Fading Worlds And Civilization is a science-fiction universe by Newmarduk.
In the First Era, the human nations on ancient Earth united under a planetary, one-world government known to later historians as the First Commonwealth. This takes place in an alternate timeline with the First Commonwealth organized in 1995 A.D. under the intiative of the United Nations and large, private, international corporations known to later historians as the Big Bosses or Zabaitsu. Also key to this initiative was the election in 1992 A.D. of Gregorius Stone as President of the United States of America as the nominee of the One World Party, defeating incumbent Republican George Bush Sr., Democrat Bill Clinton, and independent Ross Perot.
The capital of the First Commonwealth in 2000 A.D. was placed in Dar Es Selaam, Tanzania. The government of the Commonwealth was placed in the hands of a General Assembly composed of national representatives sometimes elected by popular vote but mostly appointed by national governments, a Supreme Executive Council elected by the Assembly, a Global Armed Force commanded by the Supreme Executive Council, and a judicial system with courts appointed by the General Assembly. Since most Assembly members were appointed by their respective countrys' governments, the governments were bribed by the Big Bosses/Zabaitsu to appoint pro-corporate Assembly members, and very soon the First Commonwealth came under the control-directly or indirectly-of megacorporations.
The invention of artificial intelligence (A.I.) for computers and robots in 2016 A.D., the development of gravity-control technology in 2017 A.D., and advances in genetic engineering and cloning of physically- and mentally-advanced humans and chimeras (animal-human hybrids, including human-chimpanzee-gorilla Primatoids, human-bird Avoids, and human-dolphin-porpoise Cetans) caused controversies over whether A.I. machines and cloned superhumans and chimeras had the same rights and privileges as nautrally-born humans and whether the population should expand into space or concentrate mainly on the affairs on Earth. The so-called Kyoto Compromise of 2022 A.D. granted cloned humans and chimeras the status of human children for the first year after their creation, with their creators as the official "parents", with the clones granted status as adults one year after their creation provided they passed a test proving they had an adequate level of education. Robots and computers were restricted by the Kyoto Compromise in their ability to possess true intelligence by stipulating that only machines used in research in scientific and academic institutions were entitled to A.I. Any robot or computer created with or programmed with A.I. before this date were permitted to retain their status as intelligent machines.
By 2032 A.D., A.I. personalities had mainly become independent programs, so therefore they could be downloaded between different machines, or even between a stationary computer and a mobile robot body.
See technology in FW&C for more details on tech.
In 2036 A.D., the Commonwealth regime amended the Kyoto Compromise granting A.I. personalities full status as citizens like that enjoyed by humans (both nautral-born and cloned) and chimeras provided they were independent programs able to transfer between machines.
In 2025 A.D., the government of the First Commonwealth organized the foundation of two corporations, the Astrotech Cartel, wholely owned by the Commonwealth government; and the Open Space Company, jointly owned by a consortium of private business interests and governments of individual nations; to promote the manufacture and use of spaceships (including gravity-control tech, which both propelled the craft and provided them with onboard artificial gravity) and the exploration and colonization of space.
By 2100 A.D., there were offworld colonies on Luna (Earth's moon), the planet Mars, the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the moons of the gas giant planets, and even on the ice-and-rock asteroids (some of which fall into orbits closer to the Earth's Sun, becoming comets) and Pluto-style dwarf planets of the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.
Toward the end of the 21st Century A.D., there arose a racist movement declaring clones (both human and chimeras) inferior to natural-born humans and robots and computers with A.I. personalities as abominations.
This movement gained the support of reactionary religious leaders and some Commonwealth politicians and a few Zabairsu/Big Boss executives.
In 2203 A.D., they succeeded in repealing the Kyoto Compromise with the Law of Human Purity, which reduced the status of human clones to second-class citizens, reduced cloned chimeras to the status of mere property, and decreed the destruction of A.I. personalities.
Meanwhile, the planet Earth had to face a growing religious movement caused by the so-called Prophet Zarkon, who proclaimed the equality of nautrally-born humans, clones, and A.I. machine personalities; and spoke out against the Zabaitsus' control of the Commonwealth government, saying that the big business interests should be controlled by the government, not the government being the puppet of the megacorporate interests. He claimed to be promoting the will of God, whom he called the Supreme Being.
In 2114 A.D., the Prophet Zarkon was kidnapped and murdered by soldiers of the Global Armed Force. This in turn caused an armed uprising by North American and African ultranationalists wanting political independence but also by followers of the Prophet Zarkon advocating racial equality and control of corporations.
For the next several decades, several corporations including the Astrotech Cartel, Open Space Company, and a number of Big Bosses (Zabaitsu) moved private assets and labor forces off Earth.
By 2175 A.D., the First Commonwealth regime was no more, though remnants of the Global Armed Force controlled the Americas and parts of Africa and Europe under the banner of the New Regime, and the rest if Earth was under the theocratic rule of followers of the Prophet Zarkon, now organized as the Universal Magisterium of God the Supreme Being. Both new governments placed private business enterprises under strict regulation, and never let the corporations (including the surviving Zabaitsu remnants) to dominate them.
The precepts of the Kyoto Compromise were completely restored on the part of Earth directly controlled by the Universal Magisterium, while under the New Regime human clones were restored to full citizenship, chimeras were granted greater rights, and the ban on A.I. for robots and computers was lifted.
The Universal Magisterium sent missionaries to the area under New Regime control and off Earth to convert others to the teachings of the Prophet Zarkon. In 2188 A.D., the part of the planet Earth under it's direct control was officially labeled the Region of Holy Terra. Holy Terran citizens, be they naturally-born humans, human clones animal-human hybrid clones, (chimeras), or artificially intelligent programs (A.I. programs occupying stationary computer systems or robot bodies) were granted full citizenship and equal rights. Though the teachings of the Prophet Zarkon and faith in God the Supreme Being as interpreted by the Universal Magisterium were the official religion of the Region og Holy Terra, Holy Terran citizens actually were granted freedom of religious belief.
By the start of the 23rd Century, the Universal Magisterium places the secular government of the Region of Holy Terra under the control of a Civic Assembly (elected by all Holy Terran citizens regardless of religious belief) while it's ruling Holy Synod controls purely ecclesiastic/Magisterium affairs, but the Magisterium's Holy Synod retains a absolute veto over any bill or legislation passed by the Civic Assembly.
The part of Earth under New Regime control also gains more political democracy, with government under the joint control of a military-dominated Security Council and an elected Civilian Parliament, though only natural-born humans have full voting rights, with natural-borns having ten votes each, human clones with one vote each, and chimeras possessing half a vote each, and A.I. robots and computers with no voting rights at all.
The off-Earth population had expanded into tens of millions of people (human, chimera, and A.I. alike) during the 22nd Century, and most off-Earth colonies accepted cloning of humans and chimeras and/or A.I. for robots and computers, though humans enjoyed superior status legally and socially. Sometimes, even with humanity, natural-born humans are considered superior to cloned humans.
During the Second Era, the Astrotech Cartel and Open Space Company retain their joint monopoly on the manufacture of spaceships and gravity-control tech, though both corporations attempt to retain political neutrality in order to compete for customers both on and off Earth.
The off-Earth colonies in the local solar system organize into three governing bodies: the democratic Copernicus Alliance (organized 2234 A.D.), including the colonies on Luna and Mars plus some colonies in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter; the Free Worlds League (organized 2415 A.D.), a loose coalition of colonies centered in the ice-and-rock asteroids and dwarf planets of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud; and the Mercantile Union (organized 2301 A.D.), composed of private business elements descended from the First Commonwealth's Zabaitsu/Big Bosses centered on the moons of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune but with a presence in the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt, Kuiper Belt, and Oort Cloud.
The Copernicus Alliance, the Astrotech Cartel, the Open Space Company, and the Mercantile Union, influenced by the Universal Magisterium of God the Supreme Being, by the 27th Century grant human and chimera clones and A.I. machine programs/personalies the same rights as natural-born humans, but in the Free Worlds League, the question of racial equality is left in the League's member states and their local governments.
The 29th Century saw the development of time-dilation drives for the largest spaceships, which allowed the vessels to travel interstellar distances in mere days while Earth years passed in the surrounding universe. The large vessels were subsequently constructed with hangars capable of carrying smaller spaceships incapable of being equipped with time-dilation tech of their own.
Since time-dilation drives were a derivation of gravity-control tech, both the Astrotech Cartel and the Open Space Company were able to manufacture such interstellar vessels. The Astrotech Cartel build the first serious interstellar vessel in 2867 A.D., though the Open Space Company followed with it's first time-dilation-drive spaceship in 2880 A.D.
Soon after the turn of the 30th Century, in 2903 A.D., a consortium of industrialists and scientists with the Mercantile Union developed the technology allowing the creation of jumpgates, which would allow the instant teleportation of spaceships, permitting a form of faster-than-light interstellar flight. In an agreement with the Astrotech Cartel and the Open Space Company in 2915 A.D., the Mercantile Union gained it's own independent ability to manufacture spaceships in return for granting the Astrotech Cartel and the Open Space Company the secrets for manufacturing jumpgates.
The Earth-based New Regime, the Universal Magisterium, the Astrotech Cartel, the Mercantile Union, the Open Space Company, the Copernicus Alliance, and both the central government and several member states of the Free Worlds League utilized time-dilation-equipped spaceships-now commonly called starships-to explore and colonize the surrounding galaxy, and the Astrotech Cartel, Open Space Company, and Mercantile Union established their own networks of jumpgates. The Mercantile Union reserved it's jumpgates for it's member businesses' own use, but the Astrotech Cartel had a contract with the New Regime and the Open Space Company with the Free Worlds League to use their respectice systems of jumpgates. The Universal Magisterium had contracts with both the Astrotech Cartel and the Open Space Company to use both corporations' jumpgates.
The Astrotech Cartel and the Open Space Company merged in 2977 A.D. to form a unified Astrotech Cartel, though attempts to include the businesses of the Mercantile Union in the merger failed. The New Regime, the Copernicus Alliance, the Free Worlds League (including most of it's member states), and the three ruling bodies' interstellar colonies (at least most of them) in 2999 A.D. united under a semi-democratic represemtative regime called the Second Commonwealth, patterned to a large degree after the long-extinct, Earth-based, now-semi-mythical First Commonwealth. The Universal Megisterium and the Astrotech Cartel remained politically independent of the new Commonwealth and retained a large share of interstellar colonies, though both entities retained working relationships with the Commonwealth regime. The Second Commonwealth had a sometimes political rivalry with the Mercantile Union and the Astrotech Cartel had a business rivalry with the Mercantile Union, and occasionally these rivalries would devolve into short shooting wars, though the Universal Magisterium (which had a good working relationship with the Mercantile Union) would help to end such armed conflicts.
By 3150 A.D., the Second Commonwealth, the Astrotech Cartel, the Mercantile Union, and the Universal Magisterium had used time-dilation-drive-equiped starships to reach up to 1500 light years from Earth's solar system, and established permanent colonies and instant-F.T.L.-teleporting jumpgates as far out as the 1500-light-year limit.
It should be noted that there were a handful of former member states and colonies of the one-time Free Worlds League that became totally independent after the League merged into the Second Commonwealth, though they maintained freiendly relations with the Commonwealth, Astrotech Cartel, Mercantile Union and/or the Universal Magisterium.
The expansion and colonization of known space with starships and jumpgates continued, now with the discovery of sentient alien lifeforms. A mining corporation affiliated with the Mercantile Union searching for natural resources discovered the horse-like Cantor on a moon of a gas giant planet, and soon Cantor were employed by the Mercantile union and it's member companies as laborers and as soldiers.
Other alien races discovered during the Fourth Era included the Ulyss, a race of green-skinned humanoids; the Yunar, a race of blue-skinned humanoids; the Ganno, a race of monkey-like aliens with human-level intelligence; the Corbites, a race of six-limbed, humanoid insects; and several others. Cloning techniques were adapted to allow the cloning of alien races, but the alien D.N.A. was all too often to radically different to allow the cloning of new hybrid species combining alien genes with the D.N.A. of humans and Earth animals.
The Universal Magisterium of God the Supreme Being was divided over the inclusion of aliens into it's faith and organization, so when the Magisterium's Holy Synod officially declared that God the Supreme Being and the Prophet Zarkon would accept aliens as well as humans (both cloned and natural-born) cloned chimeras (Avoids, Primatoids, and Cetans) and A.I. robots and computers, a number of dissident Magisterium sects broke away to form the schismatic Authentic Church of the Prophet Zarkon. The Universal Magisterium, however, still retained more followers than the Authentic Church.
The year is now 3700 A.D. and the question of aliens divides the Second Commonwealth and the Mercantile Union. A number of worlds break away from the Commonwealth and several companies break away from the Mercantile Union, and these elements together unify as the Union of True People, which is hostile to alien races and promotes the Authentic Church as an official religion. The Union of True People, due to the private business interests that defected from the Mercantile Union, obtained it's own ability to manufacture and use time-dilation-drive starships and instant-FTL-teleportation jumpgates. Thus ends the Fourth Era and the dawn of a new Fifth Era. By this time, the sphere of known, explored space had extended to as far as 50,000 light years from Earth.
During the next couple of centuries (going well past 4000 A.D.), a series of military conflicts known as the Galactic Shooting Wars occurs between the Second Commonwealth, Astrotech Cartel, Mercantile Union, alien races, and sometimes Universal Magisterium on one side and the Union of True People and sometimes Authentic Church on the other.
Complicating factors further is the growing dissident factions within the Commonwealth, Astrotech Cartel, Mercantile Union, and Union of True People among a large number of A.I. robots and computers due to the notion that intelligent machines are superior to organic life. The so-called Cyber-Rebels rose up during the time of the Galactic Shooting Wars as a genuine wild card, and these rebellious machines ended up forming an independent, interstellar Cyber-Nation by 4306 A.D.
Now the Galactic Shooting Wars became a three-way conflict: Second Commonwealth/Universal Magisterium/Mercantile Union/Astrotech Cartel/alien races vs. Cyber-Nation vs. Union of True People/Authentic Church.