The Commonwealth of Bentus, is a union formed by the independent nation-states of the planet Bentus in the Gemini Sector and their respective colonial holdings. Although the Commonwealth is constitutionally responsible for Bentus' foreign relations, and commonly makes federal laws, its members to this day remain technically independent of one another and maintain their own individual customs, traditions and laws.
The Commonwealth officially recognises 23 systems as being under its jurisdiction, although it only truly can project its authority over individual planets within these, and the extent to which it can differs from world to world. Bentus is argueably unique amongst interstellar nations in not maintaining a space-based fleet, and is connected by a series of planet-based Gateways.
The Commonwealth of Bentus is officially a union of the nations of Bentus and their colonies, and most of its member-states maintain seperate armed forces, police and government legislatures. However, the Commonwealth Parliament is a body that is in charge of creating and passing laws and regulations that affect the whole of the Commonwealth and is also the body responsible for presenting a united front with regards to foreign relations.
In recent elections, the a Green and Liberal coalition came to power in Bentus, taking 339 of the 600 available seats in the Parliament, with the Independence Party heading the current oposition.
The head of state in the Commonwealth is the President - current incumbent is President John Hayes - and the head of government is the Prime Minister - currently Mr Aaron Kirkland. The general day-to-day running of the nation and majority of the decision making is undertaken by the Prime Minister who is the head of Parliament, but the President is in fact higher up in the government hierarchy and reserves the right to veto any law he/she sees fit to do so.
See also: Commonwealth Defence Authority
The majority of the armed forces in the Commonwealth are national militaries maintained and commanded by the member states. Although legally these forces can be called upon by the Commonwealth in times of need, their loyalty is first to their respective states and then to the international union. However, the premier fighting force in all of Bentus is the Commonwealth Defence Authority which is mandated with the defence of the entire Commonwealth.
The CDA is made up of the best soldiers Bentus has to offer and recieves only the most cutting edge hardware available. Creaed following the Gateway Wars, the CDA was intitially formed to oversee Bentus' Wargates and WMDs so as to prevent the still-separate nations from descending into such a conflict ever again. However, with the founding of the Commonwealth as a multi-national government, its role evolved to be one of defence, and if the need should arise, offence.
The Gateway NetworkEdit
Unlike the majority of interstellar states, the Commonwealth is connected through a series of terrestrial phase-space connections referred to as Gateways. These artificial constructs act as anchor points in real-space to allow the stablization of phase lanes and the safe travel through them. The Gateway Network enables instantaneous travel throughout the Commonwealth, and most modern Gates are stable enough to allow the construction of roads, and even piping and trans-planetary cables through the aperture.
Most Gate Connections require two connected Gates to be able to function, however two further types of Gateway exist: tears and War Gates. Tears are primitive forms of Gates which require only a single openning and are primarily used to establish initial Gates on new worlds. However, tears are notoriously unstable and small in size, meaning that multiple opennings must be made over a period of time to send through enough automated equipment to establish a Gate. This results in significant energy requirements and costs. Furthermore, the dangers invovled in this technique has lead to the banning of their use in transporting sapient organisms and further increased the costs involved in their use.
War Gates initially appear similar to tears in the fact that they only require a single Gate to function; however, unlike their primitive cousins War Gates can function much like a normal Gate Way, allowing relatively safe and reliable travel. Although their instablisity does mean that they are traditionally openned either in orbit, atmosphere or just above bodies of water rather than near land. Following the devastation wrought by War Gates during the Gateway Wars, all of the Commonwealth's War Gates have been administrated and maintained by the Commonwealth Defence Authority.
There is one further type of Gateway being tested on the field by CDA forces, referred to officially as a 'non-Aperture anchor point' or simply as an 'anchor'. These devices allow for the travel through a War Gate to an area surrounding the device with far less energy use than would otherwise be required, and have attracted interest from many commanders within the CDA.
The Galactic Economic and Security Organization (GESO)Edit
The Commonwealth of Bentus is one of the newer members of GESO and as such has yet to become fully integrated into the military-economic alliance. GESO is a Milky Way (Prime) based organization which the Commonwealth first made contact with during its rapid expansion. Due to the nature of Bentus' means of interstellar travel, certain colonies find themselves seperated from the main cluster and as such are considered to be more vulnerable. Membership of the GESO alliance is the Commonwealth's main strategy to ensure the safety and security of its Milky Way (Prime) holdings without sacrificing that of their other worlds. However, Bentus is also bound by certain obligations dictated by the GESO charter as a consequence. Most notably, it is forbidden by the agreement to deal with foreign states that engage in forced servitude.
The Mu Trade AllianceEdit
As the Commonwealth lacks its own space-based merchant fleet, it often found itself exploited by competing economic powers. By joining the Mu Trade Alliance, the Commonwealth hopes that the common laws and regulations will serve to allow it to deal fairly with its neighbours' and interplanetary traders, whilst utilising its Gate Network as a means of enabling highly efficient internal trade routes as well.
The Omega AccordsEdit
Although officially not yet a signatory, the Commonwealth officially supports the statutes dictated in the Omega Accords and in practice tends to follow the guidelines which it lays out.
Major Systems (WIP)Edit
The Bentusi homeworld and the location and the seat of the Commonwealth government. Bentus remains divided between seperate nations, although practically all are recognised members of the Commonwealth and have formed into power blocs. Notable nation-states of Bentus is the Union of Federal States, the United Soviet States of Armenia and the People's Republic of Qing.
Popullation: 12 Billion
The third world colonised by the now-defunct International Colonization Initiative, Mira is a tropical world that is remembered for becoming the first fully self-sufficient colony. Mira has a thriving service sector and has significant on-world industry, in particular luxury goods being sent to the other core worlds or wealthy residents in the MIDS and Artificial Intelligences.
Population: 5 Billion
The first exoplanet colonised by Bentus and now a thriving industrial centre, with the factories of Caeli responsible for producing everything from farming equipment for the outer colonies, to shipping vessels destined for the Commonwealth Defence Authority.
Population: 6 Billion
MIDS (More Industrially Developed Systems)Edit
The independent planet of Al-Maisan is the capital of the Haqqalamin Empire, which is seen by many to be the single most powerful extra-Bentus entity in the Commonwealth. Al-Maisan has come to be a legend to many of those who would like to see the colonies granted more independence from their mother-nations on Bentus, with the Haqqalamin more than capable of butting heads with any of the major powers of the homeworld. Al-Maisan's amazing development and success has largely been put down to its positioning at a point in space where a number of phase lanes intersect, turning it into a prime hub for Gateway transport. The Haqqalamin have also been quick to take advantage of the planet's close proximity to foreign space lanes as well, turning it into a vibrant hub with the single largest volume of alien trade of any world in the Commonwealth.
Population: 1.5 billion
New South YorkEdit
LIDS (Less Industrially Developed Systems)Edit
The first planet to be colonised under the ICI, Duna is the planet closest to Bentus and was long regarded as a prime target for colonization and Bentus' twin. The openning of the Gateway to Duna was a monumental undertaking for the nations of Bentus and to this day is recognised as one of the species' greatest achievments. However, the thin atmosphere and hostile environment of the world has lead to more investment being poured into exoplanet exploration as advances in Gateway technology make it more efficient to travel further to find a naturally more well suited planet. In spite of this, a permanent colony continues to exist on Duna, but it primarily consists of researchers and military personnel.
The colony of New Florida was the first to be established independently by a nation-state, and lead to the collapse of the ICI. Established by the Union of Federal States, the world was suitable for Bentusi habitation but a relative lack of lucrative resources in the vicinity of the initial colony lead to the newer colony of New South York to overtake it in prominence. However, the colony of New Florida motored on, becoming a profitable agricultural settlement. This came to a tragic end during the Gateway Wars. During the invasion of New Florida, some of the fiercest fighting in the colonies occured, and the aging Gateway was caught in the crossfire. The resulting international effort to re-establish contact with the colony as the first cease fire in the war, but by the time a Gateway could be built, over 70% of the inhabitants of the colony - 215,000 people - had perished, unable to sustain themselves without trade with the core worlds. This disaster would later be used in the peace negotiations following the Gateway Wars to argue for the establishment of the Commonwealth Defence Authority as a means of ensuring that the life-lines of the Gates remain secure and protected.
Eventually, the colony began to recover, once again becoming a thriving farming community. Now, New Florida is the breadbasket of the Union, supplying both the colonies and the homeworld.