(covers information from Imperial Commonwealth of Planets)
|Imperial Commonwealth of Planets|
|Flag of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets|
April 13, 2376
Rome, European continent, Terra
Human, Various (see Commonwealth Members)
Emperor of the United Empire of Solvada
Ricarius ex Solvada (Emperor)
|War Flag of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets|
The Imperial Commonwealth of Planets, commonly referred to as the Imperial Commonwealth, New Federation, or simply The Commonwealth, is an interstellar organization which developed after the collapse of its predecessor, the United Federation of Planets. It is composed of numerous planetary governments that agreed to exist semi-autonomously under a single central governing body, which bases itself on the principle of universal rights and liberties for all species, as well as the sharing of knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation, scientific development, space exploration, and mutual protection. Quite possibly most powerful organization within its local space, the Commonwealth's membership encompasses more than 8,000 light years worth of territory and is the largest of the great powers in the known Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The total number of formal member worlds is believed to be at least one hundred and eighty.
The Commonwealth is one of three influential powers within the known regions of its local space, standing alongside the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. Unlike its aforementioned neighbors, whose primary races tend to derive power from the forceful and sometimes tyrannical subjugation of other species within the boundaries of their domains, the Commonwealth's various planetary members usually join of their own accord, and all sentient races within the Commonwealth are guaranteed various rights and liberties under the founding charter. However, there is some controversy regarding the notion that the Commonwealth is truly a free and egalitarian society, considering the disproportionate influence and authority that the governing body of humanity and Earth, the United Empire of Solvada, holds over the Commonwealth's government and politics. Unlike the Federation, the Commonwealth has no unified military force of its own, and instead relies on Solvada's Imperial Starfleet to defend the Commonwealth and its membership from any serious threats, as well as facilitate other objectives such as exploration, diplomacy, and scientific advancement.
Immediately following the collapse of the Federation, an ex-Federation Council representative named Ricarius Solivade began the process of transitioning the provisional planetary government of United Earth to a new regime known as the United Empire of Solvada, a constitutional monarchy with Ricarius serving as its first Emperor. During the transition of government on Earth, simultaneous efforts were made to reach out and regain full jurisdiction of other settlements and bases across the Sol System, as well as several other worlds beyond. After the new government successfully managed to regain full control over the Sol System and other human-majority settlements throughout the local stellar region, the Emperor began reaching out to historically sympathetic races, such as the Andorians, Vulcans, and Tellarites, who were also among the first species to found the Federation alongside humanity in the 22nd century. With their cooperation, a new organization was soon founded to fill the power gap left behind by the dissolution of the Federation, and ensure the collective welfare of the many species living in former Federation space.
This new organization, officially dubbed the 'Imperial Commonwealth of Planets', declared itself to be founded on many of the same principles that the original Federation held within its Charter and Constitution, however a new document was drafted with several significant amendments and reforms enclosed within. Among the most notable of these changes was a centralization of power and authority towards the head of the Commonwealth, supposedly in the interest of counteracting the ailments which led to the collapse of the Federation. Ricarius was unanimously chosen to be the first holder of this office, expected to serve for a single lifelong term and carrying his title of 'Emperor' throughout the Commonwealth. After the final draft of the Commonwealth's Charter was ratified by all prospective members, Emperor Ricarius then began a policy of rapid expansion, quickly absorbing many ex-Federation worlds into its borders and sphere of influence through diplomacy and . By late 2377, the nascent Commonwealth boasted a membership of around 155 nations, matching approximately the Federation's member count before its collapse, and even exceeding it soon after.
Alongside mostly peaceful relations within the Alpha Quadrant and relatively rapid expansion of its controlled territories, the Empire was involved with some significant conflicts, one of the largest and most prolonged being with the Borg in the late 24th century.
Size and Location
The Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is located in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. By the late 2370s, the Commonwealth's territory was spread across greater than 8,000 light years, with a membership of at least 160 worlds and more than 1,000 semi-autonomous colonies. Its most influential and powerful neighbors were the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, and the Cardassian Union. Other neighboring sovereign states were the Ferengi Alliance, the Tzenkethi, the Tholian Assembly, the Breen Confederacy, and the Xindi. While the term "Alpha Quadrant" has traditionally been used to refer to the region of space occupied by the Federation and ICP, the Commonwealth also holds jurisdiction over large territorial claims in the Beta Quadrant, with the Sol system lying approximately on the border between both quadrants.
Notable Star Systems
- Sector 001 (Sol System)
- Romulan Neutral Zone
- Klingon Neutral Zone
- ICP-Cardassian border
Despite the name it carries, the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is generally regarded as an imperial power only in name and not in practice. The name was chosen in order to represent a shift from decentralized and generally passive political behavior, to a much more centralized and authoritarian government with a somewhat more assertive foreign policy. The name has also had the fringe benefit of earning respect from the Commonwealth's more immediate neighbors, such as the Klingons and Romulans, as well as to intimidate some of the Commonwealth's more unscrupulous enemies. Few genuine tyrannical or oppressive qualities have been exhibited in the Commonwealth's domestic policy, which allows all member states to conduct their own internal affairs as they see fit with no interference from the Commonwealth government. However, the foreign policies employed by the Emperor, especially regarding military decisions, are notably more aggressive and expansionist than the Federation ever was. Officially, the Commonwealth is regarded as a loosely-bound federal republic, with an Assembly being responsible for most decisions in making law and advising the executive in their duties.
According to the terms of the Commonwealth Charter, the functions and duties of the Commonwealth's executive office are placed under the responsibility of the current-serving Emperor of the United Empire of Solvada. As the official head of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets, the Emperor is tasked with overseeing its day-to-day management, and holds unilateral authority over most of the Commonwealth's foreign and diplomatic policy decisions. The Emperor's office and throne are located in the Palace of Unity, a structure which was built in the Earth city of Rome on the European continent. Serving at the Emperor's pleasure is the Solvadan Imperial Cabinet, which acts as a special executive committee to assist in carrying out the Emperor's governmental decisions and actions in civilian affairs, both for Solvada and the Commonwealth. In military and exploratory matters, the Emperor tends to seek advice and counsel primarily from a special committee of three of Starfleet's most distinguished command officers - Captain Benjamin Sisko, Captain Kathryn Janeway, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard - along with their respective senior officer staff members.
Several significant differences exist between the head of the Commonwealth and the equivalent office of its predecessor, the Federation. For one, the Commonwealth's head is not elected by the Commonwealth's member states, but instead serves permanently as a monarch, according to the constitutional law of the United Empire of Solvada and the terms of the Commonwealth Charter. Each member state of the Commonwealth is officially recognized as being a vassal under the protection and guidance of the Emperor as their suzerain, and as such he is treated throughout the entire Commonwealth as a supreme ruler of high aristocratic standing. Commonwealth law declares that the heads of state or government for all member states must not have an equivalent or superior status compared to the Emperor, to signify the position of superior dignity which the Emperor holds as the ultimate authority of the Imperial Realm. The Andorian Kingdom, formerly known as the Andorian Empire, was the first such member state to be subjected to this law, in which the Empty Throne of Andoria was demoted in rank from imperial to royal honours, and their institutions and government were subsequently renamed as well to reflect this change.
Much like with the military, the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets does not have any executive agencies which operate strictly on its behalf. Instead, the United Empire of Solvada's own agencies are tasked with assisting in the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth. The only agency within Solvada's government which has a direct and exclusive focus on the Commonwealth is the Imperial Bureau of Commonwealth Affairs, which is tasked with monitoring and managing relations between Solvada and other members of the Commonwealth.
Several press agencies regularly operate within the Commonwealth and dispense news to its citizens, though they are generally not directly affiliated with the Commonwealth's government:
- Commonwealth News Service
- Solvadan Broadcasting Company
- Solar News Network
- Starfleet Broadcasting (subsidiary of Imperial Starfleet)
Past and Present Serving Emperors
See: Ricarius Solivade.
The Commonwealth Assembly is the primary deliberative body of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets, a unicameral institution composed of representatives from all member worlds. The Commonwealth Assembly holds the power to create, amend, and ratify Commonwealth law, as well as make recommendations and give advice to the Emperor on his executive functions. In terms of foreign policy, the Assembly also holds responsibility in ratifying any treaties signed with a foreign power, as well as approving a declaration of war made by the Emperor. The Assembly will usually carry out its meetings in the Palace of Unity, located in the European city of Rome, though emergency meetings have been known to take place off-world from time to time.
The fundamental political principles and laws of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets are contained within the Commonwealth Charter, which itself is derived from two important historical documents: the Federation Charter and Constitution. The Charter dictates the terms of membership within the Commonwealth, as well as the powers of each governing body within the Commonwealth and their restrictions. It is generally acknowledged that domestic law is to be left in the hands of each member state to decide on a planet-by-planet basis, with the laws of the Commonwealth only dictating how member states should interact with and support one another. Despite this, basic rights for all sentient life are enshrined in the Charter and the Assembly has the power to suspend membership to any state of the Commonwealth if they are found to be violating the rights of their citizens. In judicial matters, the Commonwealth Assembly will act as a grand jury when trying war criminals or violations of international law, but matters of criminal law are normally left to be tried and judged by the court systems of each member state.
Exploration and Military Defense
The Imperial Starfleet is the deep-space exploratory and defensive service maintained by the United Empire of Solvada and acting on behalf of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets. Much of the Imperial Starfleet's rules, regulations, and traditions come from the Starfleet of the Federation. In relation to the Commonwealth, its principal functions are the advancement of scientific and technological understand, the enlightenment of Commonwealth knowledge to the galaxy at large, and most importantly, the defense and execution of military interests of the Commonwealth. In addition, it also plays a significant diplomatic role. As per its mandate of deep-space exploration, its personnel are frequently brought into contact with cultures and sentient species whose existences were previously unknown to the Commonwealth. Imperial Starfleet officers therefore act as official representatives of the Empire in these cases. Also, Imperial Starfleet vessels are frequently used to ferry ambassadors on diplomatic missions. In times of war, the Imperial Starfleet takes on the role of a naval offensive force, engaging enemy forces with aim to destroy their military power base and ensure the swift suppression of any resistance against the Emperor's mandates.
A covert and officially non-existent espionage organization with close ties to the Imperial Starfleet, the Imperial Inquisition, is also maintained in the shadows. This organization is the direct descendant of the Federation's Section 31 organization, and it follows the same fundamental law as its predecessor: The ends justify the means. The Inquisition operates covertly, dealing both in foreign and domestic affairs as a secondary intelligence agency and secret police force respectively. However, it carries out many of its actions in a slightly different manner than how its predecessor did in the Federation. In the Federation, Section 31 had the powers of judge, jury, and executioner within its jurisdiction, and it filed no reports to anyone outside the organization, making it virtually autonomous. In the new order, the Inquisition instead answers to only one person, the Emperor, and it may carry out no extreme action without the Emperor's consent.
Even before the founding of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets in the late 24th century, capitalism was no longer the dominant economic system of Earth. Due to the advent of replicator technology, human society had reached virtual post-scarcity, with the economic policies of nations at the time being replaced by a global entity known as the New World Economy. Under this new economic system, material needs and currency no longer existed as they did in the past, and humanity was believed by many to have grown out of its infancy, so to speak. People were no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things like those who lived in the early 21st century and before, seemingly eliminating famine, poverty, and the need for possessions which became nearly valueless in the new age. The challenge and driving force for most humans was then to seek self-improvement, self-enrichment, and contribute to the betterment of all humanity.
Although all citizens of the ICP are given access to most items and services freely, thanks to the advent and spread of replication technology, some luxury items and services can still be requisitioned using the Solvadan Denarius, which operates on the Latinum standard, and private businesses from other races such as the Ferengi are sometimes permitted to operate on Commonwealth stations within lawful limitations. However, despite the Commonwealth's domestic economic policies, it continues to deal with other cultures and states which continue to employ currency-based economies. The Ferengi in particular are quite scornful of the Commonwealth's disregard for currency within their organization, but they still negotiate trade agreements with each other on a regular basis.
Admittance into the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is usually by invitation or successful petition of a world or civilization desirous of joining. In the second case, membership is granted only upon satisfaction of certain requirements. Firstly, the government of the prospective member would submit an official petition to the Commonwealth Assembly, outlining its desire to join. A lengthy, thorough investigation of the prospective member's culture followed. This investigation could take several years, and was done to ascertain whether or not the culture genuinely shared the values of the Commonwealth: benevolence, peaceful co-existence and co-operation, the rule of law, and equal rights and justice. The final term of admission is that a prospective member must pledge their allegiance to the Emperor as a vassal, ensuring their loyalty to him and the Commonwealth. Only occasionally were some star systems forcefully assimilated into the Commonwealth after conflicts, usually taking a very long time to officially admit them as a member world.
Even before any investigation can be conducted, the prospective member has to meet certain requirements. These are as follows:
- It has to have an "advanced level of technology." The Commonwealth's baseline definition of this term is the capability for faster-than-light space travel.
- Its government had to have achieved stable planetary political unity, respecting the rights of the individual while also maintaining order and law within its holdings.
- See also: List of Commonwealth members
Most relations with other powers are peaceful or quiet, though some have a history of conflict with the Commonwealth.
- Commonwealth Relations with the Borg Collective
- Commonwealth Relations with the Cardassian Union
- Commonwealth Relations with the Dominion
- Commonwealth Relations with the Ferengi Alliance
- Commonwealth Relations with the Klingon Empire
- Commonwealth Relations with the Romulan Star Empire
As the lawfully-recognized successor state of the Federation, the Commonwealth participates in these treaties as they were originally signed by the Federation.
- Cheron Accords
- Khitomer Accords
- Frontier Accord
- Neutral Zone Treaty
- Treaty of Algeron
- Treaty of Alliance
- Treaty of Ectair
It has also forged new treaties under its identity as the ICP after conflicts of its own.
- Treaty of Wolf 359
- Treaty of Sagittarius A*
The Commonwealth has been involved in few conflicts during its history, though some significant crises have taken place.
There are 2 official emblems that represent the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets: The Seven-Pointed Star, a symbol of the Empire's expansive might and shining glory, and the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, a recycled and slightly refitted modification of the Great Seal of the Federation. The Flag of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is also a prominent Imperial symbol, often displayed at government buildings, official events, and at state and Starfleet funerals. It is common practice for the flag of a Commonwealth member state to be flown below the Commonwealth flag if displayed with it, with the exception of the United Empire of Solvada's flag, which is always to be flown above the Commonwealth flag. The Anthem of the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is the official musical composition of the Empire, and the March of the Emperor is the official musical composition of the Commonwealth's executive head, played prior to any speeches or inaugurations involving the Emperor. Both the anthem and the march were composed by the Empire's first Emperor, Ricarius Solivade.
Commendations and Awards
As a government body, the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets issues awards and medals for beneficial military or exploratory service. While many of these are generally given to members of the Imperial Starfleet, there are some that are for citizens in general. The constituent nation-states of the Commonwealth also sometimes have their own similar awards. One such award that is given to members of the Imperial Starfleet during victories in battle is the Andorian Battle Star which recognizes command officers that have displayed who demonstrate superior tactical abilities.
The Imperial Commonwealth of Planets is religiously secular, though it, unlike its predecessor, has been working to reinvigorate religious belief among its citizens, rather than suppress it. Its many citizens celebrate Commonwealth Day as their national holiday.
When the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets was fully established, it began a program known as "The Anti-Purge", in which the Empire allowed, even urged, its citizens to adhere to any religion of choice, particularly if said religion was relevant to the ancestral culture of the citizen choosing their faith. The purpose of this was to renew cultural identity and 'instill the power of faith in conjunction with sentient willpower for a new sense of hope, unity, and peace'. Despite this reform, atheists and agnostics retain the same rights as any other citizen of the Empire.
Problems regarding religion also existed in the Commonwealth, namely the presence of a cult known as 'Alternianism' within the Commonwealth's borders. Little was known about this faith, aside from that members of the faith worship 12 beings supposedly from a higher dimension. According to their doctrine, these beings created our world after completing a series of trials in a game-like environment. Rumors have circulated that the Emperor himself was a member of and even leading this cult, but such rumors were generally regarded as lies and slander.
The citizens pay homage to the Imperial Commonwealth of Planets and to the Emperor every 13th of April on Commonwealth Day, a celebration of the creation of the Commonwealth. On the 5th anniversary of the Commonwealth's creation, the Emperor issued for several shuttles, fighters, tanks, and troops to march through St. Peter's Square in a military parade. He issued that a similar parade must occur in the Square of St. Peter in Rome every 5 years, as a show of power and might to citizens and to instill fear to other space-faring territories that would do Solvada or the Commonwealth harm. A week after the first parade, both Klingon and Romulan delegates were said to have declared that their empires had gained a much greater respect for the ICP's military might, though this may have been a false statement generated as domestic propaganda.
Standards and Ideals
Unlike the Federation of yesteryear, the Commonwealth permits and sometimes even encourages many freedoms the Federation kept under lock and key. The most prominent example, as previously mentioned, is the freedom of religion. Religion was viewed as a "vice of reason" and the source of disunity and conflict throughout human history in the Federation's eyes. The Commonwealth inversely views religion as a catalyst for all great things humanity has done, and a source of hope in the face of the unknown. As long as the Commonwealth's citizens continue to pay attention to reason, rationalism, and the rights of all sentient life, any religion is welcome in the Commonwealth's borders.
Another permitted liberty within the Commonwealth that was restricted in the Federation was the right to compose art. While art was viewed positively in the Federation, especially classical art and music, there were certain forms of art that were viewed as barbaric, such as rock and roll music and art that might inadvertently serve as propaganda against the establishment. In the Commonwealth, all compositions of art and music are permitted, even 'barbaric' compositions such as hip-hop and heavy metal music. The Emperor himself is a proud consumer of all forms of art, ranging from the classical to the post-modern, and he made a firm point about it in a speech to his people:
"While the message of a form of art is important, also pay attention to the beauty of the composition itself. If a painting looks pleasing to the eye, enjoy it. If music has a catchy tune or pleasant rhythm, enjoy it. If a book has an interesting plot, enjoy it. I listen to both Johann Sebastian Bach and Ozzy Osbourne. I take in both the painted works of Michelangelo and the graffiti art of Shepard Fairey. I love to read and reread both H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and Andrew Hussie's Homestuck. If you have a problem with certain forms of art, then you have absolutely no obligation to indulge in it... But please, do not curtail the liberty of others to enjoy the art that they find alluring."
- Emperor Ricarius at a State of the Empire address, St. Peter's Square, Rome, Terra.
See main article: Imperial Standard