Colonies in the First Terran Empire

Colonies were a constant power struggle between Colonial Regulation (ColReg) and the Bureaucratic Corps (BuCorps). In the long run, BuCorps won nearly every time.

ColReg was responsible, from the very first Imperial colony, for planetary government as well as interplanetary regulation. A Colonial Administrator was appointed by ColReg, with due allowance for the wishes of the colonists. Administrator was a management position, and he/she set up what sub-levels of government were needed.

Colonists trained in bureaucracy usually managed to get positions in the Colonial Administration -- and thus the groundwork was was laid for BuCorps' eventual victory.

When the Colony paid off its original debt -- which could be as quickly as five or ten years -- it lost Colonial status and became officially an Imperial world in good standing. At that point, ColReg's involvement was over, and the Colonial Administration passed under the control of BuCorps.

And then, quickly or slowly, Planetary Administration came to resemble all other Planetary Administrations . . . for Administration was what BuCorps did best. There was an Administrator (or Governor, Supervisor, President, or any of a number of other titles), whose responsibility was to see that all ran smoothly within the context of the Imperial Galaxy. There was an entire hierarchy of Directors, Sub-Directors, Chiefs, Managers, Officers, Associates, Deputy Associates, Assistant Deputy Associates, and all the other trappings of BuCorps.

The truth is, only BuCorps itself knew how individual planets were run. BuCorps administration, Galactic or planetary, was an intricate web that could be strong as steel, choking as quicksand, or tenuous as air -- all at the same time.

One thing was always true, however -- essential services always functioned. Comm systems worked, food was supplied, and the trains always ran on time.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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The Santamas Story

(from A Child's Book of Stories by Kinson Tomas, Credix Publishing, TE 306)

Now in those days a decree went forth from the Emperor Augustus, that all the Galaxy should be taxed, and a census taken of all inhabitants. This was the census taken while Quirinius was Duke of Credix. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to their own planet and city.

And a man named Josef, along with his spouse Mary, left the planet Nazareth, and went to the city David on the planet Bedlam, to be counted with his own Idara. And Mary was at that time heavy with child.

And in the whole city of David, none of the inns had rooms available. So Josef and Mary went to the zoo, and Mary had her child among the animals. She wrapped him in the animals’ blankets, and laid him in a manger to sleep.

Now in that system there were asteroid miners, keeping watch over their claims. And on their holoscreens appeared a messenger from the Lord Kaal, and they were frightened. But the messenger said, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, for today in the city of David there has been born a Santa, who is the Claus. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in blankets and laying in a manger.”

So the miners made their way straight to Bedlam, and landed at the spaceport in David, went to the zoo, and saw the baby as he lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them, and all who heard wondered at the things that were told to them by the miners.

Now after the baby had been born, magi from Borshall arrived on Bedlam, saying, “Where is he who has been born Santa? For we followed his star and have come to bring him gifts.”

When Grinch Herod the Planetary Governor heard this, he was troubled. Gathering together the police, he asked them where the Santa had been born. He called the magi to him and determined from them the exact time that the star had appeared. And he sent them forth on Bedlam and said, “Go and search for the child, and when you have found him, bring him to me, so that I may give him gifts also.” But he was secretly jealous, and meant to harm the child.

After hearing the Grinch they went on their way, and followed the star, which led them to the place where the baby lay. And they presented the baby with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream, the magi left for Borshall without returning to Herod.

Hearing of Herod’s jealousy, Josef and Mary took the boy back to Nazareth, where they lived in peace. They named the boy Kris.

Now, Josef was a carpenter, and as Kris grew, he learned his father’s trade. Soon he started making toys, and giving them to poor children. After many years, as his skill increased, Kris’s fame spread throughout the Province, and beyond.

When Herod heard of Kris, his jealousy became worse. He sent his agents to Nazareth, to hunt down Kris and his family. But some of the animals in the zoo, remembering Kris’ birth, heard of Herod’s plan. Eight of the reindeer broke loose, and flew to Nazareth to warn Kris.

Kris, warned by the reindeer, gathered his family and his toys, and hitched a sleigh to the reindeer. Together, they all flew to a small, frozen planetoid far above the North Pole of the Galaxy. There, Kris set up a toy factory, aided by the alien inhabitants, called Elves. He leaves his home only once each year, on his birthday, when he and the reindeer travel around the Galaxy, bringing gifts to good little girls and boys. The Galaxy over, he is known as Santa Claus; and the day of his birth is celebrated as Santamas.

And as for Grinch Herod, there came a time when he learned the true meaning of Santamas…but that is another story.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

(picture from www.falalalala.com)

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Empress Laura Carroll

Empress TE 360-375
Birthdate: 5 March TE 334
Birthplace: Terra
Date of Death: 22 Feb TE 375

Laura Carroll was conceived in vitro and born in 334 when her mother, Anna Leonov, was only eight years old. This was done by order of her grandfather, Emperor Alex Leonov, in order to boost morale with both troops and the Civil Service by producing an Imperial Heir for the very popular Bob Carroll.

Laura was raised by Bob Carroll and Betty Sanceau; her relationship to Anna was more that of sisters than daughter-and-mother. Laura was a shy and laconic child who spent hours wrapped up in her studies. She spent much of her time alone, and stayed aloof during family conferences and planning sessions.

Laura was 7 when Jef took the Throne; all evidence indicates that she was more comfortable with her uncle than with anyone else in the Palace. For the few years of Jef's reign, Laura was significantly more outgoing, and was even observed to laugh occasionally. When Jef died and Anna took the Throne, Laura became more withdrawn.

Laura's position as Heir was confirmed by the Imperial Council in the Succession Act of TE 348, the year after Anna took the Throne. However, a sizable minority coalition favored Anna's sister Dana.

In 350, Laura was espoused to Joe McCaffrey, a Terran Council member from Borshall. By all accounts, it was a union of love. McCaffrey was jovial and outgoing, and to outward appearances the couple had little in common and spent little time together. Nonetheless, there was a strong bond between them, a bond that deepened with the birth of their daughter Virginia in 351.

Anna suffered a long period of illness and physical decline, beginning about TE 352 and continuing to the end of her life. During this period, Laura stayed with Anna constantly, and a strong bond grew up between the two women. Although Laura was reticent and subdued, she developed a rapport with her mother and was able to assist Anna ably. When Anna died in July 360, Laura succeeded to the Throne with no dissent.

One of Laura's first actions was the appointment of her aunt, Dana Leonov, to the High Court. Dana was a firm supporter of the Carroll agenda, and under her influence the High Court supported Laura's every move.

With the economy in a boom phase and approximately 50 new habitable worlds being added each year, Laura was able to complete Anna's reforms by completely eliminating taxation in the Empire and democratizing the government.

The start of Laura's reign marks the traditional beginning of "The High Days of the Empire," a 50-year period in which the power and culture of the Empire were at a peak.

The war with the Patalanian Union continued throughout Laura's reign. In 361, at the Battle of Karphos, Imperial forces were roundly defeated by the Union. For the rest of Laura's reign, the war was a long series of Imperial defeats and retreats.

Laura stayed strong and in command until her last day. On 22 February 375, just days before her 41st birthday, she donned the Memory Crown for her daily impression, and died of massive cerebral hemorrhage. Although a search was made for assassins, it is generally accepted that Laura's death was natural.

Laura was succeeded by her daughter, Virginia Carroll.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers

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The Story of Unde Nes (Part 2)

When Un de Nes awoke, she saw a gleaming female figure seated near her; the figure was aglow with the radiance of the sky, and she lowered her eyes at the sight. She put her hand on Sheltin kar-Nemeph, who awoke also.

For a moment the female seemed to fade and grow transparent, till she was nothing more than a glitter of starlight upon ice; then she reappeared, her image stronger than ever.

"Who has called Naervara back from her path? I was almost gone, seeking a better way."

Unde Nes found her voice. "I called you, Star-Maiden, though I was not aware of what I did."

"You. I have been aware of you, Unde Nes." She faded again, then came back. "You are known to me. But why do I linger, when my time has come, to move on?"

"Move on?"

"The Elder Gods pass on, Unde Nes. We have found a different way, mayhap a better place, and though none ever return, we think we know the way."

Sheltin kar-Nemeph, with the light of the Lady reflecting from her wide eyes, said, "Before you go, could you aid us?"

"Long have I worried about this place and these concerns, and I am weary. Will you not let me lay down this world and move on?" Naervara closed her eyes, and when she reopened them, they burnt with green starfire. "What will you have of me, Sheltin kar-Nemeph?"

"We have no food, no shelter, and we are pursued by the agents of the Gergathan. Sooner or later they will find us, and then we will be examined, tortured, and killed. Can you do nothing to help us?"

"My power in this universe wanes. Call me not back from the brink."

"While starlight remains," Unde Nes said, "your power is here, Goddess."

"You are kind, but unknowing. Still, I do not wish to carry regret with me, and you hvae come to this end partly from worship of me." The Goddess closed her eyes and sighed. "I will tell the Hlutr of the Scattered Worlds where you are, and they will send to your aid one of the Karessai Helyarren Teshra, the Galactic Riders. The stars will guide him and he will pluck you from the Kras Tentreb Nlan and take you back to the Scattered Worlds. Come, I will show you where to wait."

The wind was cold, and it seemed to tear the life from Unde Nes. She and Sheltin kar-Nemeph huddled together, and long they listened as Naervara spoke of the glories of the stars she had seen. Unde Nes, listening to the Goddess, felt as though she herself had taken flight and was between the stars in space, not in a physical body but merely a phantom of starlight.

Finally, a tiny craft appeared near them, and came swooping to a powered landing; upon its skin it bore the markings of the Free Peoples of the Scattered Worlds as well as the crest of the Iaranor; and an Iaranori Galactic Rider came out to help them.

"Hurry," the Iaranor told them, "For we are being tracked by great ships that will be here in seconds."

"Go." Unde Nes turned back to Naervara, and the Goddess smiled. "Go, Sheltin kar-Nemeph, and tell them what happened; tell them that we gained a tiny foothold, for a brief moment, on Verkorra. Tell them that we must never rest until the whole world is free once again. Tell them, Sheltin kar-Nemeph. And go with my love."

"What of you?"

Unde Nes held her limbs toward Naervara. "If the Goddess would have me, I would accompany her to the better place."

Naervara nodded. "Go, Sheltin kar-Nemeph, and bear the tale. And tell your fellows that although Naervara departs, her blessings stay with them."

Then the first of the large ships of the Gergathan appeared, flying over the Great Glacier, and the Iaranor Rider's small craft sprang up into space, and was gone. Several of the larger ships flew after it, but Unde Nes knew that they would escape -- for no ship of the Enemy could ever match that of a Galactic Rider bound for the Scattered Worlds.

Then Unde Nes turned back to Naervara, and took her hand. And now it was not her form, but the world around her that seemed to fade into a starlight dream, and before her she perceived a path opening up. Together, Unde Nes and Naervara took a step upon that path.

And so passed Unde Nes out of the Grand Scheme, the first creature of the Scattered Worlds to follow the Elder Gods into the Beyond.

As for Sheltin kar-Nemeph, she carried the tale home to the Scattered Worlds, and it was told in full before the Karessai Helyarren Corageshra. But the Iaranori Rider had seen naught of Naervara, and so the story remained a tale only.

Sheltin kar-Nemeph became an esteemed Galactic Rider, and when her time came she retired to Nephestal, where she sat for long hours before the Cathedral of Worlds, staring in the direction of Rept Kretzlab and wondering.

Here ends the story of Unde Nes.

copyright (c) 2009, Don Sakers
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