Terra, in the Gilgamesh system, is the capital planet of the Gilgamesh Colonial Confederation. Terra is one of many affiliated planets in the GCC and, arguably, the most important. Like most of the GCC, Terra is isolationist, with minimal non-humans present. Terra is heavily industrialized, even in its agricultural sector, with a lower standard of living than on equivalent SCG planets. The population works primarily in the service sector, industry or the military.
Still recovering from an economic crash toward the end of the Gaia Conflict, Terra is in stagnation, with public services and works being minimal while imports from elsewhere in the Confederation keep the economy afloat. This state of affairs has seen the emigration of many Terrans elsewhere within the Confederation and the SCG in recent years, hoping to escape the poor conditions they found themselves in following the Gaia Conflict.
Despite this, the people of Terra are proud and unbroken people who are heavily patriotic and tend to bring this with them wherever they go.
Before the founding of the Terran Commonwealth, numerous private enterprises and fringe organizations launched an initiative to expand humanity across the stars to free themselves from the grip of a disunited Earth, rapidly increasing population issues and dire political problems. The solution for this, to them at least, was simple: A series of STL sleeper ships designed to ferry them away to distant stars, beyond the reach of Earth governments. A distant planet, then known as Amaranth Major, which would become known as “Terra” was selected as the target site for the new colony after analysis determined it to be a potential “garden world.” After much preparation, the sleeper ships launched from the Martian spaceport in 2128, eventually losing contact with the Sol System.
Founding of Terra
The first colony of Terra, Amaranth, was founded when the sleeper ships arrived and descended to the planet in mid-2148, with the colonists renaming the world Terra. These vessels, containing everything the colonists would require to survive, served as the first hubs and homes of the colonists while they were built. From here the colonists spread out across the planet, forming a great many settlements across the planet's surface absent of any overarching unified government in an effort to fulfill their desire for a clean break from old Earth, which they had fled during the lead-up to the formation of the Terran Commonwealth. The colonists practiced town hall democracy exclusively during these early years of development, with a particular focus on agriculture and sustainable living. During this time citizens gathered at local forums or community centers to directly decide on colony matters ranging from law to the environment to education, coming to collective decisions on how to proceed. With their limited access to new technology and limited research and development capabilities, the people of Terra flourished in the relative simplicity of their existence. The one true exception to this, Amaranth, functioned as the industrial hub of the planet, with the former sleeper ships being slowly converted into manufacturing facilities for all sorts of industry, ranging from vital pharmaceutical and medical products to agricultural equipment to infrastructure supplies.
The planet of Terra experienced sudden upheaval, changes, and cultural shifts in 2180 when the Terran Commonwealth re-established contact with Terra, ending decades of peace and prosperity. Having spread out across the stars, the TC set out to reabsorb its wayward colony. The people of Terra had little choice but to accept with their total lack of military capability. While this reintegration was peaceful, many on the planet were wary of this new, multi-system government. This had numerous benefits for Terra, with access to inter-system logistics, supplies, new technology and equipment and a slow, but steady stream of new immigration as people from the core worlds used Terra much the same way as the first colonists did: A way to escape the problems of home. With these changes came new challenges to the people of Terra. To provide some level of control, sustainable planetary management, and a unified front from which to work with the Terran Commonwealth, the Council of Amaranth was formed. A representative body for all the smaller town-hall-style democratic settlements spread across Terra. Each settlement sent a representative, and this Council, in turn, elected a chairperson who established the working cabinet to manage the various aspects of the unified government. It is this early form of small-scale government that the later ICCG would be styled on,
Life Under the Commonwealth
Terra had an uneasy relationship with the Commonwealth. While they acquired new technology, people, equipment, spacecraft and other assets from it, the people of Terra rapidly realized the Commonwealth's “Earth-First” policy was aimed at depleting their resources for the benefit of their overlords in Sol. This rapidly devolved into resentment, anger and outright hostility toward the TC amongst the general populace with many clamouring to join the Ares Confederation upon its founding. However, the Council of Amaranth voted against joining by a slim majority, with the council instead opting to take a “wait and see” approach.
Despite the tensions, this was also a period of great growth for Terra, with the planet developing its first spaceport, orbital shipyard and habitat during this time, with Terrans beginning to explore, exploit and settle other planetoids and mining targets within the Gilgamesh system. The population boomed, and many of what were once towns flourished into great cities in the coming decades.
The Ares War
When the Ares Confederation and the Terran Commonwealth went to war in 2202, Terra, along with many other colonies in nearby systems, suddenly found themselves going dark from Sol. Cut off, alone, and with no more resources, money or requests flowing through the void to them. They were left to see to their own defences and devices as the war-ravaged the inner systems and colonies. Desperate to remain outside of this and remembering the sense of helplessness felt by the people during the Commonwealth's return, Terra began to ramp up its own military-industrial complex, seeking to build a capable, competent defence force with which to fend off any potential aggression from both Ares and the TC, with many fearing the two states would attempt to leverage the resources of Terra for their war back home. To accomplish this, the Council of Amaranth implemented the first planetwide service draft, forming the core of what would, one day, become the core of the ICCG Navy.
This build-up was accompanied by close cooperation, trade and diplomacy with Sestris. This eventually formed the precursor to the ICCG, the Gilgamesh League, with the colonies uniting to form a mutual defence pact with a unified standing military and a League Council for matters of trade and foreign policy.
Finally, in 2230, almost thirty years after the start of the war, it ended as quickly as it started and the ruined Terran Commonwealth began its transformation into the Sol Central Government. When it reached out to the league for reintegration, the Gilgamesh League, now its own, sovereign entity in all but declaration, declined. A year later, the league declared independence, forming the Independent Colonial Confederation of Gilgamesh with Terra as its capital, thus binding the fate of Terra to the ICCG.
The Interwar Years
During the years that followed, Terra remained at the forefront of the ICCG as its most populous and influential member. Somewhat hypocritically, Terra developed a “Terra-first” policy in its approach to the ICCG, with other founding colonies and worlds following, mostly those of which were founded by Terrans. This resulted in massive investment and allocation of resources to Terra and its closest allies, but with next to nothing going to late joiners or, in its later years, conquered territories. Continuing its cultural and technological boom, with some of its RnD, especially that focused around its military-industrial complex, beginning to move ahead of its counterparts in the SCG. In particular Terran citizens compromised a majority of the ICCG navy to which they drew much prestige, as a result of its citizens' presence and with the majority of their fleet built by Terran hands in the orbital dockyards of Terra. This resulted in military families often having pervasive influence in other areas of society, beginning a decades-long insertion of the military into the civilian political structure. Terran culture flourished during this time, with Terran literature and media focusing on epic tales of struggle, independence, solidarity and family.
The Gaia Conflict
Entering the 2290s, Terra sought to secure its import routes, particularly the substantial agricultural exports from Gaia, which with the entry of Providence into the confederation, became a necessity, with Vega and Valy laying in the way. Vega was a simple matter, with the ICCGN tasked with constructing a watch post within the system to guard trade, essentially annexing it. Valy was not as simple of a matter; anticipating some resistance as they forcefully ended a civil war, preparations were made. When they arrived, the fighting stopped instantly before all guns suddenly turned on them.
Forced to commit to putting down the rebels, the ICCGN began to deploy more assets to the system, prompting a response from Sol in the form of embargoes. The Directory was outraged but bore the burden of the hit to the market, with recovery beginning to show as news of a referendum being planned on Gaia for membership within the SCG.
With its proximity to both Providence and Valy, Gaia was a critical trade partner to the confederation, with estimates that should Gaia join the SCG, 35% of the confederation's imported food supply would be lost. Terra could do nothing but wait as the months ticked by.
When the votes came in, and Gaia slipped away, Terra was backed into a corner. With the market crashing due to the loss of such a critical trade route, Terra faced no choice but to intervene. In a secret session of the Directory, the facts were made plain, and in an overwhelming majority, the Directory voted to intervene on Gaia and commit to war with the SCG should it come to pass.
While initially heavily supportive of the war, repeated losses, heavy conscription waves and a strain on trade and resources took its toll on Terra, causing much damage to its ability to maintain its industrial and agricultural sectors. The lack of incoming resources, low manpower and dismal prospects for the economy eventually caused a partial economic collapse and trade among member states of the ICCG ceased. Following the armistice and peace agreement, many Terrans fled the planet for new opportunities elsewhere, much like their ancestors had fled Earth.
Terra remains a damaged planet. Many smaller towns, having simply run out of resources, money or people, have been abandoned, with those remaining flocking to the cities. Those that stay in the countryside are minimal, often small farming families maintaining large, automated agricultural operations. In the cities, it is difficult to find work outside of the military-industrial complex as the ICCG, and, as a result, Terra, as a whole, seeks to fix itself and mend the wounds of war. Significant political and economic upheaval is present on Terra as many have begun to see how their confederation leadership contributed to hubris and its shock and fall in the nineties. While the economy of the ICCG has settled since the end of the conflict, the same cannot be said for Terra, which continues to experience significant change. Some believe it is a precursor to a shift back toward their roots, perhaps with a change to focus on being the agricultural centre of the confederation. Despite this, Terra remains the wealthiest planet per capita within the Confederation, with ‘acquisitions’ from the lesser powerful members of the Confederation keeping them at the top… for now.
Outside of the heavily urbanized cities and their sprawling suburbia, Terra is an oxygen-rich “garden planet," this, following over a century of being tweaked by human terraforming efforts, has resulted in a leafy, green, woodland environment. The Terran countryside consists of large, planned, rigidly defined farming zones surrounded by boreal forests to the north and deciduous forests to the south. These forests are then filled with multiple flora and fauna imported from Earth which has been carefully bred and dispersed across the planet.
Much of the land of Terra is limited to a single supercontinent surrounded by numerous, smaller outlying islands. The continent itself is dotted with heavily industrialized cities. Beyond this and the great agricultural zones are tiny townships dotting the landscape, many of which are in disrepair, dilapidated or entirely abandoned thanks to the depopulation caused by the Gaia conflict. The north of the continent is home to a heavily mountainous region running the length of the continent. It is here that vast mining operations can be found, as well as some of the more well-off towns, still able to support themselves from the mining operations they help run.
The islands surrounding the continent are home to what remains of Terra's tourism industry, with many (now closed) resorts dotting their beaches.
Politics on Terra are somewhat paradoxical. As a planet, they are a member of a multi-system confederation in the form of the ICCG, but locally, the residents of Terra cling fiercely to their small-government roots with many Terrans subscribing to the belief that the best government is that which interferes with its citizens the least. Because of this, the smaller town-hall style of democracy and the Council of Amaranth has persisted into the present day. Every voting zone continues to send a representative to the council, with many smaller areas grouping themselves together to send their own collective representative and cities splitting themselves up into a series of equal grid zones, each directly electing their own representative. This representative democracy, at least, ensures accountability in the eyes of Terran citizens as they try to remain close to their small-government ideals.
As a member of the ICCG, Terra also sends representatives to the ICCG Directorate, with the population engaging in global elections to select their desired representatives. As these representatives are elected directly by the people and often have no ties with the Amaranth Council the representatives and The Council regularly find themselves at opposite ends of issues, with many past examples of the representatives voting against the wishes of The Council.
The Council of Amaranth often finds itself butting heads with the ICCG Directorate, with the grand council building being located opposite the directorate tower in the center of Amaranth proper. The Council chairman regularly enters into personal disputes with the Premier of the Confederation as many matters to do with external foreign policy and confederation-wide taxation often directly impact Terra itself, given its status as the single largest population center within the ICCG.
Perhaps seen as being directly opposite to the SCG, Earth and Mars, political parties are not present on Terra itself, each population group directly and independently elects their own reps, and they are expected to represent the interests of their electorate and are far more directly accountable to them than they would be in the SCG.
Of growing concern in recent years is the influence of the ICCG military in the Terran political system, with members of military dynasties getting themselves elected and forming their own pro-military factions in different levels of government. These factions then direct much of Terra's remaining capital, assets and resources to military projects, missions, or directly to the ICCG military.
Despite the overwhelming influence of the ICCG on Terra, the same is true in reverse. The ICCG's attempts to influence or exploit much of the planet are typically halted because of one key point: Food. Without the developed, massive agricultural sector on Terra, the ICCG would likely starve, with the planet serving as the ICCG's own breadbasket. Given these farms are in remote, often rural areas, they form their local governments with nearby mining towns and other, less vital rural industries. It is the need to feed that keeps the ICCG at bay and prevents the over-harvesting of Terra properly. This, combined with much of the ICCG Navy being from Terra (many of whom do not wish to see their own homes devastated) keeps the ICCG's resource acquisition goals outward.
Outside of global political matters, the government of Terra practices small government, with a fixed constitution, term limits, and voter security controls designed to limit overly-long influence by any individual or group of individuals. The Council of Amaranth and the cabinet focus almost entirely on externally facing legislation and matters, with the majority of government functions to do with infrastructure, education, welfare, social, medical and sport being left to smaller representative bodies within the geographic voting zones or to individual cities and their own councils. In smaller, rural areas, there may be no representatives, with the local population all voting together on any introduced legislation governing their area. Some cities on Terra also practice this, with local councils running more akin to a group of city managers, each responsible for a particular sector but primarily carrying out what their electorate has voted for.
This lack of standardized political structure across Terra has resulted in complications for large-scale reform or taxation. Currently, all Terran citizens pay a separate tax to the ICCG for related expenses and another tax to the Council of Amaranth for global affairs (though this is relatively small and mostly accounts for representative payment, maintenance of facilities, and limited parts of global infrastructure). Outside of this, taxes vary wildly based on location, what was voted in by residents, or levied by city councils with spending being inconsistently applied; no one area has a similar budget or spending plan. This notably affects the quality of life in cities, with less wealthy zones receiving less support and having very little money from their taxes.
Terra, one of the largest and most populous of the ICCG states, has the largest economy. It is divided into four main areas; The military, general industry, agriculture & mining, and services.
Of particular note is the sizeable military industry, with many, many great orbital shipyards around the planet constantly refitting or producing new warcraft for the navy, many of which are owned directly by the ICCG; these shipyards provide thousands of jobs and have continued to expand operations since the end of the Gaia conflict.
Mining, surprisingly, is one of the smallest sections of the Terran economy. Despite many mining operations littering the mountainous northern areas, most mining operations are locally controlled, either through ownership or through strict legislative controls by the electorate, who intentionally enforce environmentally friendly mining practices on corporations to preserve their homes. While a point of frustration for the wider ICCG as this limits access to easy resources, it has also been argued that this limitation was also the catalyst that caused ICCG expansionism early on.
Amaranth, the capital of Terra and its most populous city, is home to both the planetary government and the ICCG Directorate. It is also home to a sizeable spaceport and centralized rail and air links with the rest of the planet. Space in Amaranth is poorly used due to an ancient zoning law mandating that all construction is limited to ten stories. This has resulted in the city becoming a vast urban sprawl, spiralling outward toward the great agricultural plains surrounding it, except to the south, where Amaranth stops along the edge of one of the great freshwater lakes of the Terran supercontinent. Life in Amaranth is busy, crowded and cold, with its poor, unplanned layout resulting in multiple packed thoroughfares and traffic chokepoints. The people of Amaranth face great difficulty as the influx of people from the surrounding towns has put a burden on the already limited housing market. To counter this, recently, a great many “temporary” floating homes have popped up around the dockland that covers the edge of Lake Mazurskie.
Violence has become a problem in Amaranth, with organized crime on the rise since the beginning of the Gaia Conflict; many criminal enterprises have appeared targeting the citizenry, with extortion and white-collar crime becoming a particular issue.
Considered the sporting jewel of western Terra, Viridis is home to the largest Thunderdome arena on the planet and has numerous local teams, causing fierce competition to participate in the national league. The competition extends beyond the arena, too, with each zone having its own team; the city is as divided on the streets as it is politically, with Thunderdome hooliganism being a significant issue. Each city zone is home to its own Thunderdome Academy, with them being treated like martial arts dojos. Viridis takes its sports seriously in all aspects, however, and the city has presented and developed itself as a sporting hub beyond Thunderdome.
A small market town in the middle of nowhere between Amaranth and Viridis, Valentina has developed something of a unique reputation because of its annual culinary festival and large farming community coupled with it being home to the Terran Academy of Fine Foods, the nation's premier chef college. Because of its location and reputation, it has developed as a significant resting place for Thunderdome fans travelling between Viridis and Ameranth on their way to support their favoured teams, where they partake in local cuisine, enjoy the cheese fair and fill up on alcohol before the big match. Some blame Sepik for fuelling the hooliganism in Viridis for their gain. Despite this, chefs trained at the academy are renowned across the galaxy for their expertise and as masters of their craft.