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Holy Terran Empire

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The successor state to the Earth Federation after the Caal invasion and the Ascension War. Although it makes extensive use of imperial and aristocratic styles, the Holy Terran Empire functions as a confederation of systems with their own independent governments, called the Houses. They are united by the personal rule of Emperor Vin Dane, who derives power from the Imperial Navy's control of hyperspace trade routes.


BirthEdit

The Caal fleet was defeated at the Battle of Avalon in 2264 thanks to Vin Dane's use of the Orb. With Clarke dead and the Grand Council in disarray, Vin Dane seized the reigns of government for himself. At the urging of the doomsday cult which had formed in response to the Caal threat, Vin Dane took the title of Emperor while priests began to promote his worship as a god. At first, the Emperor was cool to these claims of divinity, and it was only the cultists who insisted upon adding 'Holy' to the Terran Emperor's official title.

The Ascension WarEdit

Initial ScrambleEdit

Vin Dane moved quickly to secure his authority on as many former Federation worlds as possible. He married Miranda Mayfield, making her Empress, elevated his friend Demar Palencia to Field Marshall of the Imperial Army, hastily assembled from loyal elements of the old Tech Infantry and Light Infantry. The former Earth Federation Minister of Production, Amanda Kait was appointed Imperial Chancellor to lead the Imperial Bureaucracy. The Horadrim Empire also swiftly declared its support for Dane, eager to have one of its own in direct charge of its alliance with Humanity.

Despite these maneuvers, the Emperor could not stop the old Federation from fracturing into several competing factions. His manipulative former Raptor colleague, Andrea Treschi, managed to form the Terran Republic out of various Resistance cells and the bulk of Tech Infantry forces deployed against the Bugs. At the same time, most of Earth Fleet's surviving mobile forces remained loyal to a rump Federation led by Admiral Joseph Smythe. Finally, the fugitive Senator Aisha Ramirez managed to secure control of several systems using her Light Infantry gendarmes. Squeezed on three fronts, the Empire seemed to be headed for an early grave.

Last Tyrant StandingEdit

With few other options, the Emperor played for time, drawing most of his fleet back to defensive positions around Avalon, Earth, and New Paris. The gamble paid off. While his enemies nibbled at the Imperial fringe, the other Human factions began to succumb to war fatigue and internal divisions. Treschi's Republic collapsed first. Riven by defections, the Imperial Navy launched a blitzkrieg attack that penetrated deep into Republican space with almost no opposition.

Smythe's Federation proved more resilient, and seemed to have a chance at genuine victory after signing an accord with Ramirez's Ministry, uniting the two states. But Earth Fleet had been worn down by attrition in battles with the Jurvain, Bugs, and Empire, and had limited support facilities to make up their losses. Eventually, Admiral Smythe resorted to desperate measures: an alliance with the Sabbat to covertly assassinate Vin Dane on Avalon.

The Final BattleEdit

The war concluded with the Battle of the Round Table, Avalon's primary spaceport. Stripped of his magick in an earlier assassination attempt, a weakened Vin Dane was attacked while broadcasting from his bunker. The Federation and Sabbat assault team managed to break through heavy resistance by the Imperial Bodyguard and kill Demar Palencia. But despite infecting the Emperor with a Soul Web-destroying nanovirus engineered by the K'Nes, the assault failed just short of its goal.

In the aftermath, it was clear that the Empire's rise was unstoppable. Admiral Smythe committed suicide, and Herbert Gergenstein convinced the reamining Federation worlds to surrender to the Empire rather than suffer conquest.

Purges and ConsolidationEdit

Unknown to most, the real Vin Dane did indeed perish at the Round Table.  A deranged Caal had seized control of the Orb and used it to murder and then impersonate the Emperor.  After killing the Empress and securing his position, the fraudulent Emperor began eliminating everyone who had ever known Vin Dane personally, ensuring that none would grow suspicious of his altered behavior.

The most dramatic reform of the Emperor's rule has been the imposition of an Imperial monopoly over interstellar trade.  Since the end of the Ascension War, the Imperial Navy has been slowly dismantling jumpgates and hyperspace beacons, cutting off travel along all but a limited number of routes controlled by the Navy.  This has given the Emperor a degree of power over the Empire that even Clarke did not approach with the Five Acts.  Rebellious systems may be completely cut off from trade and resupply, allowing their economies to wither and their populations to starve until loyalty to the Emperor is reaffirmed, usually after a system is conquered by an opportunistic warlord with dreams of founding his own House.  The Empire's economy has suffered tremendously from this policy, and the Imperial Navy is stretched thin to maintain its blockade.  But the Emperor has deemed this a worthwhile price to pay in return for wielding iron control over his subjects.

GovernmentEdit

The Empire is an absolute monarchy. However, the Emperor Vin Dane has no heir, and anyway claims to be immortal, leaving open the question of whether his title is hereditary or elective.  The seat of the Empire is Avalon, previously the capital system of the Earth Federation.

HousesEdit

Although the Emperor claims absolute authority, he allows almost complete autonomy to most of the systems which constitute the Empire.  These are governed by the Houses, powerful families or cliques who have acquired territory through purchase, subterfuge, or simple conquest.  The heads of the various Houses represent the most elite tier of the Empire's nobility, second in rank only to the Emperor himself.

Most Houses only control a single star system, and some of those only tenuously.  A handful of "Great Houses" rule as many as two or three systems.  Of course the greatest of these is the Imperial House, or House Dane, through which the Emperor personally governs the Earth and Avalon systems.

For the purpose of most records and court functions, the Horadrim Empire is considered to be one of the Houses of the Empire.  In practice, however, the Horadrim remain almost totally independent and aloof, and do not participate in Court or send a representative to the Imperial Diet.

Despite recognizing the Emperor as their mutual sovereign, many Houses engage in full-scale warfare against one another over issues of territory and trade.  The Emperor does little to control this fighting, except to ensure that no House builds warships that could threaten the Imperial Navy or interferes with Imperial merchants.  House military leaders are also usually careful to limit to damage to planetary infrastructures, in order to preserve potential wealth for their own lords.  Still, these inter-House conflicts cause thousands of casualties and billions of crowns' worth of damage every year.

Imperial DietEdit

An outgrowth of the Imperial Court, the Diet is a general assembly of all the Empire's nobility.  While not a true parliament, since the Emperor brooks no challenge to his legislative power, the Diet meets regularly and has developed formal rules of procedure.  The Diet claims to "advise" the Emperor on important concerns, but mostly acts as a simple cheerleader, approving decisions which have already been made.

More importantly, the body serves as a diplomatic forum for the nobility themselves.  By determining its own membership, the Diet has achieved de-facto power to define the terms and titles of nobility within the Empire.  Occasionally it has wielded this power to broker peace between Houses warring over a system, although more often it simply recognizes a victor by transferring title and seats within the Diet.

By tradition, the Speaker of the Diet is the Pontifex of the Cult of the Emperor, currently Archduke Edmund Villars of New Paris.

Imperial BureaucracyEdit

Most of the old civil institutions of the Federation were preserved and reconstituted as the Imperial Bureaucracy.  This includes the Imperial Services Bureau, the various arms of Imperial Security ("ImpSec"), and the Logistics Corps (the merchant marine).  Despite the "Imperial" moniker, most of the Bureaucracy operates only within the territory of the Imperial House: the Earth and Avalon systems.  The other Houses maintain their own equivalent agencies for their own territories.

Chancellor Amanda Kait was head of the Imperial Bureaucracy from 2265 until 2273, and was one of the only high officials of the Empire to live through the Ascension War and the subsequent purges to retire peacefully.  Her successor as Chancellor is Hafiz Orr.

MilitaryEdit

The Empire's military is divided into two independent branches comprising space and ground forces.  The Emperor is Commander in Chief of both branches, but does not concern himself with their day-to-day management or most operational affairs.

The Imperial Navy is the Empire's starfleet.  Commanded by Lord of the Fleet Ramachander Pennyworth, it is the first line of defense against hostile incursions into Imperial space.  Since the Ascension War, the Navy's forces have been spread thin enforcing an Imperial monopoly on hyperspace trade.  This leaves very few warships available for fleet deployments, and has made the Empire a target for invasion by both the Bugs and Jurvain.

The Imperial Army is a much smaller and less prestigious force responsible for groundside combat operations.  It consists of only a small core of regular soldiers. In the event of large-scale operations, most of the Empire's land and atmospheric power is supposed to be provided by the Houses, whose retinues may be subordinated to Army generals.  The Imperial Army is currently led by Grand Marshal Ericka Ture.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Holy Terran Empire is based off of Frank Herbert's Dune series and the Padashah Emperor, as well as being a play on the term "Holy Roman Empire" in history.  The characters involved are taken from the TI novella, "Prayer for the Technocrats."

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