Free Star Commonwealth
The Free Star Commonwealth is a federal republic divided into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches. The executive branch is headed by the President, who is the commander-in-chief of the Commonwealth Armed Forces and chief diplomat. The legislative branch consists of a senate, made up of two representatives from each planet. The Senate passes new legislature and can impeach and veto the president. Finally the judiciary branch is headed by the Supreme court, consisting of one presidentially appointed chief justice and four associate judges elected by the Senate and serving a four year term.
Constitutionally all planets that are part of the Commonwealth must possess a similar government, though at a smaller scale, that has a Chancellor, Senate, and Supreme Court. Most planets, however, have a Congress that consists of a Senate and House of Representatives, which is a proportionally elected body. Planetary governments in the Commonwealth possess a great deal of power in comparison to the federal government, much more so than what is normally the case.
Disclaimer: Census data from frontier worlds is spotty at best and actual population statistics may vary greatly, especially in regards to xeno populations.
60% Human: Standard humans have flourished greatly on the worlds of the FSC, finding it easy to adapt to its climates and displacing the natives peoples of the worlds colonized by the FSC. The majority of FSC humans are caucaision, although all races can be found and racism itself is almost nonexistent in the FSC.
15% Nerkin: Perhaps the only species more able to adapt to new worlds than humanity, at least within the borders of the FSC, Nerkin can be found on almost every inhabitable world within the FSC. Once a relatively advanced species, their civilization had collapsed several centuries before the appearance of humanity in the region. They are well known for being an aggressive and savage species, although it is unclear if this is due to their rather bad relations with humanity or simply their natural temperament. They earned the nickname of Roaches from FSC traders and settlers after it was realized that they were somehow stowing away in FSC ships and settling new colonies alongside human ones.
15% Misle: When humanity first encountered the Misle, it was believed that the Misle were a subspecies of humanity, perhaps descendants of an ark who somehow arrived centuries or millennium before the other arks and somehow had a rapid bout of evolution and adaptation. This theory was quickly debunked; despite easily being described as humans with red colored hair and white or silver hair the Misle are a completely different species. Males and females of the species look almost identical, the most easily seen difference between the two being the male’s lack of enlarged breasts. Their feudal civilization collapsed upon meeting humanity. Cultural shock, the collapse of their frail economies, and human-borne disease decimated the Misle population. Only recently have the Misle begun to recover, yet they have even begun to thrive within the last decade. Misle are the only xeno species to immigrate to the FSC’s capital world in any meaningful number and have found a lot of work in the fine arts as painters, actors, and entertainers of all kinds.
10% Nalloth: An interesting species possessing many of the traits of mammals, Nalloth civilization was largely tribal when humanity first colonized their homeworld. They have generally had a live and let live relationship with the humans that have colonized their homeworld, although the few that have chosen to move closer to human settles are widely sought after due to their ability to easily adapt to zero-g conditions. Despite this many Nalloth have had difficult acclimating to human civilization and end up joining human raiding civilization.
Economy: The bulk of the FSC’s economy is built around the acquisition and exportation of raw minerals and animal husbandry. The FSC’s frontier systems are blessed with an abundance of raw resources, especially rare and exotic materials. Many frontier planetary economies are also based around the husbandry of exotic xeno livestock. These livestock often have ‘wool’ that is tough yet soft, produce a lot of milk, and have exquisitely tasting meat.
The economies of the FSC’s capital and periphery worlds is much more advanced. The periphery worlds possess a small, but growing set of shipyards capable of making mid-sized ships, while the capital’s shipyards can produce larger vessels. More important than this is the droid, android, and general AI industries in these regions. Droids from the periphery worlds are notorious for being dumb, yet reliable and are widely used in the FSC’s frontier and beyond. Androids, droids and AI from the capital are very advanced, but also very expensive and much more rare beyond the capital itself, although they are an example of a high quality good occasionally exported out of the FSC. Largely though these economies are geared towards producing machinery and finished goods that are useful in the frontier: agricultural and mining equipment, durable firearms, cargo vessels, simple droids, and the like.
The military forces of the Commonwealth are divided into three broad groups: the Commonwealth Armed Forces, the Planetary Armed Forces, and various militias. Together they form the Joint Commonwealth Armed Forces, sometimes improperly shortened to the Commonwealth Armed Forces or more properly the Commonwealth Military or Commonwealth Defense Force.
The Commonwealth Armed Forces form the Federal government’s army and is tasked with the defense of the country and the projection of its powers beyond its own borders when necessary. By its very nature it is the largest, best organized, best trained, and best funded of the three groups that form the Commonwealth Military. Despite this fact it suffers from a chronic lack of funding, thus is forced to employ the use of fleet-in-being tactics and nodal defense forces to project its strength. In other words it lacks the necessary numbers to properly patrol even just the territory that makes up the Commonwealth.
As their name suggests, the Planetary Armed Forces are funded by and tasked with the protection of the planets of the Commonwealth. The size, strength, and quality of these planetary militaries differ drastically depending on the economic capabilities of the planet itself. Some Planetary Armed Forces can exert its strength throughout its star system, many, however, are limited to simply securing its orbitals and a few major cities.
The militias are made up of a plethora of groups that range from honest men trying to protect their homes to being little better than bandits or mobsters themselves. They are usually poorly armed and trained, but possess surprisingly high morale.
Originally designed to serve as a long range patrol and escort craft for the Commonwealth Armed Forces, it quickly became apparent that the Falcon-class Corvette was under armed and armored to meet the Armed Forces’ needs. After a short service life of ten years most of these warships were either sold or sent to the reserve fleet. Falcon-class corvettes are now a common sight in the planetary armed forces, various militias, and the less than respectable groups of the Commonwealth, who greatly value its relatively low price tag, general ruggedness, and high maneuverability.
Designed from the ground up to be as stealthy as possible, the Leander-class is the go to warship of special operations units, commerce raiders, and rangers. Nimble, heavily armed, and expensive is the easiest way to describe the Leander-class, but there is so much more to the craft than simply that. Their go to method of stealth is to use silent running and low activity running to simply lower the chances of being detected, but the Leander-class also possesses advanced ECM capabilities and deployable ship decoys. In terms of weapons systems the Leander-class’s primary weapons are heavy anti-ship torpedoes which can not only be cold launched from the ship itself, but deployed from time delayed or point-to-point laser controlled detachable weapons pods, as well as anti-ship mines. The Leander-class also possesses particle beam cannons which can be used whenever stealth has been discarded. The use of droids and AI systems can significantly reduce the amount of crew needed to man a Leander-class to even one crew, making it a favorite of Rangers, assuming that either a highly advanced AI is used or it is deemed acceptable to lower the combat effectiveness of the corvette. Despite all of these strengths the Leander-class has some significant drawbacks; besides being very extremely expensive it is somewhat under armored and has a fairly small ammunition storage, meaning it lacks endurance in a fight.
Unlike most destroyers which are designed to protect capital ships, the Havoc-class was built with the intent to hunt and destroy lightly armored capital ships whenever possible. Its primary weapon, the one that makes this possible, is its spinal particle beam cannon When working in small groups, Havoc-class destroyers can make short work of improperly escorted battlecruisers and carriers with their spinal cannons. Despite the apparent strength of these spinal cannons they are also a weak point on the destroyer itself, with damage that other classes of destroyers would simply shrug off disabling the cannon instead. It does possess a variety of small weapons systems, including missiles, to allow it to fight even when its spinal cannon is disable, but it loses much of its effectiveness without its primary weapons system. During the Commonwealth-Federation war the Havoc-class gained some notable achievements, destroying several Federation battlecruisers and a carrier; and it was during this conflict that captains of Havoc-class destroyers first discovered its potential as an ambusher, running in silent or low activity mode to catch unwary ships by surprise. Following the war many Havoc-class destroyers were upgraded with the ability to externally dock two strikecraft.
The Pathfinder-class is the workhorse of the Joint Commonwealth Armed Forces and can be found in almost every Commonwealth naval formation. Initially built and designed five decades ago, the Pathfinder-class was built with modularity and upgradability in mind, allowing it to remain relevant even with its somewhat advanced age. Pathfinders have great endurance, durability, and average speed for a ship of its class, but tend to be slightly under armed. The emphasis of these warships is in anti-piracy operations and fleet screening, although their role can change depending on the modules installed. Following the Commonwealth-Federation war most Pathfinders were retrofitted to externally carry two to four strikecraft.
Put into service fifteen years ago, the Challenger-class heavy cruiser was designed to serve both as a cruiser squadron flagship as well as a main fleet combatant. Key characteristics of the Challenger-class are its agility and spinal particle beam cannon, which despite being smaller than those of the Havoc-class are still fairly powerful and more durable. Challengers are decently armed and armored, although their oversized engine systems are a glaring weakness. The engines are large and designed with thrust vectoring in mind, granting Challenger-class ships great speed and the ability to perform some rather unorthodox maneuvers, but also forcing designers to place the bulk of the engines outside of the main hull, leaving them vulnerable to enemy fire. During the Commonwealth-Federation war Federation fighters were able to, on more than one occasion, destroy the engines of a Challenger-class cruiser in a single attack run, hinting that the Challenger-class may be even weaker to strikecraft than initially believed. While later retrofits, including the ability to eject damaged engines and rear facing CIWS has somewhat mitigated the problem, it very much remains a weakness of the class.
A common sight in the Commonwealth, especially the Frontier, Eclipse-class escort carriers are a favorite of any naval commander tasked with convoy escort or other anti-piracy tasks. These warships are first and foremost carriers, lacking main armaments but possessing not only a sizeable strikecraft complement, but also the facilities to repair and maintain strikecraft. Eclipse-class escort carriers also carry a stunning amount of CIWS, causing many fleet commanders to use them to protect larger capital ships from hostile strikecraft. The Eclipse-class was designed with a similar engine system as the Challenger-class meaning powerful thrust vectoring engines, although more protected than in the Challenger-class’s case.
Following the Commonwealth-Federation war, it became evidently clear that the Joint Commonwealth Armed Forces needed a warship capable of going toe-to-toe with the largest combatants. The Lion-class was designed to be that warship, with an emphasis on armor, heavy weapons systems, and endurance in battle. The Lion-class is a brawler, intended to get close to enemy capital ships and trade with them blow for blow.
The largest ship in the Commonwealth navy, the Eternal-class fleet carrier is the go to ship for large scale conflicts. In some ways an Eternal-class is an upscaled Eclipse-class escort carrier, but it is also so much more. These ships are designed to be at the core of any invasion force and is capable of carrying not only strikecraft for use in fleet engagements, but also ground forces for ground warfare.
History: The ark Houston was among the last of the first wave arks to reach a habitable world. In time this world, named after the ark that brought humanity to it, would grow into a core world, but only after much blood, sweat, and tears had been shed. Houston was a lush world, one that at first glance was a perfect one for humanity, a garden world. Yet it was also a world full of dangers. Diseases and natural disasters alike ravager the settlers. And when the humans on Houston finally got the upper hand on those two dangers, the skrallings struck. Native inhabitants of Houston, the skrallings are to this day a controversial topic. Some believe they were semi-sentient animals. Others state that their tool use, however limited, clearly shows they were sentient. Regardless of which camp is right, and at this point there is no real way to prove one way or the other, the skrallings were a clear threat to the humans of Houston. Raids on human settlements were commonplace, forcing retaliatory extermination campaigns. Several hundred years later, after the humans of Houston had made contact with other human colonies, the skrallings became extinct.
Initially Houston had no desire to expand, content with developing its orbital industry. This all changed when several nearby human colonies asked for aid. A xeno species known as the Nerkin was becoming an increasingly large threat. Primitive, by human standards, the Nerkin had managed to spread throughout the region by hitching rides on human ships. Once their population on any given planet grew to a sufficient size they began to raid any human settlements they could find. Houston answered its neighbors call for help, forming an army and sending troops to each colony in need. They managed to defend these colonies and cull the Nerkin population, although unlike the skrallings the Nerkin continue even to this day to be a threat, and in doing so set the framework for what would eventually become the Free Star Commonwealth.
After this point the Commonwealth began to take an active interest in expansion, pushing onward into the frontier. Bandits became an increasingly large problem, one that only seemed to grow over time. Difficulty in raising the funds to build an appropriately sized navy, an issue that continues to this day, allowed bandits and pirates to thrive in the Commonwealth frontier, but also encouraged planetary governments and militia to take a more active role in their own defense. And it was this, in part, that would lead to the Commonwealth-Federation War of 963 EC.
Ownership of a frontier world became a point of conflict when it was colonized almost simultaneously by the Federation and a planetary government in the Commonwealth. Roughly three months after the two colonized had been formed, a task force of planetary government armed forces and militia from the Commonwealth set out to “ensure the safety of Commonwealth citizens”. This in turn resulted in the Federation sending its own task force. Despite the best efforts of the Commonwealth President to settle the matter diplomatically, the incident became a shooting war when a Commonwealth militia corvette opened fire on a Federation counterpart. An additional task force sent by the Commonwealth Armed Forces managed to obtain some tactical victories against Federation forces, but it quickly became apparent that the Federation was both capable of and willing to send more ships to fight the war than the Commonwealth could. By the end of the year the Commonwealth sued for peace, officially ceding the planet to the Federation and acknowledging its fault for starting the war.