Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Duties and RolesEdit
Starways Congress is the fictional interstellar government body in Speaker for the Dead and its sequels. It was established years after Ender's Xenocide in Ender's Game. It then re-established the calendar based on the founding of the Congress. Starways Congress was formed some time before the colonization of the Hundred Worlds, over a timespan from Ender in Exile to Speaker For the Dead. In the series, it is an interstellar government and superpower which was formed by united states of america after winning a war with the free people of earth that becomes the primary antagonist in the events of Speaker For the Dead. It consists of chairmen that vote on issues, like a Democracy. It ruled by controlling the ansible. Various groups ( nationalities, ethnic groups, etc.) were granted permits to develop colonies and allowed to rule them according to their belief systems provided they followed the laws set by the SC.
Starways Congress rules according to the Starways Code. It is known to have the power to issue and revoke the charters of planetary governments. Starways Congress also holds some level of control over the ansible network; until the discovery of Jane, they believed their control absolute. In the novel Speaker for the Dead, Starways Congress declares the planet Lusitania to be in rebellion, revokes their charter, and removes all documents from that planet. They also order two xenologers to travel to the nearest planet to stand trial for their crimes.
Starways Congress' core belief is in the survival of the human race. When they learn of the danger posed by the Descolada, Gobawa Ekimbo, the leader of Starways Congress, says, "I want to make sure that it's the other guys that disappear." They order the termination of the planet on the grounds that humanity's survival preempts the survival of the Pequeninos.
When Bishop Peregrino orders his flock not to speak or answer the Speaker, Ender (Andrew Wiggin) threatens to petition for the status of Inquisitor. If the planet is found guilty of religious persecution, then their Catholic-only license is revoked, which would lead to Starways Congress to ship enough people off of the planet to allow for a sudden mixing of religion and culture so that it is fair to everyone.
Another example of this ability to control the people is seen in Xenocide and Children of the Mind on the world of Path. Path is an all-Chinese world with its own unique religion. Outsiders are not allowed in, and those who reside on the planet are not allowed to leave for fear of angering the 'Gods' and giving away their tightly held secret. Han Fei-Tzu is credited as being the only person on the planet capable of hiding the God-Speaking from outsiders, and so he is looked at as becoming the future 'God of Path', which is inferred to mean some kind of holy guardian.
Starways Congress had their hands deep in this project, having made secret genetic modifications to some people giving high intellect, but also extreme OCD-like symptoms. These people believe the Gods are speaking to them, and thus gave birth to their religion. This shows the power of Starways Congress, for they can isolate and harbor a culture such as that without allowing it to become diluted with other facets of human