Order of Prometheus Commentary


Emperor Mongoose
A couple of things about OoP...
First off, I haven't bought it yet so I don't know the contents. That's for a paycheck or two down the road.

Secondly, about the Solomani and genetics generally:
- Wow, the Sollies have a bad habit of their geneticists getting out of hand, don't they?
- And they're not nearly as successful as they'd like everyone to believe they are.
- Of the races they've uplifted, the Apes, Ursa, and Orca all have expressed significant resistance to the Solomani ideals

Thirdly, is Mongoose Traveller gonna get into the Gene War at all? That's not a 'MM canon' event, but it's been alluded to by several authors from the Keiths, the Fugates, and Mongoose's own MJD. Because of that, I'm rather curious how that's gonna get written in.
I think in the case of the Solomani, there's probably a sort of tension between the conservati[ives/onists] who'd like evolution take place at it's own pace, and the progressives, who want to take a more aggressive, hands on approach, and create the NuSo[viet/lo]man{i).

Besides corporate interests.
Well, central to the notion of the Solomani is their insistence on a cultural (biological? Political? Ideological?) identity that cannot be easily defined yet is central to their sense of purpose and standing. A sort of defence mechanism or ego immune response to being merely one strain of a teeming humaniti (and originally second fiddle to the Vilani). What *is* Solomani as a concept? The various terms used in-universe -- Sphere, Cause, Movement, Party etc., all subtly different in their coverage and connotations, reinforce this uncertainty (or possibly, flexibility). Is it a unifying concept with a singular requirement, or a pluralistic one? Is a human with mixed Terran-Vilani ancestry Solomani? How much Vilani culture or blood is allowed before the purists deny you Solomani status? Are Terra enthusiasts in the Spinward Marches Solomani? Are pro-Imperium types Solomani? Are Vargr Solomani? Are Dolphins or Apes? There was even a faction within the Solomani Party that gave the Vegans Solomani status by virtue of their historic support of the Terran Confederation despite the Tyui having no link to Terra biologically. So given all of that, it makes sense that the Solomani would be the faction that get the emphasis on "gene engineering shenanigans" in adventures; it plays to the uncertainty yet bold redefinition of identity that is core to their portrayal.
It's ideological justification for independence from the Imperium, though I suspect a dozen major factions have a tendency to usurp primacy within the Party to execute their agenda(s).

Since genetics is a central tenet, it's probably an unspoken rule to let different jurisdictions enact their own policies, with the central security apparatus monitoring developments and being able to step in if it gets out of control or has unintended consequences.
1. The Solomani hypothesis was an Imperial invention
2. The vast majority of humans within the Third Imperium are not quite pure blood Vilani, with a small fraction being obviously or easily detected as being hybrid with another human sub-species
4. At the end of the ISW there were 12 billion Solomani and around 12 trillion Vilani, even if one billion Solomani made the trip into the Rule of Man territories after a thousand years of long night you would not have many (if any at all) pure blood Solomani in the nascent Third Imperium
5. There are parts of what is now laughingly called the Solomani Confederation that never joined with the Third Imperium, there are parts that are Third Imperium Loyalist, parts that are neutral towards the Imperium, parts that are hostile and a lot who are so far from the Imperium it doesn't matter to them at all what the Imperium gets up to.
1. Justification doesn't need native prophets.

2. Mahan is appreciated far beyond the shores of the continental United States.

3. It just needs to be a unifying factor.

4. Interpretation of what it means to be a Solomani may evolve from beyond a hundred percent pure Terran origin.
The problem with the Sallies is that that they are deeply flawed in their so-called thinking.
Certainly, they wish to be separate from the Third Imperium. Looking at it objectively, it's perfectly understandable why a collection of sovereign states would want to be separate from a large empire. But the Sallies purposefully chose two false premises to hold their state together: racism and fascism. And in the end, the wound up very nearly like the USSR: a troika of power centers each lying to the other with a mythological underpinning of 'representation' that has no actual power to effect things.

The situation in Russia is very similar to how the Sally Whiny Confection gets things done, so let me provide an example:
- A factory for a needed commodity needs to be built. This factory is intended to build heavy machinery, so heavy industrial machines are required to build the product. The architect draws up the plans and gives an estimate of the materials. The builder gets the plans, modifies them for local conditions, and submits the list of materials needed. The plans call for 1000 cubic meters of concrete. But the local Party boss, who is supposed to supply the needed materials, decides to redirect 250 cubic meters so his new dacha can have a pool and a landing pad. The builder receives the materials and notifies the Party that the load of cement is short. 'But it can't be short,' the Party apparatchik says, 'Shipment of the proper amount was authorized a week ago. You will have to get to work and make do with what you have.'
Now, the plans [all agreed to by the architect, the builder and the Party] call for a 3 meter thick foundation in order to stabilize the heavy machining tools. But the builder only has enough for a 2 meter thick foundation. What to do? He's already lodged the one protest he's allowed to with the Party. Anything more will be seen as an attempt to sabotage authorized Party endeavors. So he adds more sand to the cement to stretch it. The foundation is built to plan, this many meters long, wide, and deep. But the stability and holding power of the cement is only three-quarters what is needed. This means that the factory floor will only last one-half to three-quarters as long as what the State needs and at least half the products turned out by the factory will be sub-par because of the excess vibration and faulty tolerances of the machines making the parts.
And who gets blamed? The architect, whose plans were obviously faulty. Or the builder, who obviously poorly supervised his workers. Or the workers, who are obviously lazy and lack skill. But the Party boss' pool, landing pad, and bunker work just fine.

And this level of institutional corruption exists in all levels of society and in nearly all fields of endeavor, from cooks and waiters to the Confederation Navy itself.

And, getting back to the main point here, this exists even in genetics. The Sally geneticists keep working to develop the perfect slave race, one that is smart [but not too smart], capable [but not too capable], and most of all grateful and satisfied with their sub-citizen status. And they've failed every single time.
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All human societies are inherently corrupt, and most individuals have a price.

It's a question of reward and risk, and usually the smart thing is to pay civil servants top dollar, so that it isn't worth their job and pension to participate in corruption.

I would think a lot has to do with the regional or planetary socio political culture that would permit that kind of rot that the Soviet Union, Mainland China, Russia, and parts of Eastern Europe are enduring, and it's probably the same within the Confederation, where in some jurisdictions it's prevalent, and in others actively prosecuted.

The Solomani have had seven millenia of their own history to reflect on, so they know there are some institutions they can't really touch, if they want the centre to hold.

Especially, since they also need to defend their borders, and liberate the Occupied Territories, and then hold them.
The problem is, Condo, that the central tenets of Sally society are simply false. A Sally is no more destined to lead the universe than an outcast K'kree is. And if the Sallies were even a little bit honest about their 7 millennia of self reflection, they would have realized long since that fascist nationalism and racial predestination are LOUSY premises for a government.
But no, they continue on with their National Sally Dipstick Arsebugger Party way, bumbling into a future that will inevitably lead to a destruction they know is coming but are either too bullheaded or too stupid to even try and stop.
Oh dear...

Unless Mongoose have just messed seriously with the canon generated by CT and MT the Solomani are no more 'fascist' than the 3I is 'feudal'.

They are also not in any meaningful sense 'communist' as their worlds span the normal ranges of possible tech levels and govt types and their implied economic systems and the Party etc plays much the same role as the nobility and bureaucracy does in the 3I - uniting relatively disparate worlds while allowing a high degree of autonomy as long as it does not threaten their dominance.

As for the future that is already mapped out - Virus will destroy the Confederation and the Imperium alike but it is the Imperium that will tear itself to pieces in an absurd dynastic civil war first.

As for the origins of Imperial humans don't forget there are many other branches of humaniti that have contributed to the mix and that Terran history shows many societies have abandoned their languages and cultures to adopt that of a much smaller conquering or just immigrant minority.

And given the collapse of the Vilani Imperium it seems pretty clear that the many non-Vilani subject worlds as well as significant elements of Vilani society itself were hankering for independence long before the Terrans appeared and I can easily visualise the mass adoption of Terran culture as an act of rebellion against their previous overlords.

Which incidentally is what happened to many provinces of the Roman Empire when they fell - France and Britain ended up speaking French and English rather than Latin or Gallic or Brythonic and the whole of Roman North Africa and the Near East and most of the Balkans abandoned Latin and Greek and Coptic and Aramaic and Thracian and whatnot for Arabic and various Slavic languages - although the invading Franks, Saxons, Arabs and Slavs were all numerically insignificant compared to the conquered populations.

So if a small influx of Arabs could radically change the culture of North Africa from the Atlantic to the Red Sea in just a couple of centuries I can't see why the Terrans couldn't do the same during the Second Imperium.
The Solomani Party has a big tent, necessarily so, since it's a single party state, which means political competition is basically at the primary stage.

The opportunity for Glasnost was at the end of the war, about a century ago, when Wolfe was elected as General Secretary, and he seems to have decided to strengthen planetary governments at the expense of central authority, which means you need a stronger adhesive to keep the Confederation together, or perhaps, just maintaining the State Ideology.

You could say that if literally implemented, it is racist and fascist, but actually carrying it out would depend on local authorities, rather than by any central authority, except as cause, if they feel they need an excuse to persecute a specific locality due to other factors.

If you look at the Greco Roman model, that's the primary basis of Western Civilization, they started out with limited citizenship, but eventually expanded through cultural imperialism, after military imperialism.
The Confederation is not a single party state - the clue is in the name. The problem is the Interstellar government of the Solomani Party is all that an Imperial knows about.

There are many worlds and states within the Confederation that have their own governments and laws, and many of them have existed in one form or another for several thousand years and have never been in the Imperium (world generation does not limit government or law level as would be required of a single party state)

To paint all Solomani with a broad brush that has been dipped into the pot of Imperial propaganda is like saying every Imperial citizen is a corrupt, dishonest grifter.

The Solomani movement and Solomani cause originated at the Imperial court, not in the Solomani sphere. It was Imperial nobility claiming their superiority due to being of pure Solomani descent that started this particular ball rolling. They were granted authority over the sectors surrounding Terra which had to accept them since they were Imperial appointments.

It is worth taking a look at what would have happened had there been no Rebellion era- the GURPS ATU has the Solomani Confederation being splintered and fragmented as some of the polities within the Confederation decide they have had enough of the Solomani Party and their crackpot ideals.
The Solly Cause was developed in Sol Sector; the Solomani Hypothesis was developed by an Imperial academic noble. They're two separate things. Yes, the Cause migrated to the Imperial Court where self-serving nobles bought into the bullshit as a way of furthering their own goals. It's rather like Alfred Krupp 'bought into' the Nazi Party because it would be good for his business in the middle of a Great Depression.
I am NOT portraying the 3-I as the Good Guys, but I am certainly countering the Sally propaganda machine.
- Sallies speak as if the Vilani megacorps are the source of all evil but pointedly ignore how the Wuan 'member state' [sure, because the WTC is a 'member state of the Confederation' the same way that Belorussian SSR was a 'member' of the USSR] gene-modified the Sacred Solomani Genome[tm] to create 'workers', 'managers' and 'executives' in the precise same way that the Vilani do it culturally. And if your decanted 'Worker' doesn't want to be a worker, guess what? They have no more choice than a Vilani worker does. But because the Wuan Technical Consortium ascribes to the Cause and produces TL14-15 ships, all that is ignored.
- In the Virus Future, the Sallies also fight a Civil War and shatter. In 1220 they're divided into two societies, one run by jackbooted SolSec thugs and one run by the Near Bootes mercantile interests. So that's different from the 4-I how, exactly?
The Solomani hypothesis was an Imperial invention
Well, yes, in that it was Magis Sergei haut-Devroe, an academic and Imperial citizen, who published the hypothesis. But the key tenet of the hypothesis is true, that humans originated on Terra. It's the rest of it that's bunk.

Imagine how frustrating it must have been to make your way into interstellar space just to find out that other humans have already trodden all its ground. What an inferiority complex that must have brought about! The Terrans set out to conquer the galaxy and it had already been done. They had to invent something to make themselves feel better!
2. The vast majority of humans within the Third Imperium are not quite pure blood Vilani, with a small fraction being obviously or easily detected as being hybrid with another human sub-species
4. At the end of the ISW there were 12 billion Solomani and around 12 trillion Vilani, even if one billion Solomani made the trip into the Rule of Man territories after a thousand years of long night you would not have many (if any at all) pure blood Solomani in the nascent Third Imperium
I'd never run the numbers, but that sounds close. Where'd you get 12 billion? Is that in GURPS ISW?

Speaking of hypotheses, in Third Imperium, I hypothesized (based partially on what had been written before) that in a desperate effort to generate the numbers needed to take on the rotting—but enormous—Ziru Sirkaa, the Terrans cloned and uplifted millions more to increase their population. You might have had a situation in which there were more clones in the ISW than natural-born Terrans. I don't recall if there's canon that refutes that, but I would envision that in the run-up to take on the enormous Vilani empire, the Terrans would leave no stone unturned in an effort to expand their population.
This is because whilst Solomani Confederation worlds include all the usual government profiles, the Confederation’s charter restricts government to the Solomani Party. This seeming contradiction is explained through the flexibility of the Party in adapting itself to different societies and social hierarchies.
Both the Cause and the Movement developed at the Imperial court on Sylea - it says so in CT AM 6.
In point of fact "Solomani" as a term is something the RoM invented to describe their new ruling classe. I doubt very mush that if you travelled to the outer Rimward subsectors of "Solomani" space you would hear anyone refer to themselves as such. They would call themselves human, people from Earth, or possibly Terran, maybe even American :)

Here is a relevant quote:
Solomani completely dominated the inner circles of Empress Arbellatra's court and predominated in the upper ranks of the Imperial Navy.
The movement and the cause were a power block at the Imperial court.

In point of fact the AM6 doesn't actually describe much of Terran history - it mentions the ISW then the Rule of Man, and then the rise of the Solomani nobility of Sylea to form the Third Imperium, with Terra reincorporated into the Imperium in 588. There is a considerable absence of information about how the various Terran polities developed over the two and a half millennia between the fall of the Rule of Man and Terra rejoining the Imperium.
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Canonical number is "more than 100,000 Terran naval officers" being sent out to administer the Ziru Sirka.

Yes, GURPS ISW gives the Earth population, and you do not need to clone more troops since 12 billion on an industrial world can easily match the output of a few subsectors of Ziru Sirka worlds (they tended not to overpopulate)

As to the clone theory - please stop bringing Star Wars tropes into Traveller and the Third Imperium, there were no clone armies grown by the Terrans - read the canon that is already there (including GURPS Traveller and ISW). The Terrans did use sophisticated "AI robots"...
use of side bars and terms like "it is rumoured that" allow for the introduction of new concepts that referees can include or not.
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This is because whilst Solomani Confederation worlds include all the usual government profiles, the Confederation’s charter restricts government to the Solomani Party. This seeming contradiction is explained through the flexibility of the Party in adapting itself to different societies and social hierarchies.
It restricts interstellar government to the party not world governments.

It's a lot like the government of the EU being modelled on the CCP, while individual nations can have their own governments (provided they meet EU "guidelines".
No fascist state has been a confederation allowing a huge level of autonomy to its constituents.

If UWPs mean anything the SC contains anarchies, corporation-states, participatory democracies, representative democracies, oligarchies, feudal technocracies - you all know and can complete the list as well as I do.

It also has whole interstellar states which joined the SC en bloc and retained their own borders.

If the SC is a totalitarian fascist state then they all need to become dictatorships because no definition of fascism that I have encountered in 40-odd years of studying the subject allows for that level of autonomy and diversity.

As for the racism the Solomani hypothesis is that all humans originated on Terra and are thus small-s solomani too - and given that most if not all citizens of the SC must after 3,400 years have Vilani and other non-Solomani genes it is simply absurd to assume that all x trillion of them are knuckle-dragging Terran supremacist racists like those whose presence and growing political dominance we have to stomach here in the 21st century.

And I hate those people every bit as much as Ottarrus - but don't feel the need to signal my virtue by bellowing about a wholly fictional society from the 56th century.

Christ knows there are more than enough actual living fascists and racists all around us - go out and punch one of them.
You mean 57th century... :)

The Terran Confederation ceased to be after the coup that brought into being the Rule of Man, the regency of Solomani within the structure of the Ziru Sirka (was the RoM really a second Imperium or just the last few centuries of the first?)

In its place the Terran Mercantile Community would eventually become the de facto interstellar government of the Earth and its colonies, although there were other colonial governments such as the Dingir League and the Easter Concord within formerly Ziru Sirka space,

In time the Terran Mercantile Community became the Old Earth Union.

The Old Earth Union had no history of an aristocratic/hereditary form of governance, and resisted joining the Third Imperium until 588, the Dingir League and Easter Concord were based on the Ziru Sirka/RoM aristocratic/hereditary governance model and were absorbed into the Third Imperium much sooner.

The aristocratic/hereditary form of Imperial governance was thus placed on top. It was this Imperial nobility that was rife with Solomani Movement and Cause.
The extant Imperial nobility brought the Solomani Movement and the Solomani Cause so the Solomani Rim, not the other way round.

When they broke the Solomani Autonomous Region with the Third Imperium they partly resurrected the name Solomani Confederation, although this Confederation is very different to the Terran Confederation that fought the Ziru Sirca.

Note that there is a sizable fraction of the Terran Confederation population in 1105 that wants nothing to do with the Solomani Party.
A large fraction of Solomani choose not to participate in the Party, either through apathy, lack of time or energy, or a disagreement with the basic principles of the Party.
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