Leader: First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo
Headquarters: Lorespire Complex, Absalom Station
Today, the Starfinders include scholars of all sorts, from biologists and computer scientists to archaeologists and military historians, distinguished from corporate research groups by a unifying tenet: that increased dissemination of information can foster growth, development, and ultimately peace. Although both the organization and individual Starfinders make excellent money selling star charts, survey data of new worlds, and even alien artifacts— once they’re properly studied, of course—Starfinders are driven primarily by the desire to publish their findings, for both the common good and personal prestige. The best of these revolutionary discoveries are released in regular public broadcasts called the Starfinder Chronicles. The manner in which these discoveries are made is left largely up to the individual members, though the administration frowns on outright theft, wars of aggression, and, especially, the exploitation of previously uncontacted cultures.
All Society leaders rise in the ranks by earning their peers’ respect through bravery and scholarship. Leadership in the organization takes three forms: the Forum, the First Seeker, and Guidance.
The Forum is an elected body of veteran explorers, managers, and scholars working to coordinate expeditions and help supply distant base camps.
As the nominal head of the organization, the First Seeker is a single Starfinder Society member elected for both her merit as an adventuring scholar and her personal field of focus, and each uses the few brief years of her appointment to prioritize the organization’s research, traditionally using the position to make a bold, no-holds-barred attempt to advance a personal scholarly mission. Once a First Seeker’s term is over, that individual can never again serve in a leadership position within the organization, and many use this as a capstone to their careers, afterward retreating into obscurity or venturing out into the Vast. Although Starfinders aren’t required to assist the First Seeker, most do so out of respect for this living embodiment of scholarship.
The last part of the Society’s power structure is Guidance, a network of the uploaded personalities of exemplary Starfinders acting to confirm each elected First Seeker and serving as a spiritual anchor for the Society. As the First Seeker’s term concludes, the leader communes with Guidance and often earns the right to upload a copy of her own consciousness to help guide future generations. Given its active recruitment of promising candidates of all sorts, including from cultures outside the Pact Worlds, the Starfinder Society is one of the most cosmopolitan and egalitarian organizations in the system. While Starfinder discoveries sometimes interfere with corporate or government interests, leading to a certain amount of armed conflict, the organization is universally recognized as the leader in both new planet discovery and first contact due to its willingness to fund forays into the Vast with no expectation of financial return. Many different types of patrons, from governments to private investors, eagerly sponsor Starfinder expeditions or hire Starfinders onto their own teams as independent contractors, and even the most heavily inhabited Pact Worlds host Starfinders digging into their ancient ruins and secret histories.