|First appearance||"Under the Night" (2 October 2000)|
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The All Systems Commonwealth or simply the Systems Commonwealth is a fictional intergalactic government from Gene Roddenberry's science fiction TV series Andromeda. It was born out of the Vedran Empire. The Vedrans, originating from Tarn-Vedra, which was their homeworld and the capital of their empire, were the first known race to discover the Slipstream, the only known way to travel faster-than-light. They built their empire by traveling to the different star systems and conquering the inhabited and colonizing the uninhabited worlds. The Commonwealth was a democratic federation of planets, drifts (space stations or orbital habitats), and systems. Depending on where you look, the Commonwealth (and its preceding Empire) was spread across Three Galaxies (referred in the fourth season of the show simply as "Tri-Galaxies") or Six Galaxies. It lasted for about 5500 years, starting with a time of political reform and ending with a violent civil war started by the Nietzscheans and subsequent invasion by the terrifying Magog.
- 1 Origins
- 2 The Nietzschean Insurrection and Commonwealth Civil War
- 3 The Long Night
- 4 The Restored Systems Commonwealth
- 5 Governments
- 6 Member races of the Commonwealth
- 7 References
- 8 External links
After discovering the Slipstream, the Vedrans founded their Empire as they travelled from system to system subjugating other worlds. The Vedran government was an absolute hereditary monarchy, with the empress as the head of state and government. As the Vedrans continued expanding throughout the Andromeda Galaxy—the galaxy in which they originated—and the nearby Triangulum Galaxy, and Milky Way Galaxy, they eventually encountered the Kalderans in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. The Kalderans managed to somehow capture Vedran Slipstream technology and reverse-engineered it for their own use; it was not long before the Kalderan Alliance formed to offset Vedran incursions into their system. This was one of few active attempts at resisting Vedran imperialism and eventually escalated into a brutal war between the Kalderans and Vedrans for control of the Magellanic Cloud territories. The conflict ended with the Vedran bombardment of the Kalderan capital, Kalderash, and the forced integration of the Kalderan Alliance into the Vedran Empire.
Despite four thousand years of successful conquest, the monolithic Vedran Empire could not last. The Vedrans themselves had become a minority within their own Empire, relative to the numbers of other races which included the Kalderans, Makra, and Perseids, amongst others. Eventually, even their military, the High Guard—previously the exclusive preserve of the Vedrans themselves—became too small to maintain control of the many planets within Vedran borders. The Vedrans were forced to allow non-Vedrans into their ranks. However, dissatisfaction with Vedran domination continued among the Empire's non-Vedran citizens. This culminated in the Perseid Insurrection, which was a failed but very significant attempt at secession by the Empire's Perseid worlds. The High Guard crushed the uprising violently and thus preserved the Empress' authority, but at the same time a series of events and reforms were set in motion that would eventually undermine absolute imperial authority and set the stage for democracy.
Empire to Commonwealth
The popular reaction to the devastation of the Perseid Insurrection forced the Vedrans to appease their subjects lest they face a more widespread revolution. Elections were held in CY 4205 for the Conclave, the first parliament for the Empire. Over the following decades, the Conclave would exceed its intended purpose as a powerless facade and pass reforms and legislation. This progressivism soon evolved into republicanism, and factions formed calling for the abolishment of the Imperial Throne and establishment of a Systems Republic. The Empress and her loyalists protested and only a compromise brokered by Sani nax Rifati prevented a civil war—the Vedran Empire became the Systems Commonwealth, and instead of being an absolute hereditary monarchy, it became a parliamentary monarchy, with the Empress as a ceremonial head of state to symbolize the bond of Vedran monarchy to popular democracy.
The All-Systems University
Soon after the Empire morphed into the Systems Commonwealth, the All-Systems University was born to collect and preserve knowledge from the Known Worlds. One of its most prominent components was the Special Collections Division, which would grow into the main field research and preservation division.
Even this federation of professors and librarians, however, would grow its own ambitions and split into factions in the future. After the Fall, these Collectors would go into hiding and operate clandestinely to gather and preserve knowledge from before the Long Night. Some remained true to the original ideals of the ASU - to preserve knowledge for the sake of it; others deviated and used the knowledge to gain power in the chaos and manipulated the knowledge for personal gain.
When the planet Earth joined the Systems Commonwealth, humanity almost immediately assimilated to the new technologies presented by the Commonwealth and traveled outside Earth. Humanity thus contributed greatly to Commonwealth culture, politics, and military.
Soon, genetic engineering became all the rage within human society, granting many groups of humans new capabilities such as the ability to breathe underwater (the race of the Castalians), live on heavy-gravity worlds (the race of the "heavy-worlders"), see in almost total darkness (the race of the Inari), or even all of the above. Genetic Scientist Paul Musevini encouraged his devoted human followers at Ayn Rand Station, orbiting the planet Fountainhead, to lead a life of constant physical, mental, and emotional betterment, using the stern philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche as a guide. His son, Drago Musevini, became the "First True" "Nietzschean", due to genetic engineering, and thus was called the Progenitor of the large group of genetically engineered superhumans known as the "Nietzschean Race". Drago Musevini became the leader of this first colony of Nietzscheans and by the time of his death, he was revered as nearly a god among these genetically enhanced people. He split his followers into multiple different clans, which would later evolve into the famous Nietzschean Prides. He was the first leader of the Drago-Kazov, the most powerful of all Nietzschean Prides. Though they lived primarily as warriors, the Nietzscheans were, like their human cousins, major contributors to every aspect of Systems Commonwealth government, culture, science, art, entertainment, military, and society.
Illusions of peace
The Commonwealth celebrated an era that came to be known as the "Twelve Centuries of Peace" in which it continued to grow and prosper, even though peace with the rival Pyrian Empire (the Pyrians lived on hot inner Venus-like planets) always seemed uneasy and tentative at best. By CY 9760, a pacifist movement managed to call a referendum for disbandment of the High Guard. Though the referendum was in favor of High Guard, it was by a very slim margin and thus the pacifists vowed to revisit the issue.
Only 6 years after the referendum, a brutal and vicious species mercilessly attacked Brandenburg-Tor, a frontier colony. Few of the 3 billion inhabitants managed to live to tell the tale of the bloody attack. For 15 more years, this new enemy, called the Magog, attacked numerous other settlement worlds, and numerous battles were fought between High Guard and Magog.
The Andromeda Ascendant's mission
The Andromeda Ascendant, under command of Perseid Captain Perrim, was sent on a highly classified secret mission to locate the source of the Magog invasion. What the Andromeda found was beyond belief. A structure of 20 hollow worlds joined together, manipulated and powered by an artificial sun at its center: the Magog World Ship, with huge armadas of Swarm Ships, in another galaxy filled with dust and black holes, working its way toward the Known Worlds while sending advance fleets to clear the area for the World Ship. The Andromeda was overwhelmed by Swarm Ships, her entire crew slaughtered. She managed to escape into Slipstream, but since AIs cannot navigate it on their own, she wandered the tangled webs alone, lost, and blind. By the time she emerged in the Triangulum Galaxy, she was halfway to having gone rampant from loneliness, and almost attacked a Than ship. When she limped back to the nearest Commonwealth outpost, the Vedrans got the information and report from the mission and erased her memory of the mission, and commissioned her back into service with no recollection of the suicidal mission into the heart of the Magog, this time under the command of a half-genetically engineered human officer from the planet Tarn-Vedra, Dylan Hunt.
The Treaty of Antares
The Treaty of Antares ended the war between the Magog and the Systems Commonwealth, establishing a border between the alien invaders and the member races of the Systems Commonwealth, with the Magog keeping control over sectors that were already devastated by their initial attacks known as the Quarantine Zone. Since many Nietzschean frontier worlds were attacked, the Nietzscheans, among others, launched vigorous protests and called for complete extermination of the Magog. Several Nietzschean worlds, under the leadership of the Drago-Kazov Pride, threatened to leave the Commonwealth but remained because of increased security assurance from High Guard Command.
The Nietzschean Insurrection and Commonwealth Civil War
The Treaty of Antares still resting uneasily in Nietzschean minds, several of the Prides, under the leadership of the Drago-Kazov, the most powerful of all Nietzschean Prides, conspired to replace the Commonwealth, which they perceive as weak, with a Nietzschean Empire. Though most Nietzscheans still remained loyal to the Commonwealth, the worlds that did support the Dragans began spending sprees and retrofitted passenger liners into fighters and cruisers, and this "Nietzschean Alliance" amassed a huge fleet.
The Insurrection essentially began at the Nietzschean-populated Hephaistos System, where a convenient rogue black hole provided the Nietzschean Alliance with a trap to lure High Guard ships into the system to be ambushed and destroyed by waiting ships. One-by-one, the Nietzscheans managed to pick off High Guard starships until they got the attention of the Andromeda and Dylan Hunt. The Andromeda's captain realized it was a trap too late, and by the time the shock set in, the Andromeda was too far from a Slip-point to be able to escape the system alive. Dylan Hunt ordered his crew to abandon ship and, with his then pilot, the insectoid hermaphrodite Refractions of Dawn, sent the ship directly into the singularity, hoping for a slingshot effect to thrust the ship toward the nearest Slip-point. The Nietzscheans followed the grand prize into the black hole but also went for the escape pods, but many of the crew managed to escape and warn the High Guard. Because of sabotage by the Nietzschean XO, Gaheris Rhade, the Andromeda was unable to pull back and slingshot away and was frozen in time, teetering at the edge of the event horizon.
Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the Known Worlds, sleeper cells attacked once word reached them that the Andromeda's crew warned the Commonwealth. Half the High Guard fleet was destroyed while still in the shipyards and the dockyards.
Though the human and alien loyalists had more numbers than the Nietzschean insurrectionists, the High Guard had not fought an organized war in more than twelve centuries, and so it was easy for the Nietzschean Alliance to deal mortal blows to the Systems Commonwealth. The planet Earth itself was bombarded, and the only major failure of the Nietzscheans in the first year of the war was the battle for San-Ska-Re, the Than homeworld. The Empress was killed in a Nietzschean attack as well. Success continued well into the second year - CY 9785 - when the Nietzschean Alliance seized the vital Acheron Delta system, preventing a key High Guard offensive.
During the second year of the Insurrection/Civil War, Commonwealth morale was damaged even further with the disappearance of the Vedrans and Tarn-Vedra. The High Guard and remnants of the Systems Commonwealth were left behind to fend for themselves as Nietzschean military successes continued.
The Battle of Witchhead
The Battle of Witchhead, at the Witchhead Nebula, was the final and climactic battle in the Civil War. 100 High Guard ships were supposed to gather there to launch an attack on Fountainhead, the Nietzschean homeworld, hoping to plunge rebel morale. However, 500 Nietzschean capital ships were also at Witchhead, and instead of the High Guard remnant coordinating a strike on Fountainhead, the two fleets battled bitterly until they destroyed each other. This battle shattered the Nietzschean Alliance as Jaguar Pride and its allies betrayed the weakened Drago-Kazov Pride and no Nietzschean Empire ever materialized.
The Angel of Death
According to Nietzschean historical records, the Nietzscheans arrived at the Nebula with 1500 ships: a guaranteed victory. However, at the critical hour, "the Angel of Death summoned forth the fires of hell" and destroyed the Nietzschean fleet, "their glorious victory turned to ashes". When the High Guard arrived, the 500 survivor ships were off-balance and confused. The Angel of Death was in fact the Andromeda Ascendant, which Slipstreamed back in time just before the battle to set history right again and with an Anti-Proton (AP) Fusion Catalyst, sent the nebula into flames, incinerating two-thirds of the Nietzschean fleet.
The Long Night
After millennia of prosperity, the Systems Commonwealth had fallen in ashes. Instead of a Nietzschean Empire, chaos reigned, the leading Nietzschean Prides turned on each other, reducing most of the Nietzschean Prides to a shadow of their former glory.
Months after the Battle of Witchhead, the Magog invaded once again, this time in much greater numbers, and wiped away the last remaining struts of the Commonwealth. They even annihilated nearly all of planet Earth's human population.
With the chaos that spread throughout the Known Worlds, a remaining Commonwealth officer, Admiral Constanza Stark, formed an organization named the Knights Templar, a group dedicated to stopping the aggressive Nietzscheans from conquering the entire universe. Unfortunately, the Knights Templar soon split into two groups, one of which would become the infamous Knights of Genetic Purity, or Genites.
The Restored Systems Commonwealth
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Three hundred years after the Fall, Dylan Hunt and a ragtag team of human, alien and Nietzschean misfits began to restore peace and order, or try to. Once the threat from the Magog became known, a unified front became even more urgent. Approximately 50 worlds were joined together to reform it. Mainly, ordinary humans (every gene type), a few loyalist Nietzschean prides from the planet Tarazed, a few member worlds of the Than Hegemony, the Kalderans and others.
Some would say the Commonwealth lasted for millennia because of the Vedrans. Others would say the Commonwealth lasted so long despite them. The Restored Systems Commonwealth immediately faced problems. It was a confederation of disparate, sometimes rival, planets, systems, and political entities, and opportunism was everywhere. Various member species and worlds were at odds with each other. The humans, Nietzscheans and various alien species were rivals who often fought one another for domination of known space. The new Commonwealth was at a fraction of its old glory. The Collectors were a particularly powerful political entity vying for control.
The Pyrian Conflict
One of the new Commonwealth's main problems, were the orb-like race known as the Pyrians, who "pyroform" other planets to suit their needs. One of the planets they were attempting to take was called Samsarra. The Commonwealth had to deploy nearly its entire fleet to deal with this. Despite the fact they had the Pyrians cornered, a new fleet of Pyrian Torch ships ambushed the former, forcing them to retreat. This forced Dylan to have the fleet destroy Samsarra, convincing the Pyrians to open negotiations.
Once again, the Nietzscheans betrayed the Systems Commonwealth. This time, because the infamous Tyr Anasazi, a Nietzschean former member of Captain Dylan Hunt's own crew, tricked them into believing him to be the Nietzschean Messiah — a genetic reincarnation of legendary Nietzschean Progenitor Drago Musevini. All of the Systems Commonwealth's enemies joined together against both the powerful Nietzscheans of the Drago-Kazov Pride and the High Guard Fleet that refused to retreat. The Secession took a heavy toll on the Restored Systems Commonwealth: at least one entire system destroyed; the Perseid planet Sinti occupied by the enemy; many of the new High Guard's prize possessions also destroyed, and a power vacuum that brought to light the true powers behind the Restored Systems Commonwealth - powers that controlled it and perhaps directed its demise. Later, it was also discovered that the most powerful Nietzschean Prides were working with the cosmic entity known as the 'Spirit of the Abyss'.
The Battle of Arkology
The Andromeda had fought against the Magog World Ship in a final attempt to save the three galaxies at the station Arkology. However, the inhabitants, mostly humans and a few Nietzscheans, were pacifists and wished for peace with the Magog. The entire crew (apparently) gave their lives to defeat this danger to the galaxies. They couldn't prevent the massacre of the inhabitants at the hands of the Magog. The Magog Worldship was apparently not destroyed in this battle by Trance Gemini, but was just badly crippled.
The Battle of Tarazed
When the Andromeda arrived back from the Seefra system through the Route of Ages, the crew learned that the Magog Worldship wasn't actually destroyed, but merely crippled. The remaining Commonwealth fleets were faring badly in the four standard days the crew was gone. A huge Nietzschean fleet from the Drago-Kazov and Sabra-Jaguar Prides was on its way to the planet Tarazed, capital of the Restored Systems Commonwealth, populated by humans and loyalist Nietzschean Prides. The starship Andromeda was the only line of defense. Dylan Hunt learned that the Methus sun wasn't only built for the Seefra system to survive, but also to destroy the Spirit of the Abyss. The Avatar of the Sun destroyed the Spirit of the Abyss in the Route of Ages, creating a slipstream portal reuniting the planet Tarn-Vedra with the Known Worlds and restoring the Vedrans to the galaxies. Andromeda captain Dylan Hunt could finally rest after five years of fighting.
The First Commonwealth
The political system of the Commonwealth was a classic parliamentary democracy. The Empress remained as head of state, though with little real power. In lieu of one Premier or Chancellor, the Systems Commonwealth had three heads of government: the Triumvirs, to prevent one person from taking too much power and keep things fair and balanced. The Conclave parliament was tricameral: the Voice of the Sectors represented Sectors (or groups of star systems); the Voice of the Planets represented each member world individually; and a directly-popularly-elected Voice of the People.
With the end of the centralized Vedran Empire and introduction of a democratic commonwealth, there also came political flexibility and thus decentralization. Essentially, the Empire turned from a firm union into a federation of different sectorial governments.
The Reborn Commonwealth
The new Commonwealth was run by the Triumvirate. Hunt was proposed for the Triumvir position, but refused. Though the Triumvirate was elected soon, corruption was clear.
Tri-Spring River Flowing
Being a Vedran, her homeworld is the missing world known as Tarn Vedra, the source of moral authority for the High Guard and founders of the original Systems Commonwealth. The last Vedran to serve the original Systems Commonwealth Triumvirate as First Triumvir, she was technically never killed by any Nietzschean strike team as the other original Triumvirate members were, she was simply missing and pronounced dead. Unofficially, she survived the Long Night and the chaos that replaced the fall of the Commonwealth. She found refuge on San-Ska-Re, the former Commonwealth Provisional Capital and homeworld of the Than-Thre-Kull, there she remained hidden and waiting for democracy to replace the chaos in the Known Worlds. She eventually was found by High Guard Captains Dylan Hunt and Sara Anders. She again continues her role as Triumvir of the Restored Systems Commonwealth.
Tri-Jema's homeworld is unknown. But she was a friend to anyone when she needed their help... not so much when they needed hers... As was the case with Hunt, whom she had put on trial for treason because of a power struggle between idealists and corrupt Collectors. Believing the Collectors to be the winning side, Tri-Jema joined them. But her drive for greed was lethal for her as she perished trying to retrieve a vital star map.
Tri-Ortiz and Tri-Camille
Though Tri-Ortiz (formerly Isabella Ortiz) was idealistic, the Collectors unseated her and put her more complacent sister Tri-Camille in her place. Little is known (from the show) about her.
Grew up on Tarazed idolizing Captain Dylan Hunt, and indeed turned out to be the one Triumvir true to the Systems Commonwealth's ideals. After the Collectors' mock trial of Hunt, Tri-Lorn helped the Andromeda flee the Collector fleet at Tarazed, and a civil war began between the idealistic and Collector factions. Tri-Lorn has not been seen on the show since.
Member races of the Commonwealth
- The Castalians (humans genetically altered to breathe underwater)
- The Chichins
- The Humans (Homo sapiens sapiens)
- The Inari (humans genetically altered to live in almost total darkness)
- The Kalderans (war-like race once conquered by the Vedrans)
- The Nietzscheans (Homo Sapiens Invictus)
- The Nightsiders (a race of shrewd and ruthless entrepreneurs)
- The Perseids (a race of scientists and bureaucrats)
- The Than-Thre-Kull (a technologically advanced insectoid race)
- The Umbrites (alien race dwelling in worlds of perpetual darkness)
- The Vedrans (the first race to discover Slipstream)
- Andromeda Season 1, Episode 6: "Angel Dark, Demon Bright"