After months of vicious fighting, the Imperial Naval Auxiliary has reinstated the Facece Empire Party as the controlling power of the Facece system.
Marquis Endincite, who coordinated the effort to reclaim the system, made the following statement to the Imperial Herald:
"The Empire Party has regained administration of Facece, and we beseech Imperial commanders everywhere to ensure its continued dominance in the system. Never again should the Empire allow its preeminent naval base to fall under the sway of disloyal elements."
The Allied Facece Order, which seized Facece late last year, retains control of multiple planetary and orbital stations. Fighting is likely to continue for months.
Chancellor Anders Blaine, the systems' administrator, has yet to make an official statement, but he is reportedly preparing to address the Empire, and to commend Marquis Endincite and the Imperial Naval Auxiliary for their service.
A little over two weeks ago, the Facece system was occupied by an independent faction known as the Allied Facece Order. The news sent shockwaves through the Empire, with many asking how such a small organisation could take control of the second most important system in Imperial space. The consternation felt by Imperial citizens was compounded by the Empire's apparent lack of urgency regarding the issue, with many directing their frustration at Chancellor Anders Blaine, who was until recently the system's primary administrator.
Colm Tornquist of the Imperial Herald seemed to encapsulate the views of many when he asked: "What is Chancellor Blaine waiting for? Every day that passes is another day in which the people of Facece labour under the dictatorial rule of the Allied Facece Order. Action must be taken!" Almost as soon as this complaint was aired, Clearly Chancellor Blaine announced plans to retake the Facece system:
"I apologise for what some have perceived as a lack of alacrity. I know the Imperial people are eager to see these opportunists removed from Imperial space, but it was essential that we plan our operation carefully to minimise the danger to the people of Facece. Now the planning is over, and order will soon be restored. I implore the people of Facece to remain calm. And to the Allied Facece Order I say this: your days are numbered."
Recent reports indicate that an independent faction known as the Allied Facece Order has wrested control of the Facece system from the Empire. Details are scarce, but it is believed that the Allied Facece Order took control of the system after achieving several strategic victories against Imperial Naval forces. Chancellor Anders Blaine, who was until recently the system's primary administrator, was approached for comment:
"I want to assure the people of Facece that the current state of affairs is only temporary. The Facece system will soon return to Imperial control, and the rebels who have undermined our authority will be made to answer for their crimes."
Standing on the steps of the Senate building, Chancellor Anders Blaine announced the Senate's decision on the succession. In a historic selection, and as a result of a clear majority vote, Arissa Lavigny-Duval will be the next ruler of the Empire. She will be the first female leader of the Empire since Marlin Duval founded the original colony on Achenar in the 23rd Century, although she will carry the title 'Emperor' rather than 'Empress'. Such an appointment would have been impossible prior to the reign of Hengist Duval due to an ancient decree that all Imperial rulers be male, but a ruling passed by the late Emperor early in his reign did away with this generations-old tradition.
The news has been almost universally celebrated, and even Princess Aisling Duval offered her support for the appointment. The celebrations are likely to continue until the coronation ceremony in a week's time.
Not everyone agrees with the Senate's decision, however. In a statement, Emperor's Dawn declared the selection of Arissa Lavigny-Duval "a desecration of the traditions of the Empire". The organisation has vowed not to allow the ceremony to happen.
Today is the last day of deliberation for the Senate over the question of the next Emperor. By law, the Senate must announce the new Emperor by a clear majority decision tomorrow. Meanwhile, many are asking how a group like Emperor's Dawn could establish so many high-level contacts, and keep such a widespread extremist organisation secret for so long. It is clear that the new Emperor, whoever it may be, will be faced with challenges from the moment he or she assumes the throne.
Chancellor Blaine was considered the strongest candidate for the throne, particularly given the deadlock between Princess Aisling Duval and Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval. But the recent revelation of his indirect connection to Emperor's Dawn leaves the two women as the most convincing contenders. The Princess's chances were dealt a blow by the revelation of her own connections to Emperor's Dawn. With Senator Lavigny-Duval receiving public support from Senators Patreus and Torval, some believe she has an advantage. Overall, however, the two are too closely matched to be able to confidently call a winner.
In the early hours of this morning, agents of the Imperial Guard and IISS arrested several members of Chancellor Anders Blaine's staff. He later released a statement:
"It deeply pains me that members of my staff have brought such shame to my name and office. I regret to admit that Princess Aisling Duval's accusations are true, and that members of my staff have been instrumental, albeit without my knowledge, in conducting a campaign of slander against the Princess.
"I take full responsibility for the actions of those in my employ, and offer my full and unconditional apologies to Princess Aisling."
It is difficult to predict how this development will affect the succession vote. On the one hand, the Chancellor's link to Emperor's Dawn will inevitably damage his standing, despite his apparent ignorance of the connection. On the other, his contrition may go some way toward salvaging his reputation.
Little has been heard from Princess Aisling Duval since it was revealed that one of her key advisors, Patron Damon Clarke, was connected to Emperor's Dawn. She has reportedly cooperated with both the Senate and IISS investigations into the allegations, and has vehemently denied any prior knowledge of the link.
That changed this morning with the shattering announcement of her own investigation's findings. In a statement, Princess Aisling revealed that some of Chancellor Anders Blaine's past advisors were connected to the same members of Emperor's Dawn as Patron Damon Clarke. She also highlighted that while Patron Clarke's connection to Emperor's Dawn was historic, those within the Chancellor's team were more recent.
She concluded by listing the names of those implicated. Princess Aisling Duval has not yet released evidence of the connections.
Chancellor Anders Blaine denied all knowledge of any connection, and refused to comment further.
Capitol has been abuzz with rumour following Senator Denton Patreus' open declaration of support for Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval. While possibly not a frontrunner for Emperor, Patreus commands a sizeable fleet and is rich and influential enough to help Arissa Lavigny-Duval become Empress.
Senator Lavigny-Duval already enjoys the support of Chancellor Anders Blaine, whose voice is perhaps the loudest and most influential in the Senate.
The Imperial Herald's revelations concerning connections between Princess Aisling's office and the Emperor's Dawn insurgency have severely impacted her rating, and are likely to have cost her support in the Senate. The political landscape has been shaken further by Senator Zemina Torval's announcement that she is backing Arissa Lavigny-Duval to be crowned Empress.
At the start of the day’s deliberations, Chancellor Anders Blaine declared that a Senate investigation into the claimed connection between Princess Aisling Duval’s office and the insurgent group Emperor’s Dawn was to be undertaken. The investigation will begin immediately, despite the Senate being in closed session until the succession is decided.
In response, Aisling Duval stated that she would comply in any way she could with the investigation. She also said that her own security teams had discovered some alarming information that she would share with the investigation committee.
Meanwhile, the hunt for Patron Damon Clarke continues. Several of his associates were arrested by the Internal Security Service in the early hours of the morning and subjected to questioning.
With the Imperial Senate now in closed session, political commentator Marcus Macmillan takes a look at the likely candidates for the throne.
For political commentators, the varied landscape of Imperial politics provides plenty of intrigue to delve into, and this is particularly true of the Imperial throne. In theory, every member of the Duval family has an equal but invalid claim, and for those that lack the right blood there is always an opportunity for the right marriage. Doubtless many whispered deals of support and corresponding reward are being proposed between the senators to get their votes as we speak.
For traditionalists, the obvious candidate is Chancellor Anders Blaine. He has always been close to the Royal Family and is extremely well connected. When considering his history, however, it becomes clear that he prefers the guiding role of Chancellor, and would not consider himself the next Emperor, even though the next Emperor might not want Chancellor Blaine as their right-hand man.
Based on popularity among the masses, the ‘People’s Princess’ Aisling Duval is the obvious choice. Were it not for her father’s lack of marriage, and the recent declaration of his insanity by the late Emperor, her claim would have been the strongest, and centuries ago that would probably have been enough. She is young for the role, but that could work in her favour as many would like an Emperor with a potentially lengthy rule ahead of her. Her youth works against her in other respects, however, as all the other candidates far surpass her in experience. That being said, she is rumoured to have some powerful, unnamed people behind her.
Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval was clearly the Emperor’s chosen heir, but without the marriage to Florence Lavigny being completed she cannot be legally considered so. However, as the illegitimate child of Hengist Duval she does have a suitable bloodline, just as strong as Aisling’s, and she enjoys the support of both Chancellor Blaine and the citizenry. Her popular support is not as strong as Aisling’s, but it is still significant, and more importantly she is respected in the Imperial Palace.
When considering potential rulers the powerful Senator Zemina Torval must always be included. She is a shrewd operator with extensive commercial interests, and also an avowed traditionalist, which provides her with solid support both in the Senate and among the wider population. She lacks the strong bloodline connection of other candidates, but does have some royal blood, and her strength in the Empire and in the Senate would put her in contention if she so chose.
The last candidate is Senator Patreus. His popular following is still strong, but beyond the inner circles of political life it has begun to weaken, particularly among free-thinking commanders. He wields considerable military and financial power, and his aggressive policies – based on conquest rather than taxation –are attractive to certain elements of the population. He is powerful in the Senate, and given that Senator Torval has indicated her support for him, he is still a contender. Speculation abounds that a marriage between Senator Patreus and Aisling or Arissa Duval would cement his position. He is a well-practiced operator, so he is one to keep an eye on.
The smart credits are on a two-horse race between Aisling Duval and Arissa Lavigny-Duval. In general terms little separates the two, so there is likely to be a lot of politicking over the next month to determine the winner.