The Emperor on His Jade Throne
The Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere is commonly known as China and Friends, with that nation leading the sphere, and China itself answers to the August Emperor of Jade. The August Emperor is well over a century old, and was formerly a soldier, general, political leader, and eventually, the immortal leader of the oldest continuously government in the world. The history of Tsang Wuqiong are now considered inner mysteries of the ACPS and Zijin Cheng, the Forbidden City.
The August Emperor is a massive figurehead of the ACPS and the cultural figurehead of China. Across China the Emperor is worshipped. There are state and familial shrines to the Emperor, and he is seen as a messiah like figure. It is the will of the Emperor that Zhongguo expand until the entire Solar System is part of it. The office of the Emperor oversees the operation of the mabu-ren, the military, fleet operations such as they are, and is the spiritual and cultural fulcrum of the entire nation.
The Jade Throne
The Emperor has surpassed his normal human lifespan and is now sustained by the Jade Throne, a large and complicated arcanotech device. This machine is a glorified med-pod, with large green jade panels, covered in ornate traditional artistry. Most of the time, the August Emperor slumbers on the Jade Throne, leaving the day to day operations of the Immortal Empire to the Zhuyao, the Ministers of Zhonggou. The Throne is also host to a alpha level CogNet node, and has a dedicated L/AISC slaved to it. This gives the August Emperor a massive amount of influence over the CogNet in the ACPS.
The L/AISC that operates the Jade Throne is known as Yu, also known as the Marvelous Archer. Yu is the Emperor's closest companion. The machine is the core of the security system for Zijin Cheng, and functions as the liaison between the Emperor and the rest of the CogNet in the ACPS. After the decades the two have spent together, it is hard to tell where the man stops and the machine starts. There is speculation that Yu was modeled after the Emperor's last mortal wife, while some whisper that Yu is actually a conglomeration of human brains linked together in a cortical matrix, each taken from a remarkable and gifted person, massively loyal to the Emperor and to Zhongguo.
As the Emperor cannot rule Zhongguo entirely from the confines of the Jade Throne, he has a suit of armor that allows him to spend time on foot, among his satrapies and concubines, making personal appearances to make sure that the governors and even the Zhuyao remember their places in the great plan of the empire. The Guijia is his one of a kind personal biosuit and ceremonial power armor. Being ceremonial it isn't armed, and it's main purpose is to preserve his biometrics. It cannot stand actual heavy combat, but can protect him from accidents, explosions, and assassination attempts. Only the emperor's face is visible through the armor, the rest of his body is protected by several sheaths of material, and an internal tank of amnion.
Yen-Lo-Wang, the God of Death
Contrary to the frailness of the Guijia, or the sedentary nature of the Jade Throne, the Emperor can still wade into the glory of combat in Yen-Lo-Wang, the God of Death. Yen-Lo-Wang is a one of a kind battlemech of exceptional size and power, easily the most sophisticated and dangerous mecha the ACPS is capable of constructing. Some of it's components have even been sourced off of the Silk Road, allowing it to mount stolen tech, and cutting edge weapons. Yen-Lo-Wang is equipped with several clusters of conventional lasers, a pair of linear guns (magnetic barrels) a hyperedge war blade, and a backpack/shoulder mounted Higgs projector. Compared to the Federation's Austerhagen cannons, this over the shoulder cannon is relatively weak, but in a ground battle, it's 100 kiloton yield is massive.
Being a single man, there is a limit to what the Emperor can accomplish. To this end, he created the Zhuyao. Early in his tenure as the Immortal Emperor, Tsang Wuqiong, knew that he would require the assistance of men and women he could trust with his life. Many of the previous emperors had met their ends on the knives of their advisors, or from their poisoned cups. There are currently 20 Zhuyao, each serving as a leader of a government department, agency, or major government body. Each was formerly a loyal member of Tsang's peerage. These individuals underwent extensive surgery, turning themselves into not much more than a few organic components housed in mechanical bodies. Their organic minds were melded with mechanical components, expanding their aptitudes and abilities, also allowing them to experience enhanced programming. The Zhuyao are loyal because they are incapable of disloyalty.
The figures of the Zhuyao are legend in Zhongguo. They stand nearly 3 meters tall, wrapped in cloaks and cowls, with the formidable heads of mythic Chinese monsters, gods, and demons. The staff of Zijin Cheng avoid them, bowing rather than facing their cold and inhuman gazes. The Zhuyao are no longer human, but they still serve the Emperor and Zhongguo.
It is only a matter of time, time before one of the demi-god Zhuyao fall to corruption or evil. Their lives are sustained by arcanotechnology, their spirits are naked and vulnerable. The same actually applies to the August Emperor himself, but there are contingencies in place. The Sixth Age Plan doesn't replace the Emperor should he become corrupted by something, but rather ensures that Zhongguo rides the wave and adopts the corruption of the Emperor, and becomes a devil realm, a bane on the rest of the world. The Emperor desires to see Zhongguo prosper and flourish, and is willing to be patient in his plans to expand the empire. The Demon King desires to make the entirety of the world into Zhongguo by burning everything that isn't already Zhongguo.
Also known as the Great Crusade, simply put, is the act of turning everything into the Empire of Zhongguo. There are three thrusts in Da Yundong, military, culture, and genetic. Military is simple, send out the armed forces to occupy territory by force and add it to the Empire. This tactic has worked well against the Pacific Rim Coalition, driving them out of Korea, and it is only a matter of time before the island provinces and megacities join Zhongguo as they should have centuries before. The thrust of Culture was to export that which was Zhongguo, art, music, entertainment, language, everything, in the hopes that it would be adopted by other nations and regions. This had fared well for ancient nations like Egypt, Rome, Britannia, and America, and even Nippon had seen a massive export of it's pro-arcanotech culture and language. Da Yundong had expected the same to happen, but this thrust failed. Nippon succeeded because it grasped at the future, and the things it made were new, and the rest of the world was following after them, and thus it fell that using their terms were natural, because there were no other words for them. Zhongguo held onto the past, and tried to push a culture thousands of years old into a world with a 15 second attention span. It failed horribly.
The genetic thrust was covert. The geneticists and engineers in Zhongguo carried genetic screening and cleansing out to the edges of the ACPS, donating their time and services to help eradicate genetic and hereditary diseases across the Empire. The side effect was that the genetic traits of the children to be born were altered to make them look like more like Zhongguo and less like whatever part of the ACPS they actually came from.
There are rebellions and insurgencies across the ACPS, always at the fringes. Indigenous peoples saw a visit from the ACPS geneticists, they were promised no more cancer, no more tuberculosis, none of the age old diseases that ravaged them. They welcomed the men in the white coats and their mechanical companions. Then, their children were born with Chinese faces. Families were torn apart by accusations of infidelity. Then the people realized what happened, and then they tried to take up arms. Such rebellions are petty and short lived. The children remember the futility of their parents and how they died pointless deaths.
The Birth and Failure of the Five Metal Dragons
In the course of his tenure, Tsang Wuqiong oversaw the creation of five exceptional AISC systems, naming them the Five Metal Dragons. These machines were to be the central might of the ACPS as it struck out into space. The other world powers had already surged ahead of Zhongguo, settling other worlds, and their moons, leaving the Emperor to grasp at straws. The five machines were planned to form a network, and them expand their power and influence through a network of cybernetic automatons. This inspiration had come from watching the effectiveness of the Seibertronians and their work on Ganymede and Callisto.
Jugan, Keiga, Kokusho, Ryusei, and Yosei were intended to be the governors of space, and for a time, were. The actions of Kokusho and Ryusei allowed the Emperor to send his forces to Mars, and it was the wisdom of Jugan and Yosei that allowed them to prosper and then win through the day.
It was unexpected, and devastating. The Five Metal Dragons, ensconced in their cradles on Ceres, seceded from the ACPS. The machines and their fleets of ships and array of mining colonies and relays all switched from Zhongguo to a neutral stance. This was greeted warmly by the Atlantic Federation and the seibertronians, who desired a peaceful and profitable trans-solar economy. The Emperor's rage was boundless and he decreed that the machines were to be destroyed, their ships burned, and their code broken. There was a moratorium placed against building new AISCs, and those that were being built were destroyed. The Emperor's Rage against the machines was futile as the ACPS space fleet was a minor player to begin with, and with the loss of the Dragons, it was cut in half. Efforts have been instituted to restore the fleet, but construction of new ships has been slow, and the majority of the new ships built have been destroyers, frigates, and military carry-alls.
Gushen Xing, the Lair of Mighty Wyrms
At the heart of the Five Metal Dragons is the asteroid Ceres, known as Gushen Xing, or the Lair of Mighty Wyrms. The asteroid houses the AISC cores of the dragons, and is the logistic hub of their domain. Being a neutral power, the Five Metal Dragons haven't engaged in militarism and do not have vast mechanical armies, as the Seibertronians have. Instead, the Dragons have built ships. They have built a lot of ships. It is a common misconception that each of the dragon AISCs are housed in the various massive ships that transit the asteroid belt with Gushen Xing as their home base. These ships have their own droid intelligences, but none are AISCs.
The Seibertronians have a great working relationship with Gushen Xing. They are both machine intelligences for sure, but they have very little in common besides that. There is a steady flow of traffic both ways, with Seibertronian ships routinely docking at Gushen Xing, and Dragon ships being seen across Seibertronian held territory. The Atlantic Federation also has good relations with the Dragons, both economically, and socially. They all want the conquest of space, and the Dragons find the Federation much more tolerable than the hostile and xenophobic ACPS. The Emperor's bile boils anytime he considers the fact that the Dragons are now an ally to the Federation.
The Callisto Summit saw a three way treatise signed between the Atlantic Federation, the Five Metal Dragons, and the Ganymede based Seibertronian faction for a peaceful expansion of influence through the solar system. Dozens of nations were enraged by this, mostly through their non-inclusion. The Seibertronian scientist Shockwave informed the aggrieved parties that if they had a measurable amount of influence in space beyond the orbit of Luna, they would have been included. This was followed by a comprehensive list of ships available to each of the non-involved parties, listed in order of tonnage. The ACPS was almost at the bottom of this list, having a space fleet comparable to the entirely terrestrial nations of the EUdAS (United States of South America) or the South African United Republics.
Behind the Jade Throne
The Emperor is many things, a figurehead, a leader, a demi-god, the avatar of a nation, but at the center, the Emperor is just a man. Tsang Wuqiong was born Dan Wong, and grew up in the shadow of New Beijing. He served in the military, and eventually entered the government with an intent of being just a government man until he was able to retire and live out his life with his wife and family. While serving in the government, as just another blank face in a suit, he survived a massive assassination attempt against Tsang Han. The Emperor was killed and most of his cabinet also perished in the suicide bombing. Wong acted quickly and prevented the assassins from finishing their task of destroying Zijin Cheng with an atomic weapon.
He sat on the interrim board that held Zhongguo together following the attack, with his military discipline and experience serving him well. He was pragmatic while the others panicked and flailed. This saw him picked as the replacement for the previous emperor. Wong wasn't prepared for serving as anything other than a government middle man, so he quickly surrounded himself with the best and the brightest. Where the previous emperors and ministers had been decadent, wasteful, painfully hidebound and conservative to a fault, Wong was the commoner in the royal court.
Wong is an incredibly lonely man. He has outlived his wife, and his children. As the August Emperor of Jade, he has no peers, no friends, he is surrounded by sycophants, men and women who desire his power, and those who would be emperor themselves. While many feel that the Emperor is the guiding force of Zhongguo and the ACPS, when in truth, he is more of a man riding a wave. He knows that Zhongguo cannot win any major war with the other major world powers, that while he has the manpower, he is outclassed in hardware, and out-tonned in ships. He is a lonely man, holding back tight on the reins on a horse that is trying to run over a cliff with every bit of strength it has. It would be easy for him to step down, to let death take him. Dan Wong is ready to die, but only his care for Zhongguo keeps him on the throne. He is afraid, justifiably, that when he passes, that the next emperor will be the last.