It cannot escape the attention of the discerning observer of the benighted lands across the sea that nobody speaks of the executive leadership of the so-called Union. This is not a coincidence.
At one time the Union’s leadership was fairly convention. The ‘European Human/Ultrahuman United Alliance’ had an elected leader and a large and functioning congressional body beneath her. Then Prevailer killed her.
Her replacement was savaged by a Pantheon warlord out to make a name for herself, and the poor fool that was elected to replace her was killed by the exact same warlord. Something clearly had to change.
The Union couldn’t ape the other great nations and simply put the strongest Ultra in charge. They had their marker immovably fixed on ‘democracy’. But an unpowered leader in charge of their greatest enemy was an irresistible temptation to their adversaries.
The three part system, of ministers, commanders and ultras, was the original answer. Every operating theatre had a trio of commanders, none of whom could truly be said to be in command, and none of whom would provide the desired dramatic impact to an enterprising foreign Ultra if they were killed.
This couldn’t operate at the highest level, however. Even a joint leader would be too tempting to their foes. The Union’s solution has occasionally been called an ‘obscurocracy’.
Among the ministers, each and every one of them elected by the people, one is the true leader. Among the generals, one is chief. Even their Ultras no doubt have one to whom all the others look for leadership. But none of this is public.
Ministers take their orders from the system. Generals receive assignments from it. Spies feed information into it. But nobody visibly commands it. Rather, the system runs on its own, spawning an ever agglomerating mass of committees and databases, often with conflicting and overlapping responsibilities.
The whole point of the thing is to make things too confusing, too boring, for any foreigner to pinpoint the actual leader. To repair the flaw of being unable to protect their head of state by rendering their state headless. The press has occasionally termed it a ‘committee of committees’.
There is much debate within the Union itself about how effective and desirable this system is, but it seems to have, at least, achieved its objective in preventing high profile Ultra strikes on the individual or individuals who govern the Union.