This session was run on May 25, 2023.
First Half 1118
As the civil war expands and the archdukes spread out, communication delays play a bigger and bigger role in the domain level game. This means we have moved to a more abstract way of handling the archdukes, the information they receive, and the orders they give. The conflict raging throughout the Imperium has increased in intensity and started to cut the different parts of the empire off from one another. For example, the Domain of Deneb has essentially been completely cut off with the loss of Corridor Sector. The Solomani invasion of the rimward sectors has disrupted communications to that region and the war between Lucan and Dulinor has made all interstellar travel in the areas around Core and Ilelish hazardous. More and more, each archduke is able to affect less and less beyond their own domain. In Margaret’s case, she is cut off even from that. Any order she sends back to Delphi will be weeks old before it gets there and based on information that is months old.
Brzk continued to focus on defending his spinward border with Lishun, working in concert with Ishuggi to funnel the Vargr raiders towards Lucan. When news reached him that Lucan had declared him a traitor, he released a statement saying that he was loyal to the Imperium, its history, and its citizens.
As news reached Arcchduke Craig about Solomani attacks in the Diaspora Sector in Kidashi, Albadawi, Dingir, and Arcturus, he began to have suspicions about how fast the Solomani were able to react to Dulinor’s rebellion. Had they been forewarned? Were they working with Dulinor to divide Lucan’s attention? He decided it was time to find out more about what was going on behind Solomani lines. He ordered the formation of a black operations fleet able to operate in Solomani territory with stolen codes. He hoped to get better intelligence and disrupt their supply chains. The first ship to be commissioned, The Invisible Hand, launched mid-year. When news reached him that Terra had fallen and the Imperial bureaucracy had fled to Vegan space, he ordered this effort to be accelerated.
Ishuggi continued to face increasing pressure from the conservative Vilani elements to declare a new Zira Sirku. Their logic was that there was no chance for an intact Third Imperium following the civil war, and it was best for the cultural Vilani worlds to band together and look out for themselves. While this was not without merit, he resisted based on the need to stand by his allies. He hoped to relieve some of the pressure by accepting a deal brought forward by the manor Vilani corporations and the large corporations based in Delphi to perform an asset swap. The Vilani corporations would exchange holdings in Delphi and the surrounding areas, which they had been cut off from, with Delphi corporations for assets in Vilani space which they could no longer control. Ishuggi and Margaret both agreed to this trade as long as it was done in such a way that it could be reversed at the end of the war. Ishuggi ordered that the ban on psionic research be lifted and for research to start on the psionic aspects of the Empress Wave as described to him by Emperor Strephon. When news reached him of the destruction of whole planets in the Gushemege Sector, he ordered his forces there to focus on defending the high population worlds. He also ordered that his trailing depots focus on preparing their output on building a fleet that could be used to relieve Margaret’s forces.
With Adair gone, there was little check on Lucan’s excesses. He declared that the Imperium would be pursuing a strategy of controlling the high population planets to seize and hold territory. He announced the formation of the Vengeance Fleet. Shortly afterwards, Sidur, Ishki, and Polygamy were destroyed in the Gushemege sector, with over 80% casualties on each planet. Lucan placed the blame on Dulinor, but it was clear that he intended to destroy high value planets if he could not hold them, and the Vengeance Fleet participated in each of those battles. When news reached him of Craig and Brzk’s refusal to commit their fleets to the war against Dulinor, he declared them traitors, although it was not clear what meaningful action, he could take against them. He continued to push the narrative that the man claiming to be Emperor Strephon on Usdiki was a fraud, even as raids from Usdiki began in the Gushemege sector. Mid-year, he unleashed a mercenary force raised in the Glimmerdrift Reaches and the Hinterworlds.
After working on the asset swap with Ishuggi, she ordered the formation of a refugee organization that would focus on getting people fleeing worlds that were no longer safe for habitation to the relative safety of Vland Sector. She was horrified to learn that as critical infrastructure was damaged, and supplies ran out, on worlds not fit for unassisted habitation that “The Doom Trade” had started in getting people that could afford it off those worlds. News reached her that, in order to protect her claim to the Iridium throne, her husband had ordered three of her eggs to be fertilized and incubated. He had used Strephon’s DNA to fertilize one egg in hopes of creating the strongest claimant to the throne possible.
Tranian, frustrated by the long communication times, ordered his researchers to ignore the traditional bans on psionic research and to prioritize learning more about the rumored telepathic communications of the Zhodani. His admirals presented him with a plan to launch aid to Margaret’s forces in Delphi from the Depot they had captured in Fornast.