Witchcraft

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One hundred and seven years ago, a group of scientists, engineers, military personnel and explorers, charged by Earth's governments to investigate an area of space from which numerous alien signals had been detected stumbled on the remains of a vast interstellar war. Four different alien empires, the least advanced of which was at least a century and a half ahead of human technology, had fought an apocalyptic war over the strange ruins of a yet older civilization. Some had fought to plum their secrets, others to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. Either way, they had fought.

At the time, Earth was in a period of turmoil, as less fortunate groups, youths and religious and political activists rebelled against the stagnant rule of the the automated resource allocation systems which controlled earth's every day life for the benefit of those few who had been wealthy at the systems creation. Both the rebels, and Earth's existing governments sought to use the survey corp's discoveries to secure victory for themselves, but both were rejected.

Instead, the survey corp's leadership chose to impose its own order, rejecting both sides in favour of the creation of a middle path of the enlightened rule of engineers, scientists and military officers, starting with those who had formed the Survey Corp, and employing both their scientific training and the enlightened philosophies taken from the ruined alien combatants. With Earth and the Solar colonies forced to accept their rule under the threat of alien supertechnology, the Survey Corp moved out to conquer the previous human colonies and nearby alien races, with the declared intention of preventing further contact with the ruins that had begun the four fold war. The Survey Corp had attempted to penetrate several of these sites, and what they had found within was so terrifying as to suspend any further research. Worse, now they knew what to look for, the survey corp found such ruins on many already colonized worlds, and detected unusual biological effects within populations who lived near them.

Any sapient life form, either natural or artificial, and conceived in whatever fashion within proximity of one of the sites had the potentiality of developing.

On April the 21st, 2530, five years after their discovery of the Four Fold War the Survey Corp declared the beginning of the New Ca lender, and with it the New Society. It is now year 102 of the New Calendar. The New Society's elite are growing increasingly tyrannical, and resistance grows in the outer colonies. Despite efforts to contain them, increasing numbers of those affected by the


Deeper History

Humanity first spread away from Sol in the early 22nd century, deploying a number of fast burning, self replicating probes and slower but better resourced generation ships deploying at slower than light speed. Over the next century, human colonies grew in the surrounding systems. In 2298, colonists in Wolf 1061c discovered a derelict alien vessel. Entering, they were able to locate and salvage the drive systems, which proved to allow faster than light travel.

Attempts to use this for the purposes of time travel proved impossible, as any attempt to cause a paradox caused the drive system to violently explode with a force around ten times that of a thermonuclear bomb of equivalent mass. However, this did allow for far greater exploration of space, and trade, contact, diplomacy and war between the colonies.

Meantime, human technology was also progressing, with the creation of steadily greater numbers of posthuman entities, many of which came into conflict with baseline humanity. While humanity's greater resources and numbers allowed it to survive these battles, and most post and transhuman entities were peaceful, conflict was fierce enough to cause the creation of the ARA system, which was designed to control the economy, environment and law enforcement, as well as prevent attacks by hostile posthumans. ARA's systems were not usually sapient, but rather created of layers of powerfully optimized expert systems. While ARA was in some ways a success in containing conflict and the economic tole of both FTL travel and evolving technology, its main effect was to drive most of those interested in human augmentation to move off planet, and calcified Sol's class system.

Over the next seventy years, dissatisfaction with the ARA system grew, both in Sol and in the colonies. The inequalities entrenched by ARA grew increasingly unbearable on Earth, while the colonies, who still required Sol's military and economic resources to meet development goals were none the less bitter at the increasingly incompetence and dysfunction of its government institutions. The mishandling of first contact the first two alien species humanity had contact with, which in one case resulted in war and the expulsion of human presence further infuriated colonial leaders.

It was in this atmosphere that the Survey Corps made its discovery of the Four Fold War, and in this atmosphere that the New Society was founded.

The New Society Today

The New Society today is an administrative dictatorship, who's leadership is picked from the upper ranks of the military and civil service. Leadership decisions are made by the Council of Five, who have equal voting rights on any decision. By tradition, one is the most senior officer in the military, another is the most senior member of the security services, a third is drawn from the civilian civil service. The remaining too have no set antecedence, but are most often prominent and politically well connected men from the scientific or alien contact agencies. New appointments to the Council are governed by the Assessment Committee, who's job is to screen candidates from the Council to the lowest levels of the military and civil service for both talent and correct ideas. This makes them one of the New Society's most powerful agencies, though members are forbidden from servicing on the council or any other high ranking position themselves.

The New Society governs Sol and the inner colonies directly, but beyond that governance is done by viceroys, appointed directly by the Council of Five, and with complete power over their area. There is no parliament, but regional assembles exist in some areas in an advisory capacity to governors.

In truth, the New Society has changed very little from the days of ARA, and has in fact extended such expert systems to most of the more advanced colonies. Indeed, inequality within the New Society is actually at a higher level than it was in Sol before it begun. Instead, the New Society rests on two pillars: "Social Cohesion." and "Meritocracy Interchangeability"

The first consists of a program of propaganda, mass participation events like sports days and collective exercise routines, and the entrenching of "cultural behavior" a prescribed version of local culture heavily encoded and enforced by New Society agencies, both local and regional police and the powerful Social Order Division (SOD) the secret policy. It is for instance, illegal for ethnic Arabs to consume alcohol as this is seen breaking social codes. While many of these cultural rituals borrow extensively from religion, actual religious practice, theism and what is referred to as "superstitionism" is banned.

The second pillar, Meritocratic Interchangeability, rests on the universal enforcement of norms of assessment across all fields and cultures. While portrayed as creating equal access to employment in the civil service and military through a system of identical examinations across all areas of the New Society, in practice it biases participation in these institutions to those areas and classes of people, mostly high Solarian society, who are best able to pass the examinations.

Aliens, transhumans of non-approved classes and members of racial groups seen as inferior enjoy only limited civil rights, cannot access the examination system and are subject to summary justice by law enforcement agencies. While full citizens enjoy a greater degree, even for them, justice is stern and a defendant has few rights, with whole classes of offense (seditionist activity, glorification of harmful ideas, superstitionism, accessed to banned technology) are subject to punishment by special procedures which are usually even worse for the defendant. Forced confessions, torture and the use of blacksights and disappearance are all common practice.

Human and Alien Species

Other Factions

Major Locations

Earth

Vrindavan