Let’s Break It Down

liquidator (sovereign): As a member of a satrap’s retinue, primarily in cases of annexation, it is the function of the sovereign liquidator to trim down the newly acquired governance to something approximating the Imperial standard. Since the majority of barbarian governances have arrogated to themselves a certain number of necessary and useful functions – outwith the legitimate functions of governance – and do not exist solely as mechanisms for the application of high-handed interference, presumptuous regulation, and arbitrary brutality, this is unfortunately not something that can be achieved merely by dispatching writs of abolishment to all and sundry.

To further dismay, neither is this as simple as centuries of ham-handed “privatization” attempts might make it seem, were one to ignore their results. A typical necessary and useful organization to be broken up by a liquidator is nonetheless ossified; uninnovative; risk-avoidant; accustomed to a position of legal monopoly; in the habit of answering to political masters rather than its nominal customers; derives its revenues in ways separated, to one degree or many, from the satisfaction of said customers’ requests; burdened with a thousand mandates outside its core competency; and whose staff frequently have a variety of unhelpful attitudes including apathy, grim resentment, petty-korásan syndrome, office politicking, political officing¹, cog functionalism², contraproject activism³, and either blind ignorance of or pig-headed indifference to the coquetries of economic reality.

The task of the liquidator is to abolish these slow-motion disasters without allowing them to become fast-motion disasters.

When chopping up an interdependent monolith, making your incisions in the wrong place may produce a mere private monopoly, or a cartel – doomed to eventually topple without a legal monopoly, assuredly, but while fulfilling the liquidatorial mandate in the most technical sense, this is hardly a result to be desired. Worse, it may produce organizations incapable of surviving independently in the short run, meaning in this case before alternate organizations can take up their function. Remember, due to the tendency of these governances to monopolize any field in which they engage, such functions will not be available on the local market to take up the slack.

Of the greatest difficulty, of course, is finding people to direct the new organizations. The nature of the old is unlikely to have created a dynamic organizational culture ready and willing to adapt to the marketplace, let alone thrive there. One may be fortunate enough to find some potential leadership within the old organization not yet stultified by its internal sociodynamics – which may, in some cases, be as simple as eliminating the old hierarchical management structure and replacing it with a bottom-up cooperative structure⁴ – but often one is compelled to resort to such means as bringing entrepreneurial talent in from outside⁵, strapping on appropriate floating initiatives and trusting that the organization will pay attention to them, or as a last resort⁶, transferring core staff and assets to an Imperial organization with local interests, similar purpose, and a willingness to take on the job.

These difficulties, together, make it all-important that the sovereign liquidator be a soph of great patience, calm temperament, and stout of both heart and liver.

– Offices of the Imperial Service, 143rd ed.


For those not familiar with synarchist jargon for various types of dysfunction, the following helpful footnotes are appended:

  1. political officing: the practice of subordinating the function of the organization to one’s own ends, usually unconnected to the stated purpose of the organization; when not practiced by the Directorate or its equivalent, it does not constitute entelechical fraud, but is nonetheless inappropriate and may constitute a subversive breach of contract.

  2. cog functionalism: also known as “jobsworth syndrome”, from the oft-repeated cry of the advanced sufferer that exercising any creativity or stretching beyond the bounds of normal routine is “more than my job’s worth”; the unwillingness or actual inability to do anything beyond the boundaries of existing procedure. Sufferers could, in theory, be replaced by a small automation script, and in practice, often are.

  3. contraproject activism: unlike political officing, which is merely diversionary, contraproject activism subverts the function of the organization to work against its own entelechy. Hard as it is to believe, when you find an education provider deleting advanced courses, a transport service encouraging people to stay at home, or an energy supplier promoting restrictions on energy use, you’ve found contraproject activism.

  4. In some examples of this type of organization (e.g., those which issues with organizational culture have not promoted cog functionalism, apathy, and featherbedding), the staff at the sharp end of the organization care far more about its nominal function and serving its customers’ interests than those in charge, and in those cases, such a structural inversion can work very well.

  5. Carefully screened, of course, since such offers have an appalling appeal to the unscrupulous type of vulture, those more interested in picking apart the wreckage than in building a functional organization.

  6. The Empire generally finds it preferable, from a sociodynamic-development standpoint, for such organizations to be constructed locally by, for, and out of the communities they serve, at least initially. Such convergence as partnerships, mergers, and other arrangements in the future may bring about can then safely be left up to the resulting structure, rather than imposed externally.

A Little Too Smart

The Esmérel secretary is a breed of long, low-set bandal with short legs and a deep chest, possessed of great speed, stamina, and grace, as well as a remarkable intelligence and ability to memorize and perform complex tasks without distraction. Secretaries nominally weigh around 30 pounds, and come in a variety of coat colors, most notably the blue-merle pattern found in the original Imperial Service lineages.

Historically, the Esmérel secretary was bred out of a number of southern Selenarian herding lineages to serve as aides in the Selenarian imperial bureaucracy, running messages and performing other minor office tasks. (Indeed, many older Service buildings still contain the special doors and passages built for these bandal on their rounds.) In the modern era, they are found in many roles as general assistants and work-partners in the office and in the home, as well as companions and personal helpers.

– Know Your Bandal: A Short Guide to Floofy Cladistics

Esmérel dupe: Found primarily in older paper records, an “Esmérel dupe” is a duplicate index entry dating to the early years of the use of Esmérel secretary bandal in the Imperial Service; specifically, duplicate index entries created by those ingenious devils who discovered that extra ear scritches and belly rubs could be earned by delivering the same document to the archives twice.

– Dictionary of Imperial Service Jargon, 36th ed.

Trope-a-Day: Apocalyptic Logistics

Apocalyptic Logistics: Enabled, to some degree, by the way in which the Imperial Emergency Management Authority is staffed by ever Crazy Prepared-type that the Imperial Service has available. (Manufacturing is made somewhat easier by cornucopias, but they too depend on central nanoslurry supplies and energy supplies, so it’s not like they’re a panacea in this department.) But the EMA is notorious for its Crisis Citadels, entire mountains and asteroids stuffed with emergency supplies of all kinds, and their smaller local counterparts, and their deployable disaster pods – and even for sponsoring the engineering of things like home-growable pharm plants. Oh, and emergency command centers build aboard giant flying-wing aircraft that never land to ensure that ground-based disasters can’t take them out. Which are themselves redundant. (In full accordance with the traditions of the Imperial governance – it may not do much, by design, but those things it does do it does very well indeed.)

As a side note, it also helps that Flamic doctrine takes its negentropy seriously, and as such the faithful are expected to be as well prepared for emergencies as, say, the Mormons, with some extra emphasis on rebuilding.

…civilization may one day fall, but the forces of entropy are going to have to work for anything much more than a stumble.

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.

 

Forgetting Is Mandatory

ISE SECURITY ADVISORY 4420-116

RESTRICTED (INFRARED)

Note: This document replaces ISE Security Advisory 4112-11. It is applicable to personnel of all levels of the Imperial Service and Imperial Military Service, and to all external contractors of the Imperial Service and Imperial Military Service, and all other individuals whatsoever endorsed with a security clearance issued by the Central Vetting Office.

All personnel are reminded that, per clause XVIII of the revised Official Secrets Act, all codeword clearance information classified above SECRET (YELLOW) is considered highly sensitive, remains classified even when stored within the mind-state of cleared individuals, and may not be exported to regions outside Imperial volumes. All personnel containing such data are required to report for noetic redaction of such information before departing the Imperial core volume or other equivalently secure-graded volume, except when it falls under need-to-know for a particular field operation.

It should be noted that clause XVIII applies to transit as well as destination. Personnel travelling outside the Imperial core volume to reach distant volumes also graded as equivalently secure must report for noetic redaction of such information; arrangements will be made to transmit it separately to the destination volume or for it to accompany them in an approved secure data transport system.

Strict adherence to these protocols is more important than ever in the light of the increased SOPHINT efforts seen around the Worlds. A prepared Empire is a secure Empire!

Trope-a-Day: Internal Affairs

Internal Affairs: Threefold, actually, in the form of the Threefold Auditors of Impropriety, three departments only united at the level of the Stellar Council which audit the entire Imperial Service, including both the Watch Constabulary and the Imperial Military Service.

In addition to the different institutional perspectives deliberately maintained by the three different departments (the Offices of Internal Audit, Service Security, and Censorious Scrutiny), this is an attempt to square the circle implied by Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? – the Threefold Auditors audit each other with, if anything, even more vigor than they apply to keeping the rest of the Service on the straight and narrow.

Trope-a-Day: Color-Coded Patrician

Color-Coded Patrician: Played straight with the uniform colors for each of the Ministries, the Senate, and the Curia, along with all of the runér; of course, there are no sumptuary laws rendering those colors off-limits for anyone else, but you can usually tell on any formal occasion by looking for people wearing the right kind of formal dress, then divide them up by the colors.

Positive Externalities

All income earned, by individuals other than the Imperial Service or duly contracted security providers where the activities in question are within the scope of their contract, in the course of:

  • Defeating or preventing existential, species-level, or Imperial security threats, whether global or local;
  • Repelling raids or invasions;
  • Preventing acts of terrorism or exceptionary crime;
  • Preventing or ameliorating ongoing natural disasters or technological accidents;
  • Or otherwise engaging in activities falling within a reasonable definition of ‘saving the world’;

And all income deriving from technologies or other intellectual properties or physical properties developed or appropriated (when duly condemned by a prize court) during such activities, for a period of twelve years subsequently;

Shall not be subject to general taxation.

– Imperial Revenue Code, Vol. 2 (Special Exemptions) § 17.