The Banu (pronunciation: /BAH-new/) are an alien race and humanity’s first interstellar friends. They are renowned for being focused on commerce and trading.
Humanity’s first interstellar friends. Discovered by a NavJumper named Vernon Tar who was out exploring and nearly started a war by taking a shot at the Banu pilot (we helped smooth that over). That Banu, as it turned out, was on the run from local officials for embezzling funds. Once our two civilizations came together and signed the first Interstellar Peace & Trade Accord, we began to trade technology and help each other expand into the universe. Once they spread out, they formed the Banu Protectorate to oversee all of their systems.
The Banu are the traders, the culture-hounds of the universe. Their planets are varied and colorful. Many tales of intrigue start in the murky back alleys of Banu cities.
The Banu Protectorate is a republic of Planet-States, each run under its own political system. The leaders (or selected representatives) of each planet will gather for a quorum to to discuss/debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each is left to their own devices to succeed or fail.
Vanduul: Precarious but friendly. This breaks down on a planet-by-planet basis, but generally the desire for money and trade outweighs loyalties and grudges.
The Protectorate’s spiritual center is located in the Trise System. While the Gatherings on Bacchus II handle the legal and political, “The Council” is responsible for the social and moral dictums that define and direct Banu society.
Their calling requires pure objectivity when dealing with their own race, so they are separated from the rest of their people in so much as is possible.
There are no great Banu pilgrimages, though, so do not expect worshipers to flock to the system. That the Council must be separate from the rest of society is law. Banu monk equivalents do produce elaborate copper-based artwork which has a certain kitsch value; their healers concoct a variety of medicines which have been shown to have a positive effect on Human disease.
The Banu can pull together a formidable fighting force if needed, but they do not have a dedicated standing army. Instead, the Banu Militia keeps the (relative) peace on a day-to-day basis within their systems. This militia operates on a rotational basis, drawing volunteers (even some criminals) from the various inhabited planets within the system to keep an eye on things in space. To call their approach to law enforcement ‘fast and loose’ is an understatement.
Suffice it to say, there is a lot of crime in the Banu Protectorate. The woeful lack of communication between the various planet-states means that criminals can simply hop from world to world when his/her current world becomes too dangerous. Since the UEE (even the Advocacy) is forbidden to pursue criminals over the borders, the Banu Protectorate is a haven for UEE criminals. And if an attempt is made to reclaim fugitives through official channels, very few of the Banu planets will extradite any fugitives found on their surface.
Trade is the name of game in the Banu systems. While each of the planets boast their own specific flavor of culture and tradition, a love of money and trade bind them all. Banu worlds are vibrant, dangerous places with criminals and nobles brushing shoulders in the various marketplaces. Anything can be found with the Banu if you have the credits.
Having said that, we should also note that this doesn’t describes every single Banu; just most of them. You can create a Banu who despises the whole profit-oriented focus, or an impetuous Xi’An. But they probably have difficulty fitting in their society.
Source: Writer's Guide: Part Six