The End of the Beginning
In the grand tradition of full circles, Codexia’s revolutionary socio-political movement was standard fare. Elder Taizong’s government cannot be described as liberal. In fact, very little about Codexian society in 405AU could be so described. But it was slowly leaning toward greater liberalism. Every year, it edged a little closer. The Grand Idea of Marianism was no longer under an existential threat from internal or external forces. Its previously vice-like grip on state and people was gradually relaxed. All in all, it was a strange time to be alive, for the older generations of Codexians. The freedoms ‘won’ by their successors were strange, previously forbidden fruit. All manner of vices were indulged by a nation whose sensibilities were finally unshackled. By 415AU, secular government was actively vying with the theocracy for everyday control. It had become a winnable struggle.
After Elder Taizong’s natural death in 418AU, the torch passed to Elder Hierophantius, who shared many of the iconic leader’s political beliefs. Change within the Venerable Respublica accelerated. By 423AU, military officers no longer had to be vetted by religious institutions. Temporal law was being divorced from its moral counterpart. There was resistance, early on, to be certain. The conservatives railed long and hard against the tidal forces that were annihilating the theocratic bedrock of their precious Respublica. But it was to no avail. Their bolt had been shot at the turn of the century, and their cause failed. Opportunistic as only Men can be, even the stalwarts of the movement made peace with the new order. For a very long time, this tenuous balance continued to function. The central government of Codexia held dominion over a vast tract of territory and the greatest bulk of the human population. Though its authority was now practically secular (still nominally religious), it maintained its status as the focal point of human governance.
By the 430s, however, even that began changing. Too many concessions were made in too many quarters. The efficiency of the administration began to collapse, as legislative instruments were locked up in endless council debates. It was hard to keep track of the manifold different influences on the Council of Elders and their Ministries. Budgets were spent frivolously, maintaining the happiness of various lobby groups. After Hierophantius retired in 431AU, Elder Tostigo was elected and Council-approved to the highest position of power. He would come to be known as ‘the Wastrel Tostigo’, during his six years on the Auburn Chair. Perhaps such a characterization is unfair. After all, Tostigo had less real authority than just about any Marianite leader in living memory. His was a reign marked by administrative factionalism, spiraling corruption and increasing tension. Many of the worst excesses were firmly outside of his control. Interestingly, Tostigo’s time was also remembered by many as the first post-Marianite Cultural Flowering. Literati, poets, musicians, artists and other persons of culture prospered in this iteration of human society. Now almost unbound by moral convention (the last Immorality Laws were abolished in 438AU), they truly began expanding the scope and daring of human thought.
Many thinkers would later make the claim that it was the absorption of the Commonwealth and the FAITH that brought on these incredible changes to the Respublica. Perhaps that much is true. The subversive elements of those counter-cultures could not help but affect Codexian society at large. On the other hand, surely, there was also an internal impetus for reform. Marianism had been built on conflict. Its greatest triumphs were on the warpath, wreathed in the glories of blood and metal and suffering. Without the wages of war, the strict discipline of the Grand Idea somehow seemed less... relevant. By the 450s, the transformation was nearing completion. At Green Estuary, on the world of Ferrofon, a Plenary Congress of Representatives drawn from across the Respublica met and drew up the Reformation Accords, over the space of two months. Noting that administrative inefficiency was threatening the life’s blood of the state as a whole, planetary governments were extended a great deal of independent prerogative and a sound basis for self-rule. Lauded in some quarters and derided in others, the Accords were in keeping with the spirit of this ‘new’ 2nd Respublica.
Though potentially disastrous, this particular reform yielded some positive outcomes fairly quickly. Tax income rose momentously, as planetary governments instituted local taxation agencies. Trade and development also picked up. Left to their own devices, the people knew where the money was. The dismantlement of top-down rule in everyday life proved to be a blessing in disguise for the ailing Respublica. It was also the death knell of the theocratic state. The next Elder in power, Socratius, could do nothing but meekly watch it happen, as the secular arms of government consumed his ability to impose the will of the Church on the populace. By 462AU, the 2nd Respublica was fully realized, as the old Marianite state was put to death in its sleep.
Meanwhile, outside of human space, momentous events were taking place. The Raumeni were finally stitching their broken nation back together – though it had once again become as disunited as ever. The Hin’in, however, had long recovered from the disastrous Great War of last century. In fact, by most estimates, their strength had expanded in the interim. In and of itself, this was not surprising, they were always known as an ambitious, industrious people. In the 440s, they fought another bloody war with the Bron. It was barely recorded in Codexian lore and historiography, but by all accounts was almost as destructive as the first Hin’in War itself. In the end, the Hin’in drove the Bron back, retaking the systems they had previously lost to them. Their eye was cast on the Raumeni, once again, but by the 450s they found themselves embroiled in a war with both the Bron and the Kirali – neighbors and longstanding allies of the silicates. These mysterious amphibians proved to be a deadly foe. Respublican intelligence services posited their deployed forces at over fifteen thousand vessels. Hin’in space became a charnel house. But, to their grudging credit, the Hin did not bend or break.
Humanity – vain, proud humanity – paid no heed to the wars of the xenoforms. It had already won a vast space to grow into peacefully. Carefully avoiding the well-policed boundary with the Turanei, the human colonial effort saw dozens of worlds seeded and many others become major centers of population, power and production. Economic growth was so strong that it had to be managed (lest the economy overheat), throughout this pivotal period. This was another Golden Age for humanity. A convulsive burst of expansionistic energy that saw humanity ascend into the very upper echelons of regional power. Even scientific pursuit, always considered an unwholesome, if necessary enterprise during the heyday of Marianism, awoke to the sound of the 2nd Respublica. Breakthroughs were made across many fields. In the military sector alone new weapons and propulsion systems were developed in the later decades of the 5th century AU. ELINT, ECM and ECCM systems were heavily and innovatively updated. Thousands of new and refurbished keels were laid down, as the fleet grew to previously unseen proportions.
By 485AU, there were few in the human worlds who would claim that there was a creditable threat to human power within reach. The Turanei were still afforded a healthy respect, as a perennial unknown. The Amoneth were ignored – seemingly aloof to the age-old human search for the crystalline aliens – as an archaic legend. The Raumeni were by now considered novel, barely civilized barbarians. Their clans, some dating back ten thousand years, with a rich and unfailingly recorded history, were seen as societies of rustic, noble savages. Many were warmly received as traders and ‘tourists’, but they were no longer afforded the respect one holds for an equal. It was a very good time, indeed, to be a Man.
The question now awaiting the greatest and most resplendent society in human history is simple: what challenge awaits this most glorious of generations?
Does Codexia... face yet another war with the hated xenoforms? The Hin’in are the most dangerous predators hitherto known to Man. Theirs is a query that must be answered with resolve. Events will quickly spiral out of control, much blood will be shed – and everything humanity holds dear will be put to the most harrowing of tests. Can Pax Humanica survive the xeno onslaught? This choice will result in a strategic wargame being played out over the next month or more, as the Saga takes on a new and previously unseen aspect. It will be far more detailed and exhaustive than previous wars experienced through this format.
Does Codexia... suffer the rise of the Tyrant and his supermen? Uncontrolled eugenics, unsupervised genetic alteration – Holy Maria will never forgive our crimes against nature. Perhaps it is She that sent the Tyrant to judge us. Will we be found wanting? The Tyrant is a monster who would bring humanity low, to realise his horrifying vision of the future. This choice will result in traditional gameplay, though heavily focused on the Tyrannic Age
Does Codexia... fall prey to the weakness of giants? Disunited, lacking purpose, the 2nd Respublica, in the end, could not hold itself together. There were too many independent minds; too many conflicted interests. Spilling forth like the innards of a wounded beast, a dozen states secede by the dawn of the 6th century. What happens next? What is to be the fate of a humanity hopelessly shattered across like a pane of glass? This choice will result in a multiplayer 4X game that will last several months. Players will adopt states of their own design and run them during a fraternal struggle that will decide the future of the Codexian Saga