The early years of the Empire

Inauguration of the Empire

Colonies appointed their senators, and the Senate opened its first session on the 3rd of January 499 PDT, in refurbished facilities on Luna. The first session of the Senate was largely taken up with establishment work. The Senate recognised senators from colonies that had not been at the Conference of Luna, adopted rules of procedure, and elected officers. It voted on the trustees of the Eichberger Foundation, to choose which half should become Imperial Councillors. It held confirmation hearings (and confirmed) the Imperial Councillors nominated by the Eichberger Foundation from the colonies. It scrutinised and confirmed the inaugural Justices of the Supreme Court who had been nominated by a commission of eminent jurists.

Meanwhile, the Imperial Council elected Akiko Montesino (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Eichberger Foundation) to be its Chairman, adopted orders-in-Council to set up its departmental structure, appointed senior executives, and submitted requests to the Senate to pass taxes and a budget.

The Senate also found time for some straightforward legislation, producing a Crimes Act with no provisions for enforcement, and a Declaration of Rights providing neither punishments nor remedies. At the request of the Imperial Council it enacted Civil Service regulations and Navy regulations.

Taxes on the colonies to defray the expenses of the Empire were debated, but the senators from the poor colonies would not approve a tax proportional to population, senators from the rich colonies would not approve a tax proportional to economic output, and no compromise was found.

Senate v. Council

Over the next two decades a hostile relationship developed between the Senate and the Imperial Council. This arose in the first place out of the failure of the Senate to raise any taxes. The Imperial Councillors formed a belief that key senators, acting in bad faith, were deliberately starving the Empire of needed funds. In retaliation, they resisted all Senate attempts to make policy and influence the exercise of prerogative.

The Empire made do on donations from the Eichberger Foundation. These were at first scanty, and the Empire spent twenty years lean and poor. But it developed an unintended freedom from Senate control through the power of the pursestrings. The Imperial executive ended up weaker but more independent than was planned at the Treaty of Luna.

Lacking significant ability to direct Imperial policy, the Senate developed no interest in increasing Imperial power. It has therefore remained chiefly a brake on Imperial intervention in colonial affairs, authorising intervention only in egregious cases.

Germination of the Empire

Until the mid-520s the Empire apparently did very little. The Imperial Council focussed on building up Imperial Spaceways as a future source of revenue, and that meant building shipyards, manufacturing facilities, and habitats as well as ships. Operational budgets were cut to the bone in favour of re-investment of profits.

Spaceways contracts to most lucrative routes

From 499 Imperial Spaceways withdrew ships from serving routes between poorer, more distant colonies to provide capacity on the lucrative routes among the fifteen most advanced colonies, and between them and about 35 nearby sources and markets. Spaceways’ profits and growth were spectacular, and trade fuelled rapid economic growth and development on the 68 colonies involved, but smaller and more distant colonies were neglected.

Stagnation for the Navy

The Imperial Navy sat in orbit as little more than a ‘fleet in being’. It did send out exploratory patrols from time to time, but these found their ships unsuited to planetary exploration. Lacking adequate landing craft, personnel for ecological or anthropological survey work, and diplomatic credentials, these missions concentrated on systems suspected of having spacefaring colonies. Colonies with sufficient development to make Eichberger drives (if they were found at all) were targeted by follow-up diplomatic and (if necessary) naval efforts. Other colonies with spaceflight were invited to ratify but ignored if they chose not to. Everything else was ignored. Beyond 90 lightyears from Sol the program found nothing that called for follow-up. Uncomfortable, costly, and unfruitful, it was cancelled.

The Home Office, civil life in Imperial Direct Jurisdiction

Life for the personnel of the Eichberger Foundation ‘returned to normal’ when they became Imperial Servants, which is to say that they stepped down from a war footing. There was a baby boom lasting for about twenty years from 499. The Imperial Council created the Home Office to provide living space and government services for Imperial employees. One of the early concerns of the Home Office was to establish schools. At the direction of Chairman Montesino the Home Office hired experts from Todos Santos to design a set of pedagogies for the schools, applying high-tech developmental psychology to design a system that should raise the children of Imperial Servants to share their parents’ ideals and dedication.

The Regulus Academy

Montesino arranged for the same technology to be used far more intensely and adaptively at an elite school she founded in 504: the Regulus Academy. Regulus takes in children in their infancy. It raises them with close personal attention from developmental psychologists, with the aim of producing utterly reliable and highly-motivated candidates for high office in the Empire. Alumni of the Regulus Academy began to enter the Imperial Service in about 525, and eventually achieved great prominence.

The Imperial Corps of Marines founded

In 507 the Imperial Council consolidated its plethora of personal combat units to form the Imperial Corps of Marines. Spaceport security units, boarding action teams, strike teams, and so forth were merged (based on where they happened to be), standardised, and designated as 65 regiments of Imperial Marines. Operational exigencies meant that some of those regiments were not actually mustered , nor did their subordinate commanders meet the commanding officers, until 519. Financial stringencies meant the some marines did not receive their standard kit until 535.

By the early 520s Imperial Spaceways had amassed enough capacity to provide a profit-maximising level of service on the shipping routes in the core. The Imperial Council cut back reinvestment and started drawing larger dividends to fund Imperial government functions. It increased funding for the Navy, started building up capacity to assist colonies with plague, famine etc., and started thinking about the Beyond.

Akiko Montesino retired as Chairman of the Imperial Council and Board of Trustees in 527, aged 130. Her accomplishment had been to turn the Eichberger Foundation into the Empire.