LEGACY AND JUMPWEB OF THE PROGENITORS-a sci-fi universe by Newmarduk
The saga of humanitiy's history among interstellar and intergalactic space is a long one, extending over 2000 Earth years. It's not quiet, though. From the greedy world-grabbing of the early colonists to the Emperor Wars, humans have rarely remained quiet in the void. Aliens walk with them, having long histories and destinies of their own.
Humans know little of interstellar/intergalactic history before reaching space and using the jumpgates. The histories of the Nubo, Raku, and My'oro alien races , along with theories promoted by Second Commonwealth archaeologists and scattered bits od data from the mysterious Uav is basically what is known. These tales and evidence cobbled from planetary terraforming digs show that two, not one, factions or races of Progenitors, now extinct, who reached incredibly advanced technology or powers. Scholars believe that one race/faction of Progenitors built the jumpgates and was older than the other. The older race/faction of Progenitors is called Jumpmasters, Gatekeepers, Inceptors, or Architects. The younger race/faction of progenitors is labeled Successors or Marauders. The Gatekeepers/Inceptors/Jumpmasters protected mortals (younger races) while the Successors/Marauders harassed or oppressed the younger races. The notion of a mythical prehistorical war between the two Progenitor factions has physical evidence to support it. Different digs revealed ruins of ancient age with motiffs similar to those found on jumpgates. Planetary cataclyms and upheavals cannot explain the damage caused by high-tech armaments, perhaps fusion guns and bombs. The Nubo, Raku, and My'oro are not the only people to have been touched by the Precursors, whose mark is found virtually in all solar systems with a jumpgate allowing FTL space travel. While some Progenitor remains are little more than survey markers, others include small cities and whispers of their behavior in religions and mythologies of certain traditions. Even humans believe they were visited and influenced by the Progenitors, as indicated by ancient pagan and polytheistic religions. The Progenitors only real legacy is their technology: jumpgates, gargoyles, and philosopher stones. The jumpgates allowed humans, Nubo, Raku, My'oro, Uav,and other races to travel to other solar systems and galaxies faster than the speed of light.
By 2050 A.D., humans on the planet Earth had united under a one-world government. Decades of strife and war by militant and extremist factions left the popular masses desiring global peace. The First Commonwealth era, also tagged the Human Combine Age by Second Commonwealth historians, was created by national governments in tandem with mercantile and corporate leaders called Big Bosses. Helping to turn the old apparatus of the United Nations into a true planetary government. Legislative representatives, nominally appointees of national governments, gradually over time became mouthpieces and pawns of the corporate Big Bosses. Over time, more and more legislative representatives, executive officials, and judges were appointed directly by the Big Bosses, and First Commonwealth military and police forces were leased to private businesses owned by the Big Bosses. By the end of the 22nd Century A.D., the old nations and national legislative representation were abolished, and civil rights were increasingly restricted. However, the First Commonwealth led humanity to the stars. Visionaries within the Commonwealth government saw outer space as a new frontier to channel the desires of the populace and garner new resorces. The Big Bosses turned their eyes to Earth's local solar system. By 2115 A.D., colonies on Luna (Earth's moon), the planet Mars, and the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter had been established. By 2300 A.D., colonies had been established on the moons of the gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) and on the ice-and-rock planets and asteroids of the Kuiper Belt at the edge of the local solar system.
Past the orbit of the planet Pluto, a Progenitor Jumpgate was discovered. It was the first-ever sign of alien life and tech encountered by Homo sapiens. LOng powered down, the jumpgate showed no sign of activity. Finally, a group of scientists working jointly for the Commonwealth government and a private corporation triggered the power and activated the gate. The space inside the gate spiraled inward and showed sanother star with it's own planets. The realization that humans were not the only race to reach space was a humbling experience. But while many people felt awe, the Big Bosses saw opportunity and profit. In the year 2307, the invention of a jump engine allowing a spaceship to use the jumpgate was itself a monumental achievement. The first jump engine was attached to an unmanned robot probe, which passed through the jumpgate. Four months later, the probe returned to Earth's solar system, transmitting it's data about the new solar system, including an Earth-like planet. It wasn't long before the First Commonwealth had many volunteers lining up to be the first to see the new world. A crew was selected and trained. After the manned ship passed through the Progenitor jumpgate, and the crew witnessed the ecstatic experience known as the Jump Dream, and the beginning of a new cult. The new world was named Simpson's Boon. The exodus and conflicts began. Covert wars ignited among the Big Bosses as they fought for control of resources. The Commonwealth government found the cult of the Jump Dream to be troubling, as pilots and crew who "found God" by riding spaceships through jumpgates to be more difficult to control. Dampers were placed on spaceships creating a force field preventing the Jump Dream during jumps, and the Jump Dream cult was outlawed. Some cultists build their own ships without dampers, and for a while continued to receive the ecstacy from passing through jumpgates in damperless ships. Sometimes, though, the Commonwealth government and private corporations hunted down rogue ships involved in the Jump Dream cult. Progress and expasion pushed on. Further travel via the Progenitor jumpweb produced more routes and worlds. With people spreading far and fast, and the Big Bosses defending their own, the dissidents slipped into the night to claim interstellar and intergalactic space for themselves.
By 2600 A.D., the fall of the First Commonwealth was already underway. The first colonists were mainly workers for Big Boss-owned businesses, but dissidents wanted independence from the Earth-based First Commonwealth and Big Bosses. The Commonwealth had long evolved into an elitist, sometimes oppressive institution, deaf to the pleas of many common citizens. But once the jumpgates permitted access to the universe, the First Commonwealth graduaklly lost control of the citizenry. Balkanization and independence spread, as special interests and tight-knit gropus took off in jump-capable ships and the new worlds they settled on saw experiments in government and society. Sometimes, the new colonies degenerated into survivalist barbarism. The First Commonwealth ignored pleas for help, as it was fighting rogue coporations run by Big Bosses that tired of the First Commonwealth and wanted to wrrest control of Earth's solar system and even Earth itself from the Commonwealth regime. Often, the new colonies grew up around individual leaders and led to government by hereditary aristocrats, nobles, and royalty. These noble rulers led to the decline of the interplanetary economic power of the Big Bosses, starting small wars and seizing assets owned by Big-Boss-owned corporations.
THE PROPHET AND HIS CHURCH
The discovery of the strong evidence that alien races (the Progenitors) once lived changed everything humans had about their origins and destiny. The leaders of the tradition Earth-based religions were too backward to handle the new era of space travel. During the Diaspora, humans revived ancient polytheistic and pagan faiths, mostly based upon the Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Babylonian pantheons. But worshipping the likes of Ra, Horus, Set, Marduk, Zeus, Apollo, and others rang hollow among the stars. Something new was required, that would address both hope and grief, as did all the great faiths. Into this void came the Prophet. His name was John Zabasius, a priest of the United God Movement, a semi-official organized religion combining Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, and New Age beliefs sponsored by many Big Bosses and First Commonwealth officials. The United God Movement was trying to reconcile the reality of the Progenitors and their jumpgates with it's own faith in God and doctrine. Zabasius, on a frontier planet in the year 2789 saw the Holy Flame of the one true God, the Celestial Sun or the Pancreator. John Zabasius, as the Prophet of the Pancreator, performed various miracles, gathered various disciples, and whose teachings eventually became official doctrine of the United God Movement by 2835. Zabasius taught that the "good" Progenitors were angels serving the light of the divine Celestial Sun, while the "evil" Progenitors were demons (the "dark between the stars") who opposed the true God. The United God Movement, following the new Prophet's teachings, taught that the stars grow cold as demons cause humans and other sentients to sin. and block the Holy Light of the Pancreator. With the aid of Zabasius the Prophet and it's new faith in the Pancreator, the United God Movement gained multitudes of new followers. During the early 29th Century, the Jump Dream cult had revived, but this was denounced by the Prophet as sinful, akin to drug addiction. Devout followers of the United God Movement ensured that dampers were placed upon jump engines, and the Jump Dream cult radically declined. Zabasius died in a jumpgate accident (in 2899) while trying to plea for peace with the Uav, who were zealously guarding their section of space. His religion blamed the Uav for years, but it was later realized that the Prophet's final mission was for peace. The jumpgate cross, patterned after a Progenitor jumpgate, became the official symbol of the United God Movement. The longevity of the Celestial Sun's Prophet (he was 54 years old when he discovered the Pancreator in 2789) is a source of awe for the faithful of the United God Movement, who credit it as a miracle granted by the one true God. It is said the United God Movement aided by the Prophet first gained the ability to perform theurgy (religious magic), though the practice declined during the Second Commonwealth. Theurgy revived after the fall of the new Commonwealth, renewing faith in Pancreator, Prophet, and the United God Movement. The Official Gospels of the United God Movement were amended to accomodate the new faith promoted by Zabasius. Theologians argue there are two main parts of the Prophet's teachings: the original teachings warning about demons (evil Progenitors) and the later Compassionate Teachings about the mercy of the Pancreator and angels (good Progenitors). The United God Movement created the office of Successor of the Prophet shortly after the death of John Zabasius, elected by a council of religious leaders. The first Prophet's Successor was Ptolemy Alecto of the noble family of House Alecto. It was under Ptolemy Alecto that the United God Movement maintained a firm stand against the hostilities of the Uav and the Raku.
FIRST NON-PROGENITOR CONTACT: ROTNAHS
Amid the territorial struggles of the Diaspora and the revival of the United God Movement, during the early 29th Century, humans discovered their first non-Progenitor alien sentiwent race; the horse-like Rotnahs. The Rotnahs developed a degree of civilization despite their limited ability to utilize tools. THey also valued family ties, romantic relationships, fierce tribalism, and a warrior ethic. Living on the planet Sharpton, they worshipped Sharpton's sun as a living god. Sharpton was rich in minerals and metals, and interplanetary supremacy was as much economic as militaristic or diplomatic. Rotnahs could not communicate without computer voiceboxes, and as a result human colonists viewed the horse-like aliens as little more than intelligent animals, and even tried to "civilize" the Rotnahs by priovidind jobs, usually in the mines. Many horse-like aliens revolted, assaulting corporate, colonial, and otherwise human populations and property. The Rotnahs are dangerous and cunning when riled, and enough loss of life and property caused human armies to descend upon Sharpton to put the rebels down. Geurilla warfare was used by the alien rebels, but a human victory was never in question. Rotnahs were rounded up and often shipped/exiled offworld. This shame has haunted humanity for centuries. While the Prophet Zabasius and the United God Movement spoke out against the mistreatment of the Rotnahs, eventually gaining conversions among the horse-like aliens almost as much as among humans. Eventually, restitution was granted to surviving Rotnahs. And so the fate of many sentient alien races at the hands of humanity followed that of the horse-like race, despite the denouncement by the United God Movement, and regardless of their tenacity and degree of technology. Some aliens, like the humanoid Nubo, the humanoid, six-limbed Xov, and the monkey-like Konnag, peacefully coexist with humans, and many converted to the faith of the Pancreator and the United God Movement, especially the Nubo. In fact the gods of the old pagan Nubo faith were identified with the good Progenitors taught by the United God Movement to be angels serving the Pancreator.
THE UAV HEGEMONY
In the year 2890, during the height of the Diaspora and the rapid expansion of the United God Movement, humanity was delivered by the jumpweb to a small, lush, Earth-like planet they named Nova Monaco (real name Apsi). It was the home of a quiet insectoid race called the Hsen'g, who often spend a lot of their time creating plant and tree sculttures. They ignored the human colonists at first, but when some Hsen'g were forced from their lands, the aliens warned the humans of their own alien overlords. A massive Uav starship sped via the Progenitor jumpgate and used a great ball of plasma energy to destroy the fleet of human ships orbiting Nova Monaco/Apsi. Then smaller ships disattached from the larger Uav vessel and landed on the planet below. Out came Uav soldiers. The Uav troops systemically wiped out most of the humans, despite efforts of the noble lords and corporate officials to surrender, due to the weapons and ernergy shields being superior to the weapons and tech of the humans. The human survivors were taken prisoner, transported via Uav spaceship back in human space, and warned not to enter Hegemony space ever again. Of course, during this time, John Zabasius, the Pancreator's Prophet, died on his way to the Uav Hegemony on a peace mission. Moreover, humans did go further in Uav space via the jumpgates, finding more Hegemony worlds and superior Uav tech. Few returned to tell the tale, although a handful were permitted to survive and return. In the year 2901, a coalition of human powers-the United God Movement, corporations, and governments (often noble-run), under the leadership of Successor of the Prophet Ptolemy Alecto declared war on the Uav Hegemony. The humans used weapons and technology and spaceships enhanced by theurgy (religious magic) performed by priests of the United God Movement and often motivated by faith in the Celestial Sun, the true God, the humans and Uav fought the Uav Hegemony to a stalemate. In 2908, a noble diplomat, Benjamin Vestus of House Vespian, helped negotiate a treaty between the humans and the Hegemony. Vestus discovered that the Hsen'g were a conquered race, as the Uav dealt with alien races often differently from that of humans. He also noted that the Uav Hegemony was currently non-expansionist rather than imperialist. The Hsen'g had put up a valiant fight against the Hegemony when the Uav was still in their imperialist phase. During the surrender of his race, the Hsen'g general learned Uav culture well, demanding that the Uav mandarins give him "face" as he had sued for peace. For the Uav, honor and dignity are as important as life itself. The insectoids finally lived under a socialized retirement granted by the Hegemony, because the Hsen'g general understoof Uav culture. This insight was to allow humans well in dealing with the Uav in centuries to come. For now, though, the Hegemony was little interested in the "pollutant" known as humanity. Relations were distant and formal for a long time. Human merchants and corporations wanted trade with Hegemony space while the United God Movement wanted to convert Uav and other Hegemony citizens/races to faith in the Pancreator and teachings of the Prophet as taught in the Official Gospels, but the Uav did not want foreign ideas infecting their society and wanted to keep much of Hegemony tech away from the humans.
THE RAKU WAR
The Raku had struggled through centuries of internal conflict in the subterranean passages and territories on their home planet of Kordo before finally reaching the stars. They colonized three solar systems close to their homeworld, and were ready to expand further when they encountered humans on the planet Cleveland. It was hate at first sight. The Raku saw a race to conquer and enslave. Attacking with little warning, they took the capital of Cleveland. Human response was swift, as noble rulers on Sharpton and New Istanbul formed a space fleet and army of ground troops to retake Cleveland. The Raku War began in the year 2920. The war spread to dozens of other solar systems as Raku ships attacked human vessels in space and Raku troops invaded planets. The Nubo, discovered in the year 2849, shortly after the discovery of the Rotnahs, realized that the Raku were the hostile splinter race that had broke off from their own species during the ancient war between Progenitor factions. The Nubo, partially because they were rapidly converting to the United God Movement, joined with the humans against the Raku. Raku geurillas used psychic powers of the mind to cause a large number of Rotnahs to revolt on Sharpton to assault human towns and cities, but human retribution was decisive. Nearly 25 percent of the horse-like rebels were killed before they surrendered through a truce brokered by priests of the United God Movement. When Raku powers of the mind were discovered to be responsible for the Rotnahs revolt, The Prophet's Successor Ptolemy Alecto raised a coalition of the United God Movement, human noble houses and other human governments, and the Nubo against the Raku hordes. Psychic powers in humans very slowly grew in humans shortly after the discovery of the of the Progenitor jumpweb, during the time of the First Commonwealth, though the often suppression of the Jump Dream cult often slowed the development of human powers of the mind. Many Raku and Nubo were advanced psychics from birth. The Nubo developed a strong code of ethics regarding the use of such powers, but the Raku had fewer compunctions. The words of the Prophet Zabasius as found in the Official Gospels seemed eerily designed, with talk of demons (evil Progenitors, who seemed to be identified with the gods of the Raku religion) during the Raku War. The fact that Zabasius had a personal Nubo disciple also seemed appropriate, as the Nubo were human allies in this war. Using information gathered from Raku prisoners of war, Prophet's Successor Ptolemy sent a human fleet to the Raku homeworld Kordo in 2946. Spiraling out of the jumpgate, the human spaceships split up and started to assault any Raku ship found in the Kordo system. The Raku defenders panicked and formed a defensive phalanx around their home planet. On Kordo, old rivalries between Raku clans emerged as Raku dissidents rose up and overthrew the government of the ruling Raku Overlord. The new Raku regime surrendered to the human forces, hoping that humanity would forgive and forget the Raku War, but humans placed restrictions on Raku population both on Kordo and offworld. Raku offworld colony territories were sold to human noble and corporate interests, and Kordo itself was largely purchased by a human mercantile consortium.
The old human homeworld of Earth had been reunited by 2900 A.D. by a government ruled by the Party of Destiny, which governed through military forces descended from First Commonwealth military forces and private corporations descended from the Big Bosses of First Commonwealth times, as well as by the Authentic Church of God, a splinter sect from the United God Movement that rejected the teachings of the Prophet John Zabasius. The Party of Destiny was also staunchly pro-human and anti-alien, and started to wage a war of interstellar and intergalactic conquest in the latter half of the 30th Century. Since Ptolemy Alecto had died in 2948, the United God Movement elected the human noble Lance Hawkwood of House Lionheart as the Successor of the Prophet, and a war between the Party of Destiny and a coalition of the United God Movement, the Nubo, and House Lionheart ended up thwarting the forces of the Party of Destiny and by 2980 Earth itself was taken and renamed Holy Terra. Holy Terra itself was jointly governed by the United God Movement and a democratic Planetary Assembly elected by the common citizens of Earth. Thoufgh the United God Movement was the official faith of Holy Terra, freedom of religious belief was guaranteed in local law.
THE RISE OF INTERSTELLAR STATES
Human space was by 3100 A.D. united by seven main powers: the United God Movement, the private corporations united in the Mercantile Alliance, and the noble houses of the Lionhearts, the Alectos, the Mantis Lords, the al-Haz, and the United Rokugan Clans (divided into the Lion, Scorpion, Crab, Dragon, Phoenix, Crane, and Unicorn Clans). Worlds and territories ruled by the United God Movement were subject to quasi-theocratic rule, but there was also a measure of political democracy, religious freedom, and equal rights between humans and aliens. The Mercantile Alliance allowed religious freedom and equality between humans and aliens, but preferred ruled by a wealthy corporate oligarchy. The Lionhearts and Alectos favored the United God Movement but permitted religious freedom. The Lionheart and Alecto nobles preferred a benevolent despotism to democracy, though. The nobles of the Mantis Lords and the United Rokugan Clans were more anti-democratic than the Lionhearts and the Alectos. The Mantis Lords allowed religious fredom though the Rokugan Clans discouraged organized religion outside the United God Movement. The al-Haz were probably the most enlightened of the human noble houses, allowing common citizens of it's worlds and territories to elect local, planetary, and interplanetary assemblies to share government with local and planetary noble rulers as well as the ruling council of House al-Haz. The al-Haz also allowed religious freedom and were the most respectful of alien rights of all the five main human noble houses. The ethical teachings of the United God Movement and pressure by more than one Successor of the Prophet eventually compelled the Mercantile Alliance and the noble houses to all adopt political democracy for commoners and equal rights for alien races by 3350.
THE SECOND COMMONWEALTH
In the year 3400 A.D., the United God Movement, the Mercantile Alliance, House Lionheart, House Alecto, the Mantis Lords, House al-Haz, and the United Rokugan Clans united under the democratic government of the Second Commonwealth. The seven factions retained a degree of local autonomy, though certain legislative powers were vested in the United Commonwealth Council elected by the citizens of the Commonwealth and executive leadership vested in a First Citizen elected by the Commonwealth Council. Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and equal rights for aliens were enshrined, too. During the time of the Second Commonwealth, human technology expanded. Energy shields and energy weapons enhanced military capabilities. Artificial intelligence for robots and computers was developed. Nanotech, the use of specialized molecules for various purposes, and the creation of the Changed, human mutants developed via genetic engineering, also developed. The capital of the Commonwealth was the planet Mars in the Holy Terran system. Human factions that wanted to break away from the Commonwealth used jumpgates to discovere and colonize new planets. The new factions included the neo-Vikings, who imitated ancient Viking culture including paramilitary raids and the worship of old Scandinavian gods like Thor and Odin; the Jurgan Caliphate, governed by schismatic Successors of the Prophet leading a breakaway sect from the United God Movement rejecting A.I. for robots and computers and the creation of the Changed as well as political democracy and religious freedom; and the Unicorn Clan, which broke away from both the second Commonwealth and the United Rokugan Clans in order to create an independent state. Within the Commonwealth borders, a human-supremacist movement emerged advocating banning A.I. for robots and computers and creation of Changed as well as stripping equal righrts away from alien races. Some human supremacists wanted a a war with the Uav Hegemony and some extremist radicals actually committed acts of violence against aliens, Changed, and A.I. machines. Meanwhile, civil war in the territory of the United Rokugan Clans instigated by the Scrorpion Clan aided by the Mantis Lords and certain corporations in the Mercantile Alliance saw the nobles of the Scorpion Clan banished from Rokugan Clan space. One faction of the Scorpion Clan ended up as servants of the Mantis Lords while the second Scorpion Clan faction allied with their allies in the Mercantile Alliance. Border wars with the neo-Vikings and Jurgan Caliphate, violence by certain human supremacists, combined with a war with the Uav Hegemony started in 3899 all saw in the following year (3900) the amending of the Commonwealth Constitution in order to united human space under a new Intergalactic Empire, with Akodo Hantei of the Lion Clan of the United Rokugan Clans crownded as Emperor Hantei the First, with broad, sweeping powers, though certain powers were retained by the Commonwealth Council, now renamed the Imperial High Council. The Commonwealth Constitution, now called the Imperial Constitution, was in the next few years amended to restrict the equal rights of aliens, Changed, A.I. machines, and religions except for the United God Movement as well as to empower the Emperor to create new Imperial nobles with appointed seats in the Imperial High Council, diluting the democratic nature of that body by reducing the proportion of elected Council seats. Under the Commonwealth, aliens, Changed, and some A.I. machines had elected representation along with normal humans in the Council, but the amending of the Constitution restricted voting rights to normal humans, and the amendments further stipulated that only nobles, United God Movement priests, and Mercantile Alliance corporate executives could run as candidates for elected seats on the Imperial High Council. The Constitution was further amended to permit the Intergalactic Empire the authority to ban any religion outside the United God Movement. The United God Movement itself was raised to the status of the Empire's state religion.
THE HANTEI DYNASTY
The Intergalactic Empire's rule under the new Hantei Dynasty was guaranteed whenHanbtei the First married Salandra Slexius of the Mantis Lords in 3908 and gave birth to three children by 3920. Factions of Houses Lionheart, Alecto, and al-Haz and of the Mercantile Alliance tried to break away from the new Empire in order to create a more democratic Third Commonwealth. These nobles and corporations were unsuccessful, several individuals were executed for treason, and the property of the rebellious corporation confiscated and granted to five main corporations within the Mercantile Alliance, including the Charioteers Corporation, the Interstellar Hammers of Engineering, the Scravers Incorporated, the Muster United Businesses, and Reeves Banking. The Charioteers Corporation soon came to dominate interplanetary trading within the Intergalactic Empire. The Interstellar Hammers of Engineering would dominate electrical power, the manufacture of jump engines, computers, robots, nanotech, and certain other technologies. Scravers Incorporated would dominate the manufacture of alcohol, tobacco products and drugs both legal and illegal; prostitution, gambling, and providing legal advice. The Muster United Businesses became known for it's hiring out of mercenary soldiers to various employers as well as skilled labor to the same employers. Reeves Banking dominated banking in the Intergalactic Empire, and expanded into providing teachers and scholars for universities and other institutions of higher learning. Meanwhile, the Hantei Emperors, as well as being rulers of the Empire, were also personal leaders of the Lion Clan and the United Rokugan Clans as a whole, and often ended up as ecclesiatic leaders of the United God Movement as Prophet's Successors. Emperor Hantei the First signed a treaty with the Uav Hegemony in 3915 and reinstated the Scorpion Clan as part of the United Rokugan Clans in 3921. Hantei the First died in 3929, and his oldest child, Jonathan Haitei was crowned Hantei the Second, and was within four years elected as Successor of the Prophet, since Hantei the Second was an ordained priest of the United God Movement. Thus began the tradition that the Hantei Dynasty ruled with the mandate of the Pancreator, and writings in the Official Gospels were interpreted in order to justify this supposed mandate. The Prophet's Successor was not always a Hantei Emperor, but most of the time it was. Most of the Imperial nobles appointed with seats in the Imperial High Council were ordained priests of the United God Movement, but some were nobles of the United Rokugan Clans, the Mantis Lords, and Houses Lionheart, Alecto, and al-Haz. A few Imperial nobles with Council seats were corporate executives from the Mercantile Alliance. Holy Terra remained the seat of the United God Movement, while Mars remained the seat of government.
STATUS OF THE UNITED GOD MOVEMENT
Children of the ruling Hantei Emperor, often with devout faith in the Celestial Sun, Prophet Zabasius, and Official Gospels, with few exceptions became ordained clergy of the United God Movement, beginning with the children of Hantei the Second. As it has been already mentioned, the Successor of the Prophet was mostly the ruling Emperor himself. The United God Movement itself was divided into sects and orders. Most ordained members of the faith belonged to the Orthodox Priesthood, which was divided into ranks from lowest to highest: novitiate, guru, mullah, deacon, bishop, and holy mandarin. There were also holy orders within the United God Movement outside the Orthodox Priesthood. There was the Eternal Sanctuary, a combination of healing order and priesthood that both promoted the teachings of the Prophet Zabasius and promoted medical care. The Eternal Sanctuary originally was founded by a personal disciple and friend of John Zabasius, Amalthea Condrey, as an independent sect, but by the time of the Second Commonwealth had been integrated into the United God Movement. There were also monastic orders of Hesychasts, Friars, and Nuns, who lived in monasteries, with Hesychasts being open to both sexes, Friars being an all-male order, and Nuns being female-only. Finally, there was the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Battle, a paramilitary order of warrior monks who defended the United God Movement, sometimes with armed might. The ruling body of the United God Movement was the Supreme Religious Council, headed by the Prophet's Successor, and including the holy mandarins of the Orthodox Priesthood and the heads of the Eternal Sanctuary, the orders of Hesychasts, Friars, and Nuns; and the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Battle. There were also unofficial sects within the United God Movement, that often venerated as saints the like of Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, Muhammed, and Buddah as well as alien religious thinkers (especially Nubo) alongside the Prophet Zabasius, who remained as the preeminent saint even within these sects. Some sects used Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and Taoist scriptures and even the pre-Zabasius version of the United God Movement's Official Gospels alongside the offifial version of the Official Gospels. Some sects preached a reincarnation of immortal souls into new bodies, refelecting Buddhist and New Age beliefs that were common in the original United God Movement back in the time of the First Commonwealth. A few sects preached a need to balance ying and yang, reflecting Taoist teachings. Generally, the variant sects within the United God Movement were far more common among the Eternal Sanctuary and among the monks of the Hesychast, Friar, and Nun orders than among the Orthodox Priesthood and the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Battle. There were also two unofficial sects that were more concerned to politics than theology: the Separatists and the Inquisition. The Separatists wanted more separation of church and state, especially objecting to the Hantei Emperors serving as Successors of the Prophet. The Inquisition advocated the use of violence againbst perceived enemies of the faith, and were especially common among the Orthodox Priesthood and the warrior monks of the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Battle. The Inquisition used threats and even violence against organized religions outside the United God Movement, and even versus the aforementioned variant, heterodox sects within the United God Movement. A decree by Emperor and Prophet's Successor Hantei the Sixth in 4056 outlawing both the Separatists and the Inquisition was promulgated and ratified by the Imperial High Council and the Supreme Religious Council, but both the Separatists and the Inquisition survived. Even though the Intergalactic Empire preached the racial superiority of normal humans over Changed humans and alien races, many leaders of the United God Movement defended the rights of all sentients, and many Changed and aliens were laity and even clergy and monks of the faith. A.I. robots and computers were allowed to join the United God Movement as lay members, but not as ordained members.
JUMPWEB OUTSIDE THE INTERGALACTIC EMPIRE
Relations between the Intergalactic Empire and the Uav Hegemony were distant but cordial, with a number of border planets placed under joint control of Empire and Hegemony, thanks to a treaty conducted by Blaise Mandelo, minister of foreign affairs under Hantei the 14th in the year 4617 (the year the pact was concluded). Border wars with the neo-Vikings and the Jurgan Caliphate were frequent. Meanwehile, two new states emerged during this time: the Republic of Free Space, a loose federation of worlds and solar systems founded by A.I. robots and computers, Changed, aliens (especially Raku), and followers of religions outside the United God Movement based upon equal rights for all sentients, political democracy, and true religious freedom and equality. The Republic of Free Space was founded in 4717 by various colonies of exiles from the Intergalactic Empire and their descendants. The other was the Cybertoid Alliance (itself a breakaway faction from the Republic of Free Space), which controlled few solar systems but was dominated by intelligent computers and robots, and was hostile to organic sentients, viewing such "meat" beings as racially inferior. The earliest knowledge the Intergalactic Empire had of the Cybertoid Alliance was in 4788.
STATUS OF THE UNICORN CLAN
In 4861, the Unicorn Clan, after centuries of political independence and following their own breakaway outshoot of the United God Movement, were able to successfully petition Hantei the 21st and the Imperial High Council to place their own terriotory under the rule of the Intergalactic Empire, thereby granting Unicorn Clan nobles and commoners living under the Unicorn Clan status as Empire citizens. The Unicorn Clan subsequently rejoined the United Rokugan Clans as an official Clan, and the priests of their religion largely were able to integrated into the official United God Movement.
STATUS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The United God Movement, the Mercantile Alliance, and the noble houses retained a degree of local government under the Imperial Constitution. All these factions retained the right to maintain their own local laws and military and police forces, though local law ciould not contradict Imperial law, local police were libel to be drafted for service under the Imperial Ministry of Justice, and local military forces libel for service under commanders of the Imperial Armed and Defense Forces. Noble rulers of House al-Haz generally retained equal rights for normal humans, Changed, alien races, and even some A.I. machines, and allowed commoners to elect assemblies to share power with hereditary lords. Some noble rulers of Houses Lionheart and Alecto and the United Rokugan Clans (especially the Unicorn Clan) also promoted equal rights for sentients and even a degree of elective democracy, but many nobles rejected local democracy and sometimes even equal rights for Changed aliens, and A.I. machines. Worlds and territories under the direct rule of the United God Movement were locally governed jointly by religious leaders and elected assemblies, and normal humans, Changed, alien races, and even A.I. machines often had equal local rights in territory under the direct rule of the United God Movement. The Mercantile Alliance retained local elections and equal rights for normal humans, Changed, aliens, and even A.I. robots and computers, but wealthy citizens (i.e. corporate executives) received far more votes in local election than did ordinary people. Alien races received a degree of local self-government on their racial homeworlds (i.e. Raku on Kordo, Nubo on the planet Similvi, Xov on the world Unxov, etc.).
RELIGIONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED GOD MOVEMENT
The Intergalactic Empire retained various religions outside the official United God Movement. Aliens, though many of them worshipped the Pancreator and followed the teachings of the Prophet John Zabasius as part of the United God Movement, sometimes followed the gods and beliefs of their traditional racial faiths. Some religions, followed especially by humans, were splinter, independent offshoots of the United God Movement itself, often formed over disagreements with the official United God Movement over some official point of doctrine or the control of the office of Successor of the Prophet in the hands of the Hantei rulers. There were also cults that worshipped the Progenirors as real gods, followed by some humans and patterned after Raku and Nubo traditional racial beliefs. Then there were the sects of Incarnates, which preached that ordinary people could become gods themselves. Within the Intergalactic Empire a few sects were banned by decree of the Hantei Emperor and ratified by the Imperial High Council for being politically subversive (a charge aimed mainly at certain splinter sects from the United God Movement) or, in the case of certain sects of Progenitor worshippers, promoting the worship of evil, dark powers opposed to the true God. In the Jurgan Caliphate, only the official offshoot of the United God Movement could be practiced, and the government of the Caliphs drove all other faiths underground. In the Uav Hegemony, the worship of the Uav gods, the worship of traditional deities of non-Uav races, and even an independent sect that was an offshoot of the United God Movement with the promotion of Pancreator worship, faith in the Prophet, and the reading of the Official Gospels all competed for believers. The A.I. machines of the Cybertoid Alliance generally had no real religion other than the belief in the superiority of machines over organic "meat". In neo-Viking space, the majority religion is the worship of the ancient pagan Norse gods, though other beliefs also exist on neo-Viking planets. In the Republic of Free Space, the full spectrum of human and alien beliefs, various sects following Pancreator worship and the teachings of the Prophet Zabasius(including the official religions of the Intergalctic Empire and the Jurgan Caliphate), alien racial faiths, ancient human religions, Progenitor worship, and Incarnates exist.