With over thirty-three trillion Citizens living on the nearly fourteen thousand member planets scattered across numerous Sectors of the universe it would have been impossible for any single bureaucratic organization to effectively oversee the judicial needs of those living under the flag of the Felis Alliance. Ensuring that the rule of law was not an issue had been dealt with by the first Sovereign of the Alliance who had envisioned a system which provided for a generous amount of self-rule and regional autonomy for the governance of member planets, removing a tremendous amount of the administrative burden from the Alliance home world. This also had the benefit of allowing member planets to maintain their cultural identities and traditions, while ensuring that they did not conflict with the established tenets of the Alliance.
General Guidelines, as set out by the Sovereign and their advising Cadre, guaranteed anyone traveling throughout the Alliance that they would encounter certain commonalities when dealing with specific laws, even if the interpretation of particular codes and precepts might be slightly different from planet to planet, depending on how a particular judiciary chose to interpret a particular set of laws or regulations.
After several hundred thousand years of careful planning and artful maneuvering within the fields of diplomacy and military dominance, the Felis Alliance had risen to prominence as the single most powerful organization in the known universe. Many mutually-beneficial treaties had been negotiated with diverse planetary governments, representing so many life-forms that the Alliance was ultimately acknowledged as a governmental body unto itself, one which superseded all others in both scope and authority. By the time the Alliance represented over ten trillion Citizens it was the largest organization of its type in the known universe, recognized as the first pan-galactic para-governmental organization of its type, with the authority to supplant other planetary governments.
Now, with over thirty-three trillion Citizens living within the Felis Alliance, it was beyond gargantuan, perhaps even unwieldy by some estimations. It was also without peer within the vast cosmos, though that did not mean that it was without opposition, or that it lacked competition. Located on the opposite side of the Great Shadow Nebula, in Sector 1009, was Ursus Minor, the home world of the Ursus Consortium. Unlike the Felis Alliance, the Ursus Consortium was relatively small, encompassing under two thousand Green Zone planets, with approximately six and a half trillion citizens. While the Ursus Consortium was only a fraction the size of the Felis Alliance, they compensated by possessing an extreme determination and tenacity, being led by maniacal leaders who refused to accept that they were anything less than the greatest of organizations, destined to rule the universe. Nothing could divert the leaders of the Consortium from their desire to possess what they did not control, thus transforming them into an explicit threat to the peace of every planet within the Felis Alliance, and extraordinarily dangerous in everything they planned.
Members of the Alliance had little to fear and few complaints regarding their security as they were provided more than adequate protection from anyone – or anything – that might threaten their planet and the system in which they existed. This protection extended to cover any forms of intimidation that might arise from attempts to induce planets to leave the Alliance in order to join the Ursus Consortium, which thought of itself as a viable alternative to the Alliance. Anyone who had dealings with the Consortium, however, recognized that the only thing viable about them was their propensity for violence: they ruled with a combination of brutality and cruelty, their only true interest being their profits. Any planet was welcomed into the Consortium, but the Alliance would do everything within their considerable power to show them the error of their thinking before the ink was dry on the treaty – a treaty which had no hope of being honored.
As much as the leadership of the Alliance may have enjoyed a total monopoly on the stellar mining operations that enriched their economy, both the Sovereign and the Cadre recognized better than anyone that this was simply not possible. The Stellar Mining Bureau, known to all within the Alliance as the SMB, maintained a tight control over the mining rights of every Sector of the known universe, only allowing certain types of stellar bodies, in uninhabited systems, to be mined for their precious elements. Any system which contained a Green Zone planet and had any signs of life was considered to be strictly off limits when it came to the Stellar Mining Bureau. Even the Ursus Consortium was sworn to follow the regulations of the SMB, knowing that if the Mining Inspectors, or the Board of Governors, revoked their Mining Certificates, their operations would be shut down faster than if a division of ASCAR commandos had seized their operations, and nobody wanted to mess with the ASCAR.
Unfortunately, the tight controls set out by the Stellar Mining Bureau did little to thwart the ambitions of the Consortium’s leaders who were determined to expand their holdings. If this could not be done through their mining operations, they had to find other ways to accomplish their goals. In recent years the Consortium had become so desperate for new member planets to exploit they began attempting to poach members of the Alliance, or planets declared as Protectorates. Doing so violated the Protectorate Treaty of Gersh, which provided the Sovereign the prerogative to declare any planet that had been seeded by the Alliance a Protectorate if it exhibited the potential of eventually becoming an Alliance member. Even though most Protectorates were several hundred thousand years away from being offered membership, the Sovereign found many of them worthy of being protected, resulting in the deployment of ships and troops from the Unified Armed Services. Alliance forces were deployed in orbit and, in some cases, on the Protectorates themselves; their presence was usually more than sufficient to thwart the Consortium and prevent armed conflicts.
This had led the Sovereign to adopt a casual attitude when it came to the threat posed by his counterpart. He had believed that the Consortium would not wage an overt war against the Alliance, or risk breaking the treaties that had been established, even though they already had violated the Protectorate Treaty of Gersh by moving against several Protectorates. Since the Alliance had been able to defend those planets, Sovereign Martok did not act as though there was any great threat, making some within the Alliance and the Unified Armed Services, to whisper about whether or not he possessed the fortitude to send Alliance forces into battle for a worthy cause. Sovereign Martok had not been fully persuaded that the Consortium would make any violent move against Protectorates of the Alliance, that were fully defended by the UAS; all of that would change on Sarkiss II.
Ninety-five thousand years ago Alliance Security & Intelligence Services determined that the Consortium was moving against Sarkiss II, in Sector 1009, a Protectorate of great interest to the Alliance; it was located in the Orek cluster, and had the potential for future riches once the planet qualified for membership. As a result, both the Cadre and Fleet Commander made recommendations to the Sovereign that the planet be vigorously defended against interference from the Consortium. Sarkiss II also happened to be strategically important to the Alliance as it was located in the same Sector as Ursus Minor, the home world of the Consortium. Despite the recommendations that Sovereign Martok received he decided to only send a small contingent of UAS vessels under the command of General Hertzmal to defend the planet, believing in the superiority of Alliance technology and relying on the belief that the Consortium would back down at the sight of their ships. He grossly miscalculated.
At that time the Consortium had been led by Factotum Efaris Mar, a distant relative of their current leader. Efaris Mar deployed far more of his fleet to Sarkiss II than any strategist would have imagined reasonable, and they were waiting for the Alliance ships in high orbit over the magnetic poles of the planet, using its strong magnetic fields to shield them from the sensors of the Alliance ships. As they made their transition into sub-light speed they discovered the Consortium vessels lying in wait when they were most vulnerable to attack. Like a group of hunters waiting for their prey to emerge from the forest so they could kill them quickly and efficiently, the Consortium vessels were prepared.
It was a battle that only lasted a matter of seconds, if it could even be called a battle; most of the Alliance vessels, including General Hertzmal’s flagship, were destroyed while still transiting from sub-light speed into planetary orbits where they would have taken up defensive positions against the opposing Consortium forces. Since Mar’s vessels had been hiding within the magnetic field of Sarkiss II the sensors of the Alliance ships were blinded as they approached from Argis IV, located in the Argato Nebula in neighboring Sector 1008, which had served as their departure point. As far as General Hertzmal had been concerned no Consortium vessels were anywhere near the planet, or anywhere within 200,000 Krenar of Sarkiss II. As the ambush took place none of the ships were even able to make an emergency transmission back to Felis Prime to report their situation; all hands had been lost without a single shot having been fired by the Alliance. News of their destruction was only received thanks to Emergency Sensor Logs which were deployed once the ships were destroyed, transmitting the final images that had been recorded before the destruction of the ships at the hands of the marauding forces that had been lying in wait for them at the time of their arrival in orbit over the planet.
Since that fateful day the Felis Alliance and the Ursus Consortium had been watching each other with guarded animosity; they were not in a state of war, but it seemed perilously close. While the Consortium was acutely aware that they were much smaller than the Alliance and could never hope to outmatch them in a protracted military campaign, they seemed to want to constantly test the boundaries that had been established, pushing the treaties they had painstakingly negotiated and signed to the point where, if they did not actually break, they seemed to be mangled to the point where they were about to crumble. Diplomacy had, in many cases, become a weapon wielded as a sword rather than words spoken by diplomats.
Serving in the military was one way for Citizens of the Alliance to guarantee a career for themselves within the much larger bureaucracy, once their military service ended. While the extended lifespans afforded by the advanced technologies provided by the Alliance now meant that careers were measured in centuries, or longer, people still often chose to move from one career to another, taking the time to explore the opportunities afforded within a particular field. At the same time, many elected to remain within the military for as long as possible. Assuming someone survived their service, which was far more likely than not, the military was something that many young and talented Alliance Citizens volunteered to enter enthusiastically, with many having the desire to serve in the most elite group, the Alliance Special Combat Armed Response Corps, more commonly known as the ASCAR, or simply as the Corps.
Excerpted from Chapter I ~ Alliance, of Sun Killers,
first book of The Felis Alliance Series.
Copyright © 2016 by Peter Amsel.
Published by Bordofsky Productions.
All Rights Reserved.
PDF ISBN: 978-0-9952272-1-7
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