Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
A younger sibling inevitably ends up having a complicated relationship with the older one. I don’t mean that in a bad way, of course (or, at least, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bad way), but the relationship is almost never a simple one. The older sibling is the trailblazer (like it or not): he or she figures out what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t. The younger sibling, in turn, is left to figure out how to follow in the older sibling’s footsteps (or not). As a result, the younger sibling almost inevitably goes through phases of idolizing, hating, copying, and pushing away the older sibling over the course of years (or, perhaps, over the course of seconds). Eventually, however, the younger sibling realizes that they are their own person. What worked for the older sibling may not work for the younger, and vice versa. Realizing that separation and becoming one’s own person can be a difficult, but vital, realization for any sibling (and for the parents of those siblings, for that matter).
As usual, this is a rather tortured metaphor for New Eden on a broader scale: in this particular instance, the Minmatar and the Gallente. The metaphor is obviously not perfect, but in many ways, the Federation did act as an older sibling to the Republic as the Minmatar re-learned how to be a self-governing nation after winning its independence from Amarr slavery. In classic self-important Gallente fashion, when it was time to set up how the Minmatar would govern themselves, the Gallente “strongly recommended” that the Republic follow the model that had proved (mostly) so successful for the Gallente. And the Republic followed suit, setting a tripartite republic that would look familiar to any Gallente schoolchild, but ignored the unique cultural and political history of the Minmatar.
I speak, of course, of the Seven Tribes. The Gallente, in our usual way, ignored the importance of the Tribes in the every day life of the Minmatar, unwilling to believe that something that meant little the Gallente (familial relations on such a large scale) could have deep and significant meanings to another. And for two centuries, the Republic tried to follow the Gallente example. But the cultural inertia eventually became too much to ignore. As the disastrous premiership of Karin Midular came to its ignoble end (a story I will turn to in the next entry), Maleatu Shakor, another leader in Minmatar society, decided that the time was ripe for the Republic to put its own stamp on the concept of self-governance.
Shakor had a new vision for the Minmatar Republic that restored the supremacy of the Tribes, flinging off the ideals of its older sibling, the Gallente. Rather than being led by an elected Parliament, the Tribal Council, with representatives from each of the Seven Tribes, would meet weekly to decide matters of state in the Great Caravanserai on Matar. Shakor also revived the concept of the Sanmatar to lead the Tribal Council, and soon found himself installed in that position. In the way that all younger siblings eventually must, the Minmatar had finally decided how they themselves wanted to live. They kept the self-governing ways that the Gallente tried to instill, but in a unique way that more fully represented the rich cultural history of the Minmatar.
Although the Great Caravanserai on Matar served as the formal meeting place of the Tribal Council, it eventually became apparent that a Council that governed an interstellar republic needed better access to interstellar space, leading the Council to eventually establish the Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai in orbit of Matar. Here, the Council could more quickly gather in times of emergency, while also providing both additional space for the offices and embassies necessary for the burgeoning Republic and the more modern settings necessary for interstellar governance that might seem out of place in the storied and ancient halls of the Great Caravanserai itself.
Needless to say, I was eager to check out the Orbital Caravanserai once construction was complete. As I arrived in the vicinity, I queried Aura to get her take on the station complex:
The Tribal Council is the collective head of state of the Minmatar Republic. The council is made up of the chiefs of the Seven Tribes of Minmatar and is chaired by the Sanmatar. While each tribe is substantially sovereign unto itself, the Tribal Council in practice wields enormous executive power by the common consent of the tribes. The traditional leadership role of Sanmatar functions as a mediator with no formal vote in the Council, but the holder of this office can be given emergency powers and is typically delegated command of the Republic’s armed forces by the tribes.
The formal meeting place of the Tribal Council is the Great Caravanserai in the Eyniletti Plains of Matar. However, the Tribal Council often meets remotely or at other convenient locations. The “Orbital Caravanserai” was established to provide a meeting place and transit station for chiefs, appointed deputies, and others attending Tribal Council meetings. The Tribal Council’s secure FTL communications are now routed through this fortified location and it readily facilitates remote participation by holopresence. The facility is also used by delegations from Minmatar clans and circles, ambassadors from other empires and states, and corporate executives seeking the ear of the Council.
The most striking aspect of the Orbital Caravanserai complex is the main station itself. A classic example of Minmatar architecture, the station that hosts the legislature of the Minmatar Republic still feels as if it is held together by rust, duct tape, and dreams. Of course, like all Minmatar engineering these days, the structures are bound together quite more soundly than that, but despite the relative richness of the Republic these days, they seem to pride themselves on that aesthetic. Between the various docking pathways into the station, the arcology domes connected to the main structure host a dense urban landscape within them, presumably home to the many support staff and bureaucracy necessary for the functioning of the Tribal Council. Somewhat surprisingly, the station also appears to host some heavy industry, with flares and vents very visible on the station superstructure. Unsurprisingly, when I requested docking clearance at the station, I was turned down rather unceremoniously.
In an arc around the station, each Tribe has also been granted an embassy. Although structurally the same (and demonstrating the classic Minmatar love of vertical supremacy), each embassy is burnished in the colors of that Tribe, and is guarded by a small task force of that Tribe’s ships. Near the embassy proper also stands a small structure flying the standard of that Tribe. The embassies allow each Tribe to have its own administrative center, where it can be sure of secured channels for deliberations and consultations. In querying each embassy, Aura provides a brief summary of each Tribe (reproduced in the appendix at the end of the entry), but has this to say about each of the embassies itself:
This [Tribal] Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the [Tribe] within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief [of that Tribe] takes counsel with elders, advisors, industrialists, and delegations from member clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed.
I remain vaguely uncomfortable with the cultural imperialism so endemic to the Federation. We have a bad habit of assuming that, despite the vast diversity in human history and experience, ultimately everything is one size fits all, and that the Gallente way of doing things is the best for everyone. But that viewpoint has caused the Federation any number of problems in the past, most notably in the Caldari secession, but also with respect to the Minmatar. We assumed our system would work, without giving any consideration to the history and values of the people we helped to free. Sure, the Republic declared independence from the Amarr and those that enslaved its people in the past (and continue to do so). But it took another 2 centuries for it to declare independence from those that helped the Republic achieve that independence. In its own way, that takes just as much courage.
But it’s a courage that little siblings across the cluster are more than familiar with.
- Attraction: Tribal Council Orbital Caravanserai
- System: Pator
- Security Rating: 1.0
- Region: Heimatar
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -2 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
Appendix (Tribal descriptions):
With a culture emphasizing the virtues of patience, contemplation, and practical skill, the Sebiestor are known far and wide as engineers and inventors. The Sebiestor reputation for tinkering with any kind of technology is well deserved, and this excellence in engineering naturally propelled the Sebiestor to the fore during the period when the old Minmatar Empire pushed into space. During the Amarr occupation, the Sebiestor did much to hold what remained of Minmatar society together with their skill at maintaining or adapting technology. The Sebiestor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Pride is a common Minmatar trait, but the Krusual are wont to take it to extraordinary lengths. They rarely lose an opportunity to remind the other tribes that they alone managed to maintain strongholds in the mountainous Tronhadar region of Matar during the Amarr occupation. It is certainly remarkable that in all the long years of the occupation, the Amarr were unable to once and for all crush Krusual resistance. Their ability to hold onto a certain amount of independence during the occupation resulted in the Krusual retaining more of their pre-conquest culture than any other tribe, and their underground bases played an important role in sheltering some Vherokior mystics. The Krusual Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Brutor are marked by a disciplined stoicism and deeply spiritual cast of mind that combine to project a sense of nobility around the people of this tribe. While the Brutor have a traditional mindset, they suffered great loss of cultural heritage and knowledge of their history during the Amarr occupation. To the occasional annoyance of the other tribes, the Brutor consider themselves responsible for the freedom of the entire Minmatar people and make no bones about standing on this claim for political purposes when it suits them. In particular, the Brutor are great supporters and protectors of the Starkmanir Tribe, on account of the former originating as an offshoot of the latter. The Brutor Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of the Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
Vherokior are disinclined to engage in great collective efforts, and their various clans are rather loosely grouped under the tribal chief’s authority. Indeed, the clans themselves hold nominal authority in many cases, with the family being by far the most important social unit to the individual Vherokior. These families are traditionally matriarchal in structure, though the aftermath of the Amarrian occupation has disrupted this pattern somewhat, as with so many other aspects of Minmatar tribal culture. Most Vherokior have long-abandoned the ancient nomadism of their tribe but the Vherokior mystics are the guardians of the Voluval Ritual and travel immense distances in this role. The Vherokior Tribe was one of the four founding tribes of Minmatar Republic following the success of the Great Rebellion.
The Nefantar Tribe played a notorious role during the Amarr Empire’s occupation of the Minmatar home worlds as collaborators who actively assisted in the enslavement of other tribes by the Amarr. When the Great Rebellion succeeded in driving the Amarr from the Minmatar Regions, the Amarr subsequently set up the Nefantar in a puppet state called the Ammatar Mandate. Unbeknownst to anyone else, certain Ammatar elites had hidden a large number of Starkmanir survivors from the Amarr within the Mandate. After the discovery of the Starkmanir led to a Minmatar invasion in YC110, the Nefantar conspirators and their families led a mass defection back to the Minmatar Republic, assisting in the recovery of the Starkmanir. Today, the Nefantar tribe has been restored as one of the Seven Tribes of Matar.
According to what remains of the historical records of the Minmatar, the Thukker tribe had always been a nomadic people, journeying back and forth across Matar in large caravans. The development of the old Minmatar Empire appears to have done little to inhibit the wandering of the Thukker. Indeed, the Great Caravanserai itself was constructed by the Thukker long ago to serve as a major junction in their network of routes and caravanserais. The Amarr found the Thukker intractable and many escaped to remote areas of space, forming the nucleus of the later culture of Great Caravans. The Thukker were notable fighters in the Great Rebellion but declined to join in the founding of the Republic. The wanderering Thukker Tribe officially joined the Republic in YC111, maintaining full autonomy of their Great Wildlands region but once more uniting the Minmatar as seven tribes.
Subjected to an Amarr campaign of annihilation, the Starkmanir Tribe was considered lost for centuries until the discovery in YC110 of a viable surviving population hidden by Nefantar elites on Halturzhan, the sixth planet of Jarizza in the Ammatar Mandate. The discovery spurred a Minmatar fleet into an invasion of Amarr territories with a view to recovering the Starkmanir and as many other enslaved Minmatar as possible. The vast majority of surviving Starkmanir were successfully recovered, evacuated to the Minmatar Republic, and settled on lands set aside for them by the larger tribes. The Starkmanir tribe is also notable for being the mother tribe of two splinter clans that went on to become major tribes in their own right: the Brutor and the Vherokior. This Starkmanir Tribal Embassy serves as a facility that is unarguably the territory of the Starkmanir within the Orbital Caravanserai complex. Here the Chief takes counsel with elders, advisors, scholars, and delegations from clans of the tribe, secure in the knowledge that opportunities for eavesdropping and subtle interference by other parties are severely curtailed