The Botchok Planetary Congress (BPC) was the alleged government of the Orion homeworld, Botchok (Rigel VIII), and of the Orion Colonies as a whole. However, it had very little actual power over them, and mostly only served as a front to other interstellar states, mainly the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
By history, tradition and the central location of the Rigel system in Orion space, the BPC always had a loose authority and influence over the Colonies, and when alien powers sought a central Orion leadership, they came to the BPC. However, any real power it had had declined over time; it was only the diplomacy of those alien powers that kept it above the rest.
The BPC was lead by a President and comprised of delegates from the nation-states of Botchok, though it was dominated by those of the "Big Four" nations of Kulian, Mazak, Tipot and Yuin. These posts were possibly elected.
It was, however, quite complex and disorganized, with no set officials for important governmental tasks, while delegates would often argue over who would accept responsibility, take credit, or get the blame. Corruption and intrigue were rampant. Many used their connections outside the BPC to force events their way, or used the BPC to further their own ends. Equally, the BPC found the Federation government inflexible and arbitrary.
This system frequently confused and hindered the Federation embassy began on reference stardate 0/9101.13 (c. 2163), until they demanded some sort of order, and suggested certain officers with specific titles doing defined work. The idea was surprisingly popular, and for a year, the BPC merrily assigned Ministers for ever smaller and more ridiculous tasks, including a Minister for Rigellian Communications, a Minister for Insurance Claims, a Minister for Insurance Regulation, a Minister for Insurance Writing, and culminating in a Minister for Simplifying Government. The exasperated ambassador's question of if they planned to name a Pooh-bah resulted in the formation of a Commission for the Nomination of a Pooh-bah and some research into the position. The official report was later deleted from the record, and the appointment of joke ministers decreased. The Pooh-bah was not elected.
The arrival of Federation ambassadors looking for diplomacy with the Orions triggered the appearance of Orion diplomats and lobbyists, who promised solutions and organized meetings, though they had nothing more then their words and reputations to back them. Responding to these people before properly understanding the nature of Orion politics strengthened Orion diplomacy and made it a significant force. In the end, with the Federation attempting to deal with the BPC and find its legitimacy, the BPC learned the ways of Federation-style government, though it did little more than rubber-stamp agreements and let laws go unenforced.
As a whole, the BPC was seen as divisive, ineffective, scheming and manipulative, with bickering and bargaining going on during session. It had little authority over its constituents, the people of Botchok, and its decisions were often little more than "advisory opinions" with slap-on-the-wrist penalties and censures against non-compliance. Unpopular policies were generally unenforceable within Orion space. It was more influential among the component members and nations, and with the more powerful families and businesses.
Its main strength came through the Orion Colonies Intelligence agency, and its relationships with other, more powerful interstellar states, particularly the Federation and the Klingon Empire, whose respective mights it could leverage in disputes between Colonies. Its other arm was the Orion Space Navy, though this was only a minor and relatively unimportant tool.
The BPC raised its funds in several ways. The first was by receiving donations from its member nations, who gave as much or as little as they wished. If one of these states was unimpressed by the BPC's decisions over the last fiscal year, the money would decrease, even disappear altogether. It also conducted its own trade, though this was relatively small compared to the powerful Orion families and businesses.
Another means was via under-the-table "settlements" collected by the OCI from each party involved in a dispute. Though the Colonies resented this, most paid up, since the BPC usually had some evidence on them through the OCI. Failure to pay might result in the Federation's Starfleet receiving a tip-off about illegal activities, a hidden base or secret mission. Blackmail and extortion made up a sizable proportion of their income. The BPC was also suspected of being linked with Orion pirate activity.
- See main article: Orion history
The Botchok Planetary Congress was founded on reference stardate −20/9508 by Nallin the Unconquerable, who was also its first President. The nations of Botchok had originally been convenient collections for the alien overlords that enslaved the Orions, and set against each other in proxy warfare. Nallin's diplomatic skill welded them together in the BPC, at the beginning of the Orion War for their independence, and the Declaration of Nallin at the end proclaimed all Orions everywhere to be free and independent citizens of the Botchok Planetary Congress, and entitled to its protection wherever they were. Under its loose authority, the Orions prospered for centuries.
As the Colonies grew too large and some broke away, the BPC declined through the times of Reverse and the Orion Empire, losing much of its power and authority. Afterwards, it focused less on government and more on simple economics, and became a minor political entity little different from most other Colonies.
It wasn't until contact came with the Klingon Empire and the Federation that the power of the BPC began to rise again, as alien powers seeking a formal Orion authority with which to negotiate turned to the homeworld. By the late 23rd century, trade and deals with the other powers had given the BPC new influence and authority, and a new excuse to exert control over the Colonies. Meanwhile, it made laws on their behalf, such as the declarations of neutrality, that would save the Orion Colonies from alien domination.
The BPC concentrated on dealing with and balancing deals with the Federation, the Klingon Empire and each Orion Colony, business and family. However, it also had a habit of sticking its nose into disputes that otherwise had nothing to do with.
Trade and politics with the Federation gave the BPC a new respectability, influence and authority, and a new willingness to involve itself in the affairs of the Orion Colonies, in order to "keep the peace". Through the OCI, the BPC waged a secret diplomatic and information war with the Colonies, with the goal of winning the right to choose Orion destiny, while attempting to sabotage efforts to join the Federation. Meanwhile, the Colonies attempted to expose OCI spies in their communities and governments, though with little success, while threats to the BPC were likely to provoke Federation retaliation and the enmity of every other Orion.
Caught between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and even the Romulan Star Empire, the BPC claimed neutrality, using the Orion Neutrality Act to protect itself and the Orion Colonies from being conquered, absorbed or annexed by either side. Its position was one of active, aggressive neutrality however, freely dealing with both sides on a quid pro quo basis, and threatening to cut off deals with each if either interfered.
Acts, Declarations & LawsEdit
- Declaration of Nallin (February 13th, 56 BCE, reference stardate −20/5602.13)
- Codex Orion (April 61 BCE, stardate −20/6104)
- Demand for Unity (March 21st, 1003 CE, stardate −10/0303.21)
- Orion Registry (first issue in January 1301 CE, stardate −7/0101)
- Commission for the Nomination of a Pooh-bah (stardate 0/9101.13 (c. 2163)
- Orion Neutrality Act (stardate 1/5105.02)
- Sacred Cargoes act (stardate 1/9504)
- Orion Neutrality Area (stardate 1/9806.29)
- Orion Emigration Act (stardate 1/9808.15)
- Abolition of slavery (stardate 2/0105.01)
- President Nallin Oplate the Unconquerable (reference stardate −20/9508 to a few years after −20/5602.13, retired)
- President Boyor Ignatin the Righteous (stardate −10/0303.21)
- The Three Emperors:
- President Balon the Devious (circa stardate 0/7203 to c. 0/7610)
- President Vloun (stardate 1/9806.29)
- President Refner Gyron the Sly (stardate 2/1606 to at least 2/2106)
- It is unknown if the position of Emperor replaced that of President, or if a weakened President position continued beneath it.
- Minister for Insurance Claims
- Minister for Insurance Regulation
- Minister for Insurance Writing
- Minister for Rigellian Communications
- Minister for Simplifying Government
- FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge
- FASA RPG module: The Orions: Book of Deep Knowledge
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