It is often a truism that cultures are shaped by their history, but with the Rihannsu it is a demonstrable fact. To trace the history of this race, it is necessary to go back to the history of ancient Vulcan.
History Part I, Ancient History
Ancient Vulcans were not at all like Spock, the most well-known Star Trek Vulcan. Early Vulcans were 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. Because Vulcan was (and is) an extremely dry world, water and resources were scarce. Clans and cities fought violently to acquire the resources to continue to survive. In fact, during any given period on the planet, it was unlikely that any more than 10% of the planet was not at war.
Around 80 BC, in Terran dating, a Vulcan named Surak began publicly espousing the mental practice of logic and the philosophies of peace. As one could expect, in a turbulent world filled with wars and warriors, his philosophies were slow to spread. However, spread they did, and Surak gradually gathered a small following of devoted followers, the first true Vulcans, as we now know them. Among these followers was one named S'Task, keen of mind and heart, and Surak's finest pupil.
In the 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. Officials met, and it was decided that the planet would meet the aliens united. Contact was made via transmissions from Vulcan, and a time and place of the meeting agreed upon. On the day of the meeting, Surak was detained by vehicle troubles, but his pupil S'Task was there in his stead.
Unfortunately, the aliens were not true to their word of peace, for they were Orion pirates, intent on enslaving the unsuspecting world. When the aliens landed, the Vulcan emissaries were greeted with stun rays and blasters, rather than overtures of friendship, and a large proportion on the leadership of Vulcan was taken prisoner and held for ransom, among them S'Task.
Thus began the "Ahk", the greatest of all Vulcan's wars, which they fought in their primitive ships using their psionic powers. With their mind talents, Vulcan adepts could force Orion pilots to attack each other, or dive their ships into the sun, and the Orions quickly learned that they should not have tangled with this superficially primitive species. S'Task himself escaped captivity during the war, organized an in-ship rebellion, overpowered his captors, and eventually crashed the ship into the Orion mothership, 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 anger.
In this way began the split between Surak and his student S'Task. After his experience with the Orions, S'Task renounced the teachings of Surak, saying that pacifism was inappropriate in the hostile universe waiting in interstellar space. However, S'Task was not willing to promote his philosophies actively against Surak, for fear of prodding Vulcan back into a state of war and anarchy. Surak had long preached that "The structure of space/time is more concerned with means than ends: beginnings must be clean to be of profit", and S'Task agreed with his old master. It was with this in mind that S'Task proposed an alternate solution. The world was not working as it was, said S'Task, so a clean beginning was in order. The followers of S'Task would use Vulcan's newly advanced space technology and venture out into interstellar space to find a new world and make a clean beginning.
Fifty years later, the first Vulcan far-travel ship, Rhea's Helm, cut in its engines and left orbit, leaving on "The Journey of the Sundering," sealing a rift in the species which has not been sealed to this day. In all, there were 20 far-travel ships in the fleet, each carrying approximately six thousand of the "Declared", those who committed to the journey and placed all their property into a trust to build the ships. When the ships left Vulcan, it was with the belief that they would be able to find a suitable planet within 30-50 years of ship time. The ships were designed with a 100-year viability envelope, so this left plenty of time for the Travelers to find an appropriate world, should the first few stops be unfruitful. Unfortunately, the travelers planned their route using data taken from captured Orion vessels and used the data in a very negative way. Because the Orions had lied to them before, the Travelers were inclined to distrust the data and planned their trip so as to avoid any star mentioned in the databanks. In this way, the Travelers hoped to avoid any further contact with hostile aliens. The undesirable concomitant of this strategy was that the Traveler's course led straight through a particularly barren, lifeless, and consequently unexplored section of the quadrant. Rather than taking 30 years, their journey stretched out over 100 years, and they barely arrived at a habitable world before their ships fell apart from old age.
In the course of the journey, 14 of the 20 original ships succumbed to various disasters: mind-destroying aliens, black holes, and gravity wells. The six remaining craft carried only 28,000 descendants of the original 120,000 Travelers, and were rewarded for their perseverance with the discovery of not one, but a binary pair of habitable worlds orbiting the star 128 Trianguli. After some discussion, the worlds were named ch'Rihan and ch'Havran, "of the Declared" and "of the Travelers", in the tongue which the Travelers evolved from the Ancient Vulcan dialect to replace their Vulcan language. In this new tongue, the travelers called themselves "Rihannsu", or "The Declared". At planetfall, the Travelers found themselves suddenly with two empty worlds to populate. The 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: within ten years of their arrival and colonization of the twin planets, over 10,000 of the original 28,000 Rihannsu settlers had died.
Oddly enough, these beings did not die of disease or starvation, but mostly from the violent deaths of war. Upon settling down the Rihannsu promptly picked up where things had left off on Vulcan; warring and feuding for various reasons, but primarily for territory and resources. In such an atmosphere it was only a matter of time before a warlord emerged to impose a central structure on the factions and clans by force, and such a warlord was T'Rehu, the first Ruling Queen.
T'Rehu built up an army in about 67 AS (After Settlement) and within 10 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. A few years later when famine struck the South Continent she called the Council, including S'Task, together. She derided the Council for incompetence, and when S'Task turned his back on her dishonorable display she had him killed, setting herself up as Ruling Queen. As head of the Grand Council and later as Ruling Queen, T'Rehu dabbled in tyranny and beneficence, taking lives and saving them at her whims for some 18 years.
However, 20 years is a short time in the history of a world and after smarting under her rule for several years the warlike clans of the Eastern continents of ch'Havran revolted and defeated her armies. 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.
So in relative stability, with regular localized factional wars, the Rihannsu lived for well over 1000 years. The Rihannsu enjoyed all the arts and developed them over this time: sculpture, music, painting, science, and war. All were relished and enjoyed. And then, the Rihannsu suffered a rude awakening.
History Part II, Pre-Modern History
In approximately 1600 AS, the Earth 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 each. The crew 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 goodwill. They received no response. After surveying the system for a time, they returned to Earth 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 defense. 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. By the time the next Federation ship arrived, the Rihannsu had constructed some 7,000 crude, cylindrical vessels -- impulse powered with particle beam weapons. When the USS Balboa coasted into the Trianguli system, 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 craft. Thus began what was known to the Humans as the "First Romulan War".
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 finally queried the Vulcans, who were the oldest space-faring race of the Federation, and asked them if they knew anything about this seemly maniacal race. The Vulcans responded with characteristic caution: 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".
A few years after the treaty with Starfleet, the Rihansha came into contact with the Klingon Empire. Sensing a kindred race, the Rihansha entered into a treaty with the Klingons, which was to last almost 100 years. During this time, there was a considerable exchange of technology between the two races, which led to the installation of cloaking devices aboard Klingon starships, and an enhanced warp drive for the Rihannsu, in addition to new technologies such as replicators and transporters. The exchange also allowed the Rihannsu to study new weaponry and shipbuilding techniques, and the seeds were sown for the modern generation of Birds of Prey and Warbirds, armed with the more powerful disrupter weapons. However, the idea of photon torpedoes was never adopted, the Rihannsu preferring to stay with their own plasma 'torpedo'. While having a shorter range than photon torpedoes, these weapons deliver over twice the destructive damage to their target.
History Part III, Modern History
Almost 150 years after the treaty with the Federation, the Rihannsu Galae launched a pre-emptive strike against several Federation outposts. The Galae Commander at that time believed that the treaty was merely a temporary cease-fire in the war against the Federation and restricted the RSE from claiming its rightful position as overlords of the galaxy. To test the alert status and combat readiness of the Federation prior to a full invasion, he sent a Bird of Prey through the Neutral Zone on attack missions. These attacks led to the Tomed Incident, in which the Federation finally got their first look at the Rihannsu people, by tapping into the Bird of Prey's viewing system. This was when Starfleet finally learned what the Vulcans had suspected all along; the common ancestry of the Vulcan and Rihannsu. Through the efforts of Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise, the Romulans were destroyed, and the invasion plans called off. For many years after, there was little contact between the Rihannsu and the outside.
The destruction of Praxis caused the Federation and Klingons to begin overtures toward peace, something that the then Emperor, Tiercellus tr`Rllailieu, viewed with apprehension. He ordered the Tal'Shiar to work with renegade elements of the Federation and Klingon Empire, hoping to precipitate a war between the two powers. That would leave the Rihannsu free to defeat both when their forces were depleted and become the undisputed rulers of the galaxy. Again, however, Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Enterprise aided by the USS Excelsior foiled this plan. Following this incident, the Rihannsu withdrew fully from galactic view for many years, with sparse examples of contact. One exception to this was the attack and destruction of Khitomer, undertaken as an act of revenge by the Rihannsu against the Klingons for a failure almost 100 years before.
After almost 3000 years, moves were made within both Vulcan and Rihannsu society to bring about a reunification of the two, now diverse, races. As a part of this Ambassador Spock of Vulcan spent many years on ch`Rihan, working covertly with the Rihannsu Reunification Underground. This laid the seeds for many great changes in the history of the Rihannsu, and indeed of the whole galaxy. In 2390, prompted by concern for the Empire, the Commanding Officer of a Romulan Warbird, Ahk`kaleh, contacted the Commanding Officer of a Federation starship, USS Berlin, to discuss "matters that concern our great nations." The two conducted secret subspace communications, discussing a possible problem they had both seen arising in their governments.
A month after that first contact, a major gathering of Romulan, Starfleet, Klingon, and Cardassian Commanding Officers occurred in complete secrecy. All there agreed that the highest levels of each of their governments had been showing signs of extraordinary and odd behaviors. The group vowed en masse to take a stance against this by forming a fleet of their own. With no hope of victory, they engaged to find the source of the problem. It was the Klingons and Federation that found the cause first. With less restriction on their activities, the Klingon and Starfleet Commanding Officers were able to insinuate spies into the higher levels of their governments, where they discovered a symbiotic race had taken over several key members of their governments. This race controlled the mind and actions of the "host" it inhabited, breathing by means of a small gill-like 'tail' protruding from the back of the host's neck. This race had previously been seen by the Federation over 25 years before.
An all-out war between the 'patriots' in the governments and the 'traitor' fleet then developed. Armed with the new information, the Tal'Shiar was able to locate the 'mother creatures' who inhabited several of the key officials of the Rihannsu Empire, including (sadly) the Emperor himself. After killing these creatures, and their unfortunate hosts, the Tal'Shiar brutally exterminated the remaining symbionts, while the Intelligence forces of the other governments destroyed their own threats, finally vanquishing the aliens in 2392. Talks then commenced between the remaining leaders of the four governments, to discuss the unification of their respective peoples into one cohesive force. The proposal's initial name was put down as the United Galactic Alliance of Planets, and the four governments set into motion plans to complete the unification within one standard year.
In mid-2393, the fledgling alliance was rocked by its first open revolt when a bomb exploded in Starfleet Academy, killing almost 800 people. Over the next year, several more incidents are reported among the four governments, including the destruction of two Starfleet vessels in a minefield, and the bombing of the Rihannsu Galae's major shipbuilding facility. The Rihannsu people began to question the wisdom of joining the proposed UGAP, remembering their history and the reasons for leaving Ancient Vulcan. Eventually, the Galae Commander ordered both the military and the Tal'Shiar to take steps to pacify the people. Purely by accident, the threat to the UGAP was discovered. A new alliance between the Cardassians and the Dominion had allowed the infiltration of key projects by Dominion forces. Several Dominion shape-shifters who had infiltrated the UGAP project itself then went on a killing spree, before they were themselves killed. Investigations revealed that the Cardassians themselves were responsible for many of the terrorist attacks, and the Rihannsu call for the Cardassians to be excluded from the new alliance.
Pressured by the Rihannsu delegation, the Cardassians were barred from the UGAP alliance and returned to report their failure to the Dominion. Meanwhile, preparations began for the full implementation by the end of 2394. When the new alliance was formed it took the name of the United Confederation of Interstellar Planets. Each of the three major race's governments retained its existing infrastructure, although two additional Councils were formed. The UCIP interplanetary Council for civilian matters, and UCIP Fleet Command, which oversaw the three fleets: the Klingon Defense Force, Starfleet, and the Rihannsu Galae.
Even though the governments retained its autonomy, the Rihannsu people remained daunted by the idea of being overseen by an outside Council comprised of 'barbarian alien species'. As a result, the Rihannsu Government and Military remained basically unchanged, as does the Rihannsu economy. All Rihannsu remember the deception of the past, and none want the Empire to be tricked in such fashion again.
After two years of wrangling, argument, and typical Rihannsu politics, the Praetorate formally announces that no new Emperor of Rihannsu will be coronated. Instead, they acknowledge the military as the "Keeper of Mnhei'sahe" (a title formerly reserved for the Emperor). As such, the Galae Fvillha, Erei'riov Aiel t`Kazan, becomes the titular ruler of the Rihannsu Star Empire.
The following year, and with the unanimous support of the Praetorate, Senate, military, and Tal'Shiar, the now Enarrain Aiel t`Kazan, is pronounced both Fleet Commander and Empress of all Rihannsu. Declaring war upon both the Federation and Klingon Empire, the Rihannsu launch a series of surprise, lightning attacks on their unsuspecting former allies. The Rihannsu Galae quickly captures several key strategic planets and bases in both Federation and Klingon territory; the most important of which was the Federation-built Starbase 220 in the Tomika system. Located in the precise center of what was once 'neutral space' between the three powers, Starbase 220 becomes a major launching point for invasion into both Klingon and Federation territory.
Eventually, and despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to recapture Starbase 220 from the Rihannsu, the Klingon Defense Forces and Starfleet managed to fight the Rihannsu attacks to a standstill as a result of combined fleet efforts. A new treaty is drafted between the three governments, re-instituting the Neutral Zone around the Rihannsu Empire. Previously unused monitoring stations are hastily upgraded and reactivated to keep a close watch on the new borders by all three fleets. This is the situation as it now stands. The Rihannsu once more stand alone against a hostile galaxy, fiercely defending their territory.
History Part IV, Recent History
In the times following the first SF / RSE war, the Empire had fallen into decay. Corruption, greed, and dissension had caused its once great navy to fall into near civil war status. The Empress' dominance of the senate and general lack of military competence, has brought many Officers and crews to move against her.
The deepest secret in the hole of the empire, one is only known by the highest ranking in the Tal`Shiar, has finally come to light. Of the 14 lost craft from the original 20 in the traveler's fleet, one was not in fact destroyed. It had been the third ship lost, disappearing into a system and been presumed lost.
Hundreds of years later, a single Rihannsu assault craft happened upon that very system- only to find the chief planet populated by an offshoot from their own people. To the horror of the Rihannsu, the race had devolved under the intense level of radiation emitted by the system's sun. The 'descendants' had apparently no knowledge of where they had come from or what they had been searching for. The society had become very industrial and, though advanced, was no match for the Rihannsu. The Captain of the craft issued a false quarantine of the system and hid the secret from his people. Over the years the secret was maintained, as was a science facility in orbit around the planet. Specimens were taken from the local populace and studied. Many young Revellians (as they had been labeled) were sent into serves in the Armies of the Empire and, as they showed considerable talents in killing things, excelled in those posts.
EnRiov tr`Ronga, former director-general of the Tal`Shiar, has moved here. Ronga opened diplomatic negotiations with the collective peoples of the planet- ultimately laying the foundation for the armies of the NRR. The Pact: Ronga offered the peoples of ch`Revellion all the advanced technology of the Empire and teachers to train the populous in exchange for the right to openly use the populous in his army. The Revellian leaders agreed and in a little, over six months their system was completely changed. The billions of ch`Revellion quickly spread throughout the system. They proved to be apt pupils and soon they had constructed one of the most productive and advanced shipyards in the whole empire. Other dissidents in the empire slowly migrated to this 'rumored' system, eventually forming into an organized political body. Thus was the NRR created.
Together with the forces of the Galae, the NRR would return to ch'Rihan and defeat Ael t'Kazon. With the death of the Empress, the Romulan Star Republic is established and the Senate is formed into 1 unicameral legislature.
Early in its life, the Romulan Star Republic would be forced into an engagement with the Klingon Empire after the destruction of a Romulan warship along the Klingon/Romulan border. The short-lived war would end upon the discovery that the warship was not destroyed by the Klingons, but rather a Starfleet agency who framed them. Using this as a reason for war the Romulan and Klingons both attack the Federation. The result is a major victory for the Romulan Republic, the Romulans would acquire control of Codis, Belian II, Coriel IV, Draco System (Omnius), Draken III, SB18, SB185, Tarod, Jouret, Gamma Hydrae, and Iconia.
Successful in some ways, the Romulan Republic would begin a slow collapse in 2403, spurred on by the selection of a corrupt Admiral to be Praetor. EnRiov Vrih tr'Mandak would become Praetor through a series of secret ballots. Upon his appointment, he assured the Romulan Senate and Military that he would go about restoring Romulan Glory and completing the conquest of the Federation that fell short in 2401. However, the true plans were more insidious. Kidnapping a Torhie queen, tr'Mandak faked the destruction of the 19th Fleet forcing the Republic into a war stance. Moving the Western fleets from the neutral zone he ordered them to gather at ir'Rak Prime. His plan was to have the Torhie destroy the western fleets in an act of vengeance against them, and then to lead the insectoid race through Federation space. With the western fleets gone, Mandak equipped his own personal fleet with subspace and proto-matter weaponry. Arresting and imprisoning the Speaker of the Senate t'Anaka, and Latasalaem Praetor tr'AAnikh, tr'Mandak solidified his powerbase.
Discovering the plans of the Praetor, Tal'Diann Director Khre'Riov Ameh'ah t'Neyl along with former vang'radam (traitor) Lessa t'Brennan would gather a fleet against the Praetor. Revealing tr'Mandak's traitorous plans, t'Neyl's forces gathered at ir'Rak prime. With the knowledge the western fleets lefts ir'Rak prime, while the Eastern fleets refused to engage, leaving only the Praetor's personal fleet to protect him. The assault against the Praetor would be costly, Lessa t'Brennan would be killed in the fighting, however, the Praetor is finally killed and the war ends.
Realizing that they moved too fast, the Romulan Senate votes a return to the Romulan Star Empire. Many of the Republic changes are left intact in the change. In 2406 a bulk of the Romulan Senate on ch'Rihan is assassinated. Though an all-out civil war is avoided, the new Chief Praetor tr'AAnikh oversees a return to a bi-cameral legislature, with an upper and lower house.