The Terran Protectorate
It is the largest human government that has ever existed, and has risen to become one of the most powerful governments in known space, both due to its economic and military might. This has earned the Terran Protectorate, and it's almost entirely human population, the respect and envy of other governments and empires.
The planet Terra in the Terra Nuevo system. An earth-like planet to begin with, it has been terraformed to be an ecological twin to the cradle of the human race, long-abandoned Earth. The only major differences are its land masses, divided into three large continents and several sizeable islands.
Sphere of Influence
The Terran Protectorate is the third largest empire in known space, ranking just below the Arkhon Freehold. The only empire larger than the Arkhon Freehold are the holdings of the Vorhasi. It borders directly with the Free Colonies and the Freehold, and there is just a small amount of space between the Protectorate and the former Empire of Many Suns. It has an estimated 60 billion citizens across an area of space more than 300 light years in diameter.
The Protectorate prefers to expand through exploration and colonization of unsettled worlds and typically expands away from its neighbors. The creation of the Terminus Line and a lack of habitable planets beyond Vesta sector have finally slowed what was 200 years of rapid expansion.
The Terran Protectorate formed shortly after a nearly bloodless war with the Xintrin Merchant Guild over trade disputes. While the conflict involved little actual combat and was resolved amicably and in short order, it impressed upon the scattered holdings of the Crèche Clans of humanity that they needed a centralized government and military to coordinate trade and commerce and to represent the interests of humanity coherently to outside powers. The only reasonable governing concept that seemed to work over such a vast and varied stretch of space and people was that of a Protectorate.
A protectorate is a form of government where autonomous territories agree to be protected diplomatically and militarily by a stronger state; in this case Terra. All of the worlds that are officially members of the Protectorate pledge allegiance to Terra, agree to raise regiments in the defense of the protectorate, pay trade tariffs on interstellar imports and exports that support the military, bureaucracy and infrastructure of the Protectorate. The colonies also agree that they will be governed by a representative democracy in the form of their choosing. Each member state also sends a representative to Terra. In return, they are protected by the Terran Protectorate military, are included in the interstellar quantum communication and commerce system, and can trade more or less freely with the other member states of the Protectorate. However, they are still technically sovereign worlds.
The Protectorate is divided into sectors. In each sector, a governor oversees the interests of the Terran Protectorate. In times of peace, these governors are typically civilian. But during times of war they are typically replaced with military governors with expanded powers. Member worlds often have colonies on several different planets, which are considered holdings of that world. However, there must always be a process in place for when that holding wants to declare independence to either go it alone or become a member state of the Protectorate.
The Protectorate has three branches of government; executive, judicial and legislative. The Executive branch is controlled by the Executive Council, which is made of three members; the President, the Prime Minister and the Grand Marshal. The President is essentially the chief executive and answers directly to the people. The President has the power to introduce legislation and can be of a different party than the majority of the parliament. The president oversees the upholding of the laws and sets domestic and foreign policy. The Prime Minister is appointed by Parliament and usually is a member of the most powerful party or coalition of parties. He or she oversees the Protectorate Administrators, who run the various arms of the government, and sets the budget. The Grand Marshal is appointed by the joint chiefs and is the highest ranking military officer, and the only person who holds rank in both the Stellar Navy and the Colonial Marine Corps. The Grand Marshal oversees the military and matters of interstellar security and defense. In any case, an action by one member of the executive council can be overturned by a vote of the other two members. Otherwise, each member of the council is free to oversee their "portfolio" of responsibilities as they see fit.
The Judicial branch is controlled by a tribunal of three chief justices, appointed by the Executive Council and approved by a vote of Parliament. These are positions for life. Since its inception, it has been a tradition to have one justice be liberal, another conservative and the third a centrist, although that is an unspoken agreement and not a hard-and-fast rule. The tribunal oversees the various courts throughout the Protectorate, and can choose to review and overturn a law at any time by a unanimous vote.
The legislative branch is headed by the Parliament, which consists of an elected representative from each member state. They make laws, appoint the Prime Minister, approve treaties and must vote on whether the Protectorate goes to war. Each representative is expected to represent the interest of their particular member state.
To become a member state, a planet must meet several requirements. 1. It must be an independent colony world with a democratic government. 2. It must raise two regiments for the Colonial Marine Corps.; one of which must be an infantry regiment. 3. It must build a quantum communication center using its own resources and technology. 4. Its citizens must vote to place the colony under the aegis of the Terran Protectorate. When all requirements are met, the petition is voted on by Parliament and must be approved by a two-thirds vote.
The upholding of the Protectorates laws once a member state is approved is the responsibility of the Magistrates, which are paramilitary law enforcement officials with some judicial power assigned to each member state. Magistrates are members of the judicial branch, but policy is set by the Executive Council and they are overseeing the laws enacted by the Parliament.
The Terran Protectorate was founded by colonists from Earth, most of whom were frozen fertilized eggs harvested from fertility clinics across the globe and raised in massive Crèches by the adult colonists. Shortly after Terra was settled and began to explore neighboring worlds, humanity fractured into the so-called Crèche Clans, each founded from a different crèche school. The Crèche clans were the ultimate powers in human society until the formation of the Protectorate. Even now they still hold tremendous power and every citizen considers himself or herself a member of one clan or another through blood lineage. Beyond that, they are not very different from humanity now, and vary greatly in cultures based on both clan allegiance and world of origin.
There are two branches of the Terran Protectorate Armed Services: The Stellar Navy and the Colonial Marines. The Stellar Navy's job is to defend space over Terran Protectorate member states, secure interstellar trade routes, explore uncharted space and, when necessary, achieve space dominance in the skies of enemy worlds. The Colonial Marines are charged with defending the planets of the Protectorates themselves from foreign invaders, and to take and hold enemy territory when necessary. Each member state is expected to host recruiters for the Stellar Navy and to raise regiments for the Colonial Marine Corps.
The main arm of the Stellar Navy is the Stellar Fleet, which consists of thousands of military starships. The Fleet is divided into sector fleets which are designed to function autonomously, defending each sector of the Protectorate. This is because it would take too long to gather military support from other sectors if one sector was attacked. Each sector fleet has a series of major bases known as anchorages throughout Protectorate space. Besides defense, the navy is tasked with delivering humanitarian aid and relief to Protectorate colonies in danger due to natural disasters and other problems, and also has a large exploration branch, which explores and expands the Protectorate borders.
The Colonial Marine Corps is divided into regiments. Each regiment consists entirely of citizens of one member state and has between 2,500 and 10,000 marines. Regiments are numbered according to the order they were created by their sponsor world. Their name is that of their sponsor world, and they are also identified by their specialty. So, the eighth regiment of marines ever created on the planet Elysium, specializing in mechanized infantry, would be known as the Eighth Elysium Mechanized Infantry Regiment. The 44th regiment created on the planet York, a reconnaissance regiment, would be known as the 44th York Reconnaissance Regiment. This is typically shortened to the Elysium 8th or the York 44th. Although only two regiments are required at inception, member states are constantly raising new regiments as they recruit more volunteers. In general, each member planet becomes known for a certain type of unit and makes mostly regiments of that type and infantry regiments in equal amounts.
In addition to the Protectorate armed services, each member planet maintains a militia whose sole purpose is defense of that planet and its holdings. They do not take offensive actions against other worlds and have no authority outside of that member state's recognized territory. They deal mainly with domestic problems and in-system crime, like smuggling. They are also expected to deal with civil problems, like uprisings and outright civil war, which the Colonial Marines and Stellar Navy will not get involved in unless it begins to affect other planets in the Protectorate.
Terran Protectorate ships are well-rounded with good speed and maneuverability, and typically employ turrets to create a full zone of coverage around the vessel. The Stellar Navy mainly relies on carrier-based fleets backed up by powerful battleships and escorted by destroyers and frigates. The fleet softens targets up with waves of strike fighters, stripping them of defenses and then move in the big guns to finish enemy ships off. Ground forces generally employ a variety of weapons, but rely most heavily on firearms using rocket rounds: projectiles, similar to bullets, that use a two-stage accelerant to achieve speeds many times that of a traditional bullet. Soldiers are often augmented by exoskeletons, power armor and fast-attack combat vehicles like hover tanks.
The Terran Protectorate is best known among other alien races for the development of the negative mass drive, which was far from the first FTL system developed, but was the first small, affordable system that allowed FTL use by independent operators and business owners. Human negative mass drives have sold well in the Empire of Many Suns and compete with similar Xintrin drives (which were developed by back-engineering human negative mass drives). The second most noteworthy technology the Protectorate is known for is its artificial intelligence systems and its computers in general. The Terran Protectorate's level of technology is below that of the Arkhon by about a generation, and on par with the Mogg'Theran and Xintrin Merchant Guild. It surpasses the technology of the Arnuban, Rhtharians, Fahreen and most other minor species.
The technology of the Protectorate took a leap forward during the early years of human exploration with the discovery of Alexandria, a moon of the gas giant Cleopatra. Explorers discovered an observatory for a long-lost alien species that was hundreds of years more advanced than humanity. The discovery of several caches of data led to leaps in energy production and gravity manipulation, which resulted in power generation advances and faster FTL drives that can propel a vessel hundreds of times the speed of light.
The Terran Protectorate exports FTL drives, computer systems, luxury items and raw resources. It imports exotic goods and materials.
Relationships with other governments
The Arkhon Imperial Freehold Co-Prosperity Alliance: The Terran Protectorate won a war against the Arkhon about 60 years ago and is currently embroiled in a second war with this government. The fighting is vicious and little quarter is being given. The Protectorate has stated that this time it intends to persecute the war until it destroys the Arkhon ability to wage war on its neighbors.
The Xintrin Merchant Guild: This is the closest ally to the Terran Protectorate besides the Free Colonies. Although the Protectorate formed after humanity nearly went to war with the Xintrin, the two governments have become fast friends with brisk trade between them. There are also about 100,000 Xintrin who are citizens of the Protectorate, which is otherwise almost an entirely human empire. The Protectorate is trying to convince the Merchant Guild to openly enter into an alliance with the Protectorate, but the Xintrin have balked because that would immediately draw them into the war with the Arkhon.
The Empire of Many Suns: The Protectorate has relations with the Arnuban and the Fahreen factions of the former Empire, as well as with several nomadic Mogg'Theran fleets. It has little to no contact with the Sigmari, primarily due to distance. It still harbors animosity for the Rhtharians, who sided with the Arkhon in the last war and raided Protectorate shipping. The Rhtharians are sitting this conflict out and have tried to make overtures to the Protectorate to normalize relations, but have met with a chilly reception.
The Free Colonies: The Free Colonies are former member states of the Protectorate, once forming an entire sector. Despite the secession, the two are close allies based on cross-border clan connections and their shared human ancestry.
The Vorhasi: The Terran Protectorate is eager to learn more about this enigmatic species. The Vorhasi have contacted the Terran Protectorate on a number of occasions, but the incidents have been enigmatic and seemingly at random.
The Starfarers and Novaslayers: These two groups have taken great interest in humanity, and both sides have recruited from humans. However, they tend to be in closer contact with the Free Colonies than the Protectorate. The Protectorate officially has no opinion on their ongoing conflict, however it is believed that both have a couple allies in Parliament...possibly even actual members within the government.