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The Imperial Guard is an elite Imperial security force responsible for the defence of the Achenar system and the protection of the Emperor, the Imperial Palace, members of the Imperial Family, and certain senators. Legionnaires of the Imperial Guard are often recruited from other branches of the Imperial military and receive extensive training. Apart from combat deployments, legionnaires also serve ceremonial roles and participate in royal coronations, weddings, and funerals. The Imperial Guard's dress uniform is stark black, in contrast with the crisp white uniform of the Imperial Naval Infantry.

While the Emperor is the de facto head of the entire Imperial military, the Imperial Guard is the only force under the Emperor's direct command.[1] The Chancellor may command the Imperial Guard in the event the Emperor is incapacitated.[2]

Personnel

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.[3]

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.[4]

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."[2]

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.[5]

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."[6]

05 MAY 3304

  • The Imperial Internal Security Service has discovered that the murderer of Senator Nestor Cartesius was acting on behalf of a secret organisation. Captain Niamh Seutonia, leading the IISS investigation into Cartesius's death, made this statement: "We had determined Senator Cartesius was killed by a nerve toxin, and that whoever administered it was trained in circumventing security. Our leads pointed to an ex-member of the Imperial Guard now operating as a freelance assassin. We tracked her to her hideout, where she resisted arrest. Unfortunately, in the subsequent exchange of gunfire, we had no choice but to eliminate the assassin. Examination of the killer's communication equipment confirmed that she was hired to kill Cartesius and deliver the 'For Jameson' message. Her employers identified themselves as the League of Reparation. It seems that the motive was indeed revenge – the League's avowed goal is to secure 'justice for the victims of the INRA's crimes'. We are now widening our investigation and establishing a taskforce. The IISS will uncover this organisation and eradicate it before it can commit further atrocities." When asked if anyone connected to the INRA might be at risk, Captain Seutonia replied: "That is a distinct possibility. If the League of Reparation is targeting the descendants of those involved in the INRA's activities, there are potentially thousands who may be targeted, and not just in the Empire. To that end I have already made contact with my counterparts in the Federation and the Alliance, and invited them to work with our taskforce."[7]

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."[8]

09 OCT 3301

  • With Emperor's Dawn threatening to sabotage the Imperial coronation ceremony, and the Emperor's assassination still casting a pall over the city, security for the ceremony has been drastically increased. Naval infantry, local police and Imperial Guard units are already patrolling the streets of Capitol and conducting security checks. One Navy contact revealed that this was likely to be one of the largest deployments of Naval troops in decades. The population has responded positively to the increased security measures, with many locals claiming they would accept any level of protection to prevent another occurrence like the murder of the Emperor. The security extends beyond Capitol's surface, and in contrast to the Emperor's funeral, only invited guests or those with the appropriate permits will be allowed to enter the Achenar system. This has upset some offworld citizens who wanted to witness the procession first hand, but like the people of Capitol they have demonstrated understanding.[9]

04 OCT 3301

  • 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.[10]

03 SEP 3301

  • The funeral of Emperor Hengist Duval, the 15th Emperor in the Duval line, took place today amidst a crowd of millions on Capitol in the Achenar system. Mourners from all over the Empire lined the streets of Capitol. All over the city, the streets were filled to bursting and in a sombre reflection of the wedding a month ago, the white dress uniforms of the Imperial Naval Infantry lined the streets. In a last minute change to tradition, the funeral procession followed a longer route through the city so that as many of the assembled mourners as possible could witness the passing of their Emperor. The procession marched at a sedate pace and was led by selected members of the Imperial Guard carrying the Emperor. In another break from tradition and despite her age, Florence Lavigny walked directly behind the coffin even though the marriage ceremony hadn't been completed. This has raised eyebrows among some of the more conservative members of Imperial society. Behind the lonely widow marched the immediate family and then the members of the Senate. Behind the most powerful senators came certain patrons, the most well-considered of their station with a direct connection to the Emperor. Next were the clients and citizens and, representing the full range of the Imperial population, these were followed by some of the Emperor's favourite slaves – which by tradition were set free after the ceremony. The procession stretched for almost 18 kilometres and took seven hours to complete its tour of the city. Soldiers along the route provided welcome refreshment for both the procession and the crowd. When the procession returned to the Hall of Martyrs, the senators followed inside for the private internment ceremony. Across the Empire, in households and public places, the Feast of Remembering began. A sombre hush settled across the city for most of the day, but now that the Emperor has been laid to rest, the question everyone wants to know the answer to is – who will be the next Emperor?[11]

17 AUG 3301

  • Imperial Naval infantry have once again intervened as protesters – who have taken issue with Senator Denton Patreus's connection to Brendan Paul Darius, the Emperor's murderer – attempted to prevent access to some of Senator Patreus's allies late last night. This time the agitators resisted the soldiers' efforts to maintain peace. After several attempts to peacefully resolve the situation, a riot squad was deployed to restore order. The action was efficiently completed, but smaller disturbances and protests flared up throughout the night. All were pacified by the troops but many mourners were forced to flee. Calm was eventually restored and an Imperial Guard company has now been stationed to secure the entrance to the Hall of Martyrs. A full regiment of Naval infantry has also been moved into the city.[12]

07 AUG 3301

  • With no clear successor to the Emperor, Chancellor Blaine has accepted the task of governing the Empire until the succession has been determined. He reiterated his statement that the matter would be resolved after Emperor's funeral. He then revealed more about the investigation into the regicide: "Officers from the Imperial Guard and Imperial Intelligence Security Service have begun their investigation and are being provided with the resources they need. The assassin has been identified as Brendan Paul Darius. Senator Patreus has confirmed that the man was a member of his entourage, and the Senator is helping with the investigation. Darius killed the Emperor in a savage attack using a concealed blade, and a separate investigation has been launched to determine how he was able to sneak a weapon into the Emperor's presence. Darius was killed by the Emperor's Guard during the attack, and we have as yet been unable to determine his motive for the murder." For the remainder of the session, the gathered senators offered support and words of condolence to the Imperial family.[13]

References

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