The planet Telos is located in a neutral zone between Infokatallaxis Federation and the Taxis Empire. A largely agrarian society, Telos has intentionally maintained a primarily subsistence economy in which people live in small networks of villages clustered around temple complexes, with a small agroexport sector devoted to the production of entheogenic, medicinal, and culinary herbs and spices and substantial ecocultural tourism/pilgrimage economy. Their villages are largely autonomous and self-governing but support, apparently voluntarily, through offerings made at pilgrimage feasts, a stratum of scholar/priests, mostly women who, in addition to attending to temple rituals, devote themselves to the arts, science, and philosophy. Telian religion remains something of a mystery, with what look to outsiders, and perhaps to most of the peasantry, like simple fertility rituals also having a complex esoteric meaning focused on participation in the "great work" of Ripening Being.
Telos has resisted all efforts to negotiate free trade agreements and all efforts get it to join the common currency areas managed by the Empire and the Federation. It strictly limits entheogen and other spice production in order to maintain high prices, and has resisted attempts to establish plantations owned by off-world interests, even if worked by off-world workers as well. There are rumors of vast mineral deposits but the Telians have only recently begun to allow geological surveys.Telos maintains embassies throughout the sector but does not participate in any mutual defense pacts or other sovereignty limiting organizations. While each village has its own militia and the temple complexes have small military forces they are all small and appear to rely on traditional weapons using preindustiral technology. Telos has recently emerged as a haven for dropout and dissident artists, scientists, and scholars from both the Federation and the Empire.
Recently, a geological survey funded by the Federation discovered a large deposit of essenium, a very rare mineral which no one knew could exist in nature before this discovery.Essenium is critical to new technologies that both the Federation and the Empire are developing, which make it possible to use electromagnetism to control gravity. This means they will be able to control the structure of spacetime.This will give them unimaginable power.There are lots of applications of this technology that could make someone a lot of money, as well as incredibly destructive weapons.Whoever controls this technology could well take over the entire galaxy.The Federation immediately approached the Telians with a proposal where Telos would give them exclusive rights to mine the essenium, in return for which they would pay the Telianssubstantial royalites.The Telian High Council considered the proposal, but turned it down, both because they were afraid the mining would hurt their environment and undermine their culture and because they do not believe that any society, even their own, is ready for access to what they call “the philosopher's stone.”In response, the Federation withdrew their ambassador to discuss what to do next.
The Empire, meanwhile, has sent a task force of several battle cruisers and a dozen destroyers -- more than enough to destroy the planet -- and presented the Telians with an ultimatum. “You have 24 hours to give us exclusive mining rights. You will also give us workers to support the mining operations. If you refuse, we will kill 1/10 of your population, and re-format the brains of those left alive, making them into slaves.”
The Federation charge d'affairs has promised assistance, but has noted that the Federation will want concessions for it.And the nearest Federation battle group is two weeks away.
Please prepare a response to this scenario from the point of view of ONE actor (the Telians, the Federation, OR the Empire). Your response should outline your next action.
Why did you choose to act this way?
Now, go back and ask whether or not your action met the following criteria:
1) Decide what reaction you want from the other parties. Will this action get that reaction? If so, why? If not, what action would?
2) Does your action realize your self-interest and build your power?
Finally, what has this exercise taught you about the nature of power?