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Overview: Federation of Orion

Summary

The Federation of Orion is a large Human-dominated democratic state in the Rimward Region known for its liberal culture and advanced technology.  Home to the Orion Expositions and undergoing a post-materialist economic transformation, the Federation, often referred to as the FOO, has led the way in establishing full rights to Servant Races, radical Variants and machine intelligences.  Occupying space overlapping and between the borders of Khald'aron Republic and the Bengali Dominions, the FOO maintains its capital at the Great Nebular City, a Drift settlement within the Armpit Nebula that surrounds the Betelgeuse black hole supernova remnant.

History

The region of the Federation of Orion was first settled by Humans aboard the gravstarship Salvation, which abandoned the Kumar cometary colony in 2734CE and in 2908CE arrived in orbit around the world Kumar, some twenty light years from the then red supergiant star, Betelgeuse.  Recontacted by the Empire of Humanity in 2970CE, the Kumar colony remained a lone outpost five hundred light-years from Sol until colonization of the Taurus-Orion Trail began in the 34th century.  The Supernova of Betelgeuse in 3730CE led to a temporary secession of development in the region, but by the 39th century, colonization and economic development resumed.  The world of Kumar became the capital of the Rimward Region in 4160CE and continued to play a leading role in Imperial affairs until the collapse of the Empire during the Wars of Disintegration and the Mech Plague.

The Federation of Orion began as the Betelgeuse Union, a federal republic established between Kumar and Luminous in 4823CE.  Isolated by failing Mech Plague-infested technology, the Union maintained tenuous ties with the Khald'aron Republic and the Human worlds absorbed by the Republic as Protectorates.  A century after the Union's founding, Kumar launched the giant gravstarship Cook to the Armpit Nebula to establish a struggling scoop mining colony, extracting stable transuranics from the Nebular dust.  In the 5055CE the Union began trading its transuranics to the Bengali Dominions in return for macrojump drive technology and began a slow expansion, with Norada, Tudor and Sutherland joining in the next century.  Expansion of mining operations in the Armpit eventually led to the conversion of the Cook into a permanent station which grew into the Verne Drift by 5169CE.

Eventually, the Betelgeuse Union grew to encompass over a dozen worlds.  The secular, democratic Union established solid relations with the Khald'aron, Cubic and Swarm Alien states.  A quarrel with the Bengali Dominions over the theft of vacuum distillation technology from Luminous led to the Great Rim War, also known as the Grim War of 5296-5301CE, a conflict marred by bio-warfare and indiscriminant attacks on civilian targets.  The Treaty of Karnak ended the Grim War and established lasting protocols of war, banning biological warfare and targeted civilian attacks throughout the Rimward Region.  After the war, the Betelgeuse Union continued its slow steady expansion, establishing the Vanguard service in 5327CE to support exploration into uncontacted space and to maintain contact with non-Human races.

By the 5360s, the thirteen world Betelgeuse Union struggled under a system of government designed by the Kumarese for a small Kumar-dominated Union.  Complicated budget restrictions and an undemocratic legislature led to popular discontent, especially among the newer member worlds.  As the Union contemplated an expansion to include seven neighboring worlds and struggled to resolve a health care funding crisis, the political leadership realized that the current structure was inadequate for thirteen worlds and would be hopeless for twenty or more worlds.  The crisis resulted in a new constitution, agreed upon in 5366CE, which created the rechristened Federation of Orion.  The FOO established its capital on the Verne Drift and inaugurated Rohan Norgalas as its first president in 5368CE.

The freedom of Servant Race citizens and liberal immigration policies brought the FOO again into conflict with the Nobilis-led caste-based society of the Bengali Dominions.  This Second Rim War or Skim War, fought between 5472 and 5476CE remains the last major conflict found in Rimward space.  The war ended with no exchange of territory and established a lasting border protocol.

In 5500CE the FOO capital was transferred from the Verne Drift to the newly completed Great Nebular City, a Drift settlement over ten kilometers across and capable of comfortably housing over five million citizens.  In 5583CE, the FOO acquired its seventieth member world.  Shortly thereafter, the FOO absorbed fifty-eight Human worlds under Khald'aron Protectorate status in the Rigel Annexation Treaty of 5586CE, a agreement which also led to closer border and trade ties between the the Federation and the Khald'aron. 

The Federation of Orion continued to play a leading role as the only major liberal democratic Human state, supporting the rights of created races and minority philosophies, even electing a gracile Goblin, Gholman Vandal, as president in 5668CE.  The FOO accepted Heretics as citizens in 5652CE and continued to allow an influx of Servant Race citizens.  Though besieged by ongoing presidential scandals, the FOO continued to expand and adapt, modifying its citizenship requirements to admit the Risen machine race as full members of society in 5911CE.  Landium Horse, a Risen of non-humanoid form became President of the Federation of Orion in 6344CE after the resignation of Konor Hagan, and after surviving the first attempted assassination of an Orion President in three centuries, Horse won a reelection campaign in 6346CE, cementing the right of all Federation citizens to attain any office.

During the middle centuries of the seventh millennium, two major expansions pushed the membership of the Federation of Orion above three hundred worlds, and Preservationist-inspired habitats, including the huge hollow world of Agharta, spread across Orion space.  In 6727CE Leshra Industries demonstrated its Omnivator Fast Replicator at the Orion Exposition on Zirconia, paving the way for the beginnings of a post-materialist transformation of the economy of the Federation of Orion.  By 6775CE over thirty member worlds, encompassing one quarter of the Federation's population, has statistically achieved post-materialism.

Politics

The Federation of Orion was established by constitutional convention in 5366CE.  The resulting protocols, based loosely on the ancient Terran United States constitution, developed a democratic, federal structure, complete with independent, often adversarial branches of government, with limited federal government powers and with considerable self-government for individual members. 

The Constitution established the branches of government.  The Federal executive Presidency, limited to two six year terms, controls foreign policy and the military.  The unicameral Federation Assembly is elected every six years by member worlds, each world receiving one delegate plus one to nine additional delegates, based on population and economic contribution.  The nine member Federal Judiciary determine matters of constitutional law and settle disputes between member worlds and is appointed every six years for renewable terms, with the President selecting three judges, the Assembly three and the sitting Federal Judiciary selecting the last three members.

Starting in the late 64th century the Federation of Orion became effectively a two party state. The Progressive Party, often dominated by the family and business interests of former President and trillioniare businessman Gordas Fastung, was expansionist, business friendly, but also heavily influenced by the Preservationists, who sought to limit Human impact on worlds by establishing new colonies on vast habitats, often funding by Fastung interests.  The Egalitarian Party, bent on bringing the FOO towards a post-materialist economy and more interested in machine and minority rights, remained opposed to expansion of the Federation, concentrating on the economic and technological development of existing member worlds.

The advent of fast replication provided the long-awaited seed for the Egalitarian Party's goal of a post-material transformation of society, but even the Progressive Party soon came to realize the benefits of developing a post-materialist society.  The current President Egmarin Dessik (Egalitarian Party, elected 6772CE) struggles with a narrow Assembly Progressive Party majority over issues of fleet modernization and targeted economic development.

Geography

The 306 systems of the Federation of Orion occupy portions of thirty-five Rimward Region sectors in a flattened sphere some two hundred light-years core to rim and six hundred light-years north to south and spin to trail, centered roughly on the Armpit Nebula.  The FOO borders and overlaps with the Bengali Dominions to the coreward, the Khald'aron Republic to the rimward and the Cubic worlds of the League of Independent Races to the trailing.  The FOO lies entirely within the Thin Disk of the Orion Arm of the Galaxy.

The Capital of the FOO is located at the Great Nebular City in the Armpit Nebula, Sector 789.  Major worlds include Kumar, Luminous, Norada, Thermidor and Karnak.  There are no political divisions between the federal state and its member worlds.

Economy

The Federation of Orion is undergoing a transformation into an Early Microjump Era post-material economy.  Currently, thirty worlds and eighty-seven billion citizens have reached post-material economic status, with nearly two hundred worlds and another two hundred billion citizens expected to reach this level of economic development by the end of the century, according to Egalitarian Party planning under the current administration.  Presently, all member worlds and citizens enjoy an Interstellar Age standard of living, with full access to life extending and transformation services.

The continuing isolation of the Khald'aron Republic has hurt trade along the rimward frontier, but strong technological exchanges with the Bengali Dominions and traders from the League of Independent Races and the Star Kingdoms Confederation have resulted in a healthy exchange surplus.  FOO cultural goods, including artwork and entertainments also contribute to a trade surplus, though many of these goods remain banned from the Khalifate market.

The Federation of Orion has over 41,500 registered commercial starships totaling nearly 1.6 billion cubic meters.  The commercial ship registry includes over 1,100 microjump vessels totaling 16 million cubic meters.

Demographics

As of 6775CE, the Federation of Orion had 333 member worlds, including 20 Habitats and Drifts.  The total sentient population as of the 6770CE census was 354.8 billion:


Standard Human 180.2
Human Variants 52.8
Risen 51.0
Human Cyborgs and Heretics 32.5
Goblins 23.8
Casaps 10.1
Other Servant Races 1.3
Khald'aron 1.2
Zhretra 1.0
Other Alien Races 0.9
Total 354.8

The FOO population is 50.8% Standard Human, an additional 24.4% Human-derived, 14.7% Machine Race, 9.9% Servant Race and 0.6% biological Alien Race.  The five highest population worlds (Kumar 9.8 billion, Luminous 8.9 billion, Norada 8.6 billion, Thermidor 8.1 billion and Karnak 7.2 billion) account for 12.0% of the total population.  An additional twenty-eight worlds account for another 33.8% of the population, the next hundred most populous worlds account for 26.2% and the remaining two hundred worlds account for 28.0% of the population.

Culture

The Federation of Orion has long been a bastion of democracy and offers full rights for all sentients within its borders.  Citizenship is open to all sentient beings regardless of natural, artificial or machine status.  The FOO requires the respect of life, privacy and individuality and allows the free practice of all religions that do not violate the rights of non-adherents.  While most citizens of the FOO are non-religious, Technologists and Mechanists of mostly moderate persuasions each comprise approximately one fifth of the Human and Human-derived population.

As a standard for citizenship and legal status, the Federation of Orion has developed and refined its Sentient Tests.  The widely accepted Sentient Tests measure several aspects of sentience and intelligence, determining legal status for both individuals and entire Races.  The Tests have seen some use outside the FOO, but they have not received as wide-spread adoption as another FOO innovation, the Orion Calendar, a six-day week, sixty-one week standard year calendar adopted by the FOO in 5415CE.  The Orion Calendar is used for official record-keeping in over five thousand systems across Recontacted Human Space.

The Federation of Orion remains a focus of interstellar culture through its Orion Expositions, held every six years since 5701CE on a FOO world determined by a government selection committee.  A direct descendant of the old Imperial Expositions, these year-long events focus mainly on cultural rather than sporting exhibitions and bring together Human and Alien elites from across Recontacted Space.  Diplomatic conferences often take place during the Expositions and for the last few centuries, the Expositions have also been a departure point for the Betelgeuse Antares Rally interstellar race.

In the early seventh millennium, the Preservationists emerged as a major culture movement within the FOO.  The Preservationists believe that the colonization of thousands of worlds lessens diversity and threatens the long-term viability of those worlds, endangering future sentients and eventually hastening the fall of interstellar civilization.  To combat their fears, the Preservations embarked on the creation of the vast Nirvana Habitat in the Luminous system, a prototype of their ideal home for Humanity and other starfaring races.  Supported by idealistic scions of wealthy families, including the Fastung dynasty, the Preservationists have gained billions of adherents within the Federation of Orion's border and beyond.

Military

The Federation of Orion is not particularly militant, dedicating less than one percent of its industrial output to military expenditures.  The Navy of the Federation of Orion (NFO) is the only formal military body.  Composed of seven main fleet groups, the NFO is a primarily defensive force, entirely armed with macrojump-era vessels, many over fifty years old.  The NFO has approximately 4,400 active duty starships, including 265 cruisers and 310 carriers, but no battleships or battle carriers.  The Marine Command is a light, quickly deployable fighting force integrated into the NFO.  It consists of one Marine Corps of approximately 80,000 troops assigned to each fleet group and usually deploys in brigade-sized combat units aboard a dedicated carrier.  The Federation of Orion's last substantial conflict was the Second Rim War, concluded in 5476CE; however, the NFO did deploy an expeditionary fleet to combat the Awoken during the War on Biologicals in the 6580s.

The Vanguard of the Federation of Orion (VFO), the FOO's recontact and exploration branch, is a paramilitary organization substantially better equipped and funded than the NFO.  Operating out of over eighty frontier bases, the VFO has an active fleet of 192 microjump and 4,280 macrojump vessels, mostly escort class vehicles, but including 24 cruisers, 40 carriers, and 230 frigates.  VFO duties often carry patrols hundreds of light-years beyond the Federation border and occasionally involve conflict with raiders and hostile local governments.

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