The All Systems Commonwealth or simply the Systems Commonwealth is a fictional intergalactic government from Gene Roddenberry's science fiction TV series Andromeda. It was born out of the Vedran Empire. The Vedrans, originating from Tarn-Vedra, which was their homeworld and the capital of their empire, were the first known race to discover the Slipstream, the only known way to travel faster-than-light. They built their empire by traveling to the different star systems and conquering the inhabited and colonizing the uninhabited worlds. The Commonwealth was a democratic federation of planets, drifts (space stations or orbital habitats), and systems. Depending on where you look, the Commonwealth (and its preceding Empire) was spread across Three Galaxies (referred in the fourth season of the show simply as "Tri-Galaxies") or Six Galaxies. It lasted for about 5500 years, starting with a time of political reform and ending with a violent civil war and subsequent invasion by the terrifying Magog.
After discovering the Slipstream, the Vedrans founded their Empire as they travelled from system to system subjugating other worlds. The Vedran government was an absolutist hereditary monarchy, with the Empress as the head of state and government. As the Vedrans continued expanding throughout the Andromeda Galaxy—the galaxy in which they originated—and the nearby Triangulum and Milky Way Galaxies, they eventually encountered the Kalderans in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. The Kalderans managed to somehow capture Vedran Slipstream technology and reverse-engineered it for their own use; it was not long before the Kalderan Alliance formed to offset Vedran incursions into their system. This was one of few active attempts at resisting Vedran imperialism and eventually escalated into a brutal war between the Kalderans and Vedrans for control of the Magellanic Cloud territories. The conflict ended with the Vedran bombardment of the Kalderan capital, Kalderash, and the forced integration of the Kalderan Alliance into the Vedran Empire.
Despite four thousand years of successful conquest, the monolithic Vedran Empire could not last. The Vedrans themselves had become a minority within their own Empire, relative to the numbers of other races which included the Kalderans, Makra, and Perseids, amongst others. Eventually, even their military, the High Guard—previously the exclusive preserve of the Vedrans themselves—became too small to maintain control of the many planets within Vedran borders; the Vedrans were forced to allow non-Vedrans into their ranks. However, dissatisfaction with Vedran domination continued among the Empire's non-Vedran citizens. This culminated in the Perseid Insurrection, which was a failed but very significant attempt at secession by the Empire's Perseid worlds. The High Guard crushed the uprising violently and thus preserved the Empress' authority, but at the same time a series of events and reforms were set in motion that would eventually undermine absolute imperial authority and set the stage for democracy.
Empire to Commonwealth
The popular reaction to the devastation of the Perseid Insurrection forced the Vedrans to appease their subjects lest they face a more widespread revolution. Elections were held in CY 4205 for the Conclave, the first parliament for the Empire. Over the following decades, the Conclave would exceed its intended purpose as a powerless facade and pass reforms and legislation. This progressivism soon evolved into republicanism, and factions formed calling for the abolishment of the Imperial Throne and establishment of a Systems Republic. The Empress and her loyalists protested and only a compromise brokered by Sani nax Rifati prevented a civil war - the Vedran Empire became the Systems Commonwealth, and instead of being an absolute hereditary monarchy, it became a parliamentary monarchy, with the Empress as a ceremonial head of state to symbolize the bond of Vedran monarchy to popular democracy.
The All-Systems University
Soon after the Empire morphed into the Commonwealth, the All-Systems University was born to collect and preserve knowledge from the Known Worlds. One of its most prominent components was the Special Collections Division, which would grow into the main field research and preservation division.
Even this federation of professors and librarians, however, would grow its own ambitions and split into factions in the future. After the Fall, these Collectors would go into hiding and operate clandestinely to gather and preserve knowledge from before the Long Night. Some remained true to the original ideals of the ASU - to preserve knowledge for the sake of it; others deviated and used the knowledge to gain power in the chaos and manipulated the knowledge for personal gain.
The political system of the Commonwealth was a classic parliamentary democracy. The Empress remained as head of state, though with little real power. In lieu of one Premier or Chancellor, the Systems Commonwealth had three heads of government: the Triumvirs, to prevent one person from taking too much power and keep things fair and balanced. The Conclave parliament was tricameral: the Voice of the Sectors represented Sectors (or groups of star systems); the Voice of the Planets represented each member world individually; and a directly-popularly-elected Voice of the People.
With the end of the centralized Vedran Empire and introduction of a democratic Commonwealth, there also came political flexibility and thus decentralization. Essentially, the Commonwealth turned from a firm union into a federation of different sectorial governments.
When Earth joined the Commonwealth, humanity almost immediately assimilated to the new technologies presented by the Commonwealth and traveled outside Earth. Humanity thus contributed greatly to Commonwealth culture, politics, and military.
Soon, genetic engineering became all the rage within human society, allowing many humans the ability to breathe underwater (Castalians), live on heavy-gravity worlds (the "heavy-worlders"), see in almost total darkness (Inari), or even all of the above. Paul Musevini encouraged his human followers at Ayn Rand Station, orbiting the planet Fountainhead, to lead a life of constant physical, mental, and emotional betterment, using the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche as a guide. His son, Drago, became the first true Nietzschean, and thus was called the Progenitor. Drago became the leader of this first colony of Nietzscheans and by the time of his death, he was revered as nearly a god among his people. He split his followers into multiple different clans, which would later evolve into the Nietzschean Prides. Though they lived primarily as warriors, the Nietzscheans were, like their human cousins, major contributors to every aspect of Commonwealth government, military, and society.
Illusions of Peace
The Commonwealth celebrated an era that came to be known as the "Twelve Centuries of Peace" in which it continued to grow and prosper, even though peace with the rival Pyrian Empire (the Pyrians lived on hot inner Venus-like planets) always seemed uneasy and tentative at best. By CY 9760, a pacifist movement managed to call a referendum for disbandment of the High Guard. Though the referendum was in favor of High Guard, it is by a very slim margin and thus the pacifists vowed to revisit the issue.
Only 6 years after the referendum, a brutal and vicious species mercilessly attacked Brandenburg-Tor, a frontier colony. Few of the 3 billion inhabitants managed to live to tell the tale of the bloody attack. For 15 more years, this new enemy, called the Magog, attacked numerous other settlement worlds, and numerous battles were fought between High Guard and Magog.
The Andromeda Ascendant's mission
The Andromeda Ascendant, under command of Perseid Captain Perrim, was sent on a highly classified secret mission to locate the source of the Magog invasion. What the Andromeda found was beyond belief... A structure of 20 hollow worlds joined together, manipulated and powered by an artificial sun at its center: the Magog World Ship, with huge armadas of Swarm Ships, in another galaxy filled with dust and black holes, working its way toward the Known Worlds while sending advance fleets to clear the area for the World Ship. The Andromeda was overwhelmed by Swarm Ships, her entire crew slaughtered. She managed to escape into Slipstream, but since AIs cannot navigate it on their own, she wandered the tangled webs alone, lost, and blind. By the time she emerged in the Triangulum Galaxy, she was halfway to having gone crazy from loneliness, and almost attacked a Than ship. When she limped back to the nearest Commonwealth outpost, the Vedrans got the information and report from the mission and erased her memory of the mission, and commissioned her back into service with no recollection of the suicidal mission into the heart of the Magog, this time under the command of a human from Tarn-Vedra, Dylan Hunt.
The Treaty of Antares
The Treaty of Antares ended the war between the Magog and the Commonwealth, establishing a border between the invaders and the Commonwealth, with the Magog keeping control over sectors that were already devastated by their initial attacks known as the Quarantine Zone. Since many Nietzschean frontier worlds were attacked, the Nietzscheans, among others, launched vigorous protests and called for complete extermination of the Magog. Several Nietzschean worlds threatened to leave the Commonwealth but remained because of increased security assurance from High Guard command.
The Nietzschean Insurrection and Commonwealth Civil War
The Treaty of Antares still resting uneasily in Nietzschean minds, several of the Prides, under the leadership of the Drago-Kazov, conspired to replace the Commonwealth, which they perceive as weak, with a Nietzschean Empire. Though most Nietzscheans still remained loyal to the Commonwealth, the worlds that did support the Dragans began spending sprees and retrofitted passenger liners into fighters and cruisers, and this Nietzschean Alliance amassed a huge fleet.
The Insurrection essentially began at the Nietzschean-populated Hephaistos System, where a convenient rogue black hole provided the Nietzschean Alliance with a trap to lure High Guard ships into the system to be ambushed and destroyed by waiting ships. One-by-one, the Nietzscheans managed to pick off High Guard starships until they got the attention of the Andromeda and Dylan Hunt. The Andromeda's captain realized it was a trap too late, and by the time the shock set in, the Andromeda was too far from a Slip-point to be able to escape the system alive. Hunt ordered his crew to abandon ship and, with his then pilot, the insectoid hermaphrodite Refractions of Dawn, sent the ship directly into the singularity, hoping for a slingshot effect to thrust the ship toward the nearest Slip-point. The Nietzscheans followed the grand prize into the black hole but also went for the escape pods, but many of the crew managed to escape and warn the High Guard. Because of sabotage by the Nietzschean XO, Gaheris Rhade, the Andromeda was unable to pull back and slingshot away and was frozen in time, teetering at the edge of the event horizon.
Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the Known Worlds, sleeper cells attacked once word reached them that the Andromeda's crew warned the Commonwealth. Half the High Guard fleet was blown to bits in the shipyards and the dockyards.
Though the loyalists had more numbers than the insurrectionists, the High Guard had not fought an organized war in more than twelve centuries, and so it was easy for the Alliance to deal mortal blows to the Commonwealth. Earth itself was bombarded, and the only major failure in the first year of the war was the battle for San-Ska-Re, the Than homeworld. The Empress was killed in a Nietzschean attack as well. Success continued well into the second year - CY 9785 - when the Nietzschean Alliance seized the vital Acheron Delta system, preventing a High Guard offensive.
During the second year of the Insurrection/Civil War, Commonwealth morale was damaged even further with the disappearance of the Vedrans and Tarn-Vedra. The High Guard and remnants of the Commonwealth were left behind to fend for themselves as Nietzschean successes continued.
The Battle of Witchhead
The Battle of Witchhead, at the Witchhead Nebula, was the final and climactic battle in the Civil War. 100 High Guard ships were supposed to gather there to launch an attack on Fountainhead, the Nietzschean homeworld, hoping to plunge rebel morale. However, 500 Nietzschean ships were also at Witchhead, and instead of the High Guard remnant coordinating a strike on Fountainhead, the two fleets battled bitterly until they destroyed each other. This battle shattered the Nietzschean Alliance as Jaguar Pride and its allies betrayed the weakened Drago-Kazov Pride and no Nietzschean Empire ever materialized.
The Angel of Death
According to Nietzschean historical records, the Nietzscheans arrived at the Nebula with 1500 ships: a guaranteed victory. However, at the critical hour, "the Angel of Death summoned forth the fires of hell" and destroyed the Nietzschean fleet, "their glorious victory turned to ashes".<ref>Andromeda Season 1 Episode 6</ref> When the High Guard arrived, the 500 survivor ships were off-balance and confused. The Angel of Death was in fact the Andromeda Ascendant, which Slipstreamed back in time just before the battle to set history right again and with an Anti-Proton (AP) Fusion Catalyst, sent the nebula into flames, incinerating 2/3 of the fleet.
The Long Night
After millennia of prosperity, the Commonwealth had fallen in ashes. Instead of a Nietzschean Empire, chaos reigned. Months after the Battle of Witchhead, the Magog invaded once again, this time in much greater numbers, and wiped away the last remaining struts of the Commonwealth.
In many long years, few systems could keep together.
The Restored Systems Commonwealth
300 years after the Fall, Dylan Hunt and a ragtag team of misfits began to restore peace and order, or try to. Once the threat from the Magog became known, a unified front became even more urgent.
Some would say the Commonwealth lasted for millennia because of the Vedrans... Others would say the Commonwealth lasted so long despite them... The Restored Commonwealth immediately faced problems. It was a confederation of disparate, sometimes rival, planets, systems, and political entities, and opportunism was everywhere. The Collectors were vying for control.
Once again, the Nietzscheans betrayed the Commonwealth... This time, because Tyr Anasazi, a member of Hunt's own crew, tricked them into believing him to be the Nietzschean Messiah — a genetic reincarnation of Drago Musevini. All of the Commonwealth's enemies had joined together and destroyed both the Drago-Kazov and the High Guard fleet that refused to retreat. The Secession took a heavy toll on the Restored Commonwealth: at least one entire system destroyed; the Perseid planet Sinti occupied; many of the new High Guard's prize possessions also destroyed... and a power vacuum that brought to light the true powers behind the Commonwealth - powers that control it and perhaps directed its demise. Later, it is also discovered that the Nietzscheans were working with the 'Spirit of the Abyss'.
Hunt was proposed for the Triumvir position, but refused. Though the Triumvirate was elected soon, corruption was clear...
Tri-Jema's homeworld is unknown. But she was a friend to anyone when she needed their help... not so much when they needed hers... As was the case with Hunt, whom she had put on trial for treason because of a power struggle between idealists and corrupt Collectors. Believing the Collectors to be the winning side, Tri-Jema joined them. But her drive for greed was lethal for her as she perished trying to retrieve a vital star map.
Sister of Isabella Ortiz, placed in power by the Collectors so they would have a more complacent Triumvir than Tri-Ortiz.
Grew up on Tarazed idolizing Hunt, and indeed turned out to be the one Triumvir true to the Commonwealth's ideals. After the Collectors' mock trial of Hunt, Tri-Lorn helped the Andromeda flee the Collector fleet at Tarazed, and a civil war began between the idealistic and Collector factions. Tri-Lorn has not been seen on the show since.
The Battle of the Magog World Ship
The Andromeda had fought against the Magog World Ship in a final attempt to save the galaxies. The entire crew (apparently) gave their lives to defeat this danger to the galaxies.
Battle for Tarazed
Shortly after the Andromeda arrived back in the known worlds the Nietzscheans began their attack on the Commonwealth Capital, Tarazed. The Triumverate, with the help of Rhade who has returned to lead their Home Guard, has come to the realization that there is no where left to run to and that fighting is their only option. The attack initially consists of Drago-Kasov and Mandou Prides however they were quickly joined by the Sabra-Jaguar and eventually Orca Pride bringing the total number of ships to 2,103. Nietzschean Troops are able to land on the Planet and begin their attacks.
Dylan believes that no matter what the outcome is at this point it doesn't matter and that the Nietzscheans are being guided by another force. Once the Nietzschean Fleet is closer he launches his attack by flying straight into the oncoming ships and firing, "40 Salvos Direct Offensive Missiles followed by 40 Salvos Hunter-Killer Drones". By this point Nietzschean Ground Troops have located Rhade and Beka and have begun their wave attacks on them.
Andromeda's attack run was able to break up the Nietzschean Fleet and they began reloading in an effort to keep up the pressure and avoid giving the Nietzscheans room to breathe or regroup. The Andromeda continues its attack while it diverts much of its repair ability to Sector 55, an area of the ship responsible for Life Support which has taken a direct hit.
While the attacks continue on the surface Beka attempts to convince Rhade to leave with her, he refuses her request and tells her to leave while aiming his gun at her. He believes he can focus the Nietzschean attack on his position enough that it will give the Andromeda time to escape. Dylan realizes that Maura has been working with the Abyss all along when she tries to convince him to flee to Seefra and a brief fight breaks out in which Trance intervenes.
Beka returns to the Andromeda using her position as Matriarch to clear a path. Trance takes the ship through the Route of Ages back to Seefra to the dismay of Maura. The Abyss is able to follow them through and once on the other side they use Trance's sun to kill the Abyss as it passes into the System. With the death of the Abyss the Route of Ages turns into a Slipstream portal to Tarn-Vedra, reuniting it with the known worlds.
Final Universal Peace
Though the Worldship was able to survive all previous Battles it is unlikely it survived the destruction of the Abyss. The Nietzschean Fleet which was also being used by the Abyss was likely broken up after its death if Rhade's Survival is any indication.
The Systems Commonwealth provided peace and stability, but it was not perfect. However, the Restored Systems Commonwealth seems to be a regressive, twisted form of the Commonwealth: the direct antithesis of what the Commonwealth should be like. The Commonwealth cannot function if it is extremely corrupt, as is evident in the civil war of the Restored Commonwealth.