The Merchant Fleet was first organized and established on 2320 by Toval Hunter. Though its primary mandate was to trade with other interstellar species, the Fleet and its crews hold sacred the tenets of the Federation in scientific exploration, diplomacy and the Prime Directive.
Merchant Fleet AcademyEdit
By 2350, a Merchant Fleet Academy open to all sentient beings was established in Bracchia Prime to serve as an institution for learning, specifically to train cadets to be future Merchant Fleet officers. Traditionally, when a person who wishes to join reaches the age of adult, they submit an application and undergo a series of tests to see if they'll get accepted. Once accepted, they train at one of the facilities for four years. A good number of instructors in the Merchant Fleet Academy had been Starfleet officers. The academic standards established was considered by many as nearly at par with that of Starfleet itself.
The Valkoria Merchant Fleet was largely made up of cargo freighters, cargo tankers and passenger transports. Because of the growing instability in the Alpha Quadrant, The Executive Board of the Consortium decided to equip their enormous commercial freight carriers with military grade shields, phasers and photon torpedoes, and communications arrays.
Although the general headquarters of the Valkoria Merchant Fleet is Valkoria Station, it has designated bases of operations on the three other space stations owned by the Consortium and on various stations all over known space. They occupy and rent substantial operational space in these stations.
The VM Fleet underwent a general overhaul in 2378, when one of its two dominant leaders, Maximus Hunter, took a more active role in the Valkoria Consortium. Contracting several retired or resigned Starfleet engineers and ship designers, Hunter headed a massive modernization program. This saw the sale of practically all of the VM Fleet's ships and the simultaneous construction of what Hunter had coined as the "new line" of interstellar cargo ships.
Eight (8) types of cargo ships were designed to comprise this "new line":
- The Prince-class Super Cargo Carrier
- The Duke-class Heavy Cargo Carrier
- The Marquis-class Medium Cargo Carrier
- The Earl-class Light Cargo Carrier
- The Count-class Super Freighter
- The Viscount-class Heavy Freighter
- The Baron-class Medium Freighter
- The Baronet-class Light Freighter
The officers and crew of the Valkoria Merchant Fleet are known to be as disciplined as their Starfleet counterparts. The Fleet uses the same ranks and designations like the officers and crew of Starfleet. However, the highest ranking merchant officer in the Fleet has the rank of Rear Admiral (upper grade). In addition, the Fleet uses the rank of Commodore instead of Rear Admiral (lower grade) for the lowest ranking merchant flag officer in the Fleet.