Granted I don't have a strong sense of the general tech level so far, but it seems pretty high so far. I particularly want to know how FTL communication functions in this universe. Does its limitations help create the isolation of the Deep Spacers, or has it more to do with the sheer distance the Deep Spacers go away from civilization?
Bit of both, really. Within the Commonwealth, communication is effectivey instantaneous due to the pervasive cybersphere. Outside of its borders, it depends on where you are at. Farther you go out, the longer the time lag until you're effectively on your own, at least for hyperwave. Now, wormhole comms and, at the cost of massive bandwidth, quantum entanglers do provide instant communications regardless of distance, but they come with limits. The isolation comes from the sheer distance and removal from their familar civilization than anything else. What good is being able to phone home if by the time help arrives you've been long dead?
Also, what kind of crazy postalien hypertech are we talking about here to be remarkable discoveries in a place like the Commonwealth?
Utterly rediculous hyertech, like a nonfunctioning Tipler Cylinder or a high-end metric tampering machinary (read: spacetime engineering). Most of the stuff was built by long-dead civilizations that doesn't work anymore, but the Deep Spacers will jump at the chance of studying a relic for further insights. Finding a functioning one would be the holy grail of the Deep Spacers. It's important to note that the setting is built around the concept of mundane miracles. Your average sophont is surrounded by tech that we consider miraculous but is utterly common for them. It takes some real Godtech to make them perk up. I need a tech article to better describe that.
Anyways, here's an introduction to the staring polity of Accelerating Future. Personally, I think the article needs a bit more tweaking before it goes gold, so to speak, but it gets a rough idea about the Commonwealth across. In the future, I'll probably be adding in more in-universe quotes for flavor in order to make if feel like an in-universe article. How I envision this article is that it will serve as a general introduction to the Commonwealth in a 'Transgalactic Commonwealth' thread. Subsequent articles will cover the Commonwealth Government, the President of the Union, the constituent polities, and the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth.
The Transgalactic Commonwealth is the name given to the “state manifestation of the existing social, societal, political, economic, and interstate community and perpetual union of transgalactic civilization” (Article I, Section I of the Basic Law of the Transgalactic Commonwealth). Commonly referred to as the Transgalactic Union or Transgalactic Republic, the Commonwealth is the transcendent body politic of the Southern Group and the Local Group as a whole, having successfully absorbed or dismantled all other forms of competition in history.
The Transgalactic Commonwealth is officially a federal cyberdemocratic parliamentary republic. It contains multiple levels of government, including the federal government – the Commonwealth Government – and her devolved regional governments, the semi-sovereign and autonomous member polities - the sovereignties -, and their institutions, the innumerable dependencies under the aegis of the Commonwealth or the sovereignties, and the not-fully independent client and associate polities of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Government is the official name of the federal government that heads the Union. It consists of the entirely of the executive body of the Commonwealth, i.e, the President of the Commonwealth – the head of state – the General Minister – the head of government – and the Executive Committee, the various all-Commonwealth ministries and bureaux, and the devolved regional governments. Limiting itself to issues of all-Commonwealth importance and impact, the Commonwealth Government oversees such issues as pan-Commonwealth diplomacy, inter-sovereignty disputes, defense, resource allocation, universal exploration and colonization, large-scale infrastructure and megaengineering projects, and the establishment of uniform standards. Despite rulings over billions of worlds and octillions of citizens, the Commonwealth Government is a surprisingly lean organ. Extensive automation and the use of AI networks for day to day operations and societal maintenance make a massive bureaucracy pointless, while personal augmentation, the datasphere, telepresence, and ubiquitous computing with massive processing power have made civil servants highly efficient and productive in their duties.
By far the most important organ of the Commonwealth is the unicameral Parliament of the Sovereignties in Congress Assembled, frequently shortened to Parliament. Like all other aspects of the Union, Parliament originated from the various assemblies, senates, and parliaments that existed among the interstellar and galactic institutions of the pre-Commonwealth era. Enjoying parliamentary supremacy, Parliament is the supreme organ of governance in the Transgalactic Union, its importance and authority trumping that of all other major organs. Each sovereignty is granted one Member of Parliament, elected to five year terms according to broad Commonwealth standards. In addition, dependent polities and Associates of the Union are frequently granted the right to representation within Parliament, particularly if an issue emerges that directly effects their volume of space. Parliament is a cyberdemocratic institution, with all meetings occurring online in the cybersphere. A massively redundant computer network ensures that Parliament and the Government are always kept functioning, with progressively less advanced but harder to disable computing substrates and communication networks, some of which are practically Neolithic in sophistication, providing backup should the primary hardened networks fail. The processing power and speed provided to Parliament by meeting in a simspace has proven especially invaluable during times of crises, when rapid response and decision making are vital. In addition, the online nature of Parliament conveniently sidesteps the issues involving in managing such a massive legislative body.
The head of state of the Commonwealth and the most important of the Executives of the Union is the President, sometimes known as the Chancellor or Consul depending on linguistic conventions (the Presidency attempts to rectify the confusion by officially styling the title of the head of state as the President, Chancellor, and Consul of the Transgalactic Commonwealth, a bombastic title that appears only in the most formal and ceremonial of documents). Like Parliament, the Presidency is a child born of compromise with regards to the nature of the head of state. The President is elected by popular vote among the citizens of the Commonwealth for a theoretically unlimited number of five standard year terms, as desired by the Federalist faction. To appease the Autonomist and Parliamentary factions, the President upon election would be required to always maintain the basic confidence of Parliament. Failure to do so would result in their resignation and a new round of elections. How long a President can stay in power has varied immensely throughout the ages; some Presidencies have lasted for decades, while others have only lasted for weeks. As head of state, the President serves as chief of state, supreme commander-in-chief, and the highest ranking diplomat of the Executive branch. The President chairs weekly meetings of the Executive Committee alongside the General Minister, and oversees all issues of pan-Commonwealth importance. The President is assisted in their duties by a Vice President and the Privy Council, a collection of advisors headed by the Chief Advisor of the Council. Traditionally, the Chief Advisor has always been a hyperintelligent AGI of a S3 rating or above.
The General Minister of the Commonwealth is the head of government and chief administrator and civil servant of the Commonwealth Government. In contrast to the President, the General Minister is appointed by the head of state and confirmed by Parliament. Typically, the General Minister is the leader of the coalition or dominant party of the coalition that the President belongs to, though technocrats have been appointed at times. The General Minister is the head of the Executive Committee, a governing body consisting of the heads of the ministries (i.e, Diplomatic Ministry, Ministry of Public Safety, Energy Ministry), heads of independent executive agencies and bureaux (Office of Resource Allocation, Commonwealth Intelligence Consortium), and Ministers without Portfolios. The General Minister is responsible to both Parliament and the President, and can be sacked alongside their government if Parliament passes a vote of no confidence or if the President feels it necessary (though the President will never do so if Parliament approves of the General Minister, lest a constitutional crisis emerge). At times, the President and General Minister have developed a strong relationship, with the latter acting as the chief implementer of Presidential decisions and micromanaging government operations. In other cases, however, such as cohabitation, the General Minister will act as a sort of second head of state, acting as a powerful check on the Presidency.
The basic building block of the Commonwealth is the sovereignty, the official term for the wildly different member-states that form it. Most of the original sovereignties in the Milky Way were founding members of the Commonwealth or joined it at a later date, with new sovereignties being carved from colonized regions of space sufficiently developed to stand as independent polities. What a sovereignty is or is not can vary immensely – some are anarchist confederations that encompass millions of star systems, while others are democratic technocracies based on a cluster of stellar brains. Democracies of some sort –, parliamentary, cyber, demarchic, and council, to name some of the most popular – are the most common type of government, though many more types can be found, ranging from elective constitutional monarchies to group mind collectives to small scale federations, confederations, and alliances. While the Basic Law and other Primordial Laws do not specifically ban certain types of governments, those that are not friendly to sophont rights will almost always run afoul of the Basic Law, Charter of Universal Rights, and other Primordial Laws, as do more autocratic polities that do not feature a high enough Sophont Development Index, full civil rights, and other safeguards.
For the most part, sovereignties enjoy broad rights, including the right to organize their society based on popular consensus, manage internal affairs, and raise a security force. Many of the old institutions that united the sovereignties prior to the Commonwealth still exist in some capacity. The Autonomist Solidarity, once the preeminent alliance among autonomist polities, continues on, as does the Core Union and the United States of the Crown Colonies. These interstellar and galactic institutions carry out many duties on behalf of the Commonwealth, such as resource allocation, though the Government has the ultimate right to intervene. Despite their autonomy, the sovereignties are still subordinate to the body politic that is the Union. The Commonwealth is a hyperpower and a federation, and all laws passed by Parliament or Government edicts are universally binding. Even the Great Powers among the sovereignties, resting at the center of a constellation of territories, associate polities, and industrial-military might, cannot resist Commonwealth authority for a significant period of time. Sovereignties that violate Commonwealth laws or sophont rights, sponsor terrorism, or even invade other polities are subject to check by the awesome military might of the Union, and can suffer embarrassing occupation, regime change or even outright dissolution.
While the sovereignties make up a substantial portion of the polities under the Union, a large number of polities within the Commonwealth are not enfranchised or self-governing. The Organized Unincorporated Areas, as they are officially known, are, broadly speaking, junior dependent polities that fall under the aegis and administration of either the Commonwealth Government itself – via the responsible devolved government and Ministry – or a particular sovereignty as authorized by Parliament. Compared to the federated, enfranchised, and semi-sovereign sovereignties, the Organized Unincorporated Areas, or simply the Internal Areas, are not sovereign or fully autonomous. Internal Areas can cover many different types of polities. Traditionally, the most common type of Internal Area is the historically small, immature, and dependent polities that fill the volumes of the Commonwealth. While constituting a minority of the Union’s population and economic productivity, their sheer number – outnumbering sovereignties by a factor of 30 – makes them one of the most numerous types of polities. These dependent polities are often governed as a mandate, held in trust and administrated by either the Commonwealth Government – through the appropriate devolved government and colonial administration – or a particular sovereignty via an Act of Parliament. Beyond the mandates, there also exist colonies under Commonwealth administration (currently the most numerous), insular areas, codominions and the Non-Self Governing Territories, territories under the control of the sovereignties themselves. All the Internal Areas can be the recipient of an Organic Act passed by Parliament that elevates them to sovereignty status if they meet certain criteria and their population desires it through a referendum.
The last major component of the Commonwealth is the External Areas, the not-fully independent polities that exist outside the Commonwealth’s borders. These polities include the Client Polities, those independent polities that have naturally fallen into the sphere of influence of the Union, and the Associate Polities, those that have signed a treaty of association with the Commonwealth in exchange for certain benefits. While technically independent, in reality the Clients and Associates of the Union were intrinsically interconnected with the Commonwealth and her components on a political and economic level, either de jure, as in the case of the Associates, or de facto, as in the case of the Clients. Like the sovereignties and the dependent polities, their scope, power, and structure could vary significantly; some Associates and Clients, such as the 4th Empire and the Extropian Free Volumes, are great powers in their own right, for example. External Areas typically surrender certain prerogatives or grant the Commonwealth special rights, such as the right to establish military bases or assume control of their militaries, in exchange for beneficial arrangements with the Commonwealth Government.
Culture and Memetics
It is difficult to paint a broad picture of Commonwealth culture, mostly because, strictly speaking, a pan-Commonwealth culture does not technically exist. Indeed, having such a monochrome civilization would run contrary to the spirit of the Commonwealth. Instead, it is a staggeringly diverse polyculture, an agglomeration of countless cultures, lifestyles, and memes that frequently and constantly blend into one another as people experiment with new ideas. At one extreme, there are god-like AGIs, hive minds, group minds, and postbeings of potentate power, conducting projects of grand scope. At the other extreme are the teeming masses of nearbaselines living out a similarly infinite number of lifestyles. Tastes in fashion, cuisine, music, art, architecture, etc. are frequently copied, merged, creoled, and coped again. New discoveries in the universe frequently find their way into Commonwealth culture, creating a wave of ‘alien vogue’ in many regions and altering many other cultures as they are assimilated into the greater polyculture.
Despite this polycultural society, large scale trends do emerge. Given enough time, these trends can alter society in highly unexpected ways. It is important to stress, though, that, like the government, these cultural shifts are of a cyclical nature; what might be popular now could radically change in a few thousand years before returning to the standard deviation once again due to social inertia. There have been periods of time in which uploading, simulated reality, and egocasting became highly popular, while others saw a greater collectivist outlook that resulted in vast communal works projects, such as an unprecedented expansion in fixed FTL transit over independent starships. Even the government is not immune to these trends; in some eras, ministries have been replaced by colleges run by secretaries, or commissions run by high commissioners, while the nature and structure of the federal government and the military also change, for example. No matter how radical the cultural shift, society always seems to find a way back to its comfortable, stable center.
While there are millions of official languages in use, the most notable of this assortment is Commonwealth Standard. An artificially constructed language, Standard was based on the idea of creating a language that would be both easy to understand and use. Standard’s grammatical rules are relatively straightforward and concise, and can be picked up by most sophonts relatively quickly. While Standard is taught during a sophont’s formative years and most citizens have at least a basic, conversational knowledge of it, it’s most active users tend to be those whose professions or hobbies result in widespread travel and interaction with a large number of diverse cultures, namely soldiers, civil servants and politicians, businessbeings, explorers, and troubleshooters.
The Transgalactic Commonwealth is massively diverse when it comes to sophont species and clades. The Union encompasses thousands of distinct sophont species, ranging from elder species that are highly pervasive, such as humans and avercyaens, to budding interstellar species that were socially and technologically uplifted in order join the transgalactic community. Transophontism – the modification of the baseline form through cybernetics, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, psychosurgury, and pharmacology – is extremely popular and common among the various member species, and it shows; the number of distinct sub-species, or clades, for even one species can be utterly immense.
Of all the possible chemistries available for the formation of sophont life, the most common within the Union is that of carbon-based life that makes use of water and oxygen due to it being the easiest biochemistry to evolve complex life in and develop technology in. Other types of chemistries, however, are not uncommon. Sophonts whose biochemistries are based on ammonia, hydrogen, chlorine, sulfur, silicones, hydrocarbons, and others exist within the Commonwealth to various extents. While convergent evolution means that many species develop analogues to legs, arms, fingers, wings, heads, eyes, etc. due to their optimal design, evolution also guarantees that there will be many wonderfully diverse body plans, features, and abilities among sophont species based on the particularities of a species’ environment and cosmic events; there just as many ‘alien’ sophonts as there are ‘humanoid’ (as in two arms and legs, one head, bipedal design) sophonts.
As previously mentioned, most sophonts will modify themselves with technology for various purposes, creating a wide array of sub-species, or clades. In addition, the ability to back up a sophont’s conscience, run it on a computing substrate, or transfer it to a new body is freely available and quite common, with countless types of bodies, known as morphs, available. Indeed, this dizzying array of morphs and clades can overwhelm some individuals, which is why the Commonwealth has standardized morph and clades into several distinct categories.
• Biomorph: Strictly speaking, biomorphs are any morph or clade that consists primarily of biological components, with cybernetics and dry nanotechnology providing complementary – and often times significant - augmentation. Biomorphs can run from the unassuming and restrained, such as a nearbaseline morph with only modest enhancement, to the exotic and bleeding edge. While weaker in terms of such qualities as durability, strength, reaction time, etc. compared to synthmorphs, genegineernig, cybernetics, and supporting technology has done much to shrink the gap. In addition, many sophonts find a biological form to be familiar and comforting, usually keeping one for everyday use. Clades that are categorized as biomorphic include nearbaselines, parasophonts (biomorphs spliced with foreign DNA), bioroids/pods, uplifts, ultimates, neogens (uniquely designed lifeform), and others. Biomorphs can either be grown as a whole organism or as modular components fused together (such as with bioroids). Cyborgs tend to be viewed as a separate designator that can be attached to any particular clade or morph. Some of the most high end biomorphs tend to be biosynthetic morphs with considerable cybernetic components. Total conversion cyborgs tend to blur the line with synthmorphs.
• Synthmorph: A synthetic morph, or synthmorph, is a fully robotic morph with no biological components. Proponents of synthmorphs ague that they provide significantly greater benefits than purely biological or biosynthetic morphs, such as greater strength, durability, sensory capabilities, and no dependence on eating, sleeping, or breathing. Synthmorphs are perhaps even more diverse than biomorphs, including such clades as androids, mechanoids, von Neumanns, nanomorphs, total conversion cyborgs (debatable), biomechanoids (aka, cybrids), sophont spacecraft, and others.
• Infomorph: Also known as digital intelligences, infomorphs are those morphs that existed solely as information in a computing substrate. Freed from the dependence on physical forms, infomorphs can take on whatever form they choose within cyberspace and have near-God like powers within ‘inner space’ depending on the processing power at their disposal. If necessary, infomorphs can remotely operate or download themselves into a physical avatar of whatever type they choose. Infomorphs can include expert systems (non-sophont), AGIs, and uploads.
Economy and Industry
Given cornucopia technology, access to the superabundant raw materials and energy of the universe, von Neumann probes, and superintelligent expert systems, it is of little surprise that the Commonwealth as a whole operates an effective postscarcity economy. The average citizen is tremendously wealthy and enjoys an unparalleled standard of living compared to past ages. All the basic needs of the citizenry and even goods once considered to be extreme luxuries are freely provided through either a generous daily stipend of raw materials and energy or through common manufactories. Those items that are truly scarce, such as land, additional resources, novelty goods, and modern luxuries, are distributed depending on the politics of the sovereignties; some polities make use of a market economy, while others have abandoned fiat money for reputation, technosocialist, or energy economics. The same superabundance of wealth and material resources that has massively enriched society has also allowed the Commonwealth to undertake truly cyclopean cosmic engineering projects that bind its realms together and create a vast defense establishment without equal in quantity and quality. Such is the level of wealth available to a type III civilization. While scarcity still exists for the collective whole – there will always be resource and production bottlenecks, particularly in exotic technologies -, scarcity for the individual is nothing more than a bad dream.
The liberation from the dependence of working for survival and modern technology has dramatically changed the nature of employment. The difference between an intensive hobby and a career has blurred to the point of irrelevance, as citizens choose to work in areas they are truly passionate about. Dirty and undesirable but necessary jobs are managed by AIs and bots to free up sophonts to pursue their interests. Those that work frequently modify themselves and sleeve into a morph suited for their profession, or simply remote operate a bioshell or synthshell from an office or home. The use of AR overlays and simulated reality environments are ubiquitous, often eliminating traditional offices in the process as whole departments or even businesses feature virtual facilities. Additional wealth beyond that which is freely provided is awarded to those that contribute to society in the private and public sector. While it is inefficient to provide employment to sophonts who wish for it compared to simply automating the entire process, the hyperproductivity and efficiency of the economy easily absorbs the costs of providing work and remuneration for said work.
As previously mentioned, scarcity for the individual is no more, but scarcity for the whole still does. Rather than being focused on limited supply of goods, however, scarcity for the Commonwealth comes in the form of the monstrous but fixed quantities of raw materials and energy it has at any given moment. While the sovereignties have the right to organize their economy as they see fit, the Commonwealth ultimately assumes responsibility for resource allocation in matters that affect the Union as a whole. The Office of Resource Planning is the primary institution that handles the macroeconomic planning of the all-Commonwealth services. Through its enormously powerful computer networks and the raw processing power of its hyperintelligent infomorphs, the ORP can estimate production levels and resource needs for Commonwealth industry and projects to a precise degree, as well as account for potential pitfalls, such as resource or production bottlenecks. The regional galactic institutions often provide assistance in resource allocation for those polities under its influence, freeing up the Union in the process. While not particularly loved by certain sovereignties or factions, even the most staunch opponent of the ORP's centralized planning admit that it is effective.
The total territory of the Transgalactic Commonwealth is centered mostly within the Milky Way sub-group. The majority of the Milky Way, roughly 65% or so, falls under its authority, as do territories in the Magellanic Clouds and dwarf satellites. Extensive colonial settlements have already been developed within the Andromeda sub-cluster, with the lion’s share in Triangulum and Andromeda proper. Beyond that, there are several thousand minor colonies, outposts, and enclaves scattered throughout the rest of the Known Universe.
The Commonwealth as a rule of thumb will make use of any object for habitation, whether it is natural or artificial. The preference for artificial or natural worlds heavily depends on the needs, environment, and culture of a particular region. The Core Worlds Region, located region in the Milky Way where the spiral arms meet the bulge, and technocratic or technocratic-leaning polities make almost exclusive use of artificial megastructure habitats, for example. Unlike natural worlds, artificial habitats are fully controllable, much more space efficient, completely customizable, and can support far larger populations. Stellar-scale megastructures, such as Dyson spheres, ringworlds, Alderson disks, Jupiter shells, and topopuli, are widespread for industrial, military, and habitation purposes, with countless large-scale (up to tens of thousands of kilometers) space habitats and stations being even more common throughout the Commonwealth.
Natural worlds, which include planets, moons, asteroids, gas giants, and brown dwarfs, are exploited for a number of uses. Habitation is one of the more obvious uses, and can vary from aerostat colonies on a Venusian pressure cooker of a world and giant underground bunker-megacities on a sterile moon to city worlds housing hundreds of trillions to quadrillions of inhabitants and artificially sculpted ‘luxury liner’ worlds. While makers and food vats can provide large quantities of foodstuffs, it is quite common for certain worlds to be turned wholesale to the production of food and other organic goods. These agriworlds are most common in galactic regions that are hospitable to life and are preferred to artificial agriworlds due to nature doing all the setup work beforehand. Agriworlds are particularly valuable for heavily urbanized and densely populated worlds. Dead worlds are frequently targeted for conversion into cornucopia worlds - planets, asteroids, and moons given over to pure manufacturing through either in-situ resource collection or outside sources. Finally, there are those worlds that are utterly useless to the average sophont, but are prime locations for hiding, testing weapons, conducting experiments, or dumping something and trying to forget it ever existed.
Originally, the Commonwealth had no standing military force save for a joint multipolity task force and a unified command structure. As the limits to such a system became more apparent, the need for a standing pan-Commonwealth military became accepted, though some sovereignties were adamantly opposed to the concept and seceded. The Armed Forces of the Commonwealth is responsible for the overall protection of the Commonwealth’s citizenry and dependents within its sphere of influence and projecting its power across the Known Universe. It draws upon the traditions and organization of countless other militaries; its renowned professionalism stems from the Armed Forces of the Olympian Concordiat, while its famed democratic-meritocratic election of officers is adopted from the Cyteric Self-Defense Forces. It’s administrative and resource needs managed by the Ministry of Defense, all military matters are governed by Commonwealth High Command, specifically the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and his staff. Below him are the heads of each of the armed services, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of the Army General Staff, and the Commandant of the Espatier Corps. The Director of Transgalactic Intelligence/Director-General of the Commonwealth Intelligence Consortium frequently attends meetings as well. In terms of operations, the AFC is divided up into the Commonwealth Navy, Commonwealth Army, and Commonwealth Espatier Corps.
The senior service, the Commonwealth Navy conducts such myriad operations as space superiority, base strikes, spacelane interdiction, planetary and stellar destruction, local/tactical/strategic ortillery, and escorting the Army and Espatier Corps to their destinations. During times of peace, the Navy can count on billions of warships, ranging in size from hundred meter long scout ships to combat planetoids the size of Luna. Autonomous and semi-autonomous robotic vessels– the spacecraft themselves ranging from expendable tin cans to automated terrors – are very common and form a integral component of the Navy. The massive numbered starfleets of the Navy tend to have varying ratios of robot to crewed warcraft depending on their current mission and deployment orders, and, thanks to a fleet of cornucopia tenders, construction swarms, and support craft, can 'live off the land' and even expand to massive levels should the Admiralty deem it expedient. Transophontism thrives in the Navy. Infomorphs and forks tend to be ubiquitous in the Navy, filling the role of pilots, shipminds, infowarfare operators, and drone minders. Enhancements are also very common for all spacemen, ranging from chief engineers being vacuum adapted and radiation resistant to flag officers linking their mind to massive computer networks for increased intellect, while it is a common practice for all crew and AIs of a ship to link themselves into a gestalt consciousness during combat for maximum efficiency.
The Commonwealth Army, while lacking the importance of the Navy or the glamour of the Espatiers, is nonetheless vital to the survival of the Commmonweath. In terms of personel, the Army is the largest of all the services, and holds the distinction of being the largest army in the Known Universe. It is an all-volunteer force, with its citizen-soldiers equipped with the best weapons, armor, equipment, augments, and morphs available, including battle armor with a full weapon, defense, and propulsion suite, a wide variety of support and heavy weapons, top-of-the-line vehicles, autonomous, semi-autonomous, and remote operated warbots, and combat morphs. A noticable percentage of the Army, however, consists of warbots of all grades and specially commissioned bioroids. These vast, synthetic armies are invaluable to volunteers, as they are extremely useful and as a force multiplier. Armored formations, particularly of the heavy type, are very common in the Commonwealth Army, and play a vital role in its strategy of nodal warfare, the securing of key military, political, industrial, communication, and cosmodrone facilities in order to secure a world. As the Army is responsible for all operations within an object’s gravity well, it also controls the quasi-autonomous aerospace force, marines, and maritime fleet, each with their own unique rank structure and traditions.
In contrast to the Army, the Commonwealth Espatier Corps is a lighter, more mobile force meant to handle rapid response operations and expeditionary warfare in every imaginable environment. To this end, the Espatiers lack much of the heavy and superheavy war materiel that the Army enjoys in favor of speed and mobility. It would be a mistake to assume that the Espatiers lack much in the way of firepower, however. Much of the strategic and tactical fire support is instead provided by orbital and aerospace assets, such as their battleship-transports or transatmospheric gunships, which, combined with the spacemobile nature of the Espatiers, allows them to strike fast and brutally hard, crippling enemy forces and securing landing zones before they lose their advantage. Their need to fight in every type of conceivable environment has led the Espatier to make use of whole legions devoted to unique environments, including the vacuum of space, Venusian pressure cooker worlds, the crushing depths of colonized oceans, and radiation-bathed celestial bodies. The Espatiers are often presented as a force of elites with considerable ceremony and tradition, a reputation the Corps strives to live up to. Whole legions have often been promoted to Guards status for their valor and skill, while individual Espatiers who show promise are often transferred to special forces regiments, such as the Espatier Raiders.
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