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.
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 an enforcing of laws) is carried out by the Alliance, but the TDF collects taxes from it's subjects, then pays them to the Alliance(where as 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. It's bureaucrats are not elected, they 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 leads the TDF to being 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 maters, and they are commonly known as the dragon's watchdogs. The heads 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 being run efficiently and to prevent abuses of power. The dragons are fond of paying their employees quite well, but do not ever want to 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 industrialization to do so. To fuel progress, the dragons themselves became heavily involved. Dragons 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 simply 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 effectively 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, multi-versal 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 around the third century N.D. before being 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 it's military production internally and is accountable to no one, can field much more expensive equipment without producing an 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 simply does not have the resources to field a significant space-based force. And while the dragons still provide considerable funding, they simply do not have the industrial capacity.
The space navy is distinguishable from the regular terrestrial forces by being known as the TDN instead of TDFN, and there is some rivalry between the divisions. While the TDN still 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".
Much like the TFDN, equipment is purchased surplus from the Foundation or makes use of license-built copies. In the case of starships, many are in fact purchased second-hand from the Foundation.
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.