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|Star Empire of Rator|
2387 (Earth Year)
320 (Earth Year)
The Star Empire of Rator was one of the factions that arose from the collapse of the Old Romulan Star Empire after the Romulan supernova in 2387. Claiming to be the legitimate continuation of that government, it controlled less than half of the previous territory, had lost the support of the Tal Shiar, and was forced to establish its new Senate on the world of Rator III. It attempted to hold to the traditions and government structure of its predecessor, but proved fundamentally unstable, over-extending its strained navy across territory it could not possibly retain. Tensions between the government and armed forces came to a head in 2400, with an attempted military coup leading to many sectors and worlds successfully and sometimes violently seceding.
In the present day, Rator controls little more than a sector of the territory of the fallen Star Empire. Much of the military has abandoned it, and what remains controls the puppet senate. While it still styles itself as the legitimate continuation of the Star Empire of Romulus, so do many other factions, and the government of Rator is no longer considered a major power.
Before the Supernova (2380-2387)
The Romulan Senate was slow to acknowledge the reality of the impending supernova, and even slower to make necessary preparations. It was believed publicly acknowledging the disaster would cause chaos and the collapse of the Empire, and those in the know became embroiled in political manoeuvring to do what they felt was best either for the Empire or themselves.
As such, the Empire was not as prepared as it might have been for the Supernova. This was made worse by its reluctance to request or accept the aid of the Federation, which endangered the political standing of several senators, and was exacerbated by the Federation’s sudden withdrawal of aid in 2385. By this point, faith in the Romulan Senate across the Empire had all but collapsed, many regions making their own arrangements for protection and stability.
It was ultimately decided that the Romulan Senate, and all wings of the Romulan government, would relocate to Rator III. This was itself a politically fraught decision, with many of the core worlds expecting to benefit from the Senate’s relocation only for a far more distant system to be chosen. Rator III was notably a major holding for the Star Navy, perhaps the most important military world beyond Romulus itself, and it is assumed the Senate chose it to retain their loyalty. The region had also become more significant in the Empire over recent centuries, being closer to the old enemies of the Klingon Empire and active business of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, and was thus much more the beating heart of everyday political and military activities than the core worlds.
But the damage was done. The Empire’s muddled and slow response to the supernova cost it the allegiance of many territories that felt abandoned and betrayed, while the relocation to Rator III secured major trade routes and military infrastructure at the cost of the former core worlds that resented the commensurate loss of prestige and government access. The final, crushing blow came shortly after the Senate’s relocation was deemed complete, and the Tal Shiar did not follow.
While key personnel were evacuated to Rator III prior to the supernova, vast archives, equipment, and staff never left Romulus. The reforming Senate scrabbled desperately to establish new government holdings, and did so largely under the loyal - and influential - eye of the Star Navy. Already, regional rulers were refusing to acknowledge the authority of the relocated Senate, including the governors of old core worlds who would unite to become the Romulan Free State, where the Tal Shiar had begun to sink its claws. The Star Navy guarded Rator and its surrounding territories, however, and even as the Empire fell into disarray, the Senate was still left with the largest stretch of systems and worlds that continued to owe it allegiance.
The Empire acted at once to retain its legitimacy. Governing documents were hastily and discreetly rewritten to allow efficient oversight over the territories it had, which often surrendered authority to the Star Navy on a temporary basis. Despite these emergency measures at first bearing little similarity to the government protocols of before, the Star Empire refused to publicly acknowledge this or even publish them, lest they appear as a whole new government, another pretender to the old empire’s territories. These measures nevertheless allowed the Star Navy to dispatch its forces across large stretches of the old empire, especially neighbouring regions that had not recognised the Senate’s continuing authority, and forcibly bring them to heel.
It did not yet dare contend with the Free State, which spent long years consolidating its assets before growing only slowly. The Star Empire condemned them as rebels and traitors, but soon its attention was drawn to perhaps a more dangerous rival: the nascent Romulan Republic. Born out of the fringes and borders with the Klingons and buoyed up by extensive naval defections, this was a truly reformist, democratic undertaking trying to offer a progressive future to the Romulan people. Several systems initially loyal to the Star Empire pledged allegiance to the Republic, its democratic ideas infesting territories mired in chaos and inhabited by a fearful people inspired by a message of hope and change.
This left the Star Empire struggling to retain territories on three fronts, with the Free State slowly expanding across the old core worlds, and the spinward borders the home of most of the minor, disparate factions springing up. These last were the weakest, and so the Star Navy dedicated much of its time bringing them to heel to strengthen the Empire in territory and prestige, with the view that this enhanced their legitimacy.
Rivals (2392 - 2394)
The same mistakes that had undermined the Romulan response to the supernova undermined the Empire’s efforts at re-establishment: a fear that overreacting to threats would make them seem weak. So it was that the Empire focused on reconquering - or, in their parlance, pacifying - minor factions, rather than decisively moving against the nascent Republic or the creeping expansion of the Free State. This left the Star Navy thinly-stretched across distant territories, forced to garrison regions that had once been peaceful, and all without the infrastructure that allowed them to quickly replace lost numbers.
These struggles, and the power of the Romulan Republic’s ideals, dealt the first blow to the Star Empire in its competitions with its rivals in 2392. Admiral Thalax, a charismatic and respected officer and commander of the 5th Fleet volunteered to lead his forces to subjugate the Republic, only to deliver utter embarrassment to the Star Empire when he and his entire task force subsequently defected. Thalax’s parting message to the Empire condemned it for seizing territory it could not hold and could not govern, and stated a new way forward for the Romulan people was necessary.
Confrontation with the Free State came a year later, when the Achernar System, nominally part of the Empire, pledged its allegiance to the rival power in response to this latest weakness. The Star Navy was immediately dispatched to bring them back into the fold, but with its forces thinly-stretched across distant territories, only an underpowered fleet could be mobilised in time. Arrogant admirals assumed this would suffice against the Free State and its Tal Shiar Navy, which had always been a small force and one they expected would struggle to protect all of its borders.
Had the Empire taken more time to consolidate its forces, it might have defeated the Free State at Achernar, but any delay was deemed a sign of weakness, especially after Thalax’s defection. Although the Tal Shiar Navy took considerable losses, the Star Navy’s fleet was ultimately routed, the Star Empire defeated by its upstart Tal Shiar-backed rivals. Worse, some in the Star Empire feared the Tal Shiar Navy had yet further assets, and that the Free State would continue its expansionist march.
There was bitter relief on Rator III when the Free State instead offered a treaty wherein they would fix their borders and cease any further expansion. Although this meant acknowledging the Free State’s territorial claims and treating it as another major power, not a rogue government, the Praetor ensured the Empire’s acceptance of the treaty framed the eventual reunification of the old empire as an inevitability - under the Rator Senate, of course. The Free State’s existential threat to the Star Empire was contained, at the loss of significant face for Rator and the acknowledgement of a rival as another Romulan government.
The Republic, meanwhile, had established treaties of cooperation with the Federation. While the Federation did not formally pledge to protect the Republic’s independence, the Star Empire knew it was in no state to earn their ire, especially with the Free State at this point in ascendance on the interstellar stage.
Return to Traditions (2394 - 2399)
These defeats nevertheless gave the Star Empire some breathing room. The Free State was no longer competing for territory and the Romulan Republic was pursuing a different path, rather than challenging the ascendancy of the Star Empire. Now the Star Empire’s challenges were internal, with senators eager to focus on the governance of the territories that they had.
For years they had chipped at the emergency powers that gave the Star Navy its influence, despising the idea of becoming a new form of government that could break their lineage from the Senate of Romulus. Original government policies and legislations were reinstated, however little they recognised the reality of the Star Empire’s present condition. What was important was that they continued to rule over the territories as they had for millennia, acting as if their losses were only a temporary setback instead of a fundamental change.
Perhaps the most outward-looking development was the paternalistic approach the Star Empire took towards the Romulan diaspora. While it lacked the resources to bring everyone back into the fold, it was the only Romulan faction that showed any true interest in conditions in the Neutral Zone, seeking allies in the region to both maintain control and security, and to uphold their legitimacy as the Romulan government.
Rator was on the political ascendance after the Free State’s embarrassment at Coppelius and the revelations of the Tal Shiar’s involvement in the Attack on Mars, with relations between the Free State and the Federation decidedly cooled.
The Coup and the Fall
In early 2400, the Talvath system and several aligned worlds formally declared their independence. With its aged and underpowered military, Rator deemed such distant worlds unworthy of a deployment of their forces, and while they did not acknowledge the independence of Talvath and others, they did not stop them, effectively letting them go.
This weakness by the Senate precipitated disaster on Rator. Weeks later, flag staff of the Romulan Star Navy and a smattering of aligned but politically minor senators denounced the leading political faction and by force of arms dissolved the senate. Formally, their intention was for fresh elections to put in place senators who would not be, as they deemed it, ‘treasonous’ for allowing imperial territory to fall from their hands. Many expected the new senate to be composed of former military officers and others selected by the navy itself.
The Star Navy grossly misjudged the appetites of the Star Empire of Rator for such a change. The thread of legitimacy that was the Senate of Romulus relocating to become the Senate of Rator was snapped in this move. Many surviving senators and regional governors condemned the action as reducing the authority of Rator to nothing more than that of another warlord, no better than the Free States or those who had seized Talvath itself. Others, perhaps with leaders closer to the Star Navy, perhaps with more of a military presence in their systems, threw their weight behind the new ruling power of Rator - but they are few and far between.
What followed was a short but brutal civil war. The Star Navy did its best to bring to heel systems and sectors that declared independence, but found themselves too thinly-stretched to do so effectively. Interference by the Tal Shiar, overtures of membership from the Romulan Republic, and violence from disparate Klingon factions all hampered the navy’s capacity to reassert its authority. The Velorum Sector in particular received aid from Starfleet in its bid for independence, denying Rator one of its biggest industrial hubs. As the defeats rolled in, so did declarations of independence and the abandonment of Rator by those in the military already discomfited by the coup.
By mid-2400, the power of Rator was a shell of its former self. Former territories fell to the Free State and the Republic, but many others retained their independence. The region that had once claimed to be the successor to Romulus has now become a wild and disparate area of many separate factions scrambling for stability or hungry for expansion, all of them politically irrelevant on the wider stage. Even Rator itself, with nothing but a fraction of its former holdings, has fallen.
- The Star Empire of Rator once had some legitimacy to its claim of being the heir of Romulus. That legitimacy is lost. It is nothing more than another small faction of a mere handful of systems, seen by many as overwhelmed by delusions of grandeur.
- Many former worlds under Rator’s leadership have fallen under the Free State. Fewer have gone to the Republic, but most are part of a wild stretch of chaotic space, with disparate independent factions struggling for self-determination.
- Rator’s senate has members whose worlds have abandoned them, and its navy has admirals with no fleet. Pretention and desperation are the order of the day for this shell of a government that has no more influence or power than any other minor Romulan faction.
- The navy effectively runs Rator. Admirals who staged the 2400 coup appointed the senators. The system remains horrifically corrupt, but the navy itself is another shadow of its former self, with aged ships that Rator struggles to maintain. Defections are commonplace.
- Starfleet no longer recognises Rator as a legitimate government, and these days treats with them as it does any other minor faction or regional warlord.