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I am a daughter not just of the Emperor, but of the Empire, and I look upon our traditions and achievements with pride. I hold, as my forefathers did, that to be born Imperial is to receive the blessing of the Universe. That is the true meaning of the ceremonial wine tipped upon our new-born heads.
Does this pride in our heritage make me old fashioned? Some would say so. I know that there are those among my family who cannot bear the burden of rank and privilege without a chronic sting of guilt, but I ask that you look charitably upon those so ailing, as I do. After all, rebellion is the prerogative of adolescence.
I ask that you reserve your anger for a worthier target - for those who acknowledge our traditions in public, but privately serve only their own corrupt interests; for those who exploit their ancestors' sacrifices while holding our military in contempt; for all the petty, venal, spineless parasites in our very midst.
I have sat with many such parasites, and for form's sake I have masked my contempt. But that mask has served its purpose, and now I cast it aside. To the worms nesting so complacently in the heart of my beloved Empire, I say this: we see you, and we are coming for you.

— Arissa Lavigny-Duval, private speech given at her post-coronation dinner[1]

Arissa Lavigny-Duval is the 16th Emperor of the Empire. The daughter of the late Emperor Hengist Duval of the Imperial Family and Florence Lavigny of the Lavigny family, she was crowned on October 18, 3301 after a succession process made unusually uncertain by the disqualification of original heir-apparent Prince Harold Duval, the assassination of Hengist before he could marry Florence and legitimize Arissa, and the possibility of viable competing claims to the Imperial Throne from Princess Aisling Duval and Senator Denton Patreus.[2] Arissa has a reputation for tackling hard issues head on. Her political platform is built on honour, and she has a focus on tackling corruption. Many of her policies are in line with those of her late father, as her views were shaped during her time as a senator and member of the Imperial Court.[3][4] Being the first woman to hold the Imperial Throne, Arissa has had a contentious relationship with Imperial hardliners and traditionalists, some of whom seek her removal. Nonetheless, she enjoys broad support among the Imperial people.[1]

Biography

Meet the Powers – Arissa Lavigny-Duval[5]

Continuing this GalNet exclusive series, political commentator Marcus Macmillan writes his opinion of some of the movers and shakers in 3301. In this second article he looks at one of the most respected women in Imperial politics: Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval.[5]

Arissa Lavigny-Duval’s success as a senator often eclipses the fact that as the daughter of the late Prince Aristide de Lavigny, she is also a princess by birth. It says much of her character that she prefers to represent herself with her achievements rather than just her bloodline. In Imperial politics, of course, having the right bloodline is also an asset and she is astute enough to make use of it when she needs to.[5]

In popularity she rivals Princess Aisling Duval, partly because she is happy to tackle hard issues head on. Her primary platform is one of honour and she devotes much of her attention to tackling corruption. She is a familiar face in the Imperial Court and her views often reflect those of the Emperor. The planned wedding between Emperor Hengist Duval and her mother, Florence Lavigny, will secure her position as next in line if anything should befall the Emperor.[5]

The NMLA menace

The Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army's attacks on four Imperial starports on September 10, 3306, followed by the assassination of Prince Harold Duval on September 14, caught Arissa and the Empire by surprise.[6][7] The Emperor officially confirmed the news of Prince Harold's death on September 17.[8] During the Prince's state funeral on September 24, Arissa opened the ceremony with a personal eulogy for her half-brother.[9] This was the last time she was seen in public for the remainder of the NMLA crisis.

As the NMLA waged its campaign of terrorism against the Empire and assassinated more individuals who were related to or close friends of the Imperial Family, including Baron Cesare Lavigny, Arissa made no further public appearances for her own protection.[10] In the aftermath of a failed assassination attempt on Hadrian Duval in late October, Princess Aisling Duval came to cousin's aid, and also formally petitioned Arissa for Hadrian to recognised as a member of the Imperial Family and granted the title of Prince.[11] Arissa's decision, wherein she recognised Hadrian as a Duval but refused to grant him a title, was delivered to the Senate by Chancellor Anders Blaine on November 16.[12]

A conspiracy against the Emperor

In January 3307,[13] Imperial Intelligence informed Arissa of a credible threat to her life, and she chose to accept the formal protection of the Imperial Senate.[14][15] Officially, she departed Capitol and was taken to an undisclosed, high-security location, where she continued to manage the Empire via remote communication with the Senate and Chancellor Blaine.[14] In truth, however, Arissa never arrived at her destination. She was abducted at some point during the journey, and Senator Karl Nerva, a member of the Lords of Restoration conspiracy, falsified confirmation of her safe arrival. Using a virtual simulacrum of Arissa, the Lords fabricated messages from Her Majesty to the Senate, and the Senate accepted these messages as genuine because they were verified by Imperial Intelligence agents who were working with the Lords. This elaborate deception allowed the Lords to direct the Empire's affairs from the shadows.[13]

Due to her apparent seclusion, Emperor Arissa was the only one of the three superpower leaders to not personally attend the Galactic Summit in Sirius; the Chancellor led the Imperial delegation in her place.[16] The public had no idea that the Emperor was not present on Capitol until October 25, 3307, when Senator Caspian Leopold invited Hadrian Duval and Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval to accept the Senate's protection for the sake of preserving the Duval bloodline after the NMLA attacked the Paresa system. The news prompted the media to speculate that the Senate had extended this same protection to Arissa months earlier.[17]

Following the NMLA's decisive defeat in Mudhrid and the demise of its leader, John Tyburn, in December 3307, Arissa remained absent even as Hadrian, Astrid, and their newborn son Hector Mordanticus Duval felt it was safe enough to attend Princess Aisling's New Year celebration in Cemiess on January 1, 3308.[18] Throughout January 3308, concern for the Emperor's well-being increasingly weighed on the minds of Imperial citizens and leaders. Aisling repeatedly called on her aunt to make a public appearance in light of accusations by Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit co-leader Captain Saskia Landau that the NMLA had likely received material support from members of Imperial Intelligence. Chancellor Blaine insisted the Emperor was safe and would return to Capitol imminently.[19] On January 26, the Senate broadcast a brief message ostensibly from Arissa in which she affirmed she was well and thanked Imperial Intelligence for their efforts to combat the NMLA and Marlinist sympathisers at the highest levels of the government. Princess Aisling made it clear that the message did not allay her concerns.[15] The Princess reiterated her fears for the Emperor's safety on February 1, 3308, and proclaimed her support for ACT's scrutiny of Imperial Intelligence.[20]

A message retrieved from an Omega Grid beacon found in the Zhao Jin system on February 6 in the course of ACT's investigation indicated that Emperor Arissa had been taken captive by the Lords of Restoration. According to the message, Arissa was being kept in a cryogenic pod in the care of private military firm Darkwater Inc in Summerland, but Senator Ursula Torquatus, a member of the Lords, ordered the pod to be moved when it became evident that Omega Grid had been compromised. ACT dispatched specialist operatives to locate and recover the Emperor on February 7. Acting on ACT's intel, Chancellor Blaine sent the Imperial Guard to Summerland on February 9. A ship attempting to flee the system was intercepted during the battle against Darkwater troops, and Arissa was found in a cryogenic pod onboard. She was immediately transported to Capitol and given medical attention at the Imperial Palace. The IISS opened an investigation and arrested several conspirators, including Torquatus, Karl Nerva, Alberto Gereon, Lorcan Scordato, and Jourdain.[21][13]

ACT released a detailed report on the Lords of Restoration on February 14, confirming that Arissa had been abducted in January 3307 during her transfer into senatorial protection. The role of Senator Nerva and several corrupt Imperial Intelligence agents in concealing the abduction and deceiving the Senate with fabricated messages, as well as the Lords' use of the NMLA as a puppet to assassinate the Duvals, was also revealed. ACT explained that the Lords' ultimate goal had been to abolish the position of Emperor and restore executive authority over the Empire to the Senate.[13]

Emperor Arissa marked her official return to Capitol with a public ceremony in Trasken Square on February 16, 3308. Multiple legions of the Imperial Guard and millions of Imperial citizens were in attendance as the Emperor delivered a proclamation in which she expressed gratitude to her supporters and declared she would punish all who had been involved in the Lords of Restoration conspiracy.[22] She made good on her word on February 17 by launching an eradication campaign against Darkwater Inc. The Empire designated Darkwater a hostile military target and arranged for Summerland's permit restrictions to be lifted for three weeks so independent pilots could assist in the campaign.[23] The Battle of Summerland concluded on February 24, after Darkwater's leader, Colonel Ronan Brock, was killed while attempting to flee, and Darkwater's armada was fully neutralised. The Empire placed the system under the control of The Praetorian Vigil, a new faction that would report directly to the Emperor and rule in her name. In an official statement, Emperor Arissa proclaimed that the victory in Summerland signified the end of the war against the NMLA and the traitors who had plotted against her.[24]

Following the official disbanding of ACT on March 7, 3308, Emperor Arissa awarded Captain Saskia Landau the Achenar Service Cross in recognition of her instrumental role in identifying the Lords of Restoration, and gave her command of Imperial Intelligence.[25] On March 11, Her Majesty ordered the Imperial Guard to increase security for surviving members of the Duval and Lavigny families, including Princess Aisling, Archduke Otto Lombardo-Duval, Lucretia Roche-Duval, Admiral Lucius Lavigny, and Countess Guinevere Lavigny, for the sake of preserving the depleted Duval dynasty. A cohort of Imperial Guard legionnaires was also offered to Hadrian Duval and his family, but Hadrian declined, explaining that he felt his Praetorian Guard was sufficiently capable.[26]

Timeline

11 MAR 3308

  • Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has ordered the Imperial Guard to provide increased security to surviving members of the Duval dynasty. Many Imperial Family members, including Prince Harold, were assassinated by the NMLA. Sources close to Emperor Arissa state that she is determined to preserve the remaining Duval bloodline as well as deter any future attacks. The Imperial Guard is a legion of elite warriors under the direct control of the Emperor. Although typically seen performing ceremonial duties, they are a highly trained fighting force. It is understood that their numbers have been boosted by a focused enlistment drive from other areas of the Imperial military. A cohort of Imperial Guard has been placed at the service of Princess Aisling Duval. She has gratefully accepted their presence and integrated them with her existing security team. Similar squads have been posted to the households of Archduke Otto Lombardo-Duval and Lucretia Roche-Duval, both of whom are descended from the siblings of Emperor Hesketh. Legionnaires were also assigned to direct relations of Emperor Arissa, including her prominent cousins Admiral Lucius Lavigny and Countess Guinevere Lavigny. Only Hadrian Duval declined the offer of additional protection, stating that he will rely on his Praetorian Guard. He reassured his followers that a hand-picked corps permanently surrounds his infant son Hector Duval.[26]

07 MAR 3308

  • The Alliance, Empire and Federation, have agreed to close down the Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit. A joint statement from all three superpowers stated: "ACT's primary mission to locate and destroy the Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army has been successfully accomplished." ACT was formed in March 3307 following the Nine Martyrs attacks, when the NMLA simultaneously bombed multiple starports. The independent taskforce rapidly took the lead in investigating the terrorists, calling upon the resources of many agencies, specialists and freelance pilots. The co-leaders of ACT have now returned to their respective security services. Captain Saskia Landau was personally awarded the Achenar Service Cross by Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, in recognition of her key role in identifying the Lords of Restoration. Landau has now accepted overall command of Imperial Intelligence, reporting directly to the Emperor. Captain Milo Castile, Inspector Mara Klatt, Praetor Leo Magnus and Senior Agent Tanya Ramirez have all been similarly commended for their successes. The joint statement also paid tribute to those members who lost their lives in the fight against terrorism. ACT was formed under the Cornelius-Lasky Convention, which was ratified at the Galactic Summit. The treaty requires governments to cooperate against large-scale threats to civilian populations, and is now commonly viewed as a historic achievement. Since it remains in force, ACT could be reformed in future if a similar threat to the NMLA arises.[25]

24 FEB 3308

  • *Pilots' Federation ALERT*
    The Empire has carried out reprisals against the rogue faction Darkwater Inc in the Summerland system. The private military firm had trained NMLA terrorists and held Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval captive, on the orders of a cabal of senators named the Lords of Restoration. Darkwater mustered an impressive armada, but these were no match for a combination of superpower forces and independent pilots. Colonel Ronan Brock, the mercenaries' leader, was killed during the fighting when he fled from the Onyx Storm megaship and was shot down by Imperial auxiliaries. Emperor Arissa praised all those who helped destroy Darkwater, and declared: "Let the Battle of Summerland mark the victorious end of our bitter war against both the NMLA and the traitors who sought to destabilise the Empire." ACT clarified that "Although there may always be Neo-Marlinist extremists, the large-scale threat of the NMLA has finally been nullified." All data obtained from the terrorists' Omega Grid network has now been shared with the relevant security agencies. With Darkwater eliminated, the Empire has installed a new controlling faction into the Summerland system. The Praetorian Vigil will report directly to the Emperor and govern in her name. The Summerland Patron's Party will redeem combat bonds and provide other rewards at the starport Henry O'Hare's Hangar. A permit exemption allowing all independent pilots to enter the Summerland system will remain active for the next two weeks.[24]

21 FEB 3308

  • ACT has released details about a plan by the Lords of Restoration to frame Hadrian Augustus Duval as the leader of the NMLA. The information was extracted from the NMLA's Omega Grid network and published by Captain Saskia Landau: "It was Senator Ursula Torquatus who devised a scheme to undermine the Imperial Family and turn citizens against them by 'exposing' a Duval as the NMLA mastermind. Hadrian Duval was seen as the logical choice since many viewed him as an extremist through his prior association with Nova Imperium, though Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval officially pardoned him in 3306. The Lords of Restoration used a virtual doppelganger of the Emperor, indistinguishable from authentic transmissions, to convince the Senate that she was communicating from a safe location. A similar doppelganger was developed to replicate Hadrian and was used to send orders to NMLA allies such as the Landgrave of Mudhrid. This is how they planted evidence, discovered in April 3307, that Hadrian had converted to Neo-Marlinism and was determined to wipe out all other Duvals. Yet, despite triggering an unsuccessful Federal attack in the Paresa system, the accusation was not verified or widely believed. Months later, the Lords of Restoration tried to kill Hadrian and Lady Astrid before their son Hector could be born, fearing the continuation of the Duval dynasty. But other senators moved the family to a secure location, beyond the reach of their agents." Hadrian Duval has publicly thanked ACT for uncovering this information and officially absolving him of all suspicion in this matter.[27]

17 FEB 3308

  • *Pilots' Federation ALERT*
    Darkwater Inc in the Summerland system has been declared a hostile military target for its role in abducting Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval. The private military firm, led by Colonel Ronan Brock, was secretly hired by the Lords of Restoration to train and equip the NMLA. Darkwater troops also kept the Emperor imprisoned in a concealed bunker for over a year. Once their involvement was revealed by ACT, Darkwater's forces regrouped around the megaship Pearl Mandate. Colonel Brock led an attempt to gain control of Summerland as a defensive measure but was unsuccessful. The mercenaries have now been branded as wanted criminals by the system authorities. The order to strike against Darkwater came directly from Emperor Arissa: "I call upon my loyal servants and all other warriors of honour to wipe out this nest of traitors. We remember the innocent victims of the NMLA by punishing those who enabled them." The Summerland Patron's Party will redeem combat bonds for destroyed Darkwater ships at the starport Henry O'Hare's Hangar. Although the Summerland system is typically permit locked, the Empire has arranged a total exemption for independent pilots for a three-week period. To guarantee that Darkwater is thoroughly eliminated, the Empire is offering a range of incentives to pilots. These include awarding the rank of Master in the Imperial Navy Auxiliary, discounts on Imperial ships and weapons in the Summerland system, and Imperial Hammer railguns for the ten pilots who achieve the most combat bonds.[23]

16 FEB 3308

  • Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has attended a public ceremony following her year-long abduction by the Lords of Restoration. Her proclamation from Trasken Square, standing before millions of Capitol's citizens and flanked by legions of Imperial Guard, was broadcast across all channels: "To those who protected the Empire during my enforced absence, I offer my deepest gratitude. My trusted chancellor, senators and security agencies are to be commended. To those who dared to attack Imperial citizens, who dared to impersonate me and mislead my people…who took the lives of my family. Know this: there will be no place to hide from my wrath. And to all citizens who may fear these uncertain times, I vow that your Emperor will lead you into the glorious future that is ours by right." Subsequent messages from the Imperial Palace praised ACT and its supporters for their work in freeing Arissa and destroying the NMLA. Princess Aisling Duval was also thanked for her dedication to finding out the truth, although some newsfeeds have noted that Aisling would hold a strong claim on a vacated throne.[22]

14 FEB 3308

  • The Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit has unveiled a secret cabal of Imperial senators who masterminded the NMLA's terrorist activity. The information was obtained after ACT successfully penetrated the NMLA's dark-comms network. Captain Saskia Landau provided this summary to the media: "Senators Gereon, Jourdain, Nerva, Scordato and Torquatus were at the heart of a powerful conspiracy to permanently remove the position of Emperor. They called themselves the Lords of Restoration, based on their aim to restore executive power to the Senate. The NMLA became their terroristic agents, weaponised to assassinate the Duvals and other obstacles. Its members were militarised at Darkwater training camps and provided with sophisticated equipment by corrupt Imperial Intelligence agents. But the Lords could never fully control the terrorist figurehead Theta Seven, whose attacks against non-Imperial starports were not part of their original plan. Marlinism was also exploited as a political lever. The hope was that, compared to this democratic ideology, citizens would view a senator-led Empire as a moderate compromise once the Imperial Family was gone. While this led to the establishment of the Marlinist Colonies, the Lords' later attempts to influence those systems via puppet politicians did not succeed. Following the assassinations of Prince Harold and other Duvals, the Lords abducted Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval in January 3307. She was kidnapped en route to a secure location, with Senator Nerva falsifying confirmation of her safe arrival. This allowed the Lords to engineer communications with the Senate via a virtual doppelganger, which were accepted as genuine since they were verified by Imperial Intelligence agents." ACT is working closely with Imperial security agencies to identify all those who collaborated with the Lords of Restoration.[13]

09 FEB 3308

  • Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has been found alive after being secretly imprisoned by the private military firm Darkwater Inc. The Imperial Herald published a special report on recent events: "The absence of the Emperor from public life for over a year has prompted much speculation. The Senate claimed that she was being kept safe from assassination attempts by the NMLA, and that they remained in contact with her. In truth, she was being held captive by the NMLA's secret benefactors. This group of Imperial senators referred to themselves as the Lords of Restoration. They were revealed only after ACT recruited independent pilots to help decipher the terrorists' dark-comms network. Chancellor Blaine immediately ordered the Imperial Guard into battle against Darkwater soldiers. A ship fleeing from the Summerland system was intercepted, aboard which was a cryogenic pod containing the Emperor herself. She was swiftly returned to Capitol, and is currently under the care of the Imperial Palace medical team. The IISS has launched a security operation based on ACT's information. This reveals that groups within the Senate, Darkwater and Imperial Intelligence formed a long-running conspiracy to fund and empower the NMLA. Senators Alberto Gereon, Karl Nerva, Ursula Torquatus and several others have been placed under arrest. ACT has stated that it will provide additional information soon."[21]

01 FEB 3308

  • The Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit is actively investigating Imperial Intelligence, despite the Senate ordering it to cease operations. Inspector Mara Klatt, one of ACT's co-leaders, told the media: "We are convinced that elements within Imperial Intelligence provided support to the NMLA. Our view is that a modified version of the Omega Grid software was supplied to the terrorists, allowing them to build their own dark-comms network. Thanks to Captain Saskia Landau's inside knowledge, we are learning how to detect a unique identifier associated with the network employed by the NMLA. Our actions may have political repercussions, but this taskforce is dedicated to finding and destroying the NMLA. We must follow the trail wherever it leads." Civil and military leaders in the Empire have reacted with outrage, including Senator Zemina Torval: "Are we expected to risk our citizens' lives by letting our security services be compromised? How might the Alliance or Federation respond if we attempted to hack into Interpol or the FIA?" However, a plea for cooperation was made by Princess Aisling Duval: "If nefarious groups within our Empire have helped the NMLA, we must uncover the truth. I firmly believe that the Emperor herself remains in danger, and ACT might help us to learn her fate."[20]

26 JAN 3308

  • The Imperial Senate has shared a personal message from Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, who has been in a secure location for nearly a year. The brief statement was broadcast on all public channels: "Citizens of the Empire, be assured that your Emperor is alive and well. I regret that my temporary seclusion has lasted for so long, but I have remained in contact with the Senate during this time. I was advised to depart from Capitol when Imperial Intelligence warned me about a legitimate NMLA assassination attempt, and of Marlinist sympathisers within the highest levels of our government. Once the work of this loyal agency is complete, I will continue my work in leading us toward a prosperous future." Eye on Achenar reported that this address was "welcomed by a relieved Empire", adding that it was vital to "root out all Marlinist traitors". The Imperial Herald noted that the Emperor seemed to absolve Imperial Intelligence of the allegations that it was secretly enabling the NMLA. However, a caution was sounded by Princess Aisling Duval: "Arissa has communicated with the Senate in the same manner for months, so this changes nothing. Only a public appearance will alleviate my concerns regarding her wellbeing. I would be delighted to host a suitable event if she will accept my invitation to attend in person."[15]

20 JAN 3308

  • Princess Aisling Duval has discussed growing concerns over Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval's lack of public engagements in recent months. In an interview with The Imperial Herald, she said: "Chancellor Blaine assures us that the Emperor has been kept in seclusion for nearly a year to protect her from the NMLA. But why has this prevented the Empire's ruler from engaging with her citizens? After all, Hadrian Duval and his family were placed under the same senatorial protection without disappearing altogether. We know that the Emperor has communicated with the Senate on various matters during this time. Government channels are generally trusted thanks to Imperial Intelligence's verification protocols. But Captain Landau's recent testimony, which links Imperial Intelligence to the NMLA, has me concerned. How can I be sure that a breach to our most secure networks wasn't responsible for the location and murder of my father, Prince Harold? Until Arissa appears in person, it is irresponsible to assume her safety is guaranteed. I will be most relieved to have my fears proved wrong." Chancellor Anders Blaine responded: "With the greatest respect to Princess Duval, I have never had cause to believe that Her Majesty the Emperor is in any danger from her own security agencies. Her imminent return to public life should alleviate such concerns."[19]

07 JAN 3308

  • Senators have refuted ACT's claim that the NMLA made use of official but highly secret Imperial communications devices. Captain Saskia Landau maintains that the terrorist group's dark-comms network was very similar to the Omega Grid, an undetectable messaging system used exclusively by Imperial Intelligence. Senator Karl Nerva told the media: "In her desperation to seek out the NMLA, Captain Landau is chasing shadows. Imperial Intelligence must operate under total secrecy, but I assure you that this 'Omega Grid' is just as much of an invention to discredit the Empire as Serene Harbour was. Landau has overstepped her authority with these outlandish accusations. I once again propose that ACT be disbanded and its operatives returned to normal duties." The Imperial Herald reported that other senators are calling for Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval to overrule those who are blocking ACT's investigation. The newsfeed highlighted that she did not attend any functions in person during the past year, and has not broadcast any public messages. In response, Chancellor Anders Blaine gave this statement: "Her Majesty was placed under secure protection in early 3307 after several failed assassination attempts by the NMLA. She has been communicating remotely with the Senate on all official business, but does plan to return to Capitol very soon."[14]

01 JAN 3308

  • Princess Aisling Duval marked the start of 3308 by introducing her cousin Hadrian Duval, his wife and their newborn son to Imperial high society. Entertainment journalist Solomon Helios broadcast a report on the event: "It's an annual tradition for Princess Aisling to invite the great and the good to her palace on Emerald, although the tragic loss of her father in 3306 meant that last year's gathering was cancelled. This year she made up for it with a sumptuous, glittering celebration of the kind that we Imperials are famed for. For the first time, Hadrian Duval and Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval were in attendance. This youthful couple were surprisingly charming for a pair who would once have been arrested on sight. They entertained guests with stories of trading and fighting aboard tiny ships, from the days when their only title was Commander. However, the real guest of honour spent most of his time asleep, oblivious to the colossal attention he drew. Yes, baby Hector made his very first public appearance, having been born while his parents were under senatorial protection. Many dignitaries insisted on having their image recorded beside the 'future Emperor', a phrase one could hear being murmured throughout the palace. But what of the current Emperor? Unlike Hadrian's family, Arissa Lavigny-Duval remains in seclusion and only communicates remotely with the Senate. Now that the terrorists have been quelled, surely the time has come for Her Imperial Majesty to reappear before her loyal subjects?"[18]

09 DEC 3307

  • *Pilots' Federation ALERT*
    The birth of Hadrian Duval's son has been celebrated in grand fashion in the Paresa system. Praetor Leo Magnus, the new leader of Nova Paresa, publicly thanked pilots for delivering Chateau De Aegaeon, HR 7221 Wheat, Indi Bourbon and Yaso Kondi Leaf to support these highly exclusive proceedings. Payment is now available from Dyson City starport. Political journalist Cassia Carvalho discussed the arrival of Hector Mordanticus Duval in The Imperial Herald: "As Emperor Hengist's illegitimate grandson and former enemy of the state, Hadrian Duval has always been the outsider. Indeed, his newborn son's middle name seems deliberately chosen to remind the Emperor that she ordered Hadrian's mentor, Imperator Mordanticus, to be shot in cold blood. But over the last two years, Hadrian's position has gradually shifted from isolationist rebel to legitimised ally. He appeals to citizens who are unhappy with a female monarch, even more so now that he has a male heir. And he remains closest to the Imperial bloodline, with most other Duval family members having been assassinated by the NMLA. Therefore, unless Arissa Lavigny-Duval or Aisling Duval produce children, it's entirely possible that Hadrian's child might inherit the throne. Despite only being a few days old, Hector Duval's impact upon the Empire could be measured in centuries."[28]

25 OCT 3307

  • The recent NMLA attack in the Paresa system has encouraged the Imperial Senate to reach out to Imperator Hadrian Duval. An official pronouncement was made by Senator Caspian Leopold: "A majority of us believe that preserving the Duval bloodline is paramount for the future of the Empire. Hadrian Duval is not officially a member of the Imperial Family but he is the grandson of Emperor Hengist, meaning his as-yet unborn child is also of royal lineage. The NMLA has already murdered many Duvals, including Prince Harold. Indeed, Hadrian himself barely survived an assassination attempt last year. It's clear that the Empire can provide greater security than he currently has, and it is our duty to do so. Therefore, we propose making both Hadrian and Lady Astrid wards of the Senate. They will be placed under the highest level of protection, at least until this grave threat has abated." Imperator Hadrian Duval is currently holding discussions with a delegation from the Senate. Political observers believe that their proposal may be conditional on him severing ties with Nova Imperium, an isolationist organisation that was once outlawed in the Empire. Independent newsfeeds have speculated that since the NMLA's terror campaign began, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has been under similar senatorial protection and performing her duties from a secure location.[17]

21 SEP 3307

  • Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval, wife of Hadrian Augustus Duval, has confirmed that she is expecting a child in December. The story was broken by the Paresa News Network: "Lady Astrid was visibly overjoyed as she told us of her pregnancy, and of Hadrian's excitement at being a father. Her only complaint was that she's no longer allowed to fly support missions for Nova Imperium. Once a Commander, always a Commander!" Mainstream media channels also commented on the news.
    The Imperial Herald: "This has caused tangible ripples of unease in the Senate. Since neither Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval nor Princess Aisling Duval have heirs, Hadrian's claim to the throne will be strengthened if he alone ensures that the Duval bloodline continues."
    Eye on Achenar: "Who cares about the spawn of Emperor Hengist's illegitimate grandson? The NMLA may have assassinated much of the Imperial Family, but this outcast boy is still a footnote in their noble history."
    Vox Galactica: "Despite his unofficial status, Hadrian Duval has many silent supporters within the Empire. His isolationist stance appeals to nostalgic citizens, as does returning to the tradition of male Emperors. Should Hadrian have a son, he may feel empowered to seek his birthright more forcefully."[29]

05 JUL 3307

  • The NMLA paramilitary group has confirmed that the Marlinism Reformation Party faction now acts as its political representative. An anonymous statement was broadcast via the NMLA's propaganda channels: "We support Minister Whyte in representing the Neo-Marlinist cause and speaking on our behalf. Our objectives remain unchanged – the removal of the Duval family and democratic elections within the Empire." Reactions were covered by several newsfeeds:
    The Imperial Herald: "Senator Scordato's proposal to open diplomatic relations with the Marlinist Colonies is already contentious. But could the Emperor ever accept dialogue with the extremists who tried to murder the Imperial Family?"
    The Federal Times: "The idea of negotiating with terrorists is as abhorrent to the Empire as to the Federation. And yet, the opportunity to prevent another 'Nine Martyrs' cannot be ignored."
    The Alliance Tribune: "In the absence of any breakthroughs from ACT, perhaps peaceful discussion is how we defuse the terrorist threat... even if that was the NMLA's endgame all along."
    The Marlin Standard: "Many of our people welcome closer ties with the Empire, especially if it involves contacting friends and families left behind. But the NMLA using our parliament as its platform has caused widespread unrest. With Aaron Whyte being openly challenged by other ministers, a Marlinist civil war no longer seems unthinkable."[30]

11 MAY 3307

  • There are widespread fears that current hostilities in the Paresa system may force the Empire and Federation to declare full-scale war. The situation has been covered by mainstream media.
    The Imperial Herald: "Hadrian might be the black sheep of the Duval family, but should he die by Federation hands, honour would demand retribution. Already the Imperial Navy is mobilising in anticipation of the Emperor's reaction."
    The Federal Times: "The evidence that Nova Imperium orchestrated the starport bombings is credible, but the possibility of subterfuge remains. Could the NMLA really fake so many orders from Hadrian Duval to such a believable standard?"
    Eye on Achenar: "An attack against a Duval is an attack against us all, even if he does turn out to be a terrorist. How dare those Fednecks try to judge our criminals for us!"
    Sol Today: "Hundreds of thousands dead, half a million wounded… our people deserve retribution. But as usual, all the Imposers care about is pandering to their monarchy."
    Paresa News Network: "The death toll is soaring as full-blown battles rage through our system. Paresans are terrified at facing conquest by the Federation. Can we rely on the Empire to save us?"[31]

03 MAY 3307

  • The isolationist group faces attack by both Federal and Imperial factions, after accusations that Imperator Hadrian Duval is the NMLA mastermind. The League of Mandu arrived in the Paresa system last week and quickly established a foothold. Admiral Natalia Lee, commanding the Harmony's Shield megaship, announced: "Our purpose is to eliminate the terrorists who slaughtered so many Federal citizens. We advise the Empire to stand aside and allow us to deliver justice." Magister Julius Halstrom of the Peraesii Empire Consulate declared: "In the name of the Emperor, we stand ready to purge the NMLA from the Paresa system – and the Federation too, unless they withdraw." Hadrian Duval has broadcast a message via Paresa News Network: "The NMLA faked my identity when dealing with the Neo-Marlinist Order of Mudhrid, knowing the superpowers would do their work for them by killing another Duval. Nova Imperium will defend itself if necessary, but we are not responsible for any terrorist attacks." ACT is still attempting to corroborate evidence provided by the Landgrave of Mudhrid. Praetor Leo Magnus, Nova Imperium's security chief, is reportedly aiding their enquiries. The Senate has urgently requested direction from the Emperor, but Chancellor Blaine declared "Her Majesty cannot pass judgement upon a live investigation."[32]

20 APR 3307

  • The Neo-Marlinist Order of Mudhrid has been granted sanctuary in the Marlinist Colonies in return for revealing the identities of the NMLA's leaders. The faction's survivors arrived in the Hyades Sector RO-P b6-2 system after being defeated by Imperial forces. The Marlinism Reformation Party agreed to offer political asylum, despite all three superpowers demanding the refugees' arrest. Imperial Senator Lorcan Scordato, who was visiting the Colonies on a fact-finding mission, announced: "After meeting the Neo-Marlinists and the Marlinist Parliament, I have secured an agreement. The Landgrave of Mudhrid and his inner circle will cooperate fully with ACT to provide details on the senior leadership of the NMLA. In return, they will receive life imprisonment at a local detention facility. The Steel Majesty's population will undergo security vetting by the Marlinist Constabulary to identify extremists. The remainder will be permitted to remain in the system and apply for citizenship." Chancellor Blaine has approved the proposal, commenting that it was "precisely the sort of creative solution the Emperor requires". Responses from the Alliance and Federation were mixed, but there was broad agreement that targeting the NMLA was the priority. Minister Aaron Whyte, elected leader of the Marlinism Reformation Party, publicly thanked Senator Scordato for negotiating a peaceful resolution.[33]

05 APR 3307

  • Imperator Hadrian Augustus Duval, leader of the isolationist group Nova Imperium, has married his consort Astrid Minerva in a closed ceremony. Commander Minerva was a young Imperial pilot who aided Nova Imperium at the Battle of Paresa in 3305 and became a loyal supporter. Her official title is now Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval. Princess Aisling Duval personally attended her cousin's wedding at a secure location. She referred to it as "a precious moment of joy in these bleak times". The Imperial Palace and the Senate have sent congratulatory messages, and the event was covered by mainstream media.
    Paresa News Network: "Astrid's well-deserved rise to nobility has made her fellow Paresans very proud. Everyone at PNN is overjoyed for the happy couple!"
    Eye on Achenar: "It's an insult to the noble Duval bloodline when some trigger-jockey from a gutter system can sink her claws into the Emperor's own nephew."
    The Imperial Herald: "Hadrian taking a bride at the age of 20 has surprised many. If he becomes the only Duval to produce heirs, it will place pressure on Emperor Arissa and Princess Aisling, neither of whom have consorts."
    In related news, Nova Imperium vessels are participating in the current conflict against the Neo-Marlinists of Mudhrid. Praetor Leo Magnus, head of security, is liaising with the IISS on anti-terrorism intelligence.[34]

29 MAR 3307

  • The fear of further starport bombings has placed internal and external pressure on the Empire to address the threat posed by the NMLA. Despite sharing intelligence via ACT, the Alliance and Federation have demanded that the Empire must do more to eradicate the NMLA, since it is 'Imperial in origin and ambition'. The latest developments were covered by mainstream media channels.
    The Imperial Herald: "In the Senate, Chancellor Anders Blaine reported that the Emperor has instructed him to present a range of options. Senator Lorcan Scordato has volunteered to visit the Marlinist Colonies on a fact-finding mission, to better understand the political character of the Neo-Marlinist fringe."
    Eye on Achenar: "The entire system is still shellshocked by the slaughter at Dawes Hub, a vicious stab at the heart of our glorious Empire. In our opinion poll, 93% of right-thinking citizens would send a fleet of Majestics to the murdering Marlinists instead of some soft-hearted senator."
    Vox Galactica: "In most Imperial cities and settlements, anxiety levels remain high. The NMLA's ability to strike seemingly anywhere has rocked public confidence in the Empire's strength. Opinions on Marlinism itself are more polarised than ever, with accusations of 'warmonger' and 'collaborator' dividing many families and relationships."[35]

15 MAR 3307

12 FEB 3307

  • Delegations have been formed by the Empire and the Marlinist Colonies to take part in the forthcoming diplomatic conference. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval will not attend in person, but will be directly represented by Chancellor Anders Blaine. During the conference, Senator Zemina Torval will temporarily assume chancellor duties and act as head of the Senate. In addition, Princess Aisling Duval and Senator Denton Patreus will be in attendance. They will be accompanied by experienced ambassadors from the Imperial Diplomatic Corps. The Marlinist Colonies have also finalised their delegation, which includes First Minister Jenna Fairfax and Minister Aaron Whyte. A spokesperson for the Marlinist Parliament said: "The Galactic Summit offers us an opportunity to engage with the Empire diplomatically, and we sincerely hope our voices will be heard. We also aim to establish mutually beneficial relations with other governments." There is widespread speculation on how the Empire will respond to political overtures from its own ex-citizens, who were persecuted for following the democratic ideology of Marlinism. However, most societies within the Marlinist Colonies still remain culturally Imperial in nature, despite their republican governance. The Galactic Summit is being hosted by Sirius Corporation and will officially commence on Thursday the 25th of February 3307.[16]

16 NOV 3306

  • Princess Aisling Duval's request for her cousin, Imperator Hadrian Augustus Duval, to be accepted into the Imperial Family has been denied. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval's decision was delivered to the Senate by Chancellor Anders Blaine: "Her Majesty acknowledges that Hadrian is a Duval by blood, and offers royal pardons to him and his followers for previous crimes against the Empire. However, she does not bestow upon him the title of prince, nor offer any formal position within the Imperial Family." Aisling Duval and Hadrian Duval both expressed disappointment, but agreed to accept the decree. The Senate has now ratified the Treaty of Paresa, which removes Nova Imperium's outlaw status in return for accepting Emperor Arissa's rule and contributing to operations against the NMLA. The Imperial Herald's political journalist Cassia Carvalho commented: "This surprisingly even-handed judgement is widely seen as bowing to pressure from the Senate, where there is much loyalty to Aisling Duval. Some interpret it as atonement – or regaining political goodwill – for the purge of Nova Imperium in 3305, which included the execution of several senators. The image this projects is of an Empire coming together against the greater threat posed by Neo-Marlinists. But there is speculation that an alliance between the two youngest Duvals may one day challenge the Emperor for the throne."[12]

10 NOV 3306

  • Imperator Hadrian Augustus Duval has recovered from an assassination attempt and signalled a new direction for Nova Imperium. Princess Aisling Duval provided advanced medical care for Imperator Duval after a near-fatal attack by NMLA assassins. Following a period of discussion, she told the media: "At this time of crisis we need allies more than ever, and my cousin's royal heritage should not be denied. I have therefore formally requested sovereign consent for him to be accepted into the Imperial Family as Prince Hadrian." Hadrian Duval broadcast this message from Dyson City: "I owe my life to Aisling, but life without purpose means nothing, and the Duvals' purpose has always been to protect the Empire. I seek to adopt my birthright and help defend our traditional ways of life. However, many of us see disturbing parallels between the brutal purge of Nova Imperium's followers in 3305 and the current crusade against the Marlinists. I call upon those in power not to repeat this mistake – the NMLA is the common enemy we must unite against." Many senators publicly agreed that the Empire must heal past divisions to focus on the Neo-Marlinist threat. Others have voiced concerns at the repercussions of Emperor Hengist's illegitimate grandson becoming an heir to the throne. As yet, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has not responded.[11]

06 NOV 3306

  • Neo-Marlinist extremists are continuing their campaign of terror, while the Empire and Federation clash over issues caused by Marlinist refugees. The Imperial Herald has featured updates on terrorist activity across the Empire: "The NMLA has claimed responsibility for over fifty bomb attacks during the last three weeks. These mostly targeted local authority buildings and security forces, killing hundreds. Hit squads have also assassinated several high-profile individuals connected to the Duvals, including the Emperor's relative Baron Cesare Lavigny. Senior IISS leaders have admitted to being unprepared for how organised and well-equipped the paramilitary group is. Critics suggest that the mass arrest of Marlinists may have radicalised many people who were already sympathetic to the republican ideology." The Federal Times has focused on the tensions between superpowers: "With diplomatic channels closing down, the possibility that the confrontation in LTT 1935 might escalate into all-out war cannot be ignored. There is added pressure from the exodus of millions of Marlinists, whose beliefs align with the Federation's democratic principles. President Hudson is still suffering from reduced congressional support, and many have said that it feels like Felicia Winters is running the show. But although her humanitarian efforts undoubtedly saved many refugees' lives, the acceptance of Imperial outcasts into Federal society remains in question."[10]

24 SEP 3306

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT: For the attention of all Commanders*
    Rare commodities required by the Empire in the Baal system.
    The state funeral of Prince Harold Duval has begun on Capitol. An official week of mourning has been declared throughout the Empire. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval opened the ceremony, delivering a eulogy for her half-brother. Princess Aisling Duval, Harold's daughter, was also in attendance but was too emotional to address the huge crowds. Messages of condolence from across the galaxy were on holographic display, including from Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon and Federal President Zachary Hudson. Even Hadrian Duval, the exiled leader of Nova Imperium, paid respects to his late uncle. The body of the Prince, contained within a jewelled transparent casket, was paraded through the city by a company of Imperial Guard. It will remain in state for two weeks prior to internment in the Hall of Martyrs. The Imperial Palace will host a memorial ceremony to honour Harold Duval, for which rare commodities have been requested before Thursday 1st October. Ngadandari Fire Opals, Esuseku Caviar, Lavian Brandy and Kamitra Cigars should be delivered to Oterma Station in the Baal system, where the White Templars will transport them to Capitol after security vetting. Commanders of the Pilots Federation will be assigned an Achenar system permit alongside financial rewards. To further encourage participation, Gutamaya Corporation will apply a discount of up to 25% for all ship purchases according to the amount of rare items provided.[9]

21 SEP 3306

  • The Imperial Herald has published an obituary of Prince Harold Duval, who was assassinated by NMLA terrorists. "Born in 3230 to Emperor Hengist, Harold Duval reacted against his father's puritan lifestyle by filling his days with partying and debauchery, becoming the black sheep of the Duval family. It was probably accidental that Harold had a child with entertainer Imogen Gabrielini, but they married shortly before her narcotics-related death. His daughter, Princess Aisling Duval, has always spoken warmly of her loving father. Emperor Hengist eventually decreed that his son was not fit for the throne, despite being his only heir. Harold never contested this, perhaps relieved to allow half-sister Arissa Lavigny-Duval to take his place. In recent years Harold became a recluse on Capitol, suffering ill-health from a lifetime of excesses. But a father's protective instinct motivated him to travel to Aisling's home system after it was attacked. Tragically, despite always renouncing power, merely being a Duval made him a target to those same republican terrorists. As the Empire mourns Prince Harold, suspicions arise that the NMLA were aided by inside knowledge of his ship's itinerary and security, throwing an uneasy shadow over the legacy of this eccentric, endearing man."[37]

17 SEP 3306

  • Imperial news sources have confirmed that Prince Harold Duval was assassinated by NMLA terrorists while travelling incognito to the Cemiess system. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval broadcast this address: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Prince Harold. A state funeral at the Hall of Martyrs is being arranged and there will be a period of mourning, as is customary for esteemed members of the Imperial Family. There will be opportunities for all citizens to honour Harold's memory in an appropriate manner." Princess Aisling Duval, Harold's daughter, appeared uncharacteristically distressed when she gave a brief statement to the media: "It's a huge loss to us all that… I'm sorry… I can't believe this has happened. He can't be gone! I used to have some sympathy for the Marlinists, but now they… they took him from us. They took my daddy." The NMLA also attacked starports in the Cemiess, Gabjaujis, LHS 4031 and Rabh systems. The Empire is now on heightened alert, and the Senate has approved new counter-terrorism initiatives proposed by Senator Denton Patreus.[8]

31 JAN 3305

  • Hadrian Augustus Duval has broadcast a message following the purge of isolationist group Nova Imperium: "Arissa Lavigny-Duval has revealed the true face of her regime – one based on brutality and terror. The callous execution of Imperator Mordanticus, in conjunction with thousands of Imperial citizens, shows her desperation to cling onto power at any cost. Nova Imperium survives in the Paresa system, a single light in the darkness. We stand for an Empire that respects everyone, from slaves to senators. I truly hope that any who value honour and tradition will help keep our spark alive. Our martyred leader will never be forgotten. In his honour, I have taken the title of Imperator Duval, until such time as the people choose me as their rightful emperor. Memento Mordanticus!"[38]

26 JAN 3305

  • Security forces across the Empire have carried out a coordinated purge of the isolationist group Nova Imperium. Political journalist Cassia Carvalho reported: "Yesterday's executions in the Senate were apparently only the beginning of a coordinated massacre. Nova Imperium members are being put to death, and citizens who supported them are being arrested for treason. In a single day, the isolationist cause has been crushed. It seems that Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval – while being accused of weakness – has simply been playing for time, allowing Senator Patreus to position his agents for a simultaneous strike. With this show of strength, the Emperor has done much to silence her detractors. Despite reactions of horror from some newsfeeds, Alliance and Federal leaders have made no official comment, perhaps relieved that inter-superpower cooperation against the Thargoids will continue. Nova Imperium remains in control of the Paresa system, but with the organisation's power base destroyed, it no longer poses a threat to the Imperial throne."[39]

25 JAN 3305

  • Kaeso Mordanticus, the captured leader of isolationist group Nova Imperium, has been brought before the Imperial Senate, with unexpected results. Political journalist Cassia Carvalho was at the scene: "Imperator Mordanticus was led into Senate House in shackles but still defiant. All rose as Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval entered, attended by Senator Denton Patreus. The Emperor and Patreus approached Mordanticus silently, whereupon Patreus executed the Imperator with his personal sidearm. Suddenly, the Imperial Guard opened fire, gunning down senators Pal Vespasian and Eloise Winterstone, and others who had supported the isolationist cause. Once the initial shock had subsided, the Emperor stood over the Imperator's body. In a clear voice she announced: 'There is no Nova Imperium. There is only the Empire.' I have since heard reports of mass arrests and further public executions across Capitol. The rumour is that Patreus placed agents among Nova Imperium strongholds, which are now being eliminated from within. This may be the start of an Empire-wide purge."[40]

18 JAN 3305

  • Imperator Mordanticus, the leader of isolationist group Nova Imperium, has been captured by the Empire. His arrest was made during the conflict between Nova Imperium and the Empire in the Paresa system. Chancellor Anders Blaine made a pronouncement on behalf of Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval: "With its fleet destroyed, Nova Imperium's seditious agenda has been halted. The so-called Imperator, Duke Kaeso Mordanticus, will be brought before the Senate on Friday the 25th of January to answer charges of treason against the Empire." Political journalist Cassia Carvalho commented in The Imperial Herald: "For the emperor to assemble the entire Senate is a rare occurrence. It seems likely that she will make an example of Mordanticus, perhaps with a public trial. Although Nova Imperium survives in the Paresa system, the loss of both its fleet and military commander may have delivered a mortal blow to the isolationist cause."[41]

27 DEC 3304

  • Imperial senators supporting the isolationist group Nova Imperium have demanded that Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval acknowledge its figurehead, Hadrian Augustus Duval. Senator Eloise Winterstone proclaimed to the Senate: "The Imperial family must officially recognise Hadrian Duval as one of its own. Given that the Emperor has no children, such an act would secure the future of the Duval bloodline." Chancellor Anders Blaine replied: "Our official position is that Nova Imperium is a fringe organisation with no right to determine policy. We have no more to say on the matter." Political journalist Cassia Carvalho wrote in The Imperial Herald: "With the possibility of civil war increasing, the suggestion that Arissa accept Hengist Duval's grandson as an heir feels like a reasonable compromise. Her lack of response so far has led to accusations of weakness, with many calling on her to step down and for Hadrian Duval to be instated as sovereign ruler."[42]

21 DEC 3304

  • Princess Aisling Duval has publicly rejected the isolationist group Nova Imperium and its figurehead, Hadrian Duval: "These extremists cause only division. Hadrian may well be the grandson of Hengist Duval, but that hardly makes him suited to the throne. Arissa has been silent for too long – she must act quickly to resolve this volatile situation." Senator Zemina Torval responded: "Much to my surprise, I find myself in agreement with Princess Duval. The notion of an independent pilot becoming ruler of the Empire is preposterous. I am confident that the Emperor will respond accordingly." Despite this united front, Senator Pal Vespasian stated: "Many senators are willing to recognise Hadrian Duval as Emperor-in-waiting. Nova Imperium is now a legitimate political movement with several million supporters. The only way the Empire will survive is by accepting the Imperator's proposals."[43]

07 DEC 3304

  • Isolationist group Nova Imperium has revealed its choice for Emperor – an eighteen year old man named Hadrian Augustus Duval. The group's leader, Imperator Mordanticus, broadcast this message: "It is incumbent upon me to reveal that Hengist Duval fathered not one but two illegitimate children in his younger days. A few years before meeting Florence Lavigny, he had a brief affair with a slave in the Imperial household. When Hengist's father discovered this, the matter was hushed up and the slave dismissed. The slave's son went on to sire a child of his own: Hadrian Duval, grandson of Emperor Hengist Duval. Hadrian was unaware of this until we located him and genetically confirmed his lineage. Arissa Lavigny-Duval is a weak Emperor who must be removed. We call for Hadrian Duval to be recognised as the true heir to the throne!" The Imperial Herald's political journalist Cassia Carvalho observed: "This announcement has shaken the Empire to its very foundations. Having Hadrian as a figurehead has rallied those hardliners more comfortable with the idea of a male Emperor. With a single stroke, Nova Imperium has gained considerable credibility and massively increased its support."[44]

01 DEC 3304

  • Several Imperial senators have spoken in support of isolationist group Nova Imperium. Senator Pal Vespasian made the following statement: "Many of us see Nova Imperium not as extremists, but as realists. The citizenry is afraid of both Thargoid invasion and of being weakened by collaboration with foreign systems. They look to the Emperor for salvation…and she offers them none. We intend to invite Imperator Mordanticus to address the Senate and detail his policies. This is a historic opportunity to restore the Empire's honour and integrity. Furthermore, Nova Imperium's proposal to install a new Emperor has my full backing."[45]

24 NOV 3304

  • Isolationist group Nova Imperium has declared its intention to install a new Emperor. The group's leader, recently identified as ex-navy admiral Duke Kaeso Mordanticus and known as the Imperator, said: "The Empire has been weakened by collaborating with its enemies. Aegis drains our resources to protect foreign systems from the Thargoids, our security forces are stretched thin defending non-Imperial systems, and Princess Duval sullies her honourable name by dallying with a Federal libertine. Our people demand stronger leadership. We will achieve this by installing a new Emperor – one who will restore the glory of the Empire!" Political journalist Cassia Carvalho commented in The Imperial Herald: "Naturally there has been no response from Arissa Lavigny-Duval. But for many citizens, Mordanticus has articulated their unease about inter-superpower cooperation. With support for Nova Imperium increasing rapidly, a silent minority may now have found a voice."[46]

27 JUN 3304

  • While the Imperial Palace offered cordial congratulations for the impending marriage of Princess Aisling Duval and Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester, Emperor Arissa had yet to issue a personal statement. News agencies on Capitol reported that Princess Aisling had not discussed the engagement with the Imperial Family beforehand, and Emperor Arissa had not given her consent to the marriage.[47]

08 FEB 3304

  • Galactic Leaders Renew Appeals for Aid. Federal President Zachary Hudson and Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval have issued fresh appeals for aid for the 17 stations damaged by Thargoid attacks, imploring independent pilots to support relief efforts.[48]

22 OCT 3301

  • In a statement, the Emperor expressed her gratitude to those who had delivered gifts of slaves to Dawes Hub for her.[49]

I am delighted with the reaction to my appeal. The fact that pilots affiliated with the Federation and Alliance responded to my request fills me with hope for a future of peaceful exchange and cooperation.

— Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval

21 OCT 3301

18 OCT 3301

  • Today, dawn broke above an expectant Capitol as Imperial citizens awaited the coronation of the first female Emperor (the Imperial Senate having determined that 'Emperor' should be used for both male and female rulers). It looked like the entire population had come to witness the procession of Arissa Lavigny-Duval through the city to the Imperial Palace. The crowd's excitement was palpable, but it was undercut by uncertainty over whether the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn would succeed in disrupting the coronation ceremony, as they claimed they would. There have been rumours that Emperor-to-be Arissa refused to travel in a closed speeder, despite concerns for her safety, and she looked every part the Emperor as the procession made its way sedately through the city. The military and security presence was visible throughout the city, with Naval Infantry in full dress uniform lining the streets. A full company of Imperial Guard marched alongside the Senator's vehicle, their stark black uniforms contrasting with the crisp whites of the Naval Infantry. The procession arrived at the palace at exactly midday, where the senators and Imperial family waited. The brief ceremony was transmitted live throughout the Empire, and screened at key locations in the city so the crowds could watch. The multitude roared their appreciation to the sky as Emperor-to-be Arissa Lavigny-Duval completed her vows of office. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval offered a few words for her people: "This is a day I cannot compare to any other. The trust my fellow senators have shown in me makes me all the more determined to overcome the challenges we will surely face in the coming weeks and months. For too long we have suffered from uncertainty in the wake of the Emperor's death. I had the great fortune to talk with the late Emperor in his final days, and to learn how he planned to strengthen the Empire in these times of change. In the coming weeks, I will announce the formation of my government and my plans to tackle the threats facing the Empire. But for now I will enjoy this moment and express my gratitude to the Empire and everyone, from slave to senator, for this opportunity to serve."[2]

15 OCT 3301

  • In a more "inclusive" version of the tradition of Imperial citizens bestowing gifts upon their new Emperor, Arissa Lavigny-Duval announced that she would accept gifts of slaves from any citizen of the galaxy. Those not already Imperial slaves would be reclassified as such, almost certainly improving their quality of life. The permit restriction for access to Achenar would be lifted for the duration of the appeal, and its success would result in a temporary discount and loosening of sales restrictions on Imperial ships.[51]

06 OCT 3301

  • After a Senate vote, Arissa Lavigny-Duval was declared Emperor.[52]

15 SEP 3301

  • After a day at the Senate, Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval answered some questions from reporters. She said that what the Empire needed was stability and continuity, and that Hengist Duval had shared with her his plans for the Empire to build on its strengths of justice and tradition. "I consider it my duty to make sure that his vision becomes a reality." When asked if she considered herself his heir, she replied:

The decision of who will become Emperor is in the hands of the Senate. There are many suitable candidates, and I am honoured to be among them. Whether or not I am crowned, I will continue to work toward the future that Hengist Duval shared with me.

— Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval[53]

09 AUG 3301

  • In respect of the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval the planned article for this week has been moved to next week so that historian Sima Kalhana relates some of the key moments from his life. Emperor Hengist Duval was the 15th in the Imperial Duval bloodline to lead the Empire and he saw a great deal of change in his comparatively short reign. He was born in 3163, only a few days before the death of his grandfather Hender Saik Duval. Some claim that the spirit of Hender had already passed to Hengist such were the similarities in looks and manner noted in Hengist's later years. When his father, Hesketh Duval, died in 3233, Hengist assumed his place on the throne. The live broadcast of the coronation created an impression of a serene transition. However lurking beneath this appearance lay significant tensions. Most significant of which was the growing power of the Senate which had developed during the extended period of his father's illness. A parallel with the situation with Hengist's coma can be seen in recent months. At the start of his reign the cold war between the Empire and the Federation was starting to thaw, a process which continued for decades, although friction has recently resumed with the rise of certain powers like President Hudson and Senator Patreus. Hengist's reign witnessed a major technological advancement with the introduction of the new frame shift drive. This sped up travel between stars systems and even inside systems by an incredible margin. It created a more quickly shifting political, military and commercial landscape as reacting or causing changing became much easier. Hengist fell ill early in 3300, and he managed to continue light duties throughout the first half of the year. His sickness worsened as the year progressed and during this time he remained in seclusion with only rare visits to the Senate. At the turn of 3301 he slipped into a coma. Many expected him to not awaken from the coma and it was a great surprise when he recovered several months later. Near the close of 3300, Hengist decreed that his only legitimate child, Harold (who is Aisling Duval's unmarried father), was not of sound mind and so unfit for rule, and in any case had no legitimate children himself. Following this announcement Arissa Lavigny-Duval declared that she was the illegitimate child of Hengist. The Emperor supported this claim by announcing his forthcoming marriage with Arissa's mother, Florence Lavigny, and was expected to formally adopt Arissa and cement her claim to the throne. With his murder and the marriage not completed the succession to the Imperial throne is again not clear cut and many fear the potential instability this could cause to the Empire if not decided quickly after the Emperor's funeral.[54]

05 AUG 3301

  • Just before the wedding that would have legitimised Arissa, Hengist Duval was stabbed by a member of the congregation. He died en route to a medical facility.[55]

27 JUL 3301

  • Continuing this GalNet exclusive series, political commentator Marcus Macmillan writes his opinion of some of the movers and shakers in 3301. In this second article he looks at one of the most respected women in Imperial politics: Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval. Arissa Lavigny-Duval's success as a senator often eclipses the fact that as the daughter of the late Prince Aristide de Lavigny, she is also a princess by birth. It says much of her character that she prefers to represent herself with her achievements rather than just her bloodline. In Imperial politics, of course, having the right bloodline is also an asset and she is astute enough to make use of it when she needs to. In popularity she rivals Princess Aisling Duval, partly because she is happy to tackle hard issues head on. Her primary platform is one of honour and she devotes much of her attention to tackling corruption. She is a familiar face in the Imperial court and her views often reflect those of the Emperor. The planned wedding between Emperor Hengist Duval and her mother, Florence Lavigny, will secure her position as next in line if anything should befall the Emperor.[56]

15 JUN 3301

  • Support among the citizenry for Princess Arissa Lavigny-Duval has risen considerably since she led the charge to find the conspirators responsible for the attack on Emperor Hengist. Thousands have answered the call to join Lavigny's Legions, her unoffical supporters group. Both Senators campaigned last week to win support from Patrons in the Vaka system, as well as along the Imperial border in the Ceti sector. While support for Patreus was strong to begin with, a number of key Patrons moved to support the Princess. Support amongst CMDRs, however, was much stronger for the Princess. Results were similar along the frontier. Arissa's agents set up a base of operations in Kamocan, while Patreus's supporters attempted to sway the residents of Mandh to the Senator's side. Rumours have surfaced that Patreus is concerned about the swing of support, and he is planning to strenghten his standing with CMDRs as well as the general population, though the form this will take is not yet clear.[57]

02 APR 3301

  • Following an attempted assassination of the Emperor by unknown parties, Princess Arissa Lavigny-Duval made a public address on the steps of the Imperial Palace.

Honoured citizens of the Empire, my Imperial brothers and sisters, I come before you today not as a Princess or as a Senator, but as a concerned daughter of this nation. In our father’s long absence, certain undesirable elements have sought to usurp the right and just laws which govern our civilisation. Through their dishonourable actions they seek to unravel the delicate threads that bind us together as a great and unified society. The house of Duval will not allow the madness of the few to undo everything that we have struggled so long to achieve. I swear to you, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, the Emperor’s protection will stand. You will not live in fear of hunger, of sickness, of weakness or shame. Enemies of the Imperial court beware. This is your one warning. You will not get another

— Princess Arissa Lavigny-Duval[58]

22 DEC 3300

  • Her biological father, Hengist Duval, and her mother, Florence Lavigny, announced their plan to get married. This would make her next in line to the throne once the ceremony had taken place. Arissa Lavigny declared that she would change her last name to "Duval".[59]

20 DEC 3300

Quotes

Building a future through the rule of law

— Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Elite Dangerous Knowledge Base > Individuals > Arissa Lavigny-Duval
  2. 2.0 2.1 GalNet: Arissa Lavigny-Duval Crowned Emperor
  3. Meet the Powers – Arissa Lavigny-Duval
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arissa Lavigny is the Daughter of the Emperor
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Meet the Powers – Arissa Lavigny-Duval
  6. GalNet: Terrorist Attacks on Imperial Starports
  7. GalNet: Prince Harold Duval Assassinated
  8. 8.0 8.1 GalNet: Death of a Duval
  9. 9.0 9.1 GalNet: State Funeral Held for Prince Harold Duval
  10. 10.0 10.1 GalNet: Terrorism Spreads as Superpower Conflicts Increase
  11. 11.0 11.1 GalNet: Hadrian Duval Seeks Reintegration with the Empire
  12. 12.0 12.1 GalNet: Emperor Decides Hadrian Duval's Status
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 GalNet: ACT Exposes the Lords of Restoration
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 GalNet: Imperial Intelligence Denies NMLA Connection
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 GalNet: Arissa Addresses the Empire
  16. 16.0 16.1 GalNet: Empire and Marlinists Prepare for Galactic Summit
  17. 17.0 17.1 GalNet: Senators Offer to Protect Hadrian Duval
  18. 18.0 18.1 GalNet: Duvals Gather to Celebrate New Year
  19. 19.0 19.1 GalNet: The Missing Emperor?
  20. 20.0 20.1 GalNet: ACT Defies Imperial Decree
  21. 21.0 21.1 GalNet: Arissa Rescued from Year-Long Captivity
  22. 22.0 22.1 GalNet: Arissa Retakes the Imperial Throne
  23. 23.0 23.1 GalNet: Empire Declares Reprisals Against Darkwater
  24. 24.0 24.1 GalNet: Battle of Summerland Ends NMLA Threat
  25. 25.0 25.1 GalNet: ACT Disbanded Following Defeat of NMLA
  26. 26.0 26.1 GalNet: Imperial Guard Defends Duvals
  27. GalNet: Further Omega Grid Secrets Revealed
  28. GalNet: Tributes Gathered to Honour Duval Heir
  29. GalNet: An Heir for Hadrian Duval
  30. GalNet: NMLA Political Wing Causes Controversy
  31. GalNet: Paresa Conflict Risks War Between Superpowers
  32. GalNet: Nova Imperium Targeted by Superpowers
  33. GalNet: Conditional Amnesty Agreed for Neo-Marlinists
  34. GalNet: The Wedding of Hadrian Duval
  35. GalNet: Demands for Empire to Solve Terrorist Problem
  36. GalNet: Superpowers Respond to 'Nine Martyrs' Attack
  37. GalNet: Obituary: Prince Harold Duval
  38. GalNet: The New Imperator
  39. GalNet: The Fall of Nova Imperium
  40. GalNet: Blood on the Senate Floor
  41. GalNet: Imperator Mordanticus Captured
  42. GalNet: An Heir to the Imperial Throne?
  43. GalNet: Aisling Duval Rejects Nova Imperium
  44. GalNet: Nova Imperium Unveils Figurehead
  45. GalNet: Senators Support Nova Imperium
  46. GalNet: Nova Imperium Demands New Emperor
  47. GalNet: Galaxy Reacts to Federal-Imperial Betrothal
  48. Galactic Leaders Renew Appeals for Aid
  49. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval Expresses Gratitude
  50. The Emperor Denounces Emperor's Dawn
  51. Gifts for the New Emperor
  52. Senate Declares Arissa Lavigny-Duval Emperor
  53. Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval Calls Impromptu Press Conference
  54. GalNet: The Reign of Emperor Hengist Duval
  55. Emperor Hengist Duval Dead
  56. GalNet: Meet the Powers – Arissa Lavigny-Duval
  57. GalNet: Citizens Show Support for Arissa
  58. Imperial Assassination Attempt Foiled Princess Arissa Addresses the Nation
  59. Emperor To Marry Sweetheart
Preceded by Title Succeeded by
Hengist Duval Emperor Incumbent
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