Dominian Imperial Military

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The Imperial standard.

For an expansionist state such as the Empire of Dominia a strong military is of the highest concern, as is the sprawling military-industrial complex that supports it. The Dominian Imperial Military is thus consistently lavished with funds, equipment, and training as a result of its critical nature, which has made it into one of the most-experienced fighting forces in the contemporary Orion Spur. Yet there is one aspect of its nature cannot be changed no matter how much money is thrown at it: the fact that the vast majority of its least senior personnel — from enlisted soldiers guarding occupied Fisanduh, to the ground crews that maintain the supersonic aircraft favored by typically noble pilots, to the crewmen of the Imperial Fleet’s ships — are Ma’zals.

While those that supervise these Ma’zals as officers are generally Secondaries or Primaries, the ones below them almost always outnumber them. This seeming contradiction — that the instrument of conquest, and thus the creation of Ma’zals, itself is made up of those conquered — has long seemed puzzling from the outside, yet the Empire has shown that it is able to make the contradiction seemingly sensible, against all reasonable odds. The answer to this puzzle lies in the Empire’s taxation policy: the Mo’ri’zal.

The often-high Mo’ri’zals that Ma’zals incur simply due to being born as a Ma’zal motivates many to pursue a career in the Imperial Military, which often is the only way that many Ma’zals and their families will be free of debts incurred for the privilege of being born in the Empire. Some join for other reasons — many from Novi Jadran in particular join out of a sense of duty to those they perceive as their betters, and often rise higher than their Ma’zal counterparts — but the majority are motivated by their Mo’ri’zal, and the better lives they will live after they are rid of it. The sheer number of willing volunteers that sign up to serve in the Imperial Military has ensured that the Empire has not had a draft since the War of Moroz, a fact that it often dangles tauntingly over the head of the conscription-heavy Elyran Armed Forces.

The Primaries, Secondaries, and Ma’zals of the Imperial Military are divided into three major branches: the Imperial Army, His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet, and the Imperial Flying Corps.

The Imperial Army

L'Honneur Accorde la Victoire
“The typical infantryman of the Imperial Army is almost always Ma’zal, a member of a social/economic group similar to Non-Citizen Persons. They are well-trained and well-equipped soldiers who have often seen combat on the Imperial Frontier. Do not underestimate them or their ballistic armament in combat — doing so may COST YOU YOUR LIFE in a combat situation!” — Excerpt from the Elyran Army’s Know Your Enemies training manual (2463 edition).
The dark red standard of House Strelitz, the great house which dominates the Imperial Army.

The oldest and largest of the Empire’s branches is the Imperial Army, which was first formed by the Imperial Alliance — the predecessor of the modern Empire — in the years leading up to the War of Moroz. This makes it older than the Empire itself, though constant reforms and modernizations have ensured that it bears little resemblance to the force that once became stuck in a mountainous quagmire when it had to fight the Confederated States of Fisanduh’s Army. House Strelitz is the unquestioned master of the Imperial Army, but their conservative nature — and sense of duty — have ensured that the Army is unfailingly loyal to the Emperor, though some more conservative members of it are rumored to disdain the apparently liberal and reformist heir apparent, Crown Princess Priscilla Keeser.

The Imperial Army has perhaps the most practical experience out of any comparable force in the Orion Spur due to the Empire’s seemingly unending conquests, which are providing it with ample opportunities to cut its teeth in open warfare and counterinsurgency operations. Its large size and multitude of active combat operations have given the Imperial Army a massive need for officers, regardless of their origins. Though it remains heavily stratified it is— despite the conservative leanings of House Strelitz — not unheard of for a Ma’zal to become an officer, though those that rise to such ranks are typically from Novi Jadran. While a Ma’zal is capable of rising to the officer ranks, ranks above non-commissioned officers consist almost entirely of Secondaries and Primaries, and a majority of these officers are a part of or affiliated with House Strelitz. Noble officers of the House can be found at a variety of ranks ranging from platoon officers to general staff, and families of the House consider it a point of pride to have a relative serving as an officer involved in active combat. To many Strelitz no location is better suited to the honing of martial pride than an active battlefield, where the path to glory so often originates.

The common soldiers of the Imperial Army are most typically deployed on the Imperial Frontier, where they are responsible for much of the fighting and dying that takes place when a planet does not immediately surrender to the Empire when His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet arrives in the system in force. One of the most recent notable invasions carried out by the Imperial Army was the invasion and pacification of Sun Reach, a planet located in a system with rich deposits of Helium-3. While the conquest took barely two months the Imperial Army has since found itself in a protracted war against insurgents on the planet, and has resorted to using more and more severe methods to pacify the population. While much of the Imperial Army’s combat operations are carried out against similar unconventional forces, it has engaged many conventional forces: primarily the militias and limited armed forces of colonies the Empire conquers. In these scenarios it almost always has an overwhelming advantage, and has yet to face a serious defeat on the open battlefield as a result. Imperial Army forces are also involved in what they term as “peacekeeping operations,” in Fisanduh alongside the Imperial Flying Corps, where they have been involved in an ongoing asymmetrical conflict for decades.

Compared to its major regional rival, the Elyran Armed Forces, the Imperial Army is significantly more experienced but has begun to lag behind in technological parity as the Elyran military has reformed. The equipment demands that result from its large size and multitude of conflicts have given the Imperial Army a preference for equipment that has been proven to work effectively. Unlike the glamorous clothing associated with Moroz’s nobility, the typical Army regular’s uniform and armor consists of dull earthen tones designed to blend in with the environment. The most common rifle used by Imperial Army troops is the MPR-24/5 (Moroz Pattern Rifle, Year of 2426, fifth modification), a 40 year old rifle that has been continuously upgraded and modified since its inception as ballistic weaponry, in the eyes of Army command, is both more reliable and easier to train Ma’zals with. As a result energy weaponry is generally kept within special units consisting of more trusted Ma’zals, such as those from Novi Jadran, and the Army’s primarily-Morozian special forces.

The special forces of the Imperial Army are known as His Majesty's Special Operations Group, or simply as “the Group.” The Group is primarily recruited from the Empire’s core worlds and Novi Jadran, and is divided into two wings: geneboosted and non-geneboosted. The geneboosted wing is the older and more prestigious branch, dating back to the end of the War of Moroz and the Strelitz troops used to decisively end it. This wing consists entirely of geneboosted Primaries and is often regarded as the most prestigious unit of the Army. The non-geneboosted wing is primarily recruited from Novi Jadran (though Lyodii and Secondaries often find their way into it) and, despite their lesser prestige, is responsible for the majority of the Imperial Army’s special operations due to its larger size and greater flexibility. Commandos from the non-geneboosted wing can be found throughout the Empire, but are most often associated with long-range expeditions into Fisanduh to destroy 3F arms factories. These long-range patrols are often equipped with non-Dominian weaponry in the name of plausible deniability, and to avoid any diplomatic consequences.

Standards of living of the soldiers of the Imperial Army vary depending on both their rank and their social class of origin, though the meritocratic nature of its recruitment and organisation has ensured that these social class gaps – at least those in common ranks, such as the enlisted and lower-ranked officers – are not egregious. The general staff of the Imperial Army goes to great lengths to ensure that Ma’zals within it are treated well and have a better standard of living while in the Army than many had on their planets, which ensures that it always has a steady stream of willing volunteers signing up to serve. While life is often difficult in the Imperial Army, its personnel – from the greenest Ma’zal recruits just sent to Moroz for basic training to its Primary general staff – can count on the Army not abandoning them to die, or to go hungry in the cold.

Unathi in the Imperial Army

Originally, Unathi forces employed by the Imperial Army worked as a near-independent organ, with the highest ranked members being comparable to Generals and able to direct their own small, but effective forces however they wanted, as long as it was in the service of the Emperor’s will, of course. This drastically changed after their defeat during the battle of Three Peaks in 2454, where the Han’san clan, from which the large majority of these Unathi originated, was nearly wiped out. This led to a quick re-organization of how Unathi were to be handled by the Imperial Army.

Modern Unathi forces in the Imperial Army are organized in “Unathi Regiments.” These relatively small regiments, adjusted to nowadays’ weakened Han’san clan, are almost entirely staffed by sinta, from footmen to engineers, logistics crew, medics, and other support personnel. However, each regiment is ultimately under the leadership of a human Colonel, almost always a Strelitz, and other human officers. This led to many frustrations for the mainly Han’san forces, whose new leadership sends them more often than not on recklessly dangerous missions, and makes promotions rare and generally limited. Besides political tensions, Unathi have caused organizational and logistical issues in the Army, with sinta troops requiring specific carnivorous rations, or forces needing to take into account Unathite sleep and activity cycles when planning for operations.

While avoided by many Army divisions for their logistical and political concerns, these regiments, thanks to their small size and Unathi forces, can prove effective in many roles such as the protection of important individuals and locations and shock-and-awe operations. They are most often used in enforcement, may it be on the Imperial Frontier or Fisanduhan territories.

Another place where Unathi can be found is in His Majesty's Special Operations Group, specifically in the non-geneboosted wing. Though rare, these Unathi can be great assets during special operations thanks to their strength and toughness. Unathi in “the Group” are not just selected for their skills on the field, but also for their profile, as they are expected to display absolute discipline and loyalty to the Emperor, in order to avoid the more reckless, glory-seeking sinta. Chances for promotions in the Group are even more limited than in the Unathi Regiments, but the occasional Sinta that can be found there generally join for personal reasons rather than a desire to make a career out of Army special operations.

Unathi women are an extremely rare sight in the Imperial army, and the few that can be found there tend to be medics generally kept far from the front.

Notable Imperial Army Units

“By Her will, in Her name,” - Regimental motto of the 56th Jadranic Infantry Regiment.

The oldest regiment in the entire Imperial Army, the Royal Morozian Regiment can trace its history to the Imperial Alliance which preceded the modern Empire. It served with distinction in the War of Moroz and has contributed troops to nearly every colonial conflict, though typically only as bodyguards for generals assigned to the front. The Royal Morozian is made up, as the name implies, entirely of Morozians and is recruited primarily from great house-affiliated Secondaries. The Royal Guard recruits directly from the Royal Morozian and the Regiment itself is often used to guard important buildings in Nova Luxembourg. As the regiment is mostly ceremonial joining it is considered to be an honor bestowed upon few Secondaries and most who manage to secure a position within it know they are on a fast-track for ennobling. The Regiment’s status as a mostly ceremonial unit has engendered some bitterness towards it in the broader Imperial Army and has earned it the nickname of the “Toy Soldier Regiment” in some corners.

Originally formed by House Caladius as a regiment entrusted with defending the Holy Kingdom’s border with the Confederated States of Fisanduh far before the Empire was formed, the 1st Mountain Division is perhaps the oldest Imperial Army unit aside from the Royal Morozian Rifles. But unlike its Imperial Alliance counterpart the 1st Mountain did not shift into a ceremonial role after the War of Moroz. As Fisanduh remained a hotbed of insurgency the mountaineers continued to fight for the Empire in the mountains and, over time, expanded into a division-strength formation made up of recruits from across Moroz, though most of its recruits still hailed from mountainous regions. The 1st has fought in Fisanduh since the War of Moroz and is, despite its status as the only Imperial Army unit commanded by a Caladius affiliate, regarded as the most senior unit in the Army’s Fisanduhian garrison. Despite House Strelitz’ attempts to place one of their own in command of this division it has always been commanded by a Caladius or Caladius affiliate, much to the infuriation of the Strelitz

The 56th Jadranic Infantry Regiment is, as the name implies, the fifty-sixth regiment mustered from the planet of Novi Jadran. The regiment is one of the most well-equipped and experienced Jadranic regiments and is commonly known as “Glavan’s Own,” due to the close relationship the regiment has with the planet’s ruler. While the enlisted and most officers of the regiment are natives of Novi Jadran its commander has always been a House Strelitz Primary. and the reasons for this are twofold. First: The regiment is widely seen as a prestigious unit to command despite not being Morozian due to the relatively high position Novi Jadran holds as a colony. Second: The residents of Novi Jadran have long held a culture of honoring Primaries, who most view as their natural leaders and betters which have clearly been chosen by the Goddess Herself to rule over them. If the 56th were to be led by a Secondary or Ma’zal from Novi Jadran most in it believe it would anger the Goddess, and upset the natural order of things. Despite being an infantry regiment the 56th is more accurately described as a mechanized unit, and makes heavy use of the iconic JA-32/3 “Lyodcrawler” AFV. The Regiment is currently stationed in Outer Fisanduh, and has acquired a reputation as one of the most effective regiments in the garrison.

The 1st Armored Brigade commonly known as the “Goddess’ Hammer” or simply “Hammerer” Brigade is a formation of the Imperial Alliance which dates to the War of Moroz, though it did not see much action in the War itself due to its consistently mountainous environments. But despite its lack of martial glory outside of limited actions in the flatter environments of Fisanduh the Brigade continued to be extremely well-funded by the Strelitz, who realized the potential benefits armored warfare could bring them in future conquests. The Hammers derives their nickname from their intended purpose: after Ma’zal infantry secure a landing zone the Brigade would be deployed to the area in order to push out and create a gap between the enemy’s position for slower infantry and mechanized infantry regiments to exploit, thus hammering them into submission. One of the main uses of the JA—57/2 breakthrough tank as a result, the Brigade mostly consists of Morozian Secondaries with only a handful of Primaries — often members of House Strelitz — who serve as its regimental command staff and limited number of Ma’zals, who mostly serve as maintenance crews.

The elite 12th Airborne Operations Brigade, affectionately known as “The One-Two Punch,” a portmanteau of its numerical designation, and more formally as the 12th AOB, is the Emperor’s rapidly deployable lightweight scalpel. The 12th AOB is specialized in two combat operations: paradrops from aircraft behind enemy lines and rapid air assaults on key enemy positions with helicopters. A favorite piece of equipment for the 12th AOB is the ZIA-37 “Bat” helicopter gunship, a fearsome machine often deployed during airborne infantry landing and assault operations as a fire support platform alongside lighter-armed transport helicopters. The missions the brigade is tasked with range from scouting actions, to supply route disruptions and sabotage operations behind the opposing front, to precision assaults targeting enemy defenses and leadership. The isolated and cut-off conditions under which the 12th AOB often operates while behind enemy lines have garnered it a cantankerous reputation among other units: the brigade does not take kindly to being ordered around by other formations which have not fought under similar circumstances. Despite having high standards for entry which often disqualify many applicants, the unit is one of the most egalitarian and meritocratic of the Imperial Army. Its formations are composed of servicepeople from all over the Empire and of all classes of Imperial society; its leadership is often promoted from the rank-and-file. Soldiers of the 12th Airborne Operations Brigade are commonly referred to as “Paras” and are easily identifiable from their maroon berets.

A specialized infantry regiment intended to fight in the harshest arctic climates, the Lyodic Rifles are prized by the Imperial Army for their marksmanship and ability to rapidly travel on foot. Recruited entirely from the Lyodii of Moroz, the regiment has acquired something of a reputation for eccentric behavior as most members of it practice borderline-heretical Lyodic Tribunalism which greatly alters the seventh edict’s interpretation.. The Lyodii of the regiment are de facto under the protection of House Strelitz, which shields them from the prying eyes of House Caladius and the myriad Tribunalist staff attached to the Army. The regiment is the only in the Imperial Army to employ priestesses not certified by the Holy Tribunal as its religious staff are instead drawn from Lyodii shamans. Officers of the Lyodic rifles, up to the regimental commander, are exclusively Lyodii as the Army believes they are the best fit for themselves and few House Strelitz nobles wish to be seen as the commander of a regiment of “backwards savages.” The regimental commander, prior to their ascension to command, is required by tradition to travel to the northern pole of Moroz to earn the regiment’s respect. Most officers typically adorn themselves with traditional Lyodic fetishes to mark their rank.

A militia force under the control of the Imperial Army’s garrison in Sun Reach, the Sun Reach Home Guard serves as the first line of defense against dissenters and rural bandits for the outlying settlements and farms of Sun Reach’s Algae Belt. The men and women of the Home Guard are locally recruited from Sun Reach’s rural communities and, unlike many Imperial Frontier regiments, have locally-recruited officers — though they are often under the command (or supervision) of higher-ranking House Strelitz officers. The militia troops of the Guard typically work as algae farmers during their day-to-day lives but are expected to remain at the ready to be called upon to assist the Imperial Army or protect their local community. Small teams of Home Guards are often utilized by larger Imperial Army units as scouts or pathfinders for anti-guerrilla operations on Sun Reach due to their familiarity with the often-swampy local terrain and harsh environment. While typically equipped with dated weaponry and few vehicles aside from locally-produced airboats designed to traverse swampy terrain easily, Home Guard militia troops are known to fight fiercely. They are, after all, fighting to protect their homes. The troops of these militias are, through an agreement between notable mayors and local leaders on Sun Reach and the Imperial Army, not permitted to be deployed off of Sun Reach — a rare right for an Imperial Army unit, and one which speaks to their value as local scouts.

The 16th Unathi Regiment, also known as “The Suicide Scales” is one of the most infamous Unathi Regiments of Dominia, both to the people of the Empire and its foes. Created in 2459, the 16th, like any Unathi Regiment, relies mainly on a small but highly competent infantry force. Often used as either a particularly resilient defense force, or for dangerous assaults, the 16th is, in the hands of a good leader, a powerful asset. It is also, to the dismay of their mostly Han’san men, under the leadership of a Strelitz Colonel, like nearly all Unathi Regiments. The very first Colonel leading the 16th Unathi Regiment was prone to send his men into excessively dangerous missions with little if any care for their survival. With Unathi complaints met by more Strelitz men, it took two years for the 16th leadership to be properly replaced, only by then the regiment had earned a reputation for being regularly sent on suicide missions, thus earning the nickname of “Suicide Scales”. Even under newer leadership, the 16th is generally the regiment chosen for the most hazardous of missions thanks to their experience. Though usually not as excessively high as they used to be under the leadership of their first Colonel, casualties are often higher than in most other Dominian Regiments, Unathi or otherwise, yet this rarely if ever, is enough to prevent these sinta to achieve victory. Human Army officers assigned to the 16th are known to subject it to brutal standards of discipline which they cite as necessary to ensure it will perform to the highest standards of the Army during its dangerous assaults.

Notable Imperial Army Equipment

The Jinxiang Armaments Year of 2432, Third Revision, “Lyodcrawler” armored fighting vehicle (JA-32/3) is one of the most commonly used armored vehicles in the modern Imperial Army. Designed to transport a squad of infantry in safety, if not comfort, the Lyodcrawler’s name comes from its most prominent feature: a set of large treads originally designed to allow it to move across the snowy Lyod with ease. These treads, when combined with its heavy armor and twin-linked autocannon, require a powerful engine to move, and the Lyodcrawler is easily recognizable due to how incredibly loud it is while in operation as a result of this engine. The JA-32/3 AFV is capable of being easily modified and many Imperial Army units have their own variations of it, such as the 56th Jadranic Infantry’s JA-32F (Fisanduh) which further armors the bottom and sides of the vehicle to prevent damage from mines and improvised explosives — two of the largest threats while on patrol in Fisanduh. The crews of these loud and typically infantry-supporting AFVs are generally Ma’zals, and few find the prestige their Secondary counterparts do in the JA-57/2 breakthrough tank.

Though much of the Imperial Army’s equipment seems to be deliberately bombastic and often overdesigned — perhaps a result of competition between Houses Zhao and Strelitz — the humble 7.5cm Imperial Army Mountain Gun (75mm IAMG) is anything but bombastic. Designed during the War of Moroz to meet the specifications of the 1st Mountain Division, the IAMG is a lightweight artillery piece which is designed to be broken into multiple parts and hauled by teams of trained yupangyangwangmi to wherever it is needed. Advances in artillery since the War of Moroz have rendered the IAMG largely obsolete compared to the long-ranged, and often mechanized or motorized, howitzers now used by the Imperial Army, but some units — such as the Lyodic Rifles — retain a limited number due to the gun’s mobility and firepower.

The Jinxiang Armaments Year of 2457, Second Revision breakthrough tank (JA-57/2) is one of the cornerstones of modern Imperial Army doctrine. Heavily armored and capable of carrying a variety of different armaments, the JA-57/2 is designed to smash through enemy lines and create a gap which can be exploited by the Ma’zal infantry of the Imperial Army. Service in a JA-57/2 is considered to be a prestigious position and many rank commanders find themselves ennobled for their deeds, which has led to the crews of this vehicle being overwhelmingly Secondaries. While not quite equivalent to the Solarian Army’s venerable M35A6 the JA-57/2 is easily capable of outmaneuvering and destroying any Elyran or Coalition vehicle unlucky to come across it. Of particular note is the experimental “Obliterator,” pattern of the JA-57/2. Intended to eliminate even the heaviest enemy vehicles, the Obliterator has a unique main armament: two standard JA-57/2 cannons bolted together. Immense recoil means the Obliterator is often physically thrown backwards by shooting, but very few targets require more than one shot of its main guns to destroy.

Intended primarily for urban operations and funded in part by the Moroz Holy Tribunal via House Caladius, the Jinxiang Armaments, Year of 2418, Third Revision, (JA-18/3) heavy-duty combat exosuit is a weapon hated by the Imperial Army and feared by its enemies. Hot, cramped, uncomfortable, and — even worse — armed with thermite weaponry which demands the presence of highly-combustible fuel tanks on the exosuit’s rear, the one saving grace of the JA-18/3, or “Gremlin” as it is commonly sarcastically known, is the ejector seat built into it which allows for the safe escape of its operator in an emergency. Bizarrely, many models of the JA-18/3 have the Edicts written onto their chassis in various locations due to demands by the more conservative wing of House Caladius. Gremlin pilots in the Army are typically disgraced Primaries seeking redemption and glory through combat, and few Ma’zals or Secondaries volunteer for the duty. These pilots are never drafted into the role and must always volunteer for it. If there are no volunteers, the machines simply sit unused.

A rifle seemingly from another era, the Moroz Pattern Marksman’s Rifle, Year of 2408, Second Revision (MPMR-08/2), is an incredibly precisely-machined sharpshooting rifle based upon hunting rifles in fashion with the Empire’s Primaries intended for use by specialist units. The MPMR-08/02 uses a mechanism rarely seen anywhere in the armies of the Spur outside of Adhomai: a straight-pull bolt which must be worked after every shot by a trained shooter. Despite, or perhaps due to, this grossly antiquated mechanism the rifle’s stress-machined parts and high quality demanded — with ninety of every hundred barrels rejected — have given it a peerless reputation for accuracy and precision. In the hands of a trained sniper, such as a member of the Lyodic Rifles, the 08 is capable of drilling a hole through a coin at a kilometer. It is, despite the concerns of House Strelitz, one of the few Imperial Army weapons readily exported beyond Dominian borders, and many competition shooters swear by it.

The Sinta of the Imperial Army, may they be in the many Unathi Regiments, or part of the few that can be found in the Group, all can use most of the standard imperial equipment without much issue despite their size and clawed hands, even if it’s not rare to see them make minor modifications to their gear. The Moroz Pattern “Whipcrack” Direct-Fire Grenade Launcher, Year of 2455, Second Revision (MPDGL-55/2) was however designed with Unathi use in mind. Although the project started out as purely morozi, it did not get the funds it required until Kasz Han’san, Chief Minister of Unathi affairs lobbied for its production. The Whipcrack (named after its signature firing sound) is a semi-automatic grenade launcher, though the grenades it fires are substantially smaller than most other launchers’, allowing the weapon to fire them further and with surprising accuracy, to the point where some would rather refer to the weapon as a canon rather than an actual grenade launcher. The numerous choices of rounds allow the Whipcrack to fill a variety of roles, from suppressive fire to anti-armor functions, utility roles, anti-personnel (through the use of infamous “grenaille” rounds), EMP, and more. Designed to fit the mainly infantry-based Unathi Regiments and their shock-and-awe doctrine, the Whipcrack can still be used by Humans without issues and has proved particularly popular in some of the Group’s squads thanks to its simplicity and reliability.

His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet

Soit Gagner Soit Mourir
“The duty of the enlisted voidsman is to serve and obey. The task of the officer is to render their service effective,” — Common Imperial Fleet saying. Year of origin unknown.
The white-and-grey standard of House Zhao, the great house that dominates the Imperial Fleet.

While the junior of the Imperial Army in terms of age — being founded in the final years of the War of Moroz — His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet (often shortened to “HIMF,” or simply the “Imperial Fleet,”) is no less important, with many arguing that it is far more important to Dominia’s imperial ambitions than its planetbound counterpart. Vast funds and countless factories are devoted to the purpose of ensuring that the Imperial Fleet is strong enough to counter any threats to the Empire; whether they be pirates, unathi savages, frontiersmen, or Elyrans — the main regional rival of the Empire. Much of the Imperial Fleet’s equipment is produced by Zavodskoi Interstellar in collaboration with House Zhao and House Caladius: the Zhaos provide the industry and many of the crews, while the Caladius provide the funding required. While the traditionally more liberal House Zhao is the unquestioned master of the Imperial Fleet, the Fleet itself is a more conservative organization that is steeped in traditions and shaped by its sense of unwavering duty towards the Emperor. Many naval officers in the Fleet belong to often-exclusive officer’s societies that exclude most Ma’zals on principal, and officers outside these societies can find their promotions denied or otherwise stymied. Imperial Fleet vessels can be identified by the prefix HIMFS (His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet Ship).

While it is smaller than many of its human counterparts — having only 15 fleets with mere hundreds of ships in each — the Imperial Fleet is perhaps the most experienced of the Orion Spur’s human fleets, having fought a variety of pitched battles and border skirmishes in the course of the Empire’s steady outwards expansion over the course of the last century. The experience gained during the course of these conquests has shaped the Fleet’s doctrine of “decisive battle,” in which the entire Dominian force moves as one in a massive show of force in an attempt to make the planet capitulate without serious resistance. Many frontier worlds, which often only have a paltry sum of combat-ready vessels, have surrendered upon witnessing the fully assembled strength of an Imperial fleet.

The pride of the Empire’s fleets is the HIMFS Moroz, the current flagship of Grand Admiral Huiling Zhao, the master of the Imperial Fleet, and the command vessel of the Empire’s First Fleet. Originally launched in 2445 and recently modernized in collaboration with Zavodskoi Interstellar in 2464, the Moroz is regarded as a symbol of national pride, and has never been bested upon the field of combat. To serve aboard it in any function – even at the lowest level – is to bring immense pride to one’s family name, and thousands of hopeful naval personnel apply to serve on the vessel every year. Though it primarily relies upon tried-and-true Helium-3 engines, the Moroz is one of the few ships in the Imperial Fleet capable of bluespace jumps. In theory, should the Emperor desire to visit the Republic of Biesel, he would be borne to it on the Imperial Fleet’s flagship.

While the Imperial Army is prone to the occasional non-Jadranic Ma’zal officer out of sheer necessity, the Imperial Fleet is not the same. To be a naval officer is a great honor for many, and it is a right reserved for a select few: Primaries, Secondaries, and notable Novi Jadranic Ma’zals, which the Imperial Fleet views as “honorary Morozians,” for all practical intents and purposes. The highest ranks of the fleet are dominated by the Empire’s nobility, and none come from outside of House Zhao. Unathi in particular are looked down upon in the Imperial Fleet and rarely rise above the lowest ranks, with many believing that House Zhao’s intense distaste for their piratical backgrounds is the reason behind this. Those unathi that do opt to fight for the Empire in the vast reaches of the Orion Spur often avoid the Imperial Fleet entirely, instead opting to serve as privateers. These privateers, which are often crewed exclusively by unathi, are often viewed in a poor light by House Zhao and the Fleet.

When compared to its major regional rivals, the Elyran Navy and Coalition of Colonies, the Imperial Fleet is better-drilled and more experienced, but lags behind major Coalition planets in terms of technology and increasingly finds its engines dated compared to the Elyran Navy. Imperial Fleet vessels rely on large-scale ballistic armaments and tend to be large and heavily-armored in order to have more space for well-protected gun turrets. Fleet crews are constantly drilled in order to achieve the best accuracy possible, and little attention is paid to strategies such as ramming in order to board. Dominian vessels are generally slower than their Elyran counterparts as they use Helium-3 powered warp engines rather than phoron-based bluespace drives.

The Imperial Admiralty has become increasingly alarmed by their lack of phoron-based drives as the Elyran economy has recovered from the Phoron Crisis and its military modernization has continued. The closing months of the Solarian Civil War have shown Dominia’s Admiralty that its engines may be more dated than expected, as the Hammer Drive-equipped Solarian 1st Battlegroup resoundingly defeated the Solarian Restoration Front’s vessels, which were mostly equipped with earlier-generation warp drives. The Fleet is divided in how to approach this issue: some favor equipping more vessels with imported bluespace drives, others wish to bring in Solarian technology to improve existing drives, and others wish to import Hammer Drives for Fleet use.

An Imperial Fleet capital ship of enough importance, or renown, is assigned a complement of Imperial Marines for the purpose of repelling boarding parties or any boarding missions the ship itself may have to carry out. Clad in white-and-red prejoroub and Jinxiang-pattern suits, these well-trained infantry are primarily recruited from non-geneboosted Primaries and Secondaries. To have a child serve in the Imperial Marines is a badge of honor for many families, due to the prestige of the Fleet and the Imperial Marines’ reputation for bravery. Once Imperial Marines leave the Fleet they are often sought by both Zavodskoi Interstellar and Dominia’s various noble houses and families to serve as guards, retainers, and duelists-by-proxy. To employ a former Imperial Marine is often enough to give even the most dull Caladius bureaucrat a modicum of flair and prestige, even if retaining such services may force them into fiscal ruin in the long term.

Non-capital ships, and many capital ships unable to fully staff their Imperial Marine contingent, are instead given larger, though less well-equipped, compliments of Imperial Fleet armsmen. Typically clad in armor similar to their Imperial Army counterparts or in typical Fleet voidsuits given additional armor, Fleet armsmen are enlisted Ma’zals which are generally recruited from the Imperial Army with the promise of higher pay or chosen from more experienced enlisted Fleet personnel. The armsmen of the Fleet are respected by their fellow voidsmen but are not nearly as famous as their marine counterparts despite performing roughly the same duties. They are additionally, unlike their marine counterparts, fully expected to carry out the duties of regular crew if necessary. Despite their lesser prestige, armsmen are known to often have rivalries with Imperial Marines assigned to vessels in their battlefleet due to believing, perhaps rightfully, that armsmen do far more work than their noble counterparts.

Armsmen are often regarded as highly superstitious and ritualistic even by the standards of the Fleet, and many have religiously-inclined pre-boarding rituals they engage in. One of the most common rituals employed by armsmen prior to boarding is to hold a mass prayer session of the entire unit in the ship’s chapel where the first bullet to be shot by each armsman is immersed in holy water and blessed by the ship’s priestess. In some circumstances these ceremonial blessings have been known to also involve blades, grenades, and other martial equipment. Carrying icons of the Goddess or writing prayers to Her on one’s armor is similarly common.

Unlike its planetary counterpart, the living standards of the Imperial Fleet are very much divided along lines of social class and rank. Enlisted personnel live in tight, cramped quarters designed to use space as efficiently as possible while their officer counterparts – which are generally nobles – live in comfortable (and for some, opulent) chambers that are most often private, or at least only contain one to two other persons in the case of junior officers. The Ma’zals of the Imperial Fleet often chafe under these conditions, and as a result the Fleet has a smaller amount of “careerist” enlisted (those that have decided to live their life in service of the Imperial military) than the Imperial Army. Despite the clear class divisions in the Imperial Fleet many Ma’zals still opt to serve in it, as a naval career – and the skills learned in it – can provide immense material benefits for a Ma’zal family.

Notable Fleet Forces and Equipment

The best of the best of the Imperial Fleet the 1st Battlefleet, commonly known as the Zhurong Guard, is commanded by Grand Admiral Huiling Zhao herself from the dreadnought Moroz. It is the oldest and most venerable of the Empire’s fifteen battlefleets and is responsible for patrolling the region of the Sparring Sea and Badlands between the Empire of Dominia and Republic of Elyra. The Zhurong Guard is descended from the cobbled-together flotilla which dropped commandos into Fisanduh and ended the War of Moroz and its flagship has always featured the flag Helga Kesselring, the last Prime Minister of the Confederated States of Fisanduh, wrapped herself in before shooting herself upon its bridge as a war prize. Sailors of the Zhurong Guard have a reputation for both being excellent and egotistical as they are both the oldest battlefleet and, as the Grand Admiral commands them, by default the unit in charge of any operations they participate in. Recently the Zhruong Guard have escalated their number of patrols in the Badlands. Most believe this is an effort to intimidate the Republic of Elyra, which has recently experienced internal unrest and has long been the regional rival of the Empire.

Perhaps the most venerable unit of the entire military is a Strelitz-commanded Fleet unit known as the Royal Morozian Orbital Assault Regiment. The Royal Morozian is one of only two units to near the “Royal” prefix and can trace its lineage to the orbital assault units which defeated the Confederated States of Fisanduh during the final phase of the War of Moroz. Like its Army counterpart much of the Royal Morozian’s strength is drawn from Moroz itself and it has one of the highest percentages of geneboosted soldiers in the entire military. Officers of the Royal Morozian are rarely from House Zhao despite its dominance of the Imperial Fleet and instead generally come from House Strelitz, which has long regarded the regiment as a source of prestige. Young nobles who have been geneboosted are often sent to serve in the Royal Morozian in order to prove their valour and the honour of their house. The elite status of the Royal Morozian and it’s mostly-Primary makeup has given it a reputation as something of an egotistical regiment amongst much of the Royal Army, and its soldiers are infamously known to consistently refuse commands given to them by any non-Primary officer regardless of their rank.

Pride of the Zhurong Imperial Naval Arsenal, the ZA-32/2 (Zhurong Armaments Year of 2432, Second Revision) 608mm Naval Gun, commonly known as the Thunderer, is the standard naval gun used by most capital ships of the Imperial Fleet. The Thunderer is the peak of the Fleet’s gunnery doctrine and is easily capable of demolishing most non-capital vessels in a singular volley due to the sheer size of the projectile alone. Its 608mm shell is the largest used by any naval force in the modern Spur and requires a large turret to house both its breach and the mechanical system used to reload the heavy shells. In a pinch the Thunderer can be reloaded by a team of Fleet ratings in hardsuits but this is inadvisable as it quickly tires personnel and does not reach the firing rate of the Thunderer’s mechanical loading system. The sheer size of the gun and its ammunition creates a significant amount of recoil which makes it impractical to use on vessels smaller than battleships, though some Fleet cruisers make use of the design. The second revision of the ZA-32 is found on newer Fleet vessels such as the Moroz-class and features an improved loading mechanism designed in part by Zavodskoi Interstellar.

Imperial Fleet Ship Classes

The feared dreadnoughts of His Majesty’s Fleet may have the name of the venerable Solarian Navy ship designation, but do not have anywhere near the firepower of it. Roughly equivalent to Solarian battleships, the Fleet’s two dreadnoughts, both Moroz-class vessels, are some of the most heavily-armed and heavily-armored ships outside of the Solarian Navy and hold a pivotal role in the Fleet’s doctrine of “decisive battle.” As Fleet strategy revolves around forcing an engagement and defeating the Elyran Navy in a single decisive blow, Imperial dreadnoughts are rarely deployed to the Fleet’s conquests of frontier systems due to simply being overkill. Command of these vessels is reserved for high ranking members of House Zhao such as Grand Admiral Huiling Zhao herself, who proudly commands the Moroz. The second Moroz-class, the Emperor Godwin, is commanded by Huiling’s immediate subordinate: Vice Grand Admiral Xiuling Zhao, her twin sister — and only sibling.

Imperial battleships are the main ship-of-the-line for His Majesty’s Fleet, and are roughly equivalent to a Solarian fast battleship or up-gunned heavy cruiser. While slower and less effective than their Solarian counterparts, Imperial battleships, such as vessels of the Conquest-class, possess a truly staggering amount of armor and firepower by frontier standards and are easily capable of crippling or outright destroying the disorganized frontier naval forces they typically encounter. Though typically armed exclusively with ballistic weapons per Fleet doctrine, a limited number of “Elyran Killers,” have been retrofitted with primarily energy armaments in collaboration with Zavodskoi Interstellar. Command of a battleship is a prestigious duty which is only reserved for full members of House Zhao.

Unlike their Solarian counterparts Imperial carriers are not designed to be such from the start and are instead mostly repurposed battleship or cruiser hulls given the necessary systems to support large numbers of smaller craft. While more heavily armored than any other human nation’s carrier craft, their repurposed nature has led to the Fleet’s carriers holding a smaller number of spacecraft than their counterparts. Their roots as battleship and cruiser hulls gives Imperial carriers a potentially nasty surprise for any opposing fleet: many are armed with the Fleet’s standard 608mm “Thunderer” main guns and are fully capable of smashing smaller ships into wreckage with them. Carriers are the largest class of vessel commanded by non-Zhaos, but their captains are universally members of the nobility as, in the eyes of the Fleet, it would simply be insanity to assume a commoner had the ability to command one.

Imperial cruisers serve much the same role as their larger Solarian counterparts and are most commonly seen as escorts for larger battleships. Most Dominian cruisers sit between Solarian heavy and light cruiser designations, and are easily capable of handling most ships the Fleet engages as part of its typical conquests. As is typical Dominian naval doctrine the Fleet’s cruisers are extensively armed with ballistics, though some have been armed with energy weapons via cooperation with Zavodskoi Interstellar, in order to crush opposition though sheer weight of fire. Some are even armed with battleship-level 608mm guns, and are typically also equipped with maneuvering jets to ensure the vessel remains in place while firing its oversized armament. Cruisers are the largest class of ships a Secondary can readily hope to command, even if most are commanded by non-Zhao Primaries.

Imperial destroyers serve in many roles in the Fleet. Pocket ships, assault vessels, and convoy escorts among others, they are typically commanded by Secondaries — and rarely by Ma’zals — due not having the prestige of their larger counterparts. The Fleet counts frigate-sized vessels under the destroyer category due to a reason lost to the depths of bureaucracy, which has led to this class being the most numerous aside from corvettes. Like their larger counterparts, Dominian destroyers are outperformed by their Solarian counterparts but can easily hold their own against almost any ship found on the frontier, and are capable of pushing well above their weight due to their heavy armor and judicious use of ballistic weaponry.

Imperial corvettes are the smallest of the Fleet’s ship categories and the only one commanded primarily by Ma’zals. Small, fast, and surprisingly well-armed for their size, Dominian corvettes are perhaps the only Imperial ship category in which the Fleet outperforms the Solarian Navy: pound for pound in a theoretical engagement, the heavier armor and armament of Dominian corvette ensures it will win most of the time. Corvette captains are often selected from the best and most trustworthy Ma’zals, such as the residents of Novi Jadran, who are expected to keep their fellows in line — through force if need be. Corvettes are often the first Dominian vessels encountered by systems marked for annexation as they are sent ahead of the main battlefleet to endure safe points of entry to the system.

The Imperial Flying Corps

Nous Protégeons et Vengeons
“Oh, Dorothea-Frieda, don’t be absurd! A Ma’zal simply lacks the drive to be a pilot! They may be suitable for your Army, yes. But for we, the Empire’s mighty knights of the sky? Never!” - Annaliese Strelitz (2423 - ), Chief Commissioner of Imperial Aviation, at an Imperial Cabinet meeting in 2463.

For as long as mankind has walked, he has dreamt of flight. Though not the youngest of the Imperial Military’s branches, the Imperial Flying Corps (often called the “IFC,” or simply “Flying Corps,”) it is by far the smallest, having only a fraction of the personnel that the Imperial Army and Imperial Fleet have under arms. Yet despite this small size it exerts a significant amount of influence due to who tends to join the IFC’s ranks of pilot officers: unlike any other branch in the Imperial Military the IFC’s combat troops are often drawn from the Empire’s nobility, with less prestigious positions (such as ground crews and bomber crews) made up of Secondaries and Ma’zals. To be a fighter pilot — the most prestigious position in the IFC — means that one is, in almost every scenario, also a Primary. As a result of how many nobles fill its officer ranks, no single great house dominates the IFC. As with its naval counterpart many officer pilots in the IFC belong to exclusive societies that exclude Ma’zals on principle, with some of these societies excluding Secondaries as well.

The Imperial Flying Corps is seconded to both the Imperial Army and His Imperial Majesty’s Fleet, and provides the both with the majority of their fighter, bomber, and support aircraft. This has led to an often-awkward relationship between the IFC and its attached branch, as many officers in the Fleet and Army come from non-noble backgrounds and, in the eyes of noble-born IFC pilots, are socially inferior to their IFC counterparts. Attempts to integrate the IFC into either the Imperial Army or Fleet instead of having this dual structure have consistently failed due to the Corps’ influence, which stretches up to the Emperor’s throne via the Chief Commissioner for Imperial Aviation, Annaliese Strelitz.

To be a pilot of the IFC means many things depending upon what aircraft one is placed in charge of, or what air wing one is assigned to serve in. The fighter wings of the Flying Corps are the most prestigious of the entire force; viewed as knights of the skies, the stereotypical Dominian fighter pilot is a (non-geneboosted) Primary capable of taking down any threat to the Empire, whether in the void of space or the skies above Fisanduh or Sun Reach, before retiring to the polite society of their officer’s clubs. In reality, a significant minority of non-noble fighter pilots — primarily Secondaries with the occasional Ma’zal — also serve as IFC fighter pilots, and are often passed up for opportunities in favor of their noble counterparts.

For pilots not in the Corps’ fighter wings life is much less glamorous. Bomber crews — which log more flight hours than any other category in the IFC — do much of the work of supporting the Imperial Army’s offensives and counter-insurgency operations, and gain none of the prestige of their fighter-flying noble counterparts. Those that crew the IFC’s supersonic bombers are, as a result of this lack of prestige, a mix of Secondaries and Ma’zals. These men and women are beloved by the Imperial Army and often hated by the residents of recently-occupied planets, which view them as the source of many of their woes. Those that fly ground attack craft, the most dangerous duty in the Flying Corps, are almost always Ma’zals, and suffer from much of the same issues as their bomber counterparts.

The ground crews of the IFC and those in it that fly what the Corps broadly calls “utility” craft — transport planes and such — are almost always Ma’zals. In the highly-stratified Flying Corps, itself a microcosm of the Empire’s broader society, the Ma’zal works for the Primary’s benefit. Behind every Primary sitting in his cockpit, ready to bring home prestige and accolades to his family, there is a team of Ma’zals: they load the missiles, fuel the fighters, and a dozen other things. But they receive none of the credit, none of the prestige, and none of the attention. Thus goes the nature of the Empire of Dominia, and thus shall it always continue unless the Goddess Herself intervenes.

As one might expect, the living standards of the Imperial Flying Corps are starkly divided along lines of class and rank. The Primaries that serve in it live luxurious, glamorous lives and have many amenities, with most Primaries of the IFC having their own chauffeurs and housing themselves in the finest available accommodations. On the other hand the Secondaries and Ma’zals of the IFC must make do with barracks – often in muddy environments, due to the amounts of earth that must be moved to create an effective airfield – or simple canvas tents. Few Ma’zals, or Secondaries, opt to make a career out of service in the Flying Corps, with many instead transferring out to the Imperial Army or Imperial Fleet. The Flying Corps has, thus far, not cared to address this issue, as many of its high-ranking officers simply view non-nobility as entirely beneath notice.

Notable Flying Corps Formations

The largest IFC bomber command by far is Imperial Strategic Bomber Command — Fisanduhian Province (ISBC-FP). Despite, or perhaps due to, its lengthy official title ISBC-FP is more commonly known as the “Bombs Away Barony,” due to its propensity for bombing runs and the high number of Primaries in its upper ranks. Based out of Strelitz’s Rest and equipped with the feared ZIA-18 “Vampire” strategic bomber and a significant helicopter fleet which has become vital for supply in the mountainous region, the Barony is one of the Empire’s main instruments of strategic suppression in the rebellious province. Primaries assigned to the Barony are, due to the greater prestige of fighter piloting, often from non-great houses. Despite this they are responsible for a stunningly important duty, and many minor noble families strive to have a relative assigned to it. The Secondaries and Ma’zals who serve under them, and do the real work, fly more missions than any other IFC unit in the Spur and are often regarded as elite within the IFC. Yet despite this elite status they are not nobles, and are often held back from higher ranks simply due to their lack of titles and blue blood.

Though smaller and less prestigious than its Morozian counterpart Imperial Strategic Bomber Command – Viceroyality of Sun Reach (ISBC-VSR, sometimes known as SBC-SR) has served a vital role in ongoing Imperial efforts to control the planet, and its He3 reserves, since its conquest in 2422. ISBC-VSR is, unlike its counterpart in Fisanduh, less dominated by Primaries and more dominated by Secondaries who hope to become Primaries through ennobling. Thanks to the strategic importance of Sun Reach’s Helium-3 reserves the staff of ISBC-VSR fly a much wider variety of missions than their Fisansuhian counterparts, and their airfields are round-the-clock hubs of activity on the planet. Helicopter sorties, which are vital in resupplying scattered Imperial Army bases, are commonly seen departing from its fields. The staff of ISBC-VSR, due to primarily being non-Primaries, are often looked down upon by their Barony counterparts, but are treasured by the Imperial Army units responsible for ensuring Imperial control of the planet.

Situated in the frozen taiga of the Southern Lyod far from prying eyes is the Imperial Missile Research Institute (IMRI), a secretive facility affiliated with the IFC and guarded by the Imperial Army. Little is known regarding the internal workings of the facility as the surrounding area is heavily restricted, but it is known to be mostly the domain of House Zhao and the military Count in charge of the IMRI has historically been a Zhao themselves or a house affiliate. The missiles designed here are tested by being shot into the polar Lyod, which the IMRI stands next to, despite protestations of the Lyodii. Successful producers of the IMRI are used across the Empire and feature prominently in both the IFC and the Imperial Fleet.

Notable Flying Corps Equipment

The Zhurong Imperial Aeronautics Year of 2418 (ZIA-18) “Vampire” strategic bomber is the main bomber aircraft of the Imperial Flying Corps. Carrying a massive bomb load and equipped with six engines which allow for it to reach sub-orbital heights, the distinctive “flying wing” design of the Vampire gives it both its name and its exceptional flight characteristics. While able to fly high enough to avoid almost all air defenses and capable of carrying enough bombs to flatten a city, the Vampire requires a significant amount of infrastructure which renders its use only truly viable after the Imperial Army has carved out a foothold on a planet the Empire has decided to annex. These massive aircraft are a common sight in the IFC’s bases in Outer Fisanduh, and are commonly used to strike suspected 3F garrisons or armaments factories — often through the use of extremely destructive munitions. Vampire are often commanded by Secondaries and crewed by Ma’zals, as few Primaries see potential glory in the grim role of strategic bombardments.

The Zhurong Imperial Armaments Year of 2432, second revision (ZIA-32/2) “Carmilla” air superiority fighter is the near polar opposite of the Vampire. A small, fast, and agile craft designed to operate at any altitude within atmosphere, the Carmilla’s second revision marks the current peak of Zhao fighter design. Armed with missiles capable of striking its targets from beyond the horizon and a cannon capable of shredding opposing aircraft in seconds, it is no wonder the noble pilots of the IFC fight fiercely over the posterchild aircraft of the Corps. Its small size does prevent geneboosted individuals from effectively crewing it, which perfectly suits most IFC pilots — many of whom come from house branches eager to prove themselves in the glories of aerial combat. Carmillas used by Secondaries are often first-revision models redesigned for ground support operations, a role that the ZIA-32/1 has proven itself to be competent — if not exceptional — at. The Carmilla’s unusual name is rumored to have been hand-picked by the now-deceased Victoria Caladius, one of its primary funders.

While nobles and Morozian commoners bicker over fighters the Ma’zals of the IFC must make do with what they are offered. Most lucky enough to be assigned to combat operations rather than ground crew or logistics work find themselves behind the stick of the Zhurong Imperial Armaments Year of 2437 (ZIA-37) “Bat” heavy attack helicopter. Primarily designed to support Imperial Army units, the Bat trades the elegance of the Carmilla and the altitude capabilities of the Vampire for two things: extremely thick armor and a prestigious amount of firepower. Typically embedded with, and beloved by, Imperial Army units, the Bat requires a very limited amount of logistics compared to the ZIA-32/1 or Vampire and can be outfitted for a wide variety of combat roles. It can even be fitted for troop transport, though many frontline Bat pilots will fiercely resist stripping armaments in order to transport Imperial troops, and to be selected for troops transport by the Bat squadron commander — often themselves a Ma’zal — is seen as a major sign of disrespect and can even lead to a duel, particularly if the Bat‘s crew was not consulted — and compensated — prior to the orders being given.