The High Imperium
Founded by Admiral Telanae Vos in 3412 after the disastrous battle of Berenath, the High Imperium (still occasionally referred to by its political opponents as the "Imperium in Exile") is a modestly sized empire that covers some 1500 light years. However, due to its positioning in the star-dense Gryffith Nebula, the Imperium contains many more worlds than might otherwise be expected.
Since its foundation, the heads of House Vos have ruled the Imperium with an iron fist, occasionally deigning to share power with the other noble families that fled with Admiral Telanae almost 2,000 years ago. The current head of state (otherwise known as the First Voice) is Elandra Vos, also the current Head of House. Much like her predecessors, Vos holds strong imperialistic views and has high hopes for pushing the borders of the Imperium out of the Nebula entirely and eventually returning to what used to be Imperium-held space to dominate the fallen worlds of her ancestor's foes.
These hopes are founded on the Celestial Mechanics shipyard facility, located in the capital system of Taros, and guarded by (and producing) some of the most fearsome warships in the spiral arm. Established by Dougan Enarius in 4769 as a military research and design facility, government budget cuts in 4813 led to the facility being sold to Enarius, who promptly remodeled some of the fabricator engines and offered a deal to House Vos. After more than 50 years of productive customer service, the military put forward a permanent contract for the shipyard, allowing it to expand and become the backbone of the Imperium's military production machine.
While the office of First Voice has fleetingly passed from House Vos on the rare occasion, what has never changed has been to the overall attitude of the office holders to the alien and strange: Violence. Anything that does not fit the norm of baseline humanity has been met with fear, disgust, revulsion, and eventually, guns. The Quorum holds fast to the cause of human purity that House Vos rebelled for all those years ago. Only Humanity is fit to inherit the stars, and all pretenders, aliens, and freaks will be broken by their railguns.
Basic Governmental Structure
The High Imperium calls itself an aristocratic republic, but would better be described as a larger-than-average oligarchy. The noble Houses that fled with Admiral Telanae (and the Houses established over the intervening period) make up the vast majority of the body politic, with a relatively small area of the seats in the Senate being given over to Tribunes elected by the common vote. The rest of the seats in the Senate and most of the major positions in the government are held by nobles appointed by their peers from the various Houses that jockey for power.
The Houses that rule the Imperium fluctuate in how many members they have and the overall number of Houses, but the total is usually kept steady somewhere around forty. If a large number of noble families die out for some reason, such as plague, war, or simple attrition, then a number of larger-sized commoner families are raised up to fill the gaps in the ranks.
Society and Economics
The Imperium boasts a surprisingly high standard of living for its citizens when juxtaposed against its autocratic government. Healthcare and retirement are both state-funded, with a minimum living allowance provided to everyone. Propaganda is rampant throughout all Imperium-held systems, with large percentages of the population supporting the views expressed by the government instead of simply being oppressed and used peasantry.
The economy is backed by the given value of a “byte” of data, used because the precious metals used by many other governments are all strictly regulated by the government for construction purposes. This has made the Imperial economy very robust over the long term of several centuries, but it does struggle quite heavily at times to compete with other markets.
An unfortunate fact of living in the Imperium is that you’ll find this everywhere. The Imperium is extraordinarily xenophobic and this is indeed a founding principle. The Imperials pride themselves, however, that their fear and paranoia is directed towards those more deserving of it rather than the rest of humanity. Instead of discriminating on the basis of skin color, origin, or religion or some such absurd ideological point, the Imperium takes issue with those who tamper with the sanctity of the human genome beyond basic enhancement and with the truly alien species, rare as they are.
Military - General
The Imperial military holds the right the enact mass genetic conscription of its citizens at any point. This refers to the true strength behind the Imperial war machine when it’s mobilized: Cloning. The use of cheap and reliable cloning allows the Imperium to field large amounts of manpower without undue strain on the populace.
However, this advantage on the ground doesn’t apply to space. Imperial warships require a human mind for the core computer network to grow around, and clones are useless for this purpose. Therefore, the growth of the Imperial fleet is somewhat limited when it comes to ships of cruiser weight and over.
The largest and the most devastating Imperial dreadnoughts are, for the most part, automated, with incorporated human minds operating wireless power plants and maneuvering to fight and such. For manipulation of large groups of automated fighters, an AI unit comprising a gestalt of fifty or more individuals is used as a mothership and control center.
Military - Specific Tactics
The Imperium has several strategies for special situations, most of this applying when a particular world or system has been brought under siege by Imperial forces.
The first step is a sphere of FTL Interdictors, deployed no less than five light-minutes from the target. These are relatively fragile and are only deployed after any picket forces have been overwhelmed, but they are typically deployed in their hundred and even as few as fifteen or twenty is enough to maintain a weak interdict field. Within the defined volume of space, FTL speeds are reduced to barely better than sublight, and many models of FTL drive will flat-out refuse to engage.
The second step is a fighter swarm, where automated fighters pour into to local airspace, and begin their assault, clearing the way for an attack by the capital ships.
The final step, if feasible/required, is planetary bombardment. This entails clearing of the target’s orbital area of any friendly units, while a massive railgun maneuvers into firing position. Bombardment then ensues until the order is given to halt.
The Imperium’s first steps on the road to breaking out of the technological stalemate that many of its neighbors are still trapped in came when one of its leading theoreticians made crucial observations about the way common FTL drives warped realspace on their way up to the higher dimensions that allow for galaxy-spanning empires. These groundbreaking observations and the equations that came from them allowed Imperial R&D facilities to construct new and sometimes frightening devices. These days, the Imperium utilizes many different forms of space warping technology and relies on it as their ace in the hole against any and all foes. For when reality itself can be rewritten to your whims, who can stand against you and hope to prevail?
The High Imperium is a member of the Stellar Assembly
Thrawn's Infinite Empire - Neutral/Strained
The New Hegemony - Neutral
The Unity - Neutral