The Catastrophe was a time of chaos and darkness; we, as a species, were floundering and struggling to survive. A number of factions rose up out of the ashes of humanity to guide and steer the remnants of our civilization to safety. Today we’d like to introduce you to the Consortium!
With our civilization teetering on a precipice, the Consortium had the resources and influence to provide us with a bastion during catastrophically troubled times. Of course, any powerful organization that rules will be met by some sort of opposition. There are those who would accuse the Consortium of many unsavoury practices while others argue that these are just disgruntled dissidents and that it provides safety and stability in a time of turmoil.
Generally speaking, its citizens perceive a sense of individual liberty, ownership of businesses, education and health, and subsidized welfare programs, but taxation is high and complex bureaucracy very much the norm. While military service is not currently compulsory, joining the service is associated with good citizenship and accords its members with unique social and economic privileges.
Some say that there is, perhaps beneath the shining symbol of stability, a dangerous veneer of control and, indeed, the Consortium has been called expansionist as it has often been quite ruthless when opposed. On the other hand, individual stations are ruled by appointed governors (civilian and military) who tend to have a free hand in how they govern as long as they meet the government’s requirements for trade, support, and defense. While petty corruption by elected or appointed officials is usually tolerated, treasonable activities and gross misconduct are punishable by death. The Consortium has a first-class surveillance and security department to keep their citizens safe. There are those that would add propaganda and strong-arm tactics to this list as well, though who knows if these types of political malcontents can be trusted?
In the aftermath of the Catastrophe, the Consortium seems to have two imperatives: reestablishing control over all systems and preventing another Catastrophe. Though they are currently working with the Gaule Protectorate to rebuild, their relationship is one of convenience, and a very definite “cold war” could be said to exist between the two affiliations.