Though the vast majority of human settlements abide by a communal system, legal and administrative unity in human space is a pipe dream. While places such as the Traverse have region-wide regulations, these judicial and administrative principles are not shared between the regions themselves. In other words: while there is a consensus on the best form of government in human space, there is no consensus when it comes to how this form of government should be exerted. This isn't just about different trade regulations or environmental laws: the very definition of individual property may vary between Traverse, Smyrnian or Communal Space worlds.
In a world where the geometry drive allows for fast movement of people, information and goods across hundreds of lightyears this lack of legal uniformity is a real problem when it comes to interactions between polities, be they conflicts or alliances. A diplomat who would be protected by the law in Communal Space may find their legal status voided in the Traverse. A wanted criminal on Mundis can find a safe haven on Earth. A trade crew with a hold full of Smyrnian goods might find themselves allowed to trade on Mars and forbidden from orbital insertion on Elora. And so on and so forth.
In the past century, two shared elements were born as an attempt to give polities a common ground to solve their conflicts and carry out interstellar relations. The first one are Flower Wars. The second one (which is a corollary to Flower Wars) are the Solar Envoys.
A Solar Envoy is an individual who holds one or several of the universal licenses provided by the Samaris Accords, a set of legal dispositions that virtually all polities in human space have to abide by in order to be considered as part of the broader human civilisation. These legal dispositions enable Solar Envoys to carry out diplomatic, commercial and military tasks on behalf of their communal or cooperative employers.
Solar Envoys are most often directly recruited by the polity that employs them though a few of them are freelance contractors. In the post-capitalist context of human space, material wealth is seldom a motivation for Solar Envoys. These highly skilled individuals have personal reasons to leave their homeworld and risk their physical and moral integrity in the service of their communes. It can be deeply entrenched political convictions, a desire for change and adventure, or a less palatable reason - such as being a wanted criminal on their homeworld and seeking for the forgiveness of the stars. Solar Envoys may present themselves in many ways. Some of them travel in style, with a small flotilla and their personal escorts, while others are shady operatives, carrying out their missions without leaving a trace.
The existing licenses are listed below.
1 - Basic Universal License
The BUL is the simplest license in the Samaris Accords and the one that defines a Solar Envoy. It establishes the legal dispositions of the Solar Envoy status as well as the terms of a Solar Envoy contract, including the "high treason clause" which is the only real way to break such a contract prematurely. If a Solar Envoy owns a spaceship (or any other valuable asset) then the BUL guarantees the inalienable nature of their belongings even in places that do not recognize private and personal property. These Licenses are accepted by all the polities that are part of the Samaris Accords -- in effect, all of human space bar a few anarchist communes.
2 - Legate License
This is the second most widely spread Solar Envoy license. A Legate License allows an Envoy to represent their polity in official and unofficial talks of various importance. As opposed to a "regular" diplomat whose rights may change depending on the region of space they found themselves in, a Solar Envoy protected by a Legate License cannot be denied the right of passage under any circumstances and their physical and moral person cannot be harmed or hampered in any way - doing so may provide the pretext for a Flower War. Legate Licenses are accepted by all polities in the Samaris Accords.
A Legate License cannot be held alongside a Retribution License, as they cover radically opposed Solar Envoy missions.
3 - Solar Trader License
The Solar Trader license allows a Solar Envoy to buy, sell and carry "rare goods" on behalf of their employer. "Rare goods" as defined by this license is an umbrella term that covers alien artefacts, rare ecosystemic goods, rare technologies, works of art and exotic natural compounds that are illegal to trade in the vast majority of legislations. Under this license, however, a Solar Envoy never owns the goods they are carrying, as they remain under the possession of a commune. A Solar Trader License is often paired with a Legate License. Solar Trader Licenses are not officially accepted by all worlds: Mundis in particular is known to treat Solar Traders as mere smugglers despite having signed the Samaris Accords.
4 - Retribution License
A Retribution License is the most permissive Solar Envoy license and also the most dangerous. When a Flower War isn't enough to settle grudges, polities may resort to using Solar Envoys to target high-value assets or persons in what is defined by the Samaris Accords as a "Solar Duel", a limited violent exchange between polities, meant to avoid an all-out war. Retribution Licenses are very heavily limited. They are only given out for a limited time and a single target and only cover material damage, as Solar Duels, much like Flower Wars, are not meant to cause casualties. In exchange for these limits a Retribution License essentially shields a Solar Envoy from legal repercussions: should they be arrested while carrying out their mission they are considered as a war prisoner and not a common criminal.
The Retribution License is rather controversial and it should come as no surprise that the worlds that do not recognize Flower Wars do not recognize the Retribution License either.
Illustration by Lie Setiawan for Eclipse Phase, distributed by Posthuman Studios under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-alike 3.0 Unported License.
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