The Great Union of the Fourth Turning Republics, also known as the Union of the Fourth, and often referred to simply as The Union, is a political entity that serves as the primary antagonist group of gen:LOCK.
After a state of cold war with its political rival, the Polity, it was originally thought by most that the Union initiated the ongoing Global Culture War by attacking New York City. However, it speculated that the Polity triggered the war 20 days prior. Nevertheless, these events were marked as the catalyst of its hostile expansion across North America, and later, other continents, led by Brother Tate. As an oppressive totalitarian regime hell-bent on absolute world domination; the Union aims to destroy the Polity and its allies outright in an effort to coerce the entire world and everyone in them into submission to its direct control. The Union has absolutely no tolerance for any form or expression of dissent, and any of it present is brutally and mercilessly crushed.
Politics and Culture
The Union is a tyrannical theocratic regime that, while heavily influenced in name by the Fourth Turning theory, arose from the ashes of the world's religions - most of them from the 'Old World'. Therefore, they likely subscribe to an ideology that is steeped in collectivism and resentment towards the Polity for dragging the world into imminent ruin. To Yasamin Madrani, it is nothing but a "death cult" capable of harvesting the minds of those it seduces at will.
Despite access to advanced technology and machinery, the Union has been described as incapable of innovation and heavily dependent on stealing technology from its rivals. It does, however, hold an acknowledged superiority in electronic warfare over the Polity which would seem to contradict this characterization to some degree at least. Similarly, it's implied that the Union has a major advantage in naval forces over most if not all of its enemies. The Union holds a high interest in stealing technology as well as their creators/owners including scientists and or anyone else involved. The Union also holds an interest in hunting down and eliminating anyone e.g. intellectuals, activists, and so on whom its leader, Brother Tate, perceives as "Polity blood" or a threat to the Union's security and stability.
The Union also follows a state-sanctioned religion whose beliefs in afterlife ascension are hastened through nanotechnology disintegration into the mass-digital mind of the nanotech, referred to by Brother Tate as the "Flow". The Flow is a digital afterlife of immortal consciousness that Tate is the only one to ever return from.
Compared to the Polity, the Union is seemingly much more scattered, its occupied areas almost random in their placement with no single clear point of origin. Some of their major territories are thousands of miles apart. Union-controlled areas also seem to bleed over quite a bit; they do not have clear national boundaries like the Polity does, suggesting the Union is more of a grassroots movement.
The Union's largest areas of control appear to be in southern and western Africa, South America, and dominantly, eastern North America. They also have a significant presence in parts of Egypt, Europe, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Minor territories also exist within Northeast China and Oceania.
It is also noteworthy that the Union seems to control all four most important maritime traffic choke-points - Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Strait of Malacca, and the Panama Canal. Such positions would allow the Union to fully control maritime trade and may explain how its economy manages to stand against the Polity.
Despite controlling a relatively small percent of the world's resources and population; the Union manages to maintain quite an effective military. The Union's military capabilities rival that of the Polity's main military branch, the Vanguard. The Union military relies on their significant technological superiority over the Vanguard, and numerous unorthodox solutions, like weaponized Nanotechnology, Spider Tanks, and massive Behemoths. Despite this, their average technology often seems to be somewhat inferior to the Vanguard analogs. However, this may be down to logistical or economic considerations rather than to their tech base. They are, however, known for their proficiency in electronic warfare, such as the hacking of enemy robots and other weapons systems present in the field.
Their general doctrine, according to Yaz, follows the idea of a war of attrition. They tend to expand slowly, pushing their opponent back by the constant series of small-scale skirmishes, while avoiding decisive - and thus risky - actions, if possible. Despite this, the Union military is willing to commit significant resources to large-scale operations, if the situation benefits this. It seems that the Union command is especially concerned about maintaining the technological superiority over their enemies thus launching significant efforts to capture and study the potentially game-changing technology, such as gen:LOCK.
The Union military generally follows "organic", streamlined designs for their vehicles and equipment. Their uniforms and machinery use a universal black and charcoal gray color scheme, with either crimson or gilded yellow markers.
- Union Fighter - Air superiority fighter.
- Union Drone - Versatile, unmanned aerial craft.
- Unnamed heavy transport aircraft - Heavy assault transport normally used to ferry vehicles.
- Unnamed infiltration aircraft - Transports that carry troops and drones to breach enemy installations, latching onto the walls and drilling entrances into them.
- Spider Tank - Hexapedal, armored, heavy fire-support mech.
- Holon - Captured gen:LOCK technology.
- Behemoth - Massive, hexapedal mechs that serve as mobile fortresses. Capable of transporting entire armies and dispensing Nanotech onto the battlefield.
- Unnamed turreted six-wheeled APC - Fast armored transport.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
- Nanotechnology - Minuscule robots deployed to selectively destroy targets and form complex actions such as constituting physical obstructions and weaponry. Usually utilized in large swarms, though smaller clusters were also known to be used in covert operations and the like, as well as for other specialized tasks.
- Brother Tate - Leader of the Union until his death at the hands of Twilight.
- Sister Nyokabi - Athenian priestess and successor to Brother Tate
- Carlyle - Commander of the Union forces dispatched to Osaka
- Rob Sinclair's Impersonator † - Union spy who was assigned to infiltrate the ESU on The Anvil by assuming Rob Sinclair's identity. Died while attempting to undergo gen:LOCK in a failed attempt to steal a Holon for the Union.
- Yasamin Madrani (formerly) - Served the Union as a pilot, possibly under a disguised alias. Defected to the Polity after she accidentally had her parents arrested and made examples of by the Union. Currently serves as a participant in the gen:LOCK program.
- Nemesis - Ex-Polity Holon that was captured by Union forces during a skirmish in New York, along with the original digitized mind of Julian Chase trapped within. During the original Chase's descent into insanity, the Union promised him that they would find a way to return him to his human body in exchange for continued service in the war. Killed in Chicago by the gen:LOCK team though multiple copies are known to exist.
- Mr. Cook - Pet koala of Brother Tate
- Brother Sugiyama - Assistant of Brother Tate
- King Demon - Monstrous creature that comes from the Door
- Aris Webb † - Union spy who infiltrated De Soto Base after luring the Foxe brothers there to steal the gen:LOCK files. Killed by Nanotechnology while attempting to flee in an Interceptor.
- The Union's full name is a reference to the Strauss–Howe generational theory, also known as the Fourth Turning Theory. The theory states that society moves in a repeating "saeculum" or cycle made up of four parts known as "Turnings"; High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis. Crisis, the Fourth Turning, is an era of destruction, often involving war or revolution, in which institutional life is destroyed and rebuilt in response to a perceived threat to a nation's survival. After the crisis, civic authority revives, cultural expression redirects towards community purpose and people begin to locate themselves as members of a larger group.
- On the 18th of January, 2019, the Union briefly took control of the official Rooster Teeth Twitter account to spread propaganda, some of which is featured in the show itself.