Human term for the loose interstellar community dominated by the Hivers; "confederation" is sometimes used instead of "federation". The Hivers have onlyone culture and one language; the Hiver genotype (with individual variations similar in degree to differences between individual humans of the same race) is also constant.
The Federation government (if such a term is applicable) is mostly concerned with maintaining the uniformity of the Hiver culture and species. This is accomplished by frequent reproductive embassies from one planet to another. Members of many different nests will "shake hands" with everyone nearby in a sort of farewell party and will then board a large embassy ship bound for a far-off world. Once there, they will meet with as many Hivers as possible, "shaking hands" and exchanging news, art, gossip, scientific information, political views, and so on for about a year. They will then return home for another year-long round of parties, discussions, and "hand-shaking".
Most disputes among communities are handled in these embassies; others, considered too urgent or transient to wait for an enemy, are settled by judges. There is a considerable body of Hiver common law and custom, and a judge is a Hiver who has spent years in study of the law; judges' decisions are not necessarily binding and are open to compromise, but carry a great weight of custom.
The discovery of alien races and their integration into society required a slightly more formal organisation, which grew into the co-ordinating body which schedules embassies. Two additional bodies were established: the Federation Navy and a development agency.
The Hiver parental instinct was aroused by the discovery numerous intelligent species less fortunate than themselves, and work began immediately to lift the "children" to civilisation. An early experience with an aggressive race led to the establishment of a system of quarantined worlds, denied entry to (or knowledge of) interstellar society.
Covert operations are in progress on quarantine worlds to modify overtly aggressive cultures into acceptable members of the Federation, and several quarantined planets have been opened since the beginning of the program. So far, no quarantined race is close to interstellar travel on its own; public debate continues on what to do in such a case.
The navy is the main instument of military force. Hivers came late to the concept of war and are more comfortable with high-tech, long-range oriented violence; they dislike the personal approach of ground combat. When ground forces are absolutely needed, other races of the Federation supply the troops. Federation armed forces are essentially a deterrent force and are seldom used as an instrument of policy.
Other races of the Federation are equal partners in society, although the structure of society is Hiver-generated, and those races able to adapt best to a Hiver way of life and customs have been the most successful. All races participate in the embassies, although in a modified form. Some associated species retain strong internal governments or police forces to regulate the aggressive tendencies of their members, but whatever solution is reached, all Federation member societies are non-aggressive.
Most worlds of the Federation have communities of several species; races inhabit the worlds they find most pleasant.
(SUPP-8, 1107; MT-ENCYC, 1120)
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