Athralivi Lyrivaltiya (Athralian)
"The Light of Athralia Shines Ever Onward"
"The Song of Freedom"
Capital and largest city: Athra
Official and national language: Athralian
Government: Confederal Non-Partisan Constitutional
• Lady Protector: Liliya Vakara
Legislature: The Confederal Senate
Founded: 5th August, 980 CE
Total population: ~6.42 trillion
Currency: Athrlian Credit (Cr.)
The Athralian Confederation (Athralian: Athralivi Lyrivaltiya, IPA: [æθrɑːliːviː lɪriːvæltiːjə]), commonly referred to as Athralia (Athralian: Athraliya, IPA: [æθrɑːliːjə]), is an interstellar confederation in the Milky Way galaxy. It is bordered only by two other nations; the United Nations of Earth, and the Empire of the Outsiders. Athralia covers a significant portion of the Milky Way galaxy, around 40%, and has has an estimated population of 6.42 trillion. The Confederation consists of 214 member states, one for each inhabited solar system. The number of solar systems under Athralian control is actually astronomically higher than this, however, as the vast majority of Athralian territory is largely uninhabited and is used for purposes other than settlement, such as industry, science, and even tourism. These territories do not qualify for incorporation into any states, and so are subject only to confederal law.
Athralia is a unique confederal non-partisan constitutional republic whose member states practice a form of semi-direct democracy. The head of state and the confederal government is the Lady Protector of the Athralian Confederation, currently Liliya Vakara, whose power is limited by the Athralian Constitution. The capital and largest city of the Confederation is Athra, which also serves as the capital for the State of Ystivakyrva. Significant power is devolved to the states of the Confederation and to local governments, however all are still bound by the Constitution.
The name Athralia is the anglicised form of Athraliya, the native spelling of the nation when using the classical Latin alphabet. Athraliya itself is a combination of the words Athra, the birthplace of the Athralian species and now the Confederation's capital, and liya, which can be roughly translated into English as greater As such, a direct translation of Athraliya would be Greater Athra. A common misconception, particularly amongst the newly encountered humans, is that the Confederation is named after the planet Athralia, now known as Athralia Prime. Officially, however, the nation gets its name from the Athralian species rather than its capital and homeworld. The official title of the nation in the Athralian language, Athralivi Lyrivaltiya, can be directly translated as the Confederation of the Athralians/the Athralian people.
The standard way to refer to a citizen of the Athralian Confederation is as an Athralian, with the plural form being Athralians.
Athralian recorded history started on the planet of the same name (now officially Athralia Prime) roughly 7000 years ago with the founding of the City of Athra, 6000 years before the formation of the Athralian Confederation itself. For the majority of Athralian history before the Confederation's inception, the entirety of Athralian civilisation was confined solely to the paradisaical Athran Archipelago, a massive and resource-rich island chain largely isolated from the planet's other land masses. The archipelago's inhabitants developed a very matriarchal culture, and as a result of the highly competitive nature of the Athralians, the islands fractured into a number of queendoms each vying for control and supremacy. Civilisation centred around the archipelago's namesake, and largest island by a significant degree, Athra. The Queendom of Athra was dominant throughout much of history, and was the driving force behind the eventual unification of the archipelago. 2000 years ago, Athra diplomatically annexed the surrounding islands into a new federal empire under the leadership of Empress Ylvyra the Great. It was only after this event that the exploration and settlement of the rest of Athralia Prime would finally take place. Within 200 years, the Empire of Athra had colonised the entirety of the planet, however a civil war would soon break out following Empress Vylara II's attempts to centralise her government and expand its powers. The ensuing war was global, and whilst it was initially started to depose 'Vylara the Oppressor', it soon evolved into a war between Vylara's Loyalists and Athran Republicans. It became known as the Liberation War.
The entirety of the Athran archipelago fell under the control of the Loyalists, save for the northern island of Ilythra, which served as the provisional capital of the Republicans. The colonies across the planet mostly rebelled and joined the Republicans, providing the bulk of the Republican soldiers, however a few colonies remained loyal to the Empress. As the War went on, the policies of the Empress grew more and more extreme, eventually becoming similar in ideology to the fascists and totalitarians of Earth, and many atrocities were committed by the Loyalists. Death camps were established to execute undesirables and those who rebelled, and these were especially prominent in the colonial lands occupied by the Loyalists. Naturally, this inspired even more uprisings against the Empress, however they could do little against the professional and well-equipped Loyalist forces. This became the trend throughout the earlier years of the Liberation War, with ill-equipped Republican soldiers not being able to hold against Loyalist forces despite having a numerical advantage. Going against the trend, Ilythra never fell to the Loyalists despite experiencing intense bombing and some of the fiercest combat of the War. This is were Ilythra's nickname, Freedom's Bulwark, originates. Four years into the war, the tides had turned in favour of the colonies, with Republican forces finally gaining ground and forcing the Loyalists back to the sea following the decisive Battle of Orylantha. It is widely agreed by Athralian historians that this battle marked the beginning of the end for the Loyalists. Within a year, the entirety of the land outside of the archipelago had been liberated, allowing the Republicans to focus their efforts on lifting the four and a half year siege of Ilythra. Realising that they were losing their grip on power, the Empress ordered one massive, final assault on the island with everything they had left, hoping to seize it before Republican reinforcements could arrive. The initial assault was alarmingly successful, with Loyalist forces finally gaining a foothold on the island and beginning to push into the city of Ilythra itself. Intense street fighting ensued, with many of Ilythra's citizens joining the Republican soldiers in attempting to repel the invaders. It was not long before the Loyalists reached and immediately besieged the Palace of Ilythra, which was being used as the island's military headquarters, effectively splitting the occupation of the city in equal halves. A stalemate followed for days, until Republican reinforcements from overseas arrived just moments before the fall of the Palace in what would become known as the Miracle of Ilythra. This miracle instantly became legend, with countless works of Athralian art and literature dedicated to its retelling, including a number of Athralia's most famous films. From this point on, overall victory for the Republicans was inevitable, and Loyalist forces faced mass desertion and mutiny. The occupation of the archipelago came soon after. Republican soldiers were greeted as heroic freedom fighters by the grateful citizens of Athra as they marched through the Empire's capital towards the Imperial Palace. Empress Vylara, however, committed suicide in her chambers before she could be apprehended, and so the peace treaty was instead signed by her most senior ministresses. An estimated 130 million Athralians lost their lives during the Liberation War.
Following Republican victory in the Liberation War, a provisional government was installed to oversee the period of reconstruction and repair, and to try a number of former Loyalists for war crimes (most of whom were ultimately executed). Over the following year, a new form of government was slowly implemented and the Athran Constitution was introduced. This new government was a global federation of states known as the Athran Republic, with its first president being Varyla Saris, who was already known as a war hero for her role in the liberation of Ilythra. Whilst this ushered in a new golden age and set the foundations for what would eventually become the Athralian Confederation, this new state was still a far cry from contemporary Athralia. In comparison, the Athran Republic was much more socially conservative, especially with regards to attitudes towards the male of their species. Whilst the women of this new republic enjoyed freedoms similar to that of Athralians today, their intense individualism and love of liberty was seen as a uniquely feminine aspect (and this continues to this day, to an extent), and so men continued to face discrimination. Despite the fact that Athralian men where given greater freedoms than they had previously experienced, they were still not recognised as equals and were still expected to be totally submissive to Athralian women. For example, the Athran government continued to support the traditional Athralian family structure of two or more romantically involved females (homosexuality and often even polyamory amongst Athralian females has always been the norm) with a single submissive male meticulously selected solely for reproductive purposes. The next 500 years would pass with relatively little societal change as the Athran Republic expanded into its solar system, Ystivakyrva, colonising Athralia's three moons and all of Ystivakyrva's terrestrial planets. As these new colonies underwent the terraforming process, however, disaster struck the Athralian species. Over a period of 20 years, Athralian males began to develop a genetic disease that led to respiratory and autoimmune issues, and ultimately to an early death, whilst miscarriages of male foetuses increased at an alarming rate. Those few that survived birth were born sickly, and even then they almost never survived infancy. A state of emergency was soon declared and all available resources were focused on finding a cure, lest the species face extinction. All colonies, bar the three lunar colonies, were abandoned and called back to the homeworld to deal with this emergency. As Athralian men continued to die off, the disease was proving to be incurable despite all efforts, and was officially declared to be incurable soon after. Luckily for the Athralian females, however, they had discovered a way to reproduce without the need for a male through a form of in-vitro gametogenisis (IVG). This technology, which had actually been around for hundreds of years prior to this point, allowed two (or more) Athralian females to have a child that was genetically their own by creating a sperm cell analogue from pluripotent stem cells derived from adult body tissues, such as skin cells. The partner providing the egg became known as the birth mother, whereas the partner providing the sperm analogue became known as the bond mother. Such methods could only produce female offspring, however, and the males of the Athralian species were condemned to extinction in favour of this new method of reproduction. The last Athralian male died during the 20th year of the Extinction Crisis.
Naturally, the extinction of the Athralian males and the new reliance on technology to reproduce caused a radical shift in Athralian society. The government of the Athran Republic used the emergency to expand its powers and abandoned its previously laissez-faire policies to heavily regulate this new reproductive market and restrict reproductive freedoms. Taxes skyrocketed to pay for these IVG services and to ensure that they were 'free' and easy to access for all. Police powers were also greatly expanded to counter the riots and chaos that erupted as the male of species died off and in response to these extremely unpopular policies. In general, this period saw the Athran Republic grow increasingly more authoritarian, with the people growing increasingly aggravated and rebellious. Corruption and crony capitalism was also rife as a result of government collusion with the reproductive industry. Cheaper reproductive methods were discovered as technology advanced, but excessive government regulation kept competition at bay, and ultimately out of the hands of the consumer. During this period, the colonies that had been abandoned during the extinction crisis were slowly but surely recovered, and all terrestrial planets and suitable moons of the solar system had been terraformed to make them suitable for Athralian life. Nevertheless, the authoritarian government of the Athran Republic continued for just over 200 years, until the growing libertarian sentiments amongst the people led to the deposition of the government of the Athran Republic in what would become known as the Quiet Revolution. On the 5th August, 980 AD (Gregorian), 236 years after the Extinction Crisis ended, the Athralian Confederation as we know it today was established, along with a new Constitution and the installation of a Lady Protector to protect the liberties of the individual.
The founding of the Confederation heralded the beginning of a new era of unparalleled freedoms, prosperity, technological advancement, and interstellar exploration. Eager to leave Ystivakyrva, the Athralians set about exploring the Milky Way galaxy, and soon the very first extrasolar colonies would be founded. This trend would continue for 1014 years, by which point Athralian territory covered roughly 40% of known galaxy and the number of member states of the Confederation had reached 214. This period of rapid expansion ended abruptly with the destruction of an unarmed civilian research and exploration vessel and the abduction of Athralian colonists at the hands of unknown alien forces within the Sol System, thus beginning the first war in Athralian history for almost 2000 years; the War of the Outsiders. This saw the dramatic reorganisation and expansion of the Athralian Naval Service from a peacekeeping force to one capable of waging war against this new alien threat, with the full industrial power of Athralia being unleashed to mass produce a new fleet of warships. Patriotic sentiment soared at the news and the Naval Service was quickly inundated with a wave new recruits. Personnel shortages were never an issue. At first, the only engagements involved small scale border skirmishes between invading Outsider fleets and the swarms of drones that the Athralians deployed to buy them the time they needed to build up their own fleets and to train their crews. The first Athralian offensive of the war was the Sol Campaign, two years after the war began. As the Athralians pushed into the Sol system, not only did they discover that most of the system was in the process of being colonised by the Outsiders, they also discovered a besieged human race inhabiting planet Earth. Despite the relative primitiveness of these newly discovered aliens, humanity's liberation quickly became a priority. The Battle of Earth, the final battle of the Sol Campaign and perhaps the most famous battle of the war (for humans, at least), saw the Athralians establish their clear technological and tactical superiority over the Outsiders whilst also gaining a new ally in the form of a grateful human race. Humans have dedicated many works of art and literature to this battle, with the space combat that was visible from the Earth's surface and the psionic soldiers that swept Outsider ground forces from the planet being the most often depicted. Humanity, which had been under siege for over five years by this point, initially treated their liberators with great mistrust and suspicion, and language barriers posed a significant problem, but Athralian aid and reconstruction efforts soon proved their friendly intentions. Away from Earth, the war continued for another four years, only ending when the introduction of the Vengeance Class dreadnoughts and the subsequent (and very controversial) destruction of one the Outsider homeworld's many moons forced the Outsider leadership to surrender.
The War of the Outsiders officially ended with the Treaty of Earth just over six years after it began (for the Athralians). This treaty forced the Outsiders to abandon many of their colonies, transfer their sovereignty over the solar systems surrounding Sol over to the humans, become temporarily quarantined within their borders, accept near-complete military disarmament, and pay war reparations, whilst also forcing the Outsider leaders and politicians responsible for the war out of office. The Treaty was signed aboard the ANDV Vengeance, the first of the Vengeance Class dreadnoughts and the ship that "fired the shot that ended the war", in orbit above Earth by Lady Protector Saryla Arylae, the representatives of humanity's many governments, and the Outsider Emperor. In addition to the treaty, the nations of Earth confederated under the banner of the United Nations as a result of the growing global desire for panhumanism. Athralia, now under Lady Protector Liliya Vakara, continues to assist humanity in their efforts to rebuild their damaged homeworld by utilising advanced Athralian technology to undo the extensive environmental damage caused by the war. Athralian warships also continue to patrol the outskirts of Outsider territory to ensure that they continue to abide by the Treaty and to combat Outsider piracy. This has cemented the Athralian Confederation's position as the dominant power within the Milky Way galaxy, and the efforts of the Athralian species now turn towards finally exploring the Milky Way in its entirety, and possibly even beyond.
The geography and environments of all of the member states and planets of the Confederation is incredibly diverse and differ drastically from one another. For this reason, only the Athralian homeworld, known as Athralia Prime, will be covered in this overview.
Athralia Prime is a large terrestrial world with a surface area approximately 2.2 times that of Earth, with the only important differences in the planet's atmosphere being that it is comparatively slightly more dense and has a higher proportion of oxygen. The planet itself is almost entirely covered by vast metropolises of a scale that dwarfs human imagination, although as a result of the Athralian's deep love for their natural habitat, they have always been experts of seamlessly blending civilisation with their environment. A number of artificial and natural factors contribute to Athralia Prime's global climate being relatively constant, and is best comparable to the climates of Earth's Pacific archipelagos, such as Fiji, Hawaii, and the Cook Islands, but even that does not do it justice. Those few humans that have visited the Athralian homeworld have described it as a tropical paradise unlike any other, with some even going so far as to name it the "indisputable crown jewel of the galaxy". Roughly 85% of the planet's surface is covered by calm, clear, and warm oceans, teeming with marine life that shares its home with Athralia's many great underwater cities.
The weather of Athralia Prime is warm and humid all year round, with temperatures remaining relatively constant and with comparatively little seasonal variation between the dry and the wet seasons. As such, a typical Athralian day is often characterised by calm and clear mornings and afternoons followed by heavy rain in the evening that provides welcome relief from the heat. Complete cloud coverage is a somewhat rare occurrence, however, and so intense rainbows are very common. Athralian nights are often cloudless, allowing the planet's denizens to enjoy both astonishingly vibrant views of the galaxy and the occasional aurora streaking magnificent lights across the night sky. The balmy climate of the planet is responsible for its lush flora and fauna, and life in all its forms is often strikingly colourful. This, contrasting superbly with the planet's crystal blue oceans and abundant vegetation, gives Athralia Prime a natural beauty that few, if any, can match. The Athralians are pentachromats that are capable of distinguishing up to 10 billion different hues, and many have said that they pity humanity for not being able to perceive their colourful world, and indeed the entire universe, as they do.
The Athralian Confederation boasts a population of 6.42 trillion, spread out across it's many states and territories. On average, each of the 214 states of the Confederation has a population of roughly 30 billion, and with each inhabited planet having a population of around 6 billion. These numbers can be misleading, however, as the population of any given Athralian planet can differ wildly from this, whether it be much larger or much smaller in actuality. For example, Athralia Prime, the homeworld of the Athralian species and capital of the Confederation, has a population of just over 72 billion, whereas the populations of new colony worlds or the small outposts within unincorporated territories may only number in the thousands, if that.
The only language spoken in the Confederation is Athralian. The language evolved from Athran, the ancient language of the Athralian species before they left their archipelago. As a result of the homogeneous nature of Athralian culture and advanced communications technologies that keep everyone connected to one another even over the vast distances of space, the Athralian language is very standardised and universal. Whilst there are accents, albeit very subtle ones, there are no other real dialects to speak of. When speaking English (or any human language for that matter), many humans find the Athralian accent difficult to compare to any human accents, although some remark that Norwegian, Swedish, and sometimes even Greek accents are generally considered to be close.
The overwhelming majority of Athralia's citizens are irreligious. ~6.3558 trillion (>99%) of Athralians are atheists, whilst ~64.2 billion (<1%) still follow the Old Faith of their ancestors. Additionally, it should be noted that the psionic awakening of the Athralian species has led to the emergence of an organisation known as the Transcendent, which some have branded a quasi-religious organisation. The organisation, which has itself denounced religion in all its forms, has over 192.6 billion members (~3% of the Athralian population), all of whom are psionically awakened individuals. Whether or not it can actually be considered a religion is controversial, however, and so its members are not included in religious statistics.
The Athralian species is the only sentient species that calls the Confederation home. Compared to humanity, the Athralians do not possess anywhere near the same levels of ethnic/racial diversity as humanity does, and there is generally considered to be only one Athralian 'ethnicity'. Whilst humans may visit Athralia, they may only do so for diplomatic or scientific reasons, and only with the approval of both the Lady Protector and local state authorities under special conditions. This is due to the fact that humanity does not yet possess the level of technology necessary to travel independently to Athralian space, and is also done to prevent the potentially catastrophic spread of disease between two species that evolved tens of thousands of light years apart from one another.
Nevertheless, the two species are remarkably similar, with both being bipedal humanoids, with a face bearing a pair of forward-facing eyes with eyelashes and eyebrows, hair on the top of their head (although Athralians have no other body hair), a mouth, a pair of ears and a nose, and both species have two hands and two feet with five digits each. Records of Athralian males from before the extinction event also shows that even Athralian sexual dimorphism was relatively similar to that of humanity, or vice versa. Obvious differences between Athralians and humanity include the fact that Athralians are far taller than humans, standing at an average height of 247 centimetres as opposed to the human average of 160/170 (female/male) centimetres. Athralian skin colour has a generally blue hue, they have naturally clear complexions, and have much more lithe, flexible, and muscular figures overall. Their eyes also possess a slight glow, and their ears are much longer and taper into a point. More subtle differences between Athralians and humans include their senses. Athralians posses much sharper eyesight than an average human, are pentachromats that can distinguish up to 10 billion different colours, and are capable of detecting even the slightest facial expressions and emotional responses. Emotions are very important to the Athralians, and they are generally thought to experience emotions much more intensely than humans. Much like their eyesight, they have similarly impressive auditory senses, and the largely carnivorous diets of their ancestors have led them to develop fangs and otherwise incredibly sharp teeth, at least in comparison to the teeth of humans. The prominent pair of horns that adorn the heads of the Athralians are perhaps the most striking difference between the two sentient species. Composed primarily of a keratin-like substance, these incredibly strong horns are products of the Athralian evolution, and although they are no longer used to defend territory or to establish an Athralian's dominance over her tribe, they continue to assist with heat dissipation and the regulation of body temperature, and are still a somewhat important aspect with regards to Athralian courtship. Another byproduct of their evolution, this time owing to their aquatic roots, would be the two pairs of prehensile tendrils that can be found growing behind an Athralians ears. These tendrils, coupled with their horns and skin colour, has seen Athralians subject to much mockery at the hands of humans, with some calling them "space-goats", "squid-goats", "blueberries", or even "smurfs".
It should also be mentioned that the Athralian species is the only such species to have so far been proven to have any degree of innate psionic potential, as can be seen with the successes of Project Ascension and the steady progress of its successor, Project Transcendence. A number of humans have undergone to the same training as Athralian psions, and whilst the theory is sound, initial tests are not promising and the small sample size hinders research efforts. It is unknown whether or not the Outsiders - the third and only other known sentient species to inhabit the Milky Way - posses any psionic abilities of their own, although their inability to counter or react to the Athralian psionic infantry units deployed during the War of the Outsiders has given credibility to the commonly accepted theory that they do not possess any such abilities.
Athralia Prime / Ystivakyrva-IV
Tikava / Ystivakyrva-VI
Luviliya / Luvikyrva-III
Uvisatava / Etalisyra-VI
Sysyra / Narvyna-II
Artyra / Ystivakyrva-XII
Thaniliya / Syvaya-XVI
Sysivyliya / Alarikyrva-VII
Ralatara / Mavariya-III
Sysyliya / Kathrakyrva-IV
The Athralian Confederation is a unique form of confederal non-partisan constitutional republic, as established by the Constitution of the Athralian Confederation 1038 years ago. The Constitution is the supreme law of the Confederation, and it outlines and guarantees the rights and freedoms of the individual from aggression. It also outlines basic and political rights of individuals and citizen participation in public affairs, divides the powers between the Confederation and the 214 member states, and defines confederal jurisdiction and authority. There are three main governing bodies on the confederal level: the unicameral Confederal Senate (legislative), the Lady Protector of the Confederation (executive), and the Supreme Court of the Confederation (judicial).
The Confederal Senate is the unicameral legislative body of the Athralian Confederation. It it is populated by 2,568 Senators, with each state of the Confederation being represented by a democratically elected delegation of 12 individuals. All members of the Senate are directly elected under a system of instant-runoff voting. Members of the Confederal Senate serve for a term of 6 years, after which a new election is called. Unlike the citizen legislatures of the member states of the Confederation, the Senate is a professional legislature by necessity on account of the Confederation's grand scale. Through referendums, Athralian citizens may challenge any law passed by the Senate, and through initiatives, introduce amendments to the Constitution, thus making Athralia a direct democracy.
The executive branch of the Athralian government is headed by the Lady Protector of the Athralian Confederation. The Lady Protector is elected directly by the people, and is the only elected member of the confederal executive. The Lady Protector's term limit is indefinite, however they can be removed from office at any time by the electorate through a popular initiative. The Lady Protector is the head of government, the head of state, and the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Athralian Confederation. The Lady Protector is vested with the power to declare war, and can also propose legislation or changes to legislation to the Confederal Senate. She can also declare a state of emergency or martial law, however this is subject to the approval of both the Senate and the electorate. The Lady Protector possesses the power to veto bills should she find them to be constitutionally illegal, and, although this power has never been used, she also has the power to dissolve the Senate should she deem it necessary in her role as the protector of the Constitution and the individual liberties of Athralian citizens.
The Athralian government is entirely non-partisan. Political parties do not exist within the Confederation, as politicians are elected to serve the electorate, not to serve a political party. As such, all senators and representatives act as independents at all levels of the Athralian government system. To the Athralians, political parties are seen as an inherently undemocratic and alien concept that has no place within their political system.
The Supreme Court of the Athralian Confederation forms the judicial branch of the Athralian government. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter on disputes in the field of civil law (citizen-citizen), the public arena (citizen-state), as well as in disputes between states or between states and the Confederation. The Supreme Court examines the uniform application of confederal law by the state and confederal courts of lower instance. It protects the rights of the individual in accordance with the Constitution, and to this end, works very closely with the executive.
Direct democracy and confederalism are hallmarks of the Athralian political system. Athralian citizens are subject to three legal jurisdictions: the municipality, state and confederal levels. The Constitution of the Athralian Confederation defines a system of direct democracy sometimes referred to as half-direct or representative direct democracy because it is aided by the more commonplace institutions of a representative democracy. The instruments of this system at the confederal level, known as popular rights, include the right to submit a confederal initiative and a referendum, both of which may overturn senatorial or state decisions. By calling a confederal referendum, a group of citizens may challenge a law passed by the Senate, and a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Any 60 states together can also call a constitutional referendum on a confederal law. Similarly, a confederal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote. The Senate and the Lady Protector can supplement the proposed amendment with a counter-proposal, and then voters must indicate a preference on the ballot in case both proposals are accepted. Constitutional amendments, whether introduced by initiative or in the Senate, must be accepted by a double majority of the national popular vote and the popular votes of member states.
Since the unification of the Athralian species and prior to the discovery of sentient life elsewhere in the galaxy during the War of the Outsiders, Athralian foreign policy simply did not exist beyond a first-contact protocol. Now, however, Athralia maintains diplomatic relations with the United Nations (with it's main embassies in Geneva, London, New York, and Tokyo), and with the Empire of the Outsiders (with only a single embassy within the Outsider capital, Aikrix). Relations are friendly with the former, although the diplomatic situation with the latter is very delicate, to say the least. The Confederation has since adopted a policy of non-interventionism, in which Athralia refuses to enter into military alliances with other nations (although maintains a defensive alliance with the UNE) but still retains diplomatic relations. Athralians seeks to avoid all wars unless related to direct self-defence or the defence of allies, as they believe that a state should not interfere in the internal politics of another state, and should always respect the principle of state sovereignty and the right to self-determination.
The Armed Forces of the Athralian Confederation traditionally acted as a simple peacekeeping force due to the complete lack of external threats to the Confederation. With the War of the Outsiders, however, the Armed Forces were radically expanded and reorganised from a simple peacekeeping force to one capable of waging war against new alien threats. Due to the interstellar nature of the Confederation, the Confederal Naval Service, which is further divided into the Athralian Navy and the Athralian Marine Corps, forms the bulk of the Athralian Armed Forces by a huge margin. There is no "Athralian Army" or "Athralian Air Force", so to speak, as the traditional roles of the armies and the air forces of contemporary human militaries are instead covered entirely by this Naval Service. The State Defence Forces of the individual member states of the Confederation, which are not included as part of Athralia's formal Armed Forces, can be seen as more reminiscent of traditional human military structures, however. In terms of personnel, the combined Armed Forces of the Athralian Confederation (including paramilitary) consist of approximately 192.6 billion personnel. Of this number, only 11.556 billion are active personnel, whilst 148.302 billion make up the reserves, and 32.742 billion are paramilitary.
The Athralian Confederation has a stable, prosperous and extremely technologically advanced economy, and it enjoys such great wealth that its true value cannot be calculated using traditional human methods. Innumerable diverse and competitive industries thrive within the Athralian economy, driving the inventive and innovative natures of the Athralians ever onward, although the largest industries are deep-space mining, financial services and starship manufacturing. Athralia operates under a system of laissez-faire free market capitalism. The private sector is estimated to constitute more than 99% of the economy, with confederal, state, and local governments accounting for less than 1%. The rate of unemployment is currently 0.6%.
Taxation within the Confederation is minuscule compared to the nations of Earth, and the state is financed chiefly through a form of negative income tax, a land value tax, user fees and lotteries. It is incredibly easy to do business within the Confederation, and the citizens of Athralia enjoy much greater economic (and personal) freedoms than anywhere else in the galaxy.
Athralia can arguably be considered the galaxy’s sole cultural superpower, due to the significant appeal and popularity of Athralian culture, arts, and entertainment amongst their new human allies. Modern Athralian culture evolved from the heavily matriarchal culture of the Athran Republic, which in turn can trace its cultural roots all the way back to the founding of the City of Athra approximately 7000 years ago. Contemporary Athralian culture is usually considered to have been born soon after the extinction of the male of the Athralian species, and as such it is entirely female-focused, so much so that the entire concept of a male of the species is now considered primitive and even completely alien. Aside from this, Athralian culture is very homogeneous, and is best characterised by the intense individualism of the Athralian people, and their competitive, innovative, resourceful, and peaceful natures. It is precisely this that has led to the libertarian government of the Confederation and to its free market economy. To the Athralians, there is no greater insult than to restrict the freedoms of others, and they have a deep respect for individual liberty and property rights.
Even before the founding of Athra, mainstream Athralian culture has always held the arts in extremely high regard, and the Athralian people are often described as artistic, creative, and intensely perfectionist. This constant drive for perfection permeates throughout all Athralian arts, from architecture to fashion, literature, and music. It is also for this reason that Athralian settlements are so famously clean, as the Athralian people cannot stand the thought of their perfect utopias being tarnished by even a single piece of refuse. In fact, it is in this pursuit of utopia that all contemporary Athralian architecture is grounded, and to this end, the Athralians have become experts of seamlessly blending their civilisation with their environment, so that they can continue to live within their technological paradises whilst still enjoying the natural environment that they cherish so dearly.
Fashion and beauty are important aspects of Athralian society and cultural life, and Athralians are well known for being particularly meticulous when it comes to their appearance. How one presents oneself is very important in Athralian culture. How one looks, how one comports oneself, and how one makes the best possible impression in all things are practically hardwired into the Athralian psyche. To the Athralians, failing to maintain one's appearance is a sign that one lacks self-respect and grace, and can even be perceived as an insult. Athralian fashion itself often incorporates sheer silk and lace-like materials, however it is generally considered by human standards to be fairly revealing and even risqué, although Athralians do not possess the same qualms that some humans do with regards to showing a bit of skin. In fact, public nudity is seen as completely acceptable within Athralian society, and although it is almost unheard of for individuals to ever go fully nude, toplessness is comparatively common. Athralians tend to believe that their fashion primarily exists to compliment the beauty of their bodies, not to replace or overshadow it, and to this end they obsessively stay fit and healthy to maintain this natural beauty. This is further complimented by the colourful paints, tattoos, and other cosmetics that Athralians traditionally adorn their bodies with for celebrations and special occasions. Whilst these beautiful patterns - known as kyrisi sivaka in Athralian - once possessed religious meanings, they are now instead seen as reflections of one's personality and as a way for an Athralian to accentuate her natural beauty. This pursuit of beauty and its reverence has often seen the Athralians labelled a vain and narcissistic species by others, and some humans, particularly those who are conservative or reactionary, have even described the Athralians as degenerate and hedonistic.
Athralian literature is generally not too dissimilar from European literature as a whole, although it should be mentioned that the Athralians moved away from written literature in favour of an electronic alternative a very long time ago. Some of the most famous Athralian works often centre around the themes of freedom, struggle, and most importantly, love. Although not an example of "classical" Athralian literature, perhaps the most iconic of Athralia's written works is "Daughters of Liberty", a retelling of the tragic story of two young lovers who fought against the Loyalists on the front lines of the Liberation War. Despite serving with distinction and playing crucial roles in the evacuation of civilian populations, they were ultimately captured and later executed together in one of the Loyalist’s infamous death camps. The story touches the heart of every Athralian, and is popular not just for its tragic romance, but also for its libertarian and anti-war messages. Romance is by far the most popular genre in Athralia, in literature and other media. This can be attributed to the very romantic and emotional natures of the Athralians themselves.
Music in Athralia is traditionally very vocal and emotional, and has been described by humans as very melodic, beautiful, and evocative of paradise and peace. This largely continues in modern Athralian music, although now in genres more familiar to humans. Rock music is now very popular in Athralia, for example.
Whilst being relatively similar to human cuisine over all, traditional Athralian cuisine can perhaps be most effectively compared to the cuisines of the Koreans and the Japanese, albeit with a much heavier focus on the Athralian equivalents of red meats and fish. Such meats are traditionally barbecued and served alongside any number of smaller side dishes. This can be attributed to the largely carnivorous natures of the Athralians themselves. Having evolved from the strictly carnivorous proto-Athralians, omnivorous modern Athralians are much better equipped to consume such a meat-heavy diet than humans. Examples of this include their famously sharp teeth, strong stomach acids, extremely efficient digestive systems, and their ability to digest even bone. In terms of drinks, the most iconic is undoubtedly syrivla, an alcoholic beverage analogous to human wine. Made from fermented berries native to the Athran Archipelago, syrivla is famous for it’s dark blue colour, sweet taste, pleasant smell, and health benefits.
Media within the Athralian Confederation exists in practically every sense of the word: television, newspapers and magazines (although only in digital forms), cinema, Etc. All forms of media are privately owned, and the huge industry is entirely deregulated. Athralia has an incredibly diverse range of media providers, from confederation-wide media conglomerates to smaller businesses that operate only within their home states. It should also be noted that Athralian reporters and journalists experience press freedoms far greater than elsewhere in the galaxy.
Athralian political culture is extremely individualistic, so much so that Athralian society can be considered to be objectivist by human standards. The ideology that is by a huge margin the most prevalent in Athralia and that best represents the nation itself is very similar to the libertarian and minarchist ideologies found on Earth. The people of Athralia hold individual liberty as their core and guiding principle, emphasising freedom of choice, voluntary association, individual judgement, and self-ownership. They believe that the state should exist solely to protect citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud as defined by property laws. As a result, the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police, courts, the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. So long the Constitution continues unaltered, Athralia is effectively a so-called 'night-watchman' state, a beacon of liberty and free market capitalism.
Religion has played almost no role in Athralian society for more than a thousand years, and the overwhelming majority of Athralians (>99%) are irreligious and atheistic. Athralians tend to view religion as naïve and irrational, although religious freedoms are still respected and guarantied by the Constitution. The faith that was once completely dominant over Athralian civilisation, now known simply as the Old Faith, revolved around the worship of an ancient goddess and the priestesses who acted as the avatars of her individual aspects (beauty, justice, love, vengeance etc.). These many avatars formed the collective leadership of the Old Faith's formal church structure, and there was no singular religious head like a pope or a caliph. The Old Faith prophesied that one such leader would one day rise, however, with this individual being born with great powers and destined to become the Goddess's prophetess and one true avatar, encompassing all of Her aspects. This prophesy was carved into a stone tablet many millennia ago, which is currently stored within the Museum of Ancient Athralian History in the capital city, and many find it curious how the ancient carvings seem to very closely resemble Lady Protector Liliya Vakara and her psionic abilities. Most just believe this to be a bizarre coincidence, but a small number of the Old Faith's remaining adherents have actually taken to worshipping Liliya as the Goddess's chosen. The Lady Protector views such worshippers as naïve and little more than a slight annoyance, with them only serving to reinforce her negative opinion of religion. Additionally, it should be noted that the psionic awakening of the Athralian species has led to the emergence of an organisation known as the Transcendent, which some have branded a quasi-religious cult due to its advocacy for the evolution of the Athralian species through psionic and cybernetic means. Over 192 billion psionically awakened individuals constitute the organisation's membership, with the current Lady Protector herself also being a member.
Sports and athleticism have been integral parts of Athralian culture since before the rise of the Empire of Athra. This long sporting history is largely the result of the incredibly competitive natures of the Athralians, and is perhaps one of the main reasons Athralians obsessively maintain a healthy and beautiful physique. Traditional sports in Athralia largely reflect their island heritage. Having evolved on a world whose land mass consists entirely of tropical archipelagos separated from one another by vast oceans, watersports such as boat racing, swimming, rowing, yachting, and windsurfing are incredibly popular. Given an Athralian's natural affinity for the water and her innate ability to hold her breath underwater for roughly 22 minutes (more than ten times that of the healthy human average), underwater sports, such as competitive free-diving, underwater racing and wrestling, and even a sport similar to underwater rugby are also very popular. A biennial sporting event similar to the Olympic Games is held in Athralia known as the Confederation Games, during which the 214 member states of the Confederation compete against each other in almost all sports known to the Athralians. With the discovery of the psionic potential of the Athralian species in recent years, a number of psionic sports have since been added to the Games, such as psionic wrestling and the entirely new sport "skyball". The discovery of humanity has also led to football gathering a significant following in Athralia, although despite the member states of the Confederation now having their own teams that compete amongst themselves, humans and Athralians have yet to play against one another over fears that the Athralians would possess too much of a natural advantage.
Athralian infrastructure is largely reliant upon the Confederal Relay Network (CRN), a colossal system of wormhole generators which links every single star system of the Confederation together by providing instantaneous transportation for anyone across light-years of space. They are truly enormous structures, and without them transit between star systems would take years or even centuries of travel using conventional FTL drives. Technologies similar to those used in the creation of the CRN, as well as quantum entanglement technologies, also allow for FTL communication and instantaneous data transfer across the Confederation, keeping the citizens of Athralia interconnected even across the vast distances of outer space. However, it should be noted that the invention of zero-point energy generators may soon make the CRN obsolete. The miniaturisation of wormhole technology has been made relatively cheap and affordable as the ludicrous energy demands for such a process can now be met easily, thus theoretically allowing wormhole generators to be installed into practically any size of star ship, be it military or civilian.
With the Confederation being so large, the amount of energy used every single hour is almost inconceivable. Prior to the invention zero-point reactors, the huge energy demands of the Athralian people were met chiefly by countless powerful antimatter reactors, as had been the case for hundreds of years prior. With energy demands constantly soaring ever higher, a breakthrough was recently made and a new solution was found by the Vakara Consortium. Zero-point energy; harnessing the power of the vacuum itself. Large-scale zero-point reactors have since been constructed across the Confederation, already dwarfing the power outputs of the old antimatter reactors by providing an almost limitless supply of power. It is thought that there exists no more efficient way to generate energy. Additionally, this process is rapidly being miniaturised for use not just in power plants and star ship reactors, but also in weaponry and commercial products for home and personal use. It is very likely that this technology will bring about a new golden age for the Athralian people.