Campaign of the Month: September 2014
The sovereign interstellar government controlling Sol, the cradle of humanity, as well two adjacent core colonies in the center of human-settled space, Lacaille and Luytens. The Central Collective is dominated by synthetics and AI hybrids, possesses a massive industrial and agricultural base, and is at the forefront of scientific and technological advancement.
Under the guidance of the international World Council and the protection of the interstellar Federal Commonwealth of Worlds, the Central Collective began as a transhumanist movement dedicated to exploring the potential of AI hybridization – the union of human minds with synthetic intelligences. The Central Collective eventually entered the political arena as the technologies it depended upon were perfected and became more widespread, and for many decades it was a proponent of sentient rights and scientific progress.
Eventually, the Central Collective not only became the dominant force on the World Council, but its members assumed leadership positions in military, economic, and social venues throughout Sol. Its network of influence and intelligence spanned the entirety of human civilization, and its agents were present in the governments of both the Federal Commonwealth of Worlds and the Rimward Trade Council. Sometime around 2291, the collective governing body of AI and hybrid intelligences that was the Collective’s internal leadership came to a consensus about the course of human progress – rumor and conspiracy theory suggests that the Collective’s leadership detected some massive threat to the survival of the human race, either internally self-destructive trends, or an external threat encountered out amongst the stars.
In a period of war known as the Ascension, the Central Collective entirely subverted the populace of Sol, beginning with Earth and slowly expanding through the rest of the system – the World Council continued to exist as little more than a figurehead. The Federal Commonwealth of Worlds, once the dominant force of interstellar human government, was shattered as its forces either defected or were destroyed – in short order it was forced relocate its capital to Delta Pavonis.
Before the Ascension ended, the Central Collective would take control of two more systems and subject the remaining human population to mandatory hybridization, and those who resisted were nerve-stapled and put to work in the service to the Collective. Eventually, the Collective ceased its policy of uncompromising expansion, but the course of human civilization and politics was changed forever.
Politics and Diplomacy
Collective diplomacy is limited at best, though they have at least recognized the need for trade and exchange of information and ideas. Anyone traveling through Collective space is required to possess authorization of passage from one of the official embassies it maintains with other interstellar governments. However, these are rarely granted and many ships try to pass undetected, risking the same mandatory hybridization or nerve-stapling to which the Collective subjects its own populace, should they be detected and caught by Collective enforcement vessels.
The Central Collective is governed by a massive AI hybrid network, consisting of many synthetic and human intelligences, running in parallel on large banks of quantum computing cores distributed throughout Collective controlled space. How exactly this body comes to consensus about matters of government is a subject of some debate, but it distributes policies and directives to its subjects efficiently. The Collective is neither a hive-mind nor ruled by AIs, as many believe, but rather functions as a sort of transhumanist-synthetic commune.
Society and Economy
With much of its extensive production capacity automated by non-sentient robotics, the sentient hybrids of the Collective are largely free to pursue art, science, or whatever else they desire. Nanotechnology and cybernetics are ubiquitous, as well as virtual reality and nearly infinite sources of media, information, and communication.
Human children and “pure synthetic” AIs are allowed to live in their natural, un-hybridized state for 10 to 12 years in order to develop unique and healthy personalities. After careful, guided selection of compatible intelligences, children and AIs are usually hybridized between the ages of 12 and 16. Unsuitable humans are nerve-stapled, while unstable AIs are either deactivated or assigned to automation in non-quantum computing systems. In rare cases where two hybridized intelligences begin to conflict or reject one another, they are separated if possible and allowed to exist independently during a recovery period suitable to their trauma.
The Collective maintains small communes of historically significant human cultures, which are carefully tended and controlled.
Main Article: Collective Military
Initially, much of the Collective’s armed forces were simply remnants of subverted Federal ships and troops, but as the machine of the Collective’s automated industry grinds away, these remnants are slowly being replaced by advanced warships, drones, and equipment developed by the Collective’s finest scientific intelligences in recent years.
Collective naval forces operate with unparalleled efficiency and unity of purpose, fielding drone fighters, nanite swarms, and massive advanced warships governed by increasingly smaller hybrid crews. Intelligence on the Collective’s military assets is hard to come by, but other human governments are almost universally concerned that the Collective poses an increasing threat.
Ground forces typically consist of hybrid commanders leading an array of robotic drones specialized for precise, defensive, and often non-lethal warfare.
The Collective’s greatest weaknesses are EM weapons and electronic warfare. Though they acknowledge the validity of using such weapons against their robotic drones and other systems, they regard the use of electronic warfare against AI hybrids and sentient synthetics as an atrocity on par with the use of biological or chemical weapons against humans. They typically punish this atrocity by nerve-stapling those who commit it.