by Max Barry

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The Martian Empire of
New York Times Democracy

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Astropolitical Scale

The Astropolitical Scale is a categorisation system devised to classify astropolities on their overall impact and political reach within their surrounding environment. The scale yields seven categories with the highest being that of a Galactic Hegemon which by design is nearly impossible to claim as, even with the most advanced and largest polities today, are little more than contenders.

Galactic Hegemon
States that fall under this category have become the pinnacle of law, technology, society, and governance across an entire galaxy. These states are remarkably affluent in the political landscape and possess an unrivalled maritime and military authority that spans the galactic disk. Any rivals were either conquered or submitted to the Hegemon's authority.

Galactic Contenders
This category is composed of very large, old states that have reached an almost technological plateau and are often considered 'Ascendancies/Fallen Empires' thanks to their overwhelming technological prowess and military authority. Unlike a Hegemon, these states still have rivals for the 'galactic crown' that span the galaxy but the club is otherwise few and far between.

Paradoxically, these states are some of the most passive and are no longer considered galactic trend-setters thanks to their overall defensive and peaceful nature after having secured their position.

Quadrant Powers
Quadrant powers are the trend-setting and upcoming states that have managed to build significant political and economic ties to secure themselves as a major political power across an entire quadrant. These states are typically in flux experiencing an era of prosperity as their empire's power and sphere of influence grows before eventually succumbing under their own weight.

Compared to other categories, this one is the hardest to transition to the next category. States that occupy this category face other quadrant powers and rising regional powers. Socially, quadrant powers are quite diverse and this helps fuel their maritime prowess. When these states go to war, quadrants shiver.

Regional Powers
Perhaps the most populous category on the scale, Regional powers are maritime states that dominate a respective volume of systems through military, cultural, and economic might. Their sphere of influence generally only effects the regions they control and these powers often remain in a state of flux with quadrant powers as states wax and wane between the two categories over time.

Local Powers
This category is composed of states that control only a handful of systems and may even struggle to keep systems outside of their home. These states are small and go generally unnoticed on the astropolitical scale thanks to their lacklustre technological advances and non-threatening military power.

Stellar Powers
Stellar powers are states that have managed to colonise and dominate their home system but have yet to venture outside of it. Much like Local Powers, these are generally overlooked by most of the larger states in the galaxy. Stellar powers are commonly lacking even FTL capable transit making them primitive in the eyes of most.

Geoscale Powers
This category is composed of states that either have yet to venture beyond their home planet, or are still pre-spacefaring and fractured into geonational states. Their technology by comparison is either the Digital Age or well before.

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