Size: 1267 worlds, both Earth colonies and alien worlds which have joined the Union.
Years spacefaring: 1110
Leader: President Derwent DeWinters
Appearance: Human and… other.
When Earth developed the warp drive over 1000 years ago, it lost no time in exploring space for planets to colonise. Earth’s resources were under huge strain and the desire to expand to fresh worlds was urgent.
The Colonial Age, as it is known, is rich in romance and adventure in the popular imagination. There were many political and national factions on Earth at the time and many colonies were founded by special interest and national groups, which still inform the culture of those worlds to this day. Humans also made first contact with alien civilisations who had ventured into their own local space but did not have warp drive capabilities, and on a few occasions with ‘primitive’ planets which had not made it into space (contact with such worlds is now banned in most circumstances). Most first contact situations were peaceful.
The United Worlds of Earth was founded 800 years ago, and the standard dateline reset at year 0 to represent a calendar that would be meaningful to all worlds and people of the Union. Humans appeared to be expanding into a galaxy where they were the superior technical race until, 300 years ago, they encountered the Taysan Empire on one side of Union space and the Republic of Daros on the other.
Daros waged immediate war with Earth, and there were skirmishes with the Taysans as well. The War looked likely to destroy the Union. The Union had superior firepower and resources to the Darians, but the Darians were ruthlessly determined and were devastating the economy and inflicting huge casualties. The Taysan Empress Methalia was not prepared to ally with Earth against the Darians, but agreed to help sue for peace.
Peace talks were held on Station One, a specially constructed station orbiting a dead world in neutral territory. The Station One Agreement, informally known as the Triple Pact or the Triple Peace, was signed by all three powers – its principal tenet being that if any one signatory breached any of the conditions, the other two would ally against them. The Station One Agreement is nearly 100 years old, and the War has almost slipped from living memory. Peace has become the normal state of galactic affairs – for now.
Each world of the Union has its own devolved administration which can take decisions at a local planetary level, but overall power in centralised on Earth with the Government of the United Worlds of Earth.
The President is the Head of Government, with a Vice President and an Executive Council appointed by the President. The Parliament of the United Worlds of Earth, to give the governing body its full title, comprises two representatives from each world of the Union, taking the title Planetary Representative (PR). Parliament debates and votes on laws and other issues.
There are various parties vying to be heard, but the three most powerful are the right-wing Patriotic Party, the left-wing Unionist Party, and the Colonial Party, which historically represented the interests of Earth’s colonies.
The seat of Government is in Atlantis, Earth’s capital city, built on an artificial island in the middle of the Atlantic. General elections, for President and for Planetary Representatives, are held every five years.
The United Worlds encompasses wide cultural diversity across its 187 planets. Earth is a liberal democracy and this philosophy is largely prevalent, but due to the unique history of many colony planets, and the fact that many of the worlds were ‘alien’ to begin with, there are all kinds of diverse and unusual societies within the Union. Planets have to meet certain conditions to join or remain part of the Union– for example, they must have some form of democratic local government and recognise basic human rights.
Many different local languages are spoken throughout the Union, but the official language is Earther, which derives from the ancient Earth language English. Children on all worlds are taught Earther at school, even if it is not the local language.
Again, many different religions observed throughout the Union, and tolerance of diverse faiths is theoretically encouraged. There is no state religion as a matter of policy.
The Union has a sophisticated monetary economy based on trade between worlds, and to some extent on trade with the Taysan Empire. Most transactions are electronic, though a physical currency exists in the form of small thin rectangles of metal – these ‘chips’ are issued by the United Worlds of Earth Central Bank in denominations of between 1/2 to 500 credits. They are also minted under licence on various worlds.