By Gregg Giles

The new Imperial Civil War has destroyed many governments, and has allowed many mercenary units to use their skills however they wish. Huge numbers of units are no longer bound by the strict regulations that once bound them to conformity. Many units have resorted to piracy and consider the present age to be a giant free-for-all. Areas that are suffering this trauma include the Gushmege, Lishun and Delphi sectors, as well as the border sectors between the Solomani Confederation and what remains of the Third Imperium.

Units had previously been strictly regulated, especially in highly populated areas. Various governments had their own means for regulating the paramilitary, and some even required that units appoint certain officers amongst themselves to ensure that laws were not unintentionally broken. But now hundreds of uncontrolled units are on the loose.

In regions of space that still hold out and resist collapse, these ‘leashes’ are still in place, especially those areas that still align themselves with the Imperium. The Domain of Deneb, for example, maintains essentially the same organizations established while united with the Imperium.

The Interworld Division of Enforcement Services (IDES)

This is a division of the Imperial Ministry of Justice, and is utilized to combat smuggling and terrorist activities. It maintains its own administrative offices and operational support, generally based from Naval bases. IDES also maintains extensive shock troop contingents at most starports of class ‘B’ or above. It is prompted into action by an Imperial court, or by direct order of a law enforcements or legislative body. At the moment, this means that IDES is busy most of the time.

The IDES was established by the Imperium long ago, and only within the last 100 years had its authority reached to all Imperial borders. During the Psionics Suppressions, the agency as used to uproot the secret institutes and their supplies of psionic enhancement drugs through undercover agents and extensive surveillance. Since the psionic enhancement drugs were legally considered contraband, IDES had jurisdiction and quickly went to work. IDES also took part in the effort against the Solomani “Phoenix Project” on Terra, which fell under the agency’s anti-terrorism authority.

IDES works actively with the Scout Service to curb smuggling, and maintains a large body of agents throughout areas of the Imperium in which it still retains jurisdiction. Unconfirmed media reports have stated that the agency was responsible for espionage activities against the Zhodani Consulate in the 1060’s. Imperial authorities ignored the claim on the basis that espionage and intelligence gathering was “outside the defined arena of IDES activities”. The statement has never been proven wrong.

The Imperial Naval Paramilitary Relations Department (INPARD)

Alarmed at the growing number of uncontrolled paramilitary units operating in the Marches, in 864 the Imperial government directed the creation of INPARD to help restrain them. Today, INPARD issues operating licenses granted by the government, conducts legal actions against paramilitary units committing unlawful acts, and also hears field agent investigating units which have allegedly broken the law. INPARD can also call upon shock troops to restrain mercenary units when necessary.

The department is controlled from the Naval Office of the Sector Admiral, and is part of Deneb Imperial Naval Intelligence. In 1119, INPARD’s jurisdiction expanded to the entire domain after being merged with its equivalent agency in Deneb – the Ministry of Paramilitary Relations.

Department offices are present at most subsector capitals within the Domain and at branch offices near the fringe areas such as District 268 (the District 268 and Glisten offices were destroyed during the Aslan Ihatei conquests).

Financial Backing

With most endeavors that involve the use of a large amount of military hardware, it is essential that some party is able to finance the purchase and operations of that equipment. Mercenary units are generally the largest purchaser of military hardware (second to the military itself, of course). These financial supporters (such as banks, holding firms, and occasionally governments) provide the new unit with the purchasing power needed to maintain the unit until it can become self-sufficient and eventually repay its loans. These institutions, however, will almost always lose large sums of money during the first few years of the unit’s operation (since hardware and especially starships are by no means inexpensive!)

After the evolution of the first megacorporations, mercenary units were hired and supplied in exchange for security services, intelligence gathering, or even for sabotage against another company. However, even the mighty interstellar firms are cautious when hiring a particular unit might be poorly received by the Third Imperium (as well as other nations). The megacorporations tend to shun potential subsidiary units that a government frowns upon (such as radical factions or known terrorists). If a firm knowingly does such hiring, governments will retaliate in the form of astronomical fines and also by depriving trade and commerce privileges.

The extent of investment by a financial backer (a.k.a. investor) will vary according to the needs of every unit. Some units require starships for interplanetary travel, and since the most logical choice for transport is a mercenary cruiser, a backer may need to post well over MCr250. It is not uncommon for a firm to post loans worth several billion credits; however, the firm stringently controls units getting such enormous backing. Some nations require that mercenary units report all of their investors, along with their investments or contributions, and the unit’s revenues. Units refusing to do so will lose their license.

In these times, backers are becoming rare as trade and commerce are dropping-off radically. Many firms can no longer stay in business; much less support a unit that will lose money. However, with so many units already well equipped, it is also simple for them to slip the reigns of their backer. Military hardware is also easier to find now.

Imperial Appointed Observers

Called IAO’s for short, these government agents investigate the activities of paramilitary units that are accused of committing unlawful acts, such as murder or breach of contract. Agents have no power, but their reports may influence the decisions of those who do. Punishments on units who have been witnessed committing crimes can range from disbandment to criminal charges.

In Deneb, IAO’s are appointed by INPARD.