Polities of Amderstun Sector (Part 1)

Amderstun Empire

Amderstun Sector contains a large number of pocket empires. The most prominent of these is the one which gives its name to the sector: the Amderstun Empire. The Amderstun Empire is a fairly large pocket empire, comprising 50 worlds located rimtrailward of the centre of the sector. It shares its name with its capital, Amderstun (2125 Amderstun), which is also the capital of the sector. The world Amderstun in turn shares its name with its monarch, who is also the founder and Emperor of the Amderstun Empire, a highly controversial figure known only as Lord Amderstun.

One of the many controversial aspects of Lord Amderstun, whose exact identity has never been confirmed, is his age. The figure of Lord Amderstun first rose to prominence in the 430s (on the Imperial calendar) – more than six and a half centuries ago as of 1105. This fact has led some Imperial historians to suggest that the person currently serving as the ruler of the Amderstun Empire is not the same person who founded it, but there is also a fairly large body of evidence suggesting Lord Amderstun has in fact lived for over six and a half centuries using some especially powerful form of anagathics not available in the Third Imperium. One specific theory proposes these anagathics include as an ingredient a plant from Leskemar (2225 Amderstun), a world with a research station located just Jump-1 from the world of Amderstun itself; this would provide a reason as to why Lord Amderstun chose to settle in the specific area he did.

As mentioned, Lord Amderstun’s exact identity has not been confirmed. The most popular theory amongst historians is that he is Andrew Erstu, born in 419 (specifically, 100-419) on Ilelish (2907 Ilelish), the son of Tholius Erstu, who was a member of the Ilelish planetary government killed in 435, during the closing stages of the Ilelish Revolt; the rest of the Erstu family was filed as missing soon after. What is known for sure is that Lord Amderstun was from the world of Ilelish, and swore revenge on the nobility of the Third Imperium for the actions in the Ilelish Revolt. In 436, he began to covertly gather fellow dissidents, including local politicians and minor nobles who were disenfranchised as a result of the Revolt. It is also reported he had numerous powerful familial connections.

At some point, Lord Amderstun realised that organising a second Ilelish Revolt would likely lead to the same outcome as the first, and instead decided to create a base of operations outside of the Third Imperium, to launch guerrilla attacks upon it and to gather forces for an eventual battle that he would actually have a chance of winning. Thus, in 437, Lord Amderstun and a large group of followers (some sources say several thousand) set off, though not before two attacks upon the Imperium. Firstly, the yacht of the Archduke of Ilelish was blown up at the starport of Dlan (1021 Ilelish), though the Archduke himself was elsewhere at the time. Secondly, Borard Thomasson, a commander in the Imperial Navy known for his ruthlessness (and who likely ordered the killing of Ilelish government officials including Tholius Erstu) was assassinated on his estate on Haleakala (2909 Ilelish); his body was found with a note attached it (by way of dagger), reading “From Lord Amderstun” (this was the first known public appearance of this name).

Lord Amderstun and his followers set off rimward with a surprisingly large fleet of ships, including several stolen naval vessels but also the personal yachts of a handful of Imperial nobility who had defected to Amderstun’s cause, including Eneri Sharigashiin, Viscount of Krasny Norad (2113 Ilelish), and Adalia Morkand, Baroness of Volcano (2604 Ilelish), amongst others. Due to their rapid drives, Amderstun’s ships were able to outrun the news about them; and due to the fact that the nobles’ yachts were legitimately owned, these ships were able to refuel at Imperial starports (while the stole ships hid in outer parts of systems and refuelled at gas giants). Thus, Amderstun’s journey through the Imperium went mostly without incident; one notable incident that did occur was at Caffe (3239 Zarushagar), where starport authorities recognised one of the naval ships as stolen and attacked it.

In 438, Amderstun’s fleet left the Third Imperium and entered the Old Earth Union. They remained there for several years, and Lord Amderstun accumulated significant power both in terms of manpower and fleet size. Eventually, however, Lord Amderstun found that the Old Earth Union was too timid and dependent on trade with the Third Imperium to be of further use to him (though the Amderstun Empire would later continue to trade with it), and he did not want to be subservient to another government again, anyway. Thus, in 443, Amderstun set out rimward again, with a fleet and following both several times larger than that with which he had left the Imperium.

From that point onward, publically available historical records become somewhat vague. It is known that by 467, Amderstun’s fleet had colonised the worlds of Amderstun and Leskemar (Lord Amderstun had likely begun taking anagathics at this time). The Amderstun Empire expanded fairly slowly, but by 600 its coreward and trailing borders had more or less taken their current shapes (there has been only one recent incorporation on those fronts, that of Fanringen (2319 Amderstun) in 980 – and, as for the spinward and rimward borders, they’ll be discussed later).

Since then, the Amderstun Empire have interacted with the Third Imperium in various ways. Firstly, through guerrilla-style terrorism, mostly within the Domain of Sol rather than the Domain of Ilelish (probably because the Domain of Ilelish is not accessible from the Amderstun Empire without a long series of jumps through Imperial space, which would be risky for the Amderstun agents). This has given the Amderstun Empire a reputation in the rimward regions similar to that the Ine Givar have in the Domain of Deneb. Secondly, they have provided supplies and military support to opponents of the Imperium, such as the Ine Givar, but also to the Solomani Confederation in the Solomani Rim War that lasted from 990 to 1002 (although the Imperium did ultimately win that war).

As of 1105, the Amderstun Empire is a rather powerful pocket empire. The nearest state comparable in size to it is the Malorn Union, all the way up in the corespinward corner of Malorn Sector. Technologically, the Empire may actually be outpacing the Third Imperium, as there are four TL-16 worlds within its borders, Amderstun, Leskemar, Useon (2026 Amderstun) and Viremer (1826 Amderstun). None of the other polities in Amderstun Sector can match this feat (though the Rim Reach does have TL-16 worlds in the adjacent Rim Reach Sector). And what the Amderstun Empire has not achieved in terms of interstellar expansion it had certainly achieved in population growth on its own worlds – there are a large amount of high-population worlds with the Empire.

However, there are also quite a lot of dictatorial and totalitarian worlds in the Amderstun Empire. There is, of course, a certain irony to this, as the Amderstun Empire was originally created as an opposition to perceived tyranny on the part of the Third Imperium. This irony is apparently not lost on Lord Amderstun; he has generally maintained a policy of minimal interference with the politics of member worlds (as a counterpoint to the Third Imperium’s interference in the Ilelish Revolt), but his central government has occasionally taken action against particularly tyrannical world governments, most recently in 1090, when the dictator of Bedumaw (2331 Amderstun) was overthrown and replaced by an Amderstun-approved regent, though this caused some unrest on the world itself (also, rumouredly, the central Empire government is currently trying to change the government of Zorgnorm (1926 Amderstun)).

There is another irony in the fact that Lord Amderstun’s policy of minimal interference, designed to prevent centralised tyranny, has likely boosted localised tyranny. Other contributing factors to this localised tyranny that have been suggested by historians include paranoid fear of foreign interference by Empire officials, leading to high law levels in the early days of the Empire; and the possibility that a large fraction of those that joined Lord Amderstun on his rimward voyage did not do so motivated by opposition to the Imperial government, but rather by personal greed, looking to establish power without a larger polity overseeing them.

Despite the tyrannical behaviours of some of its member worlds, the Amderstun Empire enjoys good relations with most of the other polities in Amderstun Sector. There are in fact only two exceptions, both for different reasons: the Chromirim Alliance and the Galizon Defence District.


Chromirim Alliance

The Chromirim Alliance is a significantly older pocket empire than the Amderstun Empire. In fact, it was founded by Solomani and Vilani who left the ruins of the Rule of Man in the -1600s, during the early Long Night. It was never particularly expansionistic, so it remained a fairly small state despite a lack of external obstructions, and its population did not grow particularly large, either.

When the Third Imperium was founded, the Chromirim Alliance quickly allied itself with the new power. It thus became a sort of client state of the Third Imperium, though the distance between the two polities meant that there was not as much interaction or trade between them as would be typical with Imperial client states.

Naturally, a polity with ties to the Third Imperium would not get along well with one vehemently opposed to the Third Imperium, and this is exactly what happened between the Chromirim Alliance and the Amderstun Empire. The war between these two polities had a large effect on the sector – most of the worlds of Subsector J, between the two polities, were devastated by the conflict, leading to the subsector becoming known as Warzone Subsector.

Chromirim Alliance propaganda typically portrays the Amderstun Empire as evil traitors to the Imperium, while the Alliance are the Imperium’s agents abroad defending it from these foreign assailants; however, the reality is not quite as simple. Firstly, the majority of the atrocities of the Amderstun-Chromirim War, especially the chemical and nuclear bombardments of worlds between the two polities regardless of native inhabitants, were committed by the Alliance, not the Empire. Secondly, there’s something to be said about the fact that the Alliance’s enmity is based entirely on the Empire’s attitudes towards the Imperium, and not on any of its more tyrannical behaviours. In fact, the capital of the Chromirim Alliance, Chromirim (0223 Amderstun), actually has a higher law level than the world of Amderstun (though, it should be noted that the world of Chromirim has the highest law level of all the worlds in the Chromirim Alliance).

When Lord Amderstun’s fleet first arrived in the sector, there were few interactions between them and the Chromirim Alliance. There is evidence there was some limited trading between the two polities prior to 600, but as the Chromirim Alliance gradually discovered more about the Amderstun Empire’s background, relations began to sour. By 650, the Empire had started to expand into subsector J, in the direction of the Alliance; it was the Alliance who initiated hostilies in 653, by attacking Empire mining ships in the system of 1326 Amderstun. In 654, the Empire retaliated by damaging Alliance scouting facilities at 1128 Amderstun and building military facilities at 1423 and 1426 Amderstun. In 656, the Alliance set off the cycle of planetary devastation by using heavy nuclear weapons (ironically, weaponry banned in the Third Imperium) to destroy Empire facilities at 1426 Amderstun, rendering the planet’s atmosphere insidious in the process. The year after, the Alliance used chemical weapons on Empire military facilities at 1423 Amderstun and an Empire farming colony at 1621 Amderstun. By 659, there were naval battles ongoing throughout the subsector, as both polities tried to attack their enemy’s core territories. At some point during this war (it is unclear exactly when) an officially non-aligned but Amderstun-sponsored research station was established at 1628 Amderstun and named Chem-Station; it is likely this research station, which remains in operation to this day, was used by the Amderstun Empire to research and produce chemical and nuclear weapons of their own.

The first known use of chemical and/or nuclear weaponry to devastate worlds by the Amderstun Empire was in 660, when Empire forces destroyed Alliance mining facilities at 1226 Amderstun; the base in the system of 1328 Amderstun which was used to launch this attack was destroyed by the Alliance soon after. Such attacks and counterattacks continued in the central part of the subsector through the 660s. In 668, Alliance fleets actually managed to reach the Amderstun Empire proper; they were eventually repelled, but not before devastating the worlds of 1528 and 1624 Amderstun, both of which had populations of millions. Most of the inhabitants of these worlds were killed, and the rest were forced to leave the system as their homeworlds were no longer inhabitable. This lead to the Empire intensifying their efforts to counterattack the Alliance.

By 670, to hinder Amderstun Empire advances, the Chromirim Alliance actually started to bomb systems which the Empire hadn’t even reached yet, to prevent them from being used in the future. A large portion of the devastated worlds in the Warzone area can actually be attributed to these “preventative” attacks. Notably, the Alliance did not take into regard native inhabitants of these worlds; the non-aligned populations of 0928 and 1024 Amderstun suffered severe casualties, with the remaining inhabitants fleeing rimward. In 672, the non-aligned inhabitants of 0930 and 1330 Amderstun fled their systems, anticipating (correctly, as it turned out) that the war would soon reach their systems and their homeworlds would be bombed.

By 675, the central part of Warzone Subsector had become deadlocked with chemically-devastated worlds and defence boats from both polities everywhere, so the fighting began to shift to the coreward and rimward fringes. The Amderstun-Chromirim War never penetrated far into the coreward Dysprosuk Subsector, mainly due to the presence and influence of the Dysprosuk, who were strictly neutral in the conflict but powerful enough to prevent fighting on their own territory. There was no such polity at the rimward side of the Warzone, however; by the end of the 670s, the majority of naval battles between the Empire and Alliance had shifted into subsector N, as the Alliance tried to “encircle” the Empire.

However, a lot of refugees who had fled the Warzone Subsector because of the war had settled in the previously uninhabited asteroid belt of 1233 Amderstun, which became known as Warzone Defence. By 680, the Amderstun-Chromirim War was approaching Warzone Defence as well, and the thought of being forced to flee again angered many of its residents. So, Warzone Defence, with the help of nearby worlds Emgarot (0732 Amderstun) and Umorrani (1334 Amderstun), set itself up as a neutral party to the conflict and campaigned for an armistice between the Amderstun Empire and the Chromirim Alliance. This was initially unsuccessful as Warzone Defence lacked the resources to enforce its proposals, and in 681 world-devastation occurred just Jump-2 from Warzone Defence as the Empire and Alliance bombed 1231 and 1432 Amderstun, respectively. Fleets from the two polities had even started entering the system of Warzone Defence itself.

In 682, however, Warzone Defence managed a diplomatic breakthrough, and the Warzone Defence Treaty was signed. This treaty prohibited the use of chemical and nuclear weapons in the area, and semi-officially ended the 29 year-long Amderstun-Chromirim War (in a stalemate). Note the “semi-officially” – while there has not been any conflict on the scale of the initial war in the last four centuries, diplomatic relations between the Amderstun Empire and Chromirim Alliance have barely improved, and there have been numerous small skirmishes between them.

As of 1105, many systems of Warzone Subsector still contain automated defence boats from both polities (and sometimes also manned patrols) to prevent enemy fleets passing through, effectively interdicting these systems, which has led to a lot of Warzone Subsector being red-zoned. However, the Warzone area is recovering at least somewhat. One chemically-devastated world at the edge of the Warzone was “reclaimed” by the Galizon Defence District (West Gate (1633 Amderstun)), and as of 1105 has five billion inhabitants. The Amderstun Empire has slowly started to place forward bases on devastated worlds again, in systems such as 1527 and 1624 Amderstun, with the Chromirim Alliance doing the same in the system 1122 Amderstun.


Galizon Defence District

The Galizon Defence District was formed in 678 as an alliance between the worlds of Galizon (2034 Amderstun) (the capital), Etrovel (1934 Amderstun) and Nacoli (2035 Amderstun), intended to prevent the worlds from being caught up in the Amderstun-Chromirim War. By the time of the signing of the Warzone Defence Treaty in 682, several worlds located further spinward (i.e. closer to the Warzone) also joined, such as Ovenar (1534 Amderstun) and Enethy (1735 Amderstun). When the Amderstun-Chromirim War ended, the pressing need for a Defence District was removed, but the polity nonetheless remained together, and over the next century a few more worlds were incorporated, such as Komviluu (2136 Amderstun) and Nensagi (2137 Amderstun).

However, change eventually came to the Galizon Defence District. As of 800, the rimward border of the Amderstun Empire was at Kawellis (1729 Amderstun) and Fire Shout (2228 Amderstun). However, in the (first decade of the) 800s, the Empire began to expand into Galizon Subsector by incorporating the Asparen Cluster (with the exception of Nesletlo (2429 Amderstun), which remains non-aligned as of 1105). This drove non-aligned worlds coreward of Galizon, including Ebbenazo (2033 Amderstun) and Van Dares (2133 Amderstun) to join the Galizon Defence District, to avoid being taken over by the Amderstun Empire, known locally for the tyrannical governments of its member worlds. By 820, the non-aligned space between the two polities had disappeared as the worlds in between were either incorporated into the Empire or the Defence District.

There was never an outright war between the Amderstun Empire and the Galizon Defence District, but there have been numerous skirmishes between individual planets, such as in 838 between Elvidor (1832 Amderstun) and Trodoth (1931 Amderstun), and in 867 between Vonlaizo (2233 Amderstun) and Tarezog (2131 Amderstun). In general, the people of the Defence District are always wary of the potential threat of invasion by the Empire, and especially disapprove of tyrannical governments such as those of Trodoth and Tarezog which have “threatened” the Defence District. Thus, a notable distinction can be made between the Chromirim Alliance, which dislikes the Amderstun Empire because of their views towards the Third Imperium; and the Galizon Defence District, which dislikes the Empire because of the tyrannical and threatening behaviours of some of its member worlds.

The diplomatic relations between the central governments of the Amderstun Empire and the Galizon Defence District can be described as “strained, but existent” – there is some ongoing, if limited, trade between the two polities, mainly through the world of Espolar (1830 Amderstun).