|Motto: "From each according to their imagination, to each according to their need."|
|Anthem: The Internationale
(and largest city)
|Languages||English, Russian, French, Japanese, Arabic, Sindarin|
|Ethnic groups (2022)||88% metahuman
2% free infomorph/AI
|Common nicknames||Soviet Air Force
Those Commie Bastards
United Federation of Planets (member state)
|-||First Secretary||Joseph Lacroix (also Justice & Equality)|
|-||Central Committee||Khadija Samad (State)
KJ DuPree (War)
Josh Brenner (Communications)
Erik Chatterton (Labor & Finance)
Deidre Griest (Science)
Minerva Weatheral (Education)
Jessamine Oldbuck (Trade)
Oliver Adler (Infrastructure)
Chisa Tsukada (Culture)
|-||Declaration of Abandonment and Vendetta||October 13, 2008|
|-||Kandor Treaty||March 28, 2010|
|-||Admission to Federation||May 2, 2022|
|Major Achievements||Multiple interplanetary and interstellar missions
Discovery of Tannhauser Gate
Project Artemis scandal
|Stereotype||Neutral/Chaotic Good adventurers who find neat things and spread the wealth. To everyone. Regardless of whether or not the powers that be want the wealth spread.|
The Sozvezdie Soviet (Russian, “Union of Stars,” previously known as the Soviet Air Force-In-Exile or VVS) is a minor Fen faction and Federation member state founded by the crew of the ex-Soviet Union space shuttle orbiter Ptichka. The faction is based on Luna, with facilities on both near and far sides. Its largest city is Korolevgrad, situated around Korolev Air Force Base on the west rim of Daniell Crater. The Soviets are best known as deep-space explorers and socialist agitators. Soviet expeditions were the first to enter the Tau Ceti, Epsilon Indi, Delta Pavonis and Zeta (1) Reticuli systems. The faction was also the first independent group to join a larger faction in 2022 when the Soviet agreed to join the United Federation of Planets as a sovereign member state.
- 1 History
- 2 Politics
- 3 Administrative divisions
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
- 7 Notes
The Soviet originated in an online conspiracy-fantasy RPG that began in the early 1990s and ran until 2005. The final iteration of the game’s players remained in close contact with each other and ultimately became the inner circle of early Soviet leadership. In 2007 the players – now calling themselves the Order of Saint Grimace – gathered together at Dragon*Con and drew up plans to purchase, transport and then restore the last surviving spaceworthy Buran shuttle to operational condition, and then “have adventures or something.”
Over the course of 2008 the Order proceeded to buy Buran 1.02, have it hauled to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and refit it using copious amounts of handwavium. By the time the handwavium panics started the process was too far along to abandon, and the Order continued working until October 12, 2008, when local, State and Federal agents surrounded their working hangar and demanded the Order’s surrender. What happened next would become a thing of Fen legend: the Order used Ptichka’s gravity drive to explode the hangar and, in a hail of law-enforcement gunfire, abandoned the planet Earth. Once in orbit, the Order renamed themselves the Soviet Air Force-In-Exile “awaiting the day when the bourgeois capitalists are swept from the Earth and the stars,” swore nebulous vendetta against the entrenched powers of Earth, and got down to having adventures.
The Soviet Air Force threw itself into interplanetary and interstellar exploration, discovering several new exoplanets and providing high-quality data on worlds within the solar system. The amnesty attached to the 2010 Kandor Treaty allowed the VVS renewed access to Earth, which allowed them to build up contacts within terrestrial space agencies looking for a mule for their planetology programs, among other things. In 2011 the VVS successfully smuggled three surplus barrels of handwavium to NASA officials at Kennedy Space Center; this handwavium was used for the Project Artemis refit of the shuttles Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
During the Boskone War the Soviet Air Force was part of the initial Operation Great Justice patrol and rapid-reaction force. Newly-minted MARS marine units were instrumental in the capture of Asteroid 1488. Soviet forces fought in most of the major battles of the war, and were part of the final task force sent to capture Boskone Prime. The VVS also during this time made their landmark expedition to the Delta Pavonis system, where they discovered the Tannhauser Gate artifact and the wormhole link to the Zeta (1) Reticuli system.
The Soviet leadership was implicated in the 2014 Project Artemis scandal in the United States, leading to the barring of Soviet citizens from the US after “one epic trolling session” between Generalissimo Fnord and the Congress. The VVS continued interstellar operations as well, focusing on Tannhauser Gate and its twin Night’s Door in the Zeta 1 system.
In 2016 the VVS voted to dissolve as a paramilitary force and reconstituted itself as the Sozvezdie Soviet, featuring a civilian government over the paramilitary structure. Around this time the Soviet also began offering assistance to left-wing groups on Earth looking to find greener pastures in Fenspace.
On May 5, 2022, the Central Committee of the Sozvezdie Soviet, as directed by the All-Union Soviet, signed an accord of annexation between the minor faction and the United Federation of Planets, marking the first time in Fen history a smaller faction willingly joined a larger one.
The Sozvezdie Soviet is a council-based democracy. The Soviet Basic Law establishes a legislative branch composed of the entire adult population, an elected executive branch to administer the government and an elected judiciary to arbitrate interpretation of the law.
The legislature (the All-Union Soviet) operates on a tightly monitored public forum and a voting system designed and operated by the Ministry of Communications. Every citizen past the age of majority may cast votes when the soviets are in session. Sessions are held weekly except during emergencies, though debate and discussion of issues goes on constantly. The average Soviet will vote at least twice a week, though the issues voted on will tend to be local events and not large-scale legislature.
Day-to-day governance of the Soviet falls to the Central Committee, an elected council which performs the basic executive functions and operates the dozen or so extant Ministries which keep the Soviet functioning. The Committee also acts as a ratifying body for All-Union Soviet decisions; this may be overridden by a 2/3 majority of the All-Union Soviet. The nominal head of government is the First Secretary, a member of the Committee elected by his or her fellows. When necessary, official head-of-state figurehead functions may be handled by the Generalissimo, a lifetime post.
Elections and political parties
Elections are held every five years, starting from the reincorporation date of the VVS into the Soviet in 2016, though the First Minister may dissolve the government and request new elections at any time. All Central Committee posts are up for election, which may cause significant turnover in government. Since the 2022 annexation, the All-Union Soviet also votes on and approves the person or persons sent to represent the Soviet on the Federation Council.
The political landscape of the Soviet has successfully managed to precipitate political parties out of the swirling ether. So far the parties are largely rough delineations without any formal structure to them, and the nature of Soviet and Fen politics may end up keeping them that way for some time. The parties appear out of the mists every election cycle and return to the mists once the elections are over. There can be as many parties as there are Soviets in theory, however four major groups have formed in the 2016 and 2021 election cycles. The Social Democrats are the party of the old guard, and is primarily concerned with maintaining Soviet infrastructure and influence against capitalist incursion. The Infosocialists are the most successful of the radical parties, taking a hard line on freedom of information and allying themselves with the Pirate Party International. The Internationale is the radical wing of the Social Democrats, interested in encouraging Soviet-style democratic movements elsewhere in Fenspace and on Earth. The Transhumanists are the youngest of the parties, largely built around the perennial Minister of Science and her loyal minions in Korolevgrad and Black Mesa.
Law and criminal justice
The Soviet Basic Law follows the Articles of Convention closely, with a large and comprehensive declaration of metahuman rights not found in the standard Articles. Trial and punishment are most often handled within a soviet or handed off to a nearby soviet for impartiality purposes.
|“||What good’s Utopia if the bad guys steal it from you?||”|
—KJ DuPree, X-COM
Soviet citizens are required to spend a minimum of six months upon attaining citizenship in X-COM for training in the ancient arts of hurting people and getting along with other factions.
X-COM drew down significant forces after the Boskone War and the signing of the 2014 PEPPER treaty; most of the fleet units were demilitarized and some of the MARS units returned to Senshi control. After the 2022 Federation annexation, the majority of active X-COM units were absorbed as a subdivision of the Starfleet Marine Corps; the remainder joined the Red Banner Fleet.
Relations with other factions
Despite their joining with the United Federation of Planets, the Soviets maintain their own diplomatic relations with other factions, as well as independent commitments to the metanational structures of the Convention.
The Soviets retain their major shareholder status in the Nikaido Foundation and the Space Patrol, and X-COM’s main duties involve regular operation with Great Justice forces. Relations remain good with the Crystal Millennium, as new Senshi rotate through MARS units on a regular basis.
The “special relationship” between the Soviets and Stellvia Corporation has come under strain in recent years, due to the Soviet stance on infosocialism and freedom of information and the 2018 revelation that the Whole Fenspace Catalog had been released in a doctored format.
Soviet relations with mundane space agencies remain strong, though links to JPL were severed by the Artemis scandal. TSAB and the Soviet remain in their blood feud.
See article: Autonomous Alliance
As of 2022, the Soviet’s long range plans involve greater integration of the Soviet system of government with the Federation’s republican government. The end goal of this integration is to successfully convince the Federation’s citizens that the Soviet style of syndicalist democracy is and should be the way the Federation is governed.
Along these lines, in 2020 the Soviet began a quiet campaign of memetic agitation among the Federation and left-libertarian microfactions on Luna, Mars and the Main Belt towards the formation of an “autonomous alliance” that would stand for four main points:
- Autonomy, self-organization and self-governance for all sapient beings
- Direct democracy and forms of organization where sapients collectively decide their own future.
- Mutual aid and reciprocating altruism between sapients.
- The right to engage in self-defense against oppression and coercive authority and stand in solidarity with sapients so attacked.
So far, the alliance as proved modestly successful in reaching some microfactions, but has not penetrated the consciousness of the average Fen just yet.
Korolevgrad (Korolev AFB)
Korolev Air Force Base is the nerve center for Soviet activity on Luna and the home port for most Soviet spacecraft. The base was initially founded in 2010, using the proceeds from the VVS’ first successful contract with the French space agency CNES to build a first-class staging base. Clark Universal Construction was hired to do most of the heavy lifting, while the VVS provided architectural designs. The base is separated into two major parts. The first part is the complex under the Kandor City dome which houses the main meeting areas, bunkhouses, canteen, staff quarters and greenhouse. The second part is the hangar complex which sits outside the dome for obvious reasons and is connected to the interior by a series of long passageways. Korolev Hangar One is the main hangar, and it is one of the more impressive (if less well-known) sights of early Fen construction. Hangar One is a 500 meter diameter cylindrical borehole cut 500 meters into the lunar surface, with 12 large landing pads attached to the sides of the borehole. The pads are arranged in a spiral running from top to bottom, an arrangement which allows all pads clear access to the exit. Hangar One is capped by an opaque dome with entrance and egress doors. The entire facility is pressurized; atmosphere containment fields maintain the internal atmosphere.
The town of Korolevgrad is the largest Soviet city and part of the greater Kandor City metropolitan area. The city’s current (2022) population is 3,900, and consists mostly of Soviet ship crews and their dependents, film production staff and others. Korolevgrad is a magnet for left-wing bohemians and people who want to hang out around left-wing bohemians, and this can be seen in the colorful, quirky decorations on most buildings. The town soviet is led by mayor Miranda Delgado.
The Mad Chef
The Mad Chef (no other name known nor given) is a European expat of French or English origin who arrived in Korolevgrad in late 2015 and promptly set up a restaurant (also called The Mad Chef) in the middle of town. Apparently the Mad Chef is a master of multiple cuisines, and when taken by a fey mood will immediately junk entire menus in favor of totally different cuisines, sometimes in the middle of a service. On most days The Mad Chef serves modern European cuisine, but the menu can vary from English to Japanese to Sumatran to Ancient Egyptian with very little notice.
Gagaringrad (Gagarin Crater AFB)
Gagarin Crater AFB is the military-industrial heart of the Sozvezdie Soviet. Founded in 2012 on the far side of Luna, the facility was designed to be as close to a 100% autonomous, self-sufficient factory complex as possible. Automated systems developed by the Ministry of Science collect lunar regolith, process it into a variety of materials and then forge those raw materials into stuff, mostly vehicle spaceframes and engines. Gagarin Crater AFB also maintains X-COM proprietary spacecraft and provides MARS training facilities; the Ministry of War is headquartered on the base.
The city of Gagaringrad is a small domed complex on the edge of the base, and provides housing for factory workers, dependents and X-COM personnel who don’t want to live on base. The current (2022) population of Gagaringrad is 750; the town has seen an increase in tourism as Starfleet Corps of Engineers visit the complex to better learn Soviet weirding ways.
The newest province of the Soviet is the Gallifrey Autonomous Socialist Republic, located on the planet Gallifrey in the Tau Ceti system. While holding tentative claims to the entire planet, the ASR currently encompasses the town of Ptichka’s Landing on the west coast of the continent Wild Endeavour. Sited on Ptichka’s original touchdown point (a small memorial plinth marks the exact spot the nose wheel touched the surface), the Landing was founded in 2019 by the Love and Rage Collective. Love and Rage is an anarchist group loosely affiliated with the Crystal Millennium but officially departed in 2018 when inevitable differences between monarchists and anarchists finally proved irreconcilable. The anarchists were offered settlement on Gallifrey by the Soviet, and 700 initial colonists took up the offer, setting up the town of Ptichka’s Landing on the banks of the River Song.Ptichka’s Landing has a current (2022) population of 1,200, mostly Love and Rage members but also mundane exogeologists and exobiologists studying Gallifrey. The ASR technically joined the Federation along with the rest of the Soviet but the change in sovereignty is given lip service at best by citizens of the Landing.
The Fleet (2022)
During the 2013 – 2016 period, the Soviet Air Force divided its forces along military (X-COM) and scientific (Exploration Forces or EXFOR) lines. After the 2016 rebranding X-COM remained separate while the EXFOR division was slowly dropped in favor of naming the fleet simply “The Red Banner Fleet.” With the merger of the Soviet with the Federation in 2022, X-COM assets that were not immediately transferred over to Starfleet’s direct control were merged with the Red Banner Fleet.
see article: Ptichka
USSR Ptichka remains the Fleet flagship, her primary role as a diplomatic and executive transport for the Generalissimo. She still racks up plenty of flight time on the Luna-Mars run as well as trips out to the extrasolar colonies.
The Soviet maintains the second-largest fleet of OV-200 series space shuttles in Fenspace. The shuttles Uragan, Buran, Groza, Typhoon, Borei and Tsiklon take part in normal Red Fleet maneuvers and are frequently on duty in the further reaches of near space. MCU Columbia was seconded to the Ministry of Communications as a utility craft for Sandwich Films, and MCU Iskra was seconded to the Ministry of Science as a general utility and testbed for Black Mesa.
The bulk of the Red Banner Fleet is composed of Gagarin-class starships. The Gagarin is in use with both the Fleet and the Federation Starfleet: the bulk of Gagarins in service belong to Starfleet, while the remainder serve with the Red Banner Fleet. Soviet versions of this design are recognizable at a distance due to their elaborate, often abstract hull markings.
The Soviet signed the PEPPER treaty in 2014 and promptly demilitarized much of their forces. The Tu-22MX rapid offensive unit Frank Exchange of Views petitioned for and was renamed the ‘very fast picket’ Look! I’m A Ploughshare. Ploughshare and the (in)famous Azu Squadron are the only large space combat assets still attached directly to the Red Banner Fleet; all other X-COM ships were transferred to Starfleet Command control.
The Soviets operate on a fairly simplified communal fund model. All faction infrastructure is controlled by the state, and income from use of that infrastructure as well as intellectual property leases, contractor income, etc. is held in a common pool which can be drawn as needed by any Soviet citizen. Standards of living are reasonably high for a small frontier society, and are expected to increase with the Federation merger.
Science and technology
In 2021, the Soviet spent nearly 30% of its annual budget on domestic research and development. Science missions by the Red Banner Fleet are the faction’s major export and provide a substantial part of the Soviet’s operating income. The Soviet is considered a leader in Fenspace research into handwavium and the Whole Fenspace Catalog.
Black Mesa Research Facility
See article: Black Mesa
The Black Mesa Research Facility is the Soviet’s main scientific research lab. Located at the asteroid 2700 Baikonur, most of the lab’s normal work is considered highly classified by the Central Committee. As of 2022, most of the work at Black Mesa revolves around Project AMALTHEA (the creation of nanotechnology suitable for cornucopias) and Project RAVENHOLM (the investigation and use of paranormal energy fields – what most people would call “magic”).
The estimated population of the Sozvezdie Soviet in 2022 was 6,201. The largest city was Korolevgrad, with roughly 47% of the Soviet’s total population living there. The majority of Soviet citizens self-identified as American, followed by Canadian, Japanese, Arab, and Elvish. Artificial intelligences make up 12% of the Soviet population; most have android or robotic bodies, though there are several free infomorphs living in Soviet networks. This makes the Sozvezdie Soviet one of the larger pro-AI factions (per capita) in the Convention.
Soviet culture derives from a mixture of immigrant influences and strong adherence to left-wing political and social models. The culture is extremely egalitarian, moreso than the Federation’s, and has leanings toward transhumanism and other radical pro-technological ideologies.
Psychology and stereotypes
Many Soviet citizens were exiled or otherwise chased off Earth due to having inconvenient politics, and as a result have no small amount of bitterness and paranoia towards the mother planet. Despite this, the Soviets maintain a large streak of openness and are willing to welcome most people into the fold.
For the Soviets, the future belongs to them in a very literal sense. Their small size as a faction is mitigated both by the disproportionate political power their SMOFs have, as well as the size of their ideas. As far as the average Soviet in the street is concerned the Federation didn’t annex the Soviet, the Soviet annexed the Federation. Whether or not this is an accurate estimation remains to be seen.
Arts and entertainment
Soviet arts tend towards the Bohemian, with a liberal mix of early Internet humor and a strong do-it-yourself “garage project” aesthetic. Soviet influence can be seen in the Kandor City “wavepunk rock” scene, with bands like 1,000 Years In The Moon directly referencing well-known Soviets and Soviet iconography in their songs. As a small faction the Soviet doesn’t have an established internal media market, though it does export media through film and television programming in the greater Luna area.
Soviet Film Collective Studio No. 1 (Sandwich Films)
Sandwich Films predates the Soviet, even predating the Soviet Air Force. Originally the project of University of California-Berkeley film students Catherine and Josh Brenner, this small student film studio had planned to create a documentary about the handwave refit of USSR Ptichka. When the dust settled the Brenners ended up exiled along with the rest of the Order, and eventually restarted Sandwich Films after shooting a short documentary about life at Port Ceres.
The Sandwich Films studio lies on the outskirts of Korolevgrad, and is the oldest (if not the largest) movie studio on Luna. Most of the studio output is documentaries and other edutainment programs, usually involving Soviet exploration efforts or in-the-news weird science. Sandwich Films also does camera work for terrestrial directors and leases unused studio space for Fen producers.
The Ministry of Communications operates and maintains a cable and satellite television channel, officially known as Kandor 3 but better known to its fans as the Monster Raving Goblin Cock News Network (MRGCNN). Kandor 3 operates on a 24-hour schedule, usually showing music videos, old television shows, the occasional Sandwich Films documentary and the nightly Movie of the Week, a (sometimes pirated) terrestrial production, more often than not with accompanying Rifftrax. The real star of Kandor 3 is the independent news and opinion show The Chewy Gristle Commentary Hour featuring Momo von Satan and the Cock. The Chewy Gristle Commentary Hour stars Momo von Satan (a young woman of indeterminate ethnicity with iridescent hair and an encyclopedic knowledge of profanity) and the Cock (a puppet that looks like a large, glowering penis wearing a bowtie and monocle) who proceed to recap the day’s or week’s events Daily Show-style, with Momo providing acerbic commentary and the Cock bellowing interjections at the least appropriate moment. The show is extremely popular with Nekomi Tech students, and has developed a cult following in places on Earth.
- A reference to the game that remained entrenched in Soviet lore, to the point of having a special award “for those who get the joke” named in its honor.
- Known informally by Baikonur workers, and then forever after, as Ptichka.
- In practice, this means any sapient being with a functional age of 18 human years or older.
- No provisions are made in the Basic Law as to how to elect a new Generalissimo when the current one dies, retires or otherwise slips the net. It’s expected that faith will manage, somehow.
- Elections of a more informal nature occurred in the VVS ranks, usually for promotion of officers, during the 2008 – 2016 period.
- By which we mean “indie movie quirky,” not “handwavium quirky.”
- A reasonable enough thing, considering the Gagarin Crater automation requires Carl Starling’s arrangement of Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” played 24/7 or the machinery stops.
- Conspiracy theorists frequently suggest that the irreconcilable differences were engineered by the Soviet because reasons.
- I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry... -ed.
- After the Artemis Foundation, of course.
- Though it still answers to “Frankie” most of the time.
- The Federation Council (among others) would dearly love to get their hands on an unredacted report from Black Mesa, to no avail.
- As opposed to the usual handwavium panic, though sometimes it was both.
- Usually European or ANZAC production companies, due to the 2014 American lockout.
- Especially because the Ministry of Communications will sometimes pirate broadcast the show down to the surface on special occasions. This does not endear the Soviet with many Danelaw authorities, but whatever.