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A little more than one thousand extended families of Terran origin settled the region around present-day system named White (3001 Alpha Leonis). Their colonies had mutual origins on Earth, and continued these ties over interstellar distances between the worlds around White. The Protectorate also includes some systems in the Old Expanses, and even more in Spica (Alpha Virginis) sector.
Originally outside the bounds of the Terran Confederation, the Protectorate later found itself within the confines of the Rule of Man. It was the fall of the latter, that really lead to the Protectorate as a formal arrangement, protecting the families from the encroaching Long Night all around.
The Protectorate has at no time been an interstellar government, but its capacity for mutual defense certainly qualifies it as an independent state. In fact, the view on these worlds is, "that government which governs less, governs best." The citizens view the Protectorate as in one of two states (or modes) at any time: active or inactive.
There have been only two times in history in which the Protectorate has been active: the Long Night, and from the Collapse until the New Era. Nobody to date (New Era reference) has been able to understand how the Protectorate survived Virus in tact. It is confirmable that they have done their share in combating Vampire Fleets.
During the period the Protectorate was part of the Solomani Confederation, the Albans were given member-state status. With their inherent attitudes, they never played a significant role in Confederation politics. In fact, a number of worlds, as found elsewhere in the Confederation, are not formally member worlds either. All of this is permitted by the Charter of the Solomani States, though these worlds scoff at being called Solomani.
As the Second Imperium--the Rule of Man (or disparagingly the Ramshackle Empire)--began its slow fall into what is now called the Long Night, a community of several worlds in the Core-trailing edge of the Alpha Leonis sector formed up the Protectorate of Alba. Using the best technologies available to the Empire, theses non-Imperials crafted the best Protectorate known during the Long Night. Their defensive systems kept the encroachment of the Wilds outside of their Protectorate.
Dawn locally began around 200 (Third Imperial), and the Protectorate had not had an incursion attempt since 176, and so the community disbanded formal vigilance patrols, sinking to merely a community of trading worlds, more a postal union by Third Imperial standards. After the Solomani Rim War, they were pressured into joining the Solomani Confederation. Most of the worlds didn't take in Solomani politics. It was regarded as a backwater area of the Confederation. This all changed upon news that Emperor Strephon has been assassinated. Suddenly it was the front line in a new battle to retake the Solomani Sphere. Fleets moved into the area in preparation for a major assault. When the Old Expanses surrendered, these fleets moved on, once again leaving Alba subsector to be a backwater again. Several reserve fleets were stationed in the area, to prevent raids from Lucan and Margret.
When the Virus was released, Alba subsector was given a bit of advanced warning. The planetary fathers of the former Protectorate reestablished the vigilance patrols, and the Protectorate rose again. The Protectorate mobilized those reserve fleets still in the area, and used these to fight off marauding Vampires. They weren't able to save all these ships, several of the fleets were taken over by the Virus. Glassend was the victim of one of these fleets. The Vigilance Patrols were only partially successful, a small handful of worlds was kept alive, while the rest either died or were reduced to barbarism. Many of the ships which the Protectorate had seized, were lost in these patrols. The men and women who served, are remembered on Foundation Day. This is a holiday to remember the founding of the Protectorate and those people who gave their lives for it. The date is October 27, on the Solomani calendar. Of the few capital ships which survived the Vigilance patrols, most have been turned into monitors, their jump drives have been scavenged to allow smaller ships to continue flying.
The Protectorate is less a government and more of a self help group. The worlds share resources to protect each other from Vampire incursions. They also exchange technology and knowledge to keep each other afloat. The Virus has provided the Protectorate with a siege mentality,
In 1179, the Albans were contacted by scouts from the Hive Federation. A diplomatic mission was allowed to land, but during the talks, many Albans came to the conclusion that the Hivers had either released the Virus, or were using it to advance themselves at everyone else's expense. Diplomatic relations were broken off, and Hivers are no longer welcome. The Hivers have since developed the Sitah region in subsector P of Old Expanses. The Albans view these humans with contempt and refuse to have anything to do with them. The Albans are quite isolationism, ships wishing to enter their space, must undergo several months of decontamination and quarantine, to prevent Virus from spreading. Their patrols have a "shoot first ask questions later" attitude, after all millions of lives rest on their shoulders.
The pre Collapse Protectorate, consisted of 19 worlds, 13 of which were in Alba subsector of Alpha Crucis: Moonshan, Gardon, Knobel, Yekon, Villbert, Crown Heights, White, Deserte, Zilon, Glassend, Cirion, Arwen, Degas. Three were in Naav subsector of Spica sector, they were Meridian, Naav and Antairtic. The last three were in Old Expanses. The New Era Protectorate consists of far fewer worlds; Knobel, Villbert, Crown Heights, Deserte, Zilon, and Arwen . Meridian still lives, but is stranded on the other side of the vampire fleets at Glassend.