The Greater Terran Union (GTU), is an interstellar nation primarily located in the Milky Way galaxy established in 2156 by the nations of Earth following the end of the First Contact War.
First Contact War
The arrival of the alien Tyrum in 2090, and subsequent First Contact War devastated the global geopolitical power structure on Earth that had been relatively unchanged since the end of the Second World War. During the seven year conflict, a coalition of European Federation military units adopted an ad-hoc style of governance, replacing crumbling civilian leadership and implementing a series of emergency measures. The success of this method, combined with European victories against the Tyrum, enabled the rapid spread of this system and the rapid expansion of the Coalition.
By the end of the war in 2097, the now firmly international Coalition had emerged as the dominant power, and recognized as the world's single, provisional government. Its initial duties included preventing the collapse of human society, restoring agriculture and manufacturing industries, and putting to work hundreds of millions of unemployed citizens.
After a fifty-year period of intense rationing and brutal conditions worldwide, the Provisional Government had managed to reverse the worst of the damage caused by the First Contact War, although only at the cost of tens of millions more lives.
Establishment of the GTU
With the restoration of global communications, manned spaceflights, and the ability for more complex governmental structures, a worldwide referendum was held to decide the future of the world government. In an unexpected landslide, the Emergency Coalition was legitimized, and the Greater Terran Union established on July 11th, 2156. Society had begun to resemble a stratocracy, and the lines between civil government and the military blurred. To ensure the federal bureaucracy maintains effective leadership, the national council created the position of High Marshall, the chief executive of the nation and first among equals of the Marshals. The high marshalls serve for 20 years. Legislative power is theoretically held by the National Assembly, but it has rarely rejected any proposal by the government, rendering it ceremonial. Political parties other than the dominant party are permitted so long as they obey the national interest, but the nation is a de facto one party state.
With the proclamation of the Union came the establishment of 17 administrative regions known as Commissariats, each based on areas of military responsibility during the First Contact War. These had existed as provisional territories prior to the Union's declaration, but were likewise legitimized following its declaration. The national government is housed in London, in the Albion Commissariat, due to its early recovery in the post-war era. Homeworld commissariats roughly corresponded to pre-war nations in some cases, but mostly combined or split nations to form new political units in a way never before achieved to eliminate all social, religious, and cultural divisions to promote the national interest. There is no national language, though Arabic, Chinese and English are used in governance. Discrimination based on race, sex, religion etc. is prohibited, not to achieve utopia but to prevent divisions that weaken the nation and ensure that natural talent that benefits the nation rises to the top, no matter who possess it.
Promising to prevent any future invasion, the Greater Terran Union began a program of industrial expansion across the Solar System. Mining and research outposts were established across a multitude of planets and moons within the system, the precursor to larger scale colonization efforts.
Expansion to the stars
In a great relief to the nation, no second invasion was discovered as the TUS Hawking made its journey to first the Alpha Cenautri system, and beyond. Many alien relics and primitive life forms were discovered early on. The first colony ship began construction in 2206 for a planned settlement in the Sirius system, arriving a year later on Christmas eve. Not long after, alien civilizations were discovered, causing nation wide panic. High Marshal Natasha Fox debated how best to respond, knowing this was apparently from a second alien race, different from the invaders. The aliens were revealed to call themselves Polenians, and their nation to be the Algan Republic. Relations were poor, and the borders between the nations were closed as xenophobia spread rapidly in every tier of Terran society. Radical elements of Terran society attacked mining outposts, the largest of which was led by a disgraced navy veteran known to his followers as Romulus Chuck, demanding the creation of a theocratic empire and annihilation of the Polenians. Naval expansion deterred future piracy, while preparing for conflict with the Algan Republic. Numerous colonies sprouted across the nearby star systems, transforming humanity into an interstellar society.
With the development of faster than light technology ushered in a prorogued era of expansionism. Dozens of worlds were colonized, but this expansion brought the Union into contact with a multitude of alien governments, most notably, the Algan Republic, United Clans of Skiron, Wessari Nation States, Faraxian Union and the Rixian Galactic Directorate. The Wessari were located in a strategically important system with valuabe resources, yet had not achieved space flight or planetary unification. High Marshall Lee Martin lead a close vote that determined the Wessari could not be allowed to develop FTL, and their homeworld was invaded an annexed after a short war. Some citizens were shocked and suggested the invasion was a compromise of humanity's morals, making them more like the invaders of that ravaged Earth.
Exploration of the Outer Rim revealed large lifeforms that threatened Union warships, causing disastrous losses in the Outer Rim.
The invasion, occupation and eventual annexation of the Wessari would prompt a series of social reform movements and the gradual acceptance of non-human species within the Greater Terran Union. Attempts to enter into a military relationship with the United Clans of Skiron by contrast would bring the Union into conflict with the Algan Republic and its military allies known as the Compact, leading to a series of conflicts that would define the foreign relations of the Greater Terran Union for the next several centuries. Further wars with the Peronisti Union, Vol Hive, and others, would sour the perception of the Greater Terran Union across the galaxy and largely isolate it from galactic affairs. Only the Clans of Skiron were the only friendly power encountered by the GTU, although the neighboring nations respected the GTU as an equal.
The discovery of the Tyrum's homeworld of Byrum and the reactivation of an interstellar gateway that had first brought them to Earth, enabled a retaliatory strike by the Union. The campaign against the Tyrum centred around the Sword of Terra, an experimental weapon operated by Fleet Command, with the potential to destroy an entire planet.
Further conflict with the remnants of the Compact, delayed any offensive action against the Tyrum, but saw the near complete destruction of the Union's oldest rivals. In the intervening time however, the threat of the Tryum had been largely ended through the efforts of several alien alliances. The largest of these, the Star Concord, had created a quarantine zone around the Tyrum Homeworld, and declared it off limits to Union starships.
Through a series of shrewd political tactics and subterfuge, the Greater Terran Union entered the quarantine zone in secret. On May 1st, 2447, it broadcast footage across the galaxy of the destruction of the Tyrum homeworld by the Sword of Terra. This act of genocide shocked the galaxy, but failed to halt the Union's ambitions. Further wars with the Vol Hive and Florian Matriarchy unleashed devastation across both foreign and Union territories, but ended in decisive Union victories and the further expansion of the nation.
The activation of a malicious computer virus known as the N.E.X. brought war to the Union on an unprecedented scale. With many of the Union's own forces turned against it, several major worlds were lost, including Sirius, the traditional headquarters of the Terran military. While the casualties were enormous, recent mega-engineering projects such as the colonization of an extra-galactic cluster of stars, a dyson sphere in the Benard's Star System, and the industrialization of the Outer Rim, had given the Union the necessary resources and manpower to stage a successful counter-attack.
The N.E.X. Uprising however, was merely the first stage of a larger campaign by the Union's major rivals. Wars against the Bright League, Stellar Axis, and Mesh'Ben pushed the Terran economy to the breaking point. The conflict was brought to an unexpected end by the return of the Jaz'Gavaz and Xani to the galactic stage. 2 ancient powers far more advanced than any nation in the galaxy, each sought the destruction of the other, and demanded the complete submission of every younger nation within the galaxy.
The GTU rejected these demands, instead aligning itself with a league of non-aligned nations. and started their war against both ancient powers. The devastation wrought by the Jaz'Gavaz was immense, but the mobilization of the Terran military force brought about the near destruction of the Xani, culmination in the eradication of all life on one of their major worlds, by the retrofitted Sword of Terra.
While both the once powerful Jaz'Gavaz and Xani had been largely defeated, their unrestrained use of jump drives opened an unstable rift in reality, through which poured a new extra-dimensional threat that would be later known as the Unbidden. Far beyond anything that had ever been encountered before, these extra-dimensional invaders, inflicted severe damage on the league of non-aligned nations. Unwilling to adopt the defensive strategy prioritized by its allies, the Greater Terran Union embarked on a decisive strike into the heart of the inter-dimensional rift, eventually sealing it and destroying the last of the invaders.
The victory achieved by the Greater Terran Union cemented the nation as the foremost power in the galaxy, more accurately it had become the Milky Way Galaxy's only interstellar hyperpower that is the only stable government while other galactic powers were in chaos or collapsed. In the ensuing centuries, the Greater Terran Union would launch a series of unification campaigns, uniting the galaxy through both diplomacy and armed conflict.
By the 29th Century, the Greater Terran Union has firmly cemented its authority over the entire Milky Way Galaxy, and has begun planning its expansion into other galaxies.
The government of the Greater Terran Union is a borderline stratocracy, where military and civil governance go hand in hand. Citizens are encouraged and even required to work for the government for a certain period of time, whether it be in the armed forces or in civil governance. The government of the Greater Terran Union is widely accepting of all races, creeds, and kinds, though this attitude is born more out of a practical need than an altruistic one.
The GTU is divided into multiple regional commissariats that govern large swaths of the Earth or of human space. These governing bodies act as smaller replicas of the federal government and have provided the GTU the flexibility and capability to govern billions of citizens across thousands of light-years.
The GTU's commissariats are separated by 2 different distinctions:
Executive power in the Union is held by the National Council, a coalition of 21 Marshals, each of whom also acts as the head of one of the government's departments. Acting as the head of the state and the National Council is the High Marshal, a first among equals who has special powers that were created to allow the Council to act quicker and more decisively in times of emergency. High Marshals are elected for twenty-year terms, though this can be shortened or lengthened depending on extraneous circumstances.
The legislative branch, consisting of a civilian National Assembly, has been criticized as being largely ceremonial. While the National Assembly, in theory, has the power to create and modify laws, in practice, they act as a rubber stamp for laws that the National Council has already decided to pass. There are very few instances in Greater Terran Union history where the National Assembly did not agree with the National Council.
The Greater Terran Union acts as a de facto single-party state, however, many opposition parties exist as approved alternatives and are allowed to function within the National Assembly. Not much is known about the approval process, with the exception that any opposition parties must remain subordinate to the nation's interest.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the GTU's government is the tiered citizenship structure. As citizens become more effective and useful members of society, their citizenship tier can rise, granting them more rights and privileges. A popular punishment for minor crimes is the reduction of a citizenship tier, which can restrict their freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and countless other details of daily life that go as far down as the amount of water allotted to a citizen's showers each month. Frequently, such verdicts come paired with specific criteria for the reinstatement of a citizen's tier.
The Culture of the Greater Terran Union can at times seem eclectic to outside alien observers and visitors, with numerous languages, religious and philosophical belief systems, and species phenotypes seeming to exist within its borders and carrying the overall title of "human". The most common of these groupings consist of those that largely survived the First Contact War, mainly the peoples of North America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa, India, and Oceania, though this is by no means comprehensive due in part to refugee migrants from South America, East Asia, and Western Europe that settled in new places around the world during and following the war. Initially wary of cross-cultural and inter-ethnic strife during the reconstruction period on Earth, the Greater Terran Union tightly regulates certain cultural practices, most especially among them practices of religion.
Although the Freedom of Religion is maintained within the Greater Terran Union, the state takes efforts to ensure that certain practices and organizations remain within the strict boundaries of the law. This task of ensuring religion does not become a danger to society or the state is handled primarily by the Ministry of State Security.
Similar amounts of government control and involvement extend into the cultural space as well, where works of art, literature, and other media are considered integral to the national interest as unifying forces and ought to in some way serve the interests of the state, either through the improvement of morale, patriotism, the furtherance of accepted morality or general pacification of the population. During the earlier years of the Greater Terran Union, media that was critical of the state was entirely banned, however, these restrictions were gradually lifted over time. Regardless of restrictions, clever artists have utilized a number of methods to bypass state censorship.
Such as with the rest of the Greater Terran Union, restrictions on speech and expression are affected by the tier system. Part of the benefits granted to the higher tier of citizens is a relaxation of restrictions regarding political speech, expressions, and even access to art and literature. The idea being that by gaining higher tiers, a citizen has shown the necessary qualifications to both understand the nuances of the Terran government and society, and understand how to express their opinions on such matters in a way that would not threaten state stability. This has led over time to a level of cultural stratification, where certain forms of art and literature are accessible to citizens of higher tiers while lower-tier citizens must content themselves with the standard mass-produced media and books censored of anything that might approach questionable thinking.
The society of the Greater Terran Union itself is organized upon a pessimistic outlook on the nature of the universe and humanity in general. The Union, being the product of a war that nearly led to the extinction of humanity, will, in general, assume the worst out of anyone's intentions. Collectively humanity is a force for greatness and a towering achievement unparalleled in galactic history. Individual humans, on the other hand, can be prone to decadence, immorality, and rebellion. By contrast, aliens are treated as a potentially existential threat to the survival of humanity until pacified.
As a consequence, the GTU draws much more upon the political theory of Hobbes rather than Locke. Instead of trusting in everyone's better nature, it trusts more in the sword of the state to keep everyone in line. Among the great science fiction writers of pre-Tyrum Earth, the GTU draws greater inspiration from Heinlein and Herbert rather then Roddenberry. Citizen participation in the functioning of the State is mandatory and human children are raised from an early age to view their responsibilities to the social whole as more important then what they may individually desire.
There are many incentives offered for those willing to assume greater responsibility in the betterment of humanity, while those who work against society face ever-increasing penalties. This is exemplified in the water rationing that limits, among other things, how long a citizen can take a shower. Many aliens are bemused at the practice considering the massive overabundance of water in the Galaxy.
To the GTU however, the purpose is to instill personal discipline in the population. Political theorists in the Union caution strongly against the dangers inherent in technology's ability to "do everything and anything" for humanity, turning it into a weak and coddled race too focused on immediate pleasures and an overabundance of luxury. Such post-scarcity economies would, it was feared, render humanity incapable of fending for itself when that technology inevitably fails either due to war or disaster.
This mindset was pivotal to the GTU's victory in the First Galactic War and the War in Heaven. Though the GTU endured massive damage and calamitous losses of life, the population was able to continue to function and fight even as the basics such as food and water became nearly impossible to find and casualties rates spiraled into the billions.
In a large irony to this, this belief in Human strength and ingenuity over technological coddling extends to its government and its enforcers as well. While it is certainly within the GTU's capability to develop functioning AI capable of monitoring every citizen's actions instantly, are deducing the courses of action most likely to succeed, such Artificial Intelligence's are illegal and the attempt to even develop them or import them from abroad can result in long imprisonment or execution. The reasoning for this is that should such programs and systems become common lace, the Security Services and the Government would eventually become so reliant upon the machines they would give up their ability to the job themselves in favor of the ease of the AI doing it for them. Which would, in turn, make the government subordinate to the AI's that now run it.
This extends even to programs such as truth detectors for use in court trials, which are almost universally adopted in every other nation in the Galaxy. Their lack forces judges, lawyers, and police to rely upon their own efforts to prosecute crimes which is a rather roundabout way that means the legal system of the GTU is often more fair and flexible to those found in more egalitarian societies. Though in scientific circles it is considered bad form to use them unless its to double -heck calculations already done without.
The only exception to this is secured labs where AI's developed by aliens are studied to understand their capability for military application. Namely, for destroying them. The one exception to this rule is the sentient nano-platform dubbed "Lady Grey", with which the GTU holds an extended contract with and is viewed generally as a treaty of amity with a foreign power due to the intelligence guiding the platform being the core of the mythical gray tempest that devastated the galaxy millions of years ago.
The armed forces of the Greater Terran Union consists of three primary branches, Fleet Command, Land Force Command, and Air Command. Each of these branches include numerous component services, or are supplemented by other independent services. Additionally, many reserve, support or ceremonial units exist at both the Federal and Commissariat level.
While officially a volunteer force, military service is one of the only means of advancing ones citizen-tier. In practice, this means that a vast majority of the nation's population has served a period of at least 2 years on active duty and still a part of the national reserve.
From the time of their inception, the Terran Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the history of the Union. They have created a sense of national identity, and remain one of the most important factors in Terran society.