A free federation of worlds, loosely bonded to Velor. It was created in 1521 at the Madstop Conference, with much of the initiative coming from the Velorian diaspora: Companions and former Companions familiar with the seeded worlds on which they had served, and with the growing threat of the Arion Empire. The symbol of the Enlightenment is the golden phoenixlike Flamebird.
There are several categories of worlds within the Velorian Enlightenment.
A disclosed world is a technically sophisticated, space flight capable, world that has aligned itself with the ideals of the Enlightenment. Self determination, non exploitave relationships and resistance to the expansion of the Arion Empire.
Non Disclosed worlds:
These worlds have sentient life on them but generally are to culturally and technically primitive to function in the galactic civilization. These worlds will frequently have scientific missions conducting very low profile observations.
Any world, inhabitated or not, that shows sign of ever having had Galen or Elders in residence is immediately declared a Heritage Site. The Enlightenment definitely wants to learn as much as it can about the Galen and the Elders and does not want the Arions horning in on the work. Access to a Heritage Site is by invitation only. Discussion of what you found at a Heritage Site is considered a security breach.
Not worlds but still of incalculable importance to the Velorian Enlightenment. These natural phenomena are the Interstellar highway. Wormholes connect star systems. A ship that correctly navigates a wormhole appears instantly on the other side at its destination. Velor's biggest advantage is that the Prima class Velorians don't need star ships to make the interstellar trip. The frequently used wormholes have permanent populations living in space stations there. The Velorians also supply Gatekeepers to maintain the navigational beacons, defend them, and warn incoming ships if the wormholes start to destabilize. Wormholes come in a large variety of types with a wide variety of attributes. Some are so peaceful that a Velorian Brava studying commercially availble wormhole diving math can survive a dive. Others like Cygnus 275 are so dangerous that it is considered suicidal to dive in. Wormholes have some common features. One they don't form in the inner solar system of any star. Most are surrounded by an accretion disk of material that can obscure the existance of the wormhole itself.
As each Enlightenment planet planet was required to provide for its own defence, there was originally no such thing as an Enlightenment military force; that function was instead filled by solely by the Protectors. A Velorian Protector defends her Protectorate until Velor decides to transfer her to another assignment. She will not abandon her protectorate even to search out reinforcements. Yet Velor later found it advantageous to create conventional forces to train, aid and assist local forces. The equivalent of Naval ships had already been deployed at strategic wormholes to support the Velorian Gatekeepers and local naval forces. Home defense was relatively neglected until a surprise attack on the home system by Arion raiders; a crash program to create a local defense force followed. Still later, under the Theel'dara Initiative, humans on allied worlds with latent potential were given enhancement and formed Velorian Legion units. The ranks of Protectors were also augmented with Auxiliary Protectors from Prima ranks other than P-1