Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Star League Part 10


A secret is like keeping your virtue. You either feel smugly pious keeping it or deliciously wicked losing it with a friend.
-Grethella Dallas, infamous madam of “The Jade Gates,” high-class brothels and escort services on Terra, ca. 2560

Though Ian Cameron wished to keep the Treaty of Geneva a secret so that it would not complicate negotiations with other Houses, the enormity of the accomplishment was too much for even Lord Ian’s most trusted staff. Only a month after the signing, the entire Hegemony was abuzz with rumors of Lord Ian’s Star League and what it would mean for Humanity. The vast majority of people were in favor. Anything that might prevent violence like that of the past century was worth trying. Though the Hegemony had not suffered as heavily as other states, her people certainly understood the tragic cost of war.

Yet, even as the rumors flew, some people questioned how the Star League could be effective unless all the interstellar governments joined. Was Lord Ian, in his effort to avoid war, leading the Hegemony directly into one?

It was not too long before rumors of the Treaty of Geneva had spread beyond the Hegemony’s borders into the other states of the Inner Sphere. In the Capellan Confederation and the Free Worlds League, corporations had begun to draw up plans to buy into Terran companies and ordinary citizens began to anticipate buying Hegemony products. Everyone looked forward to a boost in their standard of living. Even the troops, who would no longer be at war, were excited at the prospect of handling Hegemony weapons, which were legendary among the Inner Sphere.

When the other Houses of the Inner Sphere heard of the Treaty of Geneva, however, shivers of political panic shot through them. Three united realms, led by the technically superior Terran Hegemony, would be an almost unstoppable force. Cameron knew he could use these fears to his advantage, and so he and Albert Marik began to put on more pressure, most of it through clandestine activities. These included bribery and infiltration to influence the Steiner government, and interference in the affairs of the Federated Suns to precipitate that realm’s economic crisis of 2566.

Of the three remaining Inner Sphere realms, the Lyran Commonwealth was by far the most important to the nascent Star League. The realm was ruled by House Steiner, which had managed to build the realm into an economic force second only to the Terran Hegemony. Though its military was only barely adequate, Cameron did not underestimate the Lyrans.

The Commonwealth was so crucial to Lord Ian’s plans that he had been attempting since 2551 to win that state’s participation in the League. Leader of the Commonwealth at that time was Archon Craig Steiner, a wise and shrewd man then riding the crest of his popularity. Through careful manipulation of Lyran laws, he had managed to stimulate a boom in the Commonwealth’s economy. This had attracted many eager Hegemony investors across the border to pour billions into Commonwealth corporations. Many firms even opened factories within House Steiner.

The Lyran Commonwealth and the Terran Hegemony had a history of good relations. The Federation of Skye, the industrial heart of the Commonwealth, had been settled by men and women who shared the Camerons’ Scots ancestry. This cultural tie was further strengthened when Lord Brian Cameron married Lady Katherine McQuiston, a member of the Federation of Skye’s founding family. Craig Steiner held out against Ian Cameron’s persuasive arguments for joining the Star League because he feared the Lyran economy would become absorbed by the Star League. After Craig stepped down in favor of Tracial Steiner in 2555, the new Archon decided it was in the Commonwealth’s interest to join the League.

When Cameron and Tracial Steiner finally agreed to terms, the Archon knew that the Lyran military would benefit from participation in the new Star League Defense Forces. It would shore up her forces, which were well-equipped but lacking in proper leadership. Even more important, two new Star League military academies would be built in the Commonwealth, one on Tharkad and one on Skye. This would give the Lyrans legal access to the SLDF and at least some graduates would go on to strengthen the LCAF. Cameron and Steiner also negotiated a number of important military hardware contracts. Archon Tracial Steiner and Lord Ian Cameron signed the Tharkad Accords in 2558, officially marking the Lyran Commonwealth’s intention of joining the Star League.

Lord Ian could now turn his full attention to the last two holdouts of the Inner Sphere, the Federated Suns and the Draconis Combine. The leaders of these realms each had his own reasons to resist becoming a member of the Star League. Hehiro Kurita saw the benefits of membership, but he would need a powerful rationale to convince the Combine nobility to foreswear the goal of Kurita supremacy in favor of a higher good. As for Alexander Davion, his state had only recently emerged from a civil war that had almost torn the Federated Suns apart. By mid-2550, the Davion government was deeply involved in efforts to reconstruct the ravages of war. Alexander had every intention of one day joining the League, but not until the Federation Suns was well on the way to recover. He wanted the Federated Suns to join the Star League from a position of strength rather than weakness.

By 2567, Alexander was ready to accept Ian Cameron’s latest offer, which guaranteed that the Star League would carry out preemptive strikes against Combine targets in the event of a Davion-Kurita war. He knew that his realm’s economy needed a boost, for it was still suffering from the effects of war and many years of secret tampering by Albert Marik’s agents. The New Avalon Accords, signed October 27, 2567, formally declared the Federated Suns membership in the Star League.

Two years later, Ian Cameron made the same promise of military assistance to Hehiro Kurita, which gave the Draconis Coordinator an argument in favor of joining the Star League. The Treaty of Vega, setting forth the terms of the Draconis Combine’s membership in the Star League, was signed August 15, 2569. At long last, the Star League was born.

Over the next two years, the six leaders of the Inner Sphere met in a series of conferences in Geneva to hammer out exactly how the Star League would operate. By summer 2571, they had drafted a 2,000-page document known as the Star League Accords.

In an unprecedented moment of history, the six rulers of the Inner Sphere appeared on the floor of the Hegemony Congress on July 9, 2571. Each solemnly read the Preamble of the Star League Accords to the large audience gathered to witness the historic event. Each leader signed his or her name to the document, then stepped aside, handing the quill pen to the next. Coordinator Hehiro Kurita of the Draconis Combine signed first, then Prince Alexander Davion of the Federated Suns, then Archon Viola Steiner-Dinesen. She was followed by Chancellor Ursula Liao of the Capellan Confederation and Captain-General Albert Marik of the Free Worlds League.

Last to sign was Ian Cameron, deeply moved by the realization of his dream. First he shook hands with each leader, thanking him or her for leading their realms away from war and toward peace. After reciting the Star League Preamble from memory in a loud, clear voice, he, too, signed the document with a flourish. According to legend, a tear fell from Cameron’s eye at that moment, accounting for the small stain just below his large, bold signature.


We, the Lords representative of the six Inner Realms of the Human Sphere, in the name of Peace, free Commerce, and our people, do hereby enter the Covenant to be henceforth be known as the Star League.

We do so in recognition of the greatness of each member State, and of the qualities that made it great.

We do so willingly, in recognition that it is in the best interests of our Realms, our Lands, our Resources, and our people.

We do so with hearts open to Friendship with one another’s Realms, and look forward to an epoch of Prosperity and Security.

After one and one-half centuries of warfare, we are ready to set aside the quarrels that have devastated our Realms. No longer shall we be benighted by the evils that have torn our worlds asunder, nor shall we waste our Energy, Strength, Resources, or the lives of our people in warfare and brutal conflict.

Instead, we greet a new Beginning, an Opportunity unprecedented in the Human Sphere, an Opportunity for every Realm to realize its full Potential, for every Government to work together in Harmony and Understanding, for every man, woman, and child to be safe, secure, and prosperous.

We pledge unto each other our Lives, our good Faith, and our Sacred Honor.


Astrography and Astropolitics

While the shape of an interstellar realm is not as crucial as the shape of a continent is to its citizens, it does have a bearing on what its government can and cannot do. For example, a sphere-shaped realm can be far more aggressive in its interstellar relations than a realm with an equal number of stars that is drawn out into a long, amorphous shape. You can’t be as aggressive when your star systems are hanging out like ripe fruit on a low tree.

-Lord Ian Cameron

Geography and Geopolitics

Anyone who says that geography doesn’t have a place in interstellar relations should be sent to work in the diamond mines on Fellanin II. There, they have to tunnel 50 kilometers beneath the surface and risk inhuman conditions to extract a few small diamonds desperately needed for the planet’s armor industry. Yet, twelve light years away, on Sadalbari, a world of the Draconis Combine, gardeners can’t sink a spade into the ground without uncovering diamonds as big as their thumbs.

-Lady Deborah Cameron.

Economic Forces

I disagree violently with those economists who insist that people should be considered as just one of many different raw materials in a realm. That makes the average citizen no better than a pile of iron ore. People are both the cause and the solution to any economic problem.

-Lord Ian Cameron


Interstellarism is thinking of Humanity made up of people first and interstellar political realms second. Once you begin to think that way, the differences between realms disappear and the universe becomes a web of interconnected economic and social ties. We must never forget that no matter where they were born, all people have common, basic needs.

-Lord Ian Cameron

-Collected from various sources, ComStar Archives, Terra


When tracing Star League roots, historians pay considerable attention to Lord Ian Cameron, Lady Deborah Cameron, and Lord Michael Cameron. No one has yet studied the contribution of Lady Shandra Noruff, who became Ian’s wife. She was instrumental in the creation of the Star League, and many of her actions would be crucial to its survival.

In 2533, Shandra Noruff, Baroness of Neuble Downs, New Earth, was officially betrothed to young Ian Cameron by her father, the Duke of New Earth, and Ian’s mother, Lady Deborah, Director-General of the Hegemony. This arranged marriage was unprecedented in the Hegemony, whose people prided themselves in honoring individual choice of marriage partners among its upper classes. In the other states of the Inner Sphere, arranged marriages for political purposes were common.

The public greeted the news of Lord Ian and Baroness Shandra’s betrothal with disapproval. Indeed, the most violent opposition came from the betrothed themselves. Lord Ian, only 19, had just entered the HAF and was showing every sign of becoming an excellent officer. Attractive, charming, and a firm believer in sowing wild oats, he recoiled at the thought of having his fate tied to a woman he had never met. He was so angry that he refused to talk to his mother for a year, causing them both a great deal of pain.

Shandra was similar to Ian in many ways. At 17, she was preparing for her own military career and had no thought of pledging herself in marriage, particularly to a man she did not know. Like Ian, she broke off all contact with a parent, in this case, her father. Unfortunately, the Duke of New Earth was killed several months later in an aircraft accident before Shandra and he could be reconciled.

The first official meeting between the betrothed couple was not promising. After being introduced at a grand ball hosted by the Duke of New Earth, they acknowledged each other sullenly, then left the scene separately at the first opportunity. A bit shocked, the couple’s parents considered breaking the marriage contract. After further discussion, the parents decided to make one more attempt by forcing the two young people to write to one another.

The letters, preserved by an historian of the Camerons, have survived intact and are now in the archives of our Blessed Order. What they reveal is the slow, almost painful, development of affection that was, at its worst, a clash of two highly intelligent people with set ways and set ideas. At their best, the letters express friendship and even romance. At first, Ian and Shandra did not realize that they were becoming increasingly attracted, but to the reader, their growing affection is as obvious as it is moving.

Two years later, the couple was married. On April 12, 2535, the wedding procession filed down from the ancient kirk overlooking Edinburgh, and the newlyweds were greeted by thousands of well-wishers and rose petals dropped from helicopters. Their limousine was escorted by two ‘Mechs bedecked with flowers and colored streamers-one from Lady Shandra’s unit and one from Lord Ian’s.

This was not to be a fairy-tale marriage, however. Ian and Shandra argued, separated, and often grated on one another’s nerves. Yet, they always reconciled, either on long private vacations, or through many heart-felt letters during separations.

In 2536, Lady Shandra gave birth to Timothy Cameron. Shortly afterward, the doctors informed the parents that Timothy had an inoperable heart defect. Neglecting their duties, the couple stood vigil over their infant for weeks until he died. Their grief was intense and some feared that the loss would split them apart. Nothing was farther from the truth. After two years of mourning, the two reentered public life, seeming to express more affection than ever. The public, who had loved the pair from the start, seemed to adore them more than ever after the tragedy. Shandra went on to become Commander of the Hegemony Armed Forces, and in 2571, Lord Ian appointed her Commander-in-Chief of the Star League Defense Forces.

Though Shandra did not immediately become pregnant again, Lord Ian made no move to appoint an heir. His only reply when questioned was to enigmatically call for patience. As the years passed, the people and public officials became concerned about what would happen if Ian Cameron died without an heir. Some even made so bold as to suggest that Cameron either take a new wife or mistress in hopes that a child would result.

On January 23, 2556, the Palace of Cameron, Lord Ian’s residence near London, issued a terse, two-line press release: “The Cameron household is proud to announce that Lady Shandra Noruff-Cameron expects a child sometime in September. Lady Shandra is in the best of health and spirits.” Lady Cameron was 40 years old. Nine months later she gave birth to a healthy son, whom the Camerons named Nicholas.


People everywhere greeted news of the Star League with excitement and anticipation. Things would be changing, and any change was welcome after the long Age of War. Even citizens of worlds little affected by the Star League wanted the new order to succeed. First, however, the Star League had to set up its government, which required more than three years of intensive negotiations by the leaders of all six realms. During this time, the fragile nature of the new alliance was threatened more than once.

The Star League High Council, composed of the heads of the six member-states,w as created almost immediately after the signing of the Accords. To acknowledge Ian Cameron’s status, he would be known as “First Lord.” Not only was Cameron the prime mover behind creation of the Star League, but he was also the ruler of Terra, the cradle of man, which lay, quite literally, at the center of Human-occupied space. The High Council would be the pinnacle of the Star League government as well as a communications nexus for the swift dissemination of information to all the member-states.

The Star League capitol was located near the newly pristine Puget Sound of the North American continent of Terra. Construction had actually begun years earlier on what would be known officially as the Court of the Star League, but unofficially as Unity City. The city was to be huge, elaborate, and awe-inspiring, as befit the center of Humanity. Materials from all member-states were incorporated into its construction. Once built, the Court of the Star League was hailed as an architectural marvel. One visiting architect called it a “a fairy-tale place, where parking garages are as beautiful as the Taj Mahal.”

At this time, the original High Council of the Terran Hegemony changed their name and rank. From now on, they were known as the First Lord’s Advisors and headed up major departments within the Hegemony government in Geneva. Though the scope of their work was technically limited to aiding the First Lord govern the Hegemony, they often provided unofficial counsel on other matters.

Lord Ian soon realized that his duties as First Lord and the current political situation made it impossible to rule the Terran Hegemony effectively. In 2572, he assigned his Director-General responsibilities to either his heir or to the President of the Hegemony Congress. From that day on, the Camerons would always consider themselves Star League rulers first and Hegemony Directors-General second.

In 2573, the Bureau of Star League Affairs (BSLA) was officially created. This heart and body of the Star League government had six major departments: Social Relations, Economic Relations, Star League Revenue, Department of Education and Information, Star League Attorney General, and Star League Administrators.

The Department of Administrators was the most important. It was run by five State Administrators appointed by the First Lord and directly responsible for seeing that each member-state carried out the First Lord and the High Council’s decisions. Under each State Administrator were various Regional and Planetary Administrators, who reported to their superiors and to the government of the member-state.

The government of the new Star League was designed to be a strong, yet flexible instrument to carry out the will of the First Lord and the Lords of the High Council. First Lord Cameron appointed more than three-fourths of the personnel to staff the BSLA’s bureaucratic posts, which gained him virtual dominance over the functioning of the Star League government. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Future First Lords would take advantage of this power to water down laws with which they disagreed.] As for First Lord Cameron, he was circumspect in his use of this vast power. He often consulted with the other Council Lords about his appointments and tried where possible to find posts for anyone whom a particular Lord wished to favor.


With the signing of the Star League Accords, the Hegemony, and Terra in particular, became an important center of activity. Embassies for League member-states as well as branch offices of major foreign corporations were set up on every Hegemony world. Tourism boomed and passenger liners run by such major shipping companies as White Dove Interstellar, The Red Ball Express, and White Cloud Tourism became a common sight in Hegemony star systems.

Naturally, the Court of the Star League in Unity City was the prime focus. The many Court buildings comfortably housed fully staffed diplomatic missions for all member-states, as well as representatives from all the major corporations. Within the complex of polished walls was the headquarters of the Bureau of Star League Affairs. Also within the Court, but separated and isolated from the rest by a network of private gardens, high castle walls, and tunnels, were the private quarters of the First Lord and his family.

The interior of the Court of the Star League, which soon became known informally as “the Stellar Court,” was built from materials from every corner of Human space. Silver filigree from Niomede enhanced the glow of Sadurni marble. Bharat teakwood, carved by the skilled artisans of Tharkad, was encrusted with Blue Fire Opals from Larsha. Everything had been chosen to impress the viewer with the fact that this place was the center of Humanity and not just the residence of the Star League government.

It was not long before the nobles who came to the Court responded to the beautiful surroundings by dressing for the occasion. The High Council, which normally met twice a year in the Court, attracted throngs of attendant nobles dressed in their finest. Amid the huge pillars of Kaifeng Shimmer Granite and in the filtered light of stained glass windows, nobles mingled in the Grand Hall. They awaited the appearance of the First Lord, who would take his seat upon the Star League Throne, which had been carved from white Suzano ivory.

-From A Guide to the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Marvels of Humanity, by Sandra Kinra, Tharkad Press, 2999

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