Image from Steve Bowers
The Non-Coercive Zone
|Definition||Major metapolity of the Inner and Middle regions. Exact size fluctuates due to changing relationships with associate systems.|
|Symbol||No all-encompassing or official symbols. A golden network sigil, with stylised planets or habitats is a popular choice. The Board Logo of a golden cylinder and helix is often associated with the Zone in general.|
|AI Ethos||Non-aggressive, libertarian, marketism. Archai and transapient power expressed through the market. Used sparingly but effectively to maintain efficiency for lower minds.|
|Technology Level||Hightech and above. Home to complex ecologies of niche products and services. High proportion of lower singularity beings owning higher singularity technology.|
|Culture||Metapsychology: Non-aggression, personal sovereignty, voluntary association, non-coercion.|
Values: Emphasises personal success, entrepreneurial lifestyles and philanthropic benevolence. Places extremely high value on sophont labour compared to the rest of the galaxy's post-scarcity societies.
Religion/Ideology: Free marketism, non-aggression, extreme individualism.
Demographics: Extremely high diversity of clades and toposophies. Shifting market demands give rise to highly fluid sub-cultures. On average intelligence augmentation use (via genemods and exoself) is high to thrive in competitive markets.
Languages: Six major trade languages; Haldre, Bit-trust, Nasht, High Comerck, G555, Imblanone. To varying degrees dialects of each are only intelligible via subscription.
|Territory and Population||Current Territory: Vast expanse along the counterspinwards and rimwards portions of the Orion arm, approximately 4,000 light years in length; mostly in Centaurus, Puppis, Carina and Vela. A large enclave in Sagittarius (the Sagittarius NoCoZo) is a major component of the STC. Millions of associate enclaves of varying sizes spread throughout the Terragen Sphere. Originally counted as part of the NoCoZo, the former Cygexpa territories in Cygnus declared themselves independent at an early stage.|
Capital: Technically none, although Merrion is the ceremonial seat of the Conclave of Boards (in actuality the Board is spread throughout NoCoZo virchspace).
Systems: >10 million with majority NoCoZo culture. 41 million with varying degrees of association.
Population: 290 quadrillion sophonts. 82% virtual, two-thirds embodied sophonts cyborgs of some kind. Near-daily body augmentation is common enough in the NoCoZo that exact census data is difficult to gather.
Nexus Infrastructure: Highest overall of any polity (though MPA has more traversable and TRHN more comms). 1.5 million systems connected, many millions more within 10ly of a wormhole.
|Governance and Economics||Legal Systems: As a stateless, free market society the NoCoZo legal system is polycentric; security and justice are provided by competing Security Firms and a market of third party Arbitrators. Contracts are key in NoCoZo society to ensure non-aggression.|
Markets: The NoCoZo is dominated by market economics with >99 per cent of denizens interacting daily via voluntary, financial transactions.
Currencies: Thousands of competing private currencies of all kinds (from raw commodity to crypto). No single group dominates but the two largest are the Q-credit and Tit4Tat Sterling.
Major Industries: Any and all trade in non-fungible goods and services.
|Foreign relations||Heterogeneousity: The individualistic and stateless nature of the NoCoZo means that it cannot be dealt with as a singular political entity. However 'Foreign Power Contracts' have been signed through the Conclave of Boards that are binding over a supermajority of NoCoZo denizens.|
Allies/Rivals: Relationships with the Zone are nuanced with foreign polities having both good and bad dealings with different Zone factions. In general the TRHN enjoys a positive relationship with the Zone due to the high emigration of NoCoZo denizens looking for ascension. The Negentropy Alliance is often considered a rival, with the Utopia Worlds the only other major power near universally disliked in the Zone.
Defense and Intervention: The NoCoZo militaries are governed by market forces, as with everything else. In times of crisis to the entire Zone (such as the Version War) thousands of Defence Firms jostle and negotiate to form larger, co-operative blocs. These blocks rapidly bid for military contracts amongst the (equally dynamic and growing) Consumer Collectives that combine the bargaining power of millions of systems. Usually, after a period of chaotic transactions, one bloc will emerge victorious and carry out the military wishes of the market, dissolving once the crisis is over.