About The United Commonwealth
Established in 2348, The United Commonwealth is humanity's largest governmental organization since the destruction of Earth and Mars. Spread across the vastness of space, encompassing over one hundred worlds and dozens of factions, and composed of the mistrustful remnants of humanity, the Commonwealth is a fragile vessel. That the Commonwealth has endured for over 120 years is a testament to the careful checks and balances of the governmental structure, preserving a loose core of democracy among the myriad of ruling philosophies among the factions and colonies.
The Commonwealth provides a number of common services to the faction worlds that make up its membership including access to CommNet and the Commonwealth Stock Exchange, protection by the Commonwealth Navy, shared knowledge of scientific advancements, and a peaceful way to resolve disputes between members.
The events that sparked the founding of the Commonwealth began on Earth in the late twenty-third century, fifty years before the Coretia Accords were ratified. The events outlined below are some of the more pivotal events, but the timeline does not reflect the full scope of Commonwealth history.
The Burning Begins
2298 - The Burning Begins
Biological mutagen released on Earth, sparking limbic riots and wide-spread destruction which eventually becomes known as the Burning.June 17th
First Earth refugees arrive on Mars, unknowingly bringing the mutagen with them.October 13th
Mars Corporate Authority declares state of emergency after a limbic riot in Catenae Utopia, establishes refugee camps.November 3rd
Nuclear detonations begin on Earth.December 22nd
Final nuclear bomb set off in Sri Lanka.
Europa Primus Destroyed
2300 - Europa Primus Destroyed
The Europa colony's main dome was punctured by a grief-stricken freighter pilot named Kallie Morton who had just been informed his wife and two young daughters had died in the limbic riots. He set his fully-loaded freighter on a collision course with Europa Primus, the colony's main habitation center.
On impact, the ship tore through the dome like paper, crashing into the main power core. The subsequent explosion blew the dome wide open. In an instant, over eighty percent of Europa's population was either consumed by the fireball or sucked into the vacuum of space.
Aeternae Mortem Massacre
2304 - Aeternae Mortem Massacre
The Guerre Circulaire had been raging for 18 months. Neither side was willing, however, to take the ultimate step of a full-on assault on a settlement. The stakes were simply too high. The smaller settlements housed tens of thousands of people while the larger had populations numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Instead, clinical strikes and assassinations were traded by both sides.
The nativist civil war only worsened the desperate situation in the camps, causing them to resent all Martians. Food and water became even more scarce. The unrest in the camps grew worse, sparking more terrorism in the settlements, which in turn caused further retribution in response.
Tensions finally boiled over in late 2304 after months of sporadic combat and terrorism. A secret cult called the Aeternae Mortem had arisen from among the stricken refugees. Aeternae Mortem believed that mankind was being punished for its sins and was fated for extinction. It was their duty, they believed, to accelerate that end.
On December 25, 2304, select teams of the cult simultaneously destroyed food production facilities in twenty-one settlements, effectively wiping out the planet's agricultural capability. They also blew up the ice mining facilities at the poles. Other members began breaching protective atmospheric seals and detonating any explosives they could find, in both the camps and the settlements.
In a single day, over 5 million people were killed. In the weeks that followed, the remaining 6.6 million turned on each other as starvation set in. There was no time to grow new food and, even if there had been, all seed stores had been destroyed.
Emergency Astronomical Survey
2306.1 - Alexandria Incident
There weren't enough resources in Earth orbit to feed 1.1 million people. Station administrators argued with the refugee ship captains over food and water supplies, to the point that several ship captains threatened to forcibly take over a station and seize its goods.
The tensions came to a head when a group of refugee ships surrounded Alexandria Station, which was constructed as a repository of mankind's knowledge and the central node for the internet satellite network. Ignoring repeated warnings, the 23 ships began systematically disabling the station's defenses. The captain of the Profugus, however, took the dismantling too far and targeted the station's fuel depot. The ensuing explosive chain reaction didn't completely destroy the Alexandria, but it may as well have given the consequence of the damage.
Multiple fail-safes failed to protect large portions of the data repository because the magnitude of the blast exceeded the system's design for risk tolerance. Great quantities of scientific data were wiped out including the latest advances in biology, genetics, physics, nanotech, and medicine.
The response was instant and brutal from the other stations and even the other refugee captains. The captains and crews of all 23 ships were put to death after a hasty trial issued a unanimous sentence.
2306.2 - Lagrange Conclave
The attack on Alexandria Station had a sobering effect on all parties as they realized that the chances of survival had diminished for everyone. A meeting for refugee and station leaders was called for at Midpoint Terminal, a station situated at the L1 Earth-Moon Lagrange point, to discuss the future of humanity.
Despite the desperation of the situation, various factions emerged that demanded to lay claim to various parts of the solar system, with multiple claims on the most viable locations. However, the specter of the infighting and resource grabs on Mars and in Earth orbit loomed over the proceedings, with more conflicts threatening to erupt in the near future.
The limbic riots were another consideration at the forefront of the conclave's collective mind. Nearly every surviving human had been exposed to and had proven susceptible to the epigenetic virus. A cure seemed unlikely anytime soon given the loss of almost all medical research on Alexandria Station. The best countermeasure to the riots on Mars and in orbit had proven to limit populations to groups of 500 people or less.April 1st
In the end, no one was happy with the final agreement of the Lagrange Conclave, which was labeled the Diaspora Declaration.
Simply stated, the Diaspora Declaration concluded that remaining in the Sol system was too likely to bring about the destruction of humanity through fights over resources. Because no one could agree which faction would get which colony location, everyone was to leave the solar system altogether to settle in surrounding systems.
Since limbic riots were still a real danger, it was decided that each settlement would have a population of no more than 500 people. Only a single settlement would be planted in each system to allow the initial colony room to bifurcate as it grew over its population limit.
Furthermore, to prevent multiple groups from returning to Sol to fight over resources or to scavenge the ruins and gain an advantage over other factions, Sol's coordinates would be erased from all computers, with pieces of its location divided among specific faction leaders. Should humanity ever be united again and a cure for the epigenetic virus be found, a return to reclaim Sol and Earth could be undertaken.
In order to address the most immediate needs, namely the resource shortfall, it was decided that the majority of the survivors would be placed in cryogenic suspension until they were ready for colonization. The move would also serve to deescalate tensions while preparations were made.
2306.3 - Emergency Astronomical Survey
The Emergency Astronomical Survey was commissioned to find the most viable locations for colonization. The survey used telescopes to identify likely nearby habitable planets, but also extended their search by using micro-probes outfitted with wave drives to explore systems that ranged beyond the capabilities of the telescopes.
Avante Garde Faction Forms
2321 - Avante Garde Faction Forms
Seeded with supplies from Exopolis One, the colony of Maudlin is founded on the planet Triptych in the Airlie system.
Before Maudlin had even established itself as self-sufficient, it immediately began trading with its sister colony, formalizing the process with the first official faction treaty. Together, the two formed the first modern faction, the Avante Garde.
2346 - Coretia Accords
After the Santiago Genocide of 2336, every faction and colony was on edge, fearful and mistrustful of the others. The mutual distrust had hardly diminished ten years later when the Coretia Accords convened. The Accords progressed over the next six months, with numerous proposals tendered and rejected for various reasons.
In the end, it was a joint proposal brought forward by representatives from the Uropha and Sla'yanski factions that garnered the support needed. Dubbed the Grand Accord, the proposal became the framework upon which the Commonwealth would be built.
With a weak central government, the factions would be largely free to govern themselves while adhering to a small set rules and benefitting from common services.
2360 - Dominicus Directive
Fresh after the Coretia Accords of 2346 and the founding of Commonwealth in 2348, the initial eight Commonwealth factions were still wary of each other and distrustful. The interstellar gulf between colonies required communication to be conducted via the few trade ships that migrated from colony to colony.
The solitude bred suspicions and resentment in many colonies as unprovable rumors worried their way from the tall tales of the trading ship crews to the dinner tables of the colonists. Local governors and their political opponents sought to leverage the innuendo and fear to their advantage. Coups broke out, toppling several colonial governments.
By the late 2350's, at least two factions were on the brink of disintegrating because of in-fighting between their colonies. Among the other factions, accusations of spying and sabotage were growing more forceful, though no official reprimands were ever sanctioned due to the discord in the Faction Council. The fledgling Commonwealth seemed on the brink of either dissolution or civil war.
Well aware of the rising tensions, a proposal was made in 2360 by a non-faction member of the House of Commons, a small colony called Pacem Sidereal. Knowing that a shared goal might be the only way to prevent war, the Pacem Sidereal commonswoman proposed the establishment of a research center that would benefit all members of the Commonwealth.
While the Faction Council was ammenable to the idea of a research center, discussion ground to a halt as they fought over the location. Finally, Coretia, the Commonwealth's capital colony in the Pollentia system, was floated as possible compromise. Coretia was a neutral colony, supported financially by all members of the Commonwealth.
However, the strict population cap of 500 people per colony to prevent further limbic riots like those that destroyed Earth was non-negotiable and effectively ruled out a dual-purpose capital.
The final compromise came by making the entire Pollentia system neutral territory. All four planets were annexed for use by the Commonwealth as a whole: Acropolis, Architrave (home of Coretia), Ruditatis, and Silenda.
Thus, in late 2360, the scientific colony of Dominicus was founded on Ruditatis and the annexation of Pollentia became known as the Dominicus Directive.
2365 - CommNet Established
When Yves Durand published his findings on wave tunnel communication in 2364, the Commonwealth government sought to capitalize on it immediately. The faction heads recognized the opportunity to consolidate their internal power among their own colonies as well as the external economic and strategic benefits.
The first receiver arrays were placed in orbit above Coretia and Dominicus and quickly proved their utility by reducing a 33 minute communication delay to several seconds.
Despite the general eagerness to implement wave tunnel communication across the Commonwealth, the Unico Real councilwoman temporarily derailed the project by declaring that she didn't want Commonwealth-controlled receivers near her colonies. The locations were protected information, she argued, and divulging them could place her colonies at risk of military action. Moreover, the arrays themselves could be hacked or used for espionage.
It was finally settled that factions would control their own networks of arrays using their own security protocols. The faction arrays could then communicate with the public Commonwealth arrays through a proxy array not tied to a colony location.
In 2365, additional arrays were constructed and ships were dispatched to place them just outside all known drop points. At the time, the new network was jokingly referred to as the Telegraph Trail, though it eventually came to be called by its formal name, the Commonwealth Communication Network, or CommNet.
Commonwealth Navy Commissioned
2372 - Commonwealth Navy Commissioned
The Commonwealth Membership Protocol didn't go over well with all new applicants as they felt they were not given equal status as the founding eight factions. That displeasure resulted in the destruction of a dozen CommNet arrays in 2372, proving the relative fragility of the new network.
In response, the Commonwealth Government commissioned a navy to protect and service CommNet. The navy was to be headquartered at Munitio, a new military colony on the planet Acropolis in the Pollentia system.
Factions and unaffiliated colonies also began to tighten their security, adding defensive and stealth capabilities to each array. It soon became commonplace for ships to communicate only with the Commonwealth arrays when outside of faction space as access to any non-faction arrays was completely restricted to outsiders.
Commonwealth Stock Exchange Opens
2375 - Commonwealth Stock Exchange Opens
The Commonwealth Stock Exchange debuts with 30 publicly traded corporations from colonies located in the Imperium Core. New corporations were quickly added, but the initial 30 eventually became known as the Imperium Core Index (ICI) and serve as a general economic health indicator.
Orbital Colonies Destroyed
2299 - Orbital Colonies Destroyed
The orbitals around Earth that survived are severely crippled. Over a period of several months, three of the seventeen orbiting stations are destroyed as the rioters overcame police forces by sheer force of numbers and either set off incendiary devices or overloaded the fuel stores. Those that remained survived only by banning all public gatherings and physically partitioning the stations to prevent large groups from gathering.
Refugees Revolt On Mars
2302 - Refugees Revolt On Mars
The refugee camps on Mars were scenes of constant chaos. The outbreak of additional limbic riots in the camps mean that the camp residents needed to be further divided, first in groups of 10,000, then 1,000, and then finally 500 as fear of more riots mounted. Each division meant that new habitation domes needed to be constructed, but building supplies and raw materials were dwindling to the point that new camps were little more than airtight bubbles with only marginal heating.
The situation was untenable. Even though the Mars Corporate Authority (MCA) was working feverishly to accelerate resource production and to improve the living conditions in the refugee camps, it didn't matter. On February 4, 2302, the first camp revolted and attacked Mars' smallest settlement, Becquerel Crater.October 2nd
The MCA set up a provisional court to rule on the attack. After a long trial of over 8 months, the court ruled that Martian settlements should undergo a further 5% rationing to aid the plight of the refugees. However, the attackers were to be executed.
The ruling was intended to be neutral, but instead sparked a conflagration across the planet. The camps revolted, the MCA retaliated, and the Guerre Circulaire began.
The Fall Of Mars
2305 - The Fall Of Mars
The aftermath of the Aeternae Mortem Massacre was immediate.
The refugee camps swarmed into the settlements seeking food, only to cause further limbic riots as the natives were exposed to the contagion. Life support systems were sabotaged in an attempt to preserve food stores a while longer, wiping out hundreds of thousands. Settlements began engaging in open warfare with each other, regardless of previous affiliations.
In total, 700,000 people managed to escape into orbit to flee back to Earth's orbitals, hoping to find refuge again after Mars.
Those that remained spent their final months in all-out warfare over unsalvageable resources. No survivors ever made contact from Mars again.
Exodus From Sol
Exopolis One Founded
2308.1 - Exodus From Sol
It took over two years, but the preparations were finally completed in 2308.
While wave drives were a new but proven technology at that point, they weren't in common use as no extra-solar colonies had yet been established. Only a few of the ships had a wave drive. Those few scientists and engineers remaining were charged with copying the drives and installing them in every ship.
The orbital stations were also to fitted with wave drives, though preparing them for space travel and wave jumps was a more Herculean task as they needed to be structurally reinforced.
While the ships and stations were being prepared for travel, other measures were being taken to improve the viability of each new colony. Databanks were created from a pool of the remaining computers in an attempt to reconstruct the knowledge lost in the Alexandria Incident. Each colony would be equipped with basic genetic databases to form limited ecosystems for growing food and some animals. Sadly, the spectrum of genetic diversity on Earth was lost forever.
Colonial kits were constructed from debris and by stripping down some of the ships that were unable to travel. The ruins of Earth and Mars were excavated and what remained of Europa was dismantled. Enough materials were gathered so that each colony would be self-sufficient, but only barely. There would be no redundancy and the margin of error would be razor-thin.
There would be over 2,000 colonies in total, to be spread out among the stars, scattered in every direction. Systems were assigned to colonies by lottery, with each colony only knowing the location of other colonies that belonged to their faction.
When the day of departure finally came, all ships were slaved together to make sure they jumped at the same time. At precisely 3:30AM GMT on May 5, 2308, 2,045 ships winked out of existence from the heliosphere of the cradle of mankind.
2308.2 - Exopolis One Founded
Four ships arrive in the Thagaste system and enter into orbit around Augustine, a rocky planet covered in ice. The crew from the ship The Anchorage is revived and shuttled to the surface to construct Exopolis One, mankind's first colony on an exoplanet.
Exopolis One would eventually also become humanity's first self-sufficient colony after The Burning. After gaining self-sufficiency, the colony supplied the other ships in orbit with goods and resources to continue colonization on other planets.
2336 - Santiago Genocide
The struggle for survival of the early colonies and factions didn't prevent the skirmishes and wars fought between the nascent factions over resources, technology, and political ideals; in fact, it accelerated them because not every colony was able to become self-sufficient.
A first attempt at peace occured 2336 at the Santiago colony in the Bayamo System. The widely publicized talks seemed on the verge of a breakthrough when tragedy struck. Now known as the Santiago Genocide, the colony was utterly destroyed when a ship captain dropped out of wave travel in orbit just above Santiago to prevent unification. It became the first and only instance of a wave bomb used against a colony or populated zone.
The political fallout from the Santiago Genocide was immediate and intense, further fueling distrust among the factions, especially when the captain of the wave bombing ship was never found. Starmaps were erased, trade dried up, whole colonies were moved, and fighting even broke out among several factions.
2348 - Commonwealth Founded
After the Coretia Accords concluded in late 2346, each faction representative returned home to present the results to their colonies. The travel distances and political manuevering meant that the Coretia Accords were not officially ratified until almost a year and a half later.
Thus, in 2348, the Commonwealth was officially founded with eight founding member factions. Coretia would become the Commonwealth's de facto capital.
Though factions were expected to govern humanely, the expectation was left unwritten. There was to be no sweeping Bill of Rights, universally applied to every man, woman, and child. If the populace had rights, they were bestowed on them by the leaders of their faction as they saw fit. Or not.
The Commonwealth was to become a democracy of the fittest, representing the needs of those already in power or those strong enough to take it.
Wave Tunnel Communication Discovered
2363 - Wave Tunnel Communication Discovered
Work on Dominicus began almost immediately. The mutual distrust of the factions caused each to send resources and scientific personnel for fear of suffering a technical disadvantage from participating factions.
While the factions intended for their personnel to act as agents and extensions of their own governments, the scientists had other ideas. Led and inspired by Yves Durand, an Avant Garde scientist, the new residents of Domincus decided to ignore the political arena and focus on pure research.
The first scientific breakthrough happened quickly, in 2363, while much of the colony was still under construction. It was Durand himself who was responsible.
Durand realized that one of the most immediate problems facing the Commonwealth was the speed of communication. It was impossible to share a common culture across such great distances and intervening periods of time. Superluminal travel was possible with the Alcubierre wave drive, but the costs of the journey meant that few people traveled regularly. Faster-than-light communication, however, had not yet been achieved.
Experimenting with the principles that made the wave drive possible, Durand discovered that he was able to create a microscopic, fixed-point continual Alcubierre wave, a phenomenon he called a wave tunnel. By manipulating the wave frequency and power, data could be transmitted through to the wave's endpoint.
However, just as in the case of the wave drive, the terminus of a wave tunnel could cause extensive damage to anything in its path, though on a much smaller scale given that the wave tunnel was microscopic and the Alcubierre wave from a wave drive needed to be large enough to propel a ship through space. The dispersal area for a wave tunnel measured in thousands of cubic kilometers versus several AU for the wave drive.
Durand and his colleagues constructed a special sensor array that could measure the output of a wave tunnel from a safe distance. The array could, in turn, create another wave tunnel directed toward another receiver array, or retransmit the information to local space via more conventional communication methods.
The smaller splash zone for the wave tunnel meant that the endpoints didn't need to follow the same strictures as the drop zones and could safely be placed much closer to colonies. Suddenly, near real-time communication across large sectors of space became a possibility.
Commonwealth Membership Protocol
2371 - Commonwealth Membership Protocol
The initial implementation of CommNet triggered a series of changes across the Commonwealth. Faction governments strengthened their internal ties and became more efficient and responsive to the needs of their individual colonies. Travel and trade between the factions also became more frequent. A central banking system was established and entertainment and news options began to come online. Slowly, a shared culture began forming.
CommNet access was restricted to members of the Commonwealth only, so its advent served as the impetus for many holdout factions and colonies to formally apply for membership. Both the Faction Council and the House of Commons were reluctant to dilute their political power with new members but still wanted the economic gain from trade, so in 2371 they instituted the Commonwealth Membership Protocol as a political gateway mechanism to control the amount of power new entrants could wield.
In order to prevent the dilution of their influence and voting power, the founding eight factions passed a measure as a part of the Commonwealth Membership Protocol, awarding two votes to each founding faction councilmember in perpetuity, whereas each new faction admitted to the Council would only receive a single vote. This ensured the continued supremacy of the founding eight.
First Commonwealth Tax Act
2374 - First Commonwealth Tax Act
The creation of a military and the cost of servicing the CommNet arrays prompted the passage of the First Commonwealth Tax Act in 2374 to pay for the expansion. Many faction governments followed suit, reintroducing taxation to the majority of mankind for the first time since the Burning.
While there were some drawbacks to the new order like taxation, most Commonwealth citizens saw the advent of CommNet as the critical first step to truly recovering from the exodus from Earth. Though scattered among the stars, the remnants of man could still yet adapt and survive.
The Commonwealth does not have executive or judicial branches. Instead, there are two legislative bodies: the House of Commons and the Faction Council. Each legislature accounts for fifty percent of the vote and all votes must reach a two-thirds majority to pass. Any measure must be sponsored by at least two factions in order to be considered.
House Of Commons
The House of Commons is the representative branch of government, with a delegate from each Commonwealth member colony receiving a vote. The delegates are known as commonsmen and commonswomen.
At the founding of the Commonwealth, each councilmember received only a single vote as there were only eight factions. However, following the creation of the CommNet in 2365, other factions became eager to join. In order to prevent the dilution of their influence and voting power, the founding eight passed a measure in 2371 as a part of the Commonwealth Membership Protocol, awarding two votes to each founding faction councilmember in perpetuity, whereas each new faction admitted to the Council would only receive a single vote. This ensured the continued supremacy of the founding eight.
Power is more concentrated within the Faction Council. Only full member factions are allowed a councilmember. Often, the councilmember is also the titular faction head, though some factions elect to send full-time councilmembers as an extension of the will of the faction leader.
The Council is composed of the original eight factions that were present at the founding of the Commonwealth. There are procedures in place to expand the Council, but they have never been enacted.
The founding of the Commonwealth established few common laws, but those put in place were to be enforced and administered by the legislature. Among those laws put in place at the Coretia Accords were:
- Population Limits The population limit for each colony is strictly capped at 500 to prevent further destruction from riots due to limbic hijacking.
- Mutual Defense The member factions of the Commonwealth agree to provide mutual defense against outside military aggression.
- Mutual Emergency Aid In the case of colonial emergencies and natural disasters, the Commonwealth government has the ability to dispense emergency response teams with supplies and equipment requisitioned from the colonies.
- Open Trade Member factions must not selectively apply tariffs on other member factions. Any taxes on goods or services must be applied to both local populations as well as the traders. Tariffs may only be applied to non-member transactions.
- Dispute Management All disputes and disagreements between member factions will be heard and mediated by a select panel of councilmembers and commonsmen and commonswomen.
No provisions for taxes or military forces were included in the initial language of the Coretia Accords, but they were later added in 2374 as a part of the First Commonwealth Tax Act and Naval Commission Bill respectively. Since that time, several other expansions to Commonwealth power have also been passed, but the government has so far resisted most calls to mass centralization.
At the heart of the Commonwealth politics is the concept of the faction. At Commonwealth-scale, the larger, more powerful factions can often push through their agendas with brute force, but smaller factions must build broad coalitions to enact legislation.
Factions predated the Commonwealth, but the Coretia Accords and the subsequent Commonwealth Membership Protocol of 2371 codified them with a formal definition, cementing them as the foundational political unit of the United Commonwealth.
Each faction is allowed to self-govern and a number of different governmental systems exist within the Commonwealth; everything from democracies to dictatorships.
While factions can and do exist outside of the Commonwealth, there is a specific process for any group to be formally recognized as a Commonwealth faction and, thus, a full voting member of the Faction Council. If a colony wishes to apply to the Commonwealth and eventually become a faction, they must go through the full application process.
In general, colonies and factions fall under six categories:
- Unregistered Colony The colony is not a member of the Commonwealth. It is not taxed. Member factions can trade with the colony, but it cannot take part in the greater Commonwealth economy. It does not have official access to CommNet and expansion is considered prohibited if the colony wishes to become a future recognized protectorate.
- Recognized Protectorate The colony is a non-voting member of the Commonwealth. It can participate in the economy and has access to CommNet, but cannot expand to form additional colonies. Taxes must be paid.
- Faction Applicant The colony has submitted a formal application to
become a faction. The application is composed of three phases, each of which has unique
requirements and privileges:
- Level 1 The colony must gain two full member faction sponsors. On gaining the sponsors, the colony will gain voting rights in the House of Commons and will be eligible for Level 2.
- Level 2 The colony needs to obtain a total of five full member faction sponsors. On doing so, they will be granted the right to expand and create other colonies within their local star system.
- Level 3 The colony must have fully colonized all major celestial bodies within their star system. This requirement was put in place to ensure that the potential faction is fully self-sufficient, has the necessary economic prowess, and is politically and strategically important enough to merit consideration as a full member faction.
- Member Faction In order to take the final step to become a member faction, the faction applicant must be admitted by a two-thirds vote in the legislature. Once admitted, the faction will be permitted to colonize outside of its initial star system. At this point, the faction is technically also eligible to join the Faction Council; however, in practice the Faction Council has vetoed every attempt at expanding its member count.
- Criminal Syndicate Rather than applying for Commonwealth membership, an unregistered colony may wish instead to pursue activities that skirt the edges of common law and order. Sometimes labeled pirates, smugglers, or worse, these colonies are often employed by members of the Commonwealth to do their dirty work. Syndicates enjoy some trade on the black market among willing members and non-members, but do not have access to many of the benefits of Commonwealth life.
- Renegade Factions Renegade factions are factions that have been permanently ousted from the Commonwealth for committing atrocities or excessive warlike behavior. Commonwealth members are instructed to shoot any renegade ships on sight. Renegade factions will find that only criminal syndicates are willing to have any contact with them.