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5130-5199AD Imperial Hegemony

In 5130AD Marcus, the last of Horton’s direct descendents died without issue. Nicholas Horton, Dictator Marcus’ distant cousin was the nominated successor. However, Marcus’ paranoia had kept Nicholas from the centre of power, and he could not automatically command the loyalty of his Uncle’s ministries. The Dictator’s nuclear arsenal had long been placed outside the control of any one official or ministry.

For several weeks there was tension as ministers, nobles and generals vied for position. The launch codes were in the hands of Nicholas, but he needed support to be able to use them: The actual missiles were not his to target or control.

Eventually Nicholas consented to the creation of a Council of Ministers that would “advise” him on matters of state. He took the title of “Emperor”. The Council of Ministers was a powerful mouthpiece for the noble families. Crucially, it retained control of the nuclear deterrent. While the Emperor held the launch codes, only the Council could actually target and launch an attack. In all important respects, the Council now ran the Government.

5200-5254AD Succession Wars

Nicholas ruled as Emperor for 70 years. He died at the age of 95 in an aircraft accident, which also killed Julian, his son and heir.

Nicholas’ only other child was John, a 30 year old with the mind of a child. Many on the Council balked at the idea of an idiot on the throne. Several factions emerged, each backing a different challenger for the throne.

There followed a period known as the Succession Wars. For 50 years competing Emperors ruled over a fractious planet. The wars were fought with assassins, and occasionally troops and spacecraft. Fear of annihilation prevented the conflict from becoming too destructive.

No one faction was ever able to assert control over the nuclear deterrent. Factions often combined in the Council to assemble enough votes for a launch, and force a particularly powerful contender to back down. Through all of the years of warfare, not a single nuclear weapon was actually used.

5255-5431AD Fragmentation

Ultimately it became clear that no one could win the Succession War. Eventually the original royal contenders began to die. The boundaries of factions’ areas of control began to stabilise, and the wars subsided. The Imperial nuclear deterrent, that had been under the control of the Council and the Emperor, dwindled away to nothing as its components were dismantled and incorporated into local defence systems.

The years of Fragmentation saw the end of the strongly centralised Imperial state. New Home developed a stable and prosperous balkanised world economy.

New Home’s caste system continued to be an important part of life. Regions’ systems of government varied, but the Great Families always played an important role. The Great Families were the high caste descendent of the ‘Favoured’ and of the later Imperial and ministerial families.

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