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All that hard work, undone...
 
Chapter Thirteen - Science at Mid-Century

eoncommander

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By the middle of the 3rd century, vailon technological achievement had far surpassed the predictions of even the most optimistic observers at the dawn of the space age. In fields ranging from artificial intelligence to biology, scientists had made significant advances that unlocked new possibilities for the TUG.

During this period, AI researchers began exploring the applications of advanced machine learning techniques from the early decades of the space age. By 215, simple AI programs were handling most administrative work within the Science Directory, so that scientists could spend more of their own time on their research. Automated shipboard routines allowed for the construction of larger, more efficient colonization ships, which could bring more resources to bear on developing new settlements on colonized planets. AI-backed combat simulations not only provided improved training for naval officers, but also led to the development of dedicated combat computers that extended the capabilities of individual ships in specialized roles. As incremental improvements continued into the 250s, experts projected that major breakthroughs were imminent; in the coming years, one area in which researchers were confident of making a breakthrough was robotics and autonomous machinery.

Xenobiology was the fastest-growing field in the first half of the 3rd century, as the vailon understanding of life expanded beyond the narrow horizons of their homeworld. Formal projects like the habitable world survey, an analysis and classification of exoplanet biomes that was completed in 224, and the ongoing cataloging of alien fauna, provided exabytes of data for researchers on Tebazed. These studies contributed to a major breakthrough in 216, as autobiologists successfully isolated the DNA of vailon cells and began mapping genomes for the first time. In the early years, this process was expensive and slow; however, once genomists began making use of the rapidly advancing AI programs developed by the Philosophy Section, genome mapping became commonplace; by the late 240s, tailored genetic treatments had become the norm, including the replacement of defective organs with cloned tissue.

The 250s saw almost a complete turnover in the scientific leadership of the TUG, as the researchers and explorers who saw the birth of the interstellar age began to retire or die. Brief biographies of some of the new administrators and exploration ship captains can be found below.

JargimDenVathrag.jpg

Jargim den Vathrag was an influential figure in the Telnik administration.

Jargim den Vathrag – Vathrag was born in 220 in the Bessemar megalopolis on the continent of Lopinira. From a young age, she was a precocious student, demonstrating a deep intellectual curiosity that manifested itself in the wide-ranging scope of her interests. After graduating in 240, she was posted to a position as an analyst in the Director-General’s office; after Telnik took office the following year, she quickly demonstrated a facility with managing the vast and complex workload that caused many of her colleagues to burn out under the new administration. By the middle of the decade, Vathrag had become a key advisor in Telnik’s inner circle, with a portfolio that focused primarily on scientific research and economic management. In 250, the head of the Sociology Section in the Science Directory, Pudrig den Vagors, announced his retirement at the age of 86, and Vathrag was appointed to the position, becoming the youngest vailon in a century posted to a sub-cabinet level assignment. In 255, she was formally incorporated into Telnik’s cabinet as the Director of Science.

Vadrig den Boknar – Boknar was the eldest of the new scientific leadership of the TUG, and she would spend most of her career out of the limelight. She was born in 200 in a small city in Mastadar, in the mountainous border region with Hasar. Hydro power was the basis for the regional economy; rivers flowing out of the alpine heights, carving massive gorges as they went, created perfect sites for the huge turbines that powered half the continent. Growing up amidst so many engineers, it was no surprise that she developed an acute attention to detail that would stay with her for her entire life. Her first assignment after graduating was as a junior researcher on an archaeology expedition to Turim I, investigating the ruins of a First League science base. By the end of the project, three years later, she had discovered her love for ancient civilizations; but spent the next 25 years on Tebazed, overseeing various research projects and applying for every exploration ship posting that came up. Finally, in 248, she got her chance to be on the cutting edge. She won an assignment to the staff of Raldirm den Hullos, captain of the ISS Cennergion, who was in need of a new archaeologist as he prepared for an exploratory swing to the eastern edge of the galaxy. In 250, when Hullos died, she was elected by the crew to be their new captain, on the basis of her acumen and true love of discovery. For the ensuing decade, she commanded the ship as it explored far-flung reaches of the galaxy; her most famous discovery in the 250s was of the entities known as void clouds, first detected near the X-941 Singularity. Based on the brief sensor readings taken by the Cennergion before the void clouds turned hostile, the entities were alive, and possibly even sentient, though definitely non-biological in nature. Most remarkably, Boknar estimated that the void clouds had formed in the early days of the galaxy, predating the stars themselves.

Goridrig den Subir – Subir hailed from the great agricultural belt of central Molag, but she rejected the sedate farming life that she witnessed all around her cohort. The tales of the early explorers, now two decades old, inspired Subir to dream of a life among the stars, expanding the frontiers of known space. After graduating in 239, she spent five years as a surveyor on Grunthirst IIIa, an oceanic world that the administration was targeting for colonization. [1] Useful work, and satisfying enough, exploring the biome and eventually preparing for the first wave of colonists; in the months leading up to planetfall in 244 she led the logistical effort to prepare Landing Site Primary, the location planned as the first civilian settlement on the surface. After the founding of New Jukla, [2] Subir was out of a post; the local governor offered her a high-ranking position in the colonial administration, but she declined, citing her desire to continue exploring the galaxy. By a stroke of luck, a posting on board the ISS Bathradurion under Rodrig den Tarrob opened up just weeks later, and she won the assignment. The aged explorer found a kindred spirit in Subir, and she quickly became his protégé. Though saddened by his death in 252, she had by then become the natural choice to succeed him as captain.

Valdrig den Subir – When Subir [3] was announced as the head of the Sociology Section in 255, she was the first offworlder to hold a position at the sub-cabinet level. Born on Eldetha in 223, her youth was inflected with bitterness by the First Varelviv War and the resultant economic downturn on the colony. The mining operations that dominated the rocky world were working overtime to keep up with demand from the war industries; but little investment was made in the wider infrastructure on the planet, and the colonists continued to live a hardscrabble existence even as they provided the lifeblood of the war effort to Tebazed. The backwater colony was a fertile recruiting ground for the fledgling Unified Navy and Army; though Subir herself was too young to fight, the sight of so many fellow Eldethans leaving the homes they had made left a profound impression in her mind. She focused her academic pursuits on military theory, and she displayed a talent for it: in her first posting after graduation, as an aide to the Naval Staff in Sedrin, her ideas were integral to the development of a combat doctrine that focused on the destroyers that were slowly becoming the backbone of the fleet in the 240s and 250s. In 249, she moved over to the Science Directory, spending the next several years conducting sociological research on effective centralization protocols for military organizations. But despite finding a career on Tebazed, she never forgot her roots, staying active in local Eldethan politics from afar. As she rose up the ranks in the administration, she made contacts that proved very useful to various interests on the colony. She formed especially close ties with the Eldethan Union, a new political party founded in 248 whose guiding principle was the achievement of full political representation and equality with the metropole. There were suggestions that the party might have had ties to an extremist separatist group responsible for several acts of terrorism against metropolitan authorities on the colony, but Subir always denied any knowledge of such a connection. That denial was good enough for Telnik in 255 when he found himself in need of a new civilian strategist in his sub-cabinet. It was a momentous day for Tebazed and its colonies, but Subir and her friends back on Eldetha had more they wished to accomplish.

Eldetha.jpg

Eldetha was the home of the first colonial-born vailon to reach high office, Valdrig den Subir, as well as a nascent separatist movement.

Suldirm den Iridar – Iridar was born in 215 in a northern Molag metropolis, a regional hub for the agriculture industry that dominated most of the landmass. During her education, her aptitude for learning was matched only by her apathy in the classroom. Iridar instead spent her youth in a near-permanent state of rebellion against the authorities in her cohort. She was ostentatious in her disdain for the educators, and generally refused to participate in assignments or listen to instructions. After she graduated, she bounced around from post to post, never settling in one role for more than a couple of years. Between 235 and 254, she spent time at a hydroponics farm, as a firefighter in a small city, in an administrative role for a conglomerate, and as a local reporter for an obscure news outlet on the Holonet. In 254, tired of her ground-bound life and looking for a new experience to stimulate herself, she applied for a posting as a sensor monitor at a remote research station in the Ussaldon system. Much to her surprise, it was in this dull and repetitive life that she found her calling. As the eight-man crew orbited the irradiated body of Ussaldon III, Iridar found joy in her work, making new discoveries about the ancient civilization that once inhabited the planet and the primordial soup that was recreating life millions of years after it had been wiped out on the surface. Focused on a topic for perhaps the first time in her life, she launched herself into a crash course on scientific research and exploration. After two years at the station, she was ready for a new challenge and applied for an opening on board the ISS Dargion, captained by Suldirm den Harak. Iridar’s range of experiences appealed to Harak, and she was installed as his executive officer. After he retired in 257, she was elected by the crew to succeed him as captain.


Footnotes
[1] The colony was one of the two formally announced in the early days of Telnik’s term, under the name Firintarogga.
[2] Though the colony itself was given a traditional Laggish name, the mith-fell colonists that comprised the first wave of settlement were allowed to name.
[3] No relation to Goridrig.
 

eoncommander

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The fortunes of war goes up and down ...

A hard-learned lesson, I'm afraid.

All that hard work, undone...

'Tis quite sad, and may require a rethinking of the war strategy.

At least this time the war is being fought in VIS and not vailon space. Although at the moment it feels a lot like Hannibal in Italy, hopefully it will end better in this case!
A shame about Piriam snapping. Were he still the vailon of a few years ago, maybe he could have held Bihjall.
I’m looking forward to the look at the home front. Telnik hasn't made any friends and that leaves him very vulnerable...

Given the advent of FTL inhibitors, the VIS would need to successfully take down the starbase at Con Viab in order to invade, and they don't have the moxie for that, I'm pretty sure. So inner TUG systems are safe for now. But, with the current state of the war, trouble may be brewing for our esteemed director-general.

An update on the home front is coming, I promise! I decided to break off the update on science, given the number of new leaders I had to introduce. I've been working on both installments simultaneously, so the next chapter will be ready soon.
 

Nikolai

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Good with some fresh blood!
 

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Good to hear about the advances in AI, maybe this will finally get "machine learning" off the buzzword list of the century!
Looking forward to hearing about the career of these new scientists.
Also quite curious to hear about the existence of a separatist movement...
 
Chapter Fourteen - Crisis to Crisis

eoncommander

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Refugees

Vabrig den Telnik’s first decade as Director-General was remarkable for its lack of serious opposition to the hard-charging administrator. Even the successive tribute predicaments of the mid-‘40s did not derail the momentum of his administration. Having launched a war, however, Telnik found that the demands of the conflict ate away at his attention, until he had very little left for the rest of the Governance. He ignored the warning signs, both subtle and obvious, of an impending crisis, as he focused all his energies on the campaign against the varelvivi. As a civilian leader of the military, Telnik was a micromanager, constantly worrying about minor details of procurement, logistics, and tactics. Not only did this hamper the efforts of his administrators, but it also led to Telnik overruling many decisions made by his subordinates, nominally experts in their field.

When he did look away from his war plans, it was only in response to a seemingly random constellation of diplomatic events. The Favorable Entente, the federated union of the hytheans and the sathori, was under attack from two directions, and its defenses were on the verge of collapse. From the far northern rim came the Djunn Bloodletters, a civilization as bloodthirsty as its name implied. Little was known about these invaders from the edge of the galaxy; some suspected that they were in fact extra-galactic beings, using the systems at the edge of the spiral arm as a staging ground for their extermination campaign. The Entente also faced simultaneous invasions from its neighbors to the west and south, the Belmacosa Empire and the Khell’zen Kingdom. The belmacosans, burgeoning hegemons of the northwest quadrant and looking to continue to expand their influence, allied themselves with the spiritualist khell’zen, who were carving out their own empire north and northeast of the galactic core, against the democratic federation. The Kingdom and its monarch, the High Queen, were formally sworn to spread the faith of the Two True Deities to heathens in every star system, but they were not so fanatical as to contemptuously decline mutually beneficial agreements. The High Queen and the Emperor signed an accord in 248 in which they agreed to partition the Favorable Entente, which occupied the systems between the two empires. TUG envoys in the region believed that the two autocratic regimes would butt heads eventually. But regardless of their future course, the two empires were cooperating in their assaults on hythean and sathori space. Faced with these simultaneous invasions, the federation partners were barely holding the line, but already millions of refugees were streaming out of the region, crammed aboard any ship that would have them.

FirstContactKhellZen.jpg

The Khell’Zen Kingdom was an evangelical empire, founded by zealots of the faith of the Two True Deities.

With few friendly regimes in the neighborhood, the hythean and sathori refugees scattered across the galaxy. A significant fraction found their way to vailon territory, settling in the largest concentration on the young colony of Firintarogga in the Grunthirst system. Over the next few years, a steady trickle of refugees continued to arrive at the border. It was in 256 that the trickle turned into a flood as sathori fled en masse from Jazix following a disastrous defeat at the hands of the djunn. Most of the billion residents of the planet were able to escape from the advancing armies of the djunn, leaving the rest of the galaxy to cope with the exodus. A large convoy of refugees somehow managed to evade the djunn forces and make the harrowing journey all the way to the southeast quadrant. The convoy, harboring tens of millions of civilians, had been refused entry by numerous administrations over the course of several months. When the ramshackle fleet arrived at the TUG border, however, the director-general ordered them to be taken in.

As with prior groups, most settled on Firintarogga; the sathori hailed from an oceanic world and preferred to live in the watery climes available there. But the planetary authorities were not ready for such a rapid influx, and the population rapidly outstripped projected growth and the available infrastructure. The administration on the colony set up large, and hopefully temporary, resettlement camps, in the expectation that the metropole would invest resources in providing jobs and housing to the millions of individuals for whom the central authorities had just taken responsibility. Telnik, though angry with his appointed governor holding him hostage in this way, had no choice but to allocate additional resources to the colony. In the face of continued discontent with the conduct of the war, and simmering unrest among colonial citizens who could not fully participate in the political life of the Governance, the Director-General needed to be responsive to the needs of the colonies, lest a full-blown revolt break out. He ordered that funds previously earmarked for industrial expansion in Lopinira instead be diverted to build housing and factory complexes on the watery colony, providing much needed relief for the colonial administration and a way for the sathori refugees to enter TUG society.

RefugeesSathori.jpg

A group of sathori civilians managed to flee the advancing tide of the djunn and the horrors that were visited upon their brethren.
Meanwhile, the ongoing refugee crisis, predicted to worsen as interstellar wars increased in severity, motivated the liberal states of the galactic commons to speak out with more conviction. For Telnik it was an opportunity to burnish the TUG’s reputation in the diplomatic community. He directed the Diplomacy Section to intensify their efforts to forge relationships with like-minded governments, including the Pithok Confederacy and the Cyggan Empire as well as the vastly wealthy Galactic Commonwealth of the mirovandians. Despite the ongoing and technically aggressive war, vailon envoys carried messages of peace and stability. They portrayed the continued conflict with the varelvivi as an anti-slaving mission, necessary for the maintenance of regional security. The ambassadors argued for mutual cooperation to find solutions for the current crisis and to prevent future humanitarian disasters. Though the Governance was a relatively small state, the vailons began to garner widespread respect for their diplomatic nous. In the face of all of the other shortcomings, this would serve as a major legacy of Telnik’s term in office.

Colonials

For all the victories won by the Unified Navy, the fleet proved ineffectual at seizing and holding territory from which to stage assaults deeper into VIS space. The Director-General exacerbated the problem by dictating strategy to the Naval Staff and preventing them from implementing more adaptive approaches. The situation at the front did not go unrecognized on Tebazed, or indeed across the Governance. The cafeterias of Sedrin were abuzz with whispered criticisms of the administration’s handling of the war. Perhaps more crucially, discontent with the central government began to emerge on the colonies. As the war dragged on, the shipyards at Starbase Tebza sucked in more and more resources; manufactories and foundries on Tebazed and in the most developed regions of Varba increased their demand for raw materials and strained the economies of newer settlements. Working overtime, these settlements began to suffer from shortages despite their crucial role in supplying raw materials, as the central administration failed to properly allocate resources to them. Colonists in these newly settled regions, as well as those in the few major cities on Varba and Eldetha, recognized their own importance to the war effort and bemoaned the underinvestment in their communities. Even more significantly, these colonial citizens started to link the shortages and underinvestment to their lack of proper representation in the Assembly. Over the course of 40 years of interstellar settlement by vailons, there had always been groups on the fringe advocating for greater political representation in Sedrin; now, these groups began to grow in popularity.

In 255, Telnik attempted to quell the murmurs by promoting a colony-born vailon to his cabinet. He used the occasion of the retirement of his erstwhile opponent for the Director-Generalship, Feldirm den Sukar, to reorganize the Science Directorate. Telnik promoted his former aide, Jargim den Vathrag, to lead the entire Directorate; he also refocused the individual sections on military research projects. To lead the Sociology Section, he tapped Valdrig den Subir, an Eldethan-born strategist who maintained strong ties to colonial political institutions even as her career blossomed in the metropolitan administration. Some in the Assembly registered complaints about this selection, specifically with regards to Subir’s connection with the Eldethan Union. The Union called itself a political party, and its official activities corresponded to that description; but certain segments of the political world believed the Union to be linked to, or even in control of, a violent separatist movement responsible for several bombings on Eldetha in recent years. [1] Telnik, feeling political pressure on several fronts, decided he could support Subir even if these concerns were legitimate, and he hoped that appointing such a strong voice for colonial representation to his cabinet would mollify some of his critics.

Part of Telnik’s calculation was the unfavorable view the public was taking of the war effort. Though no long-term harm had come to the vailon core worlds, unrest was stirring. The administration was determined to present the war as a peacekeeping operation in all of its public-facing and diplomatic endeavors, but large swaths of the public still viewed it as an aggressive act unbecoming of the TUG. In 257, the retirement of Admiral Piriam was met with sadness – he was publicly perceived to be the hero that saved the Governance in the first war with the varelvivi – and fury at the possibility that Telnik may have forced him into retirement in favor of someone with whom the Director-General had a better personal relationship, regardless of their actual capabilities. [2] In the following March, leaked documents revealed that the administration had rejected a VIS offer of a cease-fire immediately following the Third Battle of Arrakis. For many, this was a complete betrayal of the ethos of the Governance, and a demonstration that Telnik was unfit for office. While previously, there had only ever been minor anti-war protests in colonial settlements, now protests began in major cities across Tebazed. The outburst of passionate opposition caught the administration off-guard and shook many senior officials, who had never once considered that their policies might be unpopular. Telnik’s demeanor was outwardly calm amidst the storm, but some close advisors believed him to be rattled as well. It was days before the Director-General’s office organized an official public response; in the meantime, the protests continued to grow, culminating on March 8 with a general strike across major economic centers and a million-vailon march in the capital.

After the day of strikes on Tebazed, however, the protests fizzled out rapidly. Lacking significant leadership of any kind beyond ad-hoc local organizing committees, anti-war activists were unable to sustain and build on their momentum. The three major factions in the Assembly may have been resolute opponents of Telnik after being frozen out of the policy-making process, but they were unpracticed at leading mass mobilization movements, and they proved unable to get up to speed quickly. More crucially, among the three factions only the Peaceful Progress Initiative had strong objections to the war itself; the Xeno Liberty Initiative and the Liberty Now Council, while outwardly supportive of the protestors’ criticisms, were also generally supportive of Telnik’s decision to proactively combat the varelviv slavers, in direct opposition to the main demands of the anti-war movement. Meanwhile, without significant organizations capable of planning for the medium- and long-term, and with few sympathetic ears in the administration, the protestors themselves either became discouraged or lost interest completely. Though the mass anti-war protests presented the possibility of a new era of politics in which the public might demand more accountability from the governing administration, this promise was not fulfilled; future generations could only take inspiration from these events, rather than a legacy of successfully winning changes to policy.

Circumstances were different on the colonies, where settlers had nurtured their own grievances for years. Though protests in the major cities on Varba and Eldetha peaked at the same time as those on the capital, they did not immediately recede in the same manner. Instead, large gatherings persisted in urban centers at regular intervals, organized by the growing political parties which were focused on colonial rights, the Eldethan Union most prominent among them. Their primary demands were simple: locally elected governors and equitable representation in the Assembly. [3] To emphasize their own importance to the Governance, the parties organized intermittent strikes, cutting off crucial war materiel destined for the front or for the shipyards of Tebza. Other, more radical groups organized non-lethal sabotage and bombing campaigns, aimed at symbols of the metropole’s dominance like administrative buildings and export facilities. These were formally disavowed by the mainstream movements, but those movements reaped the benefits of the disruption and destruction nonetheless. Even as anti-war protests on Tebazed died down, in the capital many voices began to take up the cause of the colonial citizens, recognizing the inherent injustice of their lack of representation. The LNC in particular, as the faction devoted to equal rights for all, became vocal backers of the campaign for full political rights for the disenfranchised colonials.

Negotiators

As the decade approached its conclusion, Telnik found himself willing to come to the table. The military disasters at the front left the Director-General’s plans in shambles. He had spent down his political power in order to maintain a modicum of support inside his administration, and he had little legitimacy with the wider population. With his term due to end in 261, he was feeling some pressure to live up to the potential of his office. There was still hope for a favorable settlement with the varelvivi, if the offensive now being planned for 262 met with success. But Telnik had arrived at the conclusion that an arrangement with the colonies would ensure that his term had a positive legacy no matter the outcome of the war. Beginning in the last months of 259, he began formal negotiations with the leaders of the colonial rights movement to end the protests and bring them into full political participation in the Governance.

To lead the negotiations, Telnik turned to the newest member of his cabinet, whose voice carried authority with the colonials. Tapping Subir for this role was an effective demonstration of the Director-General’s seriousness and credibility in attempting to reach a deal. Her relationship with the Eldethan Union meant that the negotiating sessions remained cordial instead of turning acrimonious. And the trust that the colonials placed in her allowed the LNC to back the negotiations as well, providing Telnik with crucial support in the Assembly for striking a deal. [4] Throughout 260, Subir shuttled back and forth between Tebazed and the several colonies, finding points of agreement between the parties and forcing compromises where the sides diverged. Over the course of the year, the outlines of a mutually agreeable deal emerged. The Assembly would be expanded to incorporate the colonial settlements, with local districts whose populations would be proportional to those on Tebazed. In exchange for not diluting the voting power of the settlers in the Assembly, the central administration won a concession on the governorships. The chief executives of the colonies would be selected based on a process similar to that of the Director-General, but a committee based in Sedrin, and comprised of a mix of metropolitan and colonial officials, would have the ultimate authority to make the selection.

By the end of the year, most of the specifics had been sorted out, including a transition plan. [5] But with the Director-General selection less than a year away, and the conflict with the varelvivi looking likely to drag on for some time, the colonials foresaw the possibility of a new administration overturning Telnik’s policies, using exigent wartime circumstances as an excuse to do so. They wanted a way to guarantee the new arrangement against political instability in Sedrin. Though details are scarce, [6] it is believed that the eventual solution was first proposed by Subir. There was, thanks to Telnik’s predecessor, some precedent for reselecting a Director-General, especially in times of war. Meanwhile, the colonials believed that direct access to the office, due as much to its symbolic importance as to its tangible power, was the only way to cement their gains. Thus, a proposed exchange, born out of hard-nosed politicking: the LNC and the colonials would support the reselection of Telnik, allowing him to see out his war to its conclusion; after which, Telnik would step down and support Subir to be the first Director-General born off-world. With both sides’ consent to these final terms, the current DG was able to go to the Assembly in early 261 and ask them to ratify the changes to the political structure of the Governance.

After these terms were announced on the floor of the Assembly, both the PPI and the XLI loudly denounced the proposal and proclaimed their formal opposition. When united, the two factions were able to command a slim majority, and they could theoretically block any new bills. However, on this topic they were united only insofar as they were greatly upset by the backroom political deal that Telnik and Subir had negotiated for themselves. On the terms of the political structure, most individual MAs in the XLI supported the changes, while only the PPI were opposed to the changes completely. This allowed Telnik and his allies to pick off backbench votes from the opposition. Amidst some scattered allegations of bribery, [7] they won enough converts to make the actual vote a foregone conclusion. On May 1, 261, the vote was held, and the Assembly approved the proposed changes to colonial governance and representation. A new day dawned for the TUG, in which all citizens would once again be equally represented in the capital.

SelectionOf261.jpg

The candidates for the Director-General selection in 261 did not seriously challenge the incumbent executive.
There still remained one important piece of political business to conclude in 261 – the Director-General selection. As per the agreement, when his term expired in October, Telnik submitted his name again to the College, receiving in turn the support of the LNC and vast majority of colonial parties. The other factions attempted to contest the process; the PPI even tried to recruit a high-profile candidate in Galdrig den Piriam, the Director of Labor for most of Telnik’s term, but she declined to challenge her friend and mentor. [8] In the end, none of the other candidates were able to gain any traction in a race that featured the incumbent DG backed by the faction with the highest level of support across the Governance. On November 3, the College confirmed the by-now-inevitable result by reselecting Telnik for the office by an overwhelming margin. With the reselection, Telnik would remain as the executive until the end of the war, giving him full credit – or blame – for the eventual outcome.


Footnotes
[1] While the administration dealt with the Union extensively as the leading political organization in the colonial legislative body, some influential MAs refused to have any association with the group. The official party platform of the PPI went so far as to declare the Union itself a terrorist organization, though this was not a widely supported view.
[2] The exact circumstances of the end of Piriam’s war service were not public at this time.
[3] Though settlers on new colonies, as citizens of the TUG, were able to participate in Director-General selections, their local officials were appointed by the central administration and they were only represented by a single non-voting member for each planet in the Assembly.
[4] Subir was still mistrusted by many in Sedrin, but the official backing of a major party lent her enough institutional support to negotiate a deal in good faith, and eventually to present it to the Assembly.
[5] Special Assembly elections for the colonies were scheduled for December 261. Though the current governors would be allowed to remain in office for three years, they were required to draft plans for transitioning the planetary administrations to local political leadership.
[6] For the obvious reason that few individuals were willing to reveal their roles in the anti-democratic deal that resulted.
[7] The PPI accused Telnik and Subir of promising patronage to individual MAs, including future positions in the administration. Though none of the allegations were ever substantiated, the mere suggestion created a dark cloud over the debate.
[8] The PPI eventually nominated Jargim den Vathrag, the former aide to the Director-General and current Director of Science in his cabinet, against her express wishes. The faction attempted to drive a wedge amongst the Telnik backers, hoping some would throw their support behind a candidate who was less of an affront to democratic norms. However, she declined to actively participate in the campaign, hampering the PPI’s efforts. She wound up receiving very few votes, much to her relief.
 

dragoon9105

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Hey, @eoncommander give yourself a round of applause, you've been nominated for Writaar of the week for your work.

You can head over to accept your reward and praise!

Once again, Congratulations!
 

eoncommander

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Hey, @eoncommander give yourself a round of applause, you've been nominated for Writaar of the week for your work.

You can head over to accept your reward and praise!

Once again, Congratulations!

Thank you! I am truly honored, and so happy that you are enjoying my work.

Good with some fresh blood!

Good to hear about the advances in AI, maybe this will finally get "machine learning" off the buzzword list of the century!
Looking forward to hearing about the career of these new scientists.
Also quite curious to hear about the existence of a separatist movement...

Some of them will sit in labs for the rest of their lives, which is exciting enough. Others, however, have larger roles to play.
 

Nikolai

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So much war. The Galaxy needs someone to make peace. ;)
 

slothinator

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I think I might be biased given that I misread Telnik's title as "Dictator General" but I'm wondering if he will stick to the deal made or he'll take advantage of the fact that he doesn't seem to have any serious political rivals. Who knows, a great conclusion to the war might just give him enough support to push through.
The various conflagrations in the galaxy are quite worrying, especially the Djunn Bloodletters, but hopefully, the Vailons will find a way to negotiate around the unnegotiables.
 
Chapter Fifteen - Endings

eoncommander

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Life, Going On

Even against the chaotic backdrop of war and politics, for most citizens of the Tebazed Unified Governance everyday life continued much as it had for the last several decades. Vailons took meals, had sexual relations, participated in recreational activities, and in general were little affected by the hardship of war. In fact, the period was the beginning of a long economic boom for the Governance, kick-started by investment in wartime industries and fueled by the continued expansion of TUG mining operations to the rim of the galaxy. The polity and its citizens had grown prosperous beyond the wildest dreams of the generation of Raldirm den Vakor and Raldirm den Hullos that set the TUG on its course to interstellar dominion. It was these early pioneers that the settlers of Ferdera chose to honor in 260. The colony was located deep in the Shining Pearl Nebula near the edge of the galaxy, a place unimaginable to vailons constrained to their homeworld just a few decades earlier. To mark the date when their colony surpassed 10 million residents, the colonial administration commissioned an Autochthon Monument to celebrate the achievements of the first vailons to explore the stars and to serve as an inspiration to all future pioneers. The installation and museum would itself inspire similar projects on other colonies throughout the Governance and spur future generations to look to the stars with awe.

Many individuals were already building upon the exploratory missions of the Science Directory themselves. While the citizens who struck out on their own had a variety of motivations, one key driver was the possibility of setting up an independent prospecting operation. These operations existed throughout controlled space, conducting details scans of planetary bodies and asteroid belts in search of overlooked mineral deposits. This was a risky proposition for the prospectors, but the potential rewards were great as well: both the Vakor and Telnik administrations had paid handsomely for detailed information regarding these deposits over the years, and prospectors could also sell the ore directly on the semi-formal interstellar market for even larger profits. Despite the dangers during wartime, some particularly intrepid private explorers ventured into the border cluster to search for valuable resources lost or abandoned amidst the fighting with the varelvivi. One such group was working on the barren planet Ushminaria II in 254 when they stumbled upon a remarkably well-preserved First League facility buried in the dust. Though there was some dissent within the prospecting team – several members wanted to sell the information just like they would information about any other resource – the team leader recognized the scientific and historic significance of the site, which he believed transcended the base profit motivation that applied in the rest of their work. With this in mind, the team reached out to the administration and handed over all of their data from the site. Though the Science Directory was excited to begin their investigation of the site, concerns about the safety of a large-scale scientific mission in the middle of the war zone led to the project being delayed until the cessation of hostilities.

PrecursorUshminaria.jpg

Independent prospectors discovered a rare site with a well-preserved First League facility on Ushminaria II in 254.

The Last Campaign

Following the counterattack by the Sovereign Navy and the defeat at Starbase Bihjall in 260, Task Force Mirasma regrouped at Starbase Tebza in May of that year. Meanwhile, TF Kampas, which successfully captured the outpost at Turim in 260, was unable to hold onto its gains after being counterattacked by the VIS fleet. In a short but furious skirmish, the eight-ship detachment incurred heavy damage. Admiral Hullos, in perhaps her last contribution to the war, managed to extract the task force before taking any losses, retreating to Tebza to rejoin TF Mirasma. The fleet undertook emergency retrofits, with ships receiving major overhauls to their engineering plants that increased their reactor output threefold. The Naval Staff hoped that these and other upgrades [1] would maintain the edge that the Unified Navy held in technology over enemy force. At the same time, the shipyards worked overtime to complete several new warships, not completely making up for the losses in the Second Battle of Bihjall but getting the task force closer to par with its varelviv counterparts. Telnik and the senior admirals were planning a new offensive, and they believed that its failure would be disastrous for the TUG.

Reality had come to shave back the Director-General’s horns. In ten years of campaigning, the fleet had been unable to make a decisive breakthrough through the varelviv defensive line. Though ships of the Unified Navy consistently outgunned and outmaneuvered their opposites, the TUG had yet to be able to assemble them in enough numbers to simultaneously attack fortified systems and defend recently occupied ones. Telnik’s gambit to split the fleet into two task forces had failed, even backfired, as each were defeated in detail by the varelviv fleet that finally concentrated its forces. But the varelviv did not press the advantage that they had created with these victories. This gave the vailons time, for the Unified Navy to regroup and the Naval Staff to formulate a new plan for what would be the final phase of the war. During most of 260, the DG was deeply engaged in negotiations with colonial rights organizations to restructure the colonies’ political participation in the TUG. Though the parties reached an agreement which included an extension of Telnik’s leadership term, the colonials made it clear that indefinite war would not be tolerated. A total victory which allowed for the dismantling of the slavers guild that propped up the varelviv state was now out of reach. So, Telnik was forced to redefine his war aims, to better match the current capabilities and mood of the Governance.

The strategy for the last campaign was based on two principles. First, the campaign should give the vailons the upper hand in peace negotiations with the varelvivi. Second, it should leave the Governance in a strong strategic position for the subsequent war that Telnik and the Naval Staff believed was inevitable. The key objective would be the Prothon system, which contained the only hyperlane connecting the border cluster to the varelviv home cluster. Annexing this system would allow the TUG to control access to the resource-rich border systems and define the terms of the next conflict. The starbase at Bihjall would be ignored; it had proven incapable of withstanding a siege without a supporting fleet, and the task force could not allow itself to be tied to a fixed position during this campaign. Instead, TF Mirasma would focus on establishing an alternative supply line to the outpost at Prothon, routed through other, lightly defended star systems in the cluster. Achieving this would enable the TUG to fortify Prothon and use the starbase there as a staging point for a direct invasion of Viverva, only two jumps away, at some point in the future. This would also isolate Bihjall and prevent the varelvivi from resupplying the starbase’s military facilities. [2]

While the fleet recuperated in 260, the admirals turned this strategic outlook into a coherent operational plan, tentatively scheduled for 262 (the earliest date that TF Mirasma could reach the front, given the distance it would have to travel). The fleet would sweep through undefended systems, seizing outposts and leaving behind only skeleton crews as it drove on the Prothon system. Admiral Harak, still in operational command of the task force, would be allowed to deviate from the course only if there was an opportunity to pick off an isolated enemy fleet; otherwise, he was to remain focused on plowing a corridor to Prothon. Intelligence reports indicated that the Sovereign Navy was not using this period to rearm and resupply their forces; any forces that attempted to intercept TF Mirasma would likely not be able to withstand the firepower that the vailon ships could bring to bear. Once this was achieved, vailon envoys would sit down with their varelviv counterparts and negotiate from a position of strength.

With the upgrades complete, TF Mirasma got underway in December for its return trip to the front. Early the following year, the Intelligence Directorate began to receive reports indicating that the Sovereign Navy was preparing for an offensive of its own. In June of 261, long-range sensor scans confirmed the reports, detecting several varelviv fleets assembling in the Bihjall system; Intelligence believed these fleets were preparing to assault Starbase Con Viab. A concerted attack before TF Mirasma could reach the front might have been able to overwhelm the bastion, but the varelvivi waited too long to test this possibility. Launching from its base at Bihjall in early 262, the VIS fleet had only reached Ushminaria by April, when the two fleets met near the first planet in the system. Harak’s forces were outnumbered, but their technological edge proved decisive, and they drove off the VIS attack with ease, causing significant losses in the process. [3]

BattleOfUshminaria.jpg

TF Mirasma intercepted a VIS invasion fleet near Ushminaria I in April 262.

The victory in the Battle of Ushminaria presaged the course of the remainder of the campaign. Over the next eighteen months, the task force swept through the Turim, Cazzabius, and Arrakis systems, securing the outposts orbiting each star. In Cazzabius, the fleet pounced upon a small VIS flotilla that was conducting independent operations, destroying six of the fourteen varelviv ships for nary a loss themselves. By the end of 263, with the fleet establishing a hold on Arrakis and preparing to advance on Prothon, Telnik finally opened negotiations with Overlord Spagruum on a cease-fire agreement. The pithoks, with good relations on both sides of the conflict, agreed to serve as guarantors of the peace process, and hosted a summit on their homeworld of Thokkia. In light of the successes of the campaign, Telnik asked his envoys to go beyond the initially outlined objectives and press for the surrender of the entire border cluster to the TUG. The representatives of the overlord balked at this demand. The VIS had fought the attackers to a standstill over the course of thirteen years of war, and their forces still controlled the only significant defenses in the region at Starbase Bihjall. Their opening offer involved only minor changes to the current border and an agreement on shipping rights. With the sides so far apart, the talks stalled early in 264.

Telnik may have been correct that the Governance had the advantage and could set terms from a strong position, but he underestimated the resolve of Spagruum and their subjects. After the peace negotiations ground to a halt, the Director-General ordered the fleet to seize Prothon and demonstrate itself as a potential threat to the varelviv homeworld. However, the Sovereign Navy still had some fight left in it; assembling its last reserves together, it launched a desperate counterattack with a fleet of 30 ships in June, attempting to blunt the vailon assault. It arrived at the Arrakis system from Prothon just as TF Mirasma was preparing to make its own jump to Prothon, catching the vailons unprepared and with their shields lowered. Two corvettes were lost in the initial volley, and several more ships badly damaged; but the vailon task force had been reinforced over the last two years and was able to absorb the losses. As a fleet cobbled together from multiple partial-strength units, the VIS forces were disorganized; meanwhile, Harak was able to organize his well-drilled ships quickly into a defensive formation. Within a few hours, the varelviv counterattack was over, having taken out a handful of vailon ships while losing half of their own. It was now apparent that VIS fleets, unless they held an overwhelming advantage in numbers, could not expect to hold their own in battle with Governance forces.

With the path to the capital now open, Spagruum was forced to admit that his state was in a weak position. The peace talks were reopened, and this time the VIS envoys came with real concessions. The overlord was willing to surrender most of the systems in the border cluster, matching Telnik’s initial objective. The varelvivi maintained their refusal to surrender the defenses at Bihjall, and Telnik, mindful of his political promises to various political interests, dropped that particular demand. With the most contentious issues settled, the two sides rapidly reached compromises on nearly all of the remaining issues. The last roadblock was over transit rights through the border cluster: the varelvivi wanted free passage for all ships while the vailons wanted to implement a strict inspection regime for all VIS ships that wished to enter the cluster. To Telnik and his advisors, it seemed as if the varelvivi were attempting to prevent the Governance from defending itself against slaving raids, a proposition the vailons would not countenance. But pressure on Telnik to conclude hostilities was growing at home, and he was forced to concede on this issue in order to conclude the treaty quickly. They agreed that inspections would be limited in scope for most varelviv ships [4] and conducted by third-party states such as the Dabbax Solidarity or the Galactic Commonwealth. In December, the sides held a formal treaty-signing ceremony, and the two states were once again at officially at peace.

PeaceVIS2nd.jpg

The two parties to the conflict signed a peace treaty on December 9, 264.

The First Campaign

With the war over, Telnik began the process of transitioning power to his designated successor. If he had any thoughts of attempting to stay in office on the back of successfully concluding the conflict, he did not act on them. Instead, he immediately began planning for the selection process. The agreement with the colonials left him with some latitude to set the date of his own resignation; but when he floated the idea of remaining in his office for eighteen months, Subir and her allies in the Assembly threatened to withdraw their support. Telnik, perhaps cowed by the failures of his second decade in office, backed down rather than exert the limits of his own authority. Instead, he announced that he would be resigning on April 1, 265, a date a mere four months away.

During the transition period, he and Subir were outwardly cooperative, conducting several cabinet meetings together and praising each other in every media session. In private, however, the two were barely on speaking terms. Telnik offered, graciously in his own opinion, to bring Subir into his tutelage, having her serve essentially as his deputy for the interim period. Subir, for her part, had always found the Director-General to be smug and patronizing; and this offer was the ultimate presumption, that she needed to undertake an apprenticeship with the lame-duck executive before exercising power on her own behalf. Subir was perfectly happy to let the clock run out on Telnik’s term and start fresh after the selection.

Telnik, though isolated politically, still held all executive power in his office. In the four months he had left, he was determined use his authority to leave the Governance on a strong course as he stepped away from power and the polity moved into a new era. He began by redefining the priorities of the Trade Section of the Labor Directory; after thirty years of war in the last forty, Telnik believed it was time to move away from a policy that explicitly focused on maximizing wealth creation, and instead to return to procedures which allowed traders to spread not only goods manufactured on Tebazed but also ideas created there. Immediately following the peace accord, he also announced that the Governance would begin colonization drives for three new colonies spread throughout TUG space: Kampira, on Ussaldon IIIa, and Nagrama, on Pollban Kir IIIb, both near Firintarogga and the border with the Qvefoz, as well as The Veil, in the newly recaptured Turim system in the border cluster. This initiative infuriated Subir and her partners. Colonization was a major priority for them; further expansion of the Governance would continue to devolve population and economic power away from the metropole and towards the colonies that formed their base of support. They had counted on this as an important component of their own program once Subir had taken office. Telnik, by implementing the project while still serving as Director-General, could now count it as part of his legacy rather than his successor’s. He recognized that the colonials, supportive of the policy on its own merits, would not criticize it in public. And no matter how mad they were in private, in just a few months, after he left office, their opinions of him would be moot.

Telnik also used his remaining time in office to make good on his promises of strong alliances. Prior to the war, he had engaged the Cyggan Empire in extensive dialogue. This had led to a research pact and several favorable trade treaties. But before the two parties could reach an agreement on a military alliance, the emperor Slugradeb had embroiled his people in another war with his eternal rivals, the Seban Commonwealth. Now that both wars had concluded, [5] the possibility of a formal alliance could be reopened. Building on their mutual strategic interests, an agreement was forged that saw the two states guarantee each other’s territorial integrity from outside invasion. To seal the deal, additional clauses were included that promised limited assistance in the case of offensive wars. Primarily focused on the cyggans’ continual conflict with the sebans, these sections would also allow the TUG to call on the cyggans in a future conflict of their own. [6] The treaty was officially signed, simultaneously by the emperor on Cyggia and the Director-General on Tebazed, on January 19.

Meanwhile, relations continued to improve between the Governance and the ruling Aspinaca family of the Pithok Confederacy. The Aspinaca had also built a working relationship with the varelvivi in recent years, leading to the family hosting peace talks between the VIS and the TUG on their family estates in the southern latitudes of Thokkia. Behind the scenes, however, the Aspinacas were deep in conversation with the Telnik’s representatives about their respective visions for the post-war landscape. The refugee crisis of the previous decade, much closer to home for the pithoks, had spooked the familial leadership and led them to seek long-term allies who could help maintain regional stability. This neatly coincided with Telnik’s own goals and led to a natural alignment between the administrations. Once the war with the VIS was concluded, the discussions between the vailon envoys and the Aspinacas intensified; within weeks, Telnik was giving final approval on the terms of a treaty that would see the TUG enter into an alliance with the Confederacy. [7] The accord was formally announced on January 8, to much fanfare by both states. After the further announcement of the treaty with the cyggans, Telnik gave an address in the Assembly, explaining the rationale for his diplomatic efforts and outlining his vision for the future of interstellar relations for the Governance. In his speech, Telnik described the new alliances as a first step towards creating a galaxy “free of war, and strife, and the suffering of individuals no matter their species,” and expressed his sincere hope that his efforts would not be tossed aside by the next executive.

…My sole wish, in conducting these affairs, was to make the galaxy a safer place for all peoples. It is my fervent hope that my successor in office, and their administration as a whole, will build on these successes and continue the work that all vailons, all citizens of the Governance, and indeed all beings in the galaxy, have adopted as their own: that this vast expanse of stars should be free of war, and strife, and the suffering of individuals no matter their species…

- Vabrig den Telnik, excerpted from his Farewell Address in the Assembly, Jan 24, 265

The speech was one of the last official public acts Telnik performed as Director-General. For the two months remaining in his term, he turned his attention towards the ongoing expansion of government facilities in Sedrin. Most of the administration was housed in buildings dating back a century or more. The out-of-date infrastructure lacked modern amenities and was so cramped that individuals often had to double-up, and occasionally triple-up, at desks. New construction to expand the available office space, already long overdue, was delayed further due to the resource demands that had emerged during the war with the varelviv. But as the war wound down in 264, the Directorate finally dusted off plans to expand the footprint of the administrative complexes in the capital. The city itself would grow, too, until its outskirts stretched deep into the foothills of the Vothor Mountains. Massive building projects dotted the landscape, and the background noise of large-scale construction became a regular feature of life in Sedrin for years. Though inconvenient for residents of the city, once they were completed these projects would be a massive boon for the efficiency of future administrations. This was Telnik’s final gift to his successor. Such an infrastructure project would never have been a priority for a new Director-General, who would be focused on implementing the new policies that they had promised during their campaigns. Instead of leaving the much-needed, though banal, improvements undone for another generation, Telnik used his lame-duck status to ensure that the process got underway and moved inexorably towards completion.

Finally, on April 1, Vabrig den Telnik formally resigned as Director-General, kick-starting the Selection of 265. Despite the friction between himself and Subir, he stuck to his word and endorsed her candidacy within a few days. He retained enough popularity that his endorsement was a meaningful display of support. With Telnik’s endorsement, the continued backing of the Xeno Liberty Initiative, and the reflexive support of colonial citizens for the first colonial candidate, Subir was overwhelmingly the favorite to be the next Director-General. The political apparatus of the state seemed ready to accede to this history-making candidacy, as no other faction mounted a serious challenge to Subir and the selection process turned into a months-long coronation. Subir toured Tebazed for several weeks, receiving raucous receptions at each stop; she continued her tour off-world, underlining the historical nature of the event by becoming the first major candidate to campaign on the colonies of Eldetha and Varba. Returning to Sedrin in late June, she was able to relax as the College confirmed the inevitable in its vote on June 30. The following day, July 1, 265, Valdrig den Subir was sworn in as the 26th Director-General of the Tebazed Unified Governance, and the first to be a true citizen of the star-spanning polity.

DGSubir.jpg

Without serious opposition, Valdrig den Subir sailed to her selection as the first colonial-born Director-General of the TUG.


Footnotes
[1] Including new ion thrusters and fusion-powered warheads for missile systems.
[2] A final, though subsidiary, objective would be ensuring access to the First League site on Ushminaria II.
[3] The VIS fleet started the battle with ten destroyer-class and fifteen corvette-class ships, whereas TF Mirasma had only five and fifteen, respectively. The varelvivi lost five destroyers and seven corvettes, while the vailons were forced to abandon four corvettes due to damage suffered during the battle.
[4] The exceptions being those ships bound for Starbase Bihjall.
[5] The seban-cyggan war had ended with many casualties on both sides but no exchange of territory.
[6] The clauses devoted to active participation in aggressive wars were not highly publicized to the war-weary populace of the Governance, but were key to achieving the signature of Slugradeb.
[7] The terms included guarantees by each state to come to the other’s defense if they came under attack by a third party, military cooperation for anti-slavery and anti-piracy operations in the southwest quadrant, commercial pacts that opened new trade routes, and a scientific exchange program.
 

eoncommander

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So much war. The Galaxy needs someone to make peace. ;)

It sure is a shame that Telnik's successor is warlike. And a terrorist, among certain circles.

I think I might be biased given that I misread Telnik's title as "Dictator General" but I'm wondering if he will stick to the deal made or he'll take advantage of the fact that he doesn't seem to have any serious political rivals. Who knows, a great conclusion to the war might just give him enough support to push through.
The various conflagrations in the galaxy are quite worrying, especially the Djunn Bloodletters, but hopefully, the Vailons will find a way to negotiate around the unnegotiables.

Telnik, in the end, was no radical authoritarian. The outcome I think also speaks to the way that informal power is used in the Governance to achieve one's political goals - though the factions in the Assembly have no authority to set policy, they can still constrain Directors-General by providing or withholding support. These types of strong norms run throughout vailon society.

It is certainly unfortunate that three devouring swarms spawned in the galaxy, though the vailons are lucky that none are their direct neighbors. It remains to be seen whether they can navigate these dangerous waters.
 

slothinator

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The war ended rather better than I would have expected. While it might not have been a total victory, direct access to the Varlevivi homeworld should make the next war a swift one.
Telnik was really rushing to cement his legacy in the last few months but I imagine that he saw it as a largely selfless act. I wonder what history will make of him as a whole...
I'm curious to see which policy changes Subir's historic election will intoduce
 

Vilhelm

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The long war is finally over; now the question remains how do the Tebazoids recover and prepare for a (hopefully) better follow-up.
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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This is a very nice AAR. I read it all in two days.
 

Adam Safran

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Rather nice conclusion to the war! hope the next decade or so of peace allows an economic buildup, the strengthening of what alliances there are, and a reinforcement of the fleet. A good strategic position is there for when the next war starts - a staging ground or a blockade point. Hopefully by then a fully formed and operational battle station will be there to hold against counterattacks.. And the outposts will make a nice defensive line against future raids.
 

eoncommander

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Hello everybody! Hope you all are managing your anxiety and staying healthy in this time of global pandemic.

I must begin with an apology for being away for so long; I've found writing to be very hard over the last couple of months. But, one silver lining of being stuck inside with nowhere to go is having much more time for writing. So: the next chapter is almost ready! It covers the new Director-General's domestic policy in the first half of her term. It should be ready to go up in the next couple of days. After that, I have the subsequent chapter, covering Subir's diplomatic efforts, outlined, and another short story in progress. Under the circumstances, I expect updates to come more frequently over the next few months.

Long-term, with the release of Federations and the significant development of the diplomatic functionality of the game, I do expect to wrap up this playthrough soon. But fear not! I have actually played through 2355, so I've got quite a bit of runway to work with. We won't see the War in Heaven or an end-game crisis, but there is plenty of excitement coming down the pipe.
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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Nice to see this continuing. I'm looking forward to the next chapter.
 

slothinator

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Great to hear that you're back! I was just thinking about this AAR today, looking forward to seeing where it goes!
 

Vilhelm

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  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
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  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
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  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Cities: Skylines
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  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
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  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris
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  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
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  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
Hello everybody! Hope you all are managing your anxiety and staying healthy in this time of global pandemic.

I must begin with an apology for being away for so long; I've found writing to be very hard over the last couple of months. But, one silver lining of being stuck inside with nowhere to go is having much more time for writing. So: the next chapter is almost ready! It covers the new Director-General's domestic policy in the first half of her term. It should be ready to go up in the next couple of days. After that, I have the subsequent chapter, covering Subir's diplomatic efforts, outlined, and another short story in progress. Under the circumstances, I expect updates to come more frequently over the next few months.

Long-term, with the release of Federations and the significant development of the diplomatic functionality of the game, I do expect to wrap up this playthrough soon. But fear not! I have actually played through 2355, so I've got quite a bit of runway to work with. We won't see the War in Heaven or an end-game crisis, but there is plenty of excitement coming down the pipe.
Good to hear!