Undivided federation with no internal subdivisions. Presided over by a governor and a bicameral legislature.
The Pretoria Federation comprises the coreward subsectors of Deneb Sector (Pretoria, Lamas, Antra and Million), the rimward subsectors of Tuglikki Sector (Dhukhaegz, Athdong, Allazkhor, Aegaek), Aramis subsector (Spinward Marches D) and Lighorz subsector (Provence M).
Vilani settlers from the Ziru Sirka settled a small number of worlds in this region as early as -3100. These colonies were independent of the Imperium, being home to dissident or runaway populations. The region around Pretoria supported a series of small pocket empires until -1650, when Vargr corsairs overran the region. The Third Imperium contacted the region around 40, and in a series of early border wars, drove the Vargr out of Pretoria and Lamas subsectors by 90. The corsairs persisted in Antra and Millions until 285, when Imperial Naval expeditions captured the last of their bases during the Vargr Campaigns. A few worlds remained under Vargr control in the coreward portions of Lamas, Antra and Millions, though they were heavily patrolled by the Imperial Navy.
Though the region seemed far removed from the most active and contentious regions of the 3I, its own history was stalked by racial controversies. Though most of the traditionally "Imperial" worlds bear Solomani names, the first waves of colonists to reach them were primarily Vilani that adhered very closely to their traditional culture. But in the wake of the Imperial Wars for the Throne and the ascension of the Alkhalikoi dynasty, the region became the inhospitable home for troublesome Solomani nobles exiled here in the 650s. These brutally repressed their Vilani nobles: the Carles-Davies of Pretoria, the Sung of Urnas and the Peletiere of Borlund went so far as to crack down on the use of Vilani language, traditions and institutions, completely disenfranchising their subjects. These excesses led to the Rachelean Revolts on Pretoria, and the eventual disenfrancisement of the offending noble families in the crackdown that followed. Pretoria itself was subjected to a century and a half of military rule.
The Vargr invasions that followed news of Strephon's assassination in 1116 overran many Imperial worlds along the Deneb-Corridor interface, and created bloody battles for control over worlds along the antebellum border in coreward Deneb sector. The majority of the latter aggression was led by an opportunistic state called the Assemblage of 1116, which funneled corsairs towards Denebian worlds in Lamas and Antra subsectors. Reinforced Domain fleets were able to prevent the corsairs from making any significant land seizures, but were unable to stop the flow of refugees that crossed the frontier after the announcement of Virus in 1132. Assemblage fleets made one last attempt to seize more land as the new Regency of Deneb sent forces further trailing to handle the evacuation of vulnerable worlds, only to be decisively defeated in the Battle of the Ashes. The Corridor Vargr either ignored or disbelieved the Regency's warnings of Virus, and were almost completely annihilated by Vampire Fleets after the Rape of Trin in 1139. Those Vargr groups present in the Regency that survived the battle, or repudiated the Assemblage, were granted political representation, and several became fait accompli lords in recognition of their gains on several worlds.
The Dark Years (IY 1132-1248) saw the coreward frontier become a tense and paranoid place. Many worlds placed in the new Regency Frontier were partially or completely abandoned, and their populations were placed in crowded transit camps further "inland". This was most pronounced on Borlund/Lamas (Deneb 1406) where more than forty billion people voluntarily evacuated from that extremely crowded and vulnerable world. And even though the trailing frontier received the greatest number of vampire attacks, the slow collapse of Vargr polities in Tuglikki sector made for periodic surges of tragedy and anguish on both sides of the coreward frontier. Intolerable living conditions for Wildside Vargr prompted many nationalist factions to attempt to run the Quarantine, and the resulting smuggling operations-which moved materials OUT and refugees and contraband IN-were later organised by Vargr underworld figures into the organization later known as the Pack. Racial tensions between humans and Vargr translated into political attempts by the remaining nobility to disenfranchise the interlopers; and on those worlds where the refugees threatened to become the majority, the human population emigrated en masse in what the Vargr and more sympathetic humans derisively called "monkey flight" or the "flying monkeys." The Representational Reforms announced in IY 1152 legitimised some Vargr parties, particularly those on Urnas (Deneb 0609).
The popular fear of Vargr economic and political takeover made reactionary politics popular among the frontier's human population. Groups like the Purifiers were most popular in other regions of the Regency with disaffected elements of the former Imperial nobility and their former subjects, or with the most self-interested segments of the new upper-middle class. In Pretoria they found wide cachet among the urban blue-collar and lower middle classes. In this they were inadvertently aided by the Representational Reforms, which allowed for unscrupulous demagogues unlimited access to the local electorates without delaying interference by discredited landed nobility. Their parties attracted billions of followers during the early 1200s by imitating the tactics of the Vargr opposition: constructing political machines among urban locales depressed by post-Collapse events, and carrying out a carefully inculcated media campaign that impugned Vargr and, most importantly, the politicians that abetted their "cause". By IY 1219/NE 19 the Purifier affiliated Imperial Party had virtual control over most of the coreward frontier, save for Vargr fait accompli worlds and holdout human worlds like Urnas.
When Lemat Arthurian was appointed Regent after Caranda's death, the locals celebrated his ascension as a victory for their cause, and the new Regent cultivated their support. Despite appearances, the Purifiers were little inclined to change the status quo in the frontier or removing the imaginary advantages of the Vargr, due to previous alliances between the Pack and some of their corporate financial backers, and the impractical or unethical nature of the locals objections to their neighbors. Keeping the Vargr bogeyman dangling before local human constituents was more useful for the Regent's immediate goals. His agents riled up local crowds against the Vargr, and recruited several million locals to act as street militia or stormtroopers to help keep the region under his control, through their implied threat to more liberal or dissident groups. Unlike other regions of the Regency, where the Purifiers slowly lost what little popular appeal they had as the war against the Zhodani went south, Pretoria kept the faith until the bitter end.
In NE 36, naval officers recalled from exile in Corridor sector staged a popular mutiny against Arthurian. Under the command of Admiral Elizabeth Bonesteel, these "Liberators" seized control of the massed reinforcements constructed by Stronghold yards or unsealed from cache fleets, and turned them against Arthurian's main power centers in the coreward half of Deneb. Sabinar Main and the Midway fell quickly, as the popular mood turned against the Black Regent after years of severe losses. In Pretoria subsector, however, the population remained pro-Purifier, and Pretoria (the world) was placed under blockade while Bonesteel and her admirals turned their attention to the Zhodani. After Arthurian was deposed and executed, millions of other Purifiers fled to Pretoria with their ships and guns. After the Liberator victory in Lunion subsector, the new Commonwealth government clearly communicated its intent to purge Pretoria of its lingering reactionary taint. With dissension growing between the beaten refugees and the disillusioned local cadres, the Purifier leaders took the hint and fled the world for trailing Corridor sector, from which they would later join the Ziru Sirkaa. Admiral Logan Harappa took custody of Pretoria in NE 39, bringing the world under Commonwealth control, and disarmed the remaining Purifier miliitas. About four billion of the planet's population joined the exodus, either to join the Vilani, or after NE 48, the newly declared Fourth Imperium.
After about a decade of martial law, Pretoria regained its independence, and became the capitol of its namesake Federation in NE 50. During that time, many Vargr and humans reclaimed dead worlds on the other side of the frontier, and recontacted worlds such as Athdong (Tuglikki 0933) and Audhunga (Tuglikki 1836). Under a more unified Vargr-human government, these worlds and much of rimward Tuglikki became part of the Commonwealth in NE 54. Tensions in Corridor between the Kaasu cluster and those worlds allied with Drayne (Corridor 0910) led to Khouth subsector (Corridor A) being placed under Pretoria's virtual control. Led by the Khamaaka (see below), the Federation has taken a leading role in reconstruction of the Vargr Splinters and the former Zhodani Consulate.
In the wake of the Purifier Purge, Pretoria was culturally shattered. Ten percent of its population had fled to the Ziru Sirkaa, and what remained were uncertain and mutually suspicious communities of Vargr and humans without inspiring leadership. During the decade of occupation, these sedentary communities attracted younger and more progressive human immigrants from Sabinar and Vargr from the world of Deneb who came to participate in recolonising Tuglikki sector. The human portion were mainly "Neo-Vilanis", idealistic utopians from Thingen and Magash (Deneb 0518 and 0316) that wanted to return to a more back-to-basics communitarian lifestyle espoused by the old First Imperium. The harsh conditions of newly reclaimed worlds defeated their half-formed ideals, and their leadership had retreated to Pretoria, Marz and Urnas. There they found a more hospitable environment and a receptive audience. Aided by the Vargr Willies from Deneb, the outsiders managed in a very short amount of time to convert a significant minority of the population, particularly disaffected former Purifiers, to their lifestyle. They were aided by a coincidental resurgence in interest in Vilani culture on Pretoria and Urnas. By NE 55, these groups had combined their resources into a concerted poltical program, and by NE 60 had captured a majority of the federation governmentally all well as culturally. About fifty percent of Pretoria's population follows the Khamaaka belief system. The other fifty percent, which includes worlds farther to coreward, merely adopt the political and communal structures, but modify them to their own purposes or supplement them with other systems. About ten percent of the population includes hardcore reactionaries, either unreconstructed human Purifiers and local Vargr nationalists. Tensions tend to be muted by Khamaaka social activism and generosity, which engenders at grudging admiration among hardliners.
Pretoria, to paraphrase an ancient Terran writer, is a "nation with the soul of a church." Of course that sums up the entire Commonwealth, but it is most literally true here. The Neo-Vilani, or the Khaamaka (High Vilani for Peasant/Farmer), attempt to be mostly faithful to the old Vilani culture, but add a binding religious component and some suitable adaptations to the contemporary way of life. In many ways it resembles ancient Terran Mennonite or Mormon faiths, in imposing a severe morality and code of ethics on its members, that creates a noticeable degree of cultural distinction between the followers and their apostate or unbeliever neighbors. Despite this, unbelievers have significant say in local governance, as the Commonwealth does not want a theocratic state to develop at this strategic end of their territory. Fortunately, the Khamaaka are zealously faithful to the Covenant, and are even its apothesis in terms of citizenship.
The core of their beliefs is a more literal interpretation of the mainstream Way. The Khamaaka stress benevolence, ethics and generosity. Righteousness is usually the province of other communities, and nonviolence (though not pacifism) is the preferred course of applying these beliefs. Every member of the society is a citizen of a nation and state, governed by the laws of heaven and earth. Heaven and hell are the future state of affairs of each citizen depending upon their actions both individually, in faith, and collectively, in terms of deeds and works. If good deeds outweigh the bad in the karma of an individual or community, then heaven is acheived (either literally or figuratively), otherwise..... In this society the more mundane ethical requirements of Commoner society becomes ritualised and encapsulated within religious standards. That commonality and their patriotism are probably the only things that makes them tolerable to mainstream society. Their more secular neighbors for the most part find them to be either strange or slightly amusing, though this attitude tends to bother the true believers.
The status of a person in Khamaaka society is a measure of both success in productive fields of business and the professions, etc.... and their ethical contributions to the general society. This is referred to as the charisma (which originally meant the presence of god or fate in an individual) of an individual in local society. While wealth and productivity are esteemed, they are less important than the individual that seriously undertakes, at no small cost to themselves, a pilgrimmage to uplift or better the lives of society or their fellow sophonts. The former are merely successful, the latter are charismatic. And when a person is both successful and self-sacrificing, they are the natural leaders of the community. Though outsiders may argue that this system can be cynically manipulated, they overlook the stringent requirements of local faith. A person who is committed only to the appearance of virtue will eventually betray themselves through their own deeds; in this society there is a basic humility stressed by the common leadership. There are those who are for themselves, those who are for just a privileged few, and then there are those who are for the greater good. And the local leadership and their most dedicated servants are aware of the differences. And the "good" must be beyond the trite definitions of contemporary culture. A true Khamaaka considers "Wu Wei" in less abstract terms. Life is a matter of balancing, both between conflicting and overlapping requirements. They will not act more than necessary, and they willingly restrain more hotheaded individuals.
The leadership of this culture is always consensual and committee based, much like Vilani leadership institutions. However they are less bureaucratic and insulated, as they do depend upon elections and charisma. The lower councils of state are popularly determined, and consist of the more ambitious and energetic politicians. The upper councils (including the upper house of the Federation government) are populated with communal elders elected to long terms by a mixture of popular election and prearranged communal consensus. These elders include both leaders that represent the broadest definition of the community, and those who represent much narrower communities like business, academia and private society. Visitors will find that formal government is heavily regulated by chancery councils that have the final say in regulation, taxation and moral behavior permitted. And then they will have to deal with lesser bureaucracies, before and after the chancery hearings. As a result Khamaaka worlds are quite conservative, but they do progress after the advocates of change successfully argue their case before the chancery and supreme governing councils.
Worlds of Pretoria Federation
Those communities that most strongly follow the Khamaaka interpretation are laid out on the lines of enormous gardens. Wags like to say that their cities aren't so much constructed as landscaped. This generally takes the form of cities built along labyrinthine or rectilinear patterns, containing buildings constructed in pleasant organic shapes, each of them hollowed out around large sealed courtyards filled with riotous flora around gardens and pools of water arranged in a zen-like fashion. Whenever demography and engineering make it possible, these aggregated cities are replaced by huge arcologies, many built underground in environmentally responsible locations, built like the interior of massive Nautilus shells, with swirling vault-like architecture and compartmentalised chambers.
The articles of family and agriculture are omnipresent in these communities. Every Khamaaka city is mostly self-sufficient in terms of food and life support. The huge greenbelts are food-producing gardens, waste and water recycling plants, and scrub sealed communities of CO2 to provide oxygen to its human and Vargr inhabitants. The inner courtyards are both a symbol of faith and a cornerstone of the economy. Around these are the apartments and offices of extended families and their retainers. A single dwelling can be home to 4 to 12 families in comfortable conditions. Privacy is respected with the exception of the "family" meal, which takes place in large dining halls, and provides the cement of Khamaaka culture, as most business is handled by the elders during these long meals. Every individual dwelling is connected via technical or personal networks with other allied dwellings, either in a geographic and/or professional relationship to each other. One community in trouble can call upon ten to hundred other allied dwellings to their aid. This makes insulting or attacking even isolated individuals or communities dangerous, as vengeance to repay aggression becomes the obligation of both the law and the community.
Khamaaka communities are very open to visitors. Accommodations are comfortable, oftentimes opulent, and are always available. In the latter case it is not uncommon for communities to put up valued patrons and allies up in private lodgings, even if it means displacing the host and their family. And the community is generous in its entertainment of visitors. Food and beverages are cheap, though outsiders are expected to eat and carouse with the family when staying in a private dwelling. However, betrayal or abuse of generosity has severe punishments. Law enforcement and Brotherhood cadres tend to be more kidgloved than in other federations, but enforcement of the law is more insidious. Lawbreakers are usually subjected to a lot of psionic therapy, in nonviolent felony crimes verging on the kind of reeducation once favored by the Zhodani Consulate. A favor maliciously spurned or abused will create a longlasting grudge among the local authorities towards the offender, and they will let others in the Federation (and others) know this fact. This generosity towards other sophonts has made their worlds a collection for a multitude of refugee colonies, and significant communities of Bwap and Virushi are counted among the dwellings of many high population worlds.