Houses of AotSS

Great House List

Neomerican Culture

House Hawken

Holding: Throneworld: Illitch

Constellation history Neo1 may only be generated for the constellation containing Illitch

‘Francia, Grand Duchess of the Hawkens 2998-present day

Born: 12/9/2951

Throneworld: Illitch, home of the famed Illitch shipyards.

Parents: Grand Duke Altus Hawken, Duchess Consort Lydia Hawken

Ancestry: Great-niece of Grand Duchess (formerly Junior Technical Officer) Octavia Hawken, who claimed her throne from Gaius III Calabar in 2912 with the assistance of the Emperor Magnus VI Skye, who (unrelatedly) owed the Calabars a lot of money.

Noteworthy Achievements: Francia’s impeccably even-handed approach to the sale of her shipyards’ products have induced several quite-profitable planetary conflicts to develop into extremely-profitable interstellar wars, thereby vastly improving her House’s capacity to produce yet more lucrative, definitely-legal military innovations. Alongside this philanthropic work, she has also made sure to do due honour to her superiors, in particular the Marshal Prime – the dignity of whose office would be sorely wounded were it not for Francia’s selfless and unfailingly generous aid.

Biography: Francia was born at the Hawken palace outside Lorem City, Illitch, whilst her young parents were in stellar orbit, inspecting progress on their latest cruiser. This rather set the tone for her childhood as a whole…’

The Complete Imperial Who’s Whom, entry on Grand Duchess Francia Hawken, page archived 31/2/3014

House Horlock:

‘At 22:16, 15/8/2499, an attempt was made on the life of His Grace by Grand Captain Howard Horlock, head of the informal Court faction of the same name, using a handheld pistol-type weapon. Due to the prompt and fearless response of Security Officer Pablo Yamaguchi, the assassin was inhibited with lethal force before he could complete his mission. We believe Horlock to have acted alone, due to his making the attempt personally on his own behalf, and the weapon’s being originated from his family armoury and bearing his symbology. Our inquiries into his associates in aforesaid Horlock Court faction proceed apace and we will endeavour to provide His Grace with further information as soon as it becomes available to the Security Corps. Inquiries are also being made urgently into how Horlock was able to bring aforesaid pistol-type weapon into the presence of His Grace undetected.’

– Imperial Security Corps post-incident report concerning failed assassination attempt on the Emperor Magnus I Pierce, 16/8/2499, Red Archives

‘The Horlocks of the present day, however, have risen far from their ignominious origins. Loyal allies of the Emperor, they have a centuries-long record of ruling their domains with authority and unquestionable justice. The competence and stability of their administration make them vital players in Imperial politics, almost always for the common good.’

– ‘Political History\Great Houses of the Empire\House Horlock’, Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3024

 

‘Sorry Oss, bad news – we have to cancel all our plans. The guest of honour has a friend on our side somewhere. Looks like we won’t be able to hold that party after all. But I suppose that’s our family motto by now – “We’ll do what’s right – later”.’

– Intercepted letter from Priebus Horlock to Austina Horlock, 31/4/3024, Red Archives. ‘The guest of honour’ almost certainly refers to the Emperor Ensino [PLAYER_DYNASTY].

Spartic

House Waldegrave

Constellation History Spar1 may only appear in a constellation in which House Waldegrave administers or Holds a planet

Must generate planet Walden outside the Empire and not under House Waldegrave’s control, but as close to Waldegrave Holdings or administered territories as possible

‘One of the numerous Houses tracing their station to their role in Pierce’s Revolution, the Waldegrave clan’s carefully-maintained martial traditions evoke ancient Earth’s Spartans as much as any modern dynasty’s drill program. Nurtured in the harsh worlds of the Outer Rim, their austerely vigorous way of life was always ill-suited to governance, and as a result – to their great shame – Maarten Waldegrave lost the family’s throneworld to a popular revolt in what they refer to as the Catastrophe of 2744. Since that day, the family have repeatedly sought Imperial permission to retake the world, without success – and no child of theirs has been named Maarten.’

RevenantWiki, entry on House Waldegrave, retrieved 4/4/3049

 

‘You know, Javitch, I wish every godforsaken day, that our fucking ancestors could have figured out how to get rich instead of more creative ways of knocking other people’s heads’ off. ‘Course, it’s way more fun to knock people’s heads’ off. And all the crowns in the galaxy won’t buy you a new head… well, maybe from those Kiraly-Finn loonies.’

-Interview notes from a Waldegrave core sergeant with author Javitch Helstein, The Spartic Paradox, 3029

Traditionalist

House Iogarajah-Bas (Traditionalist)

Only appears in conjunction with Iogarajah-Alte. They should both be on the same side of Neo-Sirius.

Constellation history Trad1 can only appear for a province containing Holdings (or, if there are none to be had, worlds administered by) the Iogarajahs-Bas.

‘House Iogarajah’s greatest crisis came in 2807 with the ‘High’ branch’s wholesale conversion to Asceticism. Seeing their cousins as abandoning their familial responsibilities, the Low branch’s influential freemartin second child and admiral Vladi Seraf Iogarajah took it upon themself, with the tacit backing of the Low patriarch Matall, to reclaim the High branch’s worlds for the greater honour of the Family. It took the intervention of the Imperial fleet to prevent a devastating civil war, the Admiral standing down only at the very brink of open insurrection. The subsequent departure from Imperial space of the High branch was, in the words of His Grace Eliezer II, “the least worst outcome possible in this difficult time”.’

– ‘Political History\Great Houses of the Empire\House Iogarajah’, Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3048

 

‘“V.S.”, as they insisted on being known, was not prime admiral material. Their addiction to industrial-grade inorganic stimulants made life on the bridge of the Orca a constant struggle to retain the Admiral’s attention without inspiring their legendary rage. Eyewitnesses reported that the day the stand down order was given, the Admiral was unusually subdued: Matall had finally tracked down and cut off their supplier in the Fleet.’

The Complete Imperial Who’s Whom, page archived 5/4/2898

 

House Van Rigel

‘House Van Rigel are unusual among the great Houses of the Empire in that their line was ‘founded’ in a single, identifiable event. Karl van Rouse was a prominent general under Pierce, commanding the Third Fleet against the Xyl. In recognition of his brave and brilliant service, the newly-crowned Emperor Magnus I granted van Rouse substantial holdings in perpetuity. Recognising his chance to establish a bulwark against any future threat to Mankind, van Rouse set about building the traditions of a dynasty dedicated to the protection of Mankind – beginning with his name. In the hope of inspiring his descendents to live up to their angelic namesakes, he took the name ‘Van Rigel’, and created the title of ‘High Star’ for the head of his House. True to his word, he earned his reputation as humanity’s One Shining Star, an honorific applied to the best of his successors. It is a testament to the institutions he built that so many of them have earned it.’

– ‘Political History\Great Houses of the Empire\House Van Rigel’, Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 2991

Technik

House Kiraly-Finn

‘Closest among the disciples of Father Sun’s chosen servant was General Zoltan Kiraly-Finn. Magnus conferred with him on almost every matter of note over the course of the Celestial Revolution, and for his wise counsel and fearless leadership, he would be anointed a Saint soon after his death in 2526.’

– ‘Personae of the Celestial Revolution’, Ecclesiastical History

 

‘But the opposite has happened: in the four years since her death, Nevsky’s sinister ideas have, if anything, found a wider audience. And they have friends in high places.

 

Loudest of the Techniks in high society is Tera Kiraly-Finn, direct descendant of St Zoltan. She has very publicly indicated her sympathies for certain of the ‘movement’s’ ideas, even going so far as to sport stick-on cranial stimulators at the Exclaim! Ball earlier this year. But investigation by this newspaper’s reporters suggests that she is not only disgracing her family’s name – she is doing so cynically and for profit. Inside sources have revealed that the Kiraly-Finn family own majority shares in over 45% of the Technik cyber-dens licenced across the entire Empire. By tacitly promoting this heresy, Kiraly-Finn is deliberately undermining the very fabric of our Empire for the crassest of reasons – a deeply irresponsible, even seditious, move.’

– Melchio Ignacci, ‘Lucida Nevsky’s Dangerous Legacy’ in The Solarian, 8/4/2875

 

Mercantile

House Ilioaia

Holding: Ilioaia asteroid belt

‘In the aftermath of the Second Xyl War, a young miner named Bengamin Ilioaia set out, as many other space wildcatters did, to look for new sources of materials to rebuild the shattered Terran Alliance. While most of his peers were not very successful, Bengamin discovered a comet that was incredibly rich in rare minerals. He made 3 trips to the comet, telling nobody but his wife and two brothers about his find. On the third trip, he found his older brother, Ivan, waiting for him with a smile and a kinetic cannon, obliterating his small mining craft. Upon telling their younger brother, Mihai, about what he did, Mihai became furious and killed Ivan on the spot. With most of the bloodline now dead in a single tragic day, Mihai took Bengamin’s wife in marriage and set out to build the Ilioaia line once more. Years of surveying led the House to discover multiple sources of materials, eventually cementing their legacy as the most powerful mining house in the Celestial Empire.’

RevenantWiki, entry on House Ilioaia, page retrieved 16/4/3029

 

“When they say blood is thicker than water, they never saw the blood running down the side of our family’s crest. It is our burden, some would say our tragedy, but I say it is our triumph that so much good has sown from the soil of such anger. Let our position in the Empire remain strong, and let us remember that while we stand firmly today among our fellow Houses, what shockwaves can occur from one heinous and narcissistic act.”

– Speech from House Leader Slokoisti Ilioaia to his Council, 29/2/2994

House Milak:

Constellation history Merc2 can only appear in a province where the Milaks have an administered territory or Holding.

Holding: Throneworld: Juthrbog

‘House Milak is a minor House whose throneworld is Juthrbog. The present Head of House is Sir Krasivi Milak, b. 2868.’

– Entirety of ‘Political History\Great Houses of the Empire\Other Houses\House Milak’, Continuing History, edition of 2914

 

‘That can’t be right. Ask them to check it again.’

– Prospector-General Finant Anatol, on receipt of the first reports from the Northern Territory Mineralogical Survey, Juthrbog, 32/4/2915

 

‘EMP: Krasivi! My friend! So good to see you. How is your lovely husband?

KMK: [inaudible] the operation. We expect him to be much more, uh, docile. [laughs] And how is His Grace?

EMP: Fantastic, Krasivi, just fantastic. I’ve been renovating the old lodge at Lake Geneva, I must show you it sometime. Gorgeous place. Gorgeous. You must come by. Are you a hunting man?

KMK: I [inaudible]

EMP: You must be. Come, have you tried this? [clicks, sound of pouring drink]

KMK: I’m sure, uh, what-

EMP: It’s Calviador, grown on my personal estate outside New Berlin. Fantastic stuff. Very rare, you know, very rare. Speaking of rare things, actually, the Empire, as you may know, is presently terribly short of certain rare minerals…’

– Transcript of conversation between Emperor Eliezer III Housseini and Sir Krasivi Milak on 33/1/2916, in the Autumn Room, Vindoland Palace, New Terra. From the Red Archives.

 

Gilded Worlds

House Halcyon-Musharraf

‘This House can trace its ancestry back to two key players in the Populist Revolt of 2602: Tristane Halcyon and Asha Musharraf. They see their dynastic duty to be to keep a check on the Emperor’s excesses, in the spirit of their forebears. As such, they view Primacy as the birthright of their House. Halcyon and Musharraf met in their youth at the court of the aging Magnus II. The second-in-line and the heir respectively to backwater planets, they were brought from their remote homeworlds in one of Magnus II’s diligent efforts to maintain the links of friendship and fealty between the Throne and its governors. Both intelligent and idealistic youths, they saw in their close contemporary – the young Magnus III – the arrogance and cruelty that would mark his reign, and found it repellent. Musharraf, long fascinated by the democratic ideals of centuries gone by, formulated the ideological basis of what would become the Populist movement; the charismatic Halcyon was her messenger, pouring her elixir in the ears of key players around the future Emperor even before he came into his inheritance. The two were inseparable; come the revolution, they both took seats on the Prime Council, and their subsequent marriage was an event grand beyond the wildest hopes of their families. Since that triumphant union, the pair’s descendants have almost continuously held seats on the Celestial Council – though with varying success.’ – RevenantWiki, entry on House Halcyon-Musharraf (uncensored version), page retrieved 21/2/3044

 

House Barwon:

Holding: Olympia (venue for the Great Game)

‘The Game is not to be taken too seriously.

The Game is to be taken very seriously indeed.

The Game begins when all players have entered the pitch. Players of name may enter by any tier. Players without name may enter by the second or third tiers. Players without property may enter only by the third tier.

The Game ends when the last board is destroyed, or when to continue would be fatal to one or more of the first- or third-tier players.

The boards are to be arranged by the Host. A single Host player may enter by the first tier, but no other players may be fielded by the Host.

The boards are to be as specified in Appendix A, sections 1, 4, and 5.’ – Lucrezia Barwon, Rules of The Game, 4th edition

 

‘In the brightest and most fragrant corner of the Summit Lounge is to be found the Princex Aletheiu Barwon, heir to the throne of Olympia, quing of the festivities that surround the Game, and – it is whispered – privy to every supposedly clandestine conversation and secret tryst that happens anywhere in Jeux over the course of those exciting summer weeks. Accompanied at all times by a retinue of stunning servants, each individually dressed by them alone, Aletheiu is happy to act as patron to the most dazzling fashion houses on Olympia – which is why the very best of them congregate in Jeux! Good luck getting near them, though – Aletheiu values their privacy, and the security at the Summit Lounge is the very best.

 

Turning toward the shaded end of the bar, we encounter Duchess Mikhail of New Kent…’ – Camara Xu, ‘Olympia’s Capital Prepares for the Game’, in The Solarian, 15/1/2983

Lawless

Peace, Inc.

Holding: Throneworld: Interzone

‘WANTED: Lucretia Lucca, a.k.a. Spider, a.k.a. Gertra McLeod, a.k.a. Hild Stemsgart, a.k.a. Lady Strychnina, a.k.a. Sloneczina Cardier-Milak, on charges of murder, commission of murder, traffic in banned psychoactive substances, incitement to insurrection, violation of His Grace’s trade and export regulations, arson in His Grace’s shipyards, corruption of His Grace’s officials, assistance of a criminal, and destruction of Imperial currency.

 

Lucca is believed to be the head of the interstellar criminal syndicate known as ‘Peace, Incorporated’. She has almost certainly undergone facial and gait restructuring since the last known photograph of her was taken. DO NOT APPROACH WITHOUT ARMED SUPPORT. She must be assumed to be armed and dangerous at all times. Last seen boarding a freight transporter from [RANDOM_IMPERIAL_PLANET] to New Terra, the Almost Zero, which disappeared en route, on 36/1/2998.’ – Imperial Security Interchange Bulletin, 21/2/2998

 

‘Traffickers in the Black Meat, flesh of the giant aquatic black centipede – sometimes attaining a length of six feet – found in a lane of black rocks and iridescent, brown lagoons, exhibit paralyzed crustaceans in camouflaged pockets of the Plaza visible only to the Meat Eaters. Followers of obsolete unthinkable trades, doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, black marketeers of World War III, excisors of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, officials of unconstituted police states, brokers of exquisite dreams and nostalgias tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, drinkers of the Heavy Fluid sealed in translucent amber of dreams.’ – William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch, Red Archives.

 

Ascetic

House Iogarajah-Alte

Only appears in conjunction with Iogarajah-Bas. Their throneworld must be of a kind that can have deserts.

‘House Iogarajah’s greatest crisis came in 2807 with the ‘High’ branch’s wholesale conversion to Asceticism. Seeing their cousins as abandoning their familial responsibilities, the Low branch’s influential freemartin second child and admiral Vladi Seraf Iogarajah took it upon themself, with the tacit backing of the Low patriarch Matall, to reclaim the High branch’s worlds for the greater honour of the Family. It took the intervention of the Imperial fleet to prevent a devastating civil war, the Admiral standing down only at the very brink of open insurrection. The subsequent departure from Imperial space of the High branch was, in the words of His Grace Eliezer II, “the least worst outcome possible in this difficult time”.’

– ‘Political History\Great Houses of the Empire\House Iogarajah’ Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3048

 

‘Wassy, you’ve got to get out. Matall has troops on the ground outside the city, they could – I don’t know how close they are. There’s, you hear that? There’s shooting – Xyl, they’re here. Take Hari and Naomie and get – [call terminated]’

– Transcript of audio call from Helmutha LeSchloss to Wasanthique Iogarajah-Alte, 06:21-06:23, 19/9/2807, Red Archives

Minor House List

Technik

House Zmuda

‘One of the last to ‘convert’ was House Zmuda. Fenseg Zmuda, indomitable head of the House and architect of the Zmudas’ most prosperous period, was a staunch anti-Technist and proponent of neo-Confucianism. As long as he was in control, the Zmudas and their worlds would remain bulwarks against Technism. Unfortunately for them, however, his niece Sloneczina – a committed Technik – had other ideas. In the middle months of 2913, Fenseg was poisoned, and Sloneczina and a large number of low- and middle-ranking House members and vassals declared for Technism. Putting two and two together, her uncle’s widow and children accused her of his murder, sparking a civil war that would shatter the formerly prestigious House’s power and relegate it decisively to the shabbier orders of the aristocracy.’

– ‘Social History\Modern\Technism\Spread of the Technist movement in the early 30th century’ Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3035

 

House Farkas

‘House Farkas can trace its modest eminence to Diter Farkas, one of the original Technik circle, and reputed lover of Kyril Bessancourt. Diter was instrumental in the popularisation of Technist thought, acting as a publicist of sorts for his more talented colleagues, but where he really made his mark was in the establishment of the ‘Palaces of Technology’. (For those lucky enough not to have encountered these esteemed institutions, a ‘Palace’ is a rather distressing cross between technological museum, surgical clinic and fleshpot.) The dubious ecstasies available therein soon drew crowds to the burgeoning Technik movement, whilst coincidentally enriching Diter and his clone-offspring to such a degree that he sprouted a title. The rest, as they say, is history.’

The Complete Imperial Who’s Whom, version updated 32/6/3029

Traditionalist

House Schneider

‘Captain Rudolf Schneider (b. 2nd May 1998, Bonn, Switzerland, Earth; d. 28th December 2086, New Berlin, Lang Regio, New Terra) was a Swiss astronaut and politician who played an instrumental role in the Exodus from Earth. After piloting the support craft Shem to the Neo-Sirius system in advance of the Noah, Schneider went on to become a prominent figure in the ‘Restoring De{fragment corrupted}ving performed outstandingly in simulations, Schneider was selected to be the ESA’s first-choice pilot for the mission. (Of the four who ultimately flew the ships of the Exodus, Schneider was in fact the only pilot to be his agency’s first choice, owing to the combat deaths of Xu Meilin and Leigh Perry, and Yevgeny Iliasov’s ill-health.) On hearing the news of his selection, Schneider is reported to have said {fragment corrupted}…’

Reconstruction MasterWiki, entry on Captain Rudolf Schneider, fragment in Schneider Family Archives

 

House Morf

House Morf’s homeworld should be settled before the 23rd century.

Ringing of the first bell. Opening of the first shutter.

Cantor: “Herein lies our hope, our yearning for the future.”

Congregation: “Amen.”

Archbishop: “Though the hour be yet dark, out hearts burn with His Yellow Light.”

Congregation: “Amen.”

Congregation sing ‘Enlightened Be’. Archbishop and Cantor proceed thrice clockwise and twice anticlockwise about supplicant. Ringing of the second bell. Opening of the second shutter.

Cantor: “Herein lies our obedience, the fealty we show in our deeds and feel in our hearts.”

Congregation: “Amen.”

Archbishop: “As the clouds begin to part, we come to know His blessings.”

Congregation: “Amen.”

Congregation sing ‘Into the Light’. Archbishop and Cantor proceed four times clockwise and once anticlockwise about supplicant. Ringing of the third bell. Opening of the third shutter.

Cantor: “Herein lies our faith, our trust in your honour and purity of heart.”

Congregation: “Amen.”

Archbishop: “In the glory of His Light, we find His wisdom in choosing you.”

Congregation sing ‘Honour of Ages’. Archbishop and Cantor proceed five times clockwise about supplicant.

Archbishop: “Thus as the Iron Crown was passed from your grandfather to your father, so is it passed unto you.”‘

– ‘Coronation Ceremony’, House Morf Ceremonial Prayerbook, edition of 2442

 

Neomerican

House Hitotose.

‘The recordings swiftly found their way into the family archives of House Hitotose. Their then Head, Lud Quinte Hitotose, initially refused any access to what they saw as dangerous and disruptive material, but Pevsner and her côterie would not be so easily denied. Granted an audience, Pevsner so dazzled the Lud with her vision of a renewed American culture that they released the recordings onto Imperial networks free of charge. A sea-change was coming; having long remained bastions of Traditionalism in the provice, the Hitotoses were soon to become some of the most eager proponents of the Neomerican revolution.’

– ‘Social History\Modern\Neomericanism\Roots of the Neomerican movement in the 28th century’, Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3048

House Carlson

‘Of all the notable factions in the movement as it entered the 29th century, only one had any interest in the democratic traditions of the cultures they sought to emulate. The Neomerican Justice group, led by Gaius ‘Guy’ Carlson (heir apparent to House Carlson, a prominent family amongst the Imperial minor gentry) championed reforms in local government and law designed to assuage conflict and promote conciliation between rival claimants10. Their philosophical underpinnings in these activities were ostensibly rooted in Solarian precepts concerning living together as a community – Ch.8 Aphs. 17-21 were particularly heavily cited11 – but in fact they were heavily influenced by suppressed thinkers from centuries before the Exodus, as attested by Carlson’s closest friend, Mancy Enonoke, during Inquisitorial interrogation12. Carlson himself escaped persecution due to his family’s connections, but many of the members of Neomerican Justice lost their lives in the official backlash against their efforts.’

RevenantWiki, entry on the history of the Neomerican movement, page retrieved 31/2/3045

Spartic

House Langer

‘It is perfectly clear to me, as it should be to all of us, that there can be no question of our returning to our old way of life in the aftermath of all that has happened.

 

Complacency in the face of the existence of the Xyl is not simply a luxury we cannot afford, but a threefold betrayal – of those who gave their lives to save ours, of one another, and of the children we would leave defenseless in our wake.

 

No, we must begin anew on this new world. In place of the senseless hunger for wealth that threatened to devour the Earth even before the Xyl arrived to do that for us, we must instill in ourselves and our children the skills, but even more importantly the values, that will keep us safe and prepare us for the day our enemy returns.

 

For when that day comes – and come it will – we must not be found wanting. We cannot allow our new world, so much more fragile than the old, to be destroyed as it was. We must be always be ready to fight.’

– Speech given by Colonel Friedrich Langer to the Council of Delegates in New Berlin, Lang Regio, New Terra, Friday 3rd February 2045 (34/1/2045)

 

House Dijkstra

‘Leading the Fleet was Commodore Hans-Elwint Dijkstra, former wing commander of the 19th Aerospace and holder of the Vintner Medal for courage in the face of the enemy, who commented: “The fact that we were able to intercept the demons so early in their approach into the system reflects extremely well on the brave men, women and freemartins working in our observation and intelligence agencies. This is their victory as much as ours in the Seventh Fleet. The sacrifices made by our brave cosmonauts in battle are matched by the heroic efforts made by our detection workers.”

Figures on casualties suffered during the battle have not been made publicly available, but experts expect them to have been low, given the nature of the engagement and the attitude the Government is taking towards its outcome.’

– Patric Al-Khalili, ‘Xyl Strike Repulsed Outside Neo-Sirian System’, in The New Berlin Newslink, 17/4/2494

 

Gilded Worlds

House Fumagalli

‘And it’s Lady Sergia Fumagalli on the top board now. Lady Sergia commanding Etru al-Choum and Ezier Marinotte. Marinotte moves up the left-hand side, trying not to be seen, but Carcier spots him! Carcier coming up on Marinotte… Marinotte goes to defend himself – it’s all tension here on the top board, the pair like tigers, ready to spring – Carcier moves to strike! But what’s this? Al-Choum has him! They have him! And it’s all over for Carcier! Oh, that’s brutal work by al-Choum! Two third-tier players are just standing there in the archway, stunned! They’ve never seen anything like it – well, they have now! Lady Sergia claims them, she has them moving to the first and second keys. Now Sir Austrith Limigant and Bellerophon Emiri are challenging that first key position. Bear in mind Emiri entered by the second tier this morning, so it’s still all to play for on the top board. Emiri moves – he draws his sword – he can’t be thinking to threaten a third-tier player! He’ll be out of the game before – but wait! He’s not looking at Lady Sergia’s pawns at all! She’s the one in his sights – or I should say, he’s in hers! She’s on top of the archway now, spear at the ready! What a play! The duel is set! On the whistle – there! The whistle goes, and Emiri jumps left, dodging the strike of the honourable Lady’s spear with apparent ease – what’s she doing? In yesterday’s Game she was on top form! Perhaps she’s injured? No! Wait, it was a ploy! One of the third-tiers has Baron Austrith by the arms, and is wrestling him between the fighters! She’s angling for an end to play! With the other third-tier in the key position, she’ll win the game! Can she do it? More to the point, can the third do it? Sir Austrith is on top of Emiri! That was a nasty blow! I hope that third-tier player’s getting paid well enough to risk that – and she has it! The Lady has it! She’s won by the top board! Victory to Lady Fumigalli!’

– Vincense Elbaradei, LuckySee audio commentary on the fifth day of the 2887 Great Game, 31/9/2887, recording in the Fumagalli family archives

 

House Kuarezmi

‘I have seen some hideous things here, Khmeri. The suffering of the people goes unsalved and unquenched. These puritans will not allow them the slightest relief. The brutality of the punishments! A freemartin was publicly flogged, right outside my window, ten days ago. I could barely speak for hours. No Level-Out, no Satisfier, no Harmony – those last two are strictly forbidden, and I didn’t dare try to bribe the Customs people on the way through – the people have nothing! They eat, they sleep, they breed, work and die, and all the while they have nothing to shield them from the hard edges of their position in society. Only whips and sermons. I can’t bear it. Everywhere you go, you can see the resentment hidden behind their eyes. It’s like watching surgery without anaesthetic. By all that’s kind and decent, why can’t they medicate these people against the pains of their position?’

– Lydia Kuarezmi, message to her brother Khmeri, 33/10/2881. Sent whilst accompanying a diplomatic mission to [INHABITED_TRADITIONALIST_PLANET_COMMA_THAT_PLANET’S_PROVINCE].

House al-Syed

If House Al-Syed are in the game, and constellation history Gild1 is in use, House Al-Syed should have at least one administered territory or Holding in that constellation.

‘Mr Falagueri was apprehended at 22:18 on the 14/5/3021 by Officer Gautane (551B) in the act of stashing a small (30g) amount of siskonitrine explosive in an abandoned locker in Gaslink Passage 16, underneath the Friars’ Bridge. Over a kilogram of similar explosive material was already in evidence within the locker, suggesting Mr Falagueri had been engaged in this activity for some time. The Officer subdued Mr Falagueri peacefully with her Level-Out mister, and was able to bring him into custody. Interrogation revealed he had been planning to sabotage Friars’ Bridge, but appeared to have been acting alone. The explosive material has been removed, and Mr Falagueri has been reassigned to a low-risk profession. Additionally, he is to be administered daily doses of Harmony (10mg intramuscular) under Compliance supervision, with biannual reviews as per standard procedure.’

– Adjuster Lucia Elnokrashi, compliance report (‘additional details’ section) on Mr Fasel Falagueri of 356b Smallways Apartment Complex, Langua, Bocci Regio, [WORLD_WITH_AL-SYED_PRESENCE]. From the desk of Chief Compliance Coördinator the Rt. Hon. Bellini Al-Syed.

Mercantile

House Stoichkof

‘In the new Bello, Stoichkof Transpeed offers a winning combination of elegance and dependability. With its four single-mounted oval repulsors – each individually articulated using hand-crafted artimuscle, so much quieter and more responsive than motors – it avoids the usual aesthetic pitfalls of all-terrain vehicles without sacrificing safety or performance. Even in the dark with the lights off, the tactile response from the control columns ensures you know exactly where you are and what’s around you, creating a wonderfully unmediated skimming experience. A deaf and blind peasant could fly this skimmer, and have a good time, too.’

– Schastli Relnić, review of the Stoichkof Transpeed Bello, Skim, 3/8/3045

 

‘IB – How can you have lost another shipment? Where the Xyl do four hundred brand-new Lowlanders vanish to? Light!

PL – Sir, I can-

IB – Oh you can explain, is it? How your Xyl-fucked ass lost ninety megacrowns worth of skimmers somewhere between Rampart City and Goldenburg-

PL – Sir, we think it was intercepted-

IB – Intercepted by your little friends in the resale business, the resale line of business, is that what you mean?

PL – Sir, we have intelligence that the Stoichkofs-

IB – The Stoichkofs. Xyl take the nightcrawling Stoichkofs.’

– Transcript of conversation between the Hon. Intelep Bezhikin and Puternei Lao, Luxi Skimship Industries offices, Eisenburg, [DEVELOPED_WORLD_WITH_HEAVY_STOICHKOF_PRESENCE], 36/1/3046. From the Stoichkof confidential business archives.

House Iordache

‘On nights he is not entertaining business guests in the pleasure-domes of Neo Grantham, Sorin Iordache usually eats alone in his study. “I have so much to keep on top of,” he says, “that sometimes I don’t see my children for days at a time.” His business interests are wide-ranging – from agricultural automata to nanopharmaceuticals, his hard-won licence for which hangs proudly on his study wall. Despite a series of investigations in the late 80s, Iordache has never been convicted of breach of licence. “It’s all political, you understand – competition is fierce in the nanopharm business.” He smiles in a way that’s almost disarming, but in the circumstances it puts one in mind of a card-sharp. The Iordaches are a family on the make – much as Sorin makes of his long family history, as his eating habits show, the majority of their income derives from trade. Their land holdings are for the most part recently-bought – within the past decade, at best – and soon-to-be-sold, too.

 

At one of his automaton plants, the Sorin smile is on full blast. He shakes workers’ hands, offers words of encouragement. But don’t be fooled by appearances – there is no real connection going on here. These people work for him today; tomorrow, who knows?’

– Lazarra Rastogi, ‘The Spiritual Poverty of the New Merchant Class’, in The Solarian, 29/4/2892

House Herea

‘Sir,

I am finding it almost impossible to work with General Herea. She has little regard for the spirit of the troops, and less for the integrity of her office. Every decision is an accounting decision for her. Faced with the opportunity to snatch a key morale-boosting victory during the siege of Seydoux by capturing the Garden Dome, she instead insisted on destroying the structure with artillery rather than allow her troops a moment of heroism. What could have been a triumph for our soldiers was instead reduced to a grim little piece of risk reduction. We cannot win this war with a demoralised army. I pray you, Sir, bring General Herea into line.’

– Confidential communication from General Athels van der Waals to Dux Dechan Iogarajah, 1/10/2945

 

‘Sir,

I regret to inform you that I believe General van der Waals is becoming a liability. His romanticism about combat is putting the lives of our troops and the success of our mission at risk. During our assault on the Crux Solar temple hub, he held back our heavy weaponry even when it became clear the rebels were bringing their own armoured units up from the Underways. As a result, more than 200 of our soldiers lost their lives. I believe those lives could have been saved had we simply made use of the missile batteries van der Waals ordered kept in reserve. This level of irresponsibility cannot continue. Sir, I advise you in the strongest possible terms to take the General away from the front lines.’

– Confidential communication from General Omsilitorcia Herea to Dux Dechan Iogarajah, 3/10/2945

Terran Remnant

EGG Interstellar

‘The constant factor in all these people’s stories is the callous way in which they have been cast aside by their demo-corporate masters. Whether in the form of a political party or a business enterprise – and often, as in the case of EGG Interstellar, they are both at once – these faceless organisations are constitutionally bound to display neither loyalty nor gratitude to their hirelings. And this is not a coincidence, but a structural feature of the system, inherited with only superficial reforms from the dying days of the Alliance.

One man’s story perfectly illustrates the inevitable slide away from humanity that these organisations follow. Importrick Stevenson was a founding member of Luminosity Incorporated…’

– Lazarra Rastogi, ‘Betrayal by Contract: How the poisonous legacy of the Alliance lives on in [TERRAN_REMNANT_PROVINCE_WITH_EGG_INTERSTELLAR_PRESENCE]’, in The Solarian, 36/1/2895

 

‘Mr. Chayatissa’s Population Monitoring file indicates that he has found it difficult to fit into society since his arrival on [EGG_INTERSTELLAR_CONTROLLED_PLANET] three months ago. He has not engaged productively with the Work Exchange, despite or perhaps because of his high educational attainment and broad intellect (going by the biographical note accompanying his Imperial Security Interchange arrest warrant). I feel this man deserves a chance, and am certain that he would respond well to a direct higher-level contact, due to his aristocratic background and clear insecurities about life in our meritocratic society. My recommendation to the Department is that he should be approached by someone at Sub-Director level or above, rather than waiting for him to engage of his own accord, and I am confident that he will be receptive to the offer and go on to prove his worth to the Company.’

– Senior Consultant Specialist Pepsy Álvarez, recruitment report on the Hon. Claudio Chayatissa, filed 11/10/2901, EGG Interstellar Personnel Department Records Database

 

MyrmexFormicom

‘Flexo Armitage (b. 21.1.2901, d. 33.7.2952) was a statesman and officer in MyrmexFormicom, a political-economic body predominant in [MYRMEXFORMICOM_HOME_PROVINCE]. Although he served with distinction in the MyrmexFormicom Security Services as an infantry officer, Armitage is best remembered for his ill-fated attempts to reform the organisation’s textile concerns on [MYRMEXFORMICOM_PLANET]. His attempts to introduce more-efficient working practices and safer machinery led to his termination in 2952 on charges of subversion and jeopardising the business of the MyrmexFormicom Machine Tools Subdivision.

 

Armitage was born at the Saint Ramu Nyquist Hospital in Finisterre, Utopia Regio, [MYRMEXFORMICOM_PLANET], on the 21.1.2901, to Gelatina Armitage (mother and gestator) and Apple Gonzalez…’

– ‘Biography\Modern\Fringe Worlds\Armitage, Flexo (Industrial reformer)’, Continuing History of the Empire, edition of 3022

Ascetic

House Durand

‘Lord Durand says he loves mucking in at the hospital. “The hospital is my respite from the work of leadership,” he told our reporter. “My truest joy lies in helping others. Father Sun bids us put others before ourselves, and to set aside our own urges to help them – that’s what I try to do every day.” The hospitallers with whom he works call him “a joy to work with”, saying his dedication is a true inspiration to them all.’

– Simone Settie, ‘Lord Durand Gets His Hands Dirty At Lugano Hospital’, The Sunbeam, 3/1/2988

 

’06:15 Raphael Durand: Oh Sol do I have to go to the fucking hospital again

06:15 Alecsandra Durand: Yes dear you do

06:16 Raphael Durand: But it’s awful

06:16 Raphael Durand: I hate it

06:16 Alecsandra Durand: If you dont show your face there therell be troubel

06:17 Raphael Durand: The peasants aren’t going to revolt if I miss one day of fucking PR leper-stroking

06:17 Alecsandra Durand: I mean at home

06:17 Raphael Durand: Alright, alright, im going

06:18 Alecsandra Durand: Don’t bring back anything nasty with you

06:18 Raphael Durand: Har de har. Have a nice day

06:18 Alecsandra Durand: And you dear’

– Durand personal chatlogs for 32/10/2987, House Durand central server archives

 

House Goldstein

‘Holy Parent,

As you instructed, I have conducted investigations into the so-called ‘Ascetic movement’ on [GOLDSTEIN_PRESENCE_PLANET]. It seems largely to be a cult of personality around one founder, Yohan Al’Orsino. Al’Orsino is rarely seen, usually communicating through his right-hand man, Yohan Goldstein. Goldstein, however, does not seem to have the kind of character required to maintain the cult after the death of Al’Orsino. My humble suggestion is to leave the cult be, and allow it to disintegrate naturally with the passing of time. It will surely reach its peak soon, if it has not already.’

– Mother Galicie Murtie, report to Natriarch Miha IV, 25/8/2722

 

Mobile City Nomadic

House Sheng

Their throneworld ought to be a greenhouse planet.

‘Municipal Commodore Herron Kwai announced today that this year’s Urban Congregation will be held from the 17th to the 32nd Hexember, at 22.2810°N by 61.9841°E, to take advantage of expected clement subtropical weather. The fifteen-day festival will see the city of Windwake join the temporary megalopolis for the first time in over a decade – a diplomatic coup on the part of Windwake’s owner, Mestarillinen Sheng, who has worked diligently to rehabilitate the city’s intercivic standing since he acquired it early last year. Mr. Sheng, a commoner who made his fortune managing civic passage through the Cenotaph Range in the high 70s °S, has faced an uphill struggle as an owner-captain, more than once facing bankruptcy, but with Windwake’s return to the Congregation, it seems his star is once more on the rise.’

– Ihana Hoang, ‘Date Announced for Urban Congregation’, [SHENG_HOME_PLANET] NewsWeb, 13/2/2851

House Rautakoski

House Rautakoski’s throneworld should be an ocean planet. Its settlement date should be set to 2342, and the settlement dates of the province should mostly be in the 24th century.

‘[RAUTAKOSKI_THRONEWORLD] was initially settled in 2342, by a party of around 10 000 colonists led by Captain Karina Rautakoski. On arrival, the colonists discovered that what had been interpreted as islands in remote probe images were actually vast algal mats, hundreds of kilometres in diameter, but so insubstantial that they could not support a person’s weight4. The seafloor, moreover, was nowhere less than forty kilometres below the surface of the sea.’

– ‘History of [RAUTAKOSKI_THRONEWORLD]’, Reconstruction MasterWiki, fragment recovered 34/2/2881

 

‘The ship was designed to make a water landing, coming down just offshore from what the crew had optimistically named ‘New Shetland’. Of course, it was nothing of the sort, as they swiftly discovered. What ensued was a process of desperate innovation with the sparse available materials.

 

The colonists’ first requirement was real estate. The native ecosystem provided a breathable oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, but was universally inedible to humans. The solution they found was to harvest the flotation pods of the native giant pseudokelp – an activity that could not be conducted without ranging far afield, since (in order to maintain their supplies) they could not take more than one in ten pods from any single organism. This induced them to move the ship and attendant vessels en masse on a sinuous course back and forth across the equator, circumnavigating the planet once every four-and-a-half months, travelling between pseudokelp masses. This innovation was the forerunner to our present way of life.’

– Reko Xu, The Wanderers, published 2628, Rautakoski public archives

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House Lychgate

‘The [Spcr2_CAPITAL_STAR] Daily News Report is saddened to report the unexpected death of station-owner Aiakha Lychgate at the age of 48. The respected Ms. Lychgate was found dead last night Kamehameha Station time, of apparent heart failure. Although there is no history of heart failure in the family, the death is not being treated as suspicious. She is succeeded by her son, Kiahiak, 22.

 

Ms. Lychgate’s career took the Lychgate family holdings from three installations, housing 2.1 million people to over thirty, with a population of 25 million all told. Her aggressive expansionist strategy, involving both new construction and capitalisation on existing assets, rendered her one of the most powerful people in the constellation. Many admired her dedication to her Work Program – a scheme ensuring her properties provided opportunities for the poor to work for their accommodation and provisions – as a double-lock for those unable to pay…’

– Obituary of Aiakha Lychgate, [Spcr2_CAPITAL_STAR] Daily News Report, 3/3/2801