Lady Meshanna Starling
|Degree of Advancement||
House Starling Honor Guard
House Starisha, frequently rendered in Federation Standard as House Starling, is an ancient noble family of Betazed. Having stood since time immemorial, the leaders of House Starling are seen as luminaries of the Betazoid way of life and leaders in the planet's government.
Seventh of the original Twelve Houses of Betazed that signed the Concordance of Unity and formed the Betazoid planetary government in centuries past, House Starling's ancestral lands lie on the fertile plains and forests of the central region of the planet's large southern continent. Once queens in their own right, the matriarchs of House Starling set aside their absolute power in the name of planetary unity after the Betazoids achieved warp flight and made contact with other worlds.
In more recent times, House Starling was a leading proponent of Federation membership and Betazoid involvement in Starfleet, and, for the first time since planetary unification, sent its honor guard into battle as a covert supporter of the Betazoid resistance during the Dominion occupation of the homeworld. They have established multiple colonies, including Tirsatz near the Cardassian border.
- Matriarch Meshanna Starling
Leadership of House Starling is passed down matrilineally, from mother to daughter, almost always passing to the firstborn. When the Matriarch dies or abdicates without an heir, there is a complex but clear set of rules governing the transfer of power, though in this event the House as a whole frequently loses standing among the other High Houses. In service to the Matriarch are dozens of lesser nobles, tasked with overseeing provinces on the homeworld or colonies far away. The Matriarch herself answers to the laws passed by the elected Betazoid government as well as the social power of the other High Houses, whose disapproval, in a culture where war has always been waged much more through words than through violence, can be intensely costly. She also appoints magistrates charged with enforcing Betazoid and Federation civil law in the lands entrusted to her.
With the deaths of both daughters of the current Matriarch, the heiress apparent is half-human Starfleet officer Eden Starling-Enigma, an accomplished officer but near-complete unknown in Betazoid politics.
House Starling In Play
- As a ranking noble house, House Starling has immense political influence on Betazed. To win their approval is to gain inroads into Betazoid society and a powerful ally in the Federation's Alpha Quardrant frontier.
- House Starling maintains a strong diplomatic corps, and its people might be find entangled in any number of situations where the well-being of Betazed is threatened or there is gain to be had. Their diplomats have a reputation for being sharp-tongued and shrewd, and many are not above feigning weakness to draw someone into giving them what they want or bluffing a stronger hand than they have even with allies.
- While House Starling has a significant number of trading and passenger ships, it maintains no spaceborne military force, and its honor guard consists of a few dozen attractive young officers with elite training but no practical combat experience. Given that they can feel the pain and fear of any enemies they face, Betazoids in general and Starling operatives in particular will avoid violent solutions to problems if it is at all possible.
- On the other hand, once violence becomes inevitable, they will tend to fight hard and dirty. While the young officers of the royal guard have never seen combat, some have childhood memories of the Dominion occupation, and those who do not have heard stories about its brutality from their parents. In a situation where they must fight, the people of House Starling, guard and civilian alike, will go to frightening lengths to avoid repeating anything resembling that experience.