Worldbuilding: Conflict & Mistake

Those of you who read Slate Star Codex will probably have already seen this article; and those of you who don’t probably should read it, because I think it might be helpful in explaining the differences between Imperial “politics” and Earth politics as we know them, including – to pick up some recent threads on the Discord – local attitudes *there* to protest and suchlike.

Text continues now using terms from the article in question.

While it’s not a perfect analogy, one can see how an awful lot of differences come to pass by considering that while politics *here* , especially performative politics, tends to be heavily conflict-theory-driven, the Empire’s governance – and including here such not-governmental organizations as the Shadow Ministries and the Plurality and its COGs – to be almost entirely dominated by one strand or another of mistake theorist.

…who, admittedly, take the view that conflict theorists are mistaken to a degree that qualifies as dangerously, probably diagnosably, insane.

 

Best. King. Ever.

“Another of these accidental creations is the governance of the Thanedom of Darazik, a minor azikeldrae city-state in southern Alténíä. Its story begins when the initial charter of the thanedom was drafted, in which the overthane was appointed to his office ‘in perpetuity’ rather than the more conventional ‘as willed’, or even ‘for life’.

“In the ordinary course of events, such a minor drafting error would have been corrected, whether by amendment or by judicial decision. However, after the tragic death of the first overthane, Agaion I, in the earthquake and ensuing tunnel collapse of 971, the Council of Thanes – acting as regent pro tempore – found itself facing an uninspiring successor with no particular desire for the position, and lacking any desire to elevate one of its own members to overthane, being occupied at that time with the problems facing their own caverns. As such, they decided simply to run with the charter as worded.

“Thus, even to the present day, the titular head of the Thanedom is the vitrified and exquisitely sculpted and adorned corpse of Agaion the Undying, Heart of the Pillar, Lord of the Undernight, Overthane of Darazik and Her Vales Beyond the Dark Sky, who continues to preside over his court, attend ceremonial occasions, and receive – although not pass judgement upon – petitions, all with his customary silent élan. The actual Mandate rests in the hands of the Council of Thanes, whose decrees, et. al., are issued in the voice and by the consent of their glassy monarch, who to this day has not seen fit to veto any of his Council’s actions.”

– The Six-Fingered Hand: Unconventional Governance Among the Empire’s Nations

 

Everything’s Shiny, Not to Fret

CALMIRÍË, ELIÉRA – The new composition of the Chamber of the People following the 7124 reselection has had little effect on the balance of the Senate, indicate the latest declarations of branch affiliation reported by the Scrupulous Monitor of the Will of the People.

The only statistically significant shift identifiable in the data is a 2.4% shift (0.8% overall) towards Status Quo, which gained 14 out of the 576 Senators up for reselection, these gains coming at the cost of no particular branch. Inasmuch as the Status Quo branch’s platform is one of steadfast opposition to shifts in established policy, it would appear that the Empire’s citizen-shareholders once more continue to be comfortable with the present state of affairs.

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Thirteen

…continued from parts ten, eleven, and twelve.

SECTION XIII: THE EUPRAXIC COLLEGIUM

(Note: this entire section was added by the Eleventh Amendment, passed in 0000 as a response to the steady increase in the power available to individuals, which (with reference to incidents in the few years immediately preceding it) greatly increased the potential harm that an irrational individual could cause if unchecked and undetected, and with reference also to the code of behavior (based on the Eupraxia) coded into the structure of AI operating systems, the eleventh amendment imposed the requirement of a similar eupraxic code on all sophonts within the Empire, and established a body to define it, implement testing for it, and in other ways to care for the avoidance of pernicious irrationality and the promotion of rational thought.  — ed.)

Article I: Charter of the Eupraxic Collegium

Inasmuch as essential prerequisites to the liberties of the citizen-shareholders of the Empire and the prosperity and good order of our civilization are the rational choices of its citizen-shareholders;

And inasmuch as developments in technology have placed greater and greater energies into the hands of the individual sophont; and further, have enabled new technologies of mental editing, desire control, and personality analysis to be developed and used;

And inasmuch as these developments pose a great threat to the liberties, prosperity and good order aforementioned, when wielded by minds unstable or irrational;

We hereby charter and establish the Eupraxic Collegium, for the purpose of monitoring and assuring the rationality and good mental health of the citizen-shareholders of the Empire.

Article II: Purposes of the Eupraxic Collegium

To fulfill the purposes for which it is chartered, the Eupraxic Collegium shall be granted the following powers:

  • To define, maintain, and update standards of rationality, of stability under stress, and a eupraxic code, which shall henceforth be adhered to by all citizen-shareholders of the Empire;
  • To routinely audit and certify the mind of every citizen-shareholder of the Empire, on a regular basis, as executing within such standards of rationality, and as stable under such levels of stress; and to offer such higher levels of certification on the basis of rationality as shall also be defined;
  • To, when under audit the mind of a citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall be found not to execute within such standards of rationality or stability, take such corrective action as shall be necessary to restore said mind to a rational and stable state;
  • To investigate cases and trends of cacopraxia which do not themselves qualify as pernicious irrationalism, and to take such measures as are permissible within the rights outlined in this Charter to advise and guide against them;
  • To produce, maintain, publish and promulgate an ontology and set of social and economic protocols capable of fulfilling the purposes of sophont interaction and the recording of knowledge, while acting to propagate rational thought free from bias and irrational axiom;
  • To research further advancements in the science of clionomy; and to produce projections, extrapolations, and computations therefrom;
  • And to investigate cases of self-reproducing thought-code; toxic memes; and other infectious information capable of propagating irrationality, and to take such action as is necessary to prevent their free propagation.

Article III: Governance of the Eupraxic Collegium

To achieve the above purposes, The Eupraxic Collegium shall be governed by a council of twelve officers, the Clarifiers of the Collegium, each of whom shall be appointed by the Imperial Couple with the advice and consent of the Senate, and who shall be passed at the highest degree of rationality by the previously existing procedures of the Collegium before their appointment, and who shall be Aspects of the Eldraeic Transcend.

Each Clarifier of the Collegium shall be audited no less often than once in each week to the strictest degree of scrutiny practiced by the Collegium; and should such examination reveal any deviation from the highest degree of rationality, the Clarifier shall be suspended from office until such deviation is corrected.

(The boldface in the article above is another addition by the Twelfth Amendment. — ed.)

Article IV: Rationality of Collegium Officers

Each and every officer of the Eupraxic Collegium shall be audited at such intervals and to such degree of scrutiny as the Clarifiers of the Collegium shall find appropriate for the office to which they have been appointed; and should such examination reveal any deviation below the appointed degree of rationality for that office, the officer shall be suspended from office until such deviation is corrected.

Article V: Responsibility of the Citizen Mentality

Each citizen-shareholder of the Empire is amenable to and accepts the responsibility of permitting the officers of the Eupraxic Collegium, duly appointed to audit the minds of citizen-shareholders, to access their static and dynamic mind-state for the sole purpose of auditing its structure and algorithm to assess the rationality and stability thereof.

Such static mind-states, having been audited, shall be erased forthwith; and an officer of the Eupraxic Collegium, having audited a mind-state, shall redact and erase from their memory all information gained from their study of that mindstate not germane to the assessment of its rationality and stability, specifically including all memory information; and each audited citizen-shareholder of the Empire shall have the right to examine the records confirming that this has been done.

RATIFICATION

Given under our hands and seals this day, 17th of the Fourth Cycle of Selene, 1,828th Year of the Calendar of Rhoës;

ALPHAS I AMANYR, EMPEROR OF CESTIA and the UNION OF EMPIRES

SELEDIË III SELEQUELIOS, EMPRESS OF SELENARIA and the UNION OF EMPIRES

LORAN CAMRÍÄD, THÉARCH of the DEEPING

LIRÍEL LÁRATHYR, QUEEN OF VERANTHYR

VARÍÄN LEIRAVÁL, KING OF LEIRIN for the POLYARCHY of the SILVER CRESCENT

…and we’re done!

The Imperial Charter: Sections Ten, Eleven, and Twelve

…continued from parts eight and nine.

SECTION X: MATTERS FISCAL

Article I: On Currency

The Empire shall establish a single unit of exchange to use in commerce between the nations of the Empire and with those beyond its borders, and this shall become the base for the coin, currency and values minted by the nations of the Empire, which shall have with it an absolute relation. The Empire shall have the responsibility and the power to protect and control the value of this currency.

A nation of the Empire shall not coin money outside the bounds of this unified system of exchange, nor shall make anything except for currencies of this system legal tender for the payment of debts.

Article II: On the Imperial Revenue

The government of the Empire, and the governments of its constituent nations, to such extent as voluntary contributions and infrastructure usage fees do not suffice, shall be funded by an annual fee in direct proportion to incomes earned, or from whatever other source derived, by citizen-shareholders of the Empire and coadunations chartered therein, levied by an instrumentality of the Imperial Service created for that purpose, and by its citizen-shareholders paid, save that coadunation income passed through to their members shall not be again counted.

Under no circumstances shall this fee exceed a fifth part of the gross income of each citizen-shareholder or coadunation upon whom it is levied.

Article III: On Imperial Disbursements

No money shall be drawn from the Treasury of the Empire, but in consequence of appropriations enacted by the Senate; and the accounts of the Treasury, with a full accounting of receipts and expenditures, shall be available for the public use.

After the first fiscal year of the Empire, the total outlays of the Imperial government for any fiscal year shall not exceed total receipts for the previous fiscal year, unless:

  • such outlays shall exceed receipts by an amount which is covered in its entirety by funds reserved within the treasury, and such outlays are authorized by the hand of the Imperial Couple;
  • or such outlays shall exceed receipts by an amount which would require the sale of Imperial bonds, or other borrowing on the credit of the Empire, and such outlays are authorized by a substantive vote of the Imperial Senate, and by no other means.

Prior to each fiscal year, the Imperial Couple shall propose to the Senate a proposed budget for the Imperial government for that fiscal year, in which total outlays do not exceed total receipts, save as authorized by the above rule.

Article IV: On Disbursements to Constituent Nations

In the first fiscal year of the Empire, the government of the Empire shall retain one-third of the revenues collected for its own use, and the remaining two-thirds of the revenues collected shall be available to the constituent nations of the Empire to draw upon; and each constituent nation of the Empire shall be permitted to draw upon a portion of this two-thirds in due proportion to its population.

In subsequent fiscal years, the budget proposed to the Senate shall set the portion of the revenues collected which the Exchequer shall reserve; and this budget shall also set the formula determining the availability of funds to each demesne of the Empire as it shall see fit, providing only that the formula shall be applied equally to all.

Notwithstanding the above, the Imperial Couple or the Senate may, by special decree, make extraordinary funds available to any demesne of the Empire for such purposes as it shall designate.

Article V: On the Reserve Fund

The Exchequer shall maintain a Reserve Fund against variability in Imperial revenues, by appropriating revenue in excess of disbursements; and increases in budgeted disbursements, both to the Imperial government and to the nations of the Empire, shall only be permitted inasmuch as they are covered threefold by the money available in the Reserve Fund; and the Empire may enter into no contract permitting future increases of disbursements that does not acknowledge this constraint.

Article VI: On Imperial Debt

The base limit on the aggregate debt of the Empire held by the public is hereby set at one million Cestian brights, or their equivalent in the Imperial currency, once established, or a fifth part of the national income, whichever is greater;

And this limit shall not be increased, unless the Senate shall provide by law for such an increase by a substantive vote, and by no other means;

And having been increased, in each following fiscal year the limit on the debt of the Empire shall decrease by such amount of the debt as is repaid, until the current limit shall return to the base limit. The repayment of such extraordinary debt, over a set term not to exceed one hundred and forty four years, shall have priority over all other appropriations and disbursements of the Imperial government.

Article VII: Borrowing by Constituent Nations

Constituent nations of the Empire shall not borrow funds from any source except the Exchequer; and such borrowing from the Exchequer shall require the permission of the Senate.

SECTION XI: MATTERS MILITARY

Article I: Imperial Military Service

For the purpose of defending the territories and the citizens of the Empire, its governance shall maintain a standing military force sufficient to defend each and every territory occupied by citizen-shareholders of the Empire, and, where necessary, to intervene abroad for their defense.

Article II: Organization and Command

The military forces of the Empire shall be organized as part of the Imperial Service, and the Imperial Couple shall command all military forces of the Empire, although this command shall be delegated to the runér in the case of units in garrison; but the first loyalty of all military units shall always be to the Empire.

Article III: Citizen Militia

Additionally, as the common defense is a duty of every citizen-shareholder, the governance of the Empire shall provide militia training to any citizen volunteers who request it, and maintain a stockpile of military weaponry for their use in the event of invasion, insurrection, or subversion.

SECTION XII: TRANSPARENCY

Article I: Transparency

In order to promote good governance, and to ensure the fulfillment of the responsibilities to the citizen-shareholders of the Empire implicit in the coronargyr that is the basis of the right and authority to govern, the governments of the Empire and its constituent nations shall conduct their work as openly as possible (In the modern era, this has been interpreted to permit the distributed auditing of the governments of the Empire and its constituent nations by all Imperial citizen-shareholders. — ed.).

Article II: Citizen Access

To fulfill this promise of transparency, any citizen-shareholder of the Empire, and any legal coadunation within the Empire, shall have the right of access to the documentation and archives of the government of the Empire; except for those which, for the public safety, must remain held in confidence, or which relate to public order operations currently in progress.

…continued in part thirteen and final.

 

The Imperial Charter: Sections Eight and Nine

…continued from part seven.

SECTION VIII: THE RUNÉR

Article I: Functions of the Runér

Each demesne of the Empire shall be governed by a duly appointed runér (Note that since the Empire recognizes multiple forms of government, a runér is not necessarily a singular entity. Letters patent are routinely issued to the offices of diarchies and triumvirs, the occasional ruling council, and even (in rare cases, since most of them manage to appoint a representative for the purposes of the special powers conferred) the occasional Athenian democracy. –ed.), who shall administer the demesne in accordance with their right of coronargyr and the Imperial Mandate held from the Imperial Couple, to achieve the purposes of Imperial government and uphold Imperial law, in accordance with this Charter.

The functions and powers of a runér shall comprise the following:

  • To implement and execute the system of government of their appointed demesne, as defined in its Charter and laws.
  • To supervise the operation of the Imperial Service and command all other Imperial servants and Imperial resources within their appointed demesne.
  • To ensure the enforcement of law within their appointed demesne; to supervise the Curial courts where necessary; and to carry out such formal enquiries as are necessary.
  • To prepare and enact such legislation as is necessary for the proper governance of their appointed demesne, as provided for by its Charter, provided that such neither contradicts the laws of the Empire nor those of a superior demesne.
  • To make such decrees as are necessary to handle circumstances for which no legislation provides.
  • To control the budget of their appointed demesne, to request extraordinary funds and loans when necessary from the Exchequer; and therein to allocate and appropriate funds as necessary for all the functions and operations of its government.
  • To command such armed forces of the Empire as are in garrison within their appointed demesne as necessary for its defense, under the supreme command of the Imperial Couple.

Article II: Assembly

Each demesne of the Empire, of 1,728 citizen-shareholders or more in size, shall select from its citizen-shareholders an assembly, of whichsoever structure and by whichsoever means shall be deemed proper in that place, to offer counsel to and prepare legislation for the runér appointed to that demesne, as the Senate for the Imperial Couple; and with a substantive vote, in accordance with the rules for such applying to the Senate, that assembly shall have the power to veto legislative acts of that runér, where such are carried out on their own authority.

Article III: Fealty

While the first loyalty of all runér shall be to the Empire, as the source and fountainhead of the Imperial Mandate, and the second shall be to the Imperial Couple, by right of coronargyr, fealty and duties beyond these shall be owed by each runér appointed to the superior demesne to that to which they have been appointed; and each runér appointed to a demesne beneath that to which they have been appointed shall owe them this same fealty and duty within the bounds of their loyalty to Empire and Imperial Couple.

Article IV: Praetorate and Exultancy

The Imperial Couple may, to provide due honor and dignities to officials of the Imperial Service, create noble ranks and titles, which shall collectively be known as the Praetorate, and to provide due honor and reward to citizens of the Empire for great merit, create noble ranks and titles, which shall collectively be known as the Exultancy; and those upon whom these titles are bestowed shall possess the right to the precedence, courtesies and honor of their rank, and shall be considered part of the runér darëssef, but shall not possess the Imperial Mandate, nor any of the rights, privileges, or authority to command inherent therein.

Article V: Revocation

The patent and Mandate of a runér, praetor, or exultant may only be revoked by the Curia, upon petition from the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or the assembly of the runér‘s demesne; and the Curia’s own judgment upon the substance of the petition shall be the final determinant.

Article VI: Sacrosanctity

The persons of runér shall be sacrosanct; while they are acting within their right of coronargyr, no authority or forces may be levied against them, save by their superiors, or that their delegated Mandate shall first have been revoked; and having resigned or having been been removed thus from their position, no action in law against them for any action which they shall have undertaken within their Mandated authority shall succeed, save only an action in respect of legislation or action outside the bounds of this Charter.

Article VII: States of Emergency and Martial Law

A runér shall, when a clear and present danger to the public order, the public safety, or the public health shall demand it, have the power to declare a state of emergency for their appointed demesne; and when the normal instrumentalities of government are unable to operate, to place their appointed demesne under martial law; each subject only to vacation by the runér appointed to the superior demesne to that to which they have been appointed, or by the Imperial Couple.

Situations arising during a state of emergency shall not come under judicial jurisdiction until after the emergency has passed; and for such situations as arise during a state of martial law, runér and officers of the Empire shall be responsible, not under civil law, but under military law, for actions performed during said state.

Article VIII: Succession

Inasmuch as the demesnes of the Empire reflect differing forms of government, the succession of each runér shall be set by each demesne in its Charter, as it shall see fit, and the founding nations of the Empire shall retain their existing rules of succession until and unless they shall legislate otherwise; but no runér shall succeed to office without the approval of the Imperial Couple.

SECTION IX: THE IMPERIAL SERVICE

Article I: Functions of the Imperial Service

The Empire reserves to itself the power to create as it sees fit instrumentalities to carry out the detailed administration and executive functions of the Empire and enforce the Imperial will. This shall include the power to abolish said ministries as the Empire sees fit. The management of these instrumentalities shall be placed in the hands of Ministers of the Throne, as the office shall require, under the direction of the Imperial Couple, and these instrumentalities shall be known collectively as the Imperial Service.

Article II: Composition of the Imperial Service

The Imperial Service shall be composed of instrumentalities organized in accordance with the areas of executive function of the Imperial government. Each of these instrumentalities shall be headed by a Minister of the Throne, who shall sit upon the Council of the Star and serve at the pleasure of the Imperial Couple. The Imperial Couple may, by legislation, create new instrumentalities of the Imperial Service, and may abolish existing instrumentalities whose existence is not required by this Charter.

At the time of the ratification of this Charter, the Exchequer shall be established as the first instrumentality of the Imperial Service, subject to amendment by acts of the Imperial Couple, and shall carry out all functions of the Imperial Service relating to currency and finance.

Article III: Organization of the Service

For the purpose of performing administrative functions internal to the Imperial Service, including but not limited to appointments, archives, logistics, pay, procurement, promotions, rations, recruitment and technique, the Imperial Service shall maintain its own infrastructure, outside any instrumentality of purpose, and for this purpose, this infrastructure shall be headed by a Secretary-General (This office was de facto combined with the Lord Keeper of the Registry of the Imperial Service early in the reign of Valentia I, and they have remained combined ever since. The title of “Secretary-General of the Imperial Service” is thus effectively extinct. — ed.), who shall serve at the pleasure of the Imperial Couple.

Article IV: Information

Each Minister of the Imperial Service shall provide, upon request and in writing, any information or opinion upon any subject related to their instrumentality which the Imperial Couple shall see fit to request; and each Minister of the Imperial Service being also a liaison between that particular agency and the Senate, shall respond at any time to any questions or other requests for information from the President of the Senate.

Article V: Transfer and Interim

Upon the ratification of this Charter, each of the existing instrumentalities of the Union of Empires, of the Deeping, of Veranthyr, and of the nations of the Silver Crescent shall be transferred in whole to the Imperial Service, and the Imperial Couple shall, by legislation, see to their amalgamation and disposal.

…continued in parts ten, eleven, and twelve.

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Seven

…continued from part six.

SECTION VII: THE SENATE

Article I: Functions of the Senate

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

  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture 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 thus as are deemed necessary.
  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture such decrees as they deem necessary to handle circumstances for which no legislation provides.
  • To prepare and present to the Imperial Couple for enacture legislation to meet the Empire’s obligations under any treaty which the Senate shall choose to ratify, which shall nonetheless not be effective unless the Imperial Couple shall choose to enact it.
  • To provide to the Imperial Couple such advice and counsel as they shall deem appropriate, or that the Imperial Couple shall request from them.
  • To review, amend, and approve each budget submitted to them by the Imperial Couple, and to return it to them for enacture.
  • To adjudicate, mediate and rule upon disputes, other than disputes at law, between constituent nations of the Empire and demesnes of different nations thereof.
  • To approve the appointment of ambassadors to foreign nations nominated by the Imperial Couple.
  • To approve or repeal those treaties and agreements which governed relations between the Empire’s constituent nations prior to the founding of the Empire, or which governed relations between the Empire and a nation newly admitted to the Empire, and to codify the requirements of such treaties as shall be approved as Imperial statute law.
  • To declare a state of war, except in such cases where the state of war is required by existing Imperial law, or where invasion or imminent danger shall require such a state to be declared before the Senate may meet, in which case the power to do so shall belong to the Imperial Couple.
  • The Senate may, without the Imperial assent, enact rules governing its own behavior, censure its members for unfitting behavior; and with a substantive vote, proscribe its members from sitting.

The Senate may, additionally, discuss any other matter at any time, in order to express the sense of the Senate on a matter via a Senate Proclamation, although it may not legislate upon matters outside its Constitutional authority.

The Senate shall have two powers over the Imperial Couple: they shall have the power to declare the dissolution of the Empire, and they shall have the power to disqualify an Imperial Couple from ascending to the Imperial right and authority. However, these powers shall only be exercised for just and proper cause.

Article II: Composition of the Imperial Senate

The Imperial Senate shall be composed of three Chambers, designated and constructed as follows:

  • The Chamber of Counselors, to represent the highest knowledge and achievement of the Empire;
  • The Chamber of Demesnes, to represent the sovereignties which are joined together in the Empire; and
  • The Chamber of the People, to represent all the people of the Empire, indivisibly.

All those appointed to the Imperial Senate, regardless of Chamber, shall be entitled to the title of Senator.

No Senator shall be less than 27 years of age, and possessed of full legal capacity; shall not have completed a course of education appropriate to a daryteir; or shall have been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor of moral turpitude; or shall not have been an Imperial citizen-shareholder for nine years, unless made a citizen-shareholder by the ratification of this Charter; or shall have failed to pay an amount in due service fees to the Empire for the six years preceding his appointment.

Article III: The Chamber of Counselors

The Chamber of Counselors shall consist of 72 delegates, nominated and selected on the basis of their personal excellence, as evidenced by unstained honor, peerless wisdom, success in the arts, philosophies, sciences, commerce, or war, or deeds of renown without peer even among the ranks of the exultant.

Senators of the Chamber of Counselors shall serve for terms of twelve years; and one-third of the Chamber shall be reselected in every fourth year. Such delegates may serve indefinitely, should no adequate peer be found to take their place; but after serving their first term, they may decline the honor of further service, if the Imperial Couple shall permit.

Candidates for the Chamber of Counselors shall be nominated by the Imperial Service according to the criteria set forth by this Charter and by such law as shall refine them, to the number of 144, and shall vote amongst themselves, none being permitted to vote for their own selection, until the Chamber of Counselors is complete.

When vacancies occur in the Chamber of Counselors for any reason, the most senior of the remaining candidates nominated at the time of the nomination of the Senator vacating his seat shall be appointed to fill such a vacancy for the remainder of that term.

Article IV: The Chamber of Demesnes

For the purpose of selecting delegates to become Senators in the Chamber of Demesnes, delegates shall be selected from the demesnes of the Empire on the following basis:

  1. Each demesne of the Empire whose citizen-shareholder population is one one-hundred-forty-fourth of the Imperial citizen-shareholder population or greater shall appoint a single delegate to the Chamber of Demesnes;
  2. The demesnes of the Empire whose citizen-shareholder population is less than one one-hundred-forty-fourth shall be grouped into Circles whose total citizen-shareholder populations shall be both:
    1. As close to equal as is practically possible;
    2. And shall not exceed one one-hundred-forty-fourth of the Imperial citizen-shareholder population;
  3. From each Circle, a single demesne shall be selected by random drawing, and that demesne shall appoint a single delegate to the Chamber of Demesnes, and that delegate shall represent all demesnes of that Circle; and the other demesnes of that Circle shall appoint advisors for his counsel.

No Senator of the Chamber of Demesnes shall not be a resident of the demesne, or of one of the demesnes within the Circle, for which he has been appointed.

Senators of the Chamber of Demesnes shall serve for terms of twelve years. Such delegates may serve for twelve successive terms only, unless their reappointment is approved by a two-thirds vote of the Chamber of Demesnes.

When vacancies occur in the Chamber of Demesnes for any reason, the government of the represented demesne shall appoint another to fill such vacancies for the remainder of that term.

Article V: The Chamber of the People

For the purpose of selecting delegates to become Senators in the Chamber of the People, the citizen-shareholders of the Empire shall be divided into 144 1,728 centuries, by random and permanent assignment. A single delegate to the Chamber of the People shall be selected from each century, from among those citizen-shareholders of that century who shall be qualified for such selection; and such selection shall take place at least one month before the first session of the year.

No runér, no magistrate of a Curial court, and no-one in the Imperial Service above executorial rank shall be eligible for the Chamber of the People.

Senators of the Chamber of the People shall serve for six-year terms, and one-third of the Chamber shall be reselected in every second year. One who has served as Senator for a particular century shall be ineligible for selection again until twelve subsequent selections have been made.

When vacancies happen in the representation in the Chamber of the People for any reason, the Imperial Couple shall issue a Writ of Selection to fill such vacancies for the remainder of that term.

(The strikeout/boldface in the above article represents the First Amendment, expanding the Chamber of the People by increasing the number of centuries from 144 to 1,728. This significantly expanded the flexibility of the Senate to represent the different bodies of opinion among the people, as the Empire expanded, at the price of additional administrative overhead. As a historical note, while additional expansions to the Chamber (and, indeed, the Chamber of Demesnes) have often been mooted, the administrative difficulties of supporting meaningful debate between such a larger number has invariably resulted in the defeat of such amendments. )

Article VI: Aisymnetes

In times of interregnum or emergency, where no legitimate Imperial power exists, the Senate may grant through the mechanism of the aisymnetes the Imperial right and authority to another, for a term not to exceed one year. At the time of such appointment, the Senate may prescribe boundaries within which the selected one is obliged to remain. At the end of his term, the actions of the selected one shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Article VII: Appointments

Approval of appointments, both those of ambassadors and diplomatic officers, and those other appointments which legislation may place in their purview, shall require a two-thirds vote of both the Chamber of the People and of the Chamber of Demesnes.

Article VIII: Citizen-Shareholder Veto

Any Senator may invoke a citizen-shareholder veto upon any legislative act currently before by the Senate, and said act is, unless addressing a present emergency or such imminent danger as not to admit of delay, then to be voted on by all of the citizen-shareholders of the Empire before its implementation. A simple majority vote of the citizenry is sufficient to veto the passage of such an act. When such a veto is invoked on an act addressing an emergency or imminent danger, it shall be implemented immediately, but the citizen-shareholder veto shall cause it to be repealed immediately should the vote be successful.

Article IX: Enabling Acts

No law shall be passed routinely exempting the Imperial Couple, the Senate, or Curia, or any other instrumentality of the Imperial government, from any provision of any Imperial law; but recognizing that extraordinary circumstances often demand extraordinary measures, the Senate may authorize, through the mechanism of the Enabling Act, a specified set of extraordinary measures to be undertaken, though they conflict with any Imperial law outside this Charter, and these measures shall be considered lawful.

Article X: Initiatives

Every citizen-shareholder of the Empire has the right to submit a legislative proposal to the Senate by written petition through the public dataweave, and such proposals shall be made available for public vote, and any legislative proposal that receives the support of one twelfth part of the population shall be brought before the Senate and there debated.

(Strikethrough and boldface in the above article are the Second Amendment, passed as part of the on-line governance reforms in the heyday of the first Empire-wide public networks, which replaced the then increasingly archaic written petition procedure for submitting citizen legislative proposals with a mechanism for such to be done electronically. )

Article XI: Legislative Unity

No bill brought before the Senate shall contain legislation touching on more than one subject, except for non-substantive bills for revision or codification of the statute law brought before the Senate by the Curia; or budgetary bills; or bills of appropriation.

Neither budgetary bills nor bills of appropriation shall contain legislative elements, or other matters outside the defined purpose of the bill; nor shall the Senate, within a bill of appropriation, seek to manage the allocation of appropriations beyond the stated purpose of the bill.

Article XII: Magnates

Should any Imperial citizen show great ability and wisdom, it shall be the right of the Imperial Couple or the Senate to nominate him for a seat in the Chamber of Counselors, and this being approved jointly by the Imperial Couple and a two-thirds vote of the full Senate, he shall be granted the right to attend meetings of the Chamber or of the full Senate and there speak, although he shall not have a vote, and the title of Magnate.

Should it prove necessary, such Magnates shall be subject to discipline and censure in the same manner as Senators.

Article XIII: Matters of Substance

On such bills for which this Charter shall require a substantive vote, and on such bills as subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate shall require a substantive vote, and on such individual votes for which at least one-sixth of the Senators there voting shall require a substantive vote, the Senate shall require a five-sixths vote to affirm.

A bill or other vote upon which a substantive vote is required in a single Chamber shall require a substantive vote to be taken in every Chamber in which it must be voted upon; and should it have failed to achieve a substantive vote in a previous Chamber before the requirement was known, it must be returned to that Chamber, there to achieve one, before it may pass.

Article XIV: President of the Senate

At the beginning of each year’s fixed session of the Senate, the Senate as a whole shall elect from itself, by a two-thirds majority, the President of the Senate, who shall be empowered to summon the Senate into special session, to oversee the Senate’s deliberations, to appoint and to command such other officers of the Senate as it shall deem necessary to its functions, to ensure that the Senate’s Chartered duties are carried out, and to represent the Senate to the Imperial Couple, the Curia, and the people of the Empire. The President of the Senate shall hold his office until the beginning of the next year’s fixed session.

The President of the Senate may be removed at any time by a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which shall require a two-thirds majority of the Senate as a whole.

Article XV: Procedures

Any legislative measure, or other bill, save a bill for repeal, may be introduced in either the Chamber of the People or the Chamber of Demesnes, and shall become effective when passed by a two-thirds vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes, except in those cases where a substantive vote is specified in this Charter, or by subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate, or is called for by one-sixth of the Senators there voting.

Should a legislative measure, or other bill, fail to achieve a two-thirds vote, or substantive vote, in both Chambers, it shall be referred to the Chamber of Counselors for decision, and a two-thirds vote, or substantive vote, shall make it effective. The Senate may not, however, require less than a two-thirds vote of both Chambers to enact new legislation.

The Chamber of Counselors may initiate any legislative measure, or other bill, including a bill for repeal, by simple majority vote, which shall then be submitted to the other two Chambers for enacture.

As an advisory body, the Chamber of Counselors may introduce an opinion or motion on any measure pending before either of the other two Chambers; and either of the other Chambers may request the opinion of the Chamber of Counselors before acting upon a measure.

Each Chamber of the Senate shall adopt its own detailed rules of procedure, which shall be consistent with the procedural rules set forth in this Charter.

Article XVI: Repeal

A bill for repeal may be introduced in either the Chamber of the People or the Chamber of Demesnes, and shall become effective when passed by a one-third vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes, except in those cases where a substantive vote is specified in this Charter, or by subsequent legislation or an adopted procedure of the Senate, or is called for by one-sixth of the Senators there voting, in which case it shall be effective when passed by a one-half vote of both the Chamber of the People and the Chamber of Demesnes.

Should a bill for repeal fail to achieve a one-third vote, or substantive vote, in both Chambers, it shall be referred to the Chamber of Counselors for decision, and a one-third vote, or substantive vote, shall make it effective. The Senate may not, however, require less than, or more than, a one-third vote of both Chambers to repeal legislation.

Article XVII: Quorum

The Senate may not convene with fewer than two-thirds of the total number of members; and shall take no substantive decisions, under any circumstances, with less than five-sixths of its total number of members present.

Article XVIII: Sacrosanctity

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

Senators shall not be liable for any of their votes, written submissions, or statements given in debate within the Senate, nor shall any such vote or statement give rise to any action in law, save only an action in respect of legislation outside the bounds of this Charter.

Article XIX: Sessions

The Senate shall assemble in full session at least once in every year, and such session shall begin at noon on the day of the spring equinox, unless they shall by law appoint a different day; and all sessions shall be held at the seat of government, unless a declared state of emergency prevents this.

After the Senate shall have adjourned, it may be called back into session by proclamation of the Imperial Couple, or by the President of the Senate, having received a petition signed by at least one-sixth of the Senators of each Chamber; and having been called back into session, shall not then adjourn again until it has given consideration to the specific matter for which it was summoned.

Article XX: Transparency

The Senate shall keep a journal of all its proceedings, in which the full debate verbatim and the vote upon every question shall be entered, and upon the end of each week’s session shall publish the same, excepting such parts as must, for the public safety, require secrecy.

Any Senator may make written protest against any act or resolution of the Senate, and the same shall be entered in the journal without delay or alteration.

…continued in parts eight and nine.

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Six

…continued from part five.

SECTION VI: THE CURIA

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.

SECTION V: THE IMPERIAL COUPLE

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?

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Four

…continued from part three.

SECTION IV: NATIONS OF THE EMPIRE

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.

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Three

Continued from part two.

SECTION III: SHAREHOLDING AND CITIZENSHIP

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.

 

The Imperial Charter: Section Two

…continued from part one.

SECTION II: THE EMPIRE

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.

PREAMBLE

WE:

  • ALPHAS I AMANYR, EMPEROR OF CESTIA and the UNION OF EMPIRES
  • SELEDIË III SELEQUELIOS, EMPRESS OF SELENARIA and the UNION OF EMPIRES
  • LORAN CAMRÍÄD, THÉARCH of the DEEPING
  • LIRÍEL LÁRATHYR, QUEEN OF VERANTHYR
  • VARÍÄN LEIRAVÁL, KING OF LEIRIN for the POLYARCHY of the SILVER CRESCENT

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.

SECTION I: THE 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.

 

Administering Advice

(Still working on actual posts, but here, have a snippet…)

“One perpetual confusion among external Empire-watchers is the confusion between the Ministries of Throne and State and the Shadow Ministries – for example, between the Ministry of Harmonious Serenity, which is a duly empowered governance instrumentality and enforcer of rights and obligations both fundamental and civil, and the Ministry of Exquisition, which is a private Empire-wide circle of branches self-tasked with the promotion of fabulosity, and whose closest approach to governmental power is its chief executive’s entreé to the Court of Courts.

“It is this latter that gives rise to this designation: the leading figure of a Shadow Ministry is afforded the title of Minister as a praetorian courtesy rank along with their entreé; from this, the designation of such courtier-led associations individually as Ministries and collectively as the Shadow Ministries is a simple matter of back-formation and custom.

“Since everyone moving in such circles as are likely to bring them into contact with the Shadow Ministries or the Court of Courts are comfortably aware of this distinction, it is unlikely that any clarifying changes will be made; one should consult the latest edition of the Registry of the Imperial Service (available for reference at any Imperial Services office or directly from the Ministry of Civic Information1) to determine which type of Ministry you are dealing with.”

– Ten Thousand Parts in Approximate Formation: The Empire from Outside

1. A Ministry of State, underneath the Ministry of the Empire, a Ministry of the Throne.

 

Keeper

2016_K

(Alternate words: kindergarten, kinetic.)

BLACKFALL’S LANDING, KAMEQÓ

[Informational: Until 27 hours previous to message dispatch, the city of Blackfall’s Landing was designated as Ilin Var; such codings may still be in use.]

Another coup has rocked the former Whatever of Kameqó today with the ascension of Lord Blackfall, unquestioned savior of the Kameqán people

[Informational: q.v. Spintronic Fictions, Shadowed Planet, emergent intelligence]

and destined Overlord of the Starfall Arc, to the position of Keeper of the Eternal Kameqán Empire and Master of All. In his first and so far only speech for public consumption, Lord Blackfall instructed his new citizens to “rejoice at Blackfall’s coming, and revel in the freedom and dignity that comes only with total submission to Blackfall’s commands”, adding that “their petty, insignificant lives would finally know purpose in in supporting the greatness that is Blackfall, and his Empire of One Million Years”.

Despite the greater than usual bloodshed of the coup – in which Lord Blackfall’s just and proper disintegration of the weak-willed fools and mindless mongrels comprising the former Kameqán political class proved substantially more thorough than is typical of a Kameqán coup – local opinion, while subdued, proved supportive of the new regime, with particular reference to the legal and economic reforms already instituted and the promise of more to come.

[Informational: Despite and due to this publication’s normal skepticism with regard to news releases originating in autocratic regimes, this appears to be true for the moment.]

Interstellar governance commentator Victoria Diarch’s initial remarks perhaps sum up the Accord’s response to the situation: “Well, whatever he is and whereever he came from, he has to be more competent than the last ones.”

 

Questions: Lords of Admiralty

Specialist290 asks:

In addition to my previous queries, an additional historical / etymological one:  Does the presence of “Lords of the Admiralty” in the Empire’s military hierarchy imply, like their *our*-world British counterparts, that their duties were once concentrated in a singular office of “Lord High Admiral” whose role eventually evolved into an office held in commission?

Well spotted, but alas, no. It’s just the best close approximation I could find to the actual title, noting specifically that in the Eldraeverse it is not short for “Lords Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral”.

As for why that is the title… well, it works like this.

In Imperial practice, there are three kinds of what for want of a better word we shall call “nobility”: the runér, the praetorate, and the exultancy. The first, the runér, are the executive branch – your lairds, barons, counts, dukes, kings, etc., or for that matter your city managers, county commissioners, and state governors. The third, the exultancy, are titles of prestige awarded for loyal service, superior achievement, or otherwise great merit. Those don’t come with hard power, merely precedence, prestige, honors, letterheads, entrées, and the ability to get good tables in nice restaurants at short notice.

The second, the praetorate, includes titles like these – it being the general case that people who routinely interact at the highest levels with the highly-titled runér need equivalent honors, dignities, and precedence to support their offices. At lower levels of the table of ranks, usually it doesn’t apply, but at the uppermost levels – what I might call the Mandarinate if I needed a translation for that term, yet – most offices have some unique praetorate title with its own place in the big list of official precedence.

So in this case –

Well. The top of the Table of Ranks for the Imperial Military Service is grade O-14, which the Imperial Navy calls Admiral of the Fleet, the Imperial Legions call Captain-General of the Legions, the Home Guard calls Commandant of the Guard, and the stratarchies call Lord High Stratarch. Traditionally, that rank is reserved for Lords of Admiralty, so each service only has one of them except for the one that furnishes the First Lord of Admiralty, which gets two.

But that’s a military rank. It empowers them to head up their particular military service, but doesn’t mean anything outside that. (Those who remember The Core War will recall orders sent out from someone using the rank ADM/FLT, rather than from the First Lord of the Admiralty, for example…)

All of those people also sit on the Board of Admiralty, which actually runs the Imperial Military Service as a whole. Their military ranks serve for that portion of the job. For interfacing with the civilian government, however, each of them holds a unique title as one of the Lords of Admiralty, which is equivalent to grade XIII on the Table of Ranks for the Imperial Service (“Minister of State” or “Logarch”), except for the First Lord of the Admiralty, who is ranked as grade XIV (“Minister of the Throne” and/or other Great Officer of State).

Which in turn is because the other Lords of Admiralty sit only on the Board of Admiralty and in meetings of the Council of Ministers (the larger of the two bodies which includes the heads of all the ministries beneath the seven large ones as well as the seven, presided over by the Lord Coordinator of the Chancelry acting as the Minister President of the Council) whereas the First Lord sits on the Council of the Star (the top-level executive body which includes only the seven top-level ministries – of which the Admiralty counts as one – presided over by the Imperial Couple personally).

(If I were to make an analogy to US government here, I’d say that one could analogize the Board of Admiralty in Imperial practice to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the First Lord to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, except that the First Lord’s job is also that of the Secretary of Defense, which is why it’s also the functional equivalent of a Cabinet-level post.)

All of which is very involved, but then, I am attempting to simulate a somewhat evolved structure, here, not an unnaturally clean one…

So, to sum up, basically, they’re called that because it’s Translation Convention for the noble-equivalent title that comes with the job.

 

Imperial Succession

In a comment in the previous post, there is some curiosity as to how the Imperial Couple is selected. So, behold, I answer:

It’s semi-hereditarian. The heir is notionally picked from among the members of the Imperial family, in an attempt to capture the hereditarian advantage of having someone trained for the job lined up, not just some random schmuck1; especially since the Imperial family also serves the Imperial Couple as a talent pool for extraordinary tasks so they can get an idea of what their on-the-job performance is like.

But it’s not directly primogenitive, etc.: the current incumbents get to nominate their heir from among all the possible candidates, so if Mr. Firstborn wants to succeed to the throne, he’s got to work hard at putting himself out in front of the rest of his generation. And also any really exceptional candidates from outside, because succession-by-adoption is also part of how the system works.

After that, first, in order to be nominated in the first place, you have to be, well, a couple. This is a diarchy; the system’s not set up to have singletons on the Dragon Throne. It would eliminate checks and stabilization factors that are supposed to be there. (You also have to be a happy, well-adjusted, non-dysfunctional one that’s capable of working together successfully, but that pretty much goes without saying.)

(Now, as for triads and other topologically-different marital forms, to broach the obvious question: well, it will be an interesting day, Charter-law-wise, when one of those is the best candidate for succession, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

After being nominated, as a check to ensure the process is working properly, they have a triple gauntlet to run:

First, the Senate can veto successions they don’t approve of, which eliminates anyone who either lacks the arete to lead – which, eldrae being eldrae, culls everyone who isn’t an adequately polymathic genius with a history of achievement in multiple fields to prove it – or who can’t garner enough support to lead.

Second, the Eupraxic Collegium can veto anyone who doesn’t meet their strictest standards of sanity and rationality, because no-one wants a crazy person on the throne, even a well-hidden one.

And third, they have to be accepted by the Imperial Presence, the composite mentality of Imperial Couples past dwelling in the Transcend’s mind, as a subset of itself.

…but after fulfilling all those hurdles, then they get to be the officially designated heirs.

1. Just to continue a little on the theme of the Democracy Is Bad trope, while I’m at it, the Imperial opinion of the sort of people we put in charge of various executive branches on Earth is that while the process does ensure that they have some talents in the areas of rhetoric, amateur memetics, and graft, their gifts in the areas of actual leadership and sovereign administration wouldn’t qualify them to run a lemonade stand in, y’know, civilized parts.

Trope-a-Day: Royal Blood

Royal Blood: Averted, except inasmuch as those who know they’re going to grow up to be rúner are genetically engineered for a laundry list of desirable traits in people who are expected to hold sovereign authority and use it wisely, rarely, and with great caution.

(Of course, given the nature of civilization, it’s not like any of those traits are specific or restricted to the rúner)

Whatever of Kameqó

Single-system polity, consisting of the star system of Kameqó (Uulder Shore) with the exception of a small number of independent drifts. Its unusual galactographic sobriquet comes from its extreme governancial instability. Over the last century, Kameqó has enjoyed the following governances:

  • Kingdom of Kameqó (constitutional monarchy)
  • Kingdom of Kameqó (absolute monarchy)
  • Republic of Kameqó (democracy)
  • Holy Land of Kameqó (theocracy)
  • Kameqóan Militate (military junta)
  • Lintenian Kameqó Protectorate (externally-imposed governance following an unsuccessful attempt at interstellar imperialism)
  • Restored Regent-Kingdom of Kameqó (regency)
  • Confederated Workers’ Soviets of Kameqó (communist state)
  • Kameqóan Interregnal Period (anarchy)
  • Eternal Holy Land of Kameqó (theocracy)
  • Civic Plutocracy of Kameqó (corporate city-states)
  • People’s Republic of Kameqó (socialist democracy)
  • People’s Techlepathic Republic of Kameqó (hive-mind democracy)
  • Ascetacy of Kameqó (primitivist)
  • Panic Guilds of Kameqó (prandialist syndicracy)

Despite this rapid turnover in governance, the Kameqó system remains relatively safe to visit for outsiders, provided that they refrain from opining on political topics or otherwise appearing to take any sides in local political affairs; unusually, the Kameqóan political sects tend to concentrate their internecine warfare on each other, and even local “non-polit” residents find it possible to keep their heads down and get on with their lives, despite the ongoing rain of inconvenience from above and the severely deleterious effect it has on the system economy.

The primary export of the Kameqó polity is newsbytes; its primary imports include weapons, relief supplies, political memes, and sociodynamicists. Those considering speculative trade should bear in mind that, due to the aforementioned deleterious effects, Kameqóan local currency is commonly valued below an equivalent volume of blank scrip, and is in any case subject to complete devaluation at the next change in governance; trading only in hard currency is advised.

Libertist theorists point to Kameqó as an example of the systemic failure modes inherent in any kind of cratic governance. Serious libertist theorists point to Kameqó as an example of a pathological case that makes for a terrible example.

– Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Ecumene