Federation of the Fused Mains
- It is part of the farthest parts of Charted Space.
|No polity||Pre-Imperial||No standard code||None|
|No polity||1st Survey (300)||2-ltr code||None|
|Federation of the Fused Mains||2nd Survey (1065)||FeFM||4-ltr code||None|
This polity is a mercantile federation, wherein space beyond planetary orbit ("beyond the orbit of the furthest natural satellite plus 50 of its diameters, or 50 planetary diameters, whichever is less, or 25 planetary diameters if there are no natural satellites") and jumpspace between member worlds is territory of the federation, owned and managed for the benefit of the Federation. Officially the benefit is supposed to be for all citizens of the Federation; unofficially, the distribution of benefits favors those in charge, to greater or lesser degrees depending on how philanthropic those in charge at the time are.
The federation consists of two Jump-1 mains, separated by a 1-parsec wide gap in which a jump bridge, Mainserai, was constructed and served as the capital from the polity's founding until the Empress Wave struck it in 1052. This station "fused" the mains together, allowing cheap Jump-1 freighters to ply the polity's space. When the station was lost after the Empress Wave's passage, Core Unity became the new capital, though officially only until Mainserai is returned to service (which becomes truth in 1137).
As a mercantile concern, the federation's government has consistently shown interest and focus on three main areas:
- Trade (...specifically the taxes generated from trade, collected at all licensed starports),
- Belt mining (...almost every system in the Federation has gas giants, and thus trojan clusters, if not planetoid belts) and the Federation's cut of the profits from that, and
- Things needed to support the above (...security, education, access to requisite capital for anyone competent and desiring to engage in either occupation, and so on).
That last point spawns most of the government (as measured by number of people involved), and colors how it presents itself. For instance, there is no military; most armed government ships are police instead - even if that means the police have a (very) few battleships with Spinal Weapons Mounts, mothballed and kept around in case of need. Public education is heavily vocational, resulting in most art and technological innovation being imported - primarily from the Pirian Domain and the Yaskoydri Technocracy.
The government itself has been described as a "constitutional oligarchy". Every 5 years, a financial census is taken. Those who can demonstrate the 5 highest net wealths become the Council for the next 5 years, entitled jointly to act as the chief executive on any measure at least 3 can agree on - within heavy constitutional limits, such as not outright stripping wealth or rights from any named person (such as the other 2) or anything amounting to that (such as a class of people so narrowly described as to effectively consist of just the other 2).
More importantly, they must answer to an Advisory Board consisting of one member selected by each system from its citizens. The Advisory Board can overrule any Council action, and is in theory the ultimate power - for anything it can achieve consensus on, from 50% plus one vote up to 75% depending on the class of item. Whether this is difficulty or easy varies over time, most notably in inverse proportion to how draconian or petty the Council gets (though that is not the sole factor). Anyone in the Council knows well that the average citizen's dream that they themselves could someday be Council is vital: strip that illusion away at the beginning of a 5 year term, and the Council is unlikely to live to see its end.
Each planet is free to choose its own governance, again within constitutional limits. Notably, balkanized governments are not allowed within 1 year before a new Council and Advisory Board are to be appointed; any civil war (hot or cold, even just a mutually agreed divided government) that would bleed into this period must be stopped by Federation peacekeeping forces. More than one civil war has been interrupted in this fashion, diplomats taking advantage of the forced ceasefire to attempt to hammer out a resolution before the peacekeeping forces withdraw at the end of the year - or one side losing its temper, attacking before the year is up, and brutally mowed down by the peacekeepers to the point that the other side can easily mop up afterward.
The government's official focus on trade and belt mining fuels a very active ACS construction industry, arguably more profitable than either of the industries it exists to support. Anyone who can pass difficult but standardized tests, including both technical and financial competency, can qualify for a government-back ship loan for standard free trader or seeker ships (...including many Second Imperium designs imported via the Solomani Preserve; few in the Federation know of the Third Imperium, let alone that these designs are common there too). A basic passing grade qualifies for credit for a ship up to 100 tons; higher grades qualify for 200 ton designs, and a pair of owners can combine their qualifications (two 200 ton qualifications pairing up are rarer than media depictions of the adventures of 400 ton ships suggest, but they do exist). Some of these ships are refurbished, after repossession from owners who failed to pay their loans, though the shipyards try to refurbish to like-new quality. Over 90% of new ship owners manage to repay their loans, though there are extensive tales of strings getting pulled or side jobs with strict conditions offered to owners in peril of missing a payment, and what official records exist confirm that a significant (though never precisely quantifiable) number of government service jobs are performed by ship owners under such conditions.
The tests are modeled on the civil service examinations of Yaskoyloyt. At first they were based on legends of the state of those examinations back around -1000, just before the Yaskoydri Technocracy's Third Doctrinal War that resulted in the Pirian Domain splintering off, which the Federation of the Fused Mains would later separate itself from, though after one famous fact-finding expedition in 585 found out what nearly 1,600 years of improvements and revolutions had resulted in, the tests have been radically reformed, with pilgrimage-like expeditions to consult on further improvements conducted every 10 years. One reform was that anyone who fails can take the test again after at least a year, with an application fee for the second and later examination but no fee for the first, tracking applicants by whatever biometrics are available. Another was that the majority of applicants, who fail the tests but not by much (usually lacking the funds to show financial competency), get an official recommendation as crew; within a few years of implementing this, in many Federation hiring halls, it became impossible to get a spaceship job without either this credential or proof of experience (which required one to have been hired as spaceship crew previously).
Shipyards in the Pirian Domain near the Federation's border, along with virtually all in the Spike Society (and nearby independent colonies with class A starports), accept these loans, and banks in these areas will service them. This has long been seen as both symbolic and functional diplomacy: so long as money is flowing at good rates back and forth across the border, both sides have incentive not to declare war on one another. Long ago, would-be ship owners from all over the sector, even occasionally the far-off Solomani Preserve, would come to attempt the tests; after the Empress Wave traffic has been vastly reduced, though the arrangement with (surviving) nearby shipyards and banks still officially exists.
Every now and then, some economist treads the same data and show that this sets up for a glut of small starships, more than can be financially supported, leading inevitably to a number turning to piracy or worse, setting up conditions under which citizens flock under a government for protection. Many of them even publish signs that the pirates are being manipulated, apparently by some very experienced hands. These investigations rarely last long before their authors find some new study to pursue, or retire from public view.
Many words were used to describe it, but "largest" was one descriptor that all leading media sources at the time applied to the theft of a half-dozen battleships in 404. The financing to construct them in a single batch had been forged by a deep cover job involving three multi-subsector banking chains, agents at multiple levels of government, and a solomani gang making "wolfsbane" (a powerful, synthetic, addictive narcotic that could leave vargr in euphoric bliss for hours but had no effect on humans, allegedly based on an old Terran herb). Mounting investigations were about to break the scam just as the battleships' jump drives were installed. While they were incomplete, they were intact enough to fly to the hundred-diameter limit and enter jumpspace. Skeletal crews, posing as test technicians, powered them up and did just that. Orders to halt came only after the ships were well away from the highport; at first it was feared the communication equipment was not picking up, but remote diagnostics confirmed the orders were simply being ignored.
Losing six battleships would worry any polity. When reports started surfacing a month later of the skeletal ships demanding that merchants hand over their cargo (even without their lesser weapons, their Spinal Weapons Mounts had been the first system installed and were threat enough), mass panic erupted. Votes to secede were quickly organized on several worlds on the rimward side of the Pirian Domain. Policy required repeated votes spread over 10 years. The battleships concentrated their raids on worlds leaning against secession and ignored worlds largely in favor, changing their targets within weeks of each vote, a message impossible to twist or ignore. For 8 years this went on, until eventually their base at a calibration point within the seceding region was discovered. This base was ambushed in 412, but it was too late; by then the populations had gotten used to the idea of leaving and had begun to draw up plans to handle their own affairs. Despite massive protests and political pressure, the final votes in 413 showed consistent support for leaving - and just like that, the Pirian Domain had lost several worlds. It was widely suspected those on the battleships had planned to rule these worlds by fear as TEDs (in the modern parlance; they had other terms that meant the same thing), and that their agents had spread propaganda the battleships would ignore seceding worlds (which the battleships confirmed after the votes began), but whatever plans they had were destroyed with them in their final battle.
That said, the worlds saw value in bonding together. Taking inspiration from the Hatching of the Solomani Preserve, they promptly (in 414) claimed the entirety of the jump-1 main they were on, and the adjacent one for good measure. Many of these worlds were uninhabited, but no other polity was close enough to press a claim. Only the Spike Society was even close, and they supported the Federation's claim (historical records suggest they issued a declaration a week before they could officially have heard of it, suggesting they were unofficially previously alerted). The Spike Society has consistently been a staunch ally and trade partner of the Federation of the Fused Mains ever since.
The Federation has held its shape remarkably consistently for most of its existence. Growth has happened largely within its initial borders, with an initial boost (through the 600s) from Spike Society colonists. The capital of Mainserai was officially established in 421 (just a deep space fuel cache at first, with the station and facilities built up later) after a year-plus survey. Some of its worlds have tried to claim independence; some have even succeeded for a while, but all eventually fell back after a planetary blockade collapsed their economy. Likewise, worlds not in the mains have tried to join, but the Federation has rejected such expansion each time, though it has allowed some worlds "associate" status - which mostly amounted to the right to pay taxes without much benefit in return.
The Empress Wave affected this polity much like its neighbors - seeing the usual bursts of low berth usage, wave-jumping, and abandonment of hostile worlds - with one significant exception: no other polity in Gakghang Sector had to suffer its capital being taken for a joyride and lost in deep space. The loss of records, and much of the top talent, has resulted in lack of coordination and bureaucratic inertia all across the Federation. As of 1105, the "temporary" capital of Core Unity is seeming more and more permanent, though officially all capital functions are held in the highport to enable transport back to Mainserai should it some day be found.
Worlds & Sectors (Astrography)
World Listing: 1105
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