The Golden Empire was a government founded in 87 ABY by the Sith witch Rin Sakaros. Until 137 ABY, it existed entirely in the Unknown Regions; in 137, it expanded to the fringes of known space (though covertly) by conquering the Chiss Ascendancy.
The Empire was Rin's answer to the political and military infighting among the factions of the known galaxy, which she saw as unlikely to ever end unless a unifying peace was forced upon them by an outside party. Building an initial power base through a combination of benevolence to less developed peoples, diplomacy, and occasional military conquest, the Golden Empire eventually became strong enough to topple the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob, a dominant power in the far western Unknown Regions. Decades later, it would even conquer and incorporate the reclusive Chiss Ascendancy.
A student of history, Rin created her government with the intention of avoiding the weaknesses, unresponsiveness, and corruption of the Galactic Republic, while also avoiding the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. Power was heavily centralized, but a great deal of public resources were devoted to improving the quality of life for all citizens, and checks were put in place to ensure that those to whom Rin delegated the power of governing remained answerable to her for their actions. The Empire was defended by the Glorious Armada and the Force-using Order of Keltrayu.
Having toured the galaxy for over twenty years, studying both the Force in its various incarnations and political philosophy and history, Rin Sakaros decided to form her own government to finally unite all the worlds of the galaxy under a single rule, for the benefit of all. She was joined in her mission by her apprentice Keltrayu and her brother Tariun, and together the three wrote the Charter of the Golden Empire and devised its calendar. After defeating her father in a duel, Rin claimed his fleet for herself and set out for the Unknown Regions.
Using her powers to navigate through the hyperspace disturbance at Galactic West, Rin led her small fleet and army of Massassi warriors into uncharted space. She had intended to first visit Quadia, but first detoured to Abstalia on the inspiration of the Force. There she fought and defeated the Abstalian Phoenix, which she took as the symbol of her Empire, and won the allegiance of the native Abstalians. With Abstalia recruited, Rin made her way eventually to Quadia, where her military experienced its first battle, freeing the Qua of their slaver overlords and bringing the planet into the Empire's fold.
Between the recruitment of Abstalia in 87 ABY and 100 ABY, sixty-three planets joined the Empire. Some, like Feldirjo, were brought in through conquest, while others, like Zorabos, joined willingly to access the protection and opportunities afforded by the Empire. The Empire experienced a major windfall in 95 ABY when Iscandar joined. The native Iscali had developed hyperspace travel and exploration on their own; aside from providing access to their trade partners on Yin and Keliso and their colony world of Tershin, the Iscali also gave the Empire research archives and half-plotted hyperlanes to dozens of other star systems.
Since the discovery of Te`net Organi on Quadia, Rin, Tariun, and Keltrayu had been slowly collecting a group of Force adepts from their various worlds. In 94 ABY, Rin finally decided to do something with them and formed them into the Order of the Golden Empire, with Tariun as Prefect and Keltrayu as the first Centurion, the title given to full officers of the Order. The Order was conceived as a sort of equivalent to the Jedi, but primarily as warriors, with law enforcements and mediation duties a secondary discipline.
The Armada expanded and evolved during the Empire's thirteen first years. The Iscali added their navy to the Empire's, and many Iscali filled the ranks of the Royal Navy. Recruits from more technologically primitive worlds could most easily adapt to the infantry tactics and technology of the Royal Army, and the Massassi oversaw the training of new recruits into full-fledged soldiers. The Armada performed its first speciecide in 89 ABY, devastating the Peoly after Rin ended the Ousan-Peoly War.
The Great Liberation
In 100 ABY, scout ships from the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob appeared at Quadia and fought a brief engagement with the three capital ships on patrol there. Casualties were few, but the battle was the spark that ignited the Great Liberation. The Empire soon found itself enmeshed in a war for its survival.
An initial salley into the Xoquon sector captured Wemod and a few other Tetrarchy vassal worlds, but an ill-conceived attack on Hudrel saw the destruction of the Star Destroyer Overlord and more than a dozen other capital ships. Reeling from the loss, the Empire retreated to the Romasi sector, losing all its gains in the Xoquon sector and several of its original systems as well. Massing her forces for an all-out, do-or-die attack on Tizgo V, Rin led the Empire to victory there, but at great cost: Keltrayu sacrificed himself to save Rin from a shock tank.
Caught completely off guard by the loss at Tizgo V, the Tetrarchy fumbled, and the Empire kept up the pressure, retaking the Xoquon sector in earnest and capturing the Vall`to sector as well. The Vall`to Sector Bank defected and agreed to back the Royal Credit sending the Tetrarchy's economy into chaos. The Armada swept into the Mezlag sector with a vengeance, taking all the Tetrarchy's crucial worlds and seizing the capital at Mezlagob. With Tariun's victory at the Battle of Ommol, the war was concluded and all the Tetrarchy's systems annexed into the Empire.
Expansion and internal strife
With the Tetrarchy defeated, the Empire set to fully incorporating its new member worlds and returning to its mission of expansion. Tetrarchy leaders and collaborators were rounded up and either imprisoned or executed, and Rin installed her own Consuls over all the new worlds. Much of the Tetrarchy fleet was incorporated into the Empire's Navy, and some Tetrarchy military personnel were allowed to remain on active duty.
With Keltrayu's death, Rin Sakaros named her brother as the first Royal Executor to confirm his authority to act on her behalf and Prime Legate to make him supreme commander of the Empire's military. She also made him Phoenix Prince, heir to her throne, though she could foresee that he was far more likely to die first. On the suggestion of Aquila Corcer, Rin renamed the Order of the Golden Empire to the Order of Keltrayu.
As the Empire absorbed the Tetrarchy and its systems, it also acquired the Tetrarchy's problems. Small pirate and raiding groups were nuisances, but the better-organized Nightside Raiders were a major threat. The Royal Navy and the Order of Keltrayu took up the task of hunting down the pirates, but it was a civilian who killed Nightside Raider Captain-General Kilwyo Kesh in a bar. With Kesh's death, the group splintered, and the Empire was able to mop up the survivors.
The Empire continued to take in new planets, including Waldragos, Klee`shlyoo`hshee, and Vytuia. Waldragos was the site of Waldragos Starship United, and while the native Fyaar vehemently protested the conquest of their planet, the shipyards slowly became integrated into the Empire's military industrial complex. Vytuia, meanwhile, not only produced Centurion Sato Raltharan, but also became the site of the Royal Army Academy, complementing the Royal Naval Academy on Iscandar and the Royal Starfighter Academy at Baes.
Following the demise of the Nightside Raiders, Rin turned her sights on Red Eclipse, a slaving syndicate on the edges of the Empire. The "Hunt for Red Eclipse" finally netted a slave ship full of Heshoos, who Rin questioned to find their homeworld, the Red Eclipse base planet Harth Gool. After the Battle of Harth Gool, the Order of Keltrayu hunted down Red Eclipse leader Zhin-Vel. Centurions Aquila Corcer and Melnanooin were killed attempting to apprehend him, but Zhin-Vel was later trapped and killed by Eskol Kaartinen and Rajj-Yo. With the destruction of the Red Eclipse fleet and the death of its new leader, Sayl Leikvold, in the Ambush at Bolera, the syndicate was effectively wiped out.
With Red Eclipse annihilated, the Empire expanded more easily, the Armada effectively dealing with any threats or system invasions while diplomacy spread the word of the Empire more peaceably. As dozens and then hundreds of new Centurions were commissioned, they spread throughout the Empire to keep the peace, although many fought in the Empire's campaigns of conquest as well, including those at Shel Du and Sanduluc.
The first revision to the Charter came in 127 ABY, when the Centurion and Consul Vessyk was found to have exploited his people for personal gain and turned Ekshi into his own private dictatorship. Rin herself led the overthrow of Vessyk's government and personally executed Vessyk. To ensure that she would have an unfiltered connection with the people of her planets, she created the position of Tribune, an elected representative of the people on each planet to balance the appointed Consul.
The Chiss Ascendancy
As early as 130 ABY the Empire began making plans to invade the Chiss Ascendancy, on whose territory the Empire was steadily encroaching. The Armada stepped up military production, creating hundreds of new capital ships and recruiting the personnel to crew them and the soldiers they would transport. Rin and Tariun met regularly with the High Commands of the service branches to plan tactics and organize war games, and the Order of Keltrayu trained Centurions in ship-to-ship boarding.
The Empire finally launched its Conquest of the Chiss Ascendancy in 137 ABY with simultaneous attacks on Kinoss and Cormit, decapitating the two staging bases of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force at once. After a feint at Csilla, the Empire smashed the CEDF headquarters at Naporar and then returned to Csilla and captured the capital planet. The Chiss Ruling Families surrendered, and the rest of the Ascendancy was quickly taken.
Proud and stoic, with a long history of their own, the Chiss did not take lightly to conquest, but hoped to slowly rally enough of the CEDF remainders to fight the Empire rather than carrying on passive resistance against a currently overwhelming foe. Rin poured resources from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Integration into the former Ascendancy worlds to implement Royal culture, trying to be merciful and magnanimous in victory while still keeping a tight hold on any potential rebellion.
Calm before the storm
The following four years saw the slow expansion of the Empire into what had once been Ascendancy territory; while Csilla and the twenty-eight "Chiss colony worlds" had been taken in the initial conquest, the Ascendancy had exerted nominal or actual control over thousands of other planets, and the process of putting Royal people on the ground in each of them would take decades. The Armada spread throughout these new regions, using resources from the Expeditionary Library on Csilla.
In late 140 ABY, the Empire began to endure pirate attacks on convoys in the systems around Lebyool, a producer of tibanna. Tariun Sakaros went personally to root out the pirates with a small strike group led by the Star Destroyer Assassin, but was surprised by a much stronger force and captured in the Battle of Lebyool. When Rin took hundreds of Armada ships and rescued him, she acquired the "pirates" and their fleet, many of whom had served a Sith Lord killed by Rin's own father and were more directionless than malevolent. The Empire started absorbing the ships and personnel just before it was attacked.
The Vagaari Empire invaded Tenupe, enslaving numerous Chiss and other Royal citizens and killing Tenupe's Consul, Centurion Tesshen Manytrek. Outraged, Rin ordered the Armada into battle, and much of the Empire's forces were concentrated in the Chiss worlds, using them as staging bases. The war had only entered its early stages, however, when the Empire was attacked in the south as well by the Ssi-ruuvi Imperium.
Tariun divided his forces, sending Sorrik and Rin south while staying to fight the Vagaari himself, along with Legates Tarse Medrego and Salome Hrek. The Armada was strained by its attempts to hold the two fronts; Sorrik's fleet was large enough, but he had difficulty finding the Ssi-ruuk. Tariun, meanwhile, had no difficulty in finding the Vagaari, but his forces were spread thin trying to keep the enemy out of the Empire and he made little headway into their territory except for small tactical teams.
Adding to the difficulty of the situation, the Chiss chose this time to rebel, and Csilla and half a dozen other former Ascendancy worlds overthrew the Empire's control. Tariun split off as many ships as he could spare to keep the rebels at bay, and their main reinforcements from The Redoubt decanted straight into a major battle at Schesa, where they were decimated by the Royal Navy and the Vagaari. Nevertheless, the disruption of commerce through Chiss systems further dragged down the Empire, and Tariun and his Legates were slowly pushed back.
In the south, Breek Zagrev won a crucial victory at the costly Battle of Shest Minor, capturing the Ssi-ruuvi entechment facility. Rin forged an alliance with the P'w'ecks, who had been chasing the Ssi-ruuk themselves, and together the two forces drove the Ssi-ruuk out of the Empire. Sorrik brought his fleet back to the northern Empire, helped to mop up the Chiss Rebellion and restore order on dissenting worlds, and joined forces with Tariun's beleaguered fleet.
With reinforcements, Tariun was finally able to take the war to the Vagaari in earnest. Rin commanded speciecide against the Vagaari for their numerous crimes and their species-wide policy of slavery. The reinforced Armada surged into Vagaari territory, capturing worlds and decimating fleets. Those fleets which surrendered were taken intact, but their crews were executed. By the end of 143 ABY, the war was over and the Vagaari were functionally extinct.
The Vagaari had been vanquished and the Chiss pacified, and the alliance with the P'w'ecks ensured the Ssi-ruuk would be kept away from the Empire. But the Empire had suffered in the Tribulation; hundreds of capital ships were lost and millions of beings died. Trade had been disrupted, and wartime taxes strained the economy. In absorbing the Chiss and decimating the Vagaari, the Empire had nominal control over the areas of space formally dominated by those species, but practical control of these thousands of new systems remained elusive.
The Ministry of Diplomacy recruited thousands of new agents and commissioned even more protocol droids to assist in quickly acquiring the worlds formerly under Chiss and Vagaari influence. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Integration worked overtime to help new planets establish trade routes, and Royal Intelligence endeavored to sort through the remnants of Vagaari civilization to find out more about the worlds the slavers had controlled. The Armada and its civilian contractors struggled to absorb enough resources from new worlds and unoccupied planets to build ships and replace those lost.
Sorrik replaced Tariun as Prime Legate and shifted the Armada to defensive footing, seeking to assert actual control over the worlds in the Empire's sphere of influence rather than seeking additional conquest. The Royal government also recruited civilian corporations to fund exploration missions and allowed them to establish first presences on new worlds.
Madness and mayhem
While the Empire was still in the process of rebuilding in 149 ABY, several planets in its southern regions were attacked by a swarm of insectoid aliens known as the Skavik. Several were decimated before they could even call for help, but Dolomir managed to get word and video evidence to Rin Sakaros. The Armada responded, and the resulting clash became the Nightmare War.
After the Empire successfully defended Daispin and Rykar against the enemy invaders, Sorrik formed the Romasi and Xoquon Sector Fleets, led by Breek Zagrev and Tariun Sakaros respectively. They were charged with defending the Empire's border sectors, while the majority of the Armada remained on duty protecting the northern expansion territories. After the Battle of Harth Gool, Tariun was given a new assignment and replaced by Tarse Medrego.
Rin deduced that the key to defeating her enemies was toppling the leadership, twelve Dark Jedi who had gone insane after millennia trapped in waking stasis. Aria Nikina had killed Sacco Vyrak at Daispin, and Breek Zagrev dispatched Kasavo Shei on Mandos. While the Empire primarily fought defensively, reacting to trouble spots, Rin ordered the deaths of the Dark Jedi whenever possible, and she and Chiss Centurion Vos'elk'eetash used Sith alchemy to create Anzat hounds and Shadow Massassi to counter the threats of the Vyrak Legions and Veracht.
The final segment of the war came after the Battle of Quadia, when the Dark Jedi invaded and seized a sample of the Sickness. Modifying it into a weapon, they succeeded in infecting Te`net Organi and Rin's part-Qua niece, Rayne Turgachia, although Rin herself was kept safe. In retaliation, Rin had Royal Intelligence find the enemy base world, Kizav, and used her Force powers to tear apart its sun, vaporizing the entire system.
Tariun went on the Royal HoloNet at Dolomir to mock the Dark Jedi and declare the war concluded. As Rin expected, Ador Hentral rose to the bait and attacked the Empire in what became the Battle of Dolomir. The Sith Star was boarded, but the invaders were killed while Zahyr assassinated Hentral aboard his flagship and Salin Tesshir defeated the Dark Jedi fleet. With all twelve Dark Jedi dead, the surviving Skavik surrendered and the war was concluded.
Rebuilding and reforms
Following the war, Rin focused on helping her devastated worlds rebuild. The defeated Skavik were drafted to repair the devastation they had caused, although Rin resisted calls to summarily execute them all. Capital was diverted to ravaged worlds to help the rebuilding process, and Rin appointed energetic Consuls to govern those worlds and draw investments.
As the dust settled, many of Rin's advisors begin to insist that the Empire had become unwieldy to govern, and that there were too many systems for Rin to govern—or defend—them alone. At the 150 ABY Consular Assembly, she collected all her proposed reforms, changes, and new offices and presented them as the 65 Reforms. While she did not require the consent of the governed to change anything, Rin knew that many of the reforms would be (or at least appear to be) major changes in the lives of ordinary citizens, and tasked her Consuls with spreading the word and drumming up popular support.
The Royal government also began a public education campaign to explain and justify each of the major reforms. Many citizens took to them quickly, and others were brought around to Rin's view with time and explanation. By the 151 ABY Assembly, Rin judged her people to be adequately prepared and educated, and ordered the reforms into law. Most of them took effect at the beginning of the next year.
Government and politics
At the head of the Empire was the Sovereign, who was an absolute monarch. Out of a desire to disassociate her government as far as possible from the Galactic Empire, Rin Sakaros used the title "Queen" instead of "Empress"; a male ruler would theoretically have been "King". She preferred the adjective "Royal" to "Imperial" for the same reason. The ruler of the Empire was formally titled "Sovereign and Protector of the Golden Empire", as Rin wished to emphasize not only the Sovereign's power to rule, but the accompanying and equally important obligation to serve the interests of the citizens.
Though formally retaining command over all aspects of the government, Rin did delegate a great deal of responsibility. She created the position of Royal Executor, which would have nearly all her powers, and the authority to act on her behalf as if she herself was present on any member world. Until 154 ABY, the only Executor since the Empire's organization was Tariun Sakaros; Breek Zagrev was made a second Executor in that year.
In the unique instance when both Rin and Tariun were absent from the Empire (in 139 ABY), a formal Council of Regents was created, consisting of the most experienced generals, diplomats, and political leaders in the Empire. The Council, when acting unanimously, had the power to govern in Rin's absence, but its existence was not set in stone, and it was totally disbanded when Rin or Tariun returned. After 152 ABY, the Sovereign's Council had the authority of regency when no Royal Executors were available.
After 151 ABY, sectors in the Empire were governed by Procurators, who ruled the worlds in their sectors on the Sovereign's behalf. In addition, Procurators oversaw any uninhabited worlds within their territory, ensuring the law of the Empire was upheld. In the normal chain of command, Royal Consuls were the next in line. Consuls were appointed as governors of individual worlds. Consuls had authority to govern on Rin's behalf, though neither Procurators nor Consuls had all the same powers as a Royal Executor even on their own worlds, and had no power at all outside their territories.
After the treason of the Consul and Centurion Vessyk in 127 ABY, Rin created the post of Tribune on every member world. The Tribune was elected by the citizens of a world for a two-year term, and served as the people's representative to both the Consul and Rin herself. With the reforms that created the sector government and the rank of Procurator, Rin also created the rank of Advocate, which acted as a sector Tribune to represent the people to the Procurator.
The Phoenix Prince, Heir Apparent to the throne, was an officer of the Empire, but had no formal legal duties or powers other than succeeding the monarch if she died or acting as Regent if she was incapacitated.
Grand Council and advisors
Though a notorious micromanager, after the conquest of the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob in 102 ABY and the consequent increase in the Empire's size by over one hundred percent, Rin finally conceded to appointing a formal group of advisors (and departments under them) to carry out her policies and relieve her of the need to oversee much of the government's work personally. She also brought the previously extant Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire, the Order of Keltrayu, and her Council of Economic Advisors into her circle of ministers. However, major issues (such as new taxes, changes in currency regulation or healthcare, and major military undertakings) still required her personal approval, and she could bypass her advisors and consult with or issue commands to subsections of departments at any time. Rin's "Grand Council", organized in 103 ABY, consisted of the following agencies:
- Council of Economic Advisors: Led by a body of advisors rather than a single individual, charged with developing economic and taxation policy for the Empire, regulating currency, and managing government investment in private corporations.
- Glorious Armada: Headed by the Prime Legate, the military and intelligence arm of the government, and its largest department by far in terms of both manpower and budget. Notable subsections:
- Ministry of Arts and Culture: Headed by the Minister, tasked with promoting art and the arts, as well as contracting artists for projects for the government.
- Ministry of Diplomacy: Headed by the Chief Ambassador, charged with convincing non-member systems to voluntarily join the Empire.
- Ministry of Education: Headed by the Minister, responsible for the smooth and efficient functioning of all public education facilities in the Empire, as well as developing curriculum standards. The Ministry of Education also incorporated the Royal Lexicon, which was the official authority on Orhyo. Notable subsets:
- Ministry of Energy and Resources: Headed by the Minister, in charge of accurately cataloguing all natural resources in the Empire, regulating energy, and supervising public utilities. Notable subsections:
- Ministry of Finance: Headed by the Minister, responsible for collecting taxes, manufacturing and standardizing currency, and maintaining the Treasury. Notable subsections:
- Ministry of Health: Headed by the Chief Medical Officer, tasked with providing good and cost-effective healthcare to all citizens, as well as medical research.
- Ministry of Internal Affairs and Integration: Headed by the Minister, tasked with resolving conflicts on member worlds and aiding integration of new member systems to the Royal culture. Notable subsections:
- Ministry of Justice: Headed by the Minister, in charge of regulating the Royal prisons and issuing guidelines on Royal edicts and laws to member systems. Notable subsections:
- Ministry of Science and Technology : Headed by the Minister, responsible for conducting government research into new technologies and funding private corporations conducting similar research and maintaining the Royal Observatory.
- Ministry of Transportation: Headed by the Minister, responsible for overseeing safe and efficient intersystem transit in the Empire of both beings and goods, maintaining up-to-date astrogation and hyperspace navigation charts, encouraging travel and tourism, and helping create efficient public transportation on individual systems.
- Order of Keltrayu: Headed by the Prefect, a multipurpose agency of Force-sensitive warriors.
Legislature and judiciary
There was no legislature in the Golden Empire, though Rin intended to form one once the galaxy was entirely brought under her sway. The Sovereign alone could enact laws binding on the entire Empire. The Consular Assembly, which met annually and was composed of all the Consuls and Tribunes, acted as an advisory body to the Sovereign on this matter, and many laws ordered by Rin had actually been proposed by a Consul or Tribune.
Existing court systems on member worlds were usually kept in place, though planet-wide tribunals were installed on worlds that had not previously had a single government. Further, Rin set up courts of appeals for sectors, as well as a Supreme Court for the entire Empire. As Sovereign, she herself had the power to rule on any case or law in question, but exercised the power very rarely.
Setting it apart from most governments in the history of the galaxy, the Golden Empire had no capital world. Instead, the business of government was conducted from Rin's massive flagship, the Sith Star, and the "capital" for state and ceremonial purposes was wherever the Sovereign herself happened to be. Rin adopted this system both to keep power firmly centralized in her own hands, and to avoid favoring any member system over another.
While Rin intended to absorb the entire galaxy into the Empire, it is not known whether she would have taken Coruscant, the traditional galactic capital, as her own seat of power once the process was complete.
The Golden Empire functioned as a quasi-socialist state. Free enterprise was encouraged and valued in many areas, but the Empire ran many industries on member worlds, though sometimes these varied system-to-system. In particular, the Royal government and its many subdivisions took responsibility for and profit from healthcare and hospitals, public transit, law enforcement and system defense, education (private education was allowed, but held to at least the same standards as public), a wide variety of public works agencies, and many utilities and communications entities. The Royal government also had several state-run press agencies, though these usually allowed for competition. Weapons manufacturers would sometimes be nationalized as well.
Within the framework outlined above, member systems were usually allowed to run the remainder of the private sector at will, with system governments taxing as necessary. The Empire imposed a tax on all member systems, but this was always incorporated into the single tax paid by all citizens, which was divided by the local government between local and Royal treasuries. The total tax rate was rarely below 50% for any citizen of the Empire.
Resources from member worlds could be appropriated at will by the Royal government, and sometimes were when they were necessary for the development or relief of other, less fortunate member worlds. However, except in unusual circumstances, private owners of such resources were compensated for their losses. Anything owned by a systemary government automatically became the property of the Empire when the system was incorporated. System governments also had the power to seize private property, though compensation was mandatory in these cases.
Notable exceptions to this general rule were the planets of Vos Khamida, Harth Gool, and Tebrejj, as well as the gas giants Vedros and Lebyool. Vos Khamida was the first system known to the Empire where alazhi bacteria were found to be naturally occurring without the presence of Vratix; the same was true of pseudo-kavam on Harth Gool and Tebrejj. Since the two were the needed ingredients for bacta, which the Empire had previously had to import from the known galaxy with great secrecy and correspondingly huge expense, the supplies of the materials on all three systems were immediately confiscated in total by the state, as the ability to manufacture its own bacta was of enormous advantage to the Empire.
Similarly, Vedros was a gas giant whose moons were populated, and which produced abundant tibanna, which was a crucial resource for the Empire's military. Rights to mine for the gas were given only to Royal companies, though Rin ordered that tibanna be mined carefully, so as not to disrupt the system's gravitational effects on its occupied moons.
Corporate taxes were high enough to contribute to government expense without being incapacitating, although they were much higher than those seen in the known galaxy. However, companies could compete for a status known as Royal Beneficiary Corporation; tax breaks were given to companies which drew a percentage of their gross product from government contracts. Generally, the more of its total business a company did with the Royal government, the greater its tax break would be, although sales to the government were often slightly below market rate.
Rin appointed the Council of Economic Advisors to help bring her visions to life, consisting of economic experts from various member worlds, both business leaders and university academics. She also created a Resource Council, responsible for accurately cataloguing the natural and produced resources of each member system for ready consultation in case they needed to be appropriated and delegated to other worlds.
One of the terms of acquisition into the Golden Empire was acceptance of the Royal Credit as the sole currency of the world for intersystem trade and payment of Royal taxes. Royal credits were backed by the Vall`to Sector Bank after the Great Liberation.
Society and culture
Arts and media
Citizens of the Golden Empire were encouraged to work for the betterment of all beings, and Rin herself viewed this as the Empire's primary purpose. However, she viewed the arts as an important way to bring out the best in people, and consequently encouraged artistic expression. She maintained a private art gallery in her chambers on the Sith Star, and it was the ambition of many artists to produce a work worthy of inclusion there. She also created the position of Poet Laureate of the Golden Empire to recognize the achievement of Osibom of Wemod in composing "The Fall of Keltrayu", though she noted that the position would be assigned to another upon his death.
Major artistic centers existed on Tyras, Iomis, and Telacia, producing some of the most popular holoworks and physical pieces in the Empire. Classaeria was the Empire's foremost producer of holofilms, turning out dozens of popular pieces a year, as well as hundreds in each of many niche markets.
The Empire often paid for artists to produce works across all media in praise of the state or casting it in a bright way, including public murals and poems or songs for state occasions.
Rin Sakaros was not interested in ignorant, blindly obedient minions, and consequently took many steps to ensure scientifically and culturally literate citizens. State-funded education was instituted on every member system, and those which had not achieved the same level of scientific development as the rest of the Empire when they were acquired were quickly brought up to speed. Rin formed an entire Educational Expansion Corps dedicated solely to educating the members of primitive worlds in galactic history and technology, so that they in turn might educate the other citizens of their homeworlds.
Royally-funded public education was generally of high quality, and nearly all worlds in the Empire boasted over 99% literacy in at least Orhyo.
Orhyo, the official language of the fallen Tetrarchy of Mezlagob and a common language on several other nearby systems, was formally adopted as the official language of the Golden Empire in 104 ABY. No attempt was made to formally discourage citizens of the Empire from speaking their native languages, but after a decade of "transition", all government functions were carried out in Orhyo, necessitating at least conversational skill in the language.
Centurions of the Order of Keltrayu were trained to speak both Sith and Basic by Rin and Tariun. In the Empire proper, Basic had some vogue as a trade language, considered more simple and direct than the more elaborate Orhyo. Sith, by contrast, was a restricted language taught only to Centurions and Massassi. In areas formerly belonging to the Chiss Ascendancy, Minnisiat served as either a replacement for or a complement to Basic as the second lingua franca.
Aside from these languages, many worlds retained their own native languages as well, with the result that the vast majority of the Golden Empire's citizens were at least bilingual.
Relatively tolerant of a free press, Rin nonetheless did not include a provision for its protection in the Charter of the Golden Empire, as she wished to be able to classify any information she felt necessary. Many systems had provisions in their laws to enable citizens to apply for information from and about government business; while Rin never vetoed such a law, she also never put one in place for the Empire as a whole.
Various communications officers served aboard the Sith Star, and were tasked with occasionally presenting information to journalists about the Empire's doings. Rin herself never sat for an interview with the press, always delegating the task to someone else.
News First Mezlagob was the largest news media company in the Empire, though it had some competitors and regional and planetary news sources abounded.
See also: Cult of Rin
The Golden Empire consisted of a vast array of eclectic systems, which had been in many stages of development when acquired by the Empire, and consequently the Empire featured a wide variety of religious traditions. There was no state religion, and citizens were generally allowed to practice whatever beliefs they chose, so long as their practices were carried out peacefully.
Due in large part to her force of personality, charisma, apparently eternal youth, and uncommonly strong Force powers, Rin Sakaros herself became an object of worship on some systems brought into the Empire. In some cases, she was incorporated into or seen as an incarnation of a preexisting divine figure; in others, especially those with no previous concept of the Force, she herself was simply seen as divine. Though this took many different forms based on the number of different religious traditions concerned, the beliefs that Rin was a goddess came to be collectively known as the "Cult of Rin". Rin did not take any steps to encourage this belief and would deny being a goddess if asked directly, but nor did she actively discourage it.
On member systems, the Empire took a strong interest in providing transit systems around each planet, both to foster cooperation and cultural exchange among citizens and to provide a quick means of transportation for law enforcement and military when necessary. Public transportation was installed on nearly every member system, unless a better system already existed when the system was absorbed into the Empire. Such preexisting systems were usually not nationalized, unless Rin or her Consuls felt they were taking so much profit as to make transit unaffordable to normal citizens.
Citizens of the Empire could travel and even permanently relocate among its worlds with little interference from the Royal government, though such movements were recorded for law enforcement purposes. Competition in the market for personal transport was healthy, and, at the advice of her Economic Council, Rin encouraged this in order to drive down costs and enable more citizens to visit other worlds and acquire knowledge of other cultures. A very few worlds in the Empire, notably Quadia and Kavez Massass, were placed under travel restrictions to protect the species which lived there.
By contrast, travel outside the Empire to the galaxy proper was strictly controlled, and all hyperspace routes out of the Unknown Regions were classified and carefully guarded as state secrets, in order to prevent the governments of the known galaxy from learning about the Empire's existence and thwarting its goals before it was prepared to fight back on even footing.
The "Everybody Love Rin" Brigade.
—Tariun Sakaros, on the Royal Integration Corps
To aid in instituting her particular economic and social visions on newly acquired worlds, Rin created the Royal Integration Corps, to help smooth the transitions of worlds into the fold of the Empire. The RIC worked closely with the Educational Expansion Corps on less developed worlds, but in all cases worked very closely with any and all existing governments to bring them to the standards Rin expected of her citizens. On occasion, the RIC was accused of being and viewed as an agency of "reeducation" and indoctrination.
The official symbol of the Golden Empire was a gold stylized Abstalian Phoenix inside a gold circle, on white. The Phoenix was chosen because Rin admired its tenacity, ferocity, and refusal to surrender; the circle represented eternity, as well as representing the Empire's desire to incorporate all systems into itself. Rin chose gold as the color of both her standard and the Empire as a whole because it was the color of most suns, which brought light and warmth to worlds, a purpose she felt her government shared. On a square frame, the symbol was also the flag of the Empire.
The song "Flame Eternal" was the anthem of the Empire.
Given her central role in forming, guiding, expanding, and leading the Empire, Rin herself was often viewed as a living symbol of the Empire. Her brother Tariun, the Order of Keltrayu as a whole, and the Armada were sometimes also viewed in the same way.
Rin Sakaros firmly believed that her government, once it united the galaxy, would serve to better the lives of all sentient kind. While this would most obviously come about through (enforced) peace among all member systems, the queen also determined to be proactive and encourage virtues among her citizens. The formal list of public virtues, which were taught in all educational facilities in the Empire, was:
- Loyalty (to the government and to others)
Rin considered adding "peace" to the list of virtues, but was dissuaded from doing so by her brother Tariun, as he felt the Empire's expansion by conquest would be seen as violating its own tenets.
The Royal government was defended and expanded by the Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire, which incorporated both the Royal Starfleet and the Royal Army. The Starfleet was further divided into the Royal Navy and the Royal Starfighter Corps. Individual system defense forces, where they existed, were sometimes incorporated into the Armada, and sometimes left in place as a kind of "national guard" for their homeworlds, but capital ships over 250 meters were always requisitioned for the Armada's use.
Service in the Armada was for a minimum of five years for every period of enlistment, in both branches of service. Being a member of the Royal military was generally viewed as a prestigious thing on all but the more pacifistic planets, and recruitment and retention were generally high. With the Empire's constant expansion, the need for new recruits and returning veterans never dropped off, so it also held the appeal of being a stable career. As of 140 ABY, over one hundred million beings served in the Armada, with tens of millions more serving in local system defense forces.
In order to both discourage counterproductive ambition and keep control of the Empire's armed forces entirely under her command, Rin created a unique system of leadership in the Armada. Normally, the highest permanent field rank for a naval officer was Captain; the highest for an Army officer was Colonel. Prior to the 65 Reforms, command of multiple capital ships or entire armies was not permanently assigned. Instead, ships and ground forces were grouped together in task forces as necessary, under a single officer known as a Legate. Legates were given specific authority for a specific task (e.g., assigning capital ships into a task force to destroy a pirate fleet); once the task was accomplished, the Legate's authority ceased, he reverted to his original rank, and the task force was disbanded. On the occasions when multiple capital ships were routinely assigned to patrol together, command of the ships would rotate among the captains on a daily basis.
As part of the 65 Reforms, each sector was assigned a contingent of capital ships, led by an officer with the title of Sector Magister and who reported to the Procurator. The rank of Commodore was made a permanent rank to allow for command of larger elements, and the Royal Army added the rank of Cohort General as a command equivalent to the High Command rank of brigadier.
Royal Intelligence was considered an arm of the Armada, though it was outside the chain of command of either the Army or the Starfleet. The Household Guard also technically drew its budget from the Armada, but reported directly to the Sovereign.
Until 137 ABY, the Golden Empire was located entirely in the Unknown Regions, and comprised a diverse array of planets with an equally diverse array of native species. On occasion, a world was acquired that had been settled hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of years previously by explorers from the Old Republic who had never bothered to report their findings back to the Core or who had been stranded in the Unknown Regions, unable to leave the way they entered. Colonies of Humans, Duros, and Bothans were found, and each species produced Force-sensitives who became Centurions of the Order of Keltrayu (Breek Zagrev, Corr Shaasa, and Tarzg Sav'lir, respectively).
Usually, however, systems were simply unknown, their species new and unique to the galaxy. When unoccupied but habitable systems were discovered by the Empire's scouts, Rin Sakaros would allow the spread of these species off their homeworlds by encouraging and even subsidizing colonization efforts from long-standing and loyal member worlds. The Ky`Knomi, Mezzels, Iscali, Umdals, and Kasci all established multiple colonies.
Law, crime, and law enforcement
Royal edicts binding on all systems were relatively rare, and usually only issued for something of grave importance to Rin or to public order. Examples include:
- Capital Law: Mandating a sentence of death for various crimes
- Military and intelligence laws: Anything related to the Armada
- Protective laws: Laws protecting various worlds from exploitation or inbound travel, usually to protect valuable natural resources or endangered sentient populations
The death penalty was usually carried out by firing squad, unless imposed directly by the Sovereign, in which case it was usually performed with a lightsaber and thus often involved a stab through the heart(s) or decapitation. The ultimate penalty in the Empire was Kasshralhyot, which could only be ordered (and enacted) personally by the Sovereign. In the first fifty years of the Empire, it was carried out only once.
Short of death, nearly all systems had prisons of their own, though hardened criminals could be housed as the space station Orbital Prison Unit Aurek, nicknamed "Black Hole" because the convicts housed there, once inside, almost never left again.
Crime existed on all the member worlds of the Empire as it did on every system in the galaxy, but intersystem crime was less common. Smuggling of inaccessible goods existed, though the basic care of the state for its citizens often undermined traditional smuggling efforts. Proscribed goods smuggling was more common, but also considered more dangerous. Few organized crime syndicates flourished, as the penalty for organized crime was an automatic death sentence. The Sovereign alone could issue the designation of Enemy of the Empire for particularly notorious criminals.
Law enforcement was generally left to system agents in the early decades of the Empire; the military was not empowered to enforce the law or act against member systems in any way, unless in case of rebellion. The Order of Keltrayu had a law enforcement role among its many duties in the event that intervention by the Royal government was considered necessary. By 151 ABY, the need for an Empire-wide law enforcement agency had become much more urgent, and Rin Sakaros created the Royal Corps of Gendarmes in that year.
Popular reaction to the Empire's rule varied greatly, from adamant support to violent rebellion.
Many worlds which had been technologically primitive welcomed the Empire's arrival, even when it arrived via conquest, because it brought along marked increases in standards of living. The Empire was also welcomed by former vassal worlds of the Tetrarchy of Mezlagob, which were used to dictatorship and happy to be treated as equals to all other worlds.
Some worlds taken by force resisted. The Chiss were particularly proud and resisted integration, ultimately culminating in the Chiss Rebellion; when the 65 Reforms divided the Empire into sectors, the former Ascendancy was split among three different sectors to weaken its power base. The Fyaar of Waldragos also nursed a long grudge against the Empire for its invasion and subjugation of their homeworld.
The majority of worlds fell somewhere in the middle. Most citizens supported the Empire in a passive way, glad to be protected by the Armada even if they disliked its high taxes. Some wealthier worlds complained about paying taxes to support less developed worlds. Criticism was also directed at the Vall`to Sector Bank.
The monarchy received criticism from worlds previously accustomed to democracy; though Rin Sakaros tried to preserve democratic institutions to work alongside her Consuls and took the role of Tribunes seriously, Consuls still ruled their worlds and Rin was still an absolute monarch whenever she wished to be. Anti-monarchic spirit was often high in conquered worlds, mingled with anti-Royalism. Some citizens also protested the limited rights afforded by the Empire, and many were appalled by the Empire's use of speciecide against some invading races. However, the extermination of the Vagaari saw rare support from the Chiss.
Behind the scenes
Many of the offices in the Golden Empire are named for those in the Roman Republic and Empire, including Consul, Praetor, Centurion, Tribune, and Legate. Further, the system of legates (rather than an established senior command structure) is partially modeled on the "as-needed" basis of the early Roman Republic.