Nova Imperium is a radical Imperial organization based in the Paresa system that espouses traditionalist and isolationist ideals. It was formed by Duke Kaeso Mordanticus, also called the Imperator, in 3304 amidst the Second Thargoid War in reaction to the Empire's cooperation with the Federation and the Alliance against the Thargoids, and supported replacing Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval with Hadrian Augustus Duval, a long-lost grandson of the late Emperor Hengist Duval.
By December 3304, Nova Imperium had gained the support of multiple Senators and several million Imperial citizens, but tensions with the Empire erupted into open conflict the following month when Nova Imperium began assembling its fleet. The Battle of Paresa concluded with a decisive victory for the Empire and the capture of Imperator Mordanticus. The Imperator's subsequent public execution on January 25, 3305 marked the start of a coordinated, Empire-wide purge of Nova Imperium and its sympathizers, by the end of which the organization was left too weak to mount any further challenge to the Imperial throne. The remnants of Nova Imperium continue to maintain a presence in Paresa under the leadership of Mordanticus' self-appointed successor, Hadrian Duval.
Imperial Herald journalist Cassia Carvalho first brought Nova Imperium's activities to the public's attention on November 1, 3304, noting that the radical group had been gaining influence throughout the Empire in recent months. Nova Imperium asserted that the Empire can only survive the conflict with the Thargoids by severing contact with all non-Imperial systems and devoting its resources to its own protection. The organization was led by a charismatic figure known only as the Imperator, and had been embraced by traditionalist Imperial citizens on multiple worlds who were discontent about the Empire's continued cooperation with the Federation and Alliance.
The Imperator broadcast a speech to the Imperial people on November 9, 3304, reiterating Nova Imperium's core message and calling Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval a weak ruler who has endangered the Empire. Senator Denton Patreus responded, calling Nova Imperium an extremist, seditious group and warning the Imperator against crossing any more lines.
On November 14, a report compiled on Nova Imperium by the Imperial Internal Security Service was leaked and broadcast in full on the Rewired news feed. Among other details, the report revealed that the Imperator's true identity was Duke Kaeso Mordanticus, a former Imperial Navy admiral from a prestigious military family. Mordanticus apparently still had contacts in the Imperial Navy, and most of Nova Imperium's ships were run by ex-naval crews who remained loyal to him.
A new Emperor?
Mordanticus escalated his rhetoric on November 24, 3304 by proclaiming that Nova Imperium would achieve its goal of restoring glory to the Empire by installing a new Emperor. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval ignored this development, but Cassia Carvalho noted that Nova Imperium was rapidly increasing its support as uneasy Imperial citizens coalesced around its cause. A number of Imperial Senators also began voicing their support for Nova Imperium, and on December 1, Senator Pal Vespasian stated his intention to invite Imperator Mordanticus to address the Imperial Senate and detail his policies. Vespasian also firmly endorsed Mordanticus's proposal to install a new Emperor.
Nova Imperium shocked the Empire on December 7 by revealing the existence of Hadrian Augustus Duval, a grandson of the late Emperor Hengist Duval. Imperator Mordanticus claimed that Hadrian had been genetically verified as the son of an illegitimate son sired by Hengist and an Imperial slave during the reign of Hesketh Duval, and announced that Nova Imperium would seek to remove Arissa Lavigny-Duval from the Imperial throne and replace her with Hadrian. Cassia Carvalho observed that this surprising development had done much to enhance Nova Imperium's credibility and rally more traditionalists who preferred a male Emperor to the organisation's cause. Hadrian Duval related the experiences of his early life and his sympathy for the hardships suffered by Imperial citizens in a message broadcast across the Empire. He had been brought up as an independent trader alongside his father, who never mentioned his heritage and died in 3302. Hadrian inherited his ship and became a Commander himself. When Imperator Mordanticus informed Hadrian of his lineage, he decided to accept his identity as a Duval for the sake of restoring an Empire he believed had been diminished.
By December 21, 3304, Senator Pal Vespasian declared that Nova Imperium had the backing of multiple Senators who were ready to declare Hadrian Duval "Emperor-in-waiting", as well as several million Imperial citizens, and had developed into a legitimate political force that could not be ignored without splintering the Empire. Meanwhile, Princess Aisling Duval and Senator Zemina Torval issued rare concurring statements that criticized Hadrian Duval as unsuited for the Imperial throne due to his inexperience, and urged Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval to rebuke Nova Imperium.
Cracks in the Empire
On December 27, 3304, Imperial senators who supported Nova Imperium demanded that Hadrian Augustus Duval be acknowledged by Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, with Senator Eloise Winterstone proclaiming to the Imperial Senate that Hadrian must be officially accepted as a member of the Imperial Family. As Emperor Arissa had no children or heir apparent, recognizing Hadrian would secure the future of the Duval bloodline. Chancellor Anders Blaine responded in no uncertain terms: "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 commented that Arissa may have no other choice but to accept Hadrian as an heir, since a civil war within the Empire was becoming an increasingly likely possibility and Arissa's lack of public response to Nova Imperium was being viewed as a sign of weakness. The implication was that if Hadrian was not accepted as an heir to the Imperial throne, Arissa might face an ouster and Hadrian would be crowned Emperor anyway.
Both Federal President Zachary Hudson and Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon spoke out against the rise of Nova Imperium before their respective legislatures on December 29. Mahon expressed concern about the possible cessation of inter-superpower cooperation, but Hudson took a bolder stance and asserted that the Federation would be forced to intervene for the sake of the war effort against the Thargoids should Nova Imperium come to power and halt the Empire's contributions to Aegis. Independent sources confirmed that Federal Navy resupplies had increased in frequency, and Federal fleets were conducting exercises in regions bordering Imperial territory.
On January 5, 3305, Nova Imperium began assembling an armada in its home system of Paresa, pushing tensions within the Empire near the breaking point. Senator Denton Patreus, in his capacity as Admiral of the Fleet of the Imperial Navy, demanded that Nova Imperium disperse its militia at once or face the consequences. The Imperial Herald's Cassia Carvalho observed that support for Hadrian Duval had greatly bolstered Nova Imperium and allowed them to form a large fleet in a short time, and the Imperial Navy would risk provoking further rebellion if it was too heavy-handed in dealing with Nova Imperium's supporters. Meanwhile, from January 3 to January 10, the Imperial Navy and the Federal Navy held simultaneous supply campaigns. Retired Imperial military strategist Marquis Felix Novantico suggested that the Empire's supply campaign was in response to tensions with Nova Imperium, while the Federation was likely preparing for the possibility of Hadrian Duval gaining the throne and the Empire abruptly turning hostile.
The Battle of Paresa
On January 10, Nova Imperium and the Empire finally fell into conflict. Senator Denton Patreus announced that the Imperial loyalist faction Yupini Limited had engaged Nova Imperium in Paresa, and called on Imperial auxiliaries to help destroy "the isolationists' illegal armada". Imperator Mordanticus turned to the galactic community and supporters of Hadrian Duval for aid, warning that Nova Imperium's survival hinged on the outcome of this battle. Cassia Carvalho commented that whatever the outcome of the Battle of Paresa, it would have far-reaching effects on the Empire's future.
On January 17, Senator Patreus announced that Imperial auxiliaries working with Yupini Limited had succeeded in defeating Nova Imperium. The senator stated, "With the aid of our loyal Imperial auxiliaries, the isolationists' forces have been significantly depleted. Let this be a warning to others – the Empire will not tolerate insurrection."
It was announced the following day that Imperator Kaeso Mordanticus had been captured by the Empire during the battle. Speaking on behalf of Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, Chancellor Anders Blaine proclaimed, "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." Cassia Carvalho speculated that the Emperor intended to make an example of Mordanticus through a public trial, and observed that while remnants of Nova Imperium lingered in Paresa, the organisation no longer had a fleet or a military leader to hold it together.
On January 25, 3305, Imperator Kaeso Mordanticus was brought before the Imperial Senate and Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval. In a surprise to observers such as Cassia Carvalho, Senator Denton Patreus immediately executed Mordanticus with his personal sidearm. The Imperial Guard then began gunning down any senators who had previously expressed support for Nova Imperium, including Pal Vespasian and Eloise Winterstone. Following these events, the Emperor proclaimed, "There is no Nova Imperium. There is only the Empire." Carvalho reported that mass arrests and further public executions were taking place across Capitol, and Nova Imperium strongholds throughout the Empire were being eliminated from within by infiltrators placed by Senator Patreus, marking the start of an apparent purge of Nova Imperium and its sympathizers.
The purge was reportedly completed by the following day. According to Cassia Carvalho, the isolationist cause had been thoroughly crushed, leaving Nova Imperium in control of nothing outside of Paresa and ensuring they could never again threaten the Imperial throne. Emperor Arissa's weeks of inaction had apparently been stalling for time while Senator Patreus deployed his agents for a simultaneous strike; the success of the resulting purge greatly undermined the Emperor's most vocal critics. Alliance and Federal leaders issued no statements despite the brutality of the purge, likely assuaged that the Emperor had set her house in order and inter-superpower cooperation against the Thargoids would continue unabated.
Hadrian Augustus Duval finally broke his silence on January 31, 3305 in a message broadcast to the Empire: "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!"
In the aftermath of the Nova Imperium conflict, Alliance President Gibson Kincaid highlighted Nova Imperium while discussing potential threats to the Alliance with the Alliance Tribune on February 7: "The rise of such radical beliefs demonstrates how quickly the other superpowers might turn against us. Had the recent military conflict ended differently, the Empire would have callously abandoned humanity's united struggle against the Thargoid threat. All other leaders are looking elsewhere, pretending Nova Imperium never happened. But I have the courage to give a voice to our people's fears. The Alliance must prepare to stand alone against any aggressor, whether human or alien!" Following Kincaid's comments, Prime Minister Edmund Mahon chided Kincaid for straying from his diplomatic duties, and reaffirmed that the Empire's internal politics were of no concern to the Alliance.
By February 21, Nova Imperium had regrouped and undergone a minor resurgence in Paresa. It wrested full control of the system from the Peraesii Empire Consulate in an election and gained all of that faction's holdings, which included Kahn Orbital, Baker Depot, and Dyson City. A few weeks later, it launched a successful expansion into Yupini, followed by other systems. Although the nature of factional politics meant that shifts in power were common and often short-lived, Nova Imperium's rapid turnaround under Hadrian Duval signaled that the isolationist cause still had supporters among the galactic community.
Aisling reaches out
On April 5, 3305, Princess Aisling Duval revealed to the Imperial Herald that she had reached out to Hadrian Duval and visited him in Paresa. She explained that she had been dismayed by Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval's brutal purge of Nova Imperium supporters, and wanted to open a dialogue in order to heal the divisions within the Empire. During Aisling's visit, Hadrian was re-confirmed via genetic testing to be the grandson of the late Emperor Hengist Duval and therefore Aisling's cousin. Aisling's visit spurred a fresh wave a controversy throughout the Empire, with observers noting that her progressive views did not align with Hadrian's traditionalism and isolation, and Senator Zemina Torval going so far as to brand Aisling "an ideological traitor" for merely associating with the Imperator. Cassia Carvalho speculated that Aisling intended to persuade the younger, inexperienced Hadrian into softening his hardliner stances.
Hadrian Augustus Duval issued a statement on April 19 confirming that he agreed to a non-aggression pact with Princess Aisling, in which both leaders and their respective supporters pledged not to interfere with or oppose each other. Hadrian expressed his gratitude to Aisling for making contact, and promised at her request to personally review Nova Imperium's policies. The Imperator was careful to note that the new pact was not an alliance, and that for the time being he remained a member of the Imperial family in exile.
- ↑ GalNet: The Rise of Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: A Warning from the Imperator
- ↑ GalNet: Report on Nova Imperium Leaked
- ↑ GalNet: Nova Imperium Demands New Emperor
- ↑ GalNet: Senators Support Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: Nova Imperium Unveils Figurehead
- ↑ GalNet: Hadrian Duval Addresses the Empire
- ↑ GalNet: Aisling Duval Rejects Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: An Heir to the Imperial Throne?
- ↑ GalNet: Alliance and Federation React to Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: Nova Imperium Musters Military Forces
- ↑ GalNet: Supplies for Federal and Imperial Navies
- ↑ GalNet: Federal and Imperial Campaigns End
- ↑ GalNet: Empire Engages Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: Flashpoint for Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: Nova Imperium Defeated in Paresa System
- ↑ GalNet: Imperator Mordanticus Captured
- ↑ GalNet: Blood on the Senate Floor
- ↑ GalNet: The Fall of Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: The New Imperator
- ↑ GalNet: Kincaid Raises Concerns after Nova Imperium
- ↑ GalNet: Aisling Duval Contacts Hadrian Duval
- ↑ GalNet: The Princess and the Imperator
- ↑ GalNet: Hadrian Duval Confirms Pact