Edict Of Gaia

Introduction

The Edict of Gaia is seen as one of the most important decrees in the history of the Star Kingdom of Rigel; it marked a positive change in policy of developing worlds on which Terran life might thrive.

It was enacted in 3803 and took full effect by mid-3805.

Adoption

It was Queen Mabrica II who proposed the first draft of the edict in 3798, which was then improved upon by each of the Barons of Rigel at the time. The edict had come at an opportune time and was poised to revitalize the waning technology markets of the kingdom. Though no lack of military innovations were needed, other necessary domestic industries were being purchased and their infrastructure turned to war production despite a growing dependence on foreign goods.

Calling for the cessation of hostile annexation of all colonies, the edict found numerous supporters among the barons whose companies were languishing. Further, it was an opportunity to improve civil liberties, the quality of life in the nation, and extend an olive branch to recently conquered colonies. The Edict of Gaia permitted the release of several such colonies and the Baronial Court was to pay reparations to all of the colonies taken by force of arms, in addition to offering them planetary baronies, planetary defense forces, and diplomatic preference for the next century.

Resistance

The only resistance the edict faced was relatively light in comparison to the nearly unanimous support. Those barons with a stake in the military industrial complex and strict secularists opposed.

Neither party has been able to gather much backing in opposing the Edict of Gaia to this day.

Goals

First, the Edict of Gaia was to establish an official state religion: that endorsed by the Gaian Emissaries known as Planetary Relief. This was to solidify the unity of the Star Kingdom, which had been shaken in recent years by the aggressive expansion of it's influence. Second, as a direct result of the first, the edict would breathe new life into formerly subsidized corporations by selling them to private investors as the Rigel Industrial Alliance (RIA). The RIA would utilize cutting edge technology to develop a capable terraforming infrastructure, including armaments and spacecraft, if necessary.

The third primary goal of the edict was to establish a new, codified militarist institution which would protect Relievist assets and churches. It was collectively dubbed the Knights of Gaia.

The fourth goal, however, was what earned the Queen and the Twelfth Baronial Court their honors as Heroes of the Kingdom. All hostile military incursions on aligned or independent colonies were to cease immediately. The effectiveness of this order is debated by historians. Several conflicts continued for several years following the Edict of Gaia for control of worlds which were simply released once the defenders were defeated. These conflicts are known as Cessation Wars. Regardless, numerous colonies voted at plebiscite for independence following the edict and were guaranteed their new independence in hopes of creating a buffer zone against the rapidly growing Solar Union.

Further, this fourth goal redirected the energies of the military industries of Rigel. It created demand for new goods and boosted demand for many emerging and existing civilian sector goods.

Results

The Edict of Gaia is generally seen as satisfying all four of it's primary goals.

The Church of Relief was founded which served as a focal point for new discussion on civil liberties and brought the majority of the Kingdom's citizenry under the banner of a common goal. The RIA became the single largest employer in Rigellian space and reduced the need of foreign goods within that space further. The Knights of Gaia joined the ranks of the other orders of landed elite, recruiting from a broader demographic than the others, whose sole existence is geared toward protecting terraforming operations abroad. Finally, bringing relative peace to the Star Kingdom's frontiers.

Criticism

Although the intentions of the Edict of Gaia have been lauded by organizations such as the Terran Association Of Interstellar Commerce, the Kingdom's own Court University has released studies which have found the beneficial impact of the adoption of a state religion has been marginal. The Church of Relief is presently a well armed institution whose policies are thought to be advanced ahead of those of the people. Furthermore, there is concern by secularist scholars that the church has become so entrenched in Rigellian politics that it may be impossible to remove if the need ever arose.

The vast sums of Canaths paid out by the Twelfth and Thirteenth Baronial Courts to annexed colonies are also derided as unwise economic investments which have never seen a return, particularly with the deployment of a great deal of resources in exchange for Rigellian Armed Forces outposts.

Additionally, the Edict of Gaia's policies are criticized as xenophobic, and include provisions which enable terraforming organizations to utilize the Church of Relief and the Knights of Gaia to destroy sentient life on desirable worlds; either by terraforming without relocation or by pursuing campaigns of extermination. Detractors of the edict internal and external claim that such policies are backwards and immoral. Supporters of the edict indicate the Index of Advancement which regulates the classification of intelligent species for the Rigellian government to better guide foreign policy.