Millennia-old and covering at times nearly all of the known galaxy, The Imperium has developed a labrythine bureaucracy with dozens of Ministries and Bureaus. While most of these organizations are mundane and garner little interest, few are more studied or feared than the Commission for the Preservation of the Imperium, usually abbreviated as CPI. The public face of the Commission is akin to a political party: a membership organization that patriotic subjects of the Imperium join to express their support for the Imperium. Beyond the lowest levels of membership, however, the Commission is filled with zealots fanatically loyal to the Imperium and the Royal Family. While the Commission's influence has waned in recent decades, membership in the Commission is an unofficial prequisite for employment within the intelligence apparatus of the Empire, and for as long as anyone can remember, the leadership in both the Ministry of Intelligence and the Ministry of Security have been Commission members. Thus, both Ministries and their operatives are usually referred to unofficially as CPI.
It is unclear exactly when or by whom the Commission was founded. Extant records date the Commission's existance as far back as the Malatrios Dynasty, roughly 3,100 years ago. Imperial annals refer to Emperor Sawic IX (full name Sawic Paladrios Gamnus St. Attribel Dravien Malatrios IX) bestowing the Order of Centuri to a Minister Lady Kasandrya Bialkos in recognition for "long and illustrious service to the Commission for the Preservation of the Imperium." To date, this is the first known mention of the Commission. Some scholars claim the Commission is much older, originating at the same time as the Imperium itself. However, no historical evidence has yet been found to support these claims.
The Commission began to assume its omnipresent role in Imperial political life during the early Sandyr Dynasty, 2,700 years ago. Empress Dyremia (full name Dryemia Sattis Paladrios Hyuun Sandyr) issued the Proclamation "On Unified Governance of the Outworlds", calling for Commission members to be given preferential treatment in hiring for positions in colonial administrations. 120 years later, her great great grandson, Emperor Mikkel VI (full name Mikkel Sattis Paladrios Hyuun Sandyr VI) issued the Proclamation "On a Harmonious, Organized Society" which stated that all Government officials above the project manager rank had to be Commission officials. Census records from this era show that 20% of citizens in the core worlds and 5% of citizens in the colonies identified themselves as Commission members.
The relatively-low levels of Commission membership during this era speak less to the influence of the Commission than the nature of the Commission at the time. Memoirs and biographies of Policy Committee members from this era indicate that the Commission was not yet a mass party but rather a tight-knit organization of local elites. On many worlds, membership in the Commission was bought, usually by a wealthy parent on behalf of a child so that the child could gain employment in powerful government positions. As such, the Commission was not nearly as ideological as it became after the Morbihanite Purge.
Morbihanite Purge Edit
In -YEAR-, Pter Morbihan was appointed First Vice Chair of the Policy Committee. At the time, administration in the colonies was suffering due to a lack of qualified bureaucrats. As membership in the Commission and thus, government employment, was secured almost without merit, successive generations of bureaucrats had become less and less knowledgeable about the actual workings of government. To remedy this, Morbihan established the first Commission Schools, residential institutions of education open to children who met certain intelligence criteria. The schools were free with the provision that children were not allowed to leave for the first yen years of instruction. The conditions of enrollment caused the schools to be filled with highly intelligent orphans as colonial social service agencies jumped at the chance to lighten their burdens on the Commission. The result was a generation of youths rigorously schooled and indoctrinated in Imperial ideology for their entire childhoods.
As these youths, dubbed "Morbihanites," reached adulthood and began assuming positions in colonial bureaucracies, productivity in the colonies experienced large increases. The changes in the colonies thrilled many Imperial officials; however, colonial elites began to feel threatened as they were pushed out of bureaucracy jobs in favor of subsequent classes of Morbihanites. High-ranking colonial Commission members began to buffet the Policy Committee with complaints. However, both the Emperor and Vice Chair Morbihan strongly supported the Commission schools and their complaints fell on deaf ears. After Morbihan's death, Joan Triste, a sympathizer of the colonials (by then already being called the "old guard") was appointed First Vice Chair and ordered the schools closed.
At the time of Vice Chair Morbihan's death, though, the Commission Schools had been in operation for 33 years and had turned out 18 classes of Morbihanites, including several Policy Committee members. The Morbihanites revolted, petitioning Emperor Vid XIX (full name Viv Sattis Paladrios Hyuun Sandyr XIX) to overrule Triste in his capacity as Chairman of the Commission. The Emperor, believed by historians to be mentally deficient, failed to take decisive action and Old Guard elements of the Commission began forcibly closing the schools. Morbihanites virulently protested these closings, leading to a confrontation at the Byrkmann School in the Atredii System. The administrators and faculty at the school, Morbihanites themselves, refused to close, and the colonial Governor, a supporter of the Old Guard, ordered colonial police to forcefully clear the building. The Morbihanites barricaded themselves inside, and after a week-long standoff, police forces forcibly entered the school, killing over 700 adults and students.
The "Massacre at Atredii" incensed the Morbihanites, who called for the dismissal and arrest of everyone involved, from the Governor to Vice Chair Triste herself. The conflict escalated to the point that armed confrontations began taking place within Ministerial complexes as Morbihanites clashed with the Old Guard. It was during this period the first CommForce units were formed by the Morbihanites. After three years of near Civil War within the Bureaucracy, Vice Chair Triste and much of the Policy Committee were killed by Morbihanites. It was also during this time that Vid XIX was deposed by Kazim I al-Dyastrin, marking the beginning of the al-Dyastrin Dynasty. The new Emperor viewed the Morbihanites as useful allies and provided them with military support in their conflict with the Old Guard.
With the Emperor's active support, the Old Guard was quickly subdued and the first Morbihanite, Jesef Ryom, was appointed First Vice Chair. Ryom moved quickly to fill vacancies at all levels of the Commission with Morbihanites and re-open the schools. Members of the Old Guard were often uncremoniously dumped from Commission offices. Membership fees were abolished and Commission ranks began to swell, although leadership in the Commission was reserved for Morbihanites or others who proved themselves to be "politically reliable."
Golden Age Edit
Under the al-Dyastrin Dynasty, the Commission experienced unheralded expansion, pervading every aspect of Imperial life. Membership grew to include nearly all free Imperial subjects thanks to an aggressive childhood registration program. Economies of scale allowed the Commission to use the relatively slight membership dues it levied to build thousands of Commission Schools around the Imperium. The al-Dyastrin monarchs fully supported the growth of the Commission, and it was during this time the Commission fully took control of the Imperium's intelligence apparatus. Low-level Commission members were encouraged to turn in family, friends, and neighbors who were committing or planning sedition, and arrests and renditions became commonplace. Despite this, the majority of subjects supported the Commission due to the extensive propaganda campaign touting its social projects as well as the support of the popular House of al-Dyastrin.
The Aristocracy, including most of the Noble Houses, increasingly viewed the Commission as a threat. While most Nobles were Commission members, few Nobles succeeded in reaching the Policy Committee and no Aristocrat had been named First Vice Chair since the Moribhanite Purge. Moreover, the military also resented the Commission. Commission membership was closed to active duty officers and enlistees, but the Ministers to whom the Generals and Admirals reported to were Commission members and, in the Proclamation "On Loyalty in the Uniformed Services," Emperor Demetros II (full name Demetros Rohja Sattis al-Dyastrin II) decreed that the Ministry of Security, a Commission-dominated entity, could place political observers aboard Imperial ships and at Imperial Army posts which would report directly to the Ministry. This infuriated the military leadership, who began seeking allies against the Commission.
Decline to Present Edit
Twenty years after issuing the Proclmation establishing political observers within the military, Demetros II died, and his daughter, Zerenna, assumed the throne as Empress Zerenna XI (full name Zerenna Rohja Sattis al-Dyastrin Vira XI). Zerenna was an especially passionate supporter of the Commission, and the military leadership found the prospect of her reign especially unbearable. While the exact details are unknown, it is believed a group of influential officers approached the Imperial Consort, Hondos Vira, with an offer: that he seize the throne with the full support of the Imperial Armed Forces. The Empress was soon murdered and Vira proclaimed himself Emperor Hondos I. The Policy Committee was said to be enraged at the action and began plans to assassinate the Emperor. However, the emergence of the Ancient Enemy forced the Commission to put its plans on hold as the Imperium rallied against the foe.
The years of total warfare diminished Imperial society and the Commission with it. The war gave the military an increased voice at the Courts of the Vira Emperors, and the Admirals and Generals undermined the Commission at every opportunity, winning their largest victory when Emperor Hondos IV (full name Hondos Malaguena Rojo Vira IV) rescinded the requirement that top officials in the Ministries had to be Commission members. This, combined with a string of ineffective First Vice Chairs, made the Commission increasingly irrelevant during the Vira Dynasty. By the time the Ancient Enemy was defeated and the Jira Dynasty ascended to the Throne, the Commission was no longer considered a mass membership organization and was largely viewed as a relic of a bygone age, despite its continued control of the Ministries of Intelligence and Security.
In the years of decline preceeding the Civil War, Commission leaders argued vehemently against the growing power and independence of the military. These arguments largely fell on deaf ears due to the Commission's lessened influence at Court. When Andronikus Akadon led his fleets into rebellion, establishing The Alliance, the Commission most prominently denounced him. In the early stages of the Civil War, the Commission's CommForce units were pressed into full service against Alliance forces, in many cases preventing the Alliance from capitalizing on initial breakthroughs in Imperium territory. As a result of their loyalty to the Throne and the perception that the Commission was right in its criticisms of the military, the Commission has been creeping back into favor under the Regency of Lafiate Camar.
Provisional Membership Edit
At its most basic level, the Commission is a mass membership organization of free Imperial subjects. Xenoforms and slaves are denied membership, but all Imperium subjects are enrolled in the Commission upon graduation from primary school. Commission dues of one-tenth of one percent of annual income are levied on all Commission members, which nearly everyone complies in paying given it is essentially a pittance. Commission members at this level are known as Provisional Members.
Full Membership Edit
Provisional members who wish to be more involved in the Commission, hold Commission offices, or work in the Ministries under Commission control must become full members. The criteria of full membership are:
- Passing a rigorous background check for political reliability, consisting of a written applicatiion, interviews with friends and family, and gene tests.
- The applicant's family must have been free Imperium subjects for the past three generations.
Upon meeting the criteria and applying for membership, the application is reviewed first by the Membership Committee of the jurisdiction in which the applicant applies. Applications which pass that Committee are then reviewed by the Membership Committee of the planet or moon in which the applicant applies. Final decisions are typically made at this level, although an applicant can appeal a rejection to the Star System Committee (or Sector Committee if the Planetary Committee is the highest authority in the applicant's system). System or Sector Committees' decisions are not subject to appeal. Roughly 5% of applicants are granted full membership status.
The Commission, like the Imperium itself, is a huge body which requires multiple levels of leadership. The highest level of leadership in the Commission is the Policy Committee (POLCOMM), a group of roughly 10,000 senior Commission officials drawn from Sector Policy Committees (SECPOLCOMMS). The Policy Committee does not publish the names of its members, and while most Policy Committee members have very high public profiles, many are relatively obscure. Even as the Commission diminished in importance, Policy Committee membership confers unparalleled advantages upon its members. Members of the Policy Committee are found at the highest levels of various Imperial Ministries as well as Regional Bureaucracies and safeguard the interests of their own. Given the Commission's control over the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the Imperium, Policy Committee members are largely, albeit unofficially, above the law.
The Vice Chairs Edit
The Policy Committee is far too large and widely dispersed to make day-to-day decisions regarding Commission activities. This responsibility is the province of the twenty Vice Chairs of the Policy Comittee. Nominated by the Policy Committee and appointed by the Emperor or Empress, the Vice Chairs constitute the legislative body of the Commission. The Vice Chair positions are numbered, one through, twenty, corresponding to seniority among the board. While the Monarch has the authority to appoint whomever he or she wishes to any position, the unbroken tradition has been for each Vice Chair to "move up" when a vacancy is created, with the exception of First Vice Chair. This system of seniority has resulted in the most senior Vice Chair positions being largely ceremonial positions as the number of years required to move from Twentieth Vice Chair to the highest levels almost always ensures those officials are well into their dotage by the time they ascend beyond the Fifth Vice Chair.
The First Vice Chair is the de facto Chief Executive of the Commission. The Emperor or Empress is the titular Chair of the Policy Committee, but for millennia, the monarch's involvement has solely been to fill vacancies among the Vice Chairs. The First Vice Chair is a lifetime appointment, and upon the death or retirement of a First Vice Chair, the monarch may appoint a candidate of his or her choosing as the new First Vice Chair. The only criterion for the position is that the appointee must be a member of the Policy Committee, but the appointment has almost always went to an especially influential Junior Vice Chair.