The Empire

The Empire

The so-called 'Empire' is an interstellar organisation that is funded by the profits of a monopoly on faster-than-light travel and that is dedicated to preventing mass deaths, such as in plagues, famines, and the use of weapons of mass destruction. Despite what the name suggests, the Empire is not sovereign over the planets. By the terms of the Treaty of Luna the Empire is sovereign in space, but the colonies are sovereign within their atmospheres. The Empire is only allowed to intervene in planetary affairs with the permission of the colonies involved or as authorised by an act of the Imperial Senate.

The executive branch of the Empire is the 'Trust', which is run by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The Board elects one of its number to be Managing Trustee, but this 'emperor' is more of a chief executive officer than an autocrat. The Board, not the Managing Trustee, has an executive veto over legislation.

The legislative branch of the Empire consists of the Imperial Senate. Each of the 1,500 colonies appoints one Senator, for an indefinite term. Senators enjoy some of the qualities of ambassadors (eg. diplomatic immunity), and some colonies refer to their senators as 'ambassador to the Empire'. To pass the Senate and become an act, a bill must receive the assent of at least half the senators and of senators representing in total at least half of the total colonial population.

The Senate supervises the Empire through its power to impeach any Imperial officer. Nominally it also controls the exchequer, but as it has never authorised taxes that power is nugatory.

Half of the Empire's annual intake of staff are recruited on the colonies: the cream of the cream of volunteers from among 1.5 trillion people on 850 worlds. The others are recruited from among the children of older servants, 18-year-olds who have been raised from birth to serve the Imperial cause. One half selected, the remainder trained, by practitioners of a high-tech science of psychology that actually works, most Imperial servants are extremely dedicated. The others are fanatical.

The main branches of the Imperial Service are as follows:

  • Imperial Office (responsible for policy and co-ordination, and including the Treasury and the Secret Service),
  • Imperial Navy (including Naval Intelligence Service and Imperial Marines),
  • Colonial Office (responsible chiefly for aid programs: Terraforming Service, Development Assistance Service, Economic Advisory Service, Social Engineering Advisory Service, Public Health Service, Technology Transfer Assistance Service, Civil Engineering Assistance Service, Agricultural Assistance Service, etc., but also including the Political Department and its rumoured Undercover Division),
  • Home Office (responsible for providing air, water, food, clothing, power, accommodations, communications, and public safety inside Imperial orbitals and residences), and
  • Eichberger Foundation (which raises the money: shipping line, bank, investment corporation, real estate company, orbital manufacturing firm etc.)

The Commission for Justice has special status: it is responsible not to the Imperial Council but to the Independent Commissioner for Justice, a neutral party between the Imperial Council and Parliament. CJ marshals are not answerable to the Imperial Resident in the colony they operate in. They obtain warrants for search and arrest from, and prosecute their suspects before 'Imperial' judges who are appointed by the governments of the colonies in which they exercise jurisdiction. CJ alone has an on-going authorisation from the Senate to exercise Imperial power within the colonies. CJ agents have police powers where-ever they go: all other Imperial servants are nothing more than visiting aliens when they are in colonial jurisdiction.

The ICfJ 'treats' all felonies with psychological reconstruction, a.k.a. mindwipe. Most suspects consider this tantamount to death.

Copyright © 1988–2009 by Brett Evill