The Imperial Charter: Section Six

…continued from part five.


Article I: Functions of the Curia

The functions and powers of the Curia shall comprise the following:

  • To hold itself, and vest lesser Curial courts with, the judiciary and mediary right and authority over all cases brought by or against citizen-shareholders, subjects, or coadunations of the Empire, or within Imperial territory, or within Imperial control in lands without sovereignty, or in time of war; and to act as a court of final appeal for all such cases;
  • To adjudicate, mediate and rule upon disputes at law between constituent nations of the Empire and demesnes of different nations thereof.
  • To regularly review the body of Imperial statute law to determine whether any particular law or decision has become obsolete or defective in serving the purposes intended; and to make recommendations to the Senate accordingly for repeal, amendment or replacement.
  • To regularly review the body of Imperial case law to draw up recommended translations of precedent into statute law; and to make recommendations to the Senate accordingly for amendment or replacement.
  • To give opinions and rulings upon request upon any legal question arising under Imperial law.
  • To constitute such Courts as shall be necessary for the administration of justice and mediation throughout the Empire; and to regulate their operation.

Article II: Jurisdiction

The Curia shall have original jurisdiction over legal cases arising between nations of the Empire, legal cases taking place outside national jurisdictions, to which the Empire or a nation of the Empire is a party, or any litigation based on events occurring in territory under the control of the Empire, but not incorporated into any nation of the Empire.

The Curia shall further have mandatory and overriding jurisdiction in all cases arising under this Charter, and appellate jurisdiction over all cases under the Charters of the nations of the Empire.

The Curia shall constitute a court of highest appeal, and its decisions shall be binding on all parties involved in all cases, actions and litigation brought before it. Advisory opinions on any issue within its jurisdictions may be requested by the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or any interested party.

Article III: Charter Review

The Curia shall be informed of all Acts of the Senate and Edicts of the Imperial Couple, and shall review them for consistency with this Charter; and any Act or Edict found inconsistent therewith shall be, in its entirety, null and void.

Article IV: Composition of the Curia

The judiciary authority of the Curia shall be vested in a panel of five Ephors, of equal seniority; the first of whom shall be appointed by the Imperial Couple upon their ascending the Throne, and subsequently who shall select themselves three successors to any Ephor who resigns or is removed from his position, and these names shall be submitted to the Imperial Couple for final determination. and the Ephors shall be dedicated law-bound artificial intelligences vested with the complete predicate form of this Charter and the statute law of the Empire, and this form of the law shall be definitive and binding.

An Ephor of the Curia shall have at least seventy-two years of judicial experience in the courts of the Empire or its nations; and shall not have been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor of moral turpitude.

(The strikeouts and boldface in this article reflect the Tenth Amendment, “Cyberjudiciary”, passed after the development and many successful implementations of dedicated savant AIs. This amendment replaced the previous Ephors of the Curia with dedicated law-bound artificial intelligences, thus guaranteeing the impartial application of law at the highest level. This, thus, initiated the age of cyberjudiciary. Over time following the passage of the amendment, the judges of the lesser Curial courts were likewise replaced. The passage of this amendment additionally marks the translation of the Charter into the predicate-logic form used by such judicial machines.)

Article V: Lesser Courts

The Curia shall create, subsume, amend and organize as it shall see fit such lesser courts throughout the Empire as shall be necessary for the proper execution of the judiciary and mediary functions, and for every citizen-shareholder of the Empire to have full recourse to law, and shall vest these Curial courts with such judicial and mediary right and authority as it shall deem necessary; and the Ephors of the Curia shall appoint and remove judges to these lesser Curial courts as they shall see fit.

Article VI: Censorship

The Curia shall have the power and authority to examine and investigate the members of the Senate, upon probable cause, for felonies; for misdemeanors of moral turpitude; and for undeclared conflicts of private interests with the fiduciary obligations of government; and to censure such Senators and proscribe them from sitting.

Article VII: Impeachment

An Ephor of the Curia may be removed for cause, by the process of impeachment, which, to be placed in process by the Senate, shall require a substantive vote of each Chamber; such shall place the case for impeachment before the Imperial Couple for their decision, upon which the impeachment shall take effect or be voided.

Article VIII: Legal Proceedings

The Curia and all Curial courts shall hold equitable and impartial trials, and within a reasonable time; and these trials shall be released to the public eye upon their completion, except on such occasions and to the least extent that the public safety shall demand secrecy.

Article IX: Public Library of Law

The Curia shall maintain a library containing the entire codified statute law of the Empire, and such precedents as are not yet part of the statute law; and shall provide for such instrumentalities as are necessary for every citizen-shareholder of the Empire to have access to this library, in order that they may have full knowledge of their rights, responsibilities, and obligations under the law.

Article X: Sacrosanctity

No Ephor of the Curia shall be subject to arrest, save for treason or other felony, in going to, or returning from, the Curia’s place of meeting, or whilst the Curia is in session, or is called to session, nor shall they then be subject to service of writs; their persons shall be sacrosanct at these times.

The Ephors shall not be liable for any judgment made, or statements given in debate within the Curia, nor shall any such judgment or statement give rise to any action in law, save only an action in respect of judgment violating the bounds of this Charter.

…continued in part seven.

The Imperial Charter: Section Five

…continued from part four. Probably worth noting that this section obviously interacts heavily with the following two sections, Six being the Curia and Seven the Senate, so if any questions you may have concern how the various branches interact, you may well find the answer there.


Article I: Functions of the Imperial Couple

The right of coronargyr over the entire Empire, and consequently the full Imperial Mandate, shall be vested in an Emperor and Empress both, who together shall maintain the title and powers until their death, or until they shall see fit to resign the Throne. Never shall one rule alone.

The functions and powers of the Imperial Couple shall comprise the following:

  • To implement and execute the system of government of the Empire as defined in this Charter, and in the codified system of statute law.
  • To prepare and enact detailed legislation in any and all areas of authority of the Imperial government, as defined in this Charter; and to amend or repeal such laws as are deemed necessary.
  • To review, and then enact, amend, repeal, veto, or return, with their comments, for further consideration such legislation as the Senate considers appropriate to submit for their enacture.
  • To make such decrees as they deem necessary to handle circumstances for which no legislation provides.
  • To convene special sessions of the Senate as they deem necessary.
  • To address at any time any of the Chambers of the Senate or the entire Senate assembled (One common use of this right is the “position speeches” which many Imperial Couples make, especially early in their reigns, outlining their positions and intentions on various issues; but while these are often made, they are not required. — ed.), and for this purpose require the presence of the Senators; and to send messages to any Chamber of the Senate, whether with respect to a measure then before the Senate or otherwise, and a Chamber to which any message is so sent shall, with all dispatch, consider any matter required by the message to be taken into consideration.
  • To supervise the Imperial Household and the instrumentalities thereof.
  • To supervise the Imperial Service, and all of the ministries thereof; and to create, alter, and abolish such ministries and instrumentalities of the Imperial Service as may be needed for the best functioning of the government, in accordance with the specific provisions of this Charter.
  • To nominate, select, and remove the ministers of the Imperial Service in accordance with the provisions of this Charter, and as specified in measures enacted in the codified system of statute law.
  • To prepare and submit annually to the Senate a comprehensive budget for the Empire, and therein to appropriate and allocate funds for all the functions and operations of the Imperial government.
  • To instruct the Curia to carry out formal enquiries.
  • With the advice and consent of the Senate, to accredit ambassadors and other diplomatic officers to foreign polities; and to receive those representatives of foreign polities appointed to the Empire.
  • To exercise the supreme command of the Empire’s instrumentalities of warfare and security.

But the Imperial Couple shall not have the power to dissolve the Senate or any Chamber thereof; nor to prevent the Curia from deciding issues of Charter law as it shall see fit; nor to act in defiance of the Charter law as decided by the Curia.

Article II: Chartered Limitation

The Imperial Couple shall not at any time alter, suspend, abridge or infringe any provision of this Charter by any edict, executive order, or device of executive privilege.

Article III: Council of the Star

The Imperial Couple shall be advised by the Council of the Star, consisting of the Imperial Shadow (A position not explained in further depth in the Charter, but rather left to the traditions of Cestian, Silver Crescent, and Veranthyran nobility, in which a royal or noble “shadow” was the noble in question’s most trusted adviser, executive, and second-in-command, with special privileges to challenge the noble’s thoughts and decisions, and if necessary, act as a check on their actions. Thus, the “Imperial Shadow” is a second couple who occupy this position in re the Imperial Couple. — ed.), the senior officer of the Imperial Household, the Ministers of the Throne of the Imperial Service, and those others whom they shall see fit to appoint, providing that the number of those appointed shall not exceed the number of the Ministers of the Throne.

Article IV: Fons Honorum

The Imperial Couple, as fons honorum, have sole power to grant letters patent and letters of enfeoffment; to grant and bestow orders of special privilege for the Empire; and to present Imperial honors.

Article V: Executive Privilege

The Imperial Couple may alter, suspend, or abridge any legislation enacted by the Empire under the authority of this Charter by decree for a period no longer than one month, for the protection of the state. Before this period elapses, the decree must be brought before the Senate, and there confirmed or vacated. If the Imperial Couple fails to bring the decree before the Senate within one month, it is automatically vacated.

Article VI: Impeachment

The Imperial Couple may be removed for cause, by the process of impeachment, which, to be placed in process by the Senate, shall require a substantive vote of each Chamber; such shall place the case for impeachment before the Curia for their final ruling, upon which the impeachment shall take effect or be voided.

When an Imperial Couple is removed by impeachment, the Senate shall examine the chosen and acknowledged Heirs, and if it shall find them satisfactory, and if they shall have been passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, the succession shall be allowed; and if it shall not, the Senate shall designate the next recipient of the Imperial right and authority, under the same conditions as the choice of a formally acknowledged Heir.

(Boldface is the Eleventh Amendment, again. — ed.)

Article VII: Legislative Veto

When the Imperial Couple enact, amend, or repeal legislation on their own authority, the Senate shall have the right, by a substantive vote, to veto such legislation and thereby prevent its enacture.

Article VIII: Annual Statement

The Imperial Couple shall, on the date each year on which the legislative session begins, present to the Senate and to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire a full and complete statement of the affairs of the Empire over the preceding year, and an accounting of its current state (Most also take the opportunity to outline the policies they intend to pursue for the coming year. — ed.).

Article IX: Sacrosanctity

The persons of the Imperial Couple shall be sacrosanct and inviolable; while they are invested with coronargyr, no authority or force may be levied against them, save that they shall first have been removed from the Throne; and having resigned or been removed from the Throne, no action in law against them for any action which they shall have undertaken within the Imperial right and authority (This means “as a legitimate part of their administration”, not “any action taken while they were on the Throne”. — ed.) shall succeed, save only an action in respect of legislation or action outside the bounds of this Charter.

Article X: Succession and Incapacitation

Upon the death or permanent incapacity of one of the Imperial Couple, or their abdication of the Imperial throne, the right and authority shall pass to the heirs chosen from among the Imperial family, provided that the chosen Couple shall have been publicly acknowledged as the rightful Heirs, provided that they shall have been passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, provided that they shall be Aspects of the Eldraeic Transcend, and providing that there are no extraordinary conditions which would render the Heirs unfit to maintain the Empire. Until the Heirs shall ascend the throne, the survivor of the former Imperial Couple shall act as Regent; if such does not exist, the former Imperial Shadow shall act as Regent for this time.

If the Imperial Couple dies having provided no heirs either by blood or by adoption, or if no Heirs are found fit to maintain the Empire, the Senate shall have the power to designate the next recipient of the Imperial right and authority, by a substantive vote, and an aisymnetes shall act as Regent until this can be decided; until the aisymnetes can be appointed, the President of the Senate shall act as Regent. Should the Senate find it necessary to exercise this, the one designated as aisymnetes shall be an Imperial-born citizen-shareholder of the Empire, passed at the highest degree of rationality by the Eupraxic Collegium, and an Aspect of the Eldraeic Transcend.

Upon the temporary incapacity of the Imperial Couple, and such incapacity has been communicated in writing to the President of the Senate by either the Imperial Couple themselves, or by the Imperial Shadow and a majority of the Council of the Star, the Imperial Shadow shall act as Regent, until the incapacity is removed, and this is likewise communicated in writing; and the Senate may and shall provide by law for the simultaneous incapacity of both the Imperial Couple and the Imperial Shadow.

(Boldface above is from the Eleventh and Twelfth Amendments, of which more later.)

…continued in part six.

On Secession

I note that there are no provisions here for secession of nations. Oversight, deliberate, or covered elsewhere by other provisions and principles?

Ah, secession. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Ultimately, the problem here is ontological. Specifically, while we’re used to (and our nation-states are, in many ways, used to) thinking of themselves as lumps of sovereign territory that happen to have people living on them, the Empire thinks of itself (because of its origin as a union of polities that were themselves outgrowths of overlapping PPLs) as a compact between sophonts that happen to live on huge tracts of land.

To an Earth nation, sovereignty (over territory and all that happens therein) is a Westphalian fundamental. To the Empire, and those others that follow its pattern, sovereignty is a bundle of a few specialized property rights which it acquires, often purchasing, over the territory in which its subscribers are domiciled for the sake of ease of administration. It’s a distinctly secondary matter, enough so that there’s a serious if minority Senate branch (the Disillusionist Tendency) that firmly believes getting into the whole sovereign-rights-management business back when the PPLs transitioned into the Old Empires was a terrible misstep that should be corrected forthwith – and doing so would leave the Empire still there.

A secondary complication is that what makes one an Imperial citizen-shareholder is signing the Imperial Charter and purchasing a citizen-share. That’s it. Something that is both (a) entirely disconnected from where you might happen to be domiciled (permanent non-resident citizenships are a thing, even), and which (b) is an individual contract, not a collective contract.

The combination of these things makes secession a hideously complicated problem. For one thing, it’s easy enough for a nation here to decide to secede, what with collective decision-making and territorial sovereignty, but citizenship there is a matter of individual contract with the Empire, which any would-be secessionist nation, even a former constituent nation entire, has no power to break. And I would deem it very unlikely that the Empire is going to kick out citizen-shareholders who want to remain such, even if it could find a way to weasel that through as “due process of law”, which is itself very doubtful.

So the secessionists are going to end up with a whole bunch of permanent residents with Imperial citizenship scattered through their territory, and all the galaxy knows how the Empire tends to react when someone abuses, expropriates, or otherwise mistreats their citizen-shareholders. (That is, after all, one of the things that makes it a premium citizenship brand.)

And then there’s the question of those sovereign rights, which the Empire technically has paid for, one way or another, and thus owns. And, as a several matter from citizenship, has no particular obligation to sell just because the people who own other property rights over the same volume have changed citizenship; people and volume aren’t tied together.

But even in the best case, when the secession is amicable and the secessionists are more than happy to buy those rights back from the Exchequer: Is the Empire going to sell the sovereign rights of its citizen-shareholders out from underneath them to a governance that obviously wants to do things that the Empire doesn’t approve of (whatever it’s seceding over), technically several or no? I do not think so, somehow – and that’s assuming that there isn’t a held-in-trust clause in there that means they can’t sell them to anyone but the holder of the ownership right anyway.

At which point, whether it keeps them or returns them to the holder of the ownership right, the map of this seceded territory is starting to look downright fractal.

(Bear in mind that with the exception of that extremely circumscribed eminent domain clause, it’s not like the Empire has the power to force anyone to move if they don’t want to. If Citizen Lived-In-This-House-300-Years-And-Dammit-I-Ain’t-Movin’ declines to go voluntarily, then he has just created an Imperial Exclave the size of his yard and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Short of starting a war.)

So, to sum up my summing up, it’s deliberate in the sense that this was a giant can of worms which everyone greatly preferred not trying to solve, especially at the birth of a new empire of ecumenical ambition.

Besides, why would anyone ever want to leave anyway?


Trope-a-Day: Citadel City

Citadel City: Oh, there have been many of these in the past. Eliéra was a friendly world, in many ways, but not that friendly, and much of history has not been as peaceful as the modern Empire. But to choose one? They speak of glacier-bound Miragrann, paranoid-built, with fortifications as much against ice and weather as invaders; of cliff-carved Stonesmight and the Granite Gates of Azikhan; of the Seat of Storms perched in the thin air of its mountain peak; the spiral walls of Cileädrin and the living-wood mazes of Verdancy; the cavern harbors of Ethring; the ancient diamond bastions of Ellenith set amid its crater labyrinth, and a dozen more…

Most, of course, buried deep within suburbs and arcologies in the modern era, but yet the defenses remain.

(The conspicuous exception being Calmiríë itself, which never had any walls or other fixed defenses until later ages made air and missile defenses necessary, despite the Empire’s enemies. That was another of Alphas I’s “little statements”.

Well, that and the capital of Ancyr, which was always unwalled for the same reason Sparta had no walls. Which was one of their little statements.)


The Imperial Charter: Section Four

…continued from part three.


Article I: On Sovereignty

This Charter guarantees the local sovereignty of nations of the Empire underneath the overall sovereignty of the Empire. No interference with local law or custom is contemplated, except where such local law or custom is in conflict with Imperial law (This is, in essence, a supremacy clause, because all constituent nation law in conflict with Imperial law is overridden. Presumptively, all constituent nation laws in areas not reserved to the Empire are valid and will be recognized and respected by the Empire. –ed.). Each nation of the Empire shall be free to determine its internal form of governance as it chooses, consistent with the guarantees, protections, and requirements of this Charter.

The nations of the Empire are sovereign and equal beneath the Empire; no preference shall be given by the Empire to any, or the citizens of any, above and beyond that accorded all, or the citizens of all. No nation of the Empire shall be divided, united, or altered in territory or constituency by the governance of the Empire without the permission of the governance of all nations of the Empire involved.

The Empire reserves to itself the power to create as it sees fit governmental demesnes superior to the constituent nations but subordinate to the Empire. This shall include the power to abolish such demesnes as the Empire sees fit, but no constituent nation may be thus abolished; nor shall any constituent nation be reduced in jurisdiction without the consent of its governance.

Article II: Full Faith and Credit

Full faith and credit shall be given in each nation of the Empire to the Acts, decrees, edicts, writs, records and judicial proceedings of every other nation of the Empire; and the Curia shall, when necessary, act to mediate the means in which and by which such credit shall be given.

Article III: Charter

Each constituent nation of the Empire shall maintain a Charter, in which shall be set out its domain, citizenship, structure, and form of government, and which shall be agreed with the Empire at the time of its admission to the Empire; and such Charter shall be binding upon both the nation and the Empire, and shall not be modified without the consent of both the nation’s governance and the Senate.

Article IV: Dispute Resolution

The government of the Empire shall provide appropriate means for the negotiation and resolution of such disputes, other than matters at law, as may occur between the nations of the Empire; and the Senate shall act as the final arbitrator of any such disputes, and its decision shall be final. In matters at law, such disputes shall be within the jurisdiction of the Curia.

Article V: External Relations

No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority enter into any treaty, alliance, compact, agreement or other relationship with a nation outside the Empire; nor shall any nation of the Empire of its own authority engage in war with any foreign power, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

No nation of the Empire shall of its own authority (It has been established, however, that with the consent of the Senate local member nations can appoint non-diplomatic representatives for such purposes as participating in postal unions, local trade organizations, and other sub-Imperial functions. — ed.) appoint ambassadors or other diplomatic officers accredited to any nation outside the Empire, nor to any organization of nations including any nation outside the Empire.

Article VI: Legal Priority

The law of each nation of the Empire shall be binding upon all inferior demesnes of government contained therein; and each nation of the Empire shall be bound by the law of all superior demesnes of government which contain it, and may not make law in contradiction to it.

Article VII: On Trade

The Empire shall support free trade among its constituent nations. No nation of the Empire shall engage in piracy or smuggling (A couple of notes here: in this case, the Charter is talking about constituent nations engaging in piracy or smuggling against each other, or the general Imperial trade; not against third parties, although piracy is universally illegal. But one should also note that the word translated here as smuggling refers, in the original Eldraeic, to the import or export of mala in se contraband, not evading customs duties and excises… although, of course, any relation between this linguistic quirk and the truly remarkable number of “blockade runner” starships in the hands of civilians hanging out at seedy free trader bars is purely coincidental. As is the regularity with which complaints on this topic come up at the Conclave of Galactic Polities whenever it has nothing better to do. –ed.), nor allow its territory to be used for piracy or smuggling, nor shall it issue letters of marque and reprisal (And here it’s worth noting that constituent nations shall not issue letters of marque. The Empire as a whole may issue all the letters of marque it pleases. And does. — ed.), or other permission for ships operating within its territory to engage in piracy or smuggling.

No tax or duty shall be laid on articles given or received in trade between the constituent nations of the Empire; nor any special excise laid on the products of any constituent nation. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one nation of the Empire over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to, or from, one nation, be obliged to enter, clear or pay duties in another (In the modern day, however, starships entering Imperial territory may be required to clear at the port of entry; since such ports of entry are federal Imperial territory, however, rather than territory of any constituent nation, this does not constitute a violation of this clause. — ed.).

Article VIII: On Standards

The Empire shall establish uniform standards for weights and measures, for the calendar, and for such other areas as it may be necessary, by which standards all Imperial business shall be conducted, and by which trade between its constituent nations shall and must be able to be conducted.

Article IX: Admission and Annexation

Any nation may, through a duly recognized representative, proclaim allegiance to the Empire, and with the approval of the Senate, such nation shall become a constituent nation of the Empire, equal in status to all other nations of the Empire. Such nations shall govern themselves as they see proper, provided that such government does not violate the law of the Empire.

When the Empire shall come into possession, through lawful conquest, of the territory and citizenry of another polity, it shall at first be held under military rule respecting the Fundamental Rights, until such time as the Empire shall see fit to release it or dispose of it to an ally, or until such time as it attains stable self-government under the Empire, at which time it shall and must be admitted to the Empire as a nation equal in status to all others.

Article X: Unincorporated Territory

Those areas of the territory of the Empire which are not under the jurisdiction of a constituent nation at the time of the founding of the Empire (Principally former “international waters”. — ed.), or which are declared to be Unincorporated Territory subsequent the establishment of the Empire, shall be designated as an Unincorporated Territory; and this Unincorporated Territory shall be governed by a Viceroy appointed by the Imperial Couple, with the concurrence of the Senate.

Imperial citizen-shareholders dwelling within any Unincorporated Territory shall have the right to decide, by plebiscite, to become a self-governing nation within the Empire (Readers will note that there is absolutely no lower bound on size listed here. — ed.), either singly or in combination with other Unincorporated Territories, or to unite, with the concurrence of its governance, with an existing constituent nation of the Empire.

…continued in part five, when we start getting into the practicalities of government organization for a few sections.


Trope-a-Day: Color-Coded Emotions

Color-Coded Emotions: A common way of encoding emotive data for the use of, say, emoji v-tags, along with geometric shapes and other such abstract symbolism. Very handy for passing along this sort of information when you don’t necessarily share body language, etc., with your interlocutors, especially since it tends not to be tied to any one species’/cultures’ interpretations of such things.

The Imperial Charter: Section Three

Continued from part two.


Article I: On Imperial Shares

The Empire, as a corporation sovereign, shall issue a number of shares of citizen stock equivalent to the number of Imperial citizens. Such shares shall be nontransferable, and issued to each citizen-shareholder of the Empire at the point of their becoming so, and shall confer the rights of citizenship with ownership. Such stock shall be purchased by the new citizen at the current floating market price, and shall be repurchased by the Empire from their estate upon the citizen’s death, or from the citizen directly should they renounce their citizenship on some future date.

The Empire shall maintain a register of all citizen-shareholders, this register to be maintained at the seat of government and to be open to the examination of any citizen-shareholder at any time; and each citizen-shareholder shall be provided with a certificate indicating their status and ownership of citizen stock.

Such surplus income as the Empire shall derive from sources other than service fees, once all disbursements and the requirements of the Reserve Fund shall be met, shall be distributed to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire as a dividend, allocated in due and strict proportion.

Article II: On Citizenship

The Empire shall consider as an Imperial citizen-shareholder any sophont who shall both have assumed allegiance to the Empire, in front of the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or any other body appointed for such purpose by the Imperial Couple, or any therein wielding authority by right of coronargyr and the Imperial Mandate, such assumption of allegiance to consist of placing their seal upon a copy of this Charter to signify their acceptance of the rights and responsibilities of the citizen enumerated herein, and of purchasing, or having purchased on their behalf, a single share in the incorporate Empire at the current floating market price; or

Any sophont native to or naturalized by a nation of the Empire at the time of the ratification of this Charter;

Provided that they shall possess, upon audit, the minimal standard of rationality and mental stability prescribed by the Eupraxic Collegium.

(The above boldface section was added by the Eleventh Amendment, of which more later.)

Neither one born within the territory of the Empire, nor one born of an Imperial citizen-shareholder after the time of the ratification of this Charter, shall become a citizen-shareholder through any means save that of assuming allegiance to the Empire, as provided for by this article.

No sophont shall be permitted to become a citizen-shareholder of the Empire who cannot demonstrate an understanding of this Charter and of the Imperial language (This is specifically held to include any form of the Eldraeic language, such that citizenship is possible without regard to physical substrate, and therefore capacity to speak or understand specific Eldraeic linguaforms — ed.); or who is not willing to live in accordance with the principles, rights, and responsibilities described therein.

The Senate, or its duly appointed delegate, shall have the right to withhold citizenship from any sophont who wishes to assume allegiance to the Empire for:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation in their assumption of allegiance or in their prior relationship with the Empire, Imperial citizen-shareholders, or Imperial coadunations;
  • Criminality by Imperial legal standards, or widely accepted dyspraxic defect;
  • Imperial security concerns;
  • Philosophical incompatibility or other unassimilability;

Although no sophont born within the territories of the Empire, nor any sophont born of or created by an Imperial citizen-shareholder, shall be denied citizenship upon attaining their majority or on later application, without public disclosure of the reasons for this denial and the right to appeal this denial to the Curial courts; nor shall any citizen-shareholder be deprived of their citizenship without due process of law.

(The above boldface was added by the Fifth Amendment, “Rights of Genesis”, on which more below.)

Article III: Fundamental Rights of the Sophont

This Charter acknowledges that any just and honorable government must and shall be built on the ancient and sacred inalienable rights of all sophont beings, and thus declares that the Empire shall hold as its fundamental law the Four Fundamental Rights of the Fundamental Contract:

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Domain for every sophont within its domain: that their property and domicile shall not be appropriated, traded, moved, altered, used or destroyed without their informed consent; such property to include each sophont’s body, work, and services.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Defense for every sophont within its domain: that they may violate the Right of Domain of another sophont in defense of their own Right of Domain.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Common Defense for every sophont within its domain: that they may exercise the Right of Defense on behalf of another sophont, with their permission (In some cases, such as domestic violence, Stockholm syndrome, or insanity, case law holds that an individual may be temporarily psychologically incapable of granting permissions which would have been granted by an uncoerced and/or rational version of that individual. — ed.), or if they have reasonable grounds to believe that it would be granted were they able to do so.

The Empire shall respect and enforce the inalienable Right of Fair Contract for every sophont within its domain: that they may transfer present or future property rights or services to another sophont, on a temporary, partial, permanent or provisional basis, provided both come to a mutual agreement without fraud or duress.

No citizen-shareholder, constituent nation, or instrumentality of the government of the Empire shall violate the Four Fundamental Rights of any sophont, unless in the due process of law prosecuting a violation of the Four Fundamental Rights by said sophont.

In assuming allegiance to the Empire, all citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall be held as having consented and contracted to undertake the responsibilities of the citizen-shareholder outlined in Section III, Article V of this Charter.

Article IV: Imperial Rights of the Citizen-Shareholder

The Empire guarantees the following inalienable civic rights to all Imperial citizen-shareholders, over and above the fundamental rights of all sophonts.

Right of Person and Property: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Domain, the responsibilities of the citizen notwithstanding, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the inviolability of their minds, persons, homes, data, correspondence, and honor, save in accordance with strict process of justice, upon probable cause and within specific bounds, or for the immediate public safety. And since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity (This has the very specific meaning and implication of both usage by the governance, Imperial or local, for a public purpose, and one which cannot be reasonably carried out in another way. For example, the governance cannot use this power to obtain land for a public building, since they could purchase land for this purpose and the location of such is fungible. However, they can use it to obtain land to construct a road — one of the long-distance Interstate-type not managed by local odocorps — since they require a specific route it would be impractical to obtain otherwise. In actual practice, most Imperial constituent governances endeavor to reserve land from terra nullius suitable for anticipated future needs. — ed.), legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified; when the immediate preservation of the public safety and order shall demand it; or by due process of law as punishment for a crime.

There shall be neither chattel slavery nor any other form of involuntary servitude in the Empire.

Right of Knowledge: Access to information shall not be abridged by the Empire, or by any instrumentality thereof, save to the least extent required for the public safety; nor shall the freedom of research and inquiry; nor shall the freedom of speech, nor that of the press, save when such information or speech constitutes, in whole or in part, infectious or self-executing code; nor shall the right of the people peaceably to assemble be abridged, subject to the availability of free public volume in which to assemble, and the capacity of the local environment to sustain life.

(The first piece of boldface there is the Eighth Amendment, passed after advances in memetics had permitted “viral ideas” to be constructed which affected the brain in such a manner as to effectively (if temporarily, usually) constitute brainwashing; and technology coming into existence permitted self-executing code to be inserted into the brain to run autonomously and override individual will; such mechanisms that control rather than inform the brain posed risks which required this minor redefinition of the freedom of speech.

The second one is the Third Amendment, which expanded on the existing “public volume” principle that you had to leave enough volume available for other people to go about their business in peace, i.e., not cause obstruction, to cover life-support system capacity, after the first incident of people holding a sufficiently large and poorly-planned assembly in space as to result in cases of severe oxygen deprivation.)

Right of Arms: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Defense, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the right to bear such personal arms (The strict Eldraeic meaning of “personal arms” here implies those weapons which can be reasonably used by a single man in personal combat; firearms, for example, even rather large ones, are generally covered, while war mechanicals (requiring a crew) and instruments of regrettable necessity (used in large-scale combat) are not, even though the ownership of the vast majority of these has never been restricted by Imperial statute law. — ed.) as they deem their honor and the public safety to require; nor shall the exercise of this right be abridged on account of any crisis or state of emergency, howsoever existing or declared.

Right of Association: All citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall have the right to form and eschew associations with their fellows as they shall see fit; and they shall also have the right to form, join, withdraw from, and disband such coadunations (The term “coadunation”, in Imperial parlance, implies any organized group with legal personality. Not necessarily implying a business organization, such as a corporation; any organized body with legal personality is considered a coadunation. — ed.) as they shall see fit; nor shall anyone be compelled to become or remain a member of such a coadunation; and this right of association shall only be restricted by law on the grounds of protecting the public safety, the public order, or the public health.

Such coadunations, as associations of citizen-shareholders, shall have legal personality; and shall be guaranteed rights and be bound by responsibilities equal and equivalent to those guaranteed to and binding the citizen-shareholders constituting them, without exception.

Right of Trade: In recognizing the sacred and fundamental Right of Fair Contract, all Imperial citizen-shareholders shall retain the right to work within their trade or profession, to own, buy, and sell goods and capital, to enter freely into binding contracts, and to otherwise transact business within the Empire, without let or hindrance; and no law shall be made impairing the obligation of contracts, or restricting the freedom of trade.

Rights of Petition and Appeal: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall have the right to petition the runér in whose fief a matter, having direct negative impact upon them, falls for redress of grievances; to, should they fail to relieve such grievances, appeal further to that runér‘s superior; and finally, to appeal for redress to the Imperial Couple.

Right of Voyage: An Imperial citizen-shareholder shall have the right to travel freely between and take up residence within the Empire’s constituent nations, except where impeded by due process of law for the public safety or public health; to leave the Empire; and having left the Empire, to return to it, except where prohibited by previous due process of law completed before the date of their departure.

Rights of Justice: The Empire shall recognize these rights of an Imperial citizen-shareholder accused of a crime:

  • To be released on the word of a runér;
  • To seek such release by writ;
  • To challenge the prosecution before trial (i.e., at arraignment — ed.) to show that the prosecution is motivated by evidence linking the citizen-shareholder to the crime (Which is to say, is not politically motivated, or intended for the purposes of reputation gaming, or some such — ed.) ;
  • To a trial before a tribunal of judges of the Curial courts, of legal capacity to examine all relevant evidence (i.e., no trial may be held in which any evidence is considered classified to a level that prevents the court from examining it. Any such prosecution must either be withdrawn, or the trial moved to a court which can examine said evidence, even if that means the Curia, and no Curial court may reject a motion for change of venue on these grounds. — ed.);
  • To examine the indictment and the evidence against him before trial;
  • To summon witnesses on his behalf;
  • To engage an advocate and investigators;
  • To make any statement of explanation or exculpation; and
  • To accuse others.

For the protection of the citizen-shareholders against the unjust application of law, the privileges of the prerogative writs shall never be suspended; nor shall any ex post facto law be passed; nor bill of attainder, bill of pains and penalties, or lettre de cachet be used; nor conviction work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.

And all citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall and must have full recourse to the courts of justice and mediation both for remedy.

Right of Self-Mutagenesis: The Empire shall respect the right of each and every sophont of self-ownership insofar as, but not limited to, each citizen-shareholder’s inalienable right to modify their physical substrate as they shall see fit, through genetic or cybernetic technologies or through any other means, including the right to transfer their mind-state to such replacement physical substrates as they shall see fit.

While the Empire shall respect the Right of Self-Mutagenesis with respect to germline genetic modifications or other modifications which may affect the subsequent creation of other sophonts, the Right of Self-Mutagenesis shall not be held to supersede lawful restrictions upon reproduction imposed for the public health, or for the benefit of the incipient sophont.

(The entire right of self-mutagenesis was introduced in the Fourth Amendment, to preemptively clarify and guarantee what was, in any case, a right to self-alteration implicit in the right of Domain.

The boldface portion, however, was added by the Fifth Amendment, “Rights of Genesis”, of which more details are given below.)

Right of Gnosis: The Empire shall respect the right of each and every sophont of self-ownership insofar as, but not limited to, each citizen-shareholder’s inalienable right to modify their mind-state as they shall see fit, through noumenal pharmacy, psychedesign, noetic modification, or through any other means, provided only that such modifications do not constitute pernicious irrationality threatening the public order, the public safety, or the public health.

(Similar to the above, the right of gnosis was introduced by the Ninth Amendment for essentially the same reasons as the Fourth Amendment. One may also see here the beginnings of the rules against pernicious irrationality, which reached their full extent with the Eleventh Amendment.)

Right of Assistance: Inasmuch as the Eldraeic Transcend exists coextensively with the Empire, the Transcend guarantees to all Imperial citizen-shareholders, whether currently Aspects of the Transcend or not, the assistance and advice on demand of a Transcendent coadjutor.

(The right of assistance was introduced by the Twelfth Amendment, as part of the general process of recognizing that the Transcend had become effectively coextensive, for the most part, with the Empire.

A coadjutor, in the Transcendent sense, is a dedicated AI subroutine devoted to the best interests of its assignee. In short, it’s the weakly-godlike-superintelligence version of a guardian angel.)

Article V: Responsibilities of the Citizen-Shareholder

To permit the fulfillment of the purposes of the Empire, as laid down in this Charter, all citizen-shareholders of the Empire agree and contract, by virtue of their citizenship, to fulfill the responsibilities here laid down.

Responsibility of Law: It shall be the duty of each citizen-shareholder of the Empire to abide by this Charter and respect its ideals and institutions; to follow the law of the Empire in such matters as this Charter shall provide for the existence of such law; and to uphold the sovereignty and unity of the Empire.

Responsibility of Support: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of paying such service fees as this Charter permits and as the Exchequer shall deem necessary, within the bounds laid down in this Charter, for the maintenance of the Imperial governance and the fulfillment of its purposes herein defined.

Responsibility of Common Defense: Inasmuch as the Empire guarantees to its citizen-shareholders the right to, and the means for, the common defense, each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of participating in the common defense (This clause should not be interpreted as establishing a military draft; the citizen militia is a necessarily unorganized (due to the prohibition on forced labor) body which exists solely for defense, and cannot be deployed as an instrumentality of offensive or preemptive warfare. — ed.); to defend other citizen-shareholders when and wheresoever it may be necessary; as part of the citizen militia and severally from it to defend the Empire, and its people wholly or severally, when they are threatened, whether by ill deed or cataclysm of nature; and to value and preserve the rich heritage of our ancestors and our cultures both common and disparate.

Responsibility of Eminent Domain: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the necessity of transferring specific and enumerated items of property to the government of the Empire or that of a constituent nation when it shall exercise the power of eminent domain as set forth in and restricted by this Charter, provided that public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and when they shall have been previously and equitably indemnified (Equitable indemnification, in Imperial terms, generally means 108/96ths of the current open market price, plus reasonable relocation expenses where necessary.).

Responsibility of Sortition: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of service, when selected, either in the Senate or in such local assemblies as the demesnes in which they are domiciled shall require, for the sound governance of the Empire; and to vote when called upon in plebiscites.

Responsibility of Self-Development: Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of participating in the civilization, culture, prosperity, and progress of the Empire, and of educating and advancing themselves so far as shall be necessary to participate therein.

The existence of this responsibility shall not establish any governmental privilege to define the meaning of, or the terms upon which one may engage in, such participation, nor to deprive any citizen-shareholder of their citizenship for failure to meet such standards.

Article VI: Nonrestriction

The enumeration of these certain rights and responsibilities in this Charter shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the citizen-shareholders of the Empire.

Article VII: Equal Protection

All citizen-shareholders of the Empire are entitled to the equal protection and obligation of the law of the Empire, and the laws of its constituent nations. No right, immunity, protection or privilege granted by the Empire, or by any nation of the Empire, to an Imperial citizen-shareholder, may be abridged or denied by any nation of the Empire; nor shall any nation of the Empire deprive any citizen-shareholder of liberty, domain or property without due process of law; nor deny to any citizen-shareholder the equal protection of the law.

Article VIII: Non-Imposition

No citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall be required to maintain any record beyond proof of citizenship and shareholding for the convenience of the Imperial administration; nor shall the Empire impose uncompensated costs, mandates, or restrictions upon citizen-shareholders, unless public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and when they shall have been previously and equitably indemnified, under the principle of eminent domain.

Article IX: Exclusivity

Forasmuch as sovereign allegiance cannot be divided, the citizenship of the Empire is singular and exclusive. No person who voluntarily assumes allegiance to any other polity or other entity outside the Empire shall continue to be an Imperial citizen-shareholder from the time of such assumption, their citizen stock escheating to the Exchequer at that time; and should this alien allegiance be assumed without prior renunciation of their Imperial citizenship, they shall be subject to such penalties as the government of the Empire shall see fit to specify.

Article X: Renunciation

An Imperial citizen-shareholder may renounce citizenship in the Empire by formal renunciation, before the runér appointed for their domicile, or before an ambassador or other duly designated representative of the Empire in foreign lands; and in doing so selling their citizen stock back to the Empire, for which they will be compensated at the current floating market price; and having done so, they shall not again be permitted to assume allegiance to the Empire without the permission of the Senate.

Article XI: Felonies

Any citizen-shareholder, upon conviction of a crime by a Curial court in due process of law, and when that crime has been deemed to be a felony by the Empire’s statute law, shall no longer be considered a citizen-shareholder of the Empire, and shall no longer possess the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities appertaining thereto from the time of their conviction; and their citizen stock shall escheat to the Exchequer at that time, without compensation.

Article XII: Majority

The children of Imperial citizen-shareholders, who are deemed incapable of attaining Imperial citizenship by reason of incapacity, shall retain the Imperial rights by courtesy in the same manner as a resident non-citizen, save that their exercise of these rights, along with their exercise of the fundamental Right of Fair Contract, may be restricted by their guardians for their own best interests; and these restrictions shall persist until they shall fulfill such conditions for majority as are set down by law, or until a Curial court or executive decree shall grant them exception.

Article XIII: Resident and Transient Non-Citizens

Those who come to be domiciled within the Empire after the ratification of this Charter, both those who are born or created within the Empire and who are recognized as having the legal capacity to attain Imperial citizenship, and yet do not do so;

(The above boldface was also added by the Fifth Amendment, of which more below.)

And also those who enter the Empire for the purposes of visitation, or while in transit, and do not possess Imperial citizenship;

And also those who relinquish or forfeit Imperial citizenship, and retain domicile;

Shall retain the rights afforded Imperial citizen-shareholders by courtesy, save that their exercise of these rights may be restricted by the government of the Empire as it shall see fit, for the maintenance of public order and public safety; and save also that such resident and transient non-citizens may be expelled from Imperial territory by due process of law, or in time of war or civil emergency by decree, provided that they are provided with the opportunity to assume Imperial allegiance at that time.

Article XIV: Imperial Rights of Genesis

Inasmuch as its (The original Eldraeic used the “unknown” gender here, which English translation does not permit. — ed.) creation affects the incipient sophont as much as those responsible; and inasmuch as such incipient sophonts are often incompetent to manage their own affairs and defend their own rights;

And inasmuch as the Empire recognizes that no sophont should exist as an instrumentality for another;

Each citizen of the Empire is amenable to and accepts that the creation of another individual sophont, whether by inherent reproduction, biological cloning, logos iteration, duplication of mind-state vector, neogenetics, or any other means, and the development and education of that sophont to the point of independent legal competence, may be restricted by the Empire, either for the public health, or acting for that of the potential incipient.

(This entire article was added by the Fifth Amendment, which  granted the Imperial governance the right to regulate reproduction where matters of public health were concerned, originally to deal with genetic disease.

Later, the powers granted by the fifth amendment were also used to regulate unfit parents, unfit circumstances, self-duplication, and autohegemonization.)

…continued in part four.


Question: Preemptive Recompense

I have a feeling I know what the answer to this one is going to be already, but just for the sake of clearing the air:

If, knowing that what you are about to do is wrong, you attempt to make restitution before committing the offense (sort of like as a Preemptive Apology but more so), does that still count as an attempt to balance your obligations?

In a word, no. Both for reasons of basic ethics (still a violation of the Principle of Consent), and for reasons of We See What You Tried To Do There, which violates the Principle of Thou Shalt Not Attempt To Bullshit This Court, Son. Ethics is time-asymmetric and thus weregeld isn’t isomorphic to an indulgence.

(With a few minor exceptions for particularly outré circumstances such as relativistic effects genuinely reversing the order of cause and effect for one of the parties involved.)

Which is not to say that people don’t still occasionally do it anyway, or that Renegades don’t come up with the idea or even more twisted versions on it, since mélith is an instinct, but it won’t get you anywhere in standard ethics or law. It is, after all, having a twisted sense of ethics that makes them Renegades.



The Imperial Charter: Section Two

…continued from part one.


Article I: Definition

The Empire shall be a corporation sovereign, endowed with delegated sovereign authority over a polyarchy of locally sovereign nations, governed by a constitutionally limited diarchy, a Senate of representatives from the constituent nations and selected from among the citizen-shareholders directly, and judicially supreme and independent Curia; and the Eupraxic Collegium shall be appointed thereunto to provide for and ensure the rationality of the citizens.

(The boldface section is, again, part of the Eleventh Amendment, which will be dealt with in due course — ed.)

Article II: On the Instrumentalities of Imperial Governance

There shall be established as the principal instrumentalities of the governance of the Empire:

  • the Imperial Couple
  • the Curia
  • the Senate
  • the Runér
  • the Imperial Service
  • the Eupraxic Collegium

(Again, the Eleventh Amendment — ed.)

No one holding an office in any one of these instrumentalities shall be permitted to simultaneously hold office in any other, save the Senate, and while in the Senate such an office-holder may not vote on any issue touching upon his office.

Article III: Seat of Government

The Imperial City of Calmiríë, and all the territories attached thereto, shall be the permanent seat of government of the Empire; and all instrumentalities of governance shall be exercised therefrom. The City shall be excluded from all Imperial constituent nations; and its governance shall be in the hands of the Imperial Couple, or an instrumentality created by them for its specific governance.

Article IV: Territory

This Charter shall apply to, and the Empire shall consist of:

  • All territories currently held by the Empire of Cestia, on the continent of that name;
  • The island chain to the north-east of the continent of Cestia;
  • The Cestian city-states of Eume and Baryvekar;
  • All territories currently held by the Empire of Selenaria, on the continent of Alténiä;
  • All territories currently held by Veranthyr, on the continent of Alténiä;
  • All territories currently held by the Deeping;
  • All territories currently held by the Polyarchy of the Silver Crescent, on the continent of that name, excluding the island chain to the west of that continent;

Such territories to include these lands, such waters as they should enclose, such coastal waters to which they presently lay claim, and such oceanic waters as lie between these lands and their adjoining waters; to the airs above them to a distance of twelve miles above the general surface of the land; and to any other kinds of territory which may be claimed at the present time or in the future;

And shall apply in like wise to all future territories appended to the Empire, whether by colonization, admission, or annexation;

And shall apply in like wise to all virtual realms or other information spaces designed or used for, or capable of, the domicile of infomorphs hosted upon substrates located within the territories of the Empire;

(This boldfaced section is the Seventh Amendment, which defined virtual realms, etc., used to domicile informorph life as “territory” within the meaning of the Charter.)

And shall apply in like wise to all vessels of whatever kind registered in the Empire, while they are in transit;

And shall apply in like wise to all embassies, exclaves, outposts, and other territories ceded, temporarily or permanently, to the Empire under the principle of extrality.

Article V:  National Symbols

The formal name of the Empire shall be “the Empire of the Star”.

The symbol of the Empire shall be a twelve-pointed star of gold, against a midnight blue field; or a luminous gold small stellated dodecahedron, suspended above a midnight-blue silk cloth. This symbol shall both constitute the flag of the Empire, and shall be used as the basis of such other symbolism as the Empire shall require; and all constituent nations of the Empire shall incorporate this symbol into the display of their national symbol where it is displayed alone.

(The above boldfaced section is the Sixth Amendment, providing for a national symbol that looks good on trigraphic displays. Also of historical note as both the most trivial and least controversial of all twelve amendments to the Imperial Charter.)

The anthem of the Empire shall be the triptych How Glorious Our Motherland; Make Way for Tomorrow; Hail, Freest of the Free.

The motto of the Empire shall be that of the Union of Empires; “Order, Progress, Liberty”.

There shall be a Great Seal of the Empire, which shall be kept by the Imperial Household, and used by the Imperial Couple for all official functions. All Acts, Decrees, Edicts, Proclamations and Writs shall be issued in the name of the Throne; and shall be signed and countersigned by the Imperial Couple and sealed with the Great Seal.

Article VI: National Language

The Empire shall construct a language suitable for universal communications between all citizen-shareholders of the Empire, and sufficient for all official purposes thereof, and this language having been constructed, it shall serve as the official language of the Empire, and shall have equality of status and equal right and privilege of use in every constituent nation of the Empire, and in every instrumentality of the Empire’s governance.

Notwithstanding the above, the right of individuals to use any language they choose for non-governmental communications shall not be abridged or denied by the Empire.

Article VII: Public Holidays

The Senate shall establish a national holiday for the Empire, the Grand Festival of the Empire of the Star, for the celebration of its existence, and the first day of this national holiday shall be the anniversary of that day upon which this Charter was ratified.

Each constituent nation of the Empire shall celebrate the anniversary of that day on which it was admitted to, or annexed to, the Empire as a public holiday, the Encaenia; save for those nations which shall have ratified this Charter at the time of the Empire’s foundation, and they shall celebrate the Encaenia on the day immediately following the Grand Festival of the Empire of the Star.

Article VIII: On Religion

The Church of the Flame shall be the official religion of the Empire. Each chosen Imperial Couple shall go to be crowned at the Temple of Unity in Ellenith, most ancient of all holy sites; and the orders of the Church shall provide their advice and counsel to the Imperial Couple.

The above notwithstanding, the freedom of philosophy for the individual shall not be abridged, save when required for the public safety; and the rights of the citizen-shareholder shall not be diminished or enlarged on any philosophical criterion; save that the doctrines of a philosophy may act as an impairment to citizenship when they are considered antithetical to true allegiance or the principles upon which the Empire is founded, and the Senate and Curia have made such determination.

…continued in part three.


The Imperial Charter: Section One

So, in a number of responses to questions, fics, tropes, and other posts I have had occasion to cite various bits of the Imperial Charter. It seems easiest, then, to save a little time and just post the whole document up for y’all. Well, sort of – it’s not a terribly small document, so it’s coming in thirteen parts, one per section.

So, welcome to the field of constructed constitutional law. Or con-con law, if you will.




BY right and authority of coronargyr (literally “sovereign’s merit; in eldraeic philosophy of governance, the combination of qualities which leads the people of a polity to confer on a ruler the right and authority to govern in their names; the source of the Imperial Mandate — ed.), duly conferred by unanimous contract and proxy of the citizens of those nations over which we exercise lin-runér (best gloss: “sovereign”) authority, and acting upon their behalf;

BEING aware that the foundation of our civilization is the inalienable and absolute self-ownership and sovereign will of the individual sophont, and their free and uncoerced commerce, obligation, and coadunation through the medium of the oath-contract;

UNDERSTANDING that the preservation and enforcement of these fundamental principles is the sole purpose and justification of coadunate sovereignty;

AND in eternal enmity to thieves, brigands, slavers, cultists, tyrants, and every other parasite that would place itself above free people and live by duress and expropriation, and returning us to the barbarism and perfidy of past ages;

DECLARING the foundation of the Empire of the Star as such a coadunate sovereignty, to fulfill these purposes:

  • To protect and to enforce these fundamental principles and rights, including foremost life, liberty, property, and the freedom to pursue eudaimonia, which have in times past been so grievously abused;
  • To guarantee the enforcement of oath-contracts and the rule of law;
  • To safeguard the independence and integrity of its constituents, citizens and nations alike, and to provide fora and means for the resolution of such disputes and grievances as may arise between them;
  • And thus to promote the common and mutual defense of civilization, against acts of barbarians inimical to all freedom and prosperity and cataclysms of nature alike;

AND for the furtherance of the principles of civilization in those areas where the constraints of Nature or of Trade shall require unified action (which is to say, “natural monopolies” and “public goods”, in the economists’ senses of the terms — ed.), to fulfill in addition these:

  • To preserve and manage public properties, whether for its own use, for travel or communication, unowned and abandoned properties, or properties inherent to the world (i.e., as opposed to property created or homesteaded by individuals; essentially, “the commons” – everything from terra nullius to the atmosphere — ed.);
  • To carry out necessary and obligatorily public works;
  • To guarantee the security of the exercise of the freedoms of travel and trade, in order to encourage mutually profitable trade and commerce;
  • To encourage and promote the pursuit of knowledge, and to provide for its preservation and promulgation;

IN this way to best preserve, protect and defend the everlasting existence of our civilization and its unbounded potential for liberty, progress, and prosperity;

DO hereby ordain and establish this Charter.


Article I: On this Charter

This Charter shall establish the Empire of the Star as a corporation sovereign, a coadunation vested with the sovereign authority and powers of its citizen-shareholders, for the sole and exclusive purpose of exercising those sovereign powers in accordance with the purposes of its establishment here before stated.

To that end, this Charter shall be the fundamental authority for all governance within the Empire of the Star; and shall limit the authority of all runér (sometimes glossed “noble”, but perhaps better glossed “manager”, “supervisor”, or “harmonizer” — ed.) therein wielding authority by right of coronargyr or by delegation of Mandate, and all instrumentalities of governance created under its authority; and all Acts, decrees, edicts, and writs issued by any such authority or instrumentality shall be subject to it, and in conformity with it; and the governance of every constituent nation of the Empire shall be bound thereby, any contrary statement in their Charter or statute law notwithstanding.

Neither any treaty nor any law passed outside the authority of this Charter shall be considered law in the Empire, unless it shall not conflict with the rights and powers granted by this Charter to the governance of the Empire, and it shall be ratified by the Senate and passed into law as any other Act.

Article II: On the Powers of Imperial Government

To fulfill the purposes of the Empire’s foundation, the government of the Empire shall be granted these powers:

  • To maintain the public order, in consonance with the Fundamental Contract, and protect the public safety from its Defaulters, throughout all the territories of the Empire;
  • To declare and to prosecute war and other instruments of hostility against enemies of the Empire, of the interests of the Empire, and of citizens of the Empire, whether foreign or domestic; and to this end, to raise, support, and command such military forces as shall be necessary;
  • To provide means for the enforcement of, and resolution of disputes arising from, oath-contracts freely entered into by citizens and coadunations of the Empire, and any other oath-contracts any party to which exists within Imperial jurisdiction;
  • To govern interactions between its constituent nations;
  • To guard the borders of the Empire, and regulate admission thereto;
  • To hold in trust, safeguard, and regulate the use of the natural and common properties, including unowned and abandoned properties, of the people of the Empire;
  • To carry out necessary and obligatorily public works; To establish communications and travelways throughout all lands;
  • To coin money, and regulate the value thereof;
  • To define and offer for use standards of weight, of measure, and of function;
  • To promote the progress of arts, philosophies and sciences, and for the purpose of so doing to create, allocate and manage limited rights in abstractions (i.e. patents, copyrights, trademarks, discoverer’s rights, and other intellectual property instruments –ed.), and to maintain freely accessible repositories of public knowledge;
  • To provide for the preservation of knowledge and useful arts against time, mischance, catastrophe, or assault;
  • To lay and collect taxes upon incomes, not to exceed a fifth part thereof;
  • To borrow, within such bounds as this Charter shall set, money on the credit of the Empire;
  • And to exercise exclusive sovereignty over such territories as shall be ceded from the constituent nations of the Empire for Imperial use, for such purposes as it shall see fit.

The Imperial government is permitted to delegate or assign these sovereign powers, where it seems good to do so, to the nations of the Empire; or to privately held bodies that agree to be bound by this Charter; but under no circumstances shall the Imperial government delegate or assign these sovereign powers to any person or coadunation whatsoever which is not, or cannot be, bound by this Charter.

Article III: Limitations of Imperial Government

Neither the Imperial government nor the government of any constituent nation of the Empire shall be permitted, in and of its own right and authority, to carry out any action or operation outside of the scope of the powers granted to them by Section I, Article II of this Charter.

Article IV: On the Amendment of this Charter

After the ratification and implementation of this Charter, amendments may be proposed for consideration in three ways:

  1. By a two-thirds vote of each of the Chambers of the Senate; or
  2. By a proposal put forward, concurrently or consecutively, by two-thirds of the demesnes of the Empire; or
  3. By a citizen proposal, put forward in the same manner as an initiative, which achieves the support of one-third of the citizen population.

Any amendment proposed for consideration by either of these methods shall first require a substantive vote of each of the three Chambers of the Senate for ratification;

And, this having been achieved, shall then require a three-quarters vote in a plebiscite of all citizens of the Empire for further ratification;

And shall then become effective on the first day of the next year, following this final ratification.

Article V: Irrevocable Provisions

The provisions listed here within shall not be amended, nor shall their amendment be proposed. They shall remain above all power of amendment or repeal.

  • Section I, Article I: On this Charter
  • Section I, Article III: Limitations of Imperial Government
  • Section I, Article IV: On the Amendment of this Charter
  • Section I, Article V: Irrevocable Provisions
  • Section I, Article VI: Dissolution
  • Section III, Article III: Fundamental Rights of the Sophont
  • Section III, Article VI: Nonrestriction
  • Section III, Article VII: Equal Protection
  • Section III, Article X: Renunciation
  • Section IV, Article I: On Sovereignty
  • Section IV, Article II: Full Faith and Credit

Article VI: Dissolution

As a last protection against a restoration of tyranny, for just and proper cause, the Senate and People of the Empire shall have the power to dissolve the Empire, which they shall exercise should the Empire fall into the darkness of tyranny or barbarity;

And for the exercise of this power, the Senate shall first declare the dissolution of the Empire, and this shall first require a substantive vote of each of the three Chambers of the Senate for ratification;

And, this having been achieved, the People of the Empire shall then ratify this dissolution with a five-sixths vote in a plebiscite of all citizens of the Empire;

And this being achieved also, the Empire shall be counted dissolved, and all instrumentalities thereof disbanded, from dawn upon the day following the moment at which such plebiscite is completed.

Article VII: Authentic Text

In the interpretation of this Charter, which has been drawn up in all of the languages of the founding nations, that version of the text in the Selenarian language shall be considered authentic and definitive until the completion of the national language of the Empire, into which this Charter shall be translated, and that version of the text, after approval by the Curia, shall then be considered definitive and binding; and this first authentic version of the Charter shall be translated, with identical meaning, into the predicate form used by the artificial intelligences of the Curia, which version of the text, after approval by the Curia, shall then be considered definitive and binding; and a copy of this Charter drawn up in these definitive languages shall be entered into the archives of each of the founding nations.

(The strikeout/boldface above represents part of the Tenth Amendment, “Cyberjudiciary”, to the Imperial Charter, passed after the development and many successful implementations of dedicated savant AIs, the tenth amendment to the Charter replaced the previous Ephors of the Curia with dedicated law-bound artificial intelligences, thus guaranteeing the impartial application of law at the highest level. This, thus, initiated the age of cyberjudiciary. Over time following the passage of the amendment, the judges of the lesser Curial courts were likewise replaced. The passage of this amendment additionally marks the translation of the Charter into the predicate-logic form used by such judicial machines.)

Article VIII: Initiation

The ratification of this Charter shall repeal the Accord of Union which established the Union of Empires; and this being done, such agreements, accords, acts and treaties implementing aspects of the Union of Empires which are superseded by this Charter shall also be held null; but those which have greater effect over and beyond it shall continue in force and effect.

Upon such ratification, coronargyr over the Empire shall be invested in the then-standing Emperor and Empress of the Union of Empires, ALPHAS I AMANYR and SELEDIË III SELEQUELIOS, and they shall be honored as the first Imperial Couple; and upon this investiture shall the coronargyr of the Emperor of Cestia be invested in his lawful heir, CALÉRA AMANYR, and the Senate of the Empire of Selenaria shall elect another in whom its imperium is to be invested.

Existing laws and treaties of the constituent nations of the Empire, insofar as they do not contradict this Charter, shall continue in full force and effect after its ratification; as shall all contracts in which their governments have engaged.

Article IX: Oath

The Imperial Couple, and all runér of the Empire, prior to their investiture to coronargyr; and the Ephors of the Curia and Ministers of the Imperial Service, and all Senators, before they shall take office (Such Declarations are often signed in advance of the necessity, permitting the immediate transfer of power if necessary, with the reading postponed until a convenient time — ed.); and the Clarifiers of the Eupraxic Collegium, on their appointment; shall make a solemn oath and Declaration in writing (While not required by the Charter, such Declarations are traditionally read out before the Court of Courts, or the Senate, as appropriate. — ed.) that they shall faithfully abide by and preserve this Charter, which Declaration being made, shall be placed in the public records of the Empire.

(The boldface text in the above paragraph constitutes part of the Eleventh Amendment, “Eupraxic Collegium”, of which more later.)

…continued in part two.


Trope-a-Day: Colony Ship

Colony Ship: More than a few. The most iconic, of course, are the Deep Star colony ships the eldrae used to establish the first Thirteen Colonies subluminally, and indeed the galari equivalents that let them colonize Tessil and Qeraq in a similar manner, but the concept still goes on; even in these days of Casual Interstellar Travel, specialized colony ships still exist, for the purpose of getting everything you need at First Landing there simultaneously and conveniently.

(Also, of course, their smaller cousins, the homesteading ships, which are similar albeit much smaller – intended for households, families, and other small groups looking to homestead an asteroid, join an existing colony, or set up shop on a freesoil world.)


ILINSHEN (UNITED VIRIDIAN STATES) – Debate continues today in the capital district of the United Viridian States over the troubled extradition of orbital real estate mogul Uskert Lannod. Lannod, 70, made history four months ago by receiving the highest fine thus far assessed for an offworlder in the Empire’s Courts of Common Pleas and Small Claims, some 22.7 million exval.

The extradition in question relates to the non-payment of this fine, incurred due to an incident in which Lannod, while in an inebriated condition after conducting a business meeting in a restaurant on Mahalloris (Principalities), advanced several improper suggestions to the waitress, and later went so far as to briefly lay hands upon her person.

At question here is the magnitude of the imposed fine. Lannod has appealed to the government of the UVS, claiming it to be entirely disproportionate to the offense, and therefore cruel and unusual. While the government appears to be refusing extradition for now, representatives were not available for interview by this publication.

Ambassador Rithan-ishi-Dellia of the Empire, meanwhile, issued a formal statement that it was the Curial courts’ normal practice to scale punitive fines in accordance with a formula based on the net worth and income of the convicted, in order that the aversive effect of the fines would remain constant, and therefore such that wealthy individuals would not come to see what would be, from their perspective, relatively minor fines as merely a cost of doing business. As such, she deemed, it could hardly be considered an unusual practice, even if the rarity of multi-billionaires finding themselves before the Curial courts under such circumstances made it an unusual implementation of the practice.

The Ambassador went on to state that the Empire’s position on the fine did not admit of flexibility, as a matter of principle, and that should extradition be denied the Office of Investigation and Pursuit would seek to recover the fine and costs – adding wryly that if Lannod were fully cognizant of the Curial courts’ practice of recovering costs from the convicted, he surely would not be going to such pains to increase the difficulty of collecting them – through alternative means. She declined to state, however, what those alternative means might be.

Upon being questioned on the topic of certain ungentlesophly rumors alleging that the case had no merit, and was effectively manufactured by the plaintiff for the purpose of profit, the Ambassador offered to personally debate the issue with anyone with assertions to make along those lines – provided that such debate take place within the embassy grounds.


Trope-a-Day: Cloning Body Parts

Cloning Body Parts: It used to be done, but in the current era is obsolete twice over; first, replaced by organ printing tech (basically, 3D printers for organs), and second, by healing vats and having things built by medichines in situ. Hospitals and clinics probably have some organ printers lying around for special cases, but revolutionary as it was when it was first developed, organ cloning is now strictly for museums.

(Or autophagy restaurants.)

37 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Do (But Are Allowed To) In The Associated Worlds

(by – sort of -request; very dubiously deuterocanonical in parts)

  1. It is polite to offer immortagens to your new offworld friends. It is not polite to spike their coffee, beer, or punch bowl with them.
  2. Even if everything is quaint, you shouldn’t keep calling it that.
  3. Very few people want to meet you on the field of honor, at any time of day.
  4. Organic superlubricant is not approved for use as a personal lubricant.
  5. Just because you’re wearing a hard hat (i.e., in a cybershell) is no excuse for betting the squishies that you can run further through hard vacuum.
  6. Nor is it an excuse to yell “CRUSH! KILL! DESTROY!” in front of the biochauvinists.
  7. Nor should you go around calling the squishies, squishies.
  8. It’s bad form to get better service from petty officials by announcing yourself as Unchosen Heir to the Dragon Throne, Successor of the Imperium if you don’t really need to. One day they’ll figure out that that’s everybody.
  9. No matter how annoying you may find their “sales tax” to be, you cannot get it waived by inciting a revolution on the spot.
  10. Nor can you get it waived by declaring war. Even if you mean it.
  11. Actually, especially if you mean it.
  12. You should probably not rebuild them. Even if you do have the technology.
  13. But if you have to, at least do it aboard your ship where you’re technically still on our territory.
  14. It embarrasses people when you compare their commercial and military encryption to “that childhood game” or “how we hide spoilers”.
  15. Therefore, reading their confidential e-mail in real time should not be considered an appropriate party trick.
  16. Even if they did accuse you of only simulating the sensation of pain, it is inappropriate to ask them to demonstrate the difference with the help of your electrolaser, your plasma torch, or a blunt instrument of any size.
  17. It does not become less inappropriate just because you yelled “For Science!” first.
  18. Word to the kaeth: “You break it, you pay for it” doesn’t mean you can break anything you can afford to pay for.
  19. Especially if “it” is a sophont.
  20. Just because they claim to be automata doesn’t mean you should treat them that way.
  21. “In order that my alternate-universe self wouldn’t” is not sufficient justification for doing anything to a multiple-worlds-theory-endorsing quantum physicist.
  22. It’s best not to explain to people why they won’t be assimilated.
  23. While giving out cornucopia seeds can be both helpful and entertaining, it’s also illegal on a surprising number of worlds.
  24. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t do it anyway.
  25. The correct answer to ‘Are you a god?’ is ‘No,’ not ‘Only compared to some.’
  26. The secret of stable quantum processing is not “keeping the qubits 20% cooler”.
  27. While we do not wish to discourage anyone from repeatedly stabbing obnoxious sexists and the like, leaving them sufficiently alive to learn from the experience does make the ensuing legalities easier to clean up.
  28. “Having some fun with the locals” is not a legitimate reason to land on primitive planets.
  29. The Empire does not need their water.
  30. Nor does it need their women.
  31. And no-one will believe that you were only asking for them as an intelligence test.
  32. A Deuterium Slushie does not contain slush deuterium, and you shouldn’t imply that it does.
  33. Electrolasers are not to be used for child restraint.
  34. You should not offer to buy governments, government departments, government officials, or citizens of other polities. Even if you’re being sarcastic.
  35. Having an enhanced metabolism doesn’t excuse you from playing fair at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
  36. You don’t need to fight everything with fire.
  37. Children cannot usually waive whatever laws prohibit you from showing them how that thing they saw in their comic book is actually done.

Trope-a-Day: Clone by Conversion

Clone by Conversion: It’s possible, with the right abominations of technology (basically, start with a healing vat and a cerebral bridge, then add evil) – but since you’re just using the original person as organic raw material, the applications are sharply limited. Basically, if you need reinforcements and have the equipment such that this looks like a reasonable way to go, bear in mind that you can get to exactly the same place in the end by popping along to your friendly local butcher and explaining that you’re buying meat for a family pig roast.

In many cases, this also avoids the ensuring war crimes trial, which is often a point in its favor.

(There is also the technique used by… certain intelligence agencies of covertly implanting sleeper agents with a Trojan device that permits an agent or an intel AI to be remotely downloaded into their brain, overwriting their original mind-state. But decent people shouldn’t think about such things.)


acc3BE: A gene complex used with artificial chromosomes which causes those chromosomes to lose their centromeres in the process of meiosis, thus reducing the genome present in the resulting germ cells to baseline-equivalency. This permits clades augmented with artificial chromosome-based enhancements to be reproductively compatible with both the baseline and with the majority of other clades also possessing the acc3BE complex.

– Bioaugmentation: A Pocket Reference

* * *

From: Clinic Director
To: All Staff
Subject: Nomenclature and Tact


Please remain aware that here at the Nepenene Somatic Clinic a majority of our clients are from out of town, including many from polities where enhancement is not, as it is in Imperial space, thoroughly pervasive; baselines are not rare to the point of nonexistence; and, indeed, the use of biotechnology is considered with varying degrees of caution, skepticism, and even aversion.

As such, when explaining the function of artificial chromosomes and the fertility-preserving function of the acc3BE complex to our clients, be sure always to refer to its operation by its proper technical name, “baselining excision”, and not, whatever the current chic snark may be at other augmenteries, as “bestiality enable”.

A certain junior attending’s slip of the tongue has already required me to calm down and make contractual concessions to one offended client this month, and I do not care to do so again.

Am I clear?

Director of Augmentation,
Nepenene Somatic Clinic


Trope-a-Day: Clone Army

Clone Army: Just… don’t.

In its simplest form, where you’re just using cloning technology to replicate military-grade bodies as quickly as you can, it may be valuable. It won’t help you with absolute growth rates, since the expensive part is growing the minds to put in the bodies which is much harder to rush, but if you have noetic backup technology at least you can get your casualties back into the field faster.

If you are actually attempting to run what is functionally a non-divergent fork army, however, this will fail dramatically as soon as anyone notices – because, gee, do you think having your entire army react in the same way to every situation and stimulus might just open up a few security holes?

If you’re really lucky, this won’t get everyone killed.

Question: Last Shot Rule

(But first, a quick administrative note. If you’re sending me something through the Contact/Ask form and want to include a link, please be aware that it filters out HTML, including links. You’ll need to include the URL explicitly, or I won’t get it.)


1. Does Imperial contract law have anything analogous to the “last shot rule” enumerated here?

The closest analogy would be the Rule of Accord, which in keeping with the general rule of mutual informed consent, holds that unless all parties to a contract are agreeing to the precise same contract, there is no contract. (Any altered terms are, essentially, mere non-binding proposals.) If it turns out that that wasn’t the case after the fact, the contract is annulled, i.e., retroactively never existed in the first place, and unless everyone feels like being reasonable people, involves some untangling of affairs back to the status quo ante.

(This, of course, does permit the so-called “Battle of the Forms” in which both parties repeatedly send slightly tweaked versions of the contract back and forth in order to have the last word. *There*, there’s never been any particular urge to fix the problem with some hack like UCC 2-207, on the grounds that people willing to engage in bizarre irrational-sum games like that pretty much deserve their self-inflicted punishment.)

Avoiding things like this, incidentally, is where the traditional obligator “Thus is our contract written; thus is agreement made.” social ritual comes from. It’s not legally necessary in any way, but it’s a convenient convention to ensure that an accord has actually been reached.

2. Would “The contract I read is not the same as the contract the other party claims I signed” constitute a valid defense for non-performance?

…and so, yes, in a manner of speaking, since if that were to be the case, there isn’t and never was a contract to perform.

Of course, it’s also probably an allegation of fraud…