The Citizenship of Virtue

12 Jun

Started writing this as novel background.  Thoughts?

The Citizenship of Virtue

It is impossible to understand the Citizenship without understanding its history, so we will begin with a brief digression. Humanity’s first wave of expansion into interstellar space (once the jump drive was invented in 2123) was spearheaded by national entities; the second wave was spearheaded by corporate and religious organisations and the third by various smaller groups that wished to settle their own worlds away from the rest of the human race. By 2434, there were over 900 settled worlds within human space, loosely divided into the Core Worlds, the Independent Worlds and the Rim Worlds. The League of Planets provided what little overall government there was, but as voting rights in the League were based on population size it was inevitable that the Core Worlds would come to dominate the League and enforce their policies on the Rim Worlds. (The Independent Worlds were large enough not to be easy to push around, even by the League.)

These tensions might have torn the League apart if humanity hadn’t encountered its first alien race in 2434. The Dragons (as humanity came to know them) were an expansionist empire who saw humanity as just another target. A long period of cold war ensured, but Core World political leaders refused to believe that the Dragons were a real threat, despite raids mounted by Dragon ‘renegades’ on various Rim Worlds. Open warfare broke out in 2464 when the Dragons finally threw off the deception and invaded, overrunning many of the Rim Worlds in the first 48 hours of the war. Luckily, their deep strike at the League Naval Base on Tantalus failed, allowing the League Navy to fall back rather than being destroyed as intended.

Seventy years of war followed, with humanity finally gaining an advantage over the Dragons that would have led to their eventual defeat. Understanding this, the Dragons offered the League an armistice and peace talks, an offer that was gratefully accepted by Core World political leaders, despite advice from the military and the Rim Worlds. The naysayers proved to be right; having rebuilt their forces, the Dragons launched a savage attack on the League that penetrated to Earth itself before being destroyed. Billions of humans died in the savage attack on humanity’s homeworld.

As soon as the Dragon assault had been broken and the remaining ships sent fleeing for their lives, Admiral Jayne Fryeburg led a military coup against the League Government, arresting political leaders and taking the government into her own hands. The new junta took command of the war effort – arresting most of the so-called ‘peace lobby’ that had either been tricked by the Dragons or had been pushed into working for them – and gathered humanity’s resources for war. Twenty more years of warfare followed, but with humanity’s forces no longer under political restraints and new policies that prevented corporations from raping the Rim Worlds its eventual success was assured. The League Navy broke through the final defences of Dragon Prime in 2558, destroying the planet’s surface in retribution for the devastation wreaked on Earth. By 2560, the war was over; the remaining Dragon planets were sealed off by orbital weapons platforms under orders to obliterate any attempt to rebuild a spacefaring tech base.

Fryeburg and her allies concentrated on rebuilding the League to prevent political careerists from ever bringing it so close to destruction again. Specifically, the right to vote was stripped from everyone who had not served in the military (the Rim Worlds had a higher proportion of military servicemen than the Core Worlds, giving them an advantage) and regained only upon completion of two years of service to the state. This didn’t just mean military service, but the would-be citizen had no right to dictate where he or she would serve. There were riots on Earth when this was announced, riots which failed to achieve anything beyond a number of protestors being dispatched to labour camps. The new government had no intention of repeating the mistakes of the past.

Each planet in the Citizenship is governed by an elected Council, headed by a Premier. They have internal autonomy as long as they do not challenge the Citizenship’s overall Constitution and Government. (A handful of worlds have successfully overturned the ‘military service = right to vote’ concept, but they have to convince the overall government that this is justified.)

Overall affairs are handled by Congress and the Senate. Congress is elected by Citizens from all over the Citizenship; the Senate is elected by Congress and consists mainly of active-duty officers who split their time between government and military service. (In practice, Senators, once selected, tend to take a year’s leave of absence to sit in the Senate.) The two Grand Admirals, who split the post of Head of State, are expected to be both experienced military men as well as politicians. When war threatens, one Grand Admiral takes command of the overall fleet while the other remains behind, organising the war effort. Subordinate commands are taken by Senators.

This presents something of a paradox for the outside observer. By law, a Citizen does not become a Citizen until he/she has completed federal service and formally been dismissed from the service. At the same time, senior government officials seem to be allowed to hold office without having completed their service. The paradox is resolved, however, by the fact that everyone has to complete at least two years – at which point the new Citizen can re-enter the military or seek public office, which brings its own military service. Many ‘straight’ military personnel (those that are promoted without seeking public office) provide advice and help to their new commanding officers, while others may find themselves formally enlisted in the Senate without actually standing for office.

Each Citizen is sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These outline the system of government and the rights of both Citizens and Civilians. Despite being disenfranchised, Civilians still have rights that must be honoured.

4 Responses to “The Citizenship of Virtue”

  1. Joe N. Smith June 15, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    The basic concept is reminescent of Heinlein’s STARSHIP TROOPERS; the book, not that horrid movie. The only thing the scriptwriter borrowed from the book was the title, not any of the things that made it such a great book.

    • chrishanger June 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Same basic idea, but with changes to make it more likely to run off the rails 200 years down the line. Chris

  2. The Deposed King June 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Yeah having a military Junta in power for any length of time makes things problematic.

    I’m not sure about the title of Grand Admiral running the government. Its basically the roman Consul system of dual executive government.

    Despite the quibble it sounds interesting.

    The Deposed King

    • chrishanger June 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      Same basic idea – and same basic flaw. So the story would really be about the Second Civil War – Pompey against Ceasar. Chris

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