"Sphere Fenix was original settled by a very diverse group of refugees from the collapsing First Imperium. During the Long Night, these fugitives flourished into a series of mini-states. About 500 Imperial dating, a series of small but bitter wars broke out. In 724, the three surviving states declared peace on each other and met to discuss unification. Though the precise details of governmental structure took over 28 years to develop, Sphere Fenix dates its birth from that meeting. Though internal unrest has occurred since, the overall prosperity has continued to increase. A mutual defense treaty was signed with Ramayan in the 8th century Imperial. Technical assistance is received from Imperium military services and Imperial security is rumored to have great influence. In spite of having fought in no major wars in centuries, military prowess is high and it has become traditional to serve a term or two as a mercenary in one of the surrounding sectors, especially the Marlan Primate."
Given this, it would be easy to see the Sphere Fenix (SF hereafter, or just 'the Sphere') as sort of an Imperium-lite... and honestly, I'm okay with that. For Traveller players primarily used to interacting with the setting of the Third Imperium, SF allows a degree of familiarity to rely upon while dealing with the politics and players of a new sector outside of the Third Imperium's borders. The trick here is to remember that SF came out of the ashes of the First Imperium; they did not have the Solomani influence that came about due to the Rule Of Man, and that continued into the forming of the Third Imperium. In many ways, SF is more Vilani in outlook than the Third Imperium is, very status-conscious and technologically conservative. That said, the smaller size and influence of the Sphere is less conducive to arrogance and hubris than the First Imperium was, and out of necessity SF is more flexible in dealing with the realities of interstellar politics.
The Sphere controls 80 systems in the Crucis Margin sector, spread out over five subsectors (Ark, Negoiul, Souris, Mandin, and Olsztyn). The highest tech level obtained in her worlds is TL 14. It maintains excellent relations with the Third Imperium; residents of the Sphere like to think of themselves and the Third Imperium as allies, while other polities in the Gateway quadrant tend to see SF as mere puppets of the Imperium.
|Kaarin II, circa 991, while on shore leave|
*I'm using 1105 as my starting time for the setting