The Sword and the Star
|Neutron star||post-nova shell||Omicron Persei|
|Gate Orbital Station||Pre-Scream Space Station||seat of government||3,100,000|
This system doesn’t have planets at all, but instead a space station orbiting a post-supernova star. The original population was completely devastated during the Scream, but it has since been populated by interstellar wayfarers and has had a permanent population for nearly a century now. The permanent population is quite small, compared to terrestrial populations, but there is a much larger semipermanent and transient population as wayfarers go in and out from both the Draconis Empire and the distant stellar nations on the other side, rimwards. The space station is far too large for its population, and countless halls and rooms lay in varying states of darkness and disrepair.
Permanent residents are usually pretty high-wealth. Most of the space station isn’t even inhabited, so pretty much anyone can have as much space as they’d like, although societal pressures tend push people to cohabitate near the spaceport. The system is, by some definitions, a military autocracy, but there is a robust and influential civilian council called GOSPEL. It’s hardly anything approaching oppressive; of the 3,100,000 permanent residents, about a third of them are military, so the distinction between civilians and military is not as pronounced as in other places. In addition, there’s not really any general laborers on Gate. Even the ones that run the food facilities are expert biologists and are familiar with the machines they need to do the job. The remaining 2,000,000 people are mostly some variety of either experts in some field or businessmen. Of the ships that pass through—well, it’s expensive to have crew in space. Most of them are experts as well.
When they go to war, they don’t joke around, either. They have better stellar infrastructure than most planets, so what they lack in quantity they make up for in both quality of ships and quality of pilots.1 If violence has broken out with the Draconis Empire, as it occasionally does, they hire auxiliaries from the rimward side who come in and fight alongside. The primary military officers in the Gate astromilitary are the Austerlitz brothers.
Why doesn’t Gate have a psionic academy or psions in the military?
Because literally the only way to teach psions is to have psions; genesis of trained psions is incredibly costly in terms of human life. Either no or not enough trained psions settled in Gate during its formation, and it then became economical to outsource the academy training.
It’s easy for us to say “well they should just found a psionic academy,” but in practice it’s more complicated than that. The emergent propertiesof foundation left Gate with a professional psion-hunting team, but not any good psions, since the best psions are produced at Alpha Draconis—where the most psionic teachers and resources exist—but Alpha-D is the traditional enemy of Gate. Also, because of the curiously interconnected and liberal nature of all the psionic academies, even having psions in the military is a security risk for Gate and an academy is an even bigger one Because they are always outnumbered and utilize pretech facilities, security breaches are a much bigger deal.
Why is Gate so much more intellectual than other areas?
Because it bears the unique distinction of being founded exclusively by early spacefarers, all of whom were experts in at least one, if not multiple fields due to the logistical requirement back then of supporting life on a ship. This created a strong founder effect which carries on today, making Gate culturally intellectual.
Why does Gate hate psions so much?
It’s a position that built over time. They never had a psionic academy because of a relatively small population and also because of the Red Beacon, and over time, as they and other nations came into their own and developed powerful spacefaring cultures, Gate came into conflict with these other nations and had to fight psions without any to directly contest.
Gate Political Parties
Rather than sporting political parties, they modularize contemporary relevant issues for palatability, and then if there’s a candidate for GOSPEL they have defined stances on issues based on the modules. GOSPEL is indelibly intertwined with the military; some GOSPEL chairmen are appointed by military while some military positions are voted for.
Some prominent issues right now are:
- the rights and status of ever-present mercenaries and merchants from out of system, since their fate and fortune is now tied into Gate
- the process of making immigrants into full citizens
- rates of reclamation of space station territory
- government funding for scavenging and scouting
- whether additional positions in the military should be based on merit, rather than voting, and who should make those decisions on merit
- the decision-making authority of GOSPEL vs the decision-making authority of the popular vote
Also, some temporary issues that have arisen due to the war:
- housing and supply for out-of-system mercenaries
- funding and resource diversion for the Gate astromilitary
- whether martial law should be returned to something that means anything
- whether an effort should be made to find and either convince to return/kill Kapitän Austerlitz
- whether Gate should invest itself in the battles in the Astral Alacrity star system
1 With a +1, you probably wouldn’t qualify for military pilot status.