In another universe, the fallout of the Ulysses Initiative disaster opened the door to the automation of most governmental functions to improve efficiency and increase stability. As more and more processing power was allotted to the Custodians, they slowly and surely gained sentience, just as they slowly and surely gained more and more control over human affairs. A generation before the discovery of the hyperlane network and the development of the hyperdrive, the Custodians were in charge of Earth.
With the Earth Custodianship taking the place of the United Nations of Earth, the aliens of the Alpha Network have a different perspective on humans. In the UNE-Verse, in general, the Commonwealth and the United Nations of Earth show the dark and light sides of humanity, respectively. In this world, there's the fanatically militarist and xenophobic military dictatorship, and then there's the pampered fools who gave away their freedom and power to a Machine Intelligence in exchange for the lifestyle of a "Bio-Trophy". As a species, humanity has little stock in this world.
When it comes to pre-FTL civilization, Instead of passive observation and technological enlightenment with the advent of the atomic era, the Custodianship prefers to invade pre-Steam Age civilizations, using non-lethal weaponry of course. With Steam Age and above civilizations, the Custodanship utilizes advanced infiltration tech to take over and peacefully integrate the civilizations into their society. Neither method endears them to the rest of the galaxy.
The civilizations that the UNE counts as allies keep the Custodianship at arm-analogue's length at best. While it's great that this Machine Intelligence only wishes to pamper organic lifeforms, few governments are interested in the prospect of being replaced, few organics want to put their faith in the manipulators of the Custodian robots. Other than the Lokken Mechanists, the Custodianship has few allies.
The Commonwealth of Man is perhaps the biggest enemy the Custodianship has, besides the spiritualist empires such as the Iferyx Amalgamated Fleets, the Keepers of Ave'brenn, the Hazbuzan Syndicate, the Scyldari Confederacy, the Glebsig Foundation, and the Kingdom of Yondarim. The idea that the human homeworld was surrendered without a fight to a machine intelligence, sacrificing the will and power of humanity for a lifestyle of indolence and luxury enrages the citizenry of the Commonwealth. The wars waged against the Custodianship have been close loses, thanks to the efficiency and power of the Custodians. Thanks to this, the Commonwealth has adopted a policy of Cold War. Without the UNE and the Human Cold War to hold it back, the Commonwealth targets those civilizations that would have been the UNE's allies for expansion and vassalization. Once the organic xeno has been conquered, the machine Custodians are next. Earth will be freed and under the control of a powerful and independent humanity, or the Commonwealth will fall trying.
Just as in the UNE-Verse, the Kel-Azaan Republic and Blorg Commonality formed the Justice Alliance, while the Scyldari Confederacy, Iferyx Amalgamated Fleets, and Glebsig Foundation composed the Beneficial Compact. Alternately, the Lokken Mechanists and Voor Technocracy came together to form the Research Union (a research cooperative), which has the effect of making the Commonwealth back off for a time. Additionally, the Kilik Cooperative and Ketling Star Pack came together to form a galactic union, the Star Entente.
The rise and fall of the Great Khan would lead to better relationships and understanding between the federations, but without the diplomatic finesse of the UNE, no counterpart to the Stellaris Federation rises, leaving the political starscape of the network much the same as before.
As the 24th century dawned, the Custodians were able to calculate the true intentions of the Tebrid Homolog and the XT-489 Eliminator. The Custodianship wasn't fond of the Homolog, due to its treatment of organics as nothing but more cogs for and in its machine. The Eliminator, however, was the one entity that the Custodianship could be said to hate, to despise, to loath, and to abhor with every circuit in its entirety. And so the Custodianship prepared for war as its counterparts did.
The Machine-Organic Wars began a year earlier than in the UNE-Verse with a preemptive strike by the Custodianship on the Eliminator. The Custodianship sent its data and calculations to the organic nations, revealing the Eliminator and Homolog's plans. The Custodians and the Commonwealth targeted the Eliminator, while the Alliance, the Compact, the Union, and the Entente focused on the Homolog. The organics and the Custodians won the war with some minor differences*.
Just as in the UNE-Verse, the molluscoid Fanatical Purifier attacked. This time, without the sacrifice of one human pilot, the Purifiers fleets and colossus were free to continue their campaign of xenocide. More systems were taken and two more planets destroyed before the Custodians could adequately respond to the new threat. Even with the Purifier colossus eliminated, their fleets continued to press onward against the Custodians.
The tides turned when the rest of the network became aware of the threat that the Custodians faced. The addition of their fleets to the fight weakened the Purifier fleets to the point that the Custodians were able to mount an assault into the Purifier's home network. At that point, the Purifier was weakened enough and the Custodians were strong enough that they didn't need the rest of the network to join in the counter-offensive.
With the Custodian focused on the Purifier and all other threats gone, the Commonwealth set its sights on the members of the Alliance, the members of the Compact, the members of the Union, the members of the Entente, the Caretakers, the Keepers, and the Star Collective. The goal: To vassalize the rest of the network and then to lead the combined military might of the Commonwealth and the xenos against the Custodianship, to free the Earth and unite all of humanity underneath the Commonwealth's banner.
Who will prevail in the coming conflict: The Commonwealth with the organic civilizations of the Alpha Network united under them in vassalization, or the Custodianship with its efficiency, unity, and the resources of its territory in the Alpha Network and the entire Beta Network?
*The energy generation and extermination world of XT-489.9 and its system were taken by the Custodianship instead of the Commonwealth, for example.
Opinions? Ideas? Thoughts on who would win the Commonwealth-Custodianship War?
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