The All Systems Commonwealth, Systems Commonwealth, or the Commonwealth, is a democratic federation of 1,022,347 planets, drifts, space stations, various orbital habitats, and even entire solar systems. ("A Rose in the Ashes")
The Commonwealth was a federal state created from the Vedran Empire. The Vedrans, a quadruped race originating from planet Tarn-Vedra, were the first known race to discover Slipstream, the only known way to travel faster-than-light. The Vedrans built their empire by traveling to the different star systems and conquering the inhabitants and colonizing the uninhabited worlds. However, the empire soon became too large, with the Vedrans being a statistical minority in their own empire. The Vedrans came to a compromise with the alien species that they had relations with or had conquered, and the Commonwealth was created. The Commonwealth was formed as a democratic federation of planets, drifts (space stations or orbital habitats), and systems. The Commonwealth (and its preceding Empire) was spread across three galaxies ("Tri-Galaxies"). The first Commonwealth lasted for about 5,500 standard years, starting with a time of political reform and ending with a violent civil war between Commonwealth member species and subsequent invasion by the terrifying Magog.
Not long after discovering the Slipstream and building slip-capable ships, the Vedrans set out on an aggressive imperial expansion, which began under General Huascar nax Yoweri and his mate Yoweri I, who became the first Vedran Empress. They founded an empire which included nearly a million worlds. The Vedran government was an absolutist hereditary monarchy, with the Empress as the head of state and government. As the Vedrans continued expanding throughout the Andromeda Galaxy, in which they originated, and the nearby Triangulum and Milky Way Galaxies, they eventually encountered the Kalderans in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. The Kalderans managed to somehow capture Vedran Slipstream technology and reverse-engineered it for their own use; it was not long before the Kalderan Alliance formed to oppose Vedran incursions into their system. This was one of few active attempts at resisting Vedran imperialism, and eventually escalated into the Kalderan-Vedran War for control of the Magellanic Cloud territories. The conflict ended with the Vedran bombardment of the Kalderan capital, Kalderash, and the forced integration of the Kalderan Alliance into the Vedran Empire.
Despite four thousand years of successful conquest, the monolithic Vedran Empire could not last. The Vedrans themselves had become a minority within their own Empire, relative to the numbers of other races which included the Kalderans, Makra, and Perseids, amongst others. Eventually, even their military, the High Guard - previously the exclusive preserve of the Vedrans themselves - became too small to maintain control of the many planets within Vedran borders; the Vedrans were forced to allow non-Vedrans into their ranks. However, dissatisfaction with Vedran domination continued among the Empire's non-Vedran citizens. This culminated in the Perseid Insurrection, which was a failed but very significant attempt at secession by the Empire's Perseid worlds. The High Guard crushed the uprising violently and thus preserved the Empress' authority, but at the same time a series of events and reforms were set in motion that would eventually undermine absolute imperial authority and set the stage for democracy.
Empire to CommonwealthEdit
The popular reaction to the devastation of the Perseid Insurrection forced the Vedrans to appease their subjects lest they face a more widespread revolution. Years later, a movement led by a Vedran spiritual guide named Sucharitkul voted to give more power to the people and less to the throne. Elections were held in CY 4205 for the Conclave, the first parliament for the Empire. Over the following decades, the Conclave would exceed its intended purpose as a powerless facade and pass reforms and legislation. This iniative soon evolved into republicanism, and factions formed calling for the abolishment of the Imperial Throne and establishment of a Systems Republic. The Empress and her loyalists protested and only a compromise brokered by Sani nax Rifati prevented a civil war. The Vedran Empire became the Systems Commonwealth, and instead of being an absolute hereditary monarchy, it became a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system, with the Empress as a ceremonial head of state to symbolize the bond of Vedran monarchy to popular democracy.
The All-Systems UniversityEdit
Soon after the Empire morphed into the Commonwealth, the All Systems University was born to collect and preserve knowledge from the Known Worlds. One of its most prominent components was the Special Collections Division, which would grow into the main field research and preservation division.
Even this federation of professors and librarians, however, would grow its own ambitions and split into factions in the future. After the Fall, these Collectors would go into hiding and operate clandestinely to gather and preserve knowledge from before the Long Night. Some remained true to the original ideals of the All Systems University, to preserve knowledge for the sake of it; others deviated and used the knowledge to gain power in the chaos and manipulated the knowledge for personal gain.
When Earth joined the Commonwealth, humanity almost immediately assimilated to the new technologies presented by the Commonwealth and traveled outside Earth. Humanity thus contributed greatly to Commonwealth culture, politics, and military, eventually making up almost 23 percent of the Commonwealth's total population in the 52nd century (not including the Nietzscheans).
Soon after joining the Commonwealth, genetic engineering became all the rage within human society, allowing many humans the ability to breathe underwater (Castalians), live on heavy gravity worlds (the "Heavy Worlders"), see in almost total darkness (Inari), or even all of the above. Paul Museveni encouraged his human followers at Ayn Rand Station, orbiting the planet Fountainhead, to lead a life of constant physical, mental, and emotional betterment, using the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche as a guide. His son, Drago Museveni, became the first true Nietzschean, and thus was called the Progenitor. Drago became the leader of this first colony of Nietzscheans. By the time of his death, he was revered as nearly a god among his people. He split his followers into multiple different clans, which would later evolve into the Nietzschean Prides. Though they lived primarily as warriors, the Nietzscheans were, like their human cousins, major contributors to every aspect of Commonwealth government, military, and society.
Illusions of PeaceEdit
The Commonwealth celebrated an era that came to be known as the "Twelve Centuries of Peace" in which it continued to grow and prosper, even though peace with the rival Pyrian Empire (the Pyrians lived on hot inner Venus-like planets) always seemed uneasy and tentative at best. By CY 9760, a pacifist movement managed to call a referendum for disbandment of the High Guard. Though the vote was in favor of the High Guard, it was by a very slim margin and thus the pacifists vowed to revisit the issue.
Only 6 years after the referendum, a brutal and vicious species mercilessly attacked Brandenburg-Tor, a frontier colony. Few of the 3 billion inhabitants managed to live to tell the tale of the bloody attack. For 15 more years, this new enemy, called the Magog, attacked numerous other settlement worlds, and numerous battles were fought between High Guard and Magog.
The Andromeda Ascendant, under command of Perseid Captain Perim, was sent on a highly classified secret mission to locate the source of the Magog invasion. What the Andromeda found was beyond belief. A structure of 20 hollow worlds joined together, manipulated and powered by an Artificial star at its center. This Magog World Ship, with huge armadas of Swarm Ships was working its way towards the Known Worlds from another galaxy filled with dust and Black Holes, sending advance fleets to clear the area for the World Ship's eventual arrival.
The Andromeda was overwhelmed by Swarm Ships, her entire crew slaughtered. She managed to escape into Slipstream, but since Artificial Intelligences cannot navigate Slipstream on their own, she wandered the tangled webs alone, lost, and blind. By the time she emerged in the Triangulum Galaxy, she was halfway to having gone crazy from loneliness, and almost attacked a Than ship. When she limped back to the nearest Commonwealth outpost, the Vedrans got the mission's information and report, erased her memory of the mission, and commissioned her back into service with no recollection of the suicidal mission into the heart of the Magog, this time under the command of a human from Tarn-Vedra, Dylan Hunt. ("Its Hour Come ‘Round at Last")
The Treaty of AntaresEdit
The Treaty of Antares ended the war between the Magog and the Commonwealth, establishing a border between the invaders and the Commonwealth, with the Magog keeping control over sectors that were already devastated by their initial attacks, known as the Quarantine Zone near Antares. Since many Nietzschean frontier worlds were attacked, the Nietzscheans, among others, launched vigorous protests and called for complete extermination of the Magog. Several Nietzschean worlds threatened to leave the Commonwealth but remained because of increased security assurance from High Guard command.
The Treaty of Antares still resting uneasily in Nietzschean minds, several of the Prides, under the leadership of the Drago-Kazov, conspired to replace the Commonwealth, which they perceive as weak, with a Nietzschean Empire. Though most Nietzscheans still remained loyal to the Commonwealth, the worlds that did support the Dragans began spending sprees and retrofitted passenger liners into fighters and cruisers, and this Nietzschean Alliance amassed a huge fleet.
The Insurrection essentially began at the Nietzschean populated Hephaistos System, where a convenient rogue Black Hole provided the Nietzschean Alliance with a trap to lure High Guard ships into the system to be ambushed and destroyed by waiting ships. One-by-one, the Nietzscheans managed to destroy High Guard starships until they got the attention of the Andromeda and Dylan Hunt. The Andromeda's captain realized it was a trap too late, and by the time the shock set in, the Andromeda was too far from a Slip-point to be able to escape the system alive. Hunt ordered his crew to abandon ship and, with his then pilot, the insectoid hermaphrodite Refractions of Dawn, sent the ship directly into the singularity, hoping for a gravitational slingshot effect to thrust the ship toward the nearest Slip-point. The Nietzscheans followed the grand prize into the Black Hole but also went for the escape pods, though many of the crew managed to escape and warn the High Guard. Because of sabotage by the Nietzschean XO, Gaheris Rhade, the Andromeda was unable to pull back and slingshot away and was frozen in time, teetering at the edge of the event horizon. ("Under the Night")
Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the Known Worlds, sleeper cells attacked once word reached them that the Andromeda's crew warned the Commonwealth. 50% the High Guard fleet was destroyed at the various Drifts and Drydocks. ("Under the Night")
Though the loyalists had more numbers than the insurrectionists, the High Guard had not fought an organized war or sustained combat in more than twelve centuries, and so it was easy for the Alliance to deal mortal blows to the Commonwealth. ("To Loose the Fateful Lightning")
In the first year alone a major defeat was dealt to the High Guard in the battle for San-Ska-Re, the Than homeworld. Earth was bombarded and the Empress was killed in a Nietzschean attack. ("The Mathematics of Tears")
In the second year - CY 9785 - the Nietzschean Alliance seized the vital Acheron Delta system, preventing a High Guard offensive. ("An Affirming Flame")
During the second year of the Insurrection/Civil War, Commonwealth morale was damaged even further with the disappearance of the Vedrans and Tarn-Vedra. The High Guard and remnants of the Commonwealth were left behind to fend for themselves as Nietzschean successes continued. ("An Affirming Flame")
The Battle of WitchheadEdit
The Battle of Witchhead, at the Witchhead Nebula, was the final and climactic battle in the Civil War. 100 High Guard ships were supposed to gather there to launch an attack on Fountainhead, the Nietzschean homeworld, hoping to plunge rebel morale. However, 500 Nietzschean ships were also at Witchhead, and instead of the High Guard remnant coordinating a strike on Fountainhead, the two fleets battled bitterly until they destroyed each other. This battle shattered the Nietzschean Alliance as Jaguar Pride and its allies betrayed the weakened Drago-Kazov Pride and no Nietzschean Empire ever materialized.
The Angel of DeathEdit
According to Nietzschean historical records, the Nietzscheans arrived at the Nebula with 1500 ships: a certain victory. However, at the critical hour, "the Angel of Death summoned forth the fires of hell" and destroyed 2/3 (66.667%) Nietzschean fleet, "their glorious victory turned to ashes". When the High Guard arrived, the 500 surviving ships were off-balance and confused.
The Angel of Death was in fact the Andromeda Ascendant, which Slipstreamed back in time just before the battle to set history right again and with an Antiproton Fusion Catalyst, which sent the nebula into flames, and incinerated 2/3 (66.667%) of the fleet. ("Angel Dark, Demon Bright")
After millennia of prosperity, the Commonwealth had fallen in ashes. Instead of a Nietzschean Empire, chaos reigned. Months after the Battle of Witchhead, the Magog invaded once again, this time in much greater numbers, and wiped away the last remaining struts of the Commonwealth.
The Long Night had begun.
The Restored Systems CommonwealthEdit
303 years after the Fall, Dylan Hunt and a ragtag team of misfits began to restore peace and order, or try to. Once the threat from the Magog became known, a unified front became even more urgent. By the second year of their mission, they had successfully ratified a new Systems Commonwealth with at least 50 member worlds and a new High Guard.
Problems within the New CommonwealthEdit
The Commonwealth lasted for millennia because of the Vedrans and the leadership and military prowess that they provided: they were the backbone of the Commonwealth. The Restored Commonwealth immediately faced several problems after its formation. It was a scattered confederation of disparate more often than not rival planets, systems, and political entities. Opportunism was everywhere. The New Commonwealth had to deal with internal disputes as well as factions within itself that were dedicated for their own advancement, such as the Collectors, who were vying for control and power. All these factors lead to the Second Systems Commonwealth Civil War.
Second Commonwealth Civil WarEdit
The Second Commonwealth Civil War was a series of events orchestrated by the Spirit of the Abyss. It made deals with a faction of the Collectors organization eventually subverted the New Systems Commonwealth government. This faction was slowly decimated as the Commonwealth Civil War continued.
Once again, 3 years after the reformation of the Systems Commonwealth, the Nietzscheans betrayed the Commonwealth. This time, Tyr Anasazi, a member of Captain Dylan Hunt's own crew, had been forming plans to take control of the Nietzschean people and reunite them. He spent years sabotaging the Andromeda Ascendant's systems, so that at a crucial moment the Andromeda could be kept out of commission, therefore posing no danger to his plans. He had his DNA replaced with that of his son's, who is the Nietzschean Messiah — the genetic reincarnation of Drago Museveni. He used his newfound Messianic power, and assumed control of the Nietzscheans. All of the Commonwealth's enemies also had joined together and destroyed both the Drago-Kazov and the High Guard fleet that fought against them and refused to retreat. The Secession took a heavy toll on the Restored Commonwealth: at least one entire system destroyed; the Perseid planet Xinti was occupied; and many of the new High Guard's prized vessels were also destroyed. And once again, a power vacuum brought to light the true powers behind the Commonwealth. Later, it is also discovered that the Nietzscheans were working with the Spirit of the Abyss.
The Battle of ArkologyEdit
See: Battle of Arkology
The Andromeda fought against the Magog World Ship in a final attempt to save the galaxies from the enroaching Magog fleet. The entire crew, and the ship, were believed to have been destroyed even though they had journeyed through the Route of Ages to prevent their destruction and to survive the battle.
Battle of TarazedEdit
See: Battle of Tarazed
Shortly after the Andromeda arrived back in Known Space, the Nietzscheans began their attack on the Commonwealth capital, Tarazed. The Triumvirate, with the help of Telemachus Rhade who returned to lead their Home Guard, came to the realization that there is no where left to run to and that fighting is their only option.
Battle of The WorldshipEdit
Though the Worldship had survived all previous battles against every force that had been thrown at it, it is unlikely it survived the destruction of the Abyss (its leader), plus the bombardment by Commonwealth forces of Nova bombs and high velocity kinetic missiles. The Nietzschean Fleet which was also being used by the Spirit of the Abyss was likely broken up after its death, if Rhade's survival is any indication of the condition of the fleet.
The Systems Commonwealth provided peace and stability, but it was not perfect. However, the New Systems Commonwealth, despite it's hopeful beginning, was manipulated by the Spirit of the Abyss into a regressive, twisted form of the Commonwealth: the direct antithesis of what the first Commonwealth was. Like any other government, the Commonwealth was not able to function properly due to extreme corruption, which culminated in the civil wars of the both the first Systems Commonwealth and the New Systems Commonwealth.
The political system of the Commonwealth was a classic parliamentary democracy. The Vedran Empress remained as head of state, though with little real power. In lieu of one Premier or Chancellor, the Systems Commonwealth had three heads of government: the Triumvirate, to prevent one person from taking too much power and keep the political system balanced. The Conclave parliament (Congress) was tricameral: the Voice of the Sectors represented Sectors (or groups of star systems); the Voice of the Planets represented each member world individually; and a directly-popularly-elected Voice of the People.
With the end of the centralized Vedran Empire and introduction of a democratic Commonwealth, there also came political flexibility and thus decentralization. Essentially, the Commonwealth turned from a firm union into a federation of different sectorial governments.
Systems Commonwealth CongressEdit
After the Battle of Enga's Redoubt, the Commonwealth fleet was devastated during the fighting with the Nietzscheans, Ogami, Kalderans, and other factions. At this time, there was no word from the Congress on Tarazed, with Dylan Hunt fearing that its members may had followed the Triumvirate by going into hiding. When Captain Hunt rescued Tri-Jema from Paroo, he managed to return her to Tarazed, where a grateful Congress cheered at his return. ("Answers Given to Questions Never Asked")
- Unsurprisingly, given Gene Roddenberry's involvement at the concept stage, the Systems Commonwealth bears a marked resemblance in many ways to the Federation of the "Star Trek" Universe, although the Vedran origin and early domination elements are entirely different.
- The Systems Commonwealth resembles the Galactic Republic from "Star Wars". After centuries of peace the government implodes due to apathy and political stagnation. The primary difference is that the Nietzschean Empire also implodes.