Every citizen of the Empire is familiar with the glory of our capital worlds, ch'Rihan and ch'Havran. We revel in their green-gold fields and skies, their grand architecture, and their proud and noble traditions. Just as the Empire itself seems timeless, so too does our residence on the Two Worlds, but it is not so. The known history of the Rihannsu race extneds back far beyond the two thousand years of Rihannsu planetary culture. Our race had its infancy on a world separated from these twin planets by hundreds of light years and even more daunting political barriers: Vulcan.
The Vulcan of the millennia before the Rihannsu migration was a glorious place. It was a world of proud, ambitious people, challenging even for the bold and downright dangerous for the weak. Early Vulcans were an extremely emotional, violent and warlike people. The planet was divided into hundreds of small clans and city-states, each with diverse governmental structures and religions. The planet is an extremely dry world, with water and resources being rather scarce. Clans and cities fought violently to acquire these resources to insure their survival. During any given period on the planet, it was unlikely that any more than 10% of the planet was not at war, an accomplishment for a race which now prides itself on its logic above all else.
Vulcan passion was beautiful and terrifying to behold, with the blood of battle running green over the deserts in the noble wars that raged throughout its history. After thousands of years of vibrant tradition, some grew tired of the ultimate test of battle, going so far as to deny the passion that sparked conflicts even as it demonstrated the mettle and honor of the Vulcan people. Under the guise of logic, a stifling peace began spreading over the planet and needless to say, decadence and liberalism soon followed. The herald of these ill changes was the philosopher Surak, still revered today on Vulcan as a near saint.
Around 80 BC in Terran dating, Surak began publically praising the mental practice of logic and the philosophies of peace. As one could expect, in a turbulent world filled with constant wars and violent warriors, his philosophies were slow to spread. However, this fact changed with time, and Surak gradually gathered a small following of devoted followers. These followers were the first true Vulcans as we now know them and among these followers was one named S'Task, keen of mind and heart, and Surak's finest pupil.
In the Terran year 20 BC, Vulcan received its first contact with aliens from other stars. The signals beamed in from the edge of the Vulcan system by alien vessels so shocked the Vulcans that several wars and declarations of war were put on hold until the matter could be settled one way or another. After receiving and decoding a series of mathematical codes sent by alien vessels just outside the system, Vulcan received a deluge of friendly messages promising lucrative trade and reassuring the recipients of the aliens' peaceful intent. In good faith, the Vulcan planetary government prepared to meet the aliens with a united front. Hopes were high, but they were soon proven to be wrong. Contact was made via transmissions from Vulcan, and a time and place of meeting was agreed upon.
Sent in the place of Surak, who was experiencing mechanical difficulties with his transportation vehicle, S'Task served as one of the goodwill ambassadors. The Etoshan and Duthuliv pirates, interstellar scum who preyed on cultures that lacked interstellar travel, captured the envoy, killing those who resisted. The Vulcan emissaries were greeted with stun rays and blasters rather than overtures of friendship, and a large portion of the leadership of Vulcan was taken prisoner and held for ransom, S'Task among them.
Vulcan retained enough of its cultural pride to refuse the extortion and wage the first total war in Vulcan's history, fought not only with their relatively primative starships but also with the Vulcan people's innate psionic abilities. Thus began the "Ahk," the greatest of all Vulcan's wars, Vulcan adepts forcing Orion pilots to attack each other or dive their ships into the sun, the Orions quickly learning that they should not have tangled with this superficially primitive species.
While 'Ahkh raged through the system and the misguided Surak offered to deal peace with the aliens, S'Task led a rebellion on his slave ship, killing hundreds of his captors and returning the captive Vulcans safely home. At great risk to his life, he then rammed the liberated vessel into the Orion mothership, killing thousands of pirates and ensuring a hero's welcome upon return to Vulcan. Narrowly escaping in a rescue pod, he was found many weeks later, drifting in space, half-starved, and clinging to life only through the force of his own sheer will and anger.
One who did not greet S'Task with joy was his old teacher Surak, who chided him for renouncing the philosophy of peace and logic. Although S'Task loved his master, he had learned from 'Ahkh that peace is no way to deal with a hostile universe. In order to survive, his people would have to deal with other species from positions of power that equalled or exceeded their own. The split between master and student broke both their hearts, and plunged their world into an argument that lasted fifty years.
It was this event that did the most to open the split between teacher and student. After his violent experience with the Orions, S'Task renounced Surak's teachings of logic and pacifism, believing that in the hostile universe waiting for them, the only way to face all comers is from a position of absolutely superior power. Worried about pushing Vulcan into an era of civil war and bloody wars, S'Task held back promoting his philosopies in opposition to Surak, putting his world before himself. Surak had long preached that "the structure of spacetime is more concerned with means than ends: beginnings must be clean to be of profit," and S'Task agreed with his old teacher. It was with this in mind that S'Task proposed an alternative solution.
As this argument between strength and logic raged, Vulcan slipped deeper into the decadence of passionless peace. Those who agreed with S'Task found themselves to be a dedicated but vastly outnumbered minority, and decided that if Vulcan would not return to its previous traditions, they would depart to forge the old Vulcan anew on another world. So it was that fifty years after a war that saved Vulcan from cultural obliteration, a hero of that war led eighty thousand like-minded people away from their homeworld to prevent the noblest aspects of that culture from being destroyed from within.
The followers of S'Task decided to use Vulcan's newly developed space technology and venture out into the stars to find a new place to call their own and have the chance to forge the old Vulcan anew without tearing their place of birth apart. When Rhea's Helm, the first Vulcan far-travel ship, engaged its engines and set out to find its fortunes, the split between the two factions widened to a point that has not been sealed to this day.
Sixteen far-travel ships eventually joined the fleet, each vessel carrying approximately five thousand colonists and patriots committed to the journey and the old ways, giving up all they owned to construct the colonization vessels. Leaving Vulcan, each one of the colonists believed that they would be able to find a suitable planet to settle before thirty to fifty years of ship time passed. Designed for a maximum trip length of one hundred years, little did the Travellers know that they would need every single year of that ship lifetime.
Refusing to trust any data gathered from the Orion pirates, the Travellers used that data in a rather unusual way, avoiding all systems mentioned and all planets listed as habitable, adding considerable time to their journey for the assumed purpose of avoiding further troubles. This plan backfired, leading them through a series of barren and lifeless systems unable to support the colonists and serving to more than triple the time spent on their journey, reaching their destination right at the end of their ships' useful lifetime.
Their voyage lasted more than a hundred years, and of the sixteen ships that departed orbit, only five survived to see the discovery of the Two Worlds. Seven of the ships were lost in a newly collapsed black hole near 198 Eridani, Pennon, Starcatcher, Bloodwing, Forge, Lost Road, Lance and Blacklight meeting their fates at its hands. Corona and T'Hie were deliberately crashed by hostile telepathic aliens at Iruh, while Memory and Warbird succumbed to drive malfunctions and fell into stars. Crews of the remaining ships, Rea's Helm, Gorget, Sunheart, Vengeance and Firestorm, suffered from radiation exposure and odd diseases. By the time the Two Worlds were identified as potential targets for colonization, the five vessels carried only eighteen thousand Rihannsu of the original eighty thousand.
Those five remaining craft were rewarded for their patience with the discovery of a binary pair of habitable worlds orbiting the star 128 Trianguli far from their original homeworld. After some discussion, the worlds were named ch'Rihan and ch'Havran, meaning "of the Declared" and "of the Travellers," in the tongue which the Travellers devloped and aged from the Ancient Vulcan dialect to replace their Vulcan language. In this new tongue, the travellers called themselves "Rihannsu," or "the Declared."
Even in the lush environs of ch'Rihan and ch'Havran, life was hard for the settlers. Disease and crop failure further decreased the Rihannsu population to a mere nine thousand, barely enough for a viable gene pool. Land was distributed by lottery, and most of the population debarked, leaving only a few small "Ship Clans" who were reluctant to abandon the far-travel ships completely. However, life on the two worlds was not idyllic: of the 18000 Rihannsu who settled on the two worlds, approximately 6000 died in the first ten years of their settlement. Oddly enough, these 6000 did not die of disease or starvation, but from the ravages of war. Upon settling down on ch'Rihan and ch'Havran, the Rihannsu promptly picked up where things had left off on Vulcan, warring and feuding over planetary resources, as the Rihannsu had brought the violent passion of Old Vulcan with them in their ships.
The first government of the Two Worlds consisted of a Grand Council composed of representatives from each province and a High Council composed of the most senior and junior members of the lower Council. This government was blamed for the famine and resource shortages of the early years, and essentially collapsed fifty years after planetfall. The next two decades saw the rapid rise, rule, and breathtaking fall of the first and last Rihannsu queen, Vriha T'Rehu.
T'Rehu was a Grand Councillor's daughter from the north continent of ch'Rihan. After she inherited her father's seat, her councillory began to prosper, becoming a seat of learning and science as well as the first nation in Rihannsu (or Vulcan) history ever to raise and maintain a standing army. However, prosperity was not enough for T'Rehu, who began annexing neighboring territories by subterfuge and force. In fear, the members of the Councils gave her the powerful Master Councillory, but even this did not appease her.
T'Rehu built up an army in about 67 A.S. (After Settlement) and within ten years had more might than any in the Two Worlds. When her power was sufficient, she brought her armies to the Grand Council and there demanded recognition. Only S'Task stood before her and turned and left when the Council granted her demands. Using a famine in the Southern Continent as an example of the gross failure of the existing government, in 78 A.S. she dissolved the Councils and pronounced herself Vriha ("the great") T'Rehu, queen of the Two Worlds. Only S'Task was bold enough to speak against her, and she ordered him killed.
T'Rehu admittedly brought some good to the Rihannsu, as the eighteen years of her rule saw construction of telecommunications and transportation networks sufficient to connect the Two Worlds, and of our capital city, Ra'tleihfi. However, her grip on our people was too firm, and many chafed under her iron hand. At the end of nearly two decades, the easterners of ch'Havran took a leaf from T'Rehu, raised an enormous army and deposed her. Out of this war came a form of government that still exists today. Never again will the Rihannsu trust the workings of our state to the arbitrariness of a single individual. In place of the Ruling Queen, a Tricameral house of Praetorate and Senate was set up, which was sufficiently resilient to have survived to this day.
Over the next two millennia, the Rihannsu culture blossomed into its present majesty. The Rihannsu people cultivated the fine arts including sculpture, music, painting, science and war, their reverence for the Elements, and the strong sense of honor called mnhei'sahe. This development occurred in isolation from other planetary cultures, and indeed their ancestors behaved as though unaware of the existence of alien races. One by one the great generation ships fell from the sky. Although a planetary defense system was constructed in 508 AS, it was never sufficient to the task of protecting the Two Worlds and fell into disrepair.
Two centuries ago, the Rihannsu infancy came to an abrupt halt when the sensors of the failing defense network woke up and detected a ship entering the Eisn ("Homesun") system, rapidly decelerating from near the speed of light. In approximately 1600 AS, the Federation vessel USS Carrizal came out of warp at the far edge of the 128 Trianguli system, and began surveying the area. They found, to their surprise, two worlds there, with an apparently highly developed agrarian civilization on both, and dubbed the worlds "Romulus" and "Remus" in reference to an ancient Terran legend. In standard first contact procedures, they beamed in messages of peace, and good will. They received no response. After surveying the system for a time, they returned to the Federation with the news of their discovery.
On the Two Worlds, the arrival of the aliens had an extremely disturbing effect. Tales of the Orion pirates had survived through the years, and the settlers still remembered that the Orions had preceded their treachery with offerings of peace. They were determined not to allow history to repeat itself, and set about organizing their defence. Over the past 1600 years, the Rihannsu had developed an extremely effective industrial system. They knew they could not match the technology of the ship that had entered their system, but years of war had taught them that sheer numbers could overwhelm any technological advantage.
In the three years between the Carrizal incident and the next Federation contact, the Rihannsu had constructed some seven thousand crude cylindrical vessels, impulse powered and using particle beam weapons, preparing themselves for the invasion they knew was coming. When the USS Balboa entered the Eisn system broadcasting messages of peace and friendship, just as the pirates who assaulted Vulcan had two thousand years previous, it was blown to bits by the massed particle beams of 50 spacecraft. Shortly thereafter, the Rihannsu captured the USS Stone Mountain, took her apart, studied the design, and added warp drive to their primitive warships. This began what was known to the Federation as the "First Romulan War."
The Federation's StarFleet was stymied and confused by their inability to defeat the Rihannsu, who were flying craft that were little more than tin cans with warp power drives. Time and again, larger and larger task forces were sent into Rihannsu space and were systematically obliterated by the Rihannsu. At about this time, the Federation made contact with the Vulcans, and asked them if they knew anything about this seemly maniacal race. The Vulcans responded, with characteristic caution, that they knew of some who might match the description, but that they had left Vulcan long ago. As StarFleet continued to send task forces into Rihannsu space, the Vulcans suggested that, if these were indeed the ones who had left long ago, it would be best to make peace. It took StarFleet several more years to realize that they were never going to prevail, and a treaty was eventually negotiated - the only treaty in Federation history to be negotiated entirely by data upload, as the Rihannsu refused to meet the aliens in person.
The treaty stipulated a band of space between the Federation and Rihannsu territories one light year thick, which has since become known as the "Romulan Neutral Zone," surrounding an egg-shaped domain with Eisn at its center. As the Rihannsu proceeded to settle twenty worlds in sixty-eight years and developed such military hardware as the cloak, disruptor and warbird, this domain became the Rihannsu Star Empire.
As the situation exists today, the Rihannsu are on one side, fiercely developing their defenses to avoid being taken advantage of by aliens once again, and the Federation on the other, completely unable to comprehend the reasoning and historical context behind the unexplainable hostility of their counterparts. The neutral zone was not violated until 2266 when a single Rihannsu ship crossed into Federation space in a test of Federation resolve.
The Rihannsu entered into an alliance with the Klingon Empire around 2268, when an agreement between the two powers resulted in the sharing of military technology and spacecraft designs. By the mid-2280s, Klingons were using ships described as Birds-of-Prey (a traditionally Rihannsu term) that were equipped with cloaking devices very similar to those developed by the Rihannsu. In exchange, the Rihannsu were betrayed by receiving only second-rate weapons technology in the deal. Part of the Rihannsu trust of the Klingons came from the seemingly equal dislike of the Lloann'mhrahel among both empires. In retrospect, this was an ill-advised decision. Primitive as they are, they made unstable allies, and made peace with the treacherous Lloann'mhrahel. Fifty years ago, the Rihannsu dissolved their alliance with the Klingons and friction has existed between the two empires ever since.
The Rihannsu again went into isolation in 2311, following the Tomed Incident, in which thousands of Federation lives were lost, not to emerge until 2364, when early indications of Borg activity were detected.
The Rihannsu pursued a long-term policy of using covert means to destabilize the Klingon government going back to at least the 2340s. In 2367, Rihannsu operative Sela attempted to use mental conditioning of StarFleet officer Geordi La Forge to assassinate Klingon governor Vagh, a move calculated to spark distrust between the Klingons and the Federation. Later that year, Sela formed a covert alliance with the Duras family in an effort to wrest control of the Klingon High Council from Gowron.
The attempt was unsuccessful, but it triggered a Klingon civil war in early 2368, with Sela providing materiel support to the Duras forces. An underground movement emerged in the late 2360s, seeking to promote reunification of the Rihannsu with their distant Vulcan cousins. When the Rihannsu government became aware of this movement in 2368, Proconsul Neral tried to use it as a cover for an attempted invasion of planet Vulcan. The invasion was thwarted by the Federation Starfleet. Ambassador Spock of the Federation chose to remain undercover on ch'Rihan to continue work toward reunification.
A matter of years later, the Rihannsu Star Empire entered into a brief alliance of sorts with the Cardassian Union in order to attempt to destroy the Founders homeworld and thus cut off the head of the Gem'hadar threat to their empires. Unfortunately, the mission ended with the destruction of all Rihannsu and Cardassian vessels involved. Rihannsu relations with the Ferengi are currently cool as the Rihannsu tolerate them as necessary to serve their purpose.
Ours has been a long and challenging history, but as you can see, also a glorious one. It is with the hard lessons of the past firmly in our hearts and minds that we turn to shape our future.
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