Theocracy: the Voice of God
Where the United Authority had been an altruistic, egalitarian governmental body (at least when it was founded), the Regulatory Corporation was just that--a corporation. Profits and power were all that mattered. Like any company faced with unproductive elements, the Regulatory Corporation set trimming the "dead weight" from its operation.
During the great consolidation, Regulators took stock of the Authority's holdings. While productive planets were reinforced with funding and large military forces, planets and systems deemed "unprofitable" were simply abandoned. These latter worlds often fell into anarchy as supplies and goods that could only be obtained off world became scarcer and scarcer. Pirates and warlords terrorized the unprotected remnants of the United Authority with reckless abandon.
Dating back to the Aurora rebellion, a mysterious figure had traveled from world to world preaching a return to religion. Calling itself the Prophet, the figure visited countless systems, telling all who would listen that the Age of Diaspora would be the end of all humanity. Only by tearing down every last remnant of their works among the stars and returning to Earth could humanity avoid oblivion as a species. The Prophet laid out strictures and laws, and adherence to the letter of the doctrine was imperative. God had never meant for man to leave the Earth, the Prophet said, and only through the annihilation of the nonbelievers and heretics, through the return to humanity's Home, could Doom be averted.
Initially the Prophet was largely ignored by a populace ruled by the United Authority. As the Union of Colonies and the Authority, the Prophet spread its message. As the Authority consumed itself and became the Regulatory Corporation, the Prophet spread its message. As the Corporation abandoned whole systems to the ravages and predations of their enemies, the Prophet spread its message--and that message was heard.
Many worlds deemed worthless to the corporation supported large populations. These populations had seen the horrors humanity had wrought upon itself among the stars, had felt their former masters leave them to die. The message of the Prophet resonated with these lost peoples, and the Theocracy blossomed as a flower in the desert.
While the divinely appointed mandate of the Theocracy is the destruction of the works of humanity and the return to Earth by the Pure, the Followers of the Prophet are as pragmatic as they are devout. They cannot wipe the stars clean if they cannot travel between them. They cannot smite the unclean without weapons as devastating as the enemy's. The Theocracy maintains countless holdings, ship yards, and factories on countless worlds. From the dregs of the United Authority the Theocracy has crafted a blade capable of slaying false gods. Only after they have performed their duty, after they have cleansed the universe, only then will the Theocracy retake Earth and bask in the rewards of the righteous.
Next Chapter - The Asakura incident