Solitude is the outermost region of the Federation, physically separated from the rest of Gallente space. Surrounded by the barren Trace Cosmos and the Cord of the Elements, Solitude is cut off from the greater Federation by the territories of the Intaki Syndicate. Previously an independent area of space, Solitude was eventually absorbed by the Federation due to rampant piracy and corruption that began to fester in the region. Its unique circumstance has lent the region its own culture and character that has become famous across the Federation for espousing Gallente ideals of braving the frontier and erecting new homes in the remote dangers of space. Solitude has been more militarized than elsewhere in Gallente space due to its strategic location, with the Federation Navy and other armed services being subject to much idolization in the region. Combined with its extreme remoteness, Solitude has had a significant influence on more hawkish and isolationist corners of Gallente politics.
The area in and around Solitude was home to a now-extinct civilization that existed roughly eleven thousands years ago. Unearthed only recently through the discovery of what is believed to be a scientific outpost on Postouvin I in YC110, little is known about this civilization, other than the likelihood that they were spacefaring. Various art and cultural objects, almost exclusively inanimate in nature, has been recovered and toured through museums across the Federation. It is known that this post-collapse culture used a unique rib-and-skin architecture, with alloyed steel and an advanced type of polymer sheeting. Research and excavation by archaeologists from the University of Caille continues under the Federation Endowment for Arts and Sciences.
The Intaki Syndicate initially settled several systems in a peninsula of space that protrudes outwards from the Federation towards the void lands of the Trace Cosmos. Reluctant to expand too close to these stellar anomalies, the Syndicate instead headed around the Cord of the Elements through the Z-6NQ6 corridor, and began to settle in systems in the Outer Ring. This left a vast amount of systems in the rest of the peninsular untouched, with many fearing that its proximity to the Trace Cosmos would make life there problematic or dangerous.
It was not an issue for several Gallente pioneers, however, who saw it as an opportunity to brave this dangerous sector of space and establish their own homesteads, independent of the Federation, which was currently embroiled in the Gallente-Caldari War. The colonies thrived due to the vast mineral wealth in the region, exporting to the Federation while resisting any attempts of political subjugation. Solitude became famous for embodying pioneer ideals of establishing new homes on the frontier, free from the meddling influence of any higher forces such as governments or corporations. As a result, the region attracted many outsiders that settled in the fledgling worlds of Solitude, boosting the population considerably.
Joining the Federation
Over time, the influence of the bordering Syndicate began to creep its way into Solitude’s affairs. Crime and piracy rose, along with corruption in economic and political circles. The poorly-equipped local military was unable to deal with hostile marauders, while the frontier-level of infrastructure and communications allowed corruption to fester. The economy took a hit, which rippled outwards and began to have an effect on Solitude’s reputation. Not willing to go down so easily, planetary leaders and colonial directors began to deliberate on potential solutions to the growing problems.
Assistance offered by the Federation, both in military support and foreign aid, only polarized the issue. On one side, many believed that joining the Federation would bring stability through the guaranteed military protection offered by the Navy and Customs. In addition, as Federal territories, the region would be able to experience the economic and trading benefits that full membership would permit. The opposing side felt that joining the Federation would be against the ideals of which Solitude was settled on, and that they would lose the independence and freedoms that the region became famous for. Many witnessed the debate seemingly grow to a stalemate.
It was broken in YC13, however, after a pirate warlord led his fleet in an invasion of Solitude, pillaging and plundering several colonies. The Federation Navy intervened without hesitation, destroying the invaders and driving them out of the region. This caused outcry from the colonial leaders, but jubilation from the local people who, at least for a time, saw the Federation as heroes. Within the year, thanks to a large amount of Federal economic assistance in rebuilding the damage caused by the pirate invasion, as well as considerable public pressure, the regional authorities of Solitude agreed to join the Federation.
After the wave of jubilation died down following the pirate warlord’s defeat, many local citizens began to acutely notice the influence the Federation was beginning to have on daily living, particularly with the advance of Gallente megacorporations into Solitude. Not wishing to alienate such a far-flung region so quickly after integration, the Gallente government scaled back their non-military activities in Solitude, instead leaving a large Federation Navy presence, who they found were always welcomed by the locals.
In YC110, the system of Ratillose in Solitude was invaded by a large fleet belonging to the Amarr Heir Uriam Kador, crossing the border from Aridia. The incursion was brutally put down by a Federation Navy force that was four times the size, including the deployment of an Erebus-class titan. The Gallente victory was only made possible in equal parts due to Solitude’s higher-than-average naval presence and the Federation’s significant level of sudden militarization following the outbreak of the Empyrean War. Though the reasons for the invasion was never disclosed to the public, the Gallente retaliation into Kador Prime to recover turncoat admiral Anvent Eturrer led many to believe that the incursion was a preemptive attack of some kind. These double victories by the Federation Navy boosted support for then-President Souro Foiritan and restored a large chunk of national pride that was sorely damaged after the loss of Caldari Prime, increasing trade with the tough Minmatar market. This pride was felt stronger nowhere else but Solitude itself, who boasted how their continuous support for the Federation military resulted in their victory against a foreign invader, unlike their more liberal countrymen and women in Essence and elsewhere.
In September YC112, during the international panic over the resurgence of Sansha's Nation a few months earlier, an Astral Mining Inc. ore hauler discovered a mass suicide on a mining outpost in Gererique, which included the deaths of all men, women and children in the colony. It was initially unclear what the specific reasons for the suicide was, though a Federation Customs raid in Weraroix identified the ‘Liberty’ pill that was used by the colonists in Gererique. After a massive raid by a cross-agency task force against a small unlicensed and unregistered pharmaceutical company in Harner, it was discovered that the ‘Liberty’ pill had been manufactured by Pierre Allendreau. The suicide pill was sold to various mining colony directors in Solitude for distribution among their respective constituents in the event of Sansha invasion, who preferred suicide over cybernetic enslavement. Pierre Allendreau was initially put under trial before the Solitude judiciary, before the case was elevated to a Supreme Court tribunal in Parts, Essence, as it was revealed that the ‘Liberty’ pill had infiltrated the black market across the wider Federation. The trial continues, drawn out considerably by those the prosecution were painting as the victims rising to the defense of the accused.
Though Solitude has not been affected militarily by the current conflict with the Caldari State, there have been a couple battles of note with Sansha’s Nation in the region during the former’s resurgence in YC112. Slave Heavenbound02, infamous True Slave commander, originated from the system of Vevelonel, which was subject to a Sansha invasion that only saw a few thousand abducted thanks to capsuleer intervention. Meanwhile, an uncontested incursion a few months later onto Oruse II by Sansha’s Nation saw the planetary population almost depleted in its entirety. A repopulation endeavour has since taken place, with the Federation Navy stepping up its operations in the region to prevent further catastrophes.
Despite being a region of the Federation for almost a century now, Solitude retains much of its autonomy, with the Federal Administration holding little to no presence. Each planet retains its pre-Federation legacy political system in some form or another, though there have been some minor bureaucratic and administrative tweaks in order to better integrate with the Federal system. Even then, the regional and planetary authorities are rather weak, with urban and rural governments being the ones to hold the most power. To outsiders, this has caused Solitude to appear extremely fragmented, overly paranoid of other bodies meddling in their affairs, whether from within the region or outside of it. However, to the locals, this only reinforces their fierce views on self-determination, that local authorities should have just as minimal a presence as the Federal government.
Even with the popular distrust of the Gallente central government, the Federal military has a massive presence in the region, and equally large support thanks to their continuing role against piracy and insurgency. Subject to much cultural adoration, the military comprises a relatively larger segment of planetary security forces than most other worlds in the Federation, who prefer to rely more on private military companies or highly-trained police paramilitaries. Though detractors of Solitude politics are quick to point out that the large Federal military presence is hypocritical of their desire to remain free from central influence, the truth of the matter is that the stellar record of the Gallente military means that the regional government has always had a strong sway in defense and security affairs.
Solitude’s stature in the Federation, particularly thanks to its cultural significance and strong economy, has influenced Gallente politics considerably, especially with the region’s isolationist and militaristic ideologies. Over 15% of the Foiritan-era Senate either represented Solitude or were born in the region and later migrated to others. Many of the Federation’s most influential and charismatic politicians also originate from Solitude, including former Head Senator and current director of the Black Eagles, Mentas Blaque. The Blaqueist ideology has its roots in Solitude, and while the extreme policies of “domestic naturalization” and “cultural habitats” for immigrant populations do not officially exist in the region, they are present nonetheless as an unofficial facet of Solitude life. Incidentally, regional politics is dominated by the Gallente who originally settled the region; it is extremely difficult for any immigrant, even non-ethnic Gallente, to rise the political ladder without generating extreme suspicion from the electorate.
Senators of Solitude are notorious for consistently voting against majority motions in the Federal government, especially proposals that are perceived to disproportionately benefit core Gallente territories (but not necessarily at the expense of Solitude). An example was the extremely unpopular “No Vote” law, which saw Placid and other territories disenfranchised for the YC111 presidential election due to Caldari military and corporate occupation in those regions. Almost the entire bloc of Solitude representatives voted against the bill which was ultimately successful. The electorate follow a similar pattern in Federal referendums, though the disparity in turnout is quite large, depending on whether or not the outcome of the vote would have any effect on Solitude itself.
Solitude has an extremely powerful and self-sustaining economy relative to its status as the smallest sector of the Federation, with almost all major Gallente megacorporations (including entertainment giants such as Impetus and Egonics Inc.) having a presence in the region. This is primarily as a result of government regulation being relatively low compared to other areas in the Federation, almost bordering the ultracapitalistic melee of the Caldari State. Very few non-Gallente firms operate in the region to any notable degree, due to Solitude’s protectionist policies spurred from its notorious nationalism.
Consequently, countless smaller companies have been bought out by the larger megacorporations, who have established monopolies in several areas. The corporate economy, though mostly confined to the higher, more developed echelons of Solitude, forms a microcosm of the wider Federation itself, with a handsome output in a wide range of economic sectors, from biotech and arms to holoreels and fashion. Solitude thus imports little and exports much, adding further to local pride over regional autonomy. The monopolization of market sectors, however, has been criticized by the older generations as damaging Solitude’s traditions in the entrepreneurial and frontier spirit.
A notable example of this is in Solitude’s mining industry, which has always been a powerful sector of the regional economy, in part to mining being a cultural icon (moreso than in other areas of the Gallente nation). The infamously aggressive Material Acquisition, a subsidiary of Quafe, is headquartered in Elore, and not long after its establishment, it took over many of the local mining firms and pushed out major rivals, such as Astral Mining and Ducia Foundry, to the very fringes of Solitude. Material Acquisition thus has its strongest presence in this region, exporting to other areas of the Federation, while local companies have their focus primarily on in-region demand. There is still plenty of opportunity to be had in independent mining in Solitude, but it is said that one can only become truly wealthy by bowing to the whims of Material Acquisition and their irk.
Demographics & Culture
As per its nationalistic history, the region of Solitude is one of the few places in the Federation which is not majority-minority. Ethnic and/or mixed Gallente dominate, and while there are plentiful minority groups in the region, they tend to suffer from racial discrimination, and are confined to the lower echelons of the socioeconomic ladder. While the Supreme Court has taken steps to curb racism in Solitude in order to bring the region in line with elsewhere in the Federation, indirect discrimination remains a problem.
The largest minority in Solitude are Intaki, who either migrate from Placid or from the Syndicate. Solitude is the only region in the wider country, however, where individuals of Intaki descent find themselves pushed down to the bottom of the social ladder. Syndicate has always had a significant influence on Solitude, making inroads into the regional underworld, and fueling the local drug trade. Consequentially, ethnic Intaki are viewed with suspicion, and are seen as connected to the Syndicate in some peripheral fashion, though this is almost always erroneous. However, several Intaki have been able to lead successful careers in the few Federal organizations that operate in the region (such as civil branches of Navy), thanks to the anti-discrimination laws that exist at the Federal level.
By far the second largest minority are Ni-Kunni who have migrated from neighboring Aridia. Ironically, the similarities between Solitude and the Amarr Empire in the form of impoverished ethnic minorities and strict trading rules has led Ni-Kunni immigrants leading lives that are eerily similar to their previous ones in the Empire. The festering Solitude underworld has granted countless opportunities for Ni-Kunni smugglers to exploit, and there are often non-Federate Ni-Kunni who operate as border runners across the region. Unlike the local Intaki, the Ni-Kunni do not share the same negative reputation. Many Ni-Kunni have used their mercantile ingenuity to penetrate into Solitude’s thriving economy, which has instead created a more endearing stereotype of being wealthy businessmen, similar to the Amarr perception of Ni-Kunni being obsessed with money. For the most part, however, the Ni-Kunni of Solitude inhabit their own impoverished areas in stations and major cities, and are thus common targets of Federal military recruiters.
Solitude’s mainstream culture is similar to its counterparts across the wider Federation; a powerhouse of arts and sciences, awash with information in all manner of bright colors. The popular image (primarily to citizens from other empires) has attracted immigrants of all stripes, but to those who more discerning, Solitude’s xenophobia is enough to outweigh the economic opportunities. Within the Federation, however, Solitude’s image as the true Gallente frontier is by far the most common perception of the region, which is subject to much romantic poetry. The rural towns and villages that can be found across Solitude, free from Federalization, remain the dreams of many, even with the borderline racist nature of the local inhabitants. It is not uncommon to find young tourist couples from the heart of the Federation exploring the countryside communities of Solitude, though the locals are often too polite to say what they really think of these individuals.