“The Imperium's society can be likened to one of its most recognisable symbols: the Paragon's royal gemstone. It's a large, complex yet harmonious structure; a gargantuan agglomeration of cultures, philosophies, religions and traditions that, when put together, become the facets of a greater whole. While refined like a diamond worthy of an emperor, it is also as sharp like one, and its edges can cut - and kill. This odd amalgamation of martiality, sophistication and diversity is what defines the Imperium, the titan of gold and steel.”
- - Ma'ferasi Hanthai, Radeon philosopher
With a population of over eight quadrillion sapients of hundreds of alien species, the Imperium itself is a large and diverse empire. While Draconid cultural influence is indeed strong (Enough for other empires to belief that all imperial citizens are posh, affluent or elitist), there are numerous other cultures that have emerged in the Imperium through many ways including enslavement, migration and annexation. Thus, the Imperium as a whole is an immensely varied society and is potentially one of the most diverse empires in Andromeda and almost-certainly one of the most diverse in the inner-rim. The goverment makes it a point to introduce aspects of different cultures and mindsets into the imperium, essentially mixing them together so there is no one specific "Imperial Culture" (however some argue that Dracoid culture, being a template, comes close), but rather an amalgamation of the most prolific and influential values.
The evolution of machine technology within the Imperium has fostered a cultural fixation surrounding the android, synthetic lifeforms originally manufactured for use as menial labour and domestic assistants, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between an organic being and a synthetic android. Advanced enough androids have been known to intermingle with organics in cities and starports and recent years have seen the rise of the "biodroid"; models distinguished by components that distinctly resemble living tissue in shape, activity and sometimes even consistency.
While it is uncertain when androids became a part of all government cencsus records, it is understood that one of the earliest pioneers were the Terratrix. Since their development into androids with brains powerful enough to convincingly pass off as organic beings, androids have become a distinct part of Imperial society, and largely treated as full citizens by government legislation. Despite the progress, androids have been on the receiving end of discrimination and prejudice from those who feel threatened by the advantage android's composition gives them over baseline or near-baseline organics. Numerous notary figures have over the years pointed out that the physical and mental advantages can be countered with bionics and nanotechnology; soeme argue that as android technology improves, so does the bionics technology that can be utilised by the Imperium's organic population.
Despite this prejudice however, androids are a common sight as starship crews, engineering teams and sometimes frontlien soldiers in the Talon Aetheral Body. While it is estimated that half to two thirds of all androids were designed to complimant organic crews, it is known for some andorids to sign up willingly. The increasing numbers of androids constructed during the Great Xonexian Schism has been accompanied with further calls to end anti-android prejudices within Imperial space, primarily spearheaded by the activist group Synthetic Heart. The result of the fight between pro- and anti-android rights has been expressed in cinema and written literature with both sides making a say on acts yet to be accepted as the norm such as organic-android marriage, consent to shutdown and adoption for android pairings with both sides of the argument rousing blacklashes on representations of each others' views.
See also: Houses
Because the Draconis are essentially the masters of the Draconid Imperium, the draconid nobility is seen as something of an all-powerful ruling class within the borders of the Imperium. Each imperial sector is ruled by a single noble elected from one of thousands of houses and - in the abscence of the Grand Seante - are essentially kings of their domain. Lesser nobles and houses rule smaller areas of space and are known to have some control over various protectorates of the Imperium.
Imperial policy states that - regarding an alien planet - a draconid noble as a system governor is little more than a figurehead and a representetive for the Imperium. Through him more powerful nobles may interact but the internal governance of a single planet is generally left to the natives.
While some protectorates still retain their own monarchies and ruling classes, they must accept that thay are secondary in importance to the draconid nobility. Nobles are often politically and economically powerful individuals with bloodlines that can stretch to every corner of the Imperium and perhaps beyond. The Paragon Family is always chosen from one noble family (known as a Grand House) by the Grand Senate and should the bloodline die out and only the most 'worthy' house is chosen. The desire to be considered worthy enough has driven countless Draconis to prove their house is good enough to be the next ruling family and this has driven all sorts of social, technological and economic projects. However it appears intentional that there is no clear sign by the Senate as to what constitutes a 'worthy' house, this is most likely done to encourage nobles to delve into all directions of progress and achievement in the name of the Imperium with lists of deeds stretching back millennia.
More of an individual title than the rank of a grand house, Egalavatii (High Dracid: Egalis; equal [by social standing], Avatus; king) or Viceroys are each charged with managing Imperial affairs within an assigned galaxy. Originally established in ID.219494 due to a need to organise the growing number of galaxies the Imperium had colonised, egalavatii hold executive power within their assigned galaxy and also act as representativeness to local powers unless the Paragon requests otherwise.
Due to the amount of power they wield, the paragon's trust is the key contributing factor to selecting a viceroy. While the position of Egalavatus is open to all those with enough royal favour, presently the roles are primarily held by members of House Ultanos who acted as a generation-one egalavatus series. Presently there are five equaparagii; one each for the Milky Way, Quadrant Galaxies, Cyrannus, Mirus and Bunsen.
Egalavatii still confer to the paragon and the Grand Senate in the chain of command, other than that, they serve as figureheads to the Imperium in foreign galaxies and act as as leadership roles to organise the various houses that may inhabit or control sections of the galaxy they manage. As is expected with a vertical hierarchy, egalavatii have nigh-unlimited access to the Paragon's ear as well as an immense amount of social and political sway over praetors and citizens, perhaps rivalling the paragon themselves depending on the assignment. Due to the amount of access he has to the paragon as well as the immense political power he commands, the Imperium's chancellor can be considered the first egalavatus in imperial history, with the position dating back to the Imperium's very early days.
Patricaes are the second most-powerful noble caste in the Imperium, charged with the governance of entire sectors, grand houses with this title are often groups who command massive influence and prestige, often having multiple lesser grand houses either within them or part of them. Because a sector can contain thousands of star systems within a distinct astronomical area, praetors - the title given to patricaes with a sector governance position - can be perceived as akin to emperors in their own right as their jurisdictions can contain numerous lesser non-draconis empires that joined the Imperium under Pax Draconica.
It is the dream of all grand houses to be as powerful as one of the several grand houses, but because there are little more than seventy sectors - with paticularly powerful patricae houses potentially having control of two or more sectors at a time - the position is highly sought after, another reason being that praetors are at such a position that they have prestige enough to mingle with the parag'avatus themselves.
Although with not nearly enough power as patricaes, Aedens form a vital component if the Imperial administration as direct subordinates of praetors and given their status between Solons and Patricaes, can be considered one of the most integral. Aedens with a position of governance are known as "Quaestors" and will typically hold sway over several thousand systems as sub-sector governors. These sub-sector territories will either be a cluster of colonies or a single provincial territory, although larger territories can have two or more Quaestors as administrators.
The job of a provincial quaestor is to act as representative for their assigned society to the Provincial Council on Alcanti, unlike other sub-sector quaestors, provincial quaestors cooperate with alien leadership to advance and develop the territory. Because they can be administrator of thousands of systems at a time, many Aedens are shrewd organisers and commercialists; their efforts backed up by the assets of industry either set up or bought out by themselves or relatives, thus making Aedens a common site on the Imperial economic scene. If an Aeden is not a company head however, it is most likely they work as an executive or as a consultant.
The Sebatathii or underlords are a collective of aliens from varying species who have been granted noble positions by the Imperial government either though merit, service or dedication. They serve as a metaphorical bridge between the various vassal states and the Draconis with many aliens aspiring ot become sebatathii due to the meritocratic nature in which the position is awarded and the amount of influence they could gain by rising 'above' their fellow aliens.
Along with asserting draconid approval among the population, they often act as provisional governors and magistrates, often swearing alliegence to one or more grand houses with the desire to become more influential. Underlords have their own circles just as draconid houses do but unlike the separation of common and grand houses, sebatathus families have been known to mingle somewhat acceptingly with noble house members so long as they were invited to the relevant social conventions. The position does not, however, make them completely equal with the grand houses and like traitors, rebels and criminals, underlords can be stripped of their position at the discretion of the nobility. To avoid abuse, such an act requires the approval of more than one grand house. Unlike the above, underlords can be stripped of title if they underperform in or abuse their position and risk ending up in the imperial courts of law.
- Firstname: Aurestor
- Affiliation: House Savenium
- Family Line: Beldrin
- Holdings: Quadrant Galaxies
- Primary Residence: Villa Beldrin, Torimus Prime
Aurestor is a snobby Draconid who is proud of his ancestors history, though Savenium's origins lay shrouded in myth, Aurestors wants to keep it that way. Though many of his house took an interest in the Galactic Empire of Cyrannus, he himself and his family line (Beldrin line) took more of an interest in the rapidly expanding colonial regions in the Quadrants. As he already had a deal of influence in the sector due to his trade imperium, his sights have fallen upon the position of egalavatus, which would give himself, his family line and house a large deal of influance within the Imperium. Aurestor, as head of the Beldrin line takes most of the important decisions for his family line, though follows the head of his house loyally and supports them in many things. Somehow, the Beldrin family line holds a grudge against House Voxis for unknown reasons. His family line is also in disapproval of the House of Senvinus, viewing the half-nobles as not worthy of their status.
Aurestor is a snobby Draconid, proud of his heritage and arrogant for his influence and wealth. As such he views most below his standards, though respects Paragon Uriel Ultanos, and for that matter the entire House of Ultanos quite a lot and is very loyal and supportive of them. Aurestor wears a carefully measured suite, coloured in gold and red and as head of his family line, wears their ancient decorative helmet.
- Firstname: Kavessa
- Affiliation: House Ultanos
- Family Line: Sertanim
- Station: Bunsen Territories
- Primary Residence: Villa Licaras, Toras III
Kavessa Ultanos is a first-generation egalparagus who gained favour enough with the throne to earn her present place as egalparagus of the Draconid Imperium's Bunsen territories, making her a direct mediator between the Imperium and the Tybusen Intergalactic Allied Federation. A compassionate - if sometimes stern - woman, Kavessa is known as a highly-admired patron for the arts and entertainment media, frequenting performance houses and reading novels particularly from the Imperium's 170th millennium.
As a member of the Sertanim bloodline, Kavessa grew up distant from the political hilights of the heart of House Ultanos and satisfied herself with visits to performance houses accross the core-world subsector her bloodline laid claim to, which included the selenopolis of Araveene. Between her first and second century of life, she became a keen patron of the arts, supporting musicians and holofilm-makers while admiring their work, even becoming a subject of at least three compositions and was the desires of the protagonist of the holoromance "Will You Weep For Me?" It was during her second century she earned the moniker "the flower of Sertanim" and became extremely self-consious of her appearence as a result despite already being considered extremely beautiful with dozens of suitors approching her.
She gained the attention of Uriel Ultanos during the early Andromeda War, both were on Shellis for different reasons but both attended a swimming performance in the capital, meeting each other in the foyer during the interlude. Impressed with her passion for both Draconid and alien arts. Uriel later offered her the chance to govern the colonies established by the Shellious Imperium and under the Draconid Imperium's administration after the Treaty of Shellis. This was all when the Egalparagus Initiative was being established and although reluctant, agreed to administrating the Imperium's activities under Uriel's behalf. Rumours escalating after the date of the performance of Uriel and Kavessa sharing a romantic connection although no concrete proof of this exists.
- Firstname: Torvos
- Affiliation: House Ultanos
- Family Line: Ultanos
- Station: Milky Way Territories
- Primary Residence: Villa Tansias, Gennea II
- Firstname: Vesperon
- Affiliation: House Corvos
- Family Line: Maltris
- Station: Chancellor of the Imperium
- Primary Residence: Villa Corus, Lacrea II
Vesperon Maltris Corvos is the reigning chancellor of the Draconid Imperium and therefore the highest authority below the paragon family themselves. More importantly, he is the figurehead of the Imperium's Grand Seante. A complicated and determined individual, Vesperon is an enigma to many in political circles. Polite and sociable when dealing with friends and colleagues, but vengeful and merciless when dealing with either his or his empire's enemies. This enigmatic personality combined with a dangerous sense ambition and unshakeable determination makes him a dangerous opponent both on the political scene as well as in pistol duels.
House Maltris - the house he was born into - is common-house, making Vesperon (as the partner of a noble-born Aedan) of common blood and is thus looked down upon by his peers. Rather than settle for this or complain, Vesperon used it as an excuse for a challenge. to rise up in social status. A former soldier of the Imperial Talon Navy and a veteren marine of the infamous War Of The Dragons, Vesperon left the navy with dreams of seeking peace after a near-fatal lncident caused by a Drasheril missile, causing several burns ot his body, damaging his armour and discolouring his scales. The horrors of the war instilled him with a fanatical desire to prevent such a conflict from ever happening again.
Vesperon gained an infamous reputation for his popularity among aliens and commoners, earning House Maltris and later House Corvos considerable influence within the noble circles. Vesperon became chancellor in the wake of the Andromeda War where he gained a close working relationship with the parag'avatus and oversaw several projects of state importance, particularly the low-profile war effrots against The Brotherhood.
- Firstname: Vindevus
- Affiliation: House Ultanos
- Family Line: Ultanos
- Station: Borealis Territories
- Primary Residence: Prefect's Park, Praetoria Prime
Vindevus Ultanos ia a highly influential patricus and one of the first-generation egalparagii in the Imperium, primarily charged with overseeing the Draconid Imperium's territories in the Borealis Galaxy. Vindevus is seen as eloquent, educated yet demanding, not keen on hearing of failure or delays and is focused on keeping to arranged timetables almost ot the point of obsession, but above all does not enjoy having his time wasted by trivial matters or concerns.
Vindevus is the younger brother of former parag'avatus Uriel Ultanos XV and thus the uncle of Uriel Ultanos XVI. It was either though his blood or his influence with the comparatively-young parago nthat assred him the position of egalparagus of the Borealis Territories when the system was introduced. VIndevus is a devout follower of Drakon's Path and has been known ot keep a digital copy on his person when not at one of several luxurious estates.
Although he was not one of the first patricaes to establish themselves in the Borealis territories, Vindevus gained recognition as a financier of later engineering projects within the galaxy. It was a year otr two after initial colonisation that he began overseeing industrial progress under the umbrella of his personal engineering firm Aurum Construction Solutions. ACS provided the engineering solutions to construct the orbital infrastructure around several key Borealis planets, his effrots in building the infrastructure needed to support the colonies. Not satisfied, he arranged for ACS to branch out, offering construction services to a multitude of species within the galaxy and potentially putting him at odds with the Borealis Consortium Network.
Underworld rumours circulate that Vindevus is one of the few people who - for reasons completely unknown - Mentracus has spoken to personally on matters of security. Even before he became egalparagus, Vindevus used his firm to build Prefect's Park, a high-end skyscraper in the heart of Pratoris, the planetary capital, which - while originally having the penthouse as a personal residence - later served as his office within the Borealis Galaxy, boasting numerous Core World technologies within its design.
- Firstname: Elgrin
- Affiliation: House Drealus
- Family Line: Quelum
- Holdings: - 784,000 shares in Utopis Fleet Concern
- Primary Residence: - Villa Temelus, Acromus Prime
Elgrin Quaelum Drealus is an elderly and wise Draconis Aedan noble of the House Drealus. Yet he is also cunning and dangerous for those he sees as his enemies, whether they are enemies of the Imperium or political ones. Because of his advanced age he requieres a walking stick. A keen politician and with a love of space crafts, he holds a considerable and influential position within the Utopis Fleet Concern, the biggest provider of ship for the Imperial Talon Navy. As most nobles desire to one day hold a position as Viceroy or Patricaes, Elgrin is happy with his Aedan title and feels that it is all he needs at his old age.
During his youth he served in the Talon Marine Corps and was present at many combat battles for the glory of the Imperium. After quiting the Corps, he used his experience and knowledge in helping designing weapons for the Imperial Talon Navy. He also developed a personal interest in the art of crafting armor. It is rumored that he created his imposing helmet himself, to impress his allies and enemies. Other rumors around Elgrin would be that his family line, in times long past in secret provided weapons to House Khaxvis and continued to do it to present days. Elgrin and his family line dismiss these claims as they claim others tell these dark things for undermining their nobility and well respected name. Elgrin Quaelum Drealus is loyal to the current Paragon, Uriel Ultanos, though many believe he would only be loyal to those who sits at the throne, at the moment a new Paragon claims power he would swear his alligiance towards the new Paragon. Elgrin doesn't feel much for the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth, believing it to be a possible threat to the Draconid culture and way of living.
Contrary to popular blief, the Imperium is a hotbed of all kinds of visual and creative arts. While many Draconis (and some other aliens depending on the circumstances) have trouble understanding some forms of art, it is almost unanamously agreed that the addition of alien cultures into the Imperium adds imensely to the vibrancy of mainstream Imperial society.
The immense number of various cultuures in the Imperium - so vast that not all in a species share the same culture - has caused explosion after explosion of popular culture. The relatively lax government policies have ersulted in the profileration of countless books, artworks and performances that reflect the Imperium's multicultural diversity. While there are those outside the Imperium who mistake it for being a society for the posh and the old-fashioned, the opposite is indeed true; cultural festivals are so massive that either they do not cover everything or are divided into sector-wide festivals.
While it is true that most Draconis prefer instrumental music over most other forms, other forms of music are very popular amongst various provincial cultures such as Kroogvon R&B. It is a fallacy that only being a classical musician playing traditional music is the way to success, as not only have more exotic musicians become Imperium-wide celebrities, but there is a healthy variety of musicians who have taken an alternate take on traditional instruments, all adding to the general cultural value of the Imperium.
While painting two-dimensional images onto a canvas is still a sight within the Imperium, many paintings have evolved to use "smart canvas" paper; software-leaced canvas that can calculate the brush's position, size, angle and pressure as well as estimate the angle of the painter so that an artist can work on multiple angles at a time. The refiement and cost reduction of the technology has made it relatively easy to transfer a 2D image to appear 3D, advances in the technique mean that looking at the image is no different than seeing something in three real dimensions. The explosion in popularity had made smart paper the medium of choice for physical images for over 200,000 years. Constant refinement means that the pictures only get clearer and clearer. Computer software has also become advanced enough that it is capable of filling in the gaps - meaning that the different angles and layers can be more seamlessly blended together to make up the holopainting. Holopainting is a skill that requires immense practice and an extra-ordinary sense of vision in order to convincingly paint every angle onto a two-dimensional canvas.
"cosmic art" is the term used to describe works created by artists using entire planets or other stellar bodies in order to create a wor kof art. THe Imperium has fostered a culture where there are a number of terraformers wh ouse their profession as a creative outlet, sculpting mountains and lakes to form particular shapes or scenes such as Ereux Tassalor's Lithospheric work Gates of Larumentiora; a 700sqkm mountain range sculped in such a fashion that from low orbit resembles an engraving of a moment during the Battle for Larumentiora in ID.174312. One form of stellar art, popularised by the Verivok, is the use of close-orbiting dyson particle clouds to to control the colour and spectrum of the light emitted by the parent star. The result is semi-artificial "rainbow stars" that from a distance take on either a non-natural colour or bear a surface marked with multicoloured patterns. Some more visionary artists use the movement of the cloud to create psychidelic rainbow-coloured patterns across a star's surface while it has been known for some clients to commission a bust or full-figure portrait of themselves to be blanketed over a star's surface to be seen from intermediate distances.
While books such as novels, graphic novels and comics are still popular, the commercialisation of hologrpahic technology menas that for every digital novel, there are five hundred interactive holoprogrammes, allowing for players to immerse in their fantasies. Whether or not the reader plays an observer, bit-part or the main character varies depending on the writer and programmer, as the larger roles often denote the need to respond to a higher chance of unrpedictability. So it comes as no surprise that many holonovels have the reader play an observance or minor role, with the chance of playing from the main character's perspective is left to holosuite novels made by more successful programmers.
In many cases the various protectorates have their own forms of entertainment ranging from visual to sports and performing arts. the Draconis have, in many cases, introduced their own forms to the protectorates and will sometimes adopt what other aliens have. Public entertainment is open to participation by all member species and anyone may watch if they can afford the booking.
Honourable combat has been a tradition that had existed before the foundation of Minos'Drakon. While early combat practices were simply scraps the ruling classes of the Vormothan Empire (which emerged within Alcanti's northern continent of Miminas) turned it into a genteman's pursuit, adding rules that made it less bloody and more organised. The joy of watching honoured combat made it a keen spectator sport and arenas, both official and unofficial, sprang up accross the Imperium. Because of the violent nature champions can frequently be expected to be hired as soldiers, mercenaries or bodygaurds by counless groups who will use the arena spectacles as a recruitment ground.
True honoured combat is highly ceremonial; combatants are to draw their weapons and bow in respect to their opponents before readying for their opponent's first attack. All the while making sure to remain respectful and dignified at all times. When one is defeated the other msut position themselves to stop the first from getting up. When the match is over the victor is declared who must then help their opponent back onto their feet. These practices are not commonly used against aliens or when one challenges honoured combat in the field. During these situations the combatants will restrict themselves to not using underhanded moves and will only draw their balde defensively.
The fight pits are much less organised and the general rule is "please the audience". Unlike in the arenas, death is likely and underhanded moves are often enjoyed rather than met with disgust. The only rule is that the audience decides if the loser can die. The pits are pursued by the more hardcore arena fighters who may feel the fight is only worth it if death is a possibility.
Holosuites generate lifelike simuations of environments and situations for the enjoyment of the user. Users can immerse themselves in whatever fantasy they wish for an alloted time. More dedicated holosuite users will ahve the option to rent out suites to use on a regular basis and are given a special key-card.
To prevent serious injury the user's life-signs are constantly monitored and if they become dangerously exhausted or are at risk of serious injury the simulation will alter itself to either prevent death or allow the user to recover. Because the suites use the same technology as holofields the objects scattered about feel lifelike. Every section of the room is coated with a layer of energy identical to a phasic shield, even walking will cause this field to move, giving the illusion of going somewhere. When more than one user is present field walls and projections can be generated to simulate distance.
The primary form of performing arts for the Draconis is the perforamnce of various operas and sagas. While not to everyone's tastes they are a haven for the upper-class and the cultured. Due to their low rate of ageing, Draconis perceive time differently and Operas composed by them are frequently several hours long with intervals every one-and-a-half or two hours depending on the performance. The content is extremey varied from dark stories of despair to characters' lifelong pursuits of love. Key events of imperial history - such as the Oniron Voxis's revolt against the Khaxvis - are also performed.
It is common for imprtant members of Imperial society to come to operas not just to watch a performance but also interact, reinforcing a sense of community between high-profile members of society. To be seen at the perfromance house, is to be known.
Another event performed at these locations is the concert. Draconis thoroughly enjoy the sounds of classical music and performances are often regularly held. The symphonies performed are often very inreicate and are the result of months, sometiems years of thought and the legacies of the great masters come alive. Other forms of orchestral music from other cultures is performed and is considered by the Draconis to be exotic, varying greatly from tones, instruments and rythems they may be used to.
RacingEditRaces are an ancient passion that emerged from the Draconis but gained immense popularity from other protectorates such as the Speeder and the Sankana. It is believed these events were originally a way for the Draconis to keep their predatory reflexes and awareness in top condition but have now become a commonly enjoyed spectacle taken up by thrill-seekers from all corners of the Imperium. There are a few varieties that emerged with technologies and even the oldest forms still have some measure of popularity.
- Mount racing is the oldest form, while originally the racers would ride Udulovs (a typical riding animal native to Alcanti) this form has branched out to use all kinds of riding animal. To keep races fair each variety of riding animal has it's own racing schedule.
- Cycle racing is one of the more intense forms of racing. It is comparable to motorcycle racing and involves both tilted bends, high speeds and dangerous G-forces. Drivers have to prepare their bodies to resist the g-forces and train their minds to remain focused on the track ahead. Like with skimmer racing anticipation and knowing the track is key to winning.
- Skimmer racing emerged with the commercialisation of monopoles. It differs from cycle racing in the fact the vehicle is suspended above the ground. Without friction from the ground skimmers can reach even higher velocities than motorcycles. The demanding nature of skimmer racing makes it reserved for only the most focused and determined of racers. Unsurprisingly this is also the most dangerous variety of racing and champions often end up as single-minded obsessives.
The exonet is an empire-wide networking system that uses the tachyon relay network to transmit information across the Imperium. Relay stations act as server hubs and the condensed information allows for terabytes to be transmitted at a time with very little waiting time. Because of the Imperium's vast networking capability and the numerous exonet-connected gadgets, many people own an "exonet interfacign unit" or EIU to interact with the exonet virtually via non invasive augmented-reality optics. Although there are numerous citizens who have undoubtably opted for cybernetic implants into their optic nerves for peripheral-less interaction.
The Exonet itself is never fully regulated and it is impossible to determine by a single machine how much information is on there because there is simply so much information. Not only is it used commercially, but the Alcanti Royal Academy has large networks of its own for research and scientific debate. In recent years the Exonet has combined with other Andromedan networks in an AGC megaproject called the Androemdan Virtual Network to create a galactic-scale holonet. The success of the virtual network has led to some members of the Imperium to fully immerse themselves in this virtual world - the scale of which could rival or even surpass the known galaxy.
As can be expected from such a diverse empire, there is no one official style worn by Imperial citizens. While each culture has its ow ntakes on style, social interconnectivity has led to sector-wide fashion trends of various styles. But being the melting pot as it is, some styles are more prevalent than others.
- High Imperial style is an umbrella concept that uses a variety of blues, gold or silver trim and a mix of Draconid and provincial design concepts. High Imperial's more distinct styles are often worn by the affluent or by status-seekers. High Imperial has evolved several branches of style, while all are applauded for their elegance and beauty, they have varying directions. Its popularity and diversity have made it a signature fashion style for all Imeprial citizens, giving the impression that even the poorest of citizen is elegantly-dressed.
- Low Imperial; a common attire for the more mainstream population. While lacking the elegant patterns of more exotic styles, Low Imperial is designed to suit the needs of the labour force. Practical designs such as loose-fitting waist-length coats, thick trousers and sleek boots are common styles.
- Praetoral; A style popularised by the nobility. A stark contrast to Low Imperial, Praetoral (named after the Imperium's "Praetor" position of office) attire is characterised by highly elegant, lavishly decorated and very expensive-looking outfits made of exotic fabrics. Often worn as a way of showing off to less affluent citizens or impressing foreign dignitaries or friends, the Praetoral style's multi-strand gold pipings, busy patterns and rich colours has become an example of how wealthy (or perhaps how decadent) the Imperium's social elite are. Due to the intricacy of each outfit however, it is not often soemthing worn as everyday, a matter which led to the creation of "Praetoral lite" in ID.85730. A style of fashion that merges the practicality of Low Imperial with the elegance of Praetoral.
Being biologically immortal, Draconis do not suffer from the effects of old age. However as they age they continue to grow, eventually reaching a point where their bodies find it difficult to support themselves in a terrestrial environemnt. Since the birth of the Imperium, several institutions have offered "immortality care centres" for Draconis who do not wish to die by their bodies failing. This also applies ot other species with a biological immortality factor.
In order to prevent the body from collapsing on itself, care centres are either established in orbit around colonised worlds or within starships. These clinics offer paitents a release fro mthe risk of implosion by living within a microgravity environment. Chemical treatments and exercise prevent long-term patients (who often live potentially centuries to millenia longer than Draconis living within near-Alcanti like gravitational pressures) from suffering from muscle and bone atrophy, one of the main side effects is the lack of directional gravitational pull increases the growth rates of resident patients. Patient berths are often extremely spacious to accomodate for the future life state of the patient and are supported with constant care and can freely schedule visiting hours. Holoterminals in each berth and in communal areas allow the perfectly healthy immortals to maintain a social or business life within the comfort of the clinic though long-range holoconferencing and exonet access. These clinics are not the only option, with more affluent members of society capable of opting instead for a private orbital habitat that combines home comfort and familiarity with an immortality care centre's facilities.
The choice of these clinics has always been controversial to certain members of imperial socirty, with some citing them as a means for easily cheating death by age to more radical groups suggesting these clinics offer a means for the wealthy and powerful to maintain theiir grip on Imperial society for as long as something other than age does not kill them. A mixed cultural opinion has emerged of these immortals, some being many tens of thousands of years old and secluded from the public eye outside of holoconferencing. Others wonder if entities this old really care about the Imperium any more due to the passage of time being so fast in their eyes or questioning why they haven't (or if they already have) usurped power from the Grand Senate and the paragon family. Some small cults have emerged that idolise such ancients (in a few cases one particular individual) for their advanced age and wisdom and their physical or economic or political power over society.
There are rumours that a handful of truly ancient draconis have resorted to adapting themselves to the vacuum of space, reinforcing their bodies and drifting though the cosmos. Adorning themselves with a membrane, these Draconis are rumoured to grow to phenomenal sizes and posess internally-installed replicators to sustain themselves via solar radiation. In order to prevent themselves going mad they fully absorb themselves in the Exonet, becoming vertiable phantoms in its trillions of chatrooms, fora, knowledgebases, streaming sites and entertainment sites.
Organised religion is widespread and varied across the Imperium with numerous spiritual ideas and concepts alongside each other. The views on religion and spiritualism within the Imperium - both by the population and the government - are quite lax, with only the Grand Inquisition providing small number of guidelines of waht is a good and bad thing to believe. There are several faiths that are more prevalant than others including:
- Commutum Drakon'mipthum - (Dracid: Followers of Drakon's [philopsophical] path). Originating from the Draconis themselves, this belief is one of the largest single faiths in the Imperium. The prime doctrine involves the lessons of the "Book of Divine Teachings"; an ancient tome containing phrases and stories of how to live a productive and spiritually healthy life. Followers of this belief are explicitly taught to accept the ideals of others as long as they retain their own (within reason).
- Massari - (Radessic: Knowledge of Unity). Primarily followed by Radeon and Telzoc citizens, the Maasari faith is one of the fastest-growing faiths. its primary doctrine teaches that "We comes from divine, I comes from demonic." - that selfishness is corrupting and destructive and that community is enlightening. Maasari sects within the Imeprium are watched diligantly by the Inquisition over concerns of zealots but as a whole the faith is accepted and has even drawn scientific curiosity from various universities for its socioeconomic impact.
- Paragavatus Divinum - (Dracid: Divine Paragons). While it's origins are shrouded in mystery, this cult of personality popualted primarily by non-draconis members idolises the Imperium's paragons to be divine beings in mortal form. The Paragons' reactions have been mixed throughout the ages with some rejecting the idea and others embelishing in it, using it as as a chance to further unite the Imperial population. The present paragon, Uriel, however is indifferent to the cult's beliefs. Stating himself that it is an example of variety emerging from a diverse imperial culture. Most forms of worship vary but common themes involve private shrines, taking a paragon's words as mandate and embracing their ideals.
- Cre'lapathla - (Di'Rikito: The Joined). Not so much of a religion as a loose following, and a byproduct of a group mind; followers of Cre'lapthla are a wide range of sapients who have accepted the joining ritual to become connected to one of the various Ki'Dirrik hives that reside in imperial space. What makes this a faith is that the joined are known to accept the Ki'Dirrik overqueen as an almighty patron despite efforts by the Grand Senate to place her significance second to the Paragon out of fear she may use the folowers to undermine the Grand Senate's authority, Followers are known to exhibit a wide range of psychic abilities andh has drawn intrest from both the diplomatic corps and the Royal Academy.
There are many other less-widespread beliefs and spiritualities amongst the population. Atheism and agnosticism are also widespread and believers of these concepts are generally accepted by the rest of the population. Tolerance of belief is promoted by both the imperial government and the Followers of Drakon's Path in order to avoid faith-based unrest and all manner of troubles. Whiel some may view this as restrictive the benefit is that there has been very little of this unrest within the Imperium.
Originally a movement intended to interlink the various factors of developing an occupied star system, solar husbandry has evolved into a catch-all term to refer to a rational development of a star system's infrastructure, populations and is also used to foster the growth of both native and immigrating sapient species.
As the need for industrial growth grew alongside the need for new resource sites, several prominent imperial citizens began to study the interlinking nature of various planets. The movement played a crucial role in the development of the Imperium's long-term sustainability principles and provides a guideline as to what extent a planetary body can be exploited before it becomes either unsustainable or a star system becomes less favourable for future species. This concept all but ensures that any lifeforms that emerge after the Imperium's departure will be free to develop without concerning themselves over developing within a depleted star system.
Solar Husbandry's principles play a more scientific role in the Imperium's "Andromedan Restoration" policy. Ideas such as the abundance of ice bodies, asteroids, orbital positions of gas giants and their moons and a star's luminosity all play a vital role in determining if not just a planet, but a solar system can at all harbour life. Depletion of asteroid belts and outer ice fields is generally discouraged under the Solar Husbandry system. The calculations used for habitability can also determine comet frequency, asteroid impact frequency on each planetary body and the gravitational fields to create a complex calculation not only for if life is possible, but a possible indicator of what could evolve.
More sociologically, the principle has fostered the public mindset that a star system works like an enormous mechanical clock, with each body representing a component that when put together creates a harmonising series of events. Authors such as Thessios Bellum have gone as far as to speculate in their writings (such as his ID.219320 novel "Star brain") that the Imperium is inadvertently constructing numerous star system-scale computers or other strange constructs by the Solar Husbandry movement, spurring the development of a completely new kind of existence.
A less favourable concept that evolved from Solar Husbandry is the activity known as Solar Death. In essence, a star system is intentionally cleared of all organic and mineral resources that can be detected, going as far as to drain nitrates from soil, extract silicon compounds and any other useful minerals as far down as a planet's mantle; sometimes even a body's core. Within gas giants, useable gases such as helium-3 are also extracted, thus leaving all but the parent star completely devoid of any material worth. While Solar Death can be a boon to secondary and primary industry for the influx of minerals it can bring - especially when multiple ssytems are targeted - it is also a procedure that trillions are unnerved about as it does completely the opposite of solar husbandry.
Primarily used as a scorched-earth tactic or as a moral lesson, the Imperium has in times of austerity preyed on systems within itself in order to fuel its industrial machine.
Standard of LivingEdit
As a whole, the Imperium offers a strong standard of living. Starvation and malnutrition are minimal issues, as food is plentiful. The directed-energy transmission network established by companies like Black Star make energy cheap and widespread. Even the more remote and isolated of colonies will have automated medical clinics. Even sub-citizens, who live as vassals and as a responsibility of the state enjoy a high quality of life with nutritious regularly-provided food, patron-sponsored healthcare and well-maintained homes.
The difference in standard of living is most stark when comparing the standards between the provinces and the coreward crown worlds. The hands-off nature of Pax Draconica protects a province's cultural values and the systems of administration but the result is that these policies confine a province's access to technology and infrastructure to what the inhabitants and the governments can buy or affordably loan from the greater Imperium. This creates a broad level of disparity in available wealth to the provinces, and as a result many provincial populations look to the core worlds with a sense of rivalry. Only the oldest or most advanced provinces avoid this, many of themexisting within the sphere of the central sectors. Life can be harsh. As the spread and sparsity of some worlds make them vulnerable to pirates and raiders, so depending on the circumstances provinces promote a philosophy of individual self-defense or seek aid from more industrially or militarily-inclined provinces.
It is on the crown worlds that the Imperium's reputed level of affluence, opulence and appreciation for high-art exist. Cities like Minos'Drakon are characteristic of the wealth and luxury that many of the crown worlds are familiar with. Citizens of these planets - an estimated one-fifth of the Imperial population - have all needs satisfied with high-quality goods and services, live comfortably in modern well-maintained apartments or estates and work comfortable conditions in largely-automated factories or well-designed offices. Crown world populations generally want for nothing, as for many everything they could want is provided for and benefit the most from a high education, access to technology and opportunities while kept safe by armies of Domestic Security officers, drones and androids while the regions' space is heavily policed by the Imperial Talon Navy. The general image of a crown world citizen, or crown-worlder, is the image that is advertised internationally and what is used to promote the Imperiums' ethos of cultural and educational excellence despite being only a small proportion of the population.
Not all who enjoy the Imperium's famed quality of life live in the central regions however. Sector capitals such as Vencortium Prime or Sundarra are crafted by policy to act as examples (or enclaves in the eyes of colonists) of the crown worlds' splendor. They offer the quality of life that most of its citizens are familiar with and as a result enjoy a status as a 'pocket' crown realm though the benefits of foreign tourism and directed investment from the core.
Subordinate Citizens (known more colloqually as "Sub-citizens" or "Subs") are second-class citizens who though birth or occupation are regarded as charges of the state. While a minority of the total population, the majority of the Imperium's sub-citizen populations live either in puppet territories or privately-owned but government regulated enclaves scattered throughout Imperial space. Despite protests that they are slaves in all but name (a term considered derogatory by mainstream society), subordinate citizens live under rules designed to protect them from many forms of legislative discrimination.
The Imperium's constitution forbids the unwarranted enslavement and the import and export of indivduals classed as slaves or sub-citizens. In practice, it is the imperial navy that designates planets as eligible for processing, while it is common practice for those born int osub-citizen communities to be given the title. The result is that virtually all of the Imperium's living sub-citizen populations were either born within sub-citizen communities or were annexed as prisoners of war during wartime. In certain territories, beng made a sub-citizen is used as a punishment for certain cerious crimes such as sapicide, high-value theft and illegal sapient trafficking. While this practice is largely nonexistant in the core territories, it is more common in distant regions and on the frontier, where robotics-assisted manpower or neurosleep incarceration may not be so readily available.
Sub-citizen populations that are large enough are permitted to inhabit the planets they were on prior to occupation. These "subordinate territories" act as puppet territories within Imperial space, the main difference from provinces is the lack of represenatation. Instead of a representetive on the grand senate, subordinate territories are managed by particularly influential trader. However provinces once part of the same nation as the subordinate territory can petition t othe grand senate for subordinate territories to become part of their province, with the decision to elevate its occupants being left to the discretion of the host province. The other main form of elevation seen withi nthe Imperium is for an individual to use their savings to buy their elevation and apply for full citizenship. While monetary prices can vary, there is an additional cost in that the elevation removes the state's obligation to provide the idividual with food, housing and Exonet connection.
Although posessing rights, sub-citizens are seen as a potential commodity for merchants and the Imperial elite. The sub-citizen trade is a widely-recognised part of the economy and it is common to find dealers of them on many worlds. Although considered charges of the state, sub-citizens are permitted paid employment, the right to downtime, good food, social interaction, effective medical care and the right to reproduction. Due to the questionable nature of the sub-citizen market, imperial sub-citizen trade does have laws and restrictions in place to keep the trade fair and to prevent oppertunistic slavers from running amok. Such legislation include thats:
- All Sub-Citizens are registered and chipped before they can be legally distributed
- All sub-citizen traders must have registered themselves with the imperial commerce authority
- Raiding planets purely for fresh sub-citizens is considered a serious crime
- Only the Imperial Talon Navy has the authority to designate a population eligeable for enslavement
- It is illegal to import or export sub-citizens in and out of imperial space
- All sub-citizens possess the right to ample and nutritious food, shelter, water and basic comforts underlined by sapient rights laws
- It is illegal to own a member of a provincial species as property
Traders must undergo an exam and training period so they know how to properly care for their stock. Traders who are found in breach of trade laws can have their licenses revoked and owners in breach of care laws can expect to have their sub-citizens taken away by the imperial commerce authority. Emancipation groups exist who frequent breeding enclosures to liberate unsold sub-citizens. Because these enclosures are fully within the law, members of emancipation groups like Sapience First (who sometimes go as far as committing arson after releasing sub-citizen communities) are considered criminals by the state.
Other groups such as the Alliance for Social Enlighenment or the Cult of Drakon's Egalitarianist sect work to educate citizens that owning sapients as sub-citizens is wrong and support the recovery of sub-citizens who were found being mistreated by previous owners.
The post-scarcity nature of the imperium's economy means that for the most part, fiat currency has no true value. Energy, food, medicine and the like are completely free in the Imperium, provided for by large corporations that while at one time existed to provide for the economy now exist to provide numerous services to the public. The Grand Senate incentivises this by offering to nationally support the company by offering to support its expenses in exchange for the company becoming a public service rather than a corporation, with key examples includign Black Star Energy (the holders of the Senvinus reactors) and CosmoNutria (a foodstuffs supplier).
Because of the promises of Pax Draconica, the Imperial Economy is supported by thousands of different currencies from economies that vary vastly in influence and spread. The Mimidian Credit, once used as the standard form of currency now acts as a proof-of-exchange unit on the common markets as well as a method of exchange when trading internationally. It's value acts as a comparative standard within the Imperium in an attempt to allow even citizens in the economically weakest of nations to enjoy a healthy standard of living. The overall prevalence in digital design mean that while quality has value, the parameters for quality focus on attention to detail, condition of the product and effort undertaken to create it. The rarity of the materials used, commercial value of used materials and the amount of material accumulated to gather the used material no longer play in as major factors as many sculptors have turned to 3D printing and holographic modelling as opposed to traditional sculpting. The irrelevance of rarity in a material's value was one of the key incentives for the use of large qualities of gold and silver in architecture and design and one of the catalysts for the image of the Imperium as an "empire of gold"
While in scarcity-era societies ancient relics are often seen as extremely valuable, the scale of nanoscale and quantumscale replication mean that countless copies of many ancient articles exist, each one can either be a restored copy or a replication of the article in its time-worn condition both in museums and private collections. A result is that ancient artifacts have worth primarily based on symbolic value. An ancient sword for instance only bears more worth than its replications for the knowledge that it was the one posessed by its original owner but the loss of ancient relics - so long as quantum replicated copies exist - is not treated as an imperial tragedy. The only real sense of loss coming from a sentimental sense rather than a historical sense.
“The Imperium is as diverse as it is ancient. Every alien under our influence only adds to the vibrant diversity we allow. In a galaxy of tyrants, criminals and zealots, the Imperium is an oasis for the free, the open-minded and the curious. To me this is a treasure worth vastly more that any ancient artifact or precious stone.”
“Sure the Imperium isn't perfect, but we're still better-off than many other cultures out there beyond Andromeda.”
“Reminds me of the Old Empire... but grander.”
- - Lady Nelana