Known Space: who, what, where?

Known space comprises four regions: the Technosphere, Independent Solar System, Mind-Space and Protectorates.

Technosphere:

The Technosphere is comprised of thousands of self-governing societies known as Habitats. Each of these habitats has its own government, legal systems, police, military, and is, in many ways, equivalent to a sovereign nation on old-Earth. All Habitats, however, are also subject to the conditions of the Sentient Charter and the governance of technology law.

The Sentient Charter and the Governance Of Technology laws impose upon all Habitats a series of legal rights and restrictions that are applied across the entire Technosphere with the exception of the ISS and the non-human systems that are protectorates of the governance of technology agency.

The Governance Of Technology works by allowing or providing higher levels of technology to those Habitats (societies) who fulfil key criteria within the Sentient Charter. The closer a habitat, forms to the ideals of the Sentient Charter the more likely it is to be provided with, or allowed to use, higher levels of technology. The actual level of technology that a habitat is entitled to is called its technological quotient or TQ.

The management of TQ rests entirely within the hands of the Governance Of Technology Agency or GOTA. The Agency has become the largest and most powerful organisation in the history of humanity and is comprised of four major departments: the Technosphere Defence Force (T-DF), the Technosphere Peace Enforcement Agency (T-PEA), the Terminus Police Force (T-PF) and the Technical Department (T-TD). Each of these four departments is largely self-governing and has distinct roles and responsibilities within the Technosphere as a whole.

The Technosphere itself had, until recently, no supreme governing body; however soon after the official formation of the Technosphere, the representatives of the various Habitats within it, decided that there needed to be a political forum whereby group decisions could be discussed and voted upon. This eventually developed into Technosphere Senate, within which every Habitat would be represented by a single senator, resulting in a modern day senate which has over 8000 senators.

The Technosphere Senate does not however have any legal authority within the Technosphere, that belonging solely to the GOTA, and Senate decisions are legally non-binding and can also be vetoed or over-ruled by GOTA. With that said decisions of the Senate are usually abided by by the Habitats.

 

GOTA:

The Governance Of Technology Agency has four departments all of which are essentially self-regulating and have the legal power to enforce their own decisions anywhere within the Technosphere. There is within G.O.T.A a Supreme Council which is comprised of the director of each department, a G.O.T.A Habitat representative, a Mind representative (non-voting), a Senate representative (non-voting) and the legal head of the entire agency, the Agency Chairman who is possibly the most powerful human that has ever existed in terms of the power he wields over so many billions of people.

However, GOTA is legally prevented from interfering with Habitat laws other than where they directly impinge upon, or contradict, elements of the Governance Of Technology laws or the Sentient Charter.

G.O.T.A also has direct responsibility for the military protection of the Technosphere, the defence of any protectorate areas of space, the internal enforcement of peace, expansion and exploration outside of the Technosphere, human liaison with the Minds and the emplacement, maintenance and protection of terminus stations. These responsibilities are broken down within each department and in some cases require cross departmental assistance.

G.O.T.A  is such a large organisation that it includes a number of its own independent Habitats which exist within a legal and political grey area where they may or may not be subject to the conditions of the Governance Of Technology laws themselves. The Sentient Charter however does apply to the agency and its Habitats and the Agency Habitats also have Senators on the Technosphere Senate.

 

Protectorates:

Protectorates are areas of space, entire systems, planets, moons and other physical structures such as space stations, inhabited asteroids and so on and so forth.

The majority of protectorates consist of planets and moons with extant indigenous xenoc-species (non-Earth originating) of special scientific interest, non-human sentient species, fallen civilisations, dangerous areas of space, dangerous ecosystems and any habitat or system that has been expelled from the Technosphere or is under a current embargo.

Mind-space:

Mind-space is the area of space that is governed by Consensus which is the supposed ruling body of the higher artificial intelligences that were responsible for the intervention on the and the formation of the Technosphere: the Minds.

The Minds are a distinctly different sentient species to the old AIs of pre-Intervention Earth

Almost nothing is known about mind space, where it is, how large it is, what inhabits it or how many minds actually live there.

 

Independent Solar System:

The ISS comprises everything within the volume of space bordered by the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt of the Solar System.

After the period known as Bootstrap many areas of the solar system were developed by humanity under the control of the Bootstrap Consortium. These areas continued to be developed right up until the formation of the Technosphere proper however who actually owned these BC-developed areas was never clearly decided in law.
During and after the formation of the Technosphere it became apparent that many humans were never likely to leave the Earth or Sol System and it became obvious that unless additional room was made available the Earth population would soon exceed sustainable levels again generating new problems on Earth.

The only recognised global body on Earth was the United Nations of Earth (UNoE) which was a descendant of the old 20th-century United Nations. This was not a particularly representative body and it held no legal power over the nations on earth who had subscribed to it.  However, after the formation of the Technosphere Senate a majority of the nations on Earth realised that they needed a globally representative body to be able to act on behalf of all those humans ‘left behind’ on Earth and excluded, for one reason or another, from being able to emigrate to the Technosphere.

As such a representative body was formed, superseding the United Nations of Earth and with limited, but functional, legally binding control over the majority of sovereign states on Earth. This became known as Earth Government or “Earth-Gov”.

Earth-Gov was the political brainchild of the Unified States of America which had finally resurrected its political, economic and military prowess after decades of civil war. The USA was, and always had been, very strongly anti-Mind and anti-GOT and it gathered a groundswell of public opinion across Earth to help punch-through political barriers and enable the formation of Earth-Gov.

What is highly unusual about Earth-Gov is that whilst it has a strong anti-Technosphere stance it contains representatives of sovereign states and political bodies from within the Technosphere itself. For example the NRF is both a sovereign nation state on earth (the former Russian federation) as well as a political faction within the Technosphere senate.

As such the effectiveness of Earth-Gov is severely hampered because of natural conflicts between the ant-Technosphere sections and the pro-Technosphere sections of its body politic. The influence of Technosphere political factions, represented in Earth-Gov via their originating nation states, and the goals and aims of the majority of Earth-Gov constituents are often directly at odds with one another.

Despite this handicap Earth-Gov has managed to provide a reasonably effective administration of Earth itself and all parties have co-operated well in issues of environmental protection and reclamation (although critics would point out that this is only because of the vast funding from GOTA and the Technoshpere Senate).  Earth-Gov has over time petitioned for control of more and more Sol-System areas and installations and has gradually extended its control from just Earth itself to any and all installations in orbit around it, and all of the other planets and moons asteroids and artificial stations spread throughout the solar system.

However, the massive population explosion that occurred during and after bootstrap (and continues now throughout the entire Technosphere), has not been replicated on Earth or within the solar system and the ISS human population now only constitutes 14% of the total humans. This is down to a combination of factors, from the restriction of technology through to a lack of basic resources such as food and living space. This has also been exacerbated by the active interference of the Agency in Earth matters (particularly on conservation of species and other ecological issues) and with the collusion of those Earth nations who remain pro-Technosphere due to their own connections and peoples now within the Technosphere.

Earth and the Independent Solar System is regarded by those in the Technosphere as consisting of the dregs of humanity, those unable, unwilling, or openly restricted, from emigrating into the Technosphere, those who are politically against the Technosphere, those barred for genetic reasons from leaving Earth and those nation states that have always opposed the minds and their supporters ever since the intervention (notably the USA, CAE and Hegemony).

Finally those members of humanity who for whatever reason are expelled from within the Technosphere are banished back to Earth where they then become the responsibility of Earth-Gov. Earth-Gov and the various sovereign nation states on Earth have virtually say in this dumping of undesirables whatsoever, a situation that causes great resentment amongst that portion of humanity that is forever confined to Earth and its Solar System.