The Treaty of Concord (2472) recognizes thirteen distinct governments dividing explored space—the stellar nations. These rulers of the galaxy make decisions that affect all of humanity and the species it has contacted. Together, the stellar nations lay claim to thousands of colonized worlds and outposts throughout hundreds of light-years. Given their might, the only force capable of stopping a stellar nation is another stellar nation.
Twelve stellar powers were the most powerful republics when the Treaty of Concord was drafted. As a group, they are sometimes called the winners of the Second Galactic War, simply by virtue of their survival. Without the treaty, GW2 would have continued, dragging the stellar nations into an abyss of blood and fire. The twelve powers have the most to lose if war returns.
Each stellar nation controls a distinct region of space, marked on star maps and patrolled by military driveships. The borders indicate which nation owns which star systems. While they vary in size, even the smallest stellar nations control thousands of star systems and are home to more than 200 billion sentient beings. As many as a trillion reside in the larger stellar nations. The laws of each stellar nation apply to all of the worlds under its flag, but enforcement depends on the particulars of the world in question. Given their immense size, the nations contain hundreds of diverse star systems, clients regions, and allied planets. What a visitor can expect depends on the stellar nation, but also on the individual star system.
Economically, the stellar nations have chosen different paths. each nation has the resources to survive and grow independently—even tech-obsessed Insight pursues traditional and hydroponic agriculture to feed its hungering billions. But how each stellar nation answers the needs of its populace makes it distinct. Some use the reliable principles of capitalism, depending In corporations and individuals to manufacture, distribute, and sell goods. Others, such as VoidCorp, control corporate divisions !hat take up these roles. A few use planned economies or opp:!rate on military lines. While all stellar nations can meet their basic needs, many excel at one or more industries, such as computers, high-tech arms, or entertainment.
In strength of arms, the stellar nations have fallen far from the dizzy heights they had climbed prior to the Second Galactic War. They now approach half the power they commanded at the start of the war. Each stellar nation controls several thousand spacecraft, most of which are smaller spaceships such as scouts, cutters, and corvettes. Each stellar nation also commands many cruisers and dreadnoughts, and a few fortress ships. Several factories have produced these large navies: large reaches of interior space, long borders to patrol, and colonies and other interests that extend to the farthest reaches of explored space. Despite the best efforts of longsighted pacifists, no stellar nation has seriously considered disarmament in decades.
Among the stellar nations, nationalism represents the greatest threat to peace. Most citizens of the 26th century place their national identity at the center of their existence. Sociologists refer to the phenomenon as „new tribalism.“ Humans- and many aliens—think of themselves as Orions, Borealins, or Thulldans. Even as the convenience of modern transportation allows all citizens to interact freely, humans continue to band together, not just for protection but to form common identities. While the nations compete for interstellar dominance, their citizens struggle with each other in smaller ways. The stellar nations have been fighting since their birth, and their citizens' prejudices make it likely they will fight again. In 2501, most of these prejudices reflect the recent war. Yesteryear's enemies are well remembered, and chance encounters between VoidCorp employees and Inseers, Thuldans and Solars, or Nariacs and Austrins can quickly turn into brawls.
In the interest of preventing open warfare, the Treaty of Concord created a thirteenth stellar nation: the Galactic Concord. To form this artificial state, each nation donated territory, personnuel, space vessels, and resources. Today, the Concord controls planets, stars, and entire regions of space, just as the stellar nations do. Concord bureaucrats regulate the growth and development of Concord worlds. The stellar nations didn't set up the Concord as a competitor, but the Concord has surprised its creators. While the Concord's existence may once have depended on the sufferance of its creators, it has now raised an entire generation under its rule. These citizens see themselves as Concordans first and foremost.
While the Concord Star Force is only slightly stronger than the navy of any other stellar nation, the existence of an armed mediator has already stopped several small conflicts from escalating, such as the Rigunmor-Borealin border war of 2481. The Concord's charter demands that it rise above local conflicts keep the peace. This commission overrides all others. No stellar nation is willing to fight the Concord openly; the other nations would support the Concord, and such a conflict might well spark another war. No one is quite ready for that.
The Concord acts to help humanity and alien species throughout explored space. The Concord ensures free trade between all stellar nations, and Concord vessels patrol well-traveled space, curbing piracy and privateering. While the Treaty of Concord doesn't allow the Concord to interfere in any nation's internal affairs, most Concord authorities stress the importance of sentient rights in preserving a workable peace. The Concord also serves as an arbiter between the t'sa and human governments. In addition to all these duties, Concord law is interstellar law; in the reaches beyond Old Space, the Concord administers justice, recognizes claims, and settles disputes.
Even pessimistic historians have called the Concord one of humanity's brief fits of sanity since the species left Earth. Most of these historians also predict that the Concord will ultimately fail. They may be right; the stellar nations may prove too powerful, too prejudiced, and too intractable, but no one questions the value of making the attempt.
A final consequence of the Treaty was the official extinction of several nations. Even as the treaty recognized the sovereignty of the twelve stellar nations, it dissolved more than a dozen other nations recognized prior to the war. Many had been destroyed. Others had been assimilated into other nations. Today, these powers are historical footnotes, relegated to minor status as client states of the stellar powers or reduced to governments in exile. Although more than 30 years have passed since the war's end, loyalty and bitter memories keep the defunct nations from completely disappearing. Scattered within the new borders, expatriated citizens, bitter refugees, and entire star systems refuse to accept the authority of a foreign power.