Silver Age Beyond
Roughly 1,200 years ago, the Rondi Confederation was invited to join the Zon-Gra Protectorate to fulfill the role of galactic peacekeepers. The Rondi have the largest fleet in Zon-Gra Protectorate Space, and they make up the single largest portion of the Zon-Gra’s military forces.
As their territory and influence has spread, the Rondi have come to rely on the Klackon for military intelligence and the Lifari for diplomacy. Despite a somewhat colonial attitude towards the rest of the galaxy, the ruling Hierarchy understands they would lose more than they would gain if the other two races were ever removed.
Rondi come from an autocratic society that values discipline and possesses a strong sense of personal and collective honor. There is lingering animosity between Rondi and First Earth Humans over the fact that it is believed that the humans of first earth are somehow responsible for the Posthumans of the Galactic Imperium, and the fact that most humans have no idea the Imperium even exists, while not lost, seems a bad excuse to many of the Rondi. Officially, however, the two species are allies and they enjoy civil, friendly diplomatic relations. The Rondi finds humans to be plucky and surprisingly open minded compared to their Posthuman counterparts. Because of this, Rondi and Human friendships, business relationships and alliances have proven to be those of great loyalty and promise extended longevity overall.
The Rondi homeworld, Jaephus, has a metal-heavy core, generating a stronger than average magnetic field and allowing less solar radiation into the atmosphere. This makes Rondi more susceptible to radiation than some other races. To deal with this, most forms of life on Jaephus require some form of spacesuit or shielding to protect themselves while travelling. Their amphibious skin makes Rondi susceptible to long-term, low-level radiation exposure, but they do not possess any sort of “natural armor”. A Rondi’s thick skin does not stop projectiles and directed energy bolts, however facial dappling does differ based on where the Rondi grew up, and afford a kind of natural tribal marking that other discerning Rondi may see and infer their upbringing from, as the dappling has similarities among populations from particular planets and even specific towns or cities.
While Rondi are individuals with personal desires, their instinct is to equate the self with the group, and set aside personal desires for the good of all.
Rondi are taught to have a strong sense of personal accountability, the “Rondi honor” that other races find so remarkable. Rondi are taught to own every decision they make, good or ill. The worst sin they can make in the eyes of their people is to lie about their own actions. Rondi who murder will try to get away with it, but if directly questioned, most will confess the crime.
Rondi have a strong inclination towards public service and self-sacrifice, so they tend to be poor entrepreneurs. To compensate, they accepted the mercantile Croindanti as a client race, offering protection in exchange for their fiscal expertise.
The Rondi military is the center of their society. It is not just an armed force; it is the all-encompassing public works organization. The military police are also the civic police. The fire brigades serve the civilian population as well as military facilities. The corps of engineers builds and maintains spaceports, schools, water purification plants, and power stations. The merchant marine ensures that all worlds get needed resources.
Rondi have 27 citizenship tiers, beginning with civilians (client races and children). The initial period of military service is the second tier. Formal citizenship is conferred at the third tier, after boot camp. For client races of the Rondi Confederation, citizenship is granted after the individual musters out. Higher-ranked civilians are expected to lead and protect subordinates. Lower-ranking citizens are expected to obey and support superiors. Promotion to another tier of citizenship is based on the personal assessments of one’s superiors and co-rankers.
Throughout their lives, Rondi ascended to the higher tiers and are occasionally “demoted” to lower ones. The stigma associated with demotion lies not on the individual, but on those who promoted him when he wasn’t ready for additional responsibility. This curbs the tendency to promote individuals into positions beyond their capabilities.
Settling into a role and rank is not considered stagnation. Rondi value knowing one’s own limitations more than being ambitious.
At the top are the Grandarchs, who each rule a colonization cluster. The Grandarchs vote on matters of national import. They otherwise maintain a “hands-off” policy, trusting the citizens on each level below them to do their jobs competently. So trusted are the opinions of a Rondi Grandarch that a Grandarch occupies an advisory seat on the Lifari Council’s inner council, normally reserved for the Lifari only. Only the Klackon were offered such an honor, once which they refused for reasons of their own.
Rondi enjoy broad freedoms. So long as one completes his duties, and does not prevent others from completing theirs, nothing is forbidden. For example, there are no laws against recreational drug use, but if someone is unable to complete his duties due to drug use, his superiors step in. Judicial proceedings are “interventions”. Peers express their concern, and try to convince the offender to change. If rehabilitation fails, Rondi have no qualms about sentencing dangerous individuals to life at hard labor for the state.
Although they lack the brutality of the Chaldathans, the skill of the Lifari, and the virtuosity of the humans, the Rondi military has formidable discipline. Officers and NCOs are “lifers” with years of field experience. Enlisted personnel are thoroughly trained and stay calm under fire. Rondi units don’t break. Even if their entire line collapses, they fall back in order, setting ambushes as they go. A popular saying holds: “You will only see a ”/wikis/rondi" class=“wiki-page-link”>Rondi‘s back once he’s dead."
Boot camp begins on the 15th birthday. Soldiers receive a year of training before being assigned to a field unit; officers train for even longer. Most serve until the age of 30, at which point they become part of the Reserves. Even if they suffer injuries preventing front-line service, most do support work behind the lines.
Psychics are uncommon, but Telekinisis is known to express in certain lines of command families. While admired for their exacting skills, Psi-ops motives are not always trusted by the common soldier. The Rondi prefer to assign their psychics to specialist teams called Cabals.
Command and control is decentralized and flexible. Individual units can call for artillery and air support. They make extensive use of combat drone for light duties, and practice combined arms: infantry operates with armor, supported by overhead gunships. Strategically, they are methodical and patient, and dislike risky operations.
Tradition is important. Each legion has a full-time staff of historians who chronicle its battle honors in detail. The oldest have records dating back to the Rondi Iron Age. If a legion is destroyed in battle, it is reconstituted rather than replaced.
The Rondi recruit auxiliary units from conquered or absorbed minor races inside the Rondi Confederation. Auxiliaries are generally light infantry or armored cavalry units that screen and support the main Rondi formations. At the conclusion of their service in the Auxiliaries, recruits are granted Confederation citizenship, which also automatically confers citizenship in the Zon-Gra Protectorate at large, which is a coveted achievement by many races, as it opens up a full third of the known inhabited galaxy to the race, meaning new commerce, technology and experiences.
Although Rondi have a strict moral code, their belief in individual responsibility means that the concepts of good and evil are simply the individual’s choice between egotism and altruism in any given decision. They have no concept of “good” deities that encourage noble behavior or “evil” ones that tempt individuals to misdeeds.
Rondi believe that groups and areas have “spirits” that transcend the individual. For example, a military unit would be considered to have a literal spirit that embodies the honor and courage it has displayed. A city’s spirit reflects the accomplishments and industry of its residents. An ancient tree’s spirit reflects the beauty and tranquility of the area it grows within.
These spirits are neither good nor evil, nor are they appealed to for intercession. Rondi do not believe spirits can affect the world, but spirits can inspire the living. Prayers and rituals allow an individual to converse with a spirit for guidance or inspiration. For example a Rondi who finds his loyalty tested may appeal to the spirit of his unit, hoping to reconnect with the pride and honor of the group. A Rondi who wishes to create a work of art may attempt to connect with the spirit of a beautiful location.
Rondi enjoy absolute freedom of religion and can practice whatever appeals to them so long as it does not impede anyone’s ability to perform their duties, with the noted exception of Bleedism. There are many practitioners of the Lifari philosophies. Since opening dialog with the human Terran Alliance, some Rondi have embraced Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.
At about the time the Lifari were forming the Zon-Gra, the Rondi were embroiled in a bitter civil war. The Unification War, as it was later named, began with hostilities between the colonies furthest from the Rondi homeworld, Jaephus.
These colonies were run by local chieftains, many of whom had distanced themselves from the Hierarchy. Without the galvanizing influence of the government, the colonies became increasingly isolated and xenophobic. Colonists began wearing emblems or highlighting their natural facial markings to differentiate themselves from members of other colonies and open hostilities became common.
When war finally broke out, the Hierarchy maintained strict diplomacy and refused to get involved. After several years of fighting, less than a dozen factions remained and the Hierarchy finally intervened. By that time, the chieftains were too weak to resist; they were forced to put an end to fighting and renew their allegiance to the Hierarchy.
Though peace was restored, it took several decades for animosity between colonists to fade completely. To this day, most Rondi still highlight the facial dappling of their home colonies. As a point of interest, the Rondi term “barefaced” refers to one who is beguiling or not to be trusted. It is also a slang term for politicians. Rondi that are raised primarily in space often have few markings, and occasionally undergo prejudice because of this.
The Constellations of Klackon have been uneasy allies of the Rondi Confederation for several centuries. The at worst, the Rondi consider the Klackon’s preference toward espionage and sabotage to be cowardly and underhanded, and the worst, the Klackon may think of the Rondi as overbearing nannying do-gooders who want everyone to fall into line like their militaristic society indicates.
The two have been in conflict off and on for centuries, much to the consternation and occasional censure of the Lifari. It is commonly believed that without the guidance of the Lifari the Klackon and the Rondi would have fallen to all-out war on a number of occasions, however in the past hundred years the conflicts of the First and Second Ka’Hadan wars as well as the Chaldathan Royal Swarm War have had a unifying effect on the races. Most squabbles have fallen to the wayside, however rumbles among the Klackon began anew when the Rondi Confederation chose to pull back from the defense of the Klackon homeworld, Xaprov in order to protect the Zon-Gra throneworld of Qotrosie from the Ka’Hadan, a strategically correct, yet widely unpopular move among the Klackon peoples. the Ka’Hadan now have partial control of Xaprov.