Threshold, (/’ðrɛʃhoɹld/ or θrɛʃhoʊld), or formally the Meritocracy of the Threshold, is a superpower with eleven spheres of influence. Within these spheres are one-hundred and ninty-nine inhabitable worlds and their moons, comprising forty-two regions called “prefectures,” and claims an additional three-hundred and 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 CARTOGRAPHY
- 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.
Threshold is made up of four regions, further broken down into eleven spheres of influence in total. While each continent of each planet may differ wildly from the one just across the ocean, even across multiple star systems and spheres of influence, Thresholder worlds tend to follow similar codes and cultures.
The Cruxrealm was originally named for the religious peoples that settled the space, but originally became synomous with “Core Worlds” within the Threshold. Thes were the first worlds to rebel against the Alliance, and are some of the most advanced. Their culture is largely British, American, and Israeli in origin. Cruxrealm Spheres of influence include Belvoir, Pharthan, and New Haifa.
The newest of the regions, Shin-Kansai was once it’s own star nation. Following the War of the First Dominion, it freely joined an firm mutual alliance with the Threshold, and eventually voted to become a part of the nation. It donates the large amount of Japanese influence to the Thresholder culture, which has been incorporated seemlessly into the greater Thresholder culture. Shin-Kansai is made up of the Onagawa and Himeji spheres of influence.
The Pathfinder’s Fringe world joined the Cruxrealm by proxy. Otherwise cut off from all major alliances, and less developed than the core worlds, the Pathfinder’s Fringe felt as though they had no other choice but to follow suit. Some of the greatest dissidents in Thresholder foreign policy come from the Pathfinder’s Fringe, particularly the Selenese people, who revel in the idea of a democratic government, and are viewed as highly liberal by other regions of the nation. Pathfinder’s Fringe spheres include Homestead, Libraria, and Selene.
A traditional people, like the Cruxrealms, the Stonehonor region tends to be of European and North American descent. Constantly worried about the Empire of Gaennan, either through founded or unfounded beliefs, Stonehonor maintains a culture highly in support of the military, and is very conservative in values. Stonehonor joined the rebellion of free will, but did so later than the Cruxrealms. Even so, they played a major part in ensuring that the Threshold Rebellion succeeded, though they were largely proponents of turning the Neverwar hot. Stonehonor spheres include Steelwind, Warcury, and Wolvchester.
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 star-nation; 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 succession, 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.
THE WAR OF THE FIRST DOMINION
Main Article – The War of the First Dominion
A small but violent uprising originated on the planet of Selene in 2991 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. As well, a a great deal of focus was placed in fighting the beginnings of the terrorist group that would later become the Second Dominion. 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, most in the rebellion were satisfied and 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, with the merchants surrendering after the loss of their flagship, Laissez Faire.
President Macon Mohr was largely blamed for the unrest. Mohr had been considered a “popularity vote,” as the government of the time was a Democratic Republic following Alliance government style; in spite of the fact that the majority of people did not want Mohr as a president, they voted for him to not have his opponent, Senator Abebey Breden, who was viewed as far too liberal and socialist. Each citizen was allowed a vote, and, following a major war many of the people were still incensed by the terror imposed by the Andras Dominion. Unable to forgive, many people voted in Mohr, who wanted reparations from many of the still-living citizens who “allowed the Andras Dominion to commit such atrocities.” This economic downturn in the former Dominion spheres ultimately led to a greater division in the nation.
THE THRESHOLD CIVIL WAR
Emboldened by the Selenese Uprising and emblazoned by partiality and divisive retoric, the regional spheres of Laterus and Gael, formerly of the Andras Dominion, rebelled in 2992, declaring their independence. The Threshold Navy and Marines were dispatched quickly, but forces initially in the area were surprisingly repelled and required reinforcements. For years, military advisors of the Coalition of Independent Systems had been training subsersives in the regions, creating a far more effective fighting force using tactics that the Thresholders had not prepared for. Much of the regional Threshold Navy and Sentinel was wracked with subversive traitors originating from the regions disabling equipment and murdering their fellow servicemembers.
By the time the Threshold military recovered, Coalition Naval forces had entered the area and secured the Laterus and Gael termini, and began skirmishing with Threshold forces, trading blows, with no decisive victor. With much of the region in full rebellion, Threshold decided to respect their apparently unilateral decision to secede on the condition that all military equipment made by Threshold, and all citizens and their property be allowed to evacuate. While the rebels opennly relented, Threshold Intelligence Forces continued to discover and covertly evacuate people and AI for the next twenty years, though the Coalition denied that they had held anyone against their will.
The economic loss and loss of life was laid upon the shoulders of President Macon Mohr, who was ever more being shown as incompetant, and the Senate called a vote of “no confidence,” with overwhelming majority, and military leaders declared a momentary martial law, gathering with the heads of the Senate to ratify a new constitution.
The government is a Republican Technocracy and is considered a Federal Parliamentary Technocratic-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, and may be required to adhere to certain Foci to attain certain roles. 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 star-nation 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.
Main Article – Culture of the Threshold
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 openly accepts technomancy, going so far as to administer the STAR Score tests at multiple times throughout primary and secondary schooling via the TVAB (Technological Vocational Aptitude Battery) Tests to gauge a person’s level of technomantic potential and shifts in their scores. The goal of this is to promote technomancy at an early age to allow all who wish to pursue technomancy to shape their life decisions around it at an early age, as technomantic rigs are often quite expensive.
Those who cannot afford rigs may have them provided vocationally through government programs, whereupon the individual must work via contract for the meritocratic government. At the end of this period, a rig may be granted based upon the terms of the contract. All implants are provided regardless of contract, but unless signing up for additional years, a rig of equal or lesser value to their vocational rig may no be granted upon end of the contractual period. Each of these contracts is different, so individuals must weigh the contract-length against the potential outcome of walking away from the job with a rig.
Many choose the shortest contract length, as this grants skill in the field, allowing them to work for a company who can likewise provide a rig, or they may work for a guild. The most prominent of these is the Threshold based Valtori Guild.
Nanomancy is fortunately rampant in the Threshold, thanks to the promotion of the Valtori Guild, who pioneered the artform. Nanomancy rigs are by far the cheapest and most advanced in Threshold, moreso than anywhere else in the galaxy. As such, most who wish to delve in Nanomancy can do so out of pocket.
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. It is comprised of the independent Special Warfare Units as well as five branches, the Threshold Navy, Threshold Marine Corps, Threshold Sentinels, Threshold Expeditionary Corps, and Threshold Commonwealth Guard.
Main Article – Military of the Threshold