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|Rokhandan Lore Pages|
|Species Lore Pages||Rokhandan|
|Planet and System Pages||Fen|
|Governments and Organizations Pages||Rokhandan Directorate|
The Ruz’kahni Directorate, commonly known as the Rokhandan Directorate among Coalition colonies, is an internally-focused major galactic power widely considered to be the most technologically advanced peoples of the known galaxy. Their advancements are responsible for a number of the most common high-technologies in the known galaxy, from gravity manipulation to RRCT, and their Expeditionary Force’s numerous branches are actively paving the way to new discoveries and new colonized systems. In brief, the Directorate is:
- Home to the rokhandan species, but has significant outworlder and human populations.
- Is the most scientifically advanced nation in the known galaxy.
- Has diverse microcultures and belief systems, based around “Clan holdings” and tribes.
- Is a representative republic of technocrats.
- Their leader is rigged into powerful computer systems and serves short terms.
- Their military differs greatly from clan to clan but usually relies on multipurpose ships.
In the local Miranmir system, the Directorate’s official presence is little more than a few traveling non-military scout ships and a research outpost on the planet Tharon.
The ringed world of Fen, the Directorate homeworld has, compared to Earth, a wilder and harsher troposphere with more extreme weather patterns racking its surface. The numerous subspecies now known as rokhandan began their existence as nomadic clans constantly engaged in low-intensity warfare with each other. Unlike many nomadic peoples they had to learn to both predict and analyze the changing weather patterns to a degree unneeded in their Terran nomadic cousins. Their focus on monitoring and understanding the tidal forces of their planet was so great that by the early medieval era, the people of Fen had a grasp on their ecosphere on par with the twentieth century of Earth. The rings of Fen vastly simplified understandings of stellar movements. Compared to Earth, their technology was more focused on reaching those beckoning rings above. They were inventing primitive rockets alongside the steam engine. Their first experiences in breaching the atmosphere were individual, sporadic, and frequently fatal. It’s unclear who ‘did it first’ as a few clans claim the honor. Unfortunately little could be done at this time to survive the void. The first true orbital flights were achieved shortly after electricity was truly harnessed. By their atomic age they were actively colonizing another stellar body, one of their moons.
Their pattern of lopsided technological development continued, driven both by their nomadic instincts and their cultural bias towards low-intensity conflicts and competitions. What once were great warriors representing a clan, soon became great thinkers, philosophers and wisemen driven still to compete and bring glory to their clan. Eventually, scientific achievement became the mark of honor, pride, and representation of a tribe as its greatest. The meetings of the clans grew larger and larger as technology progressed, going from tents to settled ‘great council’ cities. Upon establishing their first extra-stellar colony, the Ruz’kahni Directorate was established. The word refers to their star, Ahni, and literally means ‘From Ahni’ in an out-of-use language that the great clans are said to have all once-shared.
While humanity had not colonized outside their solar system until after the harnessing of FTL, the rokhandans had already colonized extrastellar planets by the time. They began a combination of careful near-lightspeed scout probes with FTL communications and early clone-seed ships and cryo-berth possessing lighthuggers to establish two notable colonies outside their system, the Cellen System on the planet Ora and the Jesoba system on the planet Vaa. These two were already thriving with a few hundred thousand rokhandans each prior to the harnessing of FTL.
W-1 was discovered on one of the moons in orbit of Ora and within the next century they had managed to harness it and successfully launched their first FTL vessel–to the shock of Fen.
This new technology however was not used to rapidly expand their borders, rather to aid in the careful exploration of new worlds long in advance of colonization efforts. While Ora and Vaa were successfully colonies, Vaa had encountered intelligent, though technologically primitive life. A combination of foreign pathogens and stolen advanced weaponry caused a massive devastation of this indiginous species that the Directorate did not want to ever see repeated, and caution became an important factor to Directorate exploration efforts.
Compared to other nations, the Directorate were slow and careful, rarely engaging in terraforming, preferring to search for ideal worlds. When they encountered pre-space age species from then on, the directorate established a strict observe-contact-integrate policy. Ensuring a species was capable of integrating with the Directorate way of life. This was not, however, done by force, and numerous single-planet low-tech outworlders exist within the Directorate sphere of control. They never cared for territory or holding protectorates, and unless the species managed to reach space they were of little interest to the directorate except scientific curiosity.
While the Directorate had encountered some minor species of intelligence in their nearby planets, none were true spacefaring species and the gregarious rokhandans either integrated them as subjects or let them develop on their own with close observation. But true first-contact with a major spacefaring species was in 2320 (Earth calendar), 949 (Fen calendar) when the human Solar Empire was encountered.
From the rokhandan perspective, the humans were primitive and had unarmed and unarmored scouts, compared to the Directorate scouts which while not vessels of true war, were all armed and capable of military action. Part of the rokhandan heritage of low intensity raiding wars–even a scout needed weaponry. What humanity did have was information, knowledge- and compared to all other sentient species so-far encountered, high technology. It was the first truly ‘advanced’ people the Directorate had encountered and the radically different paths they took to the stars fascinated rokhandans.
They had observed other intelligent life, yes, but never another space faring species. The tidbits of information learned spread through rokhandan society, they were wary, and there were clans that considered humans a dangerous threat, yes, but popular culture had become obsessed with humanity. Their eagerness led to the current Fahikh, the leader of the Directorate, to meet with the human Solar Emperor, the original story is inconsistent due primarily to the perpetuation of contradictory descriptions throughout rokhandan pop culture, playing up different traits and different narrative spins on the events.
What followed was a renaissance for the Directorate, gregarious and eager to meet with new peoples, they eagerly accepted divergent human minorities and many older human cultures, religions and ethnicities that soon flooded into the Directorate’s borders, eager to join a nation that encouraged free-thinking and diversity. Meanwhile, many rokhandans were enamored by the growing reputation that human colonies were ‘paved with gold,’ providing a new home for many families and even entire tribes, eager to find new purpose away from the Directorate culture that had in many cases done their family no particular favors.
The First War
The Stygian war was a terrible shock to the Rokhandans, the concept of total war once nothing but an observation from ‘savage’ species, became a harsh reality. The nature of Fen and its development made the concept hard to comprehend, but with the Stygian war came something new and terrible. A real threat, an existential threat that had to be fought. There was no skirmish to be had, no raid for resources, and no political maneuverings that had to be done. Fen had fantastic military technology but it was never geared for this kind of conflict. Known as the First War to the Directorate, it became a turning point for rokhandan thought.
Prior to this, the concept of total and absolute war was unheard of to the rokhandans. Their conflicts, while often bloody, violent and destructive, consisted primarily of raiding wars typical of nomads. As said by an old rokhandan proverb, “War is life, I will fight my brother, and me and my brother will fight our cousin, and my cousin and I will fight our neighbor, and my neighbor and myself will fight a stranger.” But these were constant, low intensity affairs. A clan against a clan, a family against a family.
The initial concept of a united Directorate was more akin to a stronger version of the United Nations of earth’s past than it was a true government. But the Directorate would not be caught lacking an answer to a threat against their space and people again. Plans were put into place at this early stage, political maneuverings for solutions to save the Directorate should any foe engage in conflict as devastating as the Stygians had.
In the aftermath of total war, many of the long-held clan and tribal divisions faded as the Directorate shifted into a true overarching regulatory body. Many rokhandans still identify with their tribe, clan or family, but they have become more about regional and cultural differences than specific lineages and all now concede control to the Directorate as their governmental body. The heavy integration of other cultures and species, especially the significant number of Outworlder planets within Directorate space smoothened this shift. Fen itself and the ‘old’ colonies still hold a stronger spirit of Clan unity, but for the most part, raiding conflicts have shifted to cut-throat politics that only rarely end in assassinations or kidnappings.
The lasting impact of the Stygian War was significant among the minds of the Directorate. When the Stygians seemingly returned, a precursor AI masquerading as them at least, shifting their attention to ensuring the conflict ended before it reached such a fevered high as it had in the past. The paranoia was great enough they began suppression and regulation of trade lanes into the Voltker region of space. Rokhandan military doctrine had little understanding of the delicate nature of human politics, and suppression via flash-raids was not unheard of among younger and more militant Directorate officers, eager to prove their merit as warriors among their peers.
When war finally came, it came hot, and as lines were drawn in the proverbial sand, the Directorate’s existential fears were met with the grim reality of absolute war. Planets were devastated, cities were lost and many in the Belt pointed to the Directorate’s policing as the straw that broke the camel's back. They however, were prepared for war, this time, and the rokhandan philosophy of the Survival War was launched, a near-religious crusade to ensure the survival of the rokhandan species, the Directorate’s enlightened reign and the progress of the galaxy towards a brighter future. The aggression and willingness to do anything to survive has marked the Directorate since the war’s end, for better or for worse.
Since the war happened, there has been a profound sense of shame within the Directorate. While the majority hold that the actions in wartime were necessary, this did not make them right. A noted shift has happened towards working to ensure that conflict of the scale of the Secession War can be avoided–or at least avoid the Directorate’s Borders. Many in the Directorate are similarly quick to shift the blame for wrongdoing to the Coalition’s manipulations, the savagery of Ayun-Ji or the ‘madness’ of the Federation. It is a question most Directorate citizens must answer for themselves, and there is a considerable push to seek out a technological and technosocial solution to prevent any such conflict from arising again. A major shift has happened in that the Directorate no longer shares nearly as much technology as they once had, more wary of sharing their high tech achievements that could be used for war with the rest of the galaxy.
Justified or not, relations have cooled with the Coalition and there is a growing sentiment to back away from conflict with the federation, considering it a ‘human affair’ so long as war does not reach devastating heights as it has prior. A war between two brothers shouldn’t be interfered with by a stranger.
The Directorate’s governmental situation is cut-throat and competitive to an extreme. Officially it maintains a clan-structure in which former allegiances (and their holdings) elect representatives based upon skills the clan values most. Most often technical and scientific, but some clans value military prowess, philosophical explorations or manufacturing innovations above ‘science’. Despite the stereotype from outside the nation, skill is what rokhandans value most, not necessarily science, marking them as a true technocracy.
The lowest tiers of government are diverse and generally made up of community elders who select the greatest and most forward thinking of their local community to represent them in politics in local governance, continuing among elders and former great thinkers in regional governance, planetary governance, and so on and so forth until the council is reached. The council is the primary legislation and decision-making force in the government, and is a backstabbing array of politics. They are also charged with electing the Fahikh. The leader of the Directorate.
When one becomes the Fahikh, they are cybernetically linked with a vast computerized library of information. The belief in having the best lead has long permeated rokhandan, and this tradition has evolved from literal oral wisdom memorized by servants to pass down the wisdom of their clan leaders to each new ruler. As the rokhandans progressed they became more technologically advanced. From written word to recordings, eventually evolving to vast libraries of wisdom the Fahikh neurally links to. The Fahikh’s first duty on election is to begin curating and crafting their own imprint of wisdom prior to embracing the library. This is done to try and limit the damage that could be caused by linking.
The linking is not submitting to a singularity of combined people and in many ways is far more advanced, in others it is far less. It lacks personality, it doesn’t have individuals vying for control. Rather, it is a massive array of lessons, information, decisions and understanding that the Fahikh links into. It is considered more than just raw ‘data’, it is the unified wisdom of their ancestors. This is a draining and difficult experience and few Fahikhs can mentally maintain their position for more than a few years. But it gives the Fahikh an unparalleled understanding of the Directorate’s political landscape, backed with a library of knowledge that rivals some of the most powerful AI.
The task is considered necessary, without it the Fahikh would be less skilled and bright than an even moderately powerful AI, to a nation whose leaders are to be the most intelligent of the realm, this is unacceptable. But it is not an easy task and the burden of leadership is intense to a level unseen in other societies. An amount of reverence is given to the Fahikh in Directorate society, not as a god, but as reflected in their name, more of a parent. The title is a genderless word for a parent. It means both a father and a mother, a grandfather and a grandmother, it refers to great age but more, great wisdom and understanding.
Directorate culture is curious, adaptive and prone to fascination with other peoples. Originating out of nomadic clans and tribes, each clan differed from the next, and the tribes they made up similarly differed from other tribes, sharing different language, cultures or traditions. These ethnicities and various subspecies are visible today in the diverse appearance of the rokhandan people, as well as their diverse and integrated cultural centers. Even Fen, the center of the Directorate, has enclaves that take inspiration from other peoples.
This adoration of diversity is why the Directorate culture has become a very cosmopolitan place and many symbols of ‘Old Earth’ before the Solar Empire remain as part of Directorate’s human population, keeping traditions and histories that fell to obscurity within the Empire. Numerous humans in the Directorate diaspora reinvented or ‘relearned’ lost traditions, and the rokhandans of the directorate were swift to adopt pieces of these foreign cultures. Leading to significant ‘ethnic’ communities within Fen and its outlying colonies, often becoming integrated into the very makeup of the old clans themselves as symbols of united ‘rokhandan’ identity.
The clans and tribes that make them up are too numerous to ever number, but listed here are a few of those that have become notable in the history of the Directorate. Now that they are more administrative districts than true ‘clans’, many citizens of the Directorate, both rokhandan and non-rokhandan alike identify with these groupings.
|Celleni||Renowned astrophysicists and stellar engineers
Formed not on Fen but on the Directorate’s initial extrastellar colony, Celleni was founded shortly after the colonists' creation of the first FTL vessel, the Jin’yala.The colony’s discovery of W-1 in the decades after its foundation formed the basis of their new identity: a near religious obsession with unlocking the secrets of the universe. They declared their clan’s creation after jumping into Fen’s orbit and proudly broadcasting their achievement. The brilliant light of Cellen, their home star became their clan-symbol. Today the Scout service bears it in front of the Directorate’s symbol, symbolizing the influence of the Celleni.
|Houyani||Agricultural magnates and traders
An ancient clan of Fen, once known as great warriors, have become most well known for their sky-gardens. These vast cities in the clouds, anchored to the tempestuous world below by magnificent slender towers are not uncommon in Fen. But no others had created vast terraced greenhouses in the stratosphere so efficient a single one could easily feed hundreds of millions of souls. Their corporations and produce are now so common throughout the Directorate that their symbol, a crescent sword, has become deeply associated with Directorate food exports.
|Aldet-Kazaan||Brilliant strategists and reckless adventurers
Long ago the Aldet-Kazaan were once bitter enemies, but the two clans united to fight a greater threat. Their legacy as a warrior-clan has never been forgotten, and they established one of the premier military schools in the Directorate. More than this though, they praise the adventurous and forward-moving. Eager explorers, cunning rogues and brave marines define their legacy. Their symbol is a profile of two ghineru, the most common riding animal of Fen, with antlers completely entangled into a knot.
The tendency for adaptation of others beliefs has led to a plethora of micro-cultures and micro-religions throughout the directorate. The mystical traditions of the abrahamic faiths of earth saw particular adaptation and influence within the Directorate’s religious landscape. The native rokhandan faiths, while diverse, heavily leaned towards monotheistic or pseudo-monotheistic systems with a deeply mystical bent and the faiths found numerous reasons to consider a shared truth between them. Two of the more common faiths beliefs are described next.
|Paalamism||Creation is flawed, terrible and cruel. Fen is a particularly cruel world but all matter is tainted with evil. But beyond this evil matter is the Truth and the Light, the energetic existence of light. Matter was an accident, a flawed creation, a shadow from the brilliance and wonder of the light. Paalamism is the pursuit of unity with this force of creation, the extraction from the flaws of creation to the divine glory beyond the physical. Knowledge is the path to escape the material.|
|Sarmaism||The Truth of God is immeasurable and the miracles, the things we can envision and learn of are not truly god, but are simply an emanation from the divine light. It is through prayer, thoughtful focus and a true adoration, we can achieve deification and our will, our decisions will become inseparable from the Divine light.|
This is not to imply the Directorate is a particularly religious nation, perhaps due to the diversity of beliefs; whether religious, agnostic or atheist within the Directorate, there is no aggressive religious presence in public life.The majority of members of the nation believe religion has no place in politics and do not believe in proselytization, encouraging faith to be an internal and communal affair. While ethics may be informed by faith, policy tends not to be and the Directorate is a purely secular state.
Food and Agriculture
The Directorate evolved from nomadic herding cultures, and in fact the rokhandan people evolved alongside their favored herd and labor animals in symbiosis, and while common ‘directorate’ food is now far from the nomadic lifestyle that once dominated Fen, the traditions remain. While the totality of the directorate’s foods are varied and expansive, incorporating cuisine of new worlds and imported cultures alike, there are indigionous cuisines. Pickling food, while not as necessary as it once was, is so deeply ingrained on Fen dried or pickled foods are common in most cultural cuisine.
The dominant meat is the hamav, a large limbless worm-like invertebrate that feasts on algae. Its flavor is compared to duck, highly fatty and rich. Hamav eggs are also common in local cuisine. Whilst the most common grain is Adzi, a rich glutinous grain with a distinctly nutty taste and a tendency to create bright, orange-hued breads. The preferred fruit is heavily hybridized, known as the Zalz, and grows in clusters on trees. It’s highly sour and tends to be served dry in other foods. Finally, dairy, milked from the ubiquitous ghineru–which historically has taken the role of both companion and mount in indiginous rokhandan culture, in both cheese, liquid or butter form is constant. Ghineru dairy products are closest to the goats of earth, though significantly milder.
The Directorate flag shows Fen, its rings bare calligraphic art, writing the declaration of the nation. “From Ahni, Forward!” and bears two seven pointed stars representing the first colonies of Ora and Jesoba, whose establishment marked the need to create the Directorate. Its colors are red, representing the storms of Fen and the trials of the rokhandan people. White, representing the purity of a new era. It is traditionally framed in silver.
The Directorate has rarely held a permanent united military service. Clan fleets and civil defense forces vary in size and power, but form in times of need into a coherent fleet. Despite often being geared primarily for ‘civil’ defense, they tend to be incredibly powerful multi-role vessels. Historically, even scout ships were designed capable of combat raids and Directorate military doctrine is heavily based on their history as a culture of constant internal conflicts and raids–all vessels should be capable of rapid refit into weapons of war, and a true ‘defense’ vessel, needs to defeat or dissuade a invading fleet. It should be noted, that the Directorate has never described their space forces as a ‘navy,’ ocean bodies were often large lakes or rivers and massive oceans are uncommon. They instead use terms closer to cavalry to refer to their fleets.
Due to both constant competition and the cultural tradition of political-power coming from current status and technical aptitude, nearly every clan is constantly developing and improving their weapons of war. Being the designer of a superior vessel with new and groundbreaking technology or designing an update to a workhorse can both bring significant political power within the Directorate.
While most common tech has some Directorate origin and few things are ‘uniquely’ Directorate due to this, the Directorate’s application of tech tends to differ from their Coalition neighbors at a number of levels.
First, the ubiquity of jump-capable, independent vessels. Most Directorate military vessels are capable of jumping without needing jump wells, although doing so tends to require a few hours at minimum of calculations. This is supplemented by widespread use of powerful, if specialized AI. These tend to be built into the ship’s structure at an intimate level, forming a living nervous-system and are not properly removable from the ship, nor transferable outside of it. The limits put on these AI are physical and structural and they tend to have very firm lawsets regulating their behavior.
Larger ships, rather than have AI at all, are known as pilot ships, as indicated they have one or more ‘pilots’ that are rigged into the ship’s vast nervous system. Accessing gigantic computer banks and possessing significantly augmented minds. They function as a living intelligence capable of regulating most systems of a ship as well as taking the place of a massive fleet AI. The largest will have multiple pilots regulating a number of different sectors of the ship, significantly reducing crew needs and the need for potent AI.
The Directorate has devoted little thought or development to fighter craft, considering gun-strapped engines a wasteful and dangerous use of resources. Instead, rokhandan drone and missile technology is highly advanced and heavily used in their fleets.
Ruz’kahni Directorate Expeditionary Fleet
The Directorate Fleet’s primary organization is the ‘expeditionary fleet’ and most vessels bear the RDEF or DEF prefix, there is some inconsistency in usage owing to historical bias. The most common Directorate prefix used for total fleet organization is to have the RDEF signature followed by a two letter suffix, denoting role or service. Such as RDEF-SS would denote ‘Scout Service.’ After, the vessel is referred to by a vessel-role designation followed by their identification number.
As far as a military organization, the Fleet is rarely deployed and much like the government, the leader of it is technocratic, appointed based upon votes of clan-general, or in lieu of consensus, competition. Rather, it is a united organizational entity to ensure some level of consistency across the organizational levels of the Directorate. The most recent deployment was one of its most major, uniting nearly every vessel capable of combat, even pulling from non-combat services in the Secession War, and has both significantly damaged the RDEF’s fleet power and has caused a significant increase in military spending within the Directorate military.
Most clans, now forming up in regions, have their own organizational fleets, usually in smaller numbers for local defense and enforcement. However a few have kept a strong warrior-tradition, effectively running the RDEF and consistently competing with each other. The most notorious of these are the Aldet-Kazaan, the Hidari and the Z’yet which keep a strong tradition of competition and martial prowess. They denote their ships with the AK prefix, HD prefix and the ZY prefix. While the more militant clans have a wide spread of vessels and these make up the majority of Directorate ships, most clans only have two broad categories of ships, raiders and defenders.
The raiders are purpose-built raiding ships, geared towards independent fleet action with integral jump drives and computers capable of ignoring any real need for jump wells (though these are preferred for most movements, safety matters!) They are often equipped with parasite drone fleets to dismantle or ‘acquire’ other vessels, gripping arms, docking systems and marines and resemble militarized pirates more than typical warships. While based on ancient systems of warfare the practical reason for their continued usage is a continuation of the Directorate’s system of warfare–they don’t waste resources and permit the maximum advantage possible against a foe.
Information is power, and acquiring a foe whole is better than digging through scrap. Additionally, due to the multi-purpose roles of most Directorate ships, these expensive vessels make ideal law-enforcement machines. Meanwhile the defender ships are a near opposite, overgunned, jump-incapable vessels built around mass fleet action. They are rarely capable of entering the atmosphere and rarely leave the local space they’re meant to defend. This does not make them static defense, however, they are capable of being transported via jump-ships to other destinations and they are extremely capable realspace combat vessels.
The Scouts are more than just ‘scouts,’ rather they cover the vast field of interstellar exploration and have been a semi-prestigious service throughout the history of the Directorate. Their ships are generally denoted by the following role designations: SC (Scout-Courier) SX (Scout Explorer), RV (Research Vessel) and SV (Survey Vessel). They have a number of sub-services and roles, from deep-space exploration to mail-delivery vessels and follow a general pattern of massive survey jump ships moving from planet to planet to find ideal planets, explorers to evaluate promising or fascinating worlds, and research vessels to conduct long term studies of phenomena. Finally, the courier-service ensures communication remains functional (if significantly delayed) to distant or new colonies and holdings of the Directorate, as well as maintaining standard information and mail delivery via their large mail-ships, outfitted with massive information relays and storage banks.
The closest equivalent to special forces within the Directorate, the Maz’jet Aldeen are one part cold assassin and one part fanatic. They believe in the special legacy of Fen and the absolute survival of the Directorate against any threat to an obsessive, near religious level. They swear a lifetime of service to the Directorate and no step is too far to ensure the survival of their nation. At least this is the common understanding of them. Officially they do not exist, and their reputation in the Directorate varies from noble hero-warriors to conspiracy-laden secret-society that puppets the Directorate for its unknown purposes.
Ruz’Khani Directorate Army
The ground forces are comparatively rare among the directorate, oftentimes their ships employ more internal defenses than they do skilled Marines, but they do have a presence. There is little division between ‘army’ and ‘marine’ within the Directorate and drones and automated defenses make up the majority of ground forces. The Directorate is generally loath to sacrifice its people unnecessarily.
Detailing an economy for any nation on an interstellar level is an impossible task. However in broad strokes, the economy of the Directorate is primarily focused on internal welfare. Individual regions and planets may vary wildly in exact economic focus or even standards of living according to the clan’s policies. However, some things are consistent, a high degree of basic welfare is taken care of by the state. Some of the few true ‘Directorate’ institutions are medicine, education, public transit and other of what the Directorate considers basic services. The average citizen is heavily taxed but is usually prevented from falling into absolute poverty.
The most famous export of the Directorate is skill and education. The stereotypical tourist is paying for access to one of their many prestigious educational institutions, rent neural-trainer software, or to make deals on licensed technology. However, despite the average image of a rokhandan as a scientist working in a sky-city on a high narrow tower, the Directorate is not without its diversity.
Herding and animal husbandry is still common enough and for many rokhandans, their lifestyle has not significantly altered since times immemorial. Additionally, the tendency towards careful utilization of a planet’s resources have prevented extreme urbanization or the concept of the ‘mega city’ of other nations. This is heavily due to public mass transit. Cities are linked, towns are linked, or clan holdings are linked and even planets are linked by a network of trains, aircraft and starships. All paid for by significant and some say oppressive taxation.