were ostracized as the NewsOrg was incorporated into the propaganda machine.
Now the Terra Gazette is primarily viewed as an opionated, almost patronizing, news source.
Primarily vid-based NewsOrg. Operates subsidiary channels in almost every system. Full of pundit-driven debate shows like ShowDown! as well as straight newscasts.
HOW DOES DISTANCE AFFECT THE NEWS/INFORMATION?
We’ll delve into the topic of communications in a future issue but, for a broad overview, information takes time to spread. There is no such thing as instantaneous communication between systems. For that reason, news can be slow to spread throughout the UEE. The NewsOrgs are constantly relaying information back and forth throughout the systems (barring the destruction of CommRelays or drones).
While we’re still too early in development to be able to ascribe a specific time to the ‘information decay’ (i.e. the amount of time that passes between when an event happens/is reported to when it reaches the various systems), you can assume that extra-system news will be reported at least hours and often days later.
If you imagine a newscast, they would probably lead off with any local news, then recap (with appropriate time stamps) any updates from around the UEE. Newspapers have local editions for the major markets as well.
Q: I’m still confused about 2942. Does that clock start ticking when the game is released? or is it based on the year 2012 when the GDC announcement was made??? are we in 2943 now?
A: Yes, we’re mirroring the timeline for the game. It was 2942 when the game was announced. Now we’re in 2943 (April 2013 SET) to be exact.
Q: What is the exact status of slavery in the UEE? What about the other races, do they keep slaves? (sounds like the Banu would)
Also, do members of other intelligent species live within UEE space?
A: Slavery is very illegal in UEE space but it happens. Some might argue that sledging rock on a frontier world for minimum wage is effectively slave labor. But real slavery can exist on the fringe among unscrupulous Corps and wannabe entrepreneurs. If the UEE discovers that it’s happening, they will definitely crack down.
There are accounts of worlds within the Banu Protectorate that allows the ownership of slaves. As far as the Xi’An, they tell us that slavery is illegal …
In response to your second question, yes.