by Max Barry

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The Dominion of
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[OOC] Premise

> Troas | 3258 CE

"Man's attempts to tame the stars have brought nothing but ruin."
- Unknown

The year is 3258, and the once illustrious Terran Union is gone. Great wonders and achievements brought through the cooperation of mankind lay in ruin, and the starships that brought humanity out into the stars have been turned into one of humanity's instruments of self-destruction. With the destruction of the great gate system that once connected the worlds of man, humanity's remnants have been forced to bicker and fight amongst one another back in the core worlds, or have been left to fend for themselves in untamed space, countless light-years away from the nearest colony, and that is if the nearest colony hasn't become a dead husk, fallen to some unknown catastrophe that the settlers were unable to fend for themselves against. Out in the vast expanse of space, the Terran Union's last bastion still remains, but as a perverted and twisted nightmare of its former self. A grand idea has become a justification for oppression and cruelty. Out of the necessity for expansion came the tragedy of isolation and the horrors that it can do to a seemingly stable system. In the most desperate time of mankind, only authoritarianism and indifference hold together the last remnants of the Terran Union out in the far-reaches of human space.

Before the fall of the core worlds, the Terran Union aimed to expand the frontiers of mankind beyond the Orion Arm, and out into the wider galaxy. The colonization of Troas was the first stage to this grand plan, with engineers and researchers being sent to a spore-seeded world, Ilium, in order to begin work on this grand society thousands of light-years from home. The garrison fleet sent to protect them quickly became the unquestionable rulers of the system with the fall of the gates, setting up a military regime to rule with an iron fist over the civilians in the system, while the garrison fleet commanders formed FleetCOM, the key political entity out here in the cold expanse. At first, FleetCOM was a mostly necessary entity, forming a foundation by which stability was returned to Troas, and ensuring that the necessary system-wide infrastructure was returned to full function as to prevent the death of the colony or its regression to pre-spaceflight society. But as all autocratic and powerful regimes do, FleetCOM turned itself into a ruling party over the Troas System, establishing a puppet regime to rule over the colonies while FleetCOM could continue to pull the strings behind the scene. The seeming end to the era of military rule would dawn a new rule, the rule of the Troan Republic, an autocratic regime led by a single party representing the interests of FleetCOM under the pretense of representing the old and free Terran Union.

In this new society, humanity has struggled to adapt to the realities of life in constant hardship. Those unfortunate enough to be in the majority live out a poor life on the surface of Ilium, working the vast network of farms necessary to keep the population alive, while also producing vast amounts of basic industrial appliances to allow them continued use of their planetary infrastructure. The cities, although small when compared to those of the old ages, are polluted and vile, filled with vice in the city expanses, which were crudely assembled to make room for the growing population of Ilium, and left to wallow in their own filth by the Troan Republic ever since. The old Dardanus city centre, built before the fall of the Union, is home to the political aristocracy of the planet, towering skyscrapers house imposing government offices and display propaganda advertising a better life through hardship or to join the Republican System Defence Forces. Dardanus, metropolitan hub of Ilium, is home to around a million souls, making it the largest single centre of human life on Ilium and even in the system. A million souls in Dardanus labour every day in order to feed the Terran Union's people, to feed the Terran Union's industries, and to feed the Terran Union's armies. It is indeed a time of great struggling for humanity, and a time of great bitterness too. Those on Ilium harbour ill thoughts about the ruling aristocracy, who get to travel the stars in their luxury craft and live in the untamed life-seeded wilderness of Ilium, many kilometres away from the cruel cities. Those who are even more unfortunate than those who live on Ilium may find themselves on Troas I, which remains curiously unnamed, unless you live there, in which case the name is 'Hell'. Life on Troas I is restrictive, dark, and hot. The underground habitation segments are devoted to housing workers in the most crude fashion possible, with thousands of people and their families living in little more than barracks stationed next to highly dangerous antimatter processing facilities that produce the fuel used by ships on their travels across the system or into other systems. Those on Troas I believe that life on Ilium is paradise, and would wish for nothing more than to be allowed to move there before their frail, atrophied from low-g bodies wither away. Living on one of the orbital stations in the system is actually one of the less horrific fates that await a person, although they will be confined to life in low-g for the rest of their lives as stations generally do not possess gravity generators thanks to the loss of technology from the Union. Life in orbit is generally quieter, calmer, and easier. Space miners are more content with their lives in the freedom of the void with nothing but their thoughts or music-players, and space-based industries are usually quite well-paid due to the constant threat of micro-meteorites or part malfunctions.

Many young men and women fall victim to the ideology and propaganda, and then enlist in the Defence Forces, ending with it leading them to a life of beating down their own people during the regular protests, or putting down innocents on one of the other worlds in the system. Defence Forces troops are usually clad in awful mass-produced uniforms with nothing more than a mask, helmet, and basic stab-proof armour for their protection. Those aboard stations may get a padded vac-suit instead. In contrast, the best and the brightest may end up crewing one of FleetCOM's vessels, which is seen as a privilege by most families on Ilium or in the other settlements in the system. Even scrubbing the decks of a rickety anti-matter fuel carrier is seen as a prestige to the lower classes of the system, and many a mother or father would smile upon a child that managed to achieve such a position. Such a position atleast earns the crewman a cleanly pressed uniform and access to a Union-made vac-hardsuit from before the fall of the gates. Serving aboard a FleetCOM vessel as a marine is the ultimate wish of any patriotic child, with propaganda on the televisions usually being directed at portraying Terran marines as heroes of the common people, and power armoured badasses here to save the lives of innocent colonists. Armed with electromagnetic coil rifles, or just mag-rifles for short, marines are specialized in fighting in vacuum against other marines, but are able to fight on just about any terrain thanks to the finest technologies of the Terran Union companies that made their powered armour. While producing new suits is impossible with the current technology, the imposing bulk of a marine continues to be one of the main fears of any pirate or anti-Union agitator who drew too much attention to themselves, or made the mistake of boarding a FleetCOM ship or facility. FleetCOM's officers continue to be nothing more than a semi-meritocratic upper class tradition, with only those from families rich enough or connected enough being able to send their children to learn how to be an officer at the Fleet Academy on the Ilium Spaceworks, the only station made with Union technology, and consequently the only station able to produce and outfit armed warships of Terran standards.

As for those unable to fit into the new society, many have become space pirates, using illegal weaponry mounted to poor quality civilian craft in order to raid those just trying to make a living out in the void, and while piracy is certainly not a new scourge, it has indeed become a far larger problem for those vessels of FleetCOM that are forced to deal with them. Others have fled to the systems surrounding Troas, making a living out of mining or orbital hab-farming on installations orbiting the star of the system. This kind of life generally draws those seeking a life away from terrestrial existence, or ruthless pioneers seeking to make rich from discovering other things that the Union may have left behind outside of FleetCOM's knowledge. Every once in a while a pirate warlord turns up in an old Centaurian battleship or a ship of similar make to FleetCOM's own vessels, and nobody knows where exactly they find them. These ships may have been part of unknown expansions hidden by FleetCOM's ever-present intelligence agencies, or may have been part of something unknown to FleetCOM itself, part of Union-era political machinations of one of the major powers within the Union. Beyond the veil, these groups plotted and planned for their great revenge upon the Terran Union that turned them into nothing more than human resources, and now, their final vengeance has begun. The newly formed Sector Liberation Alliance has turned long forgotten warships against the Terran Union, and now has sent them to a new war. The Sector War threatens to tear apart everything the Terrran Union and the Troan Republic have built so far, and were the war to extend to its logical conclusion, then death by the megaton may be civilization's final fate 6,000 light-years from home. The threat of annihilation is poised over the Terran Union's existence, and under immense pressure, the fate of the sector remains to be seen.

Screenshot taken from the game 'Starsector' and then put through gimp with my terrible editing skills.
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