When humanity in the Queelon Nebula started for the race into space, it had to thank Charles Gneissen for the discovery of the Gneissen Chords. The Gneissen Chords are the subgravitational ties between every body of materia, like planets or moons. The Gneissen Chords are stronger between large bodies like suns or planets, and the strength does not lessen in relation to the distance.
Space ships in the Queelon Nebula travel along the Gneissen Chords with a subgravitronic drive (the Gneissen drive). Travel is only possible between suns and/or planets because the Gneissen Chords between - say - your coffee pot and your auntie's vase are not strong enough for the Gneissen drive.
The early years
Mankind made its first steps on Rivenhome, which is called "Throne" today. The civilization reached its first peak during the period of the Taurean Empire, from which the Queelon Calendar derivates. After several thousand years of struggle between tribes and later on nations, the first space ships left Rivenhome towards Bersennaich, the nearest star system, after discovering the Gneissen Chords in the year 4781 AFT (after founding Tauris). This enterprise was not led by a nation or humanity as a whole but by a large multi-national company called GFE (General Facility Enterprises - or "good from experience", as their slogan went). Only this company had enough funds to finance the building of the giant structures star ships represented in those times.
The Remillian Hegemony
In 4782 AFT the "Herald of Free Enterprise" landed on Bersennaich IV. That was the starting shot for what was later known as the Remillian Hegemony (named after the CEO of GFE, Aruthan Remilly, 4743 - 4839, CEO from 4787 to death). In the next fourty years the neighbouring star systems were colonized: 4794 New Tauris, 4797 Destination Prime, 4801 Ira, 4802 Swasteecle, 4819 after a serious setback of the GFE the system of Seven Flowers and 4826 Ovarcon.
After the death of Aruthan Remilly in 4839, Frauthan Perspyre became CEO of GFE. The company had mutated into a bureaucratic monster with a public commission issued by the leading nations of Rivenhome. In the same time these nations dwindled and were taken over by several large companies like Technical Engineering Inc. (TEI) and Brilliant Harmony (Brillharm).
The years of the SAC
4851 AFT the GFE started a large program to colonize the next star systems. While doing so the GFE was renamed to "Stellar Administration Company" (SAC). This program burned a lot of money and Mr. Perspyre had to retire prematurely in the year 4854 AFT (his fourth Four-Year-Term as CEO). The next CEOs were rather weak and pale figures. SAC, the former GFE, became more and more a replacement for a world government and likeweise TEI, Brillharm and the other large Rivenhome companies became replacements for the nations.
In 4877 AFT the colony on New Tauris declared its independence from Rivenhome and the SAC. The colonists claimed to have inalienable rights given by birth to every human being to tend to their own affairs by themselves. The leading figure was Raven Plunderheart, a shrewd female politician, a former chief manager of the SAC and a beautiful woman. The latter attribute may have helped her to become a famous heroine, whose stories are even told today with a sense of wonder and awe.
The SAC received a request by the Council of Rivenhome to subjugate the rebellion on New Tauris and did so very efficiently. Afterwards the SAC reformed the colonial bureaucracies and appointed Protectors as chief administrators of a world. Mrs. Plunderheart was exiled to Barnard's Star, a new discovered planet in the outskirts of the populated Queelon Nebula with low temperatures "to cool her down", as the then Sitting CEO of the SAC, Jeremiah Rincken, found it funny to joke.
The exception of the government reformation was Rivenhome where the Council of the large companies ruled supreme. The predominance of Rivenhome was not unchallenged any more. In 4917 the colony of Ira had about five billion inhabitants, after all a quarter of the population of Rivenhome.
The founding of the Empire and the Era of Golden Peace
4963 SAC was led by Proxus Vroomerston as the Sitting Consul of the SAC. The SAC had introduced a statute in 4862 whereupon two CEOs led the company, supervised by a Counselling Board. The resemblance of this duality of CEOs to the consules of the Roman Republic is striking so that in this text the term "consul" will be used for one of the two CEOs of SAC. One of the consules was called "sitting" (on the chair of decision), the other consul was called "standing". The consules had to decide unanimously but in a case of a non-resolvable conflict the Sitting Consul could overrule the Standing Consul. Both consules were elected for a four-year-term. The first term was unevitably a term as Standing Consul; after that a reelection as Standing or Sitting Consul was possible.
Proxus Vroomerston was the Sitting Consul in 4963 with Marcus Remilly being the Standing Consul. Marcus Remilly was rather insignificant and very young whereas Proxus was 59 when entering the office of Sitting Consul in 4961 after serving two terms as Standing Consul. Proxus Vroomerston postulated the necessity for a more integrating form of government. The SAC had now about 120 colonies. Their diverging backgrounds and interests made it more and more difficult to rule them from a single planet. After several internal battles Proxus proclaimed himself Emperor of the Queelon Nebula, promoted Marcus Remilly to Sitting Consul, appointed Severine Silvamore to Standing Consul, gave the Counselling Board a more or less ceremonially function (calling it "Senate") and renamed Rivenhome to Throne. He introduced the offices of More-Ruler (Quaestor) and Much-Ruler (Praetor). These new levels in the hierarchy of the SAC Field Administration were necessary because nobody could oversee the 140 colonies governed by the SAC at the end of Proxus' reign. Proxus Vroomerston died in 4982 as Proxus the Great.
After the death of Proxus the Great there was a terrified silence. It was the chamberlain of Proxus, a certain Lucius Paladine, who crowned himself Emperor (Proxus II) four weeks after the death of Proxus the Great. The holders of the consular offices were only puppets. The circles of power in the stellar administration applauded after a short interval of discussion because they assumed Proxus II to be a weakling. But their expectations were heavily disappointed. Proxus II proved to be a cunning and inconsiderating master schemer and was the real founder of the Queelon Empire. He was known as Proxus the Fearless. Proxus II died in 5011 in the great space battle over the Lesser Magneron System.
A row of rather energetic Emperors followed after Proxus II. Proxus III ruled from 5011 to 5019 and was killed by an unfortunate accident on the pleasure planet Paradise. Proxus IV entered the Throne as Sitting Consul and chosen successor of Proxus III and died in bed peacefully in the year 5059. His successor was the Empress Lydia, a woman who made a storybook career in the Stellar Field Administration (born 5003, Protector in 5039, Quaestor in 5044, Praetor of Throne in 5048, Standing Consul in 5052, Sitting Consul since 5056). She died in 5078.
This area was known as the Golden Peace. The sciences thrived, the skirmishes between the planetary rulers were scarce and very limited, the government only moderately corrupt and thanks to the newly developed fusion energy cells hunger and poverty were becoming foreign words.
The Shayan Conflict and the Senatorial Hegemony
When Proxus V became Emperor in the June of 5079, all that came to an end. The chosen successor of Empress Lydia was Orimindus Galen. Like Proxus IV and Lydia, Orimindus Galen was Sitting Consul on the day of Lydia's death. While Mr. Galen sat besides the death bed of Lydia, Craven Krell, the later Proxus V and then Chief Guardian of the Imperial Household (i. e.: leader of the bodyguards), mobilized the troops in the palace, which were devoted to him after he promised a more militaristic regime and the abolishing of the Senate. Craven Krell seized Orimindus Galen and hanged him in the court yard of the Inner Palace, much to the delight of his raucious troops (the same men who swore a holy oath to protect the rightful Emperor with their very lives).
After this coup a short war on the surface of Throne broke out. The leading management of the SAC and the most powerful Praetores intermediated. After hard and difficult negotiations Craven Krell acknowledged the rights of the Senate to elect the praetores, quaestores and Protectors, but put ahead as condition the right to veto these elections. Craven Krell agreed also to hang all the bodyguards who were involved in the murder of Orimindus Galen (excluding Krell, of course) and acknowledged Orimindus Galen as rightful Emperor with the Imperial Name of "Emperor Galen" for two hours and twenty three minutes. That was the span of time Orimindus survived Lydia. In return the Senate proclaimed him Emperor Proxus V.
In 5079 that seemed to be an acceptable compromise. But only too soon it turned out that Proxus V (later known as Proxus the Cruel) was a much too impulsive madman. It was all the worse that in 5081 the first intelligent non-human species, the Shayans, were discovered. The Shayans are lizard-like beings with a strong sense for the well-being of the race, very aggressive and pitiless, but also very honest and proud. After the Nigilam Incident in 5082, when Proxus V. threw a glass of Stanton Brandy in the face of the ambassador of the Shayan, an unnecessary and bloody war began. The Shayans had very effective biological weapons. Seven planets were devastated before the home world of the Shayans was destroyed and the few remaining Shayans begged for peace. It was a total victory (the Shayan population of today is something below a million), but a very costly one. Especially for Proxus V, because the Senate declared him Enemy of the Empire, killed him by some hired knives and elected an unknown bureaucrat of the Senatorial administration, Harsikus Fullisurik, who became the Emperor Proxus VI in 5085. This had severe consequences because the Senate acted the first time in the history of the Empire as a real electing board (in all cases before the later Emperor negotiated his ascension behind the curtains).
5085 was also the begin of the Senatorial Hegemony. The term of an Emperor became limited to eight years. All edicts of the Emperor had to pass a Senatorial committee, which had a veto right. The consules became more powerful; one of them was appointed to Vice Emperor.
The Senatorial Hegemony was not very effective. It became clear very quickly that the authority of such an inert and sluggish board could much easier be disregarded than the authority of a powerful Emperor. The Senatorial Hegemony was the time of the dissolution of the central authority. The Lords of the planets, a newly risen class of "nobles" (rich merchants, military and political leaders from the "right" families) schemed for power and money and did not in the least adhere to the Senatorial or Imperial edicts and outcries of rage. The most damaging factor was the dissolution of the dividend (tax) system because Throne lived from these tributes of the colonies.
The Consolidation Phase
In 5133 the Imperial office was bestowed on Proxus XII, a former Praetor of the East Wing (the Nebula Empire was then divided in eight wings and a core, each led by a praetor). He had a strong backing in the finance world and entangled the Senators very quickly in his net of favours and corruption. The resistance was very weak when in 5139 he announced the Consolidation Phase, an euphemistic expression for going back to the old dictatorship of the first emperors.
In 5139 the Empire had about 500 colonies. About six or seven planets were ruled by a quaestor. About 50 planets were united in a "wing", led by a praetor. There were many exceptions to this hierarchy: The Allusian Community, for instance, was formed by three planets with an Arch Bishop as the head of these three planets, and the inclusion in the South-West Wing was not more than idle theory. Another important exception was the United Planets of Quorn (UPQ), a federation of eleven planets which was independent during the Senatorial Hegemony. The UPQ rejoined the Empire in 5136 after certain "persuasion" attempts by the Imperial Fleet. But the UPQ negotiated as a concession that their President was automatically Senator on Throne and Quaestor of the SAC and had additionally the right to appoint the Protectors of the planets of the UPQ. The Praetor of the Northwestern Wing was nominally the superior of this home-brewed Quaestor but had virtually no possibility to direct him.
Proxus XII introduced the Censorate Authority. Former consules became censores for life after retiring from the consular office. The youngest former consul became Standing Censor, the rest were Sitting Censores. The Standing Censor led the Censorate and managed the daily affairs, but the Sitting Censores had the right to give directives to the Standing Censor through majority decisions. The Censorate had the task to propose possible Senators to the Emperor for appointment. Every Quaestor qualified for a seat in the Senate, but the Censorate could also propose Protectors it thought worthy for the Senatorial membership. The Censorate could also strip Senators of their titles, privileges and their Senatorial membership (without any interference from the Emperor). The daily task was the administration of the Imperial Treasury. The Censorate assigned the budget for the consules and the rest of the Stellar Administration and went over the accounts to detect any misuse of financial resources.
The Senate kept the right to elect the Protectors, Quaestores, Praetores and Consules (with a corresponding veto right for the Emperor). Proxus XII enlarged the great Academies of Stellar Administration (ASA) on Throne and formalized the access to the office of Protector. He decreed that only persons, who had a degree in Stellar Administration Science, then a successful three-year-term in an administration on planet as far as possible away from Throne and then a successful four-year postgraduate-study on an ASA, are eligible for Protector. Proxus XII decreed also that only persons not older than 40 years should be elected. The would-be Protectors were typically about 30 years, when they finished ASA, and began their career in the staff of an acting Protector.
Proxus XII retired in 5169 and died in 5178. He was greatly respected even by the Senate, because shrewdness, corruption and greed for power joined a jovial and heartily personal approach to life. One couldn't be angry too long with him. His retirement was possibly his greatest achievement, because this gesture cemented his reputation as Proxus the Good, a not fully deserved cognomen. The reformations of the Consolidation Phase shaped the Empire until today.
The Hssinck Wars
In 5169 the Nebula Throne was vacant. The two Consules, Marina Neverthorn and Blasius Anghastor, were dogged in one another; both were aspiring for the Throne. Proxus XII did not designate a successor - or so it seemed. Behind the curtains Proxus XII machinated the ascension of a real nobody: Glaym Thurckin, a member of the staff of the Protector of Rackan. Rackan was a planet in the outskirts of the Western Wing, cold and rough, and the colonists tended to be taciturn and sturdy. Glaym Thurckin was the personification of the typical Rackan colonist: fair haired, with a large nose, very big and wide, with great rough hands. When Glaym surprisingly became Speaker of the Senate in 5172, the upper crust of the society on Throne was disgusted and enraged. But Glaym Thurckin's supporters were numerous; Proxus XII emptied a lot of his treasure coffers to make this happen.
In 5173 Glaym Thurckin was officially inaugurated as Emperor Proxus XIII. The two Consules Neverthorn and Anghastor had finished their terms and Proxus XIII appointed two pale province politicians as Consules after the Senate elected them grudgingly.
Proxus XIII proved to be a godsend. In 5179 the Hssinck began their first invasion wave into the Queelon Nebula. The Hssinck were insect-like beings with a very simple goal: destruction of all Non-Hssinck. This war lasted 32 years. Without the cunning and brutal mind of Proxus XIII the war would not have lasted one year. When Proxus XIII died in 5188 in the battle over the worlds of Echinar, the war machinery of the Empire was in its heights and the economy adjusted to the necessity of survival. The next Emperor, Proxus XIV (5188 - 5199), a former Admiral of the Fleet, had only to continue the efforts of Proxus XIII.
Proxus XIV did not live long enough to see peace; he died in 5199. He was succeeded by Empress Lydia II. Lydia II was also a former admiral and Sitting Consul at the time of Proxus XIV's death. She was a real warrior, even more fierce than her male predecessors. But that did not prevent her to grab the chance of peace in 5211, when the Empire landed three consecutive heavy blows on the homeworld of the Hssinck. The last bombing ended with the death of the Hssinck Queen and a lot of the princess eggs the Queen had laid. The Hssinck negotiated a almost unconditional surrender, leaving them only four of their former twenty planets.
In 5214 the Senate decided to exterminate the Hssinck from the galaxy. The unprepared Hssinck died in four giant explosion waves personally led by the Empress. She declared this to be "the greatest achievement of mankind: the utter destruction of its deadliest foe". There were only very meek voices who called that the greatest betrayal of mankind.
The failure of democracy
Lydia II retired in 5216 and was succeeded by Proxus XV, who ruled only three years. In 5219 Proxus XVI ascended the Throne. He was full of new ideas. One of it was "democracy", a concept tested in certain nations in the Pre-Space-Era. Especially the Rauthan Republic (about 1600 to 2200 AFT) was a prominent advocate for this form of government. But all in all democracy had failed: the Rauthan Republic collapsed against the surging hordes of the Oval Khanate because the majorities in their parliament were ever-changing and wavering.
The usual government forms in the Pre-Space-Era were kingdoms and oligarchies. The Taurean Empire was an oligarchy with an upper class reasonably open to ascensions from the lower classes and with office holders who served only four-year-terms (very like the officials of the SAC). This Empire was very successful. It lasted from about 200 AFT to 3000 AFT, when it splitted in six satrapies, and shaped the history of the one continent mass on Rivenhome heavily. Democracy was not very popular after the Rauthan disaster in the history of Queelon's mankind.
Congruously the failure of Proxus XVI was spectacular. He introduced the right of the planets to elect the Emperor. Every planet should hold an election for Imperial Electors and send from one to nine electors (dependant from the size of the population). The Imperial Electors than should elect the Emperor and the Consules for an eight-year-term.
In 5225 the first and only Imperial Election was hold and ended with an utter defeat for Proxus XVI. The people elected Oliver Cranton Emperor, a demagogue and former film star. He was not acknowledged by the Senate and ruled without any backing. The Senate elected an Emperor itself: the Praetor Usillus Cardaginus. The Imperial Fleet flocked together behind the banner of the Emperor Usillus because most Senators were military leaders themselves or had good connections to the highest officers. The elected Emperor Oliver Cranton (also known as "Emperor without an Empire") was surrounded and imprisoned in 5227. Usillus assumed the name of Proxus XVII, abolished the democracy nonsense and ruled until 5243. He then retired and proposed as successor - Oliver Cranton. Mr. Cranton was 71 years old in 5243 and had become a good friend of Proxus XVII, who visited him in his prison quite often and discussed matters of the Empire with him.
The Senate accepted that (the majorities had changed a lot in the intermediary time). So it happened that Oliver Cranton ascended to the Throne in 5243 as Proxus XVIII. He ruled twenty years until 5263 without any remarkable incidents and died peacefully in his bed.
One Empire Divided
Emperor Proxus XVIII was the last Emperor in the classical sense. In 5263 the Senate was divided in four factions.
The Traditionalists, about 30% of the senators, were prepared to follow the rules being valid until now. That meant they had to elect the most respected person to Emperor. To their dismay a clear decision was not possible; there were no qualified pretendents. That was not unheard of; Proxus XIII emerged also from an unclear struggle between two well known and rather respected politicians. But in 5173 the whole Senate was "traditionalistic".
About 30% were Delators. Their main message was: "Not now, not yet, not this." They proposed an interregnum without an Emperor and transfer of the administrative power to the consules. Some of them craved to abolish the Censorate because they feared its ever threatening power to strip senators of their offices.
A quarter of the senators were Separatists. They were praetores or quaestores striving for a higher grade of independence. They suggested to abolish the central authorities on Throne and to divide the Empire in nine clusters (the nine praetorian wings). The Emperor should be reduced to a purely ceremonial function.
The rest of the senators had dividing interests. They joined together in a faction called Negotiators and were prepared to sell their votes to the highest bidder.
In 5266 the Senate reengineered the whole stellar administration with the help of the two consules. The power of the office of Emperor was highly reduced. The praetores and quaestores were elected for life by the Senate without the hitherto consisting Imperial veto right. The decisions of the Censorate had to be countersigned by a majority vote of the Senate. Nine new Academies of Stellar Administration were opened on the nine capital worlds of the praetorian wings. And as an afterthought the Senate elected the oldest Senator, Ignus Curtizon, then 88 years old, to Emperor Proxus XIX.
Proxus XIX held his office six years, his successor Proxus XX eleven years and Proxus XXI died after two years as Emperor. In 5285 Proxus XXII ascended to the Throne. He was Praetor of the West Wing and Consul of the Empire, but the lethargic arrangement connected with the Imperial Office led to a slackening attitude. Today Proxus XXII toddles around and stares at the ever-feuding would-be successors. The reformation of the Senate had one effect in particular: The Empire was divided. And the parts were fighting one another.