(All Worldbuilding Wednesday posts are here, and as always, you can ask questions about this or any other Parhelionverse thing on the Tumblr blog! These posts aren’t necessary to understand the comic, but they might be handy for summarizing context.)
Excerpted from the Encyclopedia Xenocartographica, v38.712.5c, slightly abridged, Ponoma Publishing House, a Yima subsidiary
This entry was last edited in ZY 461, and the information may be outdated. Consult local sources.
Earth is a fledgling commercial hub, with an extensive local history and a relatively late start to interstellar conduct.
Population: ~10 billion
Permanent settlements: >5000
Imports: Precious metals, cultural artifacts
Exports: Grain, labor, stimulants
Size: ~12,700 km in diameter
The planet is primarily divided among four superpowers, known locally as Leviathans (or “Levis”).
Russian Syncretic Caliphate (“RSC”)
The RSC is built on a foundation of religious and cultural tradition, faithfully interpreted to maintain its relevance. It owns more of the Earth than any other Leviathan, primarily pilgrimage routes and holy sites. At time of writing, the leader is Caliph Mikhail IV.
The RSC’s top leadership is thoroughly Islamic, though other faiths may enforce their own laws and doctrine within specified Oblasts, at the cost of slightly higher tax rates.
Kuan Yew Prosperity Sphere (“Prosphere”)
The largest Leviathan by wealth, the Prosphere manages trading hubs and factories the world over. Its leadership’s legitimacy is tied to economic prowess; whenever growth statistics slip below a certain threshold, it triggers an automatic Vote of No Confidence and the relevant positions are open to election.
The Prosphere has become an informal farm system for the Yima Family, which recruits the top managers and, in rare cases, offers intermarriage into the Family.
Deseret Hive (“Hive”)
While not explicitly a theocracy, the Hive is led by an unbroken chain of Mormon emperors. It is the largest Leviathan by population- industrious, prosocial, skilled in planning and executing immense engineering projects. The Hive offers a birthright of self-contained communities, with rigorous spiritual and vocational training.
Jovian Coalition (“JoCo”)
All Leviathans have a stake in extraterrestrial development, but only the JoCo makes it their primary focus. They are the de facto ambassadors to foreign life, and while the Hive and Prosphere build and manage settlements beyond Earth, the JoCo collects rent and plans further.
The other Leviathans are content to compete for Earth, while the JoCo sets their sights beyond; interstellar contact has vindicated them, but they remain the smallest Leviathan in most metrics, and their future is uncertain.