This document is a work in progress. Last revised: Wed Nov 11 10:45:04 EST 2020. Prior drafts are available Here
I am continuing my thoughts from Color and Emotion in this post.
One struggle I can see with both the Krazis and the Cirocal is that both systems are built on the sort of struggle that is unsustainable in space.
Kraznovia is an artificial nation that emerged when the Prussian Empire's holdings annexed the Chinese, Japanese, and American holdings on Luna. While it was originally ruled by Prussia, treaties required that no nation on Earth could have territory in Space. Thus, the Prussians set up a puppet government. The unified moon government gradually developed into an autonomous state. And that state started to have it's own taste for conquest.
The hyper-militaristic Krazis are built on the assumption that people are interchangeable cogs. One of two things happens: either you run out of people or the means you take to make up the numbers result in progressively dumber people moving through the pipeline. You also struggle to maintain your vast technical edge, as the sorts of folks who have talents with machinery and science aren't of the hyper-martial mindset.
For the events in a book I am working on set in the Solar System before Project Iliad, I think I have found an answer to that. A class system in Krazi culture. Krazis have three basic classes: the Officers, the Union, and the Civilians.
Officers are the warrior Caste. They advance by making other people recognize their authority. Or by blackmail/stabbing rivals in the back. Their interactions are like watching a reality TV show. Though, the same sort of CNN rule applies to them as applies to any armed force. If what you make yourself into an international embarrassment, they find some reason to demote or arrest you.
The Union are the folks sworn to state service, but who work in the support roles. They can be ordered around by the Officers, but they have a bureaucracy of rules to fall back on if the Officers are particularly unhinged. While there is undoubtedly some corruption, by in large the Union does keep the lights on. And they always have a general strike as a threat if the Officers ever start getting a little to uppity. Under Krasnovian law, all Tegic users above a certain level MUST be a card carrying member of the Union.
Civilians are anyone in Kraznovia who is neither Officer nor Union. Children are the most common civilians encountered. Intellectuals who fall out of either the Officer or Union system, stay at home moms, retirees, farmers, unskilled laborers, and mercenary/contractors make up the adult population. Officers are sworn to protect civilians. The Union is sworn to serve civilians. By in large, they are treated as annoying pets by both. Society generally looks down on working age civilians as people who couldn't be productive enough for the Union or competitive enough to be an officer. (Though in truth, society couldn't run without them.)
The central government of Kraznovia has three heads of state: An Officer, a Union Rep, and a Civilian President. The Officer is the highest ranking member of the armed forces. The Union Rep is chosen by an arcane set of bylaws with the Union. The Civilian President is elected by the people. There is a rock/paper/scissors dynamic that allows each to carry on with their normal work, so long as their designated rival does not veto the action. The Union can veto the Military. The Military can veto the Civilians. The Civilians can veto the Union.
The Circle Trigon (or Ciorcals) are a collection of organized crime syndicates who defer to a central authority for dispute resolution. A series of disastrous turf wards in the 20th century gave their settlements and vessels a reputation for lawlessness and anarchy. The Circle Trigon was formed by the surviving crime families to provide stability and rehabilitate their reputation outside of "the Family".
The Circle Trigon is divided into a number of "Families". The composition of a Family can vary tremendously. And there are mechanisms for new families to be recognized, and defunct families to be dissolved. Each Family is given exclusive control of at least one operation. Where operations interfere with one another, Families can either work out their disputes on their own, or take the matter up with the Board. This Board is made up of representatives from all of the families. The general rule is: if the Board has to answer a dispute, neither side is going to like the outcome.
The Board also sends auditors out to all of the Families to look after their accounting. From this accounting, the Board levies taxes to ensure that one Family cannot shift their costs onto another Family or society in general. Audits also look for signs of one Family intruding into the operation of another Family. These transgressions are also resolved with monetary settlements, which grow progressively more onerous the more egregious the transgression.
Interfering with an audit is considered a capital offense. Keeping sloppy books is a felony. Failing to pay a debt makes your life forfeit.
While there are Circle Trigon settlements, they are rare. Normally the Circle Trigon operates inside of other faction's settlements. Their accounting and logistics delivery systems makes them valuable partners in trade.
The Circle Trigon society has three main classes: Men of Honor, Associates, and Civilians.
Men of Honor hold various ranks, and are the decision makers and property holders in the organization. These ranks vary Family to Family, but every Family has a Boss and a Consigliere.
Associates work for a Family, but are not members of the Family. The role of associates varies tremendously with specific Families and Operations the families undertake.
Civilians are non-participants in the Circle Trigon system. They are basically considered cattle. Exploiting civilians is fine. Killing them is taboo, as is removing their means for making a living. (A starving sheep can't be fleeced.)
The ISTO is built from a collective competing interests who band together for mutual defense. The organization exists to defend the interests of the settlers of the outer solar system. But they maintain facilities on Earth and strategic areas of the inner solar system.
ISTO is a direct response to the lawlessness of the Circle Trigon and the Imperial ambitions of the Kraznovians. They are comprised of several sub-factions:
The ISTO members were very late to space travel. However, arriving late meant they could simply utilize the technology that was proven to work without having to do a lot of their own research and development. This allowed them to sink their budgets into making large and comfortable settlements, and in areas where the Krazis and Cirocals could not operate.
ISTO vessels and outposts are extremely eclectic and diverse. To facilitate trade, commerce, and defense, they have devised a set of "polite" standards to permit cultural interaction. When dealing with members outside of one's own culture, there is a manual of expected norms and customs. Many people have adopted that manual as their own "secular culture". Still others pay it as short a shrift as legally possible to maintain their own way of life.
ISTO's secular culture is one of rigid openness. The ultimate goal of every citizen is to find a way to better society around them. How is left up to each person to figure out, and each according to his/her/its/their gifts. Given the sheer size if each ISTO settlement, productivity and efficiency are frankly not even considered in design. Engineers and Architects plan for every worst case scenario, and design every craft to be able to adapt. This produces vessels that are inefficient by virtually every measure. But they are highly survivable, and have lifespans projected to last centuries.
The price for building large is time and cost. ISTO has far fewer individual hulls than either the Krasnovians or Ciorcal. But what they do make operates for decades or centuries, and it generally does the work of an entire fleet of Krazi or Ciorcal ships.
A symbiotic relationship has developed over time between the Ciorcal and the ISTO. ISTO generally produces massive amounts of commodities in bulk. The Ciorcal have the logistics network to deliver those goods around the Solar System on a timely basis. This has led to most vessels in ISTO maintaining a computer interface to the Ciorcal logistics network, with the requisite AIs, and even the facilities (and legal frameworks) to allow Ciorcal auditors to operate.
Ciorcal Families operate as Bergers in ISTO class system. Many are contractors to provide logistics to ISTO's fleet. Virtually all tranport between Earth and ISTO's settlements is on a Cirocal run ship.
The secular classes in ISTO society are largely down to the natural areas where control must be asserted to keep everyone alive. Officers, Specialists, Shareholders, Bergers, and Civilians. However, it is generally expected that everyone on board may be more than one caste at a time.
Officers operate vessel systems and defend vessels from external threats. Officers are also placed into any role where trust has to be assured. They are a monastic order who takes a vow of poverty, in exchange for all of their needs being provided by society.
Specialist are the intellectuals and skilled workers. They are individuals who are recognized for having Tegical gifts, and are given ample time to develop their abilities. These individuals may own property, and conduct activities that enrich their own personal lifestyle. But it is expected that they give back to the community with their skills and talents.
Shareholders are the Rentiers of the system. They are the investors, or descendents of investors, who supplied the initial capitol to construct the vessels of the ISTO fleet. They have some say over the design of a ship, and how it is operated. But they are generally powerless to control the day-to-day activities on board. Shareholders can own a share of the corporation that controls ISTO, a portion of a specific vessel, or both. These shares entitle them to a cut of whatever profits are generated by the vessel's stated mission, as well as a cut if whatever taxes are levied on the population.
Bergers are business owners. Instead of holding shares of ISTO or the vessel itself, they control a business or organization. Bergers have to maintain a license, and may hire employees. Bergers also elects a "Chaimberlain of Commerce" to represent their interests at Shareholder meetings. Corporate, Accounting, or Safety malfeasance can result in a Berger losing his/her/its/their license. Also, a Berger is personally responsible for any debts incurred by his or her businesses.
Civilians are anyone who is none-of-the-above.
The Shepherds (Sumerian:ð ð, Persian: چوپانان, Swahili: wachungaji, Hawaiian: na kahuhipa, Chinese: 牧羊人, Hindi: चरवाहों, Hebrew: הרועים) have existed since the dawn of civilization. They study Magic and try to defend mankind against it's misuse. The workings of The Shepherds is a mystery to outsiders. They prefer to work behind the scenes. To members it is simply known as The Organization.
Magical knowledge is a tightly guarded secret. Prior to the Great Cataclysm, Shepherds did not tend to gather in large organizations. They were structured like insurgent cells, each guarding one particular secret.
The Great Cataclysm of 1939-1945 killed millions of people, and laid much of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan to waste. The United Nations was formed, and in their charter they enlisted the help of the Shepherds to identify future threats, prevent accidents, and prosecute wrongdoers.
The 13 wisest and most respected magic users in the civilized world. Vacancies are filled by a nomination and voting process. At least on practitioner from each of the recognized philosophies of Magic must be on the Council. One member is elected the Executive. The Executive can act with the council's authority to respond to emergency situations, until such a time as the full council can be called.
The United Nations commissioned a Magical Police Force known colloquially as the Blue Robes. These are high-powered magic users who are not affiliated with any particular Cell. They work with local governments as magical consultants and detectives. They also inspect research labs for forbidden technology, as well as authorize exemptions to the magical laws for specific research projects. They also provide legal and spiritual guidance for jurisdictions looking to regulate magic.
The Shepherds have a public outreach arm, built on an underground University system developed in occupied Lethia. The LFU now has branches around the world, and in space, and promotes the safe use of Magic. The LFU also acts as a trade school for magic users.
The open academic mission of the LFU, and their jealous protection of the privacy of their students often puts them at odds with the Blue Robes.
Everyone who comes to learn at the LFU becomes a member.
While there are now two very public arms of the Organization, the old system of cells to protect dangerous magic still exists. Indexes in both the University system and the Blue Robes are very, very careful to limit what data they have on the cells, as well as biographical data about their members. Visiting experts from cells are almost never publicly identified.
A system of protocols exist to authenticate membership of a cell, but they are a two way street. You have to know about the cell, first, and demonstrate a need to know their particular piece of knowledge.
Each cell has their own system for recruitment of new members, and passing on their knowledge in the event of the death of all of the members. Each is unique.
Every member of the Organization (be them Blue Robe, LFU, or Old Ways) takes on the name of a fictional character. That is the name by which they are referred to both inside and outside of the organization. One's True Name is never used, even if two people are related by kinship.