New Cobalt Protectorate
The New Cobalt Protectorate (NCP) is a small, but growing, nation of High Rostran expatriates who live an itinerant lifestyle primarily on the remote Ventral B cube layer.
Protectorate culture revolves around the virtues of personal liberty, merit, and respect for tradition and history. Protectorate citizens are a practical sort who place a high value on personal development and learning. This never-ending quest for personal growth brings with it great opportunities for influence in society - potentially culminating in a term as a Clan Councilor or even New Cobalt Councilor. As such, while the population of the Protectorate remains small, it has a vibrant academic, artistic, and social life which rivals older, larger nations (i.e. Voxelia). While most Protectorate citizens are religious, predominantly adhering to some form of Knappism, they have a high tolerance for other religions, believing that these other cultural currents point to a deeper, unifying truth about The Curved Time and other abiding questions about the cosmological order of things. Civic duty is the cornerstone of Protectorate philosophy, which posits that liberty only exists as an alloy of freedom and responsibility. Individuals are accorded a high degree of personal freedom; the Code of New Evermorn generally prevents the government from intervening in the affairs of individuals unless a situation represents a threat to life, freedom, or property. In return for this freedom, every citizen is expected to participate in the political process, uphold the sparse laws that do exist, and encourage others to participate in society on a personal level. For example, Protectorate law features strong protections for individuals who intervene in disasters, crimes, or corruption, treating particularly heroic actions in this vein as meritous for the purpose of sortition into the Councils. At the same time, the law holds individuals liable for not acting or reporting, with punishments for 'civic negligence' scaling with the severity of the disaster or crime involved; there have been cases where a spree murderer and the person who willfully failed to alert the authorities about them were executed simultaneously.
While on an exploration mission from the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy during the early decades of inflection layer travel, Irido Sandoxus and his exploration fleet became temporarily stranded in Ventral B cube due to collissions with mineral debris in the inflection layer. These small chunks of airborne debris, likely similar to Maximilian's Bolide in origin, presented an unforseen hazard to microgravity navigation, forcing the fleet (around 200 crewmembers strong) to land and conduct repairs. During this repair period, Sandoxus and his ship's crew began to explore the environs of their chosen landing site - a shallow valley on Ventral B3. Sandoxus' team uncovered the remnants of a small village at the foot of a snow-capped mountain, tucked away in a copse of trees. This village, while small and isolated from any known population group, contained several pieces of equipment which manifestly operated on advanced technological principles which remain unexplained by modern science. This village would eventually become the site of New Evermorn, the capital of what would become the New Cobalt Protectorate, and these odd pieces of 'celestial' technology remain on display - inoperable - in a monument park built around the original village. What precisely Sandoxus and his team saw in the buildings remains unaccounted for in any historical record, but accounts indicate that Sandoxus was somehow "informed by one of the artifacts" that the Rostrans originally came from a place in The Curved Time called "Evermorn," that their original species were called the "Evermornans," and that they were the remnants of a "star-faring" nation known as the "Cobalt Protectorate." The artifact went on to explain the rudiments of Evermornan culture before noting that it was about to "die," then fell silent. When Sandoxus and his team returned to the exploration fleet, he and his men were described by the repair crews as having been "transfigured," as though having been alighted upon by the voice of the Knapper of Spirits himself. While initially hesitant to believe what he had said, the crew was eventually brought around to believing Sandoxus when he showed several of them the place he had found. At length, Sandoxus persuaded the crew of the veracity of his claims and, one by one, the officers of each airship became as convinced as Sandoxus' party that this new revelation indicated a new way of life for Rostrans - one which could only be undertaken in isolation from the existing order of Rostran society in the Manifold Sky. The crews which desired to return home were allowed to leave Ventral B with any airships in tow, while those convinced of Sandoxus' new vision remained in Ventral B to pursue the evidently pre-Manifold knowledge they had been gifted with. That pursuit of knowledge continues to this day, with the descendants of that original crew now forming the clans of the New Cobalt Protectorate forged in the mold of their uncovered past. While some have come to doubt some of the more fantastical claims of Sandoxus, the fact that its revelation to him came with fantastical longevity - the man serves as an honorary chair of the New Cobalt Council at the venerable age of 155 - indicates that something unusual definitely happened to the man in that house so many years ago. At the very least, those who still believe in the core tenets of Rostran Esotericism regard the man as a living saint, beatified by exposure to divine knowledge from beyond the veil of recorded history.
Demography and Population
As of the year 10,000 AR, the population of the New Cobalt Protectorate is only around 60,000. The vast majority of the population is Rostran, though a scant few Ovinex from the original expedition and humans of blended Lost Tribes origins to abide within the Protectorate. Most of the population is itinerant, using the forested mountain ranges as cover for their easily disassembled cloth and stick homes. New Evermorn is one of only a few permanent settlements within the New Cobalt Protectorate. This dispersed living style serves both to insulate the population from direct attacks (the nation is well-aware of the threat of human expansionism due to the ongoing War of Reunification) and to allow the nation to continue the hunt for more lost technological artifacts of the so-called Evermornan peoples. This latter connection with extra-Manifold history has led many Protectorate citizens away from Rostran Esotericism into the otherwise moribund Eyes of the Void sect.
While Ventral B remains the core of their territory, he clan structure of the Protectorate allows arms of the nation to exist wherever a sufficient number of citizens are present. A common practice among smaller Protectorate clans is to move in a flotilla of airships to some isolated pocket of the Manifold (such as various Distal Tesseract locations) as a sort of mobile 'colony' - only to fade away past the inflection layers when vessels from other nations stumble into the region. Increasingly, Western G is becoming a hotbed of such airborne Protectorate colonization, as the lack of navigable commissures provides a naturally defensible chokepoint in the Western G/Ventral A inflection layer.
The New Cobalt Knights, a voluntary professional military and diplomatic corps, serves as an 'appendage' clan. Indeed, the 'Protectorate' part of the Protectorate's name refers to the fact that all clans of the New Cobalt Protectorate fall within the protections of the New Cobalt Knights - while being subject to their jurisdiction should a clan rebel, fail to uphold the edicts of the New Cobalt Council, or fail to uphold the tenets of the Code of New Evermorn. The New Cobalt Knights function, in most respects, as a clan unto themselves with the exception that they follow a military code of discipline, behavior, and organization. The New Cobalt Knights answer to the New Cobalt Council with regard to their activities, though they are granted wide autonomy to act swiftly to ensure the safety of the Protectorate against foreign adversaries. Though they are a small military force, the New Cobalt Knights are some of the most elite fighting men and women in all of the Manifold Sky. The Avarix Corps are famously affraid to venture too deeply into the Ventral Tesseract, in part, because crack squads of auto-armored airborne Knights will make interlopers disappear without a trace. Many would-be raiders in the metal-rich mountains of Ventral B have gone missing, with their equipment serving only to supplement the efforts of scrappy Knight HCSR techs and sappers. Resource explorers from other nations will likely remain unharmed, but, depending on the threat their home countries represent, they might also become permanent 'guest residents' of the local clanhold to prevent word of the local mineral wealth from spreading too far.
While small and economically isolated from the rest of the Manifold, the Protectorate makes up for these shortcomings with an unflinching dedication to education and scientific discovery arising from their history with the Evermornan artifacts. As a result, the NCP is easily on par with the Commonwealth of C or the Manifold Conservation Society in terms of technological advancement, with only their limited industrial base preventing them from becoming a direct threat to these factions.
Knappism is the official religion of the New Cobalt Protectorate. While individuals will not be harrassed for their non-adherence to this religion, the civic mythos of the NCP is tied up with the idea that the Knapper of Spirits was aware of The Cobalt Legacy and allowed it to be known to Irido Sandoxus and his crew. Knappist ideals also predominate in public life, with the all-important virtue of 'merit' being construed as a product of individual hard work and ingenuity.
The New Cobalt Protectorate is secretive and isolationist by necessity, as revealing their presence in a big way would also open them up to espionage or raids from larger factions anxious to get a peak at pre-Manifold technology. The NCP makes excursions into the rest of the Manifold Sky under the cover of various flags of convenience (i.e. the Hermitage Island Fellowship) for the purposes of trade or other concerns where local goods and expertise will not suffice. The Navigator's Guild's dedication to neutrality has served the Protectorate well in this regard, as the small faction is willing to pay the Guild well in exchange for service with a heightened degree of discretion.
NCP, Protectorate, New Cobalt
Citizens of the New Cobalt Protectorate use Navigator's Guild Credits for ease of exchange, though they will also happily engage in the trade of raw resources (fruit, water, fuel, etc.) should a coincidence of needs occur.
On a broad scale, the New Cobalt Protectorate is a unique form of representative democracy. Protectorate society divvied up into clans, each of which possesses a clanhold (the seat of power for that clan's holdings) where their respective Clan Council meets to perform legislative duties. The Clan Council writes laws which are then voted upon by other citizens of the clan and are legally binding for that clan. Members of the Clan Council are private citizens appointed to office through a process of "merit sortition." Each citizen has a public record of their accomplishments, whether through great deeds, high educational attainment, public service, or simple age (life experience). Using a codified rubric, these deeds are quantified, and individuals who fall within the upper tenth percentile and who have never served as part of the Council before are chosen at random to serve a five-year term as a Clan Councilor. Clan Councilors are appointed on rotating basis to ensure a continuity of institutional knowledge as well as a constant influx of new ideas. Each of the Clan Councils also appoints one of their members to serve on the New Cobalt Council: a body which performs similar legislative functions to those of a Clan Council but with jurisdiction over the New Cobalt Protectorate as a whole. As before, laws written by the New Cobalt Council must be ratified through a public vote. Additionally, such laws must abide by the Code of New Evermorn - the legal constitution of the New Cobalt Protectorate - to have the force of law.
Each clan has a Clan Tribunal, a panel of judges which serves as a judicial body for that clan. Merit sortition into the Clan Tribunal functions identically to that which is used to fill Clan Council seats, though members of the Tribunal have an additional requirement of legal education and active work in the legal field. Furthermore, the Protectorate as a whole has a New Cobalt Tribunal; as with the Clan Tribunals, members of the New Cobalt Tribunal are elected by members of the individual Clan Tribunals. The New Cobalt Tribunal is the highest appelate court and also hears cases brought by Clan Councils relating to questions of adherence to the Code of New Evermorn.
Official State Religion
Related Ranks & Titles
In exchange for silence and new medical techniques and technologies from abroad, the NCP provides the Sorority of Solace with safe harbor in clan territory and will come to their aid as 'mysterious guardians' in the event of attacks on Sorority assets. Protectorate citizens view this service as a natural extension of one's civic duty to intervene in such matters.
While the RAC is not happy about having lost resouces on the initial expedition to the Ventral Tesseract, neither nation regards the other as a threat. Indeed, the NCP wishes to 'enlighten' the RAC to their 'true heritage,' though the impact of the NCP's discoveries is somewhat lost on those who never experienced it firsthand.
Itinerant Protectorate citizens will sometimes moonlight as local guides for Burnheart adventurers, leading the fraternity away from danger and providing a rapt audience for news from the outside. These guides also subtly lure Burnhearts away from NCP assets at the same time. The relationship between these two factions is furtive, but mutually beneficial.