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Schzenais

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Schzenais stands as an atypical example of the position enjoyed by Aligned Worlds in TSAB space. By and large, most Aligned Worlds hold that position as a transitory point between being Unadministered and being Administered. Usually, they are working on improving various aspects of internal organisation and political openness until they meet the TSAB accession criteria; the term "Aligned World" indicates that there has been some degree of economic and legal standardisation with the TSAB. Most Aligned worlds are located towards the edges of the current TSAB space, as periphery worlds within a few dimensions of another Administered World.

Schzenais is not. Located in the rich, well-developed core of TSAB space, it has maintained its independent-yet-linked status since the very beginning of the Bureau. With living standards in the top decile of the TSAB charts, it nevertheless refuses to transition from the administrative-court system of governance that it has held since it emerged from the chaos caused by the death of the last Sankt Kaiser.

To understand this world, it is necessary to take its precise details into account. As a Type-2 World which has undergone extensive terraforming which dates back to the Alhazredian era, its ecology is composed of heavily modified Type-1 life. The sun is large and red, and hangs in the sky; large polar caps cover around a third of the surface area of the planet, which leaves its equatorial regions temperate at best. Most of the cites are aquatic, built on the sea bed, and the rest are in the subarctic or arctic regions; the temperate regions are systematically and completely focussed towards food production, and there is a green band of oceanic agriculture in the warm water. Prior to Olivie's death, there was a larger population, and a notable number of cities built into the permafrost of the ice-caps, but when interdimensional civilisation collapsed (again), the food shipments stopped, and in their place came warlords, fighting over a planet noted for the fact that Belkan Crown Arms used it as one of their major production centres.

In the end, the Belkan military forces stationed on Schzenais came out on top, though widespread starvation and widespread damage to infrastructure took its toll. Specifically, it was the paramilitary police (akin to the 97er French gendarmes, and who were one of the major factions who led to the TSAB on other planets) who ended up as the ones who maintained and kept law and order, under a form of martial law.

Under that structure, the people in charge were both military figures and parts of the legal system, and unlike in most other worlds, this system took on a long-term role. There is no judicial independence on Schzenais, because the judges run the place. A common law system exists where decisions are made on precedent, and this extends to political decisions as well as legal ones. No single person is in charge; instead, the First Tribunal, composed of the magistrates of the first rank, is the ultimate court of appeal and the highest authority. The First Tribunal is divided into sub-groupings, composed of at minimum three magistrates, responsible for lesser fields, which can vary from specific causes (there are no less than fifteen magistrates on the economics panel), to geographic locations. This is, however, not formal, and any magistrate of the first rank can rule or decide on any case - they'll simply be overruled if they go against the consensus. Lesser magistrates and other roles serve those sub-groupings, and so on down. New ones are bought onto the Tribunal (almost always from the second rank) by the vote of the rest of the Tribunal when others retire or die.

"Democracy doesn't represent the will of the people," is the unspoken catchphrase of the First Tribunal. "The crowd will not choose what they actually want, and though they may contribute through plebiscites, their decisions do not override the law."

This hypocrisy runs to the depths of Schzenaisian society and economics. For all that they proclaim their self-reliance and their efficiency and the fact that they don't bow to the TSAB, in practice vast swathes of their economy are completely dependent on trade ties with the TSAB, and, moreso, on the fact that as they are not part of the TSAB, they have rather more lax laws in certain fields. To a certain kind of scientist, the knowledge that the Enforcers would have to begin extradition proceedings rather than showing up with a warrant is a blessing, and Schzenais offers it for a price. The corporations and researchers in the fields of the biological sciences, human cybernetics, familiar-experimentation, and the like come because it doesn't restrict such things in the way the TSAB does, but instead has specific "Zones of Economic Interest" in the old polar cities where interested parties can rent buildings, districts, or even entire towns. The price paid for such freedoms is that the Schzenais authorities are very vigilant in cracking down on people who stray outside of permitted fields (like high energy magical research), not least because one major accident would give certain parties in the TSAB an excuse. Of course, man cannot live on unethical science alone, and there are other income sources beyond that. There is also banking, tax evasion, tax avoidance, and more conventionally, all the industries that a TSAB-core world would have.

Heidi Zwischenfall, in Game Theory, is a child of privilege from the point of view of most of the other inhabitants of Schzenais. Her mother is of the second rank, and hotly tipped to be looking to be one of the next ones onto the First Tribunal as she's been doing a good job as a liktor in one of the Zones of Special Economic Interest up in the poles, including catching illegal high energy research in the bud and leading a team in completely shutting down the enterprise. She just happened to, from the point of view of society, to go off the rails by from a young age being too interested in how things actually practically work, rather than the nice idealistic version of "fair judges" and "we stand on our own".

And here she is another manifestation of some of the social schisms which riddle Schzenais. People "in the system", like her, get sick of the hypocrisy and the bowing to corporate interests and start saying things like "You know, when it comes down to it, should we really be letting people do cloning experiments just because we pay them?" and "Oh, look at how the First Tribunal is all made of old rich women." People outside it have no way of getting into the echelons of power (which are practically based around who you know, and your reputation), and look enviously at TSAB space, where easy mobility and translators means that you can always move to a planet where there's work, rather than Schzenais' rather stringent immigration and emigration laws (which Heidi had her mother to wave her through).

Certain elements of the TSAB are getting more and more frustrated with Schzenais. Precia spent some time there, as did Jail; some of the work that went into Project Fate was born in polar laboratories there. The constant refusal to work on accession or judicial independence or other such things has some TSAB people calling for it to be kicked down to Unadministered Status if it at least won't standardise its legal code enough to permit Enforcers to operate there. There's going to be a dust-up over Schzenais. Perhaps not now, but at some point in the future, this place is going to snap in one way or another.

This is pasted from an “infodump” post by one of the authors, found here
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