GOG has put Terra Nova Strike Force Centauri back in circulation.
Terra Nova was a brilliant game hobbled by bad advertising and terrible FMV. It was one of the games that showed how amazing Looking Glass was.
There’s plenty of commentary on how ahead of its time its graphics and gameplay were, but it also had an amazing backstory that most people don’t remember because it was drowned by terrible FMV that had no relationship to it.
The clans of Alpha Centauri were Jupiter colonists who fled a solar system taken over by the Hegemony. The Hegemony was a nightmarish version of the UN, the USSR and the social justice warriors mashed together. After the Hegemony took over Jupiter by bombing a dome and killing 750,000 people, the Jupiter colonists escaped.
But the Hegemony followed them.
This abridged backstory from Terra Nova Strike Force Centauri’s library shows just how much effort went into developing the social system of the enemy empire in the game.
To understand the Hegemony, one must first understand the principles and aims of the Publican movement. The Publicans are the instigators and rulers of the Hegemony, and they have set all the policies of the Terran government since the early 22nd Century, when the United Nations was disbanded.
The Publicans themselves constitute a very special social class on Terra. As “guides” for humanity, they live somewhat outside of the restraints placed on human civilization. The special case of the Publicans is discussed later in the report after the rights, status and circumstances of all other Terrans are outlined.
Principles of Publicanism
1. Universal Equality, Selective Suffrage – the foundation of the Hegemony is equality of all citizens. Citizenship is a birthright of Terrans and can be lost only through antisocial behavior. Citizenship entails protection and equality under Hegemony law, but not the right to vote, that right is incumbent to a sub-class of citizens known as elders
An elder is a citizen who has served eight 4-year terms of public service. This service entitles the elder to vote on all matters of public policy not reserved to the Publican class. The political theory behind elder suffrage is that only a citizen who has devoted his life to public service has demonstrated the social commitment needed to vote in a responsible fashion.
2. Universal Public Service – Upon reaching the age of 18, all Terrans are tested for societal productivity and aptitude. The testing determines the socially useful skills of the candidate and the nature of their lifetime contribution to society. Once the citizen’s aptitudes have been tested, he/she is offered a 4-year position somewhere on Terra based on availability of work according to their aptitudes. If such a position is available, the candidate must accept it or suffer loss of citizenship.
Each citizen is permitted to decline a term of public service only once in their lifetime and must continue performing their current duty for two years at which point they must accept the next position offered to them.
Terms of public service may never be served in sequence in the same location. Terra’s entire population is constantly on the move, with individual families never residing in the same locale for more than four years at a time. Publican doctrine requires this as a means of ensuring equality and to prevent any from developing an attachment to the land that might lead to nationalistic sentiment.
All Terrans involved in Public Service are compensated equally, regardless of the service they perform. Administrators are paid exactly the same wage as street sweepers.
A citizen who has served two full-4-year terms is entitled to 10% higher compensation. Each subsequent two terms of service raises base compensation by an additional 10 percent.
Terrans serving in an enterprise of 20 or more individuals are subject to review by other members of their work force at any time during their period of service. Should 2/3rds of the work force disapprove, that individual is removed from the enterprise. Four such removals result in a loss of citizenship.
3. Universal Health Care, Shelter and Food – all Terrans, citizens or not, are entitled to free medical care, regardless of social position, depending on supply.
Housing – Within a single locale, all dwellings are the same in terms of construction, living space and fundamental equipment. Non-citizens, called deviants, are required to live in multi-family dwellings which it is a citizen’s right to live in a single family dwelling.
4. The Family – The institution of family, and children in particular, is at the heart of the Hegemony. Publicans see themselves as sacred keepers of the future, and nothing symbolizes the future of a society as much as their children. Much of the Hegemony’s legal system centers around isolation from family as punishment for anti-social behavior (see Deviants.)
All citizens are entitled to marry and conceive children. A family may consist of two adults and two children at any one time. Any excess children due to poor planning or multiple births are offered to childless couples or assumed into the Publican class.
All children between the ages of 6 and 18 must spend 4 months of every year in service to the state. Such service usually consists of providing child care, although light labor such as food distribution and social work projects may occasionally be required.
All children are educated in Publican schools in Literacy, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Data Navigation. The teaching of History or any schooling in cultural or ethnic heritage is considered child abuse and is punished as such.
Child abuse is one of the most serious crimes that can be committed under Hegemony rule. It is punishable by loss of citizenship or death. Inadvertent or unconscious child abuse will warn a parent or caregiver a warning and a required course of study.
The Hegemony operates under a limited market economy that has only a surface resemblance to what was once called Socialism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Entire Hegemony is a Free Trade Zone. Profit is strictly regulated at 8%. No enterprise may earn more than 8% above investment on an annual basis. Any addition profit generated must be tithed to the Hegemony. All profit is equally divided among the workers of any enterprise.
There is no private ownership of land in the Hegemony. All land belongs to the state and is leased in tenancy to the people who live there. Citizens may own household goods, but no machinery of production may be pricately owned with the exception of hand tools.
All crafts are organized into guilds of varying sizes. The only individual revenue-generation activity permitted in the Hegemony is in the fields of art and entertainment. Profit is strictly regulated. Artists and entertainers must serve 4-year-terms subject to relocation at the Hegemony’s whim.
Banking and capitalism are all outlawed forms of economic endeavor, as is the selling of insurance. New enterprises are spawned as the need arises with funding from the Hegemony. Need is determined by availability of resources and services.
Any Terran who is deprived of citizenship is classified as a deviant. Deviants are not permitted to dwell in Terran society, nor to have any contact with citizens. The deviants never call themselves that, instead prefering to call themselves, The Forsaken.
All deviants are required to live in special preserves with the largest of them being situated in Antarctica. Repeated attempts to break quarantine result in exile to Antarctica.
Deviant society is self-governing. All deviants are sterilized. There are rumors of children who seek refuge in deviant preserves.
7. The Publicans
Since 2104, the Publicans, an elite class of public servants created by the UN, have ruled Terra. The idea was that public administration has always tended to corruption because the administrators earned their positions as spoils of political victory.
The Publicans were to be career public servants with no ties to any political interest group or political franchise. That theory worked well until the Publicans became a political interest group on their own. By that time they controlled most of the media and virtually all channels of distribution of resources and the bureaucracies that implemented public policy.
When they determined that it was in the public interest for them to take over, they did. Thus was born the Hegemony.
Publicans still may not vote, but they do set the agenda. There is no true public referendum in the Hegemony, only the appearance of one. Citizens and elders may propose legislation, but if the Publicans oppose them, the matter will never come to a vote.
Publicans are entitled to greater shares of housing, food and consumer goods owing to their “exceptional contributions to the workings of the state.”
Mastoid implants are placed in all Publicans allowing them to covertly communicate among themselves.
Disputes between citizens and Publicans can only be judged by a Publican court. Citizens may not sit in judgement of Publicans on any matter.
While no citizen may bear arms, Publicans are permitted to carry weapons.
Publican children are educated in special schools that teach a broader curriculum including the humanities and social sciences.
Publicans at the highest level are permitted to remain in a single location for their entire lifetimes.
The Publicans brook no opposition nor sanction alternative approaches. Of great import to them is the firm belief that they constitute the only prop[er human authority in existence.
They believe that they are charged with the salvation of the human race.
They all eat the same foods, live in the same sorts of dwellings and individuality and uniqueness are anathema to the Publicans and thus outlawed in the Hegemony.
2046 Lunar Colonization
2074 Publican class established by UN
2104 Publicans take over, UN disbanded, Hegemony established
2110 First Public Education Campaign undertaken. Latin and Central America purged of independent nations.
2115 Second Public Education Campaign launched. Africa unified into a single entity
2117 Third and final Public Education campaign started. Earth becomes a single nation with common language and laws.
2122 Venus Wars begin. Hegemony landing attempts repelled by colonists.
2123 Hegemony establishes first beachhead on Venus while suffering heavy casualties. Venus Resistance shifts to war of attrition rather than defense
2124 Hegemony forces destroy the dome colony of Jerusalem resulting in the instant annihilation of some 750,000 people. Venus capitulates.
2130 Interstellar Agreement reached. The colonists of Jupiter agree to relocate to Centuari. The Hegemony assists the Jupiter colonists with preparation.