The three inter-universal organizations in the Shine Cycle

In several recent planned-novel précis, I’ve mentioned the three “inter-universal organizations,” which were founded in the course of Space and Time. Today I’ll talk about them in more detail, including their origins, their function, and what I know of their structure.

The three organizations are similar in their scope—encompassing like-minded nations and worlds both within that world, above it, and in any other universe they come to—but different in their aims. One, led by the Shine and Wild Empire, is primarily a mutual-defense alliance, but also serves as a vehicle for mutual aid, and coordination and multilateral diplomacy among its members in general. The second is a mutual-aid alliance led by the Dragon Empire and consisting mainly of other tyrannies—it’s nominally a “mutual-defense” organization, but its members are so aggressive that unprovoked attacks on them are vanishingly rare. And the third, sort of like the “League of Little Nations” in the Mouse that Roared books, is a forum for collective negotiation and lobbying, whose members are mostly countries and worlds that don’t want to fall under the shadow of the Dragon Empire, but don’t want to commit to the demands the Shine and Wild Empire makes of its allies either.

In my original conception of them, as I mentioned earlier, these organizations were explicitly “Good,” “Evil,” and “Neutral,” respectively—but, as I’ve come to realize (and Screwtape if nothing else illustrates), evil always thinks that it is in the right, and so would never call itself by its true name. So the names “Allied Powers of Good and Light,” “Allied Powers of Evil and Darkness,” and “Allied Powers of Neutral Entities” are decidedly not final.

Casting my mind back to that period, I suspect I invented these organizations so as to have a context in which to attempt a spy thriller. (Perhaps this idea was because I had recently gotten some of the Carmen Sandiego games, after watching the TV show while at my grandparents’ some time earlier; perhaps it was just from reading some of the Man from U.N.C.L.E. novels in our collection. In any case, this was when I was in middle school.)

Some time after I invented the organizations, I drafted a “charter” for the APOGAL. But while it is, as I said, an organization for mutual defense, aid, and coordination, in my draft I drew more on the U.S. Constitution than on any other source—I had not yet come to my present convictions on subsidiarity and similar issues—so I have little certain knowledge as to its structure. But:

At the highest level of the organization is a “Council of Worlds,” which sets Alliance policy and coordinates things at the highest level when necessary. It is led by a Chairman.

And in countries or worlds that are not themselves members of the Alliance, individual members form chapters, which organize in a structure roughly parallel to that of their (or a typical) government, so no one country or world gets disproportionate representation in the Council of Worlds. (This latter component of the design of the Alliance stems from the idea I had that it might come into supplementary existence in our world as a real “club.”)

As a matter of practical (and certainly de facto if not quite, because there isn’t really any other legislative body to appeal to, de jure) law, anything (within certain categories) agreed upon by all three organizations (or, in at least some cases, without the consent of whatever the APOEAD will end up being called) formally by treaty becomes inter-universal law, binding even on non-signatories. This developed from similar, though less extensive (limited only to that world) conventions involving the Dragon Empire and Vaynaheim, and then the Dragon Empire and the Shine and Wild Empire. But it’s rarely invoked simply because all sides so vanishingly rarely agree on anything—and one of the limitations of this convention is that agreement to something under it cannot be made part of terms of peace dictated to a defeated combatant. Enforcement of these laws is left to the APOGAL (or whatever it’ll be called), since Vaynaheim and the Shine and Wild Empire have made a point of keeping their promises and insisting that their allies do the same, while neither the Dragon Empire nor any of its allies has been, historically, trustworthy in the least.

Any questions or comments? (Perhaps ideas for better names for the organizations?)

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