So, who are the Vorstaat? A scifi novel like this needs a villainous force and the Vorstaat, or yooks as they are commonly referred to, seem to fit the bill. They’re aggressive and organised and they hound the SCF relentlessly across the galaxy, slowly pushing the Coalition back planet by planet.
It’s easy to root for the underdog and in this story it seems pretty clear that the Systems Coalition has the moral high ground, but nothing is ever quite that straightforward – especially when you consider that the Vorstaat used to be part of the Coalition.
The following Control Wikia extract clarifies something of their standing:
Previously the industrial arm of the Systems Coalition, now a breakaway state, the Vorstaat’s passionate desire to be free from the Coalition is slowly being realised thanks to an unrelenting spirit forged in the mines and mills of the outer systems and a seemingly limitless supply of raw materials for the war effort.
The Vorstaat has installed its own government, but the rapid growth of this new state has not been without difficulties and the constant pressures of war have slowly eroded the sense of freedom its people initially enjoyed.
A bureaucratic, paranoid and ruthlessly sectarian government has driven its military agenda beyond liberty into aggressive expansionism, claiming more and more Coalition systems in the name of freedom from oppression.
So, best intentions gone awry? You could perhaps lay the same accusation at the feet of the Systems Coalition, who started the whole thing by giving in to greed and saying no to the Vorstaat’s requests for better tax breaks and an at least semi-autonomous state. It would be too easy to label the Vorstaat as villains as their history is far too complex and characters like Hendrik Deventer, Joseph Swart and Planetary Governor Roald make it clear that they aren’t all bad.
One thing is for sure, though – if the Vorstaat get their hands on the data from Bleak Pass then everyone’s going to be in a world of trouble. The Vorstaat are tough in a fight and they never give in. Give them an edge and they will cut you in two.
Keep your eyes peeled for a follow up blog on the cultural heritage of the Vorstaat and the origin of their name.