The history of the InterStellar Commonwealth dates back several hundred years before Humanity joined. We are considered among the so-called Middle Group of races, neither among the Founders or even the Old Group, nor among the New Group consisting mostly of races who have been members for less than two or three generations, though this varies some according to the longevity typical of a race.
Commonwealth traces its origin to an accident. The Varktis ship Sarvnik
was on its way to colonize the third new world for the Varktis when
it intercepted a signal of alien origin. The signal was from the
Talamikar Shelei. This first meeting eventually resulted in the Mutual Friendship and Defense
Treaty between the Vraktis and the Talamikar Shelei which was signed
in Earth year A.D. 1728. The signing of this treaty is counted as the
beginning of Standard Year 1 (SY1).
The Varktis had been a spacefaring race for nearly 80 years when they accidentally happened upon a signal which the Talamikar Shelei had beamed into space as part of their earliest investigations of their own solar system. The Varktis colony ship which detected the signal determined that it had come from a star approximately 85 ly distant from their position and 115 ly from their destination, but this was their first contact with an alien civilization, so they changed course to investigate. Ten years later, this original contact resulted in the Mutual Friendship and Defense Treaty. Eight years of prosperity were followed by first contact with the Dwelek.
FIRST DWELEK WAR
The Dwelek were first contacted on the far edge of Talamikar Shelei space. This first contact was followed, eight months later, by the first attack on a Sheleian outpost. Within three years, half of the Sheleian worlds, including their home world, had been overrun by the Dwelek and the Sheleian populations of those worlds mostly or completely exterminated. Before the Varktis managed to push back the invading waves of Dwelek warships, 60% of the Sheleian's original population had been exterminated, and the Varktis had lost 20% of their own.
The Varktis began assisting the two remaining colony worlds of the Talamikar Shelei to rebuild and absorb the refugees when, in Earth year 1749 (two Standard years after the war had ended), news reached the outer limits of Varktis space that a rebellion had broken out against the Dwelek. A subject race known as Chiurdoun had organized three other races in a revolt against their Dwelek oppressors.
SECOND DWELEK WAR
The Varktis and the remnants of the Talamikar Shelei went to their aid and after five Standard years, vanquished the foe, freeing the original four rebels plus three more races. To secure their new-found freedom and assist each other in rebuilding, the Mutual Friendship and Defense Treaty was expanded from the original two member races to include the seven new races (Chiurdoun, Madrindiu, Traiqi, Shar, Talchin, Kirianchat and Tilet Thel) for a total of nine races, known as the Founders. In 1758 this solidified as the InterStellar Commonwealth of Sentient Races, later shortened to the InterStelar Commonwealth (ISC).
In SY34 (1772) disaster once again struck the Talamikar Shelei when the star hosting one of their two remaining worlds suddenly destabilized. Only 20% of the population survived. Some were killed in the chaos before the evacuation could begin. Some died in the transports while fleeing, but most were obliterated on the ground when their sun went nova. The Dwelek claimed responsibility, but ISC researchers, whether historical or scientific, have never come to a consensus as to whether or not this claim is supported by the evidence. After the nova, only 2.1 billion Shelei were left from a population that had been over 40 billion before the First Dwelek War. Resettling all the remaining survivors, some of which were already refugees from other Sheleian worlds, on the one remaining colony world increased its population by nearly half. This was a serious strain on the infrastructure of a colony world that had been only marginally self-sufficient before the disaster that left it as the only remaining outpost of Sheleian civilization.
In 1774, the final chapter began to unfold for the Talamikar Shelei. The Dwelek conducted a sneak attack irradiating 10 of the Sheleian's largest cities, killing an estimated 300 million. In the next ten days, a "flash plague," which proved to be engineered by the Dwelek, swept the planet killing half a billion females and sterilizing another 200 million. A second wave of the plague killed another 50 million and sterilized another 75 million. Fatalities were far fewer among the male population, and the after effects were negligible. This left the Sheleians with a population imbalance of 8:1 in favor of males, in a total population of about 775 millions.
The Third Dwelek War lasted ten years and resulted in the destruction of the Dwelek homeworld and total dissolution of the Dwelek Empire (1789). All its colonies were taken as spoils by the former slave races, most of whom expelled all Dweleks from their new possessions, often giving the Dwelek as little as a tenday to evacuate. Some populations were exterminated. The evacuees were treated as paraiahs and allowed no port of call. Most eventually perished in space.