The Trans-Draconic Federation (known colloquially as "The United Federation of Dragons"), is an economic and political entity that formed during the Long Night under the organization of High Mountain Flight and with backing from the still-powerful High Mountain Bank and Trust. The Federation gained most of its power in flat Dimensions, as these were typically home to large dragon flights already, though they also gained control of significant regions in major finite dimensions.
- 1 History
- 2 Organizational Structure
- 3 Divested Authority
- 4 Currency
The federation began shortly after the death of hope, as a way for High Mountain Bank and Trust to guard its assets; and Samuel Fate recognized the authority of the dragon flight to own things. Numerous other flights, many with only tangential connections to High Mountain, began to claim allegiance, to avoid fighting over their own land-holdings.
With their position threatened, High Mountain quickly formed the Trans-Draconic Federation, based on ancient rules of temporary dragon alliances. This provided the dragons, as a nation, with collective bargaining rights and the power to keep their lands. Small pockets of human populations, such as the city-state of Kladeth under Warsong Flight, were allowed to remain autonomous, under the guise of being slaves to the dragons.
Many dragon flights were quick to take on human refugees, as the labor they provided allowed the flights to pay tribute to Fate without giving up treasure. This also provided the flights with great power, as they could influence their human populations and protect them.
When the age of the New Day arrived, the federation was quick to take advantage of the power-vacuum, with dragon flights claiming vast swaths of previously human territory, organizing human armies to control these regions. The federation first became at odds with the Gudersnipe Foundation, but the two groups were quick to come to an agreement. Any former Gudersnipe territories would be returned to the Foundation in exchange for technological and military support. The two groups would also support each other militarily. While the Foundation was poised to build the strong economy, the dragons already had a robust and powerful banking system in place. The formation of an official exchange rate between the dragon-issued currency (Wingbeats) and Foundation currency (GATE credits) made the two groups effectively intertwined.
However, under the terms of agreement between the two groups, the dragons were formally no longer allowed to keep humans as slaves (certain dragon flights who had traditionally kept slaves were allowed to continue the practice), and the regions under dragon control that had not been traditional lands of the dragon flight, were either ceded under self-governance, or transferred to the direct control of the Gudersnipe Foundation.
The Trans-Draconic Federation continued to function as a an economic entity, as the dragons retained ownership of many businesses as well as title to land. By that time, the dragons largely controlled the banking industry, and even the Gudersnipe Foundation had become reliant on them for its electronic money system.
The previously draconic-held nations were folded into the newly-reformed Alliance which solidified under Conri Jason Jusenkyou in N.D. 43. The nations were granted considerable autonomy, but large-scale control was still under the auspices of the dragon federation or the Gudersnipe Foundation.
As with any dragon/human endeavor, the humans do most of the work. Dragons only get involved either when something is fun, or when they can't delegate it. As such, the TDF has two major divisions: the administrative wing, and the military wing.
The administrative wing is an interesting structure, as it is quasi-governmental, but primarily industrial. The actual day-to-day governance (the making and enforcing of laws) is carried out by the Alliance, but the TDF collects taxes from its subjects, then pays them to the Alliance (whereas Alliance member worlds pay taxes directly). They also own the banks and control the money system, and with it numerous very large and profitable industries. All this money is funneled back into the TDF's coffers, and must be managed and grown properly.
This is the function of the administrative wing. Its bureaucrats are not elected, and do not have titles. They have jobs to do, and a great deal of energy is devoted to ensuring no humans gain significant power or influence. This leaves the TDF very stagnant, as dragons are slow to change.
One of the most important aspects of the administrative wing are the so-called "Oversight Commissions". As the name would imply, their role is to provide oversight on a number of matters, and they are commonly known as the dragons' watchdogs. The heads of commissions often report directly to dragons; and while this does give them a significant amount of power, it also makes them quite easy to eat should they displease their overlords.
The function of the oversight program is to ensure the TDF is run efficiently, and to prevent abuses of power. The dragons are fond of paying their employees quite well, but do not let anyone forget who is really in charge.
Early in the New Day, the federation was eager to build a powerful army, but lacked the industries to do so. To fuel progress, the dragons themselves fired power plants and blast furnaces, and gave training in the advanced sciences required to quickly develop new technologies. The colloquialism "Keep the dragon happy", is still a common phrase throughout industries that deal in high temperatures.
Despite its best efforts, the federation lacked the technical skills required to build a modern, space-faring or mechanized force quickly enough to deal with the looming threat from the Confederation. As tensions were already mounting between them and the Gudersnipe Foundation, the two groups, who shared the same goals, decided to unite. The federation provided natural and human resources, while the Foundation supplied the necessary technical know-how and industrial capacity.
The union proved fruitful when the Alliance was re-founded, offering many industrialized nation-states and an already standing army. With the recent collapse of the Confederation, peace seemed assured.
As the Alliance matured, much of the Trans-Draconic Federation forces were absorbed into the burgeoning Alliance Regulars. However, they maintained a strong draconic tradition, and many soldiers (especially in regions where the dragons are still in power) consider their true loyalties to be with the dragons, and not with the human governments.
Indeed, the Federation own most of the bases and facilities, the production centers, and the lion's share of the assets. The Alliance Regulars are just another way in which the dragons are the true rulers of the Alliance.
The military branch of the Federation and best be split into two portions.
The military wing is officially called the (TDFN). Rather than separate land, sea, and air divisions, the entire armed forces are under a single banner, and use naval designations and ranks even on worlds without oceans. The TDFN remained under the direct command of the dragons until the third century N.D., when they were ceded to the Alliance. Officially the TDFN was absorbed into the Alliance Regulars, but being much larger, older, and better-equipped, it's more accurate to say it went the other way around. Even centuries later, it retains the TDFN name and carries on a strong draconic tradition.
Most of the equipment is either purchased from or license-built copies of Foundation technology. This helps the two armies to operate side by side, as most of their vehicles share common components and ammunition. The simplified logistics makes combat very easy. However, the license-built copies often lack the more "exotic" features of the Foundation-built analogues, which ultimately leads to notable inferiority. The TDFN, while primarily funded directly by the dragons, simply does not have the resources to match the Foundation technologically. The Foundation, since it owns the entirety of its military production internally and is accountable to no one, can field much more expensive equipment without economic hardship.
The bulk of draconic land-holdings are on flat dimensions, and as such the space navy is considerably smaller. Much like the old Alliance, the new one does not have the resources to field a significant space-based force. While the dragons still provide considerable funding, they do not have the industrial capacity.
The space navy is distinguishable from the regular terrestrial forces by the name of TDN instead of TDFN, and there is some rivalry between the divisions. While the TDN maintains a strong draconic tradition, they are much more "Alliance" than the ground-pounders. Still, the line-leaders for new ships, particularly capitol ships, are named for dragon flights, and different size classifications use dragon color descriptors. For example, destroyers are typically called "red-fires".
Equipment is purchased surplus from the Foundation or makes use of license-built copies. In the case of starships, many are purchased second-hand from the Foundation.
The Dragon's role at the highest levels of the Federation is complex and derived from ancient dragon laws and customs. Officially democratic, issues are rarely brought to a vote. For the most part the different flights are autonomous, the Federation makes directives and the humans carry them out. Most decisions are made based on common sense, the common good, and long-term thinking in the scales around multiple dragon lifetimes. Draconic assets are managed through High Mountain Bank and Trust, with each flight being in it's own authority regarding securities.
If a major decision were to be made, the formal process involves giving each flight a number of votes based on the highest number of Elders in any one flight. Authority to carry out and enforce decisions of the Federation is given to the largest and most powerful flights, called Echelon Flights. On Aren, these are High Mountain, Phoenix Tavern Flight, Seacrest Spire, and Storm Breach Dragon Flight.
As a general way, the dragons are not often heavily or directly involved in the running the Federation. It operates primarily on a series of regulations, guidlines, and established bylaws created when the Federation formed. The banking industry and money systems see the most direct involvement, with dragons acting primarily as advisers; though some of the larger bank branches are run by individual dragons.
In other areas, the dragons practice a concept called "Divested Authority" in which, despite wholesale ownership, they have deliberately stripped themselves of power, placing it instead in the hands of trusted humans. Part of this is simply pragmatic, dragons are notoriously poor at nuclear physics and should not be controlling the network of power plants. Part of it aims to curtail the power of individual flights. Over all, the main function is to prevent the abuse of power. Humans who have been put in positions of great authority have regulations they are required to follow; and dragons have stripped themselves of authority over the humans in these cases, relying fully on the wisdom of the draconic counsels instead.
An unfortunate sideline of this strategy is it makes the Federation very slow to change. There is no real leadership, only rules, and any modification of these rules is slow in coming, often taking generations in human timeframes.
While the Federation has operational control over the navy, they cannot exercise much more than policy or declarations of war. Individual dragons have no standing or authority over the navy directly (unless they enlist and earn it themselves), and even whole flights that govern regions can only issue directives. The greater whole of the Federation has the power to countermand directives from individual flights.
The dragons had explained, part of this is to prevent favoritism and abuse. Young dragons, called 'Reds', especially like to play, and often do not take anything "uumen-related" very seriously. By divesting control of the military, they prevent reds from "playing war" or joining up and not following orders. If a dragon wishes to join the navy, it will be treated equal to a human and cannot receive any special treatment. In units where dragons have enlisted, the commanders are explicitly encouraged to treat them poorly in order to help them learn their proper place within the military structure.
The dragons rely heavily on nuclear power for the human cities and industries under their control. While other power sources are used where available, atomic reactors are the most common. The dragons created an oversight commission staffed with humans, given total and final say. Dragons may not order the construction of new reactors or countermand any directive issued by the commission. In this case, control has been divested completely, and the Federation would have to remove the head of the oversight commission and replace him or her.
The oversight commission is primarily tasked with safety, but also authorizes the construction of all new reactors as well as overseeing weapon design and deployment. This includes the naval nuclear reactors powering some ships. Many aspects of the TDFN work in a similar fashion, with operational control in the hands of trusted commanders and checks and balances placed in the hands of civilian oversight groups.
In the early part of the New Day era, the TDF acquired many gold mines from the Gudersnipe Foundation. Additionally, various other mineral resources are exploited throughout the Federation's vast land-holdings. While the gold all goes directly into the hoards of the member flights, the mines themselves are worked by human miners. As lustful as dragons are for the shiny metal, they would still prefer none of their "uumen slaves" die for it.
As such, the mining safety oversight commission and its representatives have total and complete authority over working conditions. In addition to ensuring safety standards are maintained, the commission regulates wages and disputes, allowing miners to earn a living not tied to the productivity of the mine. This organization operates more like a trade union. Its leadership is voted on by the mine workers, instead of appointed by the dragons, as with other commissions, and the federation has no power to remove the head. The relationship, however, is quite amicable; the commission exists to protect the miners, and any action it takes in that regard has the full support of the dragons.
Another key aspect is the presence of permanent observer positions. Each dragon flight appoints a number of mine observers who oversee all mineral extraction in their territory. While the observers have no authority, they are required to be on site in the event of an accident. Their primary duty, per the Federation, is to provide oversight for the oversight commission, E.G. ensure the humans are doing everything in their power to protect the workers.
Beginning in the era of the New Day, the Trans-Draconic Federation has issued currency according to the "Land Standard". Each bill is a certificate for a percentage of a parcel of land, though they cannot be exchanged for land. Thus, the combined total of all land owned by the various member-flights provides the backing for the currency being given to humans.
The dragons issue bills in the form of Talons and Wingbeats. 20 talons is equivalent to 1 Wingbeat. While the value of the wingbeat is not pinned to the GATE Credit, the two powers generally effort to keep the buying power about the same. In most instances, one wingbeat equals one credit, though it can vary by as much as 2 talons or 0.25 credits in either direction before anyone has much concern.
High Mountain Bank and Trust also issues silver certificates for very large currency transactions, which are pinned to the fair market price of silver. These are intended for transactions between dragon flights but in practice see use for any sort of very large scale money transfers. The certificates typically have a denomination printed on them in Wingbeats, but it is commonly understood that a 100 wingbeat silver certificate is by no means worth as little as 100 wingbeats. The face value is pegged to bullion, with the wingbeat representing a bar of pure silver and a talon representing a 1 ounce coin. A 100 wingbeat silver certificate, then, is worth 100 bars of silver. That said, good luck convincing a dragon to exchange it for you.