Trope-a-Day: Hegemonic Empire

Hegemonic Empire: The Empire, absolutely. Since the old days of the Consolidation Wars back on the homeworld, the consensus culture of the Empire (individual exceptions like the Imperium Bellipotent and a few grumpy occasional reanimators of the Doctrine of the Ecumenical Throne notwithstanding) is pretty sure that military imperialism has some awkward conflicts with their core values, and in any case is pretty much a pessimal way to grow.

The new plan is to seduce the universe – or “corrupt” the universe, if you are prefer to phrase it the way the Voniensa Republic, the Socionovist Association, and the Interstellar League of Tribal Chiefdoms do – and make everyone want to be part of it via Rule of Cool, manifested in such newfangled soft-power traditions as building and operating major infrastructure, being economically ubiquitous (thank you, All Good Things, ICC), potent cultural perfusion selling the Imperial Dream and other such notions (thank you, media studios of Delphys!), peddling immortality and personal enhancement to anyone who’ll buy them, etc., etc. And the good thing about this, say the people running the place, is that the only actual policies they need to have are (a) open immigration, and (b) mostly-open admission to any polity that asks for it – which by that time have almost certainly been quite “Imperialized” anyway. The rest is more or less self-driving, and would indeed be hard to stop even if they suddenly became of a mind to.

The success of this strategy is such that, discounting colonization of entirely unoccupied worlds and regions, virtually the entire growth of the Empire in its interstellar period has been via voluntary admissions – and it maintains quite the sprawling sphere of influence outside that.

A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine…

…in addition to the common standbys found on almost every world (Blue Brew, Soléä’s, Don’t Eat Vat, and so forth), the Starfall district also includes more than a few unique, local restaurants.  Here are three of our favorites:

Rhúäghz Vhúeff (2A4 Star Ln., at Meryn Ave.) is a dar-bandal ethnic restaurant.  From outside, it looks like any hole in the wall, but once you’re inside, the warmth and the rich smells of the food caught in the barrel-vault ceilings properly reflect the rich dining experience to come.  The food and drink are very traditional dar-bandal, concentrating on rare red and blue meats – including the best roast mid-leg of reshkef this writer has ever tasted – and heavy, yeasty stouts and porters.  (They do have several tables equipped with biped-friendly chairs, and will bring you your drinks in more usual glasses if you prefer, but go ahead, stick your face right in the bowl and give lapping it up your best shot.  The friendly regulars will appreciate your attempt to follow local custom, and you might just get a free drink or two.)

Chanaz Elirik (110 Summer Blvd., at Nebula Rd.) brings Cinnare street cuisine indoors, with a variety of “food stands” scattered around a multileveled open space, where you can either take your food to one of the scattered tables to sit and dine, or wander, eat, and chat as you view some of the art on display around the restaurant.

While the food produced by the Elirik team and their guest chefs is excellent, especially the shellfish and the land crustaceans, one of the major reasons to come here for lunch or an afternoon snack is the clientele.  Located almost directly between many of Delphys’s major entertainment and art studios and the starport, Chanaz Elirik attracts a fascinating range of customers with equally fascinating conversation.  Recommended for anyone, but especially for those with an interest in the arts and media.

Gianeth and Selves’ – really? – (B9 Thousand Scents Rd., btwn Coldgas Rd. and Plasma St.) is the place for those interested in the outré.  Make your reservations at least two weeks in advance and be prepared to submit cell samples when you do, because Gianeth’s is an autophagy restaurant.  One of the most highly rated chefs to come out of the Delphys Academy, the sheer variety of dishes which Gianeth Kirzaer has been able to recreate in his chosen cuisine, to say nothing of his original creations, makes this restaurant a must for anyone who wants to stay on top of truly cutting-edge dining.

And if you are among the many who’ve chosen Delphys as a honeymoon destination or to rekindle an old flame, you absolutely should not miss Gianeth’s honey-glazed Two-Heart Special.  Combine it with the imported Merianvard icewine and a reserved island bower in the District of Flowers as the evening ends for an unforgettable romantic experience.

– from Delphys, Planet of Myriad Delights, (pub. Delphys Resplendent Awareness Circle)