Strategic Evaluation of
Starfleet Command has been made aware of the existence of a distant galaxy which is connected to our own via a wormhole. A variety of intelligence sources indicate that this galaxy is under the control of a centralized, totalitarian government. Moreover, we have learned that this government is aware of our existence and general capabilities. We project a greater than 95% probability that this government will exhibit expansionist behaviour in the near future, and that they intend to use the Federation as their foothold in the Milky Way galaxy. Moreover, we have determined that our resources are insufficient to match this foreign government in a military confrontation.
This recently discovered extra-galactic imperial government (from here on referred to simply as "the Empire") is a fairly recent development in an ancient civilization of remarkable scope, spanning at least twelve million inhabited star systems1 and 20 million intelligent species2, using at least 6 million different forms of communication3 (in contrast, the Borg are highly prolific by our standards but they have only a few thousand star systems, and they have encountered roughly ten thousand species as opposed to 20 million). Fortunately, intelligence operatives within both Starfleet Command and Section 31 have obtained a great deal of information on its capabilities and history.
The Empire apparently overthrew a democratic Republic several decades ago, coinciding with a period of galactic upheaval known as the Clone Wars. Before this, their civilization had existed in a fairly stable state for at least 25,0004 years, and much of the galaxy was already inhabited before that period, thus suggesting heavy space travel and colonization dating back much further. During that time, their space travel capabilities have matured to the point that interstellar travel or even cross-galactic travel can actually be undertaken within periods of mere days or weeks by private citizens of moderate means5, using personal spacecraft! Given the fact that our best scientists have been unable to solve the difficulties of transwarp and quantum slipstream propulsion (which would take months rather than days6) despite decades of effort7, and that every experiment with such technology has ended in failure and in some cases, serious damage8, it is difficult to fathom the level of technological advancement necessary for such technologies to be so common and reliable that they are within the means of ordinary citizens. It is somewhat curious that they have never developed transporter technology despite their advanced age and technological maturity in other areas, but there may have been religious objections involved (Species 8472 never developed transporter technology either, despite its technological capabilities).
In addition to their advanced space travel capabilities, the Empire has demonstrated vast industrial capabilities. In a few short decades, the Empire has successfully constructed numerous functional starships exceeding 17 kilometres in length9, and one spherical starship (known as "the Death Star") of approximately 160 kilometres diameter, whose weaponry was capable of completely destroying an M-class planet and scattering its mass10. Its starfleet is vast, with tens of thousands of heavily armed mile-long warships, hundreds of thousands of smaller capital vessels, and millions of fighters11. It has constructed several "worldships," in which wholly artificial planets have been constructed with captive stellar light sources and hyperdrive capabilities12, and it took less than six months for them to construct more than three quarters of a second Death Star which was even larger and more powerful than the first (some estimates range as high as 900 kilometres diameter)13. Even more startlingly, it had somehow kept the location of the construction site a secret despite the vast raw material requirements, by using a logistical train based upon the transport vessels of a single private shipping corporation, known as Black Sun14. It is staggering to imagine that the raw materials necessary to construct such a large vessel could be moved by a single private shipping company, or that such vast amounts of raw material could be moved in secret. Taken together, these engineering feats represent hundreds of millions of times the industrial output of the Federation throughout its entire history.
Before the Empire, the Republic had constructed a space station (known as "Centrepoint Station") approximately 350 kilometres in length, and which was equipped with a graviton generator so powerful that it could move planets from one star system to another, and compress the cores of stars many light years away, thus accelerating the rate of nuclear fusion and inducing a supernova15. The Republic had also completed the remarkable feat of constructing a communications network allowing real-time communication from any point in its galaxy to any other point in its galaxy16. Moreover, there are "factory worlds" in which the entire planetary surface is covered by automated manufacturing facilities, with such a high level of sophistication that the entire planet can be run by a few dozen human administrators17. All of this has been facilitated by the development of sentient android technology, which has apparently been continuously refined over many tens of thousands of years until the point that sentient androids are so inexpensive and common that they can be easily purchased for a variety of tasks by ordinary citizens such as farmers (sentient androids date back at least as far as the reign of an ancient pre-Republic despot named Xim). And finally, the capital world of Coruscant is a "city world", in which the entire surface of the planet is covered with cityscape and whose population (numbering in the tens or perhaps hundreds of trillions) are supplied by a constant stream of off-world supplies carried by many tens of thousands of starships, entering and leaving its star system daily18.
Given its size, capabilities, and maturity, we have assessed the Empire (and the Republic before it) to be an index 95 culture on the Weibrand logarithmic developmental scale19, where 1 equals any pre-warp civilization and 100 equals the so-called "unaffected races" such as the Cytherians, the T'Kon, and the Q (the Federation is rated at index 23). Further refinement of this initial assessment may be possible if and when we obtain more detailed information. In fact, there is already some debate as to whether the Empire should be placed in the "unaffected races" category, given that it handily exceeds the capabilities of the T'Kon in many areas20 (this naturally revives the longstanding criticism that there should be some differentiation between the various index 100 "unaffected races", since some are clearly more powerful than others).
The significance of the developmental differences between the Federation and the Empire cannot be overstated. It will simply not be possible for Starfleet to defeat the full weight of an Imperial attack in straightforward military operations, so we must explore other options.
As with all civilizations, in order to understand its present, we must first understand its past. For at least 25,000 years, the pre-existing Republic was governed by a democratically elected Senate, composed of more than a thousand senators who each represented their own region of the galaxy. These regions were all subordinate to a centralized federal government, located on a planet named Coruscant. This federal government was led by a "Supreme Chancellor", who was elected by the Senate.21 This is a fascinating aspect of their governmental system; by making the Supreme Chancellorship position the choice of the Senate rather than the general population, the Republic placed a great deal of power in the hands of the Senate, with little or no checks and balances on that power.
Such a system of government will tend to generate significant corruption and regionalism, as individual Senators vie for increased funding to their respective regional governments. In practice, it would probably lead to a weakening of the federal government over time, since the most powerful and influential senators will inevitably object to the use of federal taxation as a wealth redistribution mechanism. Without checks on their power, it is likely that they would succeed in either diverting the bulk of federal spending to their respective regional interests, or (more likely) reducing federal taxation to marginal levels, thus increasing the autonomy and authority of regional governments. This would lead to progressive decentralization of power and exaggeration of regional socio-economic disparities, and we have discovered evidence to that effect: private corporations were permitted to maintain armies and fleets of warships22, and certain regional governments had amassed such resources that they were able to field large fleets and armies of their own23.
A federal government presiding over such a heavily decentralized civilization will have difficulty maintaining control without effective and economical enforcement mechanisms. Fleets of warships are expensive to build, operate, and maintain, and given the fact that regional governments and private corporations were able to field significant military forces of their own, federal military forces could conceivably be insufficient to maintain control alone. This is where the "Jedi Knights" entered the equation. They were a religious organization whose beliefs were startlingly similar to an ancient Earth religion known as "Taoism". They believed that the universe is permeated with a mystical energy (called "the Force") which is generated by all life forms, and that there are two forms of this energy: the dark side and the light side, in perpetual balance (see the concept of Yin and Yang in historical texts regarding Taoism). However, while Taoism is now regarded as a foolish superstition in the Federation (much like Judeo-Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other ancient Earth religions), Force-related phenomena appear to be verifiable and repeatable.
Intelligence sources indicate that the Jedi Knights were able to use the Force in order to telekinetically manipulate objects as large as spacecraft24, gain very precise short-term and somewhat sketchy long-term precognition of the future25, and also to telepathically scan and/or influence sentient beings26. It is evident that they were used by the federal government as enforcers, in both overt and covert operations. They were exceptionally lethal warriors, and could only be defeated through overwhelming firepower. Section 31 has theorized that they were used as a form of "secret police" by the federal government, in order to maintain discipline through terror. While they were not numerous or powerful enough to conduct large scale military operations, they were highly effective at infiltration and assassination and they carried a fearsome reputation27, thus making them the ideal instrument of control over wayward regional leaders. Their telepathic scan and influence capabilities also made them ideal for early detection of anti-governmental plots, as well as spy recruitment and covert participation in diplomatic negotiations.
It is clear from the preceding data that although the Republic was a highly corrupt, decentralized government, it was stabilized by the Jedi Knights. It was therefore inevitable that when their order was destroyed, the Republic would collapse. At this point, our intelligence data becomes somewhat sketchy; it is known that the Jedi Knights were mostly exterminated around the time of a destructive conflict known as the "Clone Wars", and it is suspected that internal strife and civilian unrest were used as an excuse for a massive militarization program which restored central authority and civilian confidence (there are certain historical parallels to the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1930s Germany). Over time, this central authority became a totalitarian regime, and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine gave himself the title of Emperor. Within a few short decades, the Empire had achieved nearly total control of the galaxy, including myriad "outer rim" systems which had previously been independent, and it had constructed a military organization of staggering size and scope, only to be felled by that most common failing of empires: the lack of a clear line of succession. Just as the empire of Alexander the Great rose almost overnight but fell to internecine conflict and centrifugal tendencies after his death, and the Roman Empire consumed itself in civil war after the death of Emperor Commodus, so too did Palpatine's Empire collapse after his death.
Current Astro-Political Climate
The current political climate has recently stabilized under a new totalitarian regime. A New Republic was formed after a series of destructive civil wars which followed Palpatine's death, but with only one Jedi Knight and a handful of semi-trained acolytes, it rapidly fell prey to the same corruption, regional disputes, and centrifugal tendencies that brought down the Old Republic. When the New Republic was threatened by new external and internal threats, it was almost inevitable that the government would return to a more centralized, authoritarian model28.
Our intelligence data is extremely sketchy at this point, but it would appear that this authoritarian government eventually became a new Empire, and that it swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with the aforementioned threats. However, it has been said that "an empire founded by war must maintain itself by war"29, and while it is indeed possible for an authoritarian empire to remain stable for decades or even centuries (eg- the Roman empire, or the Chinese dynasties), this task is made much simpler if its leaders can use an external threat to distract the population from internal problems. This should come as no surprise to Federation societal planners, since the maintenance of our own collectivist ideology and high level of militarization has always been facilitated by the existence of external threats, most notably the "cold wars" with the Klingon and Romulan Empires, not to mention armed conflicts with the Cardassians and more recently, the Borg and the Dominion.
Unfortunately, it would appear that we are being used as that external threat. Therefore, since Imperial aggression seems to be a domestic political imperative, we see little or no chance for a peaceful resolution through diplomatic negotiation.
1"Dark Empire #3".
2"Tales of the Bounty Hunters".
3C3PO claims to have six million forms of communication in his database; there may be more.
4Countless references, beginning with Obi-Wan's statement of "a thousand generations" in ANH.
5Han Solo, among others.
6"Best of Both Worlds", in which it was revealed that it took a full six months for the first Borg cube to arrive in Federation space, and "Hope and Fear", in which Arturis' quantum slipstream technology would have required 3 months to cover 60,000 light years in order to reach Earth.
7Neither quantum slipstream or transwarp propulsion has ever been successfully deployed on a production Federation vessel, despite the fact that transwarp has been under research for more than 80 years, since Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock.
8In "Hope and Fear", USS Voyager suffered serious structural damage from a brief use of alien quantum slipstream technology, thus prompting Captain Janeway to order that they never attempt to use it again despite its potential. In "Threshold", Lieutenant Tom Paris underwent bizarre, dangerous mutations as a result of what appeared to be warp 10 travel. In "Day of Honour", an attempt to deploy Borg transwarp technology resulted in the near-destruction of USS Voyager, and a warp core ejection. The transwarp prototype vessel USS Excelsior was a failure, and the design was eventually modified in order to use conventional warp drive.
9The Executor-class "super star destroyers", as well as the even larger Sovereign and Eclipse-class vessels which incorporated spine-mounted superlasers capable of sublimating the crust of a planet with a single blast. Sizes referenced in Star Wars Encyclopedia. Note that SSD size is commonly underestimated at 8 km, but simple visual scaling of the Executor's introduction scene in TESB will reveal that this is impossible. Moreover, comparison of bridge tower sizes indicates that it is roughly 17.5 kilometres long. This is corroborated by the modelmakers, who designed it to be 11 times the length of a normal Star Destroyer.
10As seen in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope".
11Generally accepted quantification of Star Destroyer and TIE fighter numbers, referenced in the Star Wars Encyclopedia among other sources.
12"The Crystal Star".
13The special effects artists intended it to scale to roughly 500 miles (800 kilometres) diameter, and this scale was evident in the briefing hologram aboard Admiral Ackbar's Mon Calamari flagship.
14"Shadows of the Empire".
15"Ambush at Corellia", "Assault at Selonia", "Showdown at Centerpoint". See Star Wars Encylopedia for summary.
16"Imperial Sourcebook", "Dark Force Rising Sourcebook".
17"Tales of the Bounty Hunters".
18As seen in "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace".
19The Weibrand developmental scale was described in the non-canon Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.
20The T'Kon empire was destroyed by a single supernova, as described in "The Last Outpost". In contrast, a supernova destroyed an inhabited world in Tales of the Bounty Hunters with no noticeable effect whatsoever on the Imperial culture or economy.
21As demonstrated in "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace", when the Senate voted Valorum out of office and then voted Palpatine into ofice as his replacement.
22The Trade Federation's droid army and battleships are a good exampe of this phenomenon.
23The Corporate Sector Authority, which controlled 10,000 star systems and had its own starfleet, as referenced in the Star Wars Encyclopedia.
24As demonstrated by Yoda in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back".
25In "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace", Qui-Gon explained that inhumanly fast Jedi reflexes are actually due to the Jedi ability to "see things before they happen". Longer-term precognition is demonstrated by both Yoda and Emperor Palpatine on numerous occasions, particularly in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back", when Yoda clearly foresees the capture and torture of Luke's friends.
26Obi-Wan demonstrated his ability to influence minds in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope", the canon novelization for "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" described how Emperor Palpatine used the Force to artificially inflate the morale of the entire Imperial armed forces, and many other detailed descriptions of telepathic Force abilities can be found in the Star Wars Encylopedia.
27In "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace", the Neimoidian Rune Haako fully expected to die when he discovered that two Jedi Knights were loose on his starship, despite its large complement of battle droids.
28This is the underlying scenario for my fanfic, and it's basically a pre-requisite for a Federation/Empire conflict. After all, the original Empire fell with no recorded conflict with the Federation, and a New Republic/Federation war would probably not happen due to the ideological similarities between the Republic and the Federation, so one must simply concoct a scenario in which the Empire rises again. One could posit an "alternate timeline" in which the original Empire fought the Federation, but once again, this is difficult to rationalize; the Federation is not aggressive enough to unilaterally attack the Empire (and if it did, it would unify the SW galaxy against it), and the Empire would not attack the Federation until it had gotten its own house in order, which never did happen.
29Baron de Montesquieu (1688-1755), French writer.