Threshold, (/’ðrɛʃhoɹld/ or θrɛʃhoʊld) is a moderately large star nation with eight spheres of influence. Within these spheres are one hundred and fifty-five inhabitable worlds and their moons, comprising forty regions called “prefectures,” and thirty-one inhabitable moons with uninhabitable planets comprising two more prefectures, and claims an additional sixty-five uninhabitable but terraformable planets and their associated moons. Its capital city of Threshold encompasses much of the homeworld of Pharthan (/fa:rθæn/ or farθa:n). Bordered by the Intersystem Alliance, its closest ally, and by the large People’s Coalition, with whom it holds a tense peace with, out of necessity for survival, the star nation was once prime real estate during the early days of galactic expansion towards the rich inner worlds.
United originally in fear of other large star nations Thresholders are often fiercely loyal to their nationality, value great effort, and have little accommodation for senseless complaining, or at least put little stock in it, and are a no-nonsense people. They are often considered to be humorless, putting them at the butt of a number of jokes galaxy-wide; this misconception is often based on Thresholders finding little pleasure in jokes and pranks they consider “childish,” and often posses a more dry humor or wit.
Table of Contents
- 1 ETYMOLOGY
- 2 GEOGRAPHY
- 3 HISTORY
- 4 GOVERNMENT
- 5 RELATIONS
- 6 CULTURE
- 7 ECONOMY
- 8 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
- 9 MILITARY
- 10 FEATURED IN
The name of “The Threshold” to describe the region as a “doorway” to new mineral-rich worlds was earliest recorded in usage in 2654, when the Sunderland-Belvoir system terminus was first discovered, leading early settlers further up-arm proximal to the galactic core. The Pharthan system proved to be ore rich both in planetary and asteroid deposits. With only one terminus, the system was also easily defended, leading to early government establishment and general system control.
Most of the central planets lying along termini are fully developed and quite Earth-like. Threshold is notably colony-like in nature, with several large moons likewise terraformed, and naturally Earth-like and near-Earth-like planets requiring- little terraforming either fully settled or rapidly growing in population. However, a large portion of the population still lives in stations, subterranean or bubble-cities on moons, or even inside asteroids in orbit of planets.
Threshold has since it’s unification, made developing the agrarian worlds – chief among them the planet of Selene with 95% of its surface salt-water, terraformed to be habitable by Earth-Ocean-species for fishing, preservation, and algae farming.
The Threshold began as a series of worlds colonized under the waning days of the Deep Seed Project. Many of the individuals who ruled the systems when during the Reunion Period were grandchildren of those who had initially left Earth and the Core Worlds, and so were very welcoming of the Intersystem Alliance rule in the 2770’s. Tensions rose over time as the Pharthan and Himeji system were left to their own devices when dealing with piracy, which often meant requiring average merchantmen to take up arms. Even the forward deployed naval forces, many of whom were Thresholders by birth, felt alienated by their parent Alliance due to trickling resources as the Coalition of Independent Systems began gaining strength, effectively cutting off ease of travel between the sections of the Alliance through tariffs and levies. Eventually successful and growing to be regional powers Himeji and Pharthan, – the first through determination, efficiency, and economic strength characteristic of it’s Japanese heritage, the second through its economic powerhouse of a mining sector and like-minded work-ethic citizenry – the two systems formed close ties in trade with the Belvoir system under their mutual protection by necessity, with the decision to protect the remote Selene and New Haifa systems in remembrance of their own alienation by a higher military power’s negligence.
THE NEVER WAR
The five regions eventually renounced their ties to the Intersystem Alliance peacefully in 2891 but were unable to convince the Kingdom of Sunderland, with which they had a close trading partnership, to join their cause. The event, a highly tense period between the Alliance and Threshold, was dubbed the “Never War,” as for a period of several years, both Alliance and Threshold peoples and political hawks cried out for military action to resolve the conflict, to include the formation of full militias and small privateer and corsair fleets. Both sides pestered each other to no end, but no engagements occurred with the exception of a few violent riots, for which mostly left only Thresholders dead. Bordering Alliance sectors did note an increase in pirate activity, but no Thresholder group claimed responsibility for these actions.
Though reluctant to give up valuable space, resources, and manpower with new foes popping up all around them, the larger group conceded. Eventually, the Alliance Government realized there was no point to continuing the tense cold war, and in 2895 the Alliance recognized the sovereignty of the Threshold. This left a discrepancy in the history books as to when the nation was formed; Threshold books state 2891, while Alliance official records declare 2895. The peaceable separation was quite beneficial for Threshold, because shortly after Alliance military forces vacated the system, Coalition backed pirates and privateers began raiding, with the intent of weakening the nation for a Coalition takeover. These raids were quickly rebuffed by the new Threshold military, as well as several border disputes incited by Coalition claims that Threshold was “overstepping their bounds,” in what worlds they claimed sovereignty over. Coalition leadership had not anticipated a well trained fighting-force from such a new starnation; indeed, many of the Threshold Navy sailors and Admirals had originally been in service to the Alliance Navy during the split, and so were well prepared. In spite of the Coalition pining to Alliance government to “rein in their dog,” to force Thresholders to give up newly conquered systems, the Alliance made no such deal, wishing to wash their hands of the entire arch of space.
Following these incursions, Thresholders turned to their former almost-enemies, the Alliance, and began purchasing outdated, yet still intimidating equipment to bolster their military. In trade, they promised to allow peaceable patrols of Threshold space by Alliance forces and opened trade, beginning a new friendship.
A century later, Alliance Forces were allowed to refurbish, refit, and occupy a Naval-Station in orbit over New Haifa that had gone abandoned since the secession, marking the beginning of a prolonged and welcome Alliance-military presence in Threshold space, though a shadow of what it once used to be. By the time all those who had nearly fought in the Never War had passed on, the tensions had been long forgotten between the two nations, soon more a joke than a point of debate or fisticuffs.
A small but violent uprising only ten years after their secession from the IA occurred, originating on the planet of Selene in 2901 over lack of trade and believed unfair taxation for funding expensive projects centered around “The Big Three” regions of Pharthan, Belvoir, and Himeji, where the majority of the population was centered. In initial talks, the Threshold government was originally willing to negotiate terms, or even allow independence, but following a major, violent riot in the capital city on New Haifa, which the government suspected but never confirmed to be started by local pirates, military intervention caused a boilover. New Haifa was rapidly quelled as Threshold supporters held the majority, but the revolution on Selene and it’s many nearby moons continued on. With little physical land to hold as a military strategic asset and the promise of new trade routes and dedicated military outposts for protection satisfied most in rebellion returned to the fold. A final, small skirmish in orbit of the Selenese moon of Quartz between Threshold Navy and rebellion armed-merchants ended the revolution.
The government is a Democratic Meritocracy and is considered a Federal Parliamentary Meritocratic-Republic; officials are elected by the people but must be first screened by the House of Merit. Candidates for office must be honest, lawful, and intelligent. It is preferred for candidates to have some degree personal achievement. A higher-education degree is required, or a voted upon proof of intelligence or applicable skill by the House of Merit of their governing region.
Main Article – Government of the Threshold
The Meritocracy of the Threshold considers the Intersystem Alliance, the starnation from which it was birthed, to be it’s oldest and dearest ally. Though tensions were high soon after declaring independence, the generations since have forgotten their differences to the point of forming a Mutual-Defense pact, for which Threshold is quite grateful, as it is largely cut off from most other starnations by the Coalition. Trade has resumed in force between the two, and regularly military forces “patrol” each others’ space, making port in planets near each others’ borders to promote friendship, and the Alliances 7th Fleet calls many joint-bases and space stations within Threshold space their home.
Unlike many nations, Threshold holds many mercenary groups in high regard, as it often hires them for combat. Threshold often fears itself outgunned and undermanned in relation to less-than-kind neighbors and it’s numerous pirate problems. Provided the mercenary groups prove themselves to be of good repute, they are nearly held in the same regard as active-duty military forces, and a number of heroes from these groups have been used as propaganda points to attest to the strength of the nation.
While many Thresholder companies are not above selling foodstuffs to a nation with whom Threshold has tense relations, little military-equipment trade goes on between the People’s Coalition and the Threshold, and for good reason: Coalition forces, throughout history, have been notorious for aggravating and testing Threshold claims to planetary bodies. At few points have actual disputes escalated to violence, but the government interactions between the nations are often less than amiable, though neither nation wants to be the one to start a conflict.
Though the Threshold may not be above utilizing less-scrupulous corsairs to do dirty-work now and then, Threshold usually takes a firm stance against piracy. Publicly the Threshold is vehemently against piracy, though it often turns a blind-eye to pirates who know how to lie-low and stay away from Threshold assets and plague Coalition or other nations with whom Threshold is not allied.
Being a Meritocracy through and through, Threshold is very much a work-based society, thriving on the idea of “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” In Threshold society, all individuals are expected to either work or study for the majority of their lives, though some recompense is given to at least one parent of a child-bearing couple. As a result, stress levels in Threshold are often high; by day, it is very much a “no-nonsense,” society, whereas by night much of the population regularly blows off steam in clubs, bars, or by other various forms of entertainment.
Welfare is almost nonexistent. Being “unemployed” is a term that carries a great deal of disdain, and “lazy” is considered a vulgar word. After a short period of job-searching, any individuals who remain on unemployment are government-ordered to work in a public-works job, which is provided for them based on their skill-set, in addition to continued job-searching. If the individual is determined to be actively job-hunting and lacks necessary skills, skill-based classes are government-provided. Many of these services are often paid for under different organizations of the government or by various companies who benefit from the works projects, and as a result Threshold cities are often very clean, orderly, and well-maintained.
While not common, some particularly lazy individuals have been deported and their citizenship struck. Regaining citizenship following this is extremely rare and often is often covered widely by local and sometimes even planetary media outlets, as the recently-re-minted citizens, termed “Prodigal Citizens,” must show great drive and prove considerable worth to Threshold society, and these citizens are welcomed back with open arms.
Due to the high-stress environment, suicide rates are higher than average (averaging 17.5/100,000 people), as are most individuals tensions; as an offset, many have found peace in religion as an outlet, while others turn to partying, and as a result night-life in cities is often very dramatic. Educational, science-fiction, historical-fiction and News shows are the most watched in Threshold, though fictional series of intriguing storyline and deep plot are often followed nation-wide. Reality-entertainment is also common, though it normally follows notably citizens or citizens with dangerous or “interesting” lines of work. Financial-based celebrity is uncommon unless it is also backed up by business-related success. “Unto the Breech,” a Reality-entertainment show starring a real-life Threshold Special Forces Tsalmaveth fireteam, is the most popular show in the nation.
Corruption is extremely looked down upon in Threshold culture. As such, most people find outright lying to be quite despicable; the slightest betrayal can end a friendship. As such, Thresholders often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Other cultures often find them to be quite blunt and even rude for this, whereas Thresholders spending much time with other peoples consider them to be fake and equally rude for not disclosing their true feelings. In spite of this, they hold high regard for people who can be professional and courteous towards individuals they despise.
The Threshold pallet is a notably spicy one; many of its foods include various hot peppers like chilis, genepeppers, jalapenos, habaneros, ghost peppers, and the like. Despite farming them in vast quantities, the star nation is a net importer of various chili peppers. Chili powder and chili-based hot sauces are the most common additive to Thresholder printed-food dishes.
Thicker curries are common dishes in the Threshold, though the content of spices, consistency, meat, lentils, vegetables, or base component vary region to region. It has been so popularized that it has become a staple of the Threshold military, with many ships and units have their own individual recipes, culminating in the regional military competitions yearly. Belvoir and Pharthanian Curries are typically water, dairy, or coconut-milk based with specifically prepared meats and flavored curries, such as Butter Chicken Curry, and may be sweet or savory. Pharthanian and Belvoir curry is not usually served with rice, and is normally eaten with Naan bread instead of a spoon or fork. In the southern regions, curry bases are usually based on chicken, pork, or beef stock, and variation is normally done through added meats or vegetables. A traditional addition is pickled ginger, which may be un-dyed or dyed bright-red. Himeji dishes, harkening back to the Japanese curry, are almost always savory and rarely sweet, and most commonly eaten with a spoon and served next to or on a bed of rice. While the curry itself has less variation to it, southern curry has made it’s way into a wider variety of food styles; it can be found as a filling in breads, with Udon noodles, or potato-croquettes.
The origin of ramen dishes is clearly from the Himeji-influence, and most regions have their own variation, with the most popular being Spicy Miso, Miso, Shoyu, and Salt ramen. Thicker miso ramen is most popular in the northern reaches of the starnation, while the south and west prefer western spicier, thinner variations. Almost all serve nori, a type of dried seaweed, as well as pork and fish. Instant ramen is common throughout the nation, but usually include a variety of ingredients rather than those popularized outside of Threshold, which only includes noodles, broth, and the occasional dried meat or vegetable. These simpler versions are usually scoffed by Thresholders, and can only be found in import-stores.
Heralding from the Pharthan and Belvoir regions, where cattle and farming are common, bread-based and meat-based foods like steak, hamburgers, and pizza are decidedly Pharthanian and are staples of much of the starnation. These cuisines usually include heartier meals with a heavier focus on meat, usually from farm animals. Red pepper and jalapeno are common additions to these foods. Though eaten in relatively smaller quantities, fresh-water fish such as catfish and salmon do have their place in Pharthanian meals, while the Selenese and Himeji make them a key part of their diet.
Education is highly valued in Threshold, and is considered as much of a job as work itself is; teenagers do not regularly get jobs during high school, as their schoolwork is considered their job – those who do work often come from underprivileged or broken families and their workplace will usually sponsor them through college and trade schools, if they wish to pursue it.
All able-bodied individuals in Threshold are required to complete two years of government-service after high school or college. Most elect to serve in the Threshold Military and frequently serve a short additional two years for a small monetary bonus, but there are also Public Works jobs, humanitarian organizations, and any other jobs the Government deems necessary to be done during that time; the option is up to the individual where they serve. As many of these jobs, such as operating power plants, require extensive schooling, larger bonuses are given to those who sign up for such programs as they naturally incur longer contracts. Those who serve in the Threshold Navy and incur additional service time due to transit also receive additional pay and free schooling relative to the amount of time they have served over their two years as compensation.
As the Government Service period of life is often a point of pride with the people of Threshold, those deemed unable to serve are given the option of a free two-year course in a specific field of study or an apprenticeship in order to make themselves marketable.
Similar to its originator, the Intersystem Alliance, much of the Threshold is a large variety of peoples. Chief among these is Belvoir, a major trade center; Himeji, to the contrary, is a full 2/3rds Japanese in heritage, and only since the formation of the Threshold has seen an influx of a large number of new races. The Pharthan region was originally founded by the English, with their chief founder being Scottish, who instilled a heavy Scottish and English influence upon the region. By and large, most of the following settlers to the region were North American and East Asians.
A good many Thresholders hold similar funeral rites as their ancestors, whatever they are. Most are individual to the colony-groups that originally founded the region; as such a good many Japanese and Western funeral traditions are followed, with some crossover between.
In such a works-based society, it was desired to develop a way for all to continue benefitting the nation, and such a method was developed soon after the birth of Threshold as an individual nation, starting with General Moira Adam, champion and peacemaker of the Never War. Bodies of the deceased are reduced to component elements and used to fabricate structures. For some, particularly of Japanese descent, these are manifested as family monuments; larger monuments denote larger families. It is quite traditional for people’s bodily elements to be made into storage devices, upon which their biographies are written.
In western-descent subcultures, many choose to donate their bodies to assist in the construction of the Ivory Tribute, a large, towering mausoleum located on the planet of Pharthan, dedicated to the works of great Thresholders; it serves as a massive, if slightly morbid, museum. As most people request their bodily elements to be made into storage devices and interred into comprising the tower-structure, the Ivory Tower is also one of the universe’s largest storage devices, and even houses its own Artificial Intelligences, entitled as the Revenants, to help see to the needs of grieving families. While some cultures may consider it morbid to have AIs “living in the bodies” of their loved ones, Thresholders find it comforting to know that even in death, their family members are helping others and contributing to the nation, even in rest.
The tower is ever-growing both upwards and outwards, with no dedicated limit. At the beginning of 3417, it was measured to be 37,453 meters in height. Smaller structures have had to be added around the base for both stability and expansion, as the current rate of growth for one tower would be too fast, and considerations for expanding the shield dome over the structure necessitated building an individual shield-dome for the structure itself. Until it was completed in 3391, seven more structures around the base had to be started, one for each sphere of influence contributing individuals to be interred.
Since the completion of the shield dome structure, an application process has been required to have one’s body interred into the larger, main tower, and each sphere of influence may allow or disallow persons from being interred in their sphere’s outlying tower. Having one’s body interred into the base and surrounding structure of the tower requires no application or requirement other than not being a convicting felon or war-criminal.
While sphere of influence-based versions of the Ivory Tribute was authorized, those individual to planets have been banned. While companies, religious groups, and citizenry may begin their own, it was desired that people maintain their allegiance to Threshold as a whole vice their planet; to not see the nation as a collection of planets, but a unified group.
English and Japanese are the two most common languages spoken in Threshold.
Threshold largely follows more modern versions of Protestant-Christianity, following the denomination formally known as the “Erudites of The Firstborn,” or simply, “Erudites,” seeing it as a logical combination of both science and religion. Adherence to the denomination of Christianity is further promoted for its like-minded teachings on merit and importance of taking responsibility and work ethic, which mesh well with the culture of Threshold.
The next most popular religion is Catholicism, closely followed by Atheism. A small portion of the population practices Judaism, and even smaller Islam. Threshold accepts Christianity as the official religion, but all religions deemed not harmful to society (i.e. those which prohibit seeking medical help, promote violence or racism, or encourage suicide) are considered legal and respected. Money given to the Church is mandated to “have a notable effect on society:” much of the money allocated to religious funds often finds it’s way into humanitarian organizations or in sponsoring individuals in education.
While no longer practiced as a major religion, Shinto-practices have permeated much of Threshold, particularly New Himeji.
The Threshold has a capitalist mixed economy fueled by abundant mineral resources and Industrial production, with additions in electronics assisting growth.
The overall Threshold sector of space started out as many did; prospect mining. Several of the regions, like the Pharthan system, were quite lucrative in this. Pharthan and Belvoir combined functioned well as a self-contained supply-and-production unit and set the stage for economic success and eventual control of much of the region. Water- and gas-mining have also recently taken off as terraforming technology has gained near core-worlds, providing necessary materials to fund these expensive projects; to date, two full gas-giants have been reduced in mass to such a significant degree as to have required reclassification of the planets.
Threshold developed its largest industry – shipbuilding – out of initially being a frontier-ship construction hub for the Alliance before it split from its parent nation, and from necessity out of defense against both piracy and the threatening stance of surrounding nations.
Several water-rich worlds have developed prevalent rice, algae, seaweed, and fishing industries, acting as a “bread-basket” for much of the region and supplying much of the Japanese pallet staples. Though the Systems Alliance and Coalition governments are not considered allies of the Threshold, many companies still choose to do business, especially in regards to selling foodstuffs, to planets of these nations.
In the last two hundred years, Halcyon Industries has led Thresholder trade in exports of equipment and ships – both civil and military. Much of the region still functions well in the mining sector due to gravitational advantage; moving heavy minerals and water inward towards the Galactic Core, receiving massless digital funds and expensive luxury goods in return.
Due to its heavy ship-building and frontier-related industries, the Threshold is forced to import processed metals quite often, as it often uses them more than they are mined. Thresholders are also rather beholden to Alliance culture and import clothing, styles, and entertainment good is large scale.
Due to the heavy Japanese descendant-population, a good number of goods are imported from Nihonedo.
As with most galactic-distal nations, the Threshold is rich in hydrogen and other light elements natural to proto-systems. As such, it has an abundance of fuels and water, which it readily exports to galactic-central planets. Though not as prevalent as galactic-central systems, Threshold is still very much a frontier world and has a great number of minerals in the form of asteroid belts in the stages of forming new planets or recently exploded stars.
It is also quite common for Threshold to export ships and large equipment, due to its success in the industry.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Since its inception as a starnation, Threshold has made a massive push to employ foreign technology experts and education of domestic experts to ensure a self-sufficient technology base to keep up with other star-nations. Threshold has made great strides in miniaturization of gravity-control components, new innovations in Zero Point Energy control and energy production, and has been on the forefront of starship development both for warfare and exploratory purposes.
With it’s position of the edge of colonized space, Threshold has maintained humanity’s spread throughout the stars and continues to research and colonize new worlds, a realm in which little true new technology has been made as of late as much of the science is relatively known; Threshold continues to try to push the envelope in this field and has the goal of discovering and colonizing one new Earthlike world per Sol-Year.
The Threshold Military consists of roughly 3.9 Billion Active Duty members and 9.6 Billion Reservists, as well as 200 Million Allied Mercenary forces.
Main Article – Military of the Threshold