This is the third of five posts looking at the major empires in New Eden. This time around, we'll be examining the Gallente Federation.
The Gallente Federation: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
If the Amarr Empire fancies itself as the moral center of New Eden, the Gallente Federation (for those who want to be technical (or just snobby), it’s the Federated Union of Gallente Prime) is surely the cultural one. A nation where anything goes, as long as it makes you happy (and doesn’t hurt anyone else), the Gallente pride themselves of being on the forefront of the Cluster’s culture, fashion, and philosophy. Your beloved author admits that he finds some difficulty in describing the Gallente, if only because they’re so incredibly individualistic that outside of the fact that they all decided to live near each other and hey maybe they vote together sometimes too, it’s remarkably difficult to find the true definition of “Gallente” these days. That, and the ridiculous complicated kind-of-like-the-United-States federalism-to-the-max government (currently led by President Jacus Roden, of Roden Shipyards fame), but that’s another matter entirely. Suffice it to say that the Gallente pride themselves on their freedom, their individuality, and their ability to get basically any drugs, sex, or music that they could possibly want at any time. I’m pretty sure that’s the definition of a devout Amarr’s nightmare, which MIGHT go to explain why the two don’t always see eye to eye. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Federation is made up of races from across New Eden (most notably, the Minmatar, who comprise about 1/3 of the Federation’s total population), but the principle members are the ethnic Gallente, the spiritual Intaki, the regimental Jin-Mei, and the rather nationalistic Mannar.
Gallentean history (though not known by New Eden denizens, of course) dates back to well before the collapse of the EVE Gate. Gallente Prime, originally known as the 6th planet in system VH-451, was purchased for settlement by French colonists from the system of Tau Ceti (it’s weird seeing a real place in New Eden history). The French proudly carried on their history of liberty, equality, and brotherhood through the Dark Ages. Gallente Prime itself was (and still is) a very hospitable planet, meaning that they made it through the Dark Ages with little to no problems.
Though some records exist of early Gallente history (which incorporates your standard “ahh we had tribal people and we fought sometimes and yadda yadda yadda” early history stuff), the rise of the Rouvenors is considered by most historians to be the true beginning of Gallente society (I’m basing that on the very reputable fact that the Rouvenors is when the Gallente wiki starts to actually care about silly things like dates and places).The Rouvenors arose from a small kingdom in the middle of the continent of Garoun, from a city known as Cylle (known in the modern day as Caille). With plentiful food and room to grow, the Garoun Empire soon expanded across the globe. And then the empire made what most historians consider A Mistake: They discovered human rights and junk. People started to think that MAYBE ruling by monarchy through one family line wasn’t the smartest idea in the world. Shortly thereafter, the empire began to collapse as states split away in the name of self-determination. Though the empire collapsed to a mere shadow of its former glory, it persists to this day, and the Rouvenors are still revered as the founders and nurturers of modern liberal philosophy.
The Gallente then entered its industrial age, which is really only notable for the fact that the Gallente went steampunk for a little while (yes, CCP, I totally caught that). Throughout this era, however, the planet continued to nurture this funny little idea that government by the people was the best way to go. Anyway, the Gallente then went full bore through the atomic and information ages, with a brief interlude of tripolar hegemony that basically devolved into everyone deciding that they should sing Kumbaya around the campfire and trade instead of fighting. It should be noted that while everyone loved one another, apparently, the entire planet was still divided into a multitude of nations, though most shared the ideas that individuality and democracy are pretty awesome. The most notable developments here were two-fold: the formation of the World Democracy League (CCP’s thought process here apparently being, “Hey, what can we call the United Nations without calling it the United Nations?”), and, near the end of the information age (inventing the internet apparently being a thing), the discovery that oh, hey, people live on the next planet over.
The discovery of the Caldari in 22463 AD understandably shook the Gallente to the core. An International Space Cooperative was formed shortly thereafter, which organized robotic probe missions to what would soon be known as Caldari Prime. The Caldari, originally baffled by the shiny metal things falling from the sky (they were mid-industrial age at the time), eventually figured out that someone was going to go all ET on them soon, and first contact occurred 54 years after the Gallente first discovered the Caldari. And the peasants rejoiced, especially when the Gallente started catching the Caldari up on 200 years of technological development. Within 80 years of first contact, the two planets began building stargates (a bit behind the Amarr due to the fact that the gates in Luminaire were less well preserved).
In a turn of events that might be shocking only to people who have lived under a rock in New Eden, however, tensions quickly arose between the sister worlds. Given the substantial handicaps the Caldari faced on Caldari Prime, it should be little surprise that the Caldari population was significantly smaller than the Gallente. And then the Caldari learned the thing that sucks in democracies: being a permanent minority. You see, the ISC and WDL were still around, with the ISC in particular governing colonization programs. And both operated on almost purely democratic principles, meaning that the significantly less populous Caldari were consistently outvoted by the significantly more populous Gallente. Although many took this in stride, a small minority felt that this marked the beginning of the end of Caldari culture (spoiler alert: they don’t always stay a minority). This fear was NOT helped by the appearance of something called the Cultural Deliverance Society, which while benign on the surface, sought to overthrow some of the more hostile Caldari governments. We’ll return to their effect on Caldari society in the next section, but note for now that this fear is what prompted the still-coalescing Caldari megacorporations to start creating secret colonies away from the eyes of the Gallente.
|The stormy southern hemisphere of Caldari Prime, Luminaire|
But getting back to our story, it turns out the ISC wasn’t always the smartest. Despite the fact that two groups of humans just HAPPENED to pop up on two planets in one star system, they were completely blindsided by the concept that humans would be found outside Luminaire: in this case, the Intaki. In a brilliant display of ingenuity worthy of a cliché ‘80s film, the crew of the Sojourner decided to go native for a year to learn about the Intaki. They liked what they saw, and eventually, the newly formed Office for Foreign Planetary Development sent a second ship to establish more permanent relations with the various Intaki tribes, as well as to start modernizing their planet. They took to this a lot better than the Caldari did, and quickly embraced Gallente technology and ideas.
Shortly thereafter, the Luminarians (I sadly can’t call them the Federation yet and I’m left with that monstrosity of a name for them) also ran into the Mannar, which were a bit farther along in the technological development area. Although the Gallente were eager to establish contact, they ran into a small problem: there was no planetary government and they still had this weird thing called “war” going on (although their predilection for near-nudity endeared them to the more exhibitionist Gallente, they were a bit more turned off by the continued use of human sacrifice). You see, the Mannar weren’t the entire race: they’re only one nation on a planet with a multitude of them (and, more importantly, the biggest), and the various countries didn’t particularly like each other (slave raids will do that to a people, as the Amarr learned). So the Gallente did what any civilized planet would do: give technology to the non-Mannar nations on the planet. The Gallente were shocked – SHOCKED I SAY – to see that the other nations then used their new-found technology to invade Mannar (Kumbaya never quite caught on beyond Gallente Prime, sadly). For somewhat unexplained reasons, the Gallente public still preferred the Mannar over the non-human-sacrificing nations, and the newly-developed Sotiyo-Urbaata drive (more commonly known to us as a plain old “warp drive”) allowed the Gallente to impose their glorious open-mindedness on the planet, forcing peace onto the planet.
By now, the Intaki had coalesced into a global governmental power, and soon started joining the various Gallente-based organizations. The Mannar ended up establishing a global hegemony on their world, and times were just grand. Economies were booming, people were happy. It was around this time that the Gallente elite decided that they weren’t quite rich enough. They began lobbying governments to form a new inter-planetary organization based on the concepts of free trade (CCP apparently deciding that it likes egging on the WTO conspiracy theorists), and soon the Gallente-biased Multi-World Agreement on Trade was formed. This allowed Gallente power brokers to keep control over the new colonies popping up all over the place, as well as those pesky Caldari. But the economies continued to boom so no one really cared. Soon, however, after the WDL teamed up with the ICS in implementing the MWAT while still controlling the ISC, everyone decided that the acronyms were just getting stupid at this point. And so, in 23121, over the reluctance of the still-pouty Caldari, the Federated Union of Gallente Prime was born.
Originally, the Federation operated solely under the province of the Federation Charter, which established the basic structure of the government. At that time, the Federation acted more as a parliamentary body than the more presidential-style government we see in action today (whoops, there’s my poli sci geekery getting the better of me). Early Federation government was concerned with getting itself set up. Outside of consolidating power, the biggest thing of note during the early years was the passage of the Aclan Agreement, which required direct Senate intervention before any Federation corporation was allowed to tamper with a planet’s ecosystem. That agreement, the hallmark of modern environmentalism, remains in force to this day. However, the Federation initially had major issues coordinating reactions without any way to communicate in real time. Interstellar policy is a harsh mistress, and the days or weeks that were needed for any official Federal response was often fatal to Federation initiatives. It would remain this for the next 25 years, until the FTL communication was discovered by scientist Li Azbel (I discuss the basics of the tech in section 5).
With FTL communications, the Gallente quickly acted like the cultural overlords that they are and established a media empire that spanned the cluster. They quickly took over the… space…waves… (or something) and before you know it, they’d apparently made it to the era of 24-hour news channels that had nothing better to fill their time with than fluff pieces and soft news stories (I’M NOT EVEN MAKING THIS UP YOU GUYS). Anyway, it turns out that the 49th story on the plight of the poor from Luminaire fed people up enough to demand some basic human rights. And so, in addition to the federal Charter, a federal Constitution was drafted that granted basic human rights such as freedom of expression, thought, etc.
Oh, and 23149, the Jove introduced themselves to the federal government, but everyone kept it hush hush. With predictable results, conspiracy theories soon flourished.
Oh, and it turns out the Caldari were still pissed off. We’ll get into the motivations of the Caldari more in the next section, but suffice it to say for now that they had continued to establish their secret colonies because they resented Gallente domination. Whoops. And those colonies were discovered. Double whoops. While this action was technically legal, tensions rose even further on the technicality that none of the newly discovered colonies had representative governments. The Caldari used this to conveniently announce that neither did they: the megacorporations now spoke for the Caldari people. Triple whoops. Things were getting awkward. And the best way to handle awkwardness is clearly to have an ultra-right wing party come to power, and within days, the Senate was demanding that the Caldari submit the colonies to federal authority and establish democratic governments.
In response to the demand, the Caldari walked out of the Senate and the Caldari seceded from the Federation. The Federation responded by blockading Caldari Prime. Things stalemated from there, with each side being frozen by not being sure just how far they really wanted to push things. A Caldari splinter group took care of THAT little obstacle by attacking the Gallente underwater city of Nouvelle Rouvenor, on Caldari Prime. The attack killed 500,000 mostly Gallente citizens. Though the Caldari State disavowed the actions, they did little to crack down on the organizers.
As is normally the case in democracies after such a shocking attack, backlash in the Federation was quick and harsh. The Ultra-Nationalists quickly took power after the attack. For the first and only time in Federation history, the Charter and Constitution were suspended as the military imposed martial law. However, both sides were surprisingly well matched. The Caldari couldn’t break out of Caldari Prime, while the Federation made little headway in calming the insurrection (or dealing with protests on other worlds; martial law is a fickle mistress). Things changed as once again, the Caldari struck in a surprise attack. Knowing that the Caldari would need time to fully evacuate the planet and that the Gallente military had been severely shaken up by the right-wing government that came to power, one Caldari Admiral set out to distract the Gallente enough to allow for an evacuation. Starting a massive game of cat and mouse, Admiral Tovil-Toba bought the time necessary for the Caldari megacorps to evacuate the civilian population. Finally, when Tovil-Toba’s ship was broken and wrecked from the week spent leading the Gallente fleet on, he sent his ship, a full-fledged carrier, crashing down onto Gallente Prime. The ship landed on the Gallente city of Heuromont, killing over 2 million. Admiral Tovil-Toba is revered to this day by the Caldari for his assistance in freeing his people. If I had to guess, I’d say he wasn’t quite as well-loved on Gallente Prime.
|The Gallente-Caldari War|
After Heuromont, the Gallente realized that MAYBE revoking basic liberties wasn’t the way to solve a crisis that basically started by not allowing people enough freedom. The right-wing government was swept away, and the new president introduced significant reforms to the Charter and Constitution. The reforms brought the current three-branch system of government that we all know and love. Furthermore, the de jure capital was moved from Gallente Prime to Villore (with the hideously named of Libertopolis being made the capital planet) to show that the Gallente were not meant to dominate the Federation. Oddly enough, they didn’t quite notice that “Gallente” was in the name of the Federation, a fact that baffles experts to this day. Anyway, the new president, Yiona, saw to the re-establishment of the rule of law in the Federation, and basically did her best to clean up the mess of the ultra-right-wingers.
The Caldari war of secession continued on for a number of years, with a few detours here and there. Despite the fact that the Hueromont attack threw the right-wing government from power in the Federation, peace was not yet to be found. The Gallente were just too hurt by the attack to forgive and forget in attempts to make peace. Rather, with the Caldari now established in their own proper space, the war once again came to a standstill, with neither side really gaining a permanent advantage. The Gallente fleet was based on large, lumbering ships, so the Caldari developed fleet single man fighters. The fighters took a heavy toll on Gallente ships, so the Gallente responded by developing the first set of drones, an area where the Gallente lead technologically even to this day. In response to drones, the Caldari re-invented the wheel, apparently, by stumbling upon the idea of using frigates as anti-drone platforms. At this point, the climactic battle of the war occurred in Iyen-Oursta; a 15-hour slugfest that resulted in both sides being able to say they won in some fashion. The Gallente held the system, but the Caldari lost fewer ships. After that, the war settled into a stalemate, and eventually ended in more of a whimper than a bang when the still-new CONCORD negotiated a truce between the two parties in 23248 AD. The Caldari were allowed to secede, but the Caldari in turn recognized that maybe having your capital planet in the middle of enemy territory wasn’t the smartest thing in the world, and so they gave up their claim to Caldari Prime (Spoiler alert: no they don’t).
|A Chimera-class carrier in orbit.|
But that’s not to say that the war consumed all of the Federation’s attention. Near the midpoint of the war, a Mannar exploration vessel stumbled across the Jin-Mei. The Jin-Mei were a culture unlike others they’d seen heretofore; despite being relatively advanced (to the point that they were able to field basic military space vessels), they maintained a strictly regimented, caste-based society. Despite the fact that the Federation required all member worlds to have a democracy-based system of government, the Jin-Mei were eventually allowed to join the Federation and simply opt out of those pesky “equality” rules (apparently the Federation was Canadian based, who knew? Ok, seriously, I’m done with the poli sci geekery).
But by far the most notable event in the middling civil war era was the discovery of the Amarr Empire, which ended up triggering a kind of identity crisis for the Federation. You see, the Federation had, since its founding, seen itself as the grand union of all humanity. It united all people peacefully, spreading democracy and free trade through the cluster. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t the only representative of humanity out there. Indeed, it wasn’t even the largest. The Amarr Empire was more populous, stronger, and practiced slavery. And it most certainly was NOT democratic. It took a while for the Federation to re-orient itself towards the idea that it wasn’t just a grand union: it was a government just like the other major powers (it’s this re-orientation that I think made the Gallente more willing to accept the Caldari peace accords eventually, since the Caldari would no longer be the only humans outside the Federation, but that’s just my own pet theory). Anyway, trade relations were eventually opened with the Empire, and the two powers found themselves in an uneasy truce, with neither willing to challenge each other directly.
Indirectly, however, the Gallente were all over it. The plight of the enslaved Minmatar quickly became well known throughout the Federation, and significant chunks of the electorate felt that something needed to be done to talk the yoke from their backs. And after the setback for the Amarr at Vak’Atioth, the Gallente eagerly pitched in to help with the new Rebellion. The advantages for the Federation were two-fold: first, they had a genuine interest in eradicating slavery (yet couldn’t commit to a full-scale war while still at war with the Caldari). Secondly, the Federation was eager to knock the Amarr back as a matter of morale for a Federation that was still re-adjusting to not being the only human government in existence. So the Gallente, along with the Jove, coordinated supply runs to help the Rebellion. While the Federation never officially acknowledged their role, the Federation press secretary might as well have been actually winking at the camera whenever someone asked about it.
As we all know at this point, the rebellion ended up succeeding. Given the heavy support that the Federation provided, you might have expected the newly formed Republic to join the Federation. But many saw this as simply impractical, both because the Federation could not afford the massive reconstruction effort (either in money or in manpower… that whole “Caldari War” thing was still going, you know) and they didn’t want to risk antagonizing the Amarr more than they already had. So while the Federation and Republic grew to be close allies, they remained distinct governments.
As the Caldari War dragged on in to later years, more and more of the younger generations began clamoring for peace. They had not been around for the horrors of Hueromont and Nouvelle Rouvenor; they just wanted this war to be over with. In fact, they wanted all war to be over with. The Federation had originally been formed to allow all humanity to air its grievances in a civilized fashion… if the Federation itself had failed in this task, might a new organization succeed better? The leader of the movement was a young Senator (and later, Federation President) named Aidonis Elabon. The fruits of his labor, of course, was CONCORD, and he somehow managed to get all the empires to sign on to the idea. Capsuleers and pirates have been retroactively cursed his name every since.
Since then, the Gallente have actually had few notable incidents (at least, incidents that aren’t covered elsewhere in here). A few flare-ups with the Amarr occurred, as did a few attempts to set up permanent relationships with the Caldari, neither of which resulted in anything particularly major. However, tensions came to a head again with the Caldari in YC 110. The Gallente, upon invitation to talks with the Ishukone megacorporation, sent one of their most-respected naval officers as representative to Malkalen. The naval officer ended up going rogue, and crashing his Nyx-class supercarrier into the station, killing 420,000 as well as Ishukone’s CEO (The novel Empyrean Age clarifies that a person known as the Broker had actually replaced the admiral to sabotage his reputation before killing him, but of course this is not known in an IC context). This acts as the catalyst needed to restart the Caldari-Gallente war, which I’ll touch on in the next section.
|Scope coverage of the Malkalen Disaster|
Perhaps the most notable development in recent times for the Gallente are the steps the government has taken to crack down on civil liberties in some areas. President Foiritan’s first major step in that direction was the very public execution of a Gallente defector, Admiral Eturrer, in full view of the public. The President also saw the creation of the Black Eagles, headed by former political rival Mentas Blaque, as a secret policing branch of the government, overseeing internal surveillance as well as acting as the secret ops branch of military intelligence. President Roden has seen no need to interfere with the Eagles since coming to office in YC 111.
As you might have guessed from the introduction, the Federation government should be familiar to any student of American government (I know I promised the poli sci geekery would end, but like most politicians, I LIED). You have the standard three branches (though the wiki somewhat adorably adds the bureaucracy as a fourth branch) – executive (headed by the Federation President), legislative (the unicameral Senate, with 903 members from 62 districts), and judicial (headed by the Supreme Court) – all of whom serve to check and balance each other to prevent any one branch from aggregating too much power. Each district (usually, a constellation) has its own district parliament that serves in an advisory capacity. Below THAT are the various member states. These are not just states in the American sense, however. These are fully fledged nations. The federal government primarily concerns itself with free trade, peaceful expansion for member states, and promotion of democratic governance. Additionally, the Federation Constitution guarantees a variety of rights such as freedom of expression, equality before the law, and the right to human dignity. Anything that isn’t explicitly laid out in the Federation Charter or Constitution are left to the member states to sort out. Additionally, certain governments (notably, the Jin-Mei) are granted the power to opt out of certain provisions of federal law (rights? We don’t need no stinkin’ human rights). The wiki entry on Gallente government will tell you all you ever wanted to know and more on various aspects of Gallente governance, including how a colony becomes a member state, the jurisdiction of various governmental authorities, and even the types of laws that the Federation has (and if you want minutiae OVER 9000, check out the article on classification of cities).
|Crystal Boulevard, Gallente Prime|
Culturally speaking, the Gallente are just as varied as a society based on the celebration of the individual would suggest. The Gallente love for finer aspects of life are well-earned; the Gallente are well known for their food, fashion, and ability to have a good time. And given that the Federation is the melting pot of the Cluster, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that its rather difficult to classify anyone based on their racial backgrounds. Not only have almost all of the various races in New Eden found their way to the Federation at this point, but they’ve also interbred to a significant degree. Those looking to classify Gallente citizens in ANY way are more likely to find success by looking at a person’s ideology than their racial background. Indeed, that is the biggest identifier of the various voter blocs in Gallente politics (along with an odd, but appreciated obsession with various birds).
That being said, there are a few primary ethnic groups to be found in the Federation. The ethnic Gallente take the stereotypical Federation love of all things individual and liberty to the extreme. Beyond them are the Mannar, who rival the ethnic Gallente when it comes to fashion expertise and trend setting, but are also known for their fierce nationalism and determination. They were the primary source of recruits in the Caldari civil war. The Jin-Mei are a bit of an outlier. In a nation that is renowned for its dedication to democracy and equality, the Jin-Mei maintain a strict caste-based system. Although the caste-system, under the agreements that the Jin-Mei made when it ascended to Federation membership, is not allowed outside of the Lirsautton system, the system still operates in full force within Jin-Mei society due to Federation concessions. Oh, and then there’s the Intaki. But they’re special enough to warrant an entire section on them below (and NOT just because my character happens to be one).
As you could probably guess, the Gallente like to, shall we say, “party hard.” They are known for their, well, sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and most Gallente are proud of that fact. They also tend to be the most idealistic of the four races, frowning mightily from their ivory towers on the Amarr for their slave-holding ways and the Caldari for their unenlightened secession and subsequent war. They even can (though by no means do all people do this) look a little patronizingly on the Minmatar. Haughty might even be an appropriate term for the “stereotypical Gallente,” and it’s an oft-repeated criticism of the Gallente that they believe their culture is the best and wish to gobble up all the others. Gallente by nature tend to be nosy and opinionated, and while their desire to “civilize” or “uplift” societies to Gallente standards may stem from good intentions (most of the time), it’s backfired enough times to be clear that it’s not always the right answer. But that doesn’t stop people from trying anyway. Many RPers tend to have a pet cause or causes to get worked up about. Gallente can also be the rather stereotypical hippies; indeed, there’s a large environmental movement, hints of which can be seen in the Gallente COSMOS constellation in Algintal. Oh, and I should mention that there is a rather vibrant Intaki secession movement in some parts of the RP community. Some feel that the Intaki get short shrift (especially since Intaki Prime, the homeworld, is in the faction warfare zone between Caldari and Federation space and actually sat in Caldari hands for a good chunk of time back in the day), and would be better off striking out on their own. This is a continuing debate though, and I don’t believe there’s a clear majority one way or another.
PREVIOUS: The Minmatar Republic
NEXT: The Caldari State
Labels: Mark726 Lore Primer, roleplaying, storyline, The Empires