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Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future
The Third Imperium is governed through a vast and complex bureaucracy, answerable to the Emperor through several layers of representatives - Systems to Subsectors to Sectors to Domains to the Imperium itself. But, sometimes situations arise that can only be satisfactorily resolved by the direct intervention of the Emperor. Given the vast extent of the Imperium (and the travel times involved) - and that the Emperor is just one very busy individual - this can be a problem.
One solution is the use of Imperial Warrants. As detailed under Imperial Edict 97.
Rather than the Emperor personally dealing with a situation (usually urgent), he delegates authority (via a Warrant) to someone (usually a Noble deemed suitable) to act in his stead (resolve the situation). It is widely believed that the bearer of an Imperial Warrant has the power to supplant or overrule any authority short of the Emperor.
Strictly speaking, this is true. All laws and decrees pertaining to Imperial Warrants amount to the rightful bearer being second only to the Emperor, and having to be obeyed as such. However, most Imperial Warrants have definite limits in duration, scope, and authority.
Some examples follow:
#A top-level investigation into alleged Scout Service corruption in a given subsector is required. The IW issued will provide authority for travel to and from, and activities within, that subsector. But, authority might be provided solely for interactions with the Scouts, and none at all for the Imperial Navy or Army.
'Unlimited' Imperial Warrants are extremely rare. They are issued only in the direst of emergencies to very high-ranking Nobles - the most notable and recent example being the Warrant sent to Duke Norris immediately prior to the Fifth Frontier War.
In all cases, the bearer of an Imperial Warrant is honourbound to return or destroy the document when it expires, or upon the resolution of the problem it was issued for, or at the Emperor's request. A full accounting of actions taken with the Warrant is usually required. Abuses of Imperial Warrants are rare, and usually involve the document having been stolen and/or forged. Perpetrators of such crimes are invariably hunted down and terminated with extreme prejudice by Imperial authorities.
Imperial Warrants have enormous power but they do not provide omnipotence. It is highly unlikely that any bearer of a Warrant could successfully order a military officer to surrender his entire command intact to the enemy; or induce a banker to hand over millions of credits in cash, and then destroy all evidence of this having happened. Not without a lot of incredibly good reasons and an immense amount of persuasion, anyhow. Individual citizens can still question (and even refuse to obey) any orders they might consider to be morally wrong, in error, unreasonably dangerous, or just plain stupid.
Except where specified otherwise, and as long as it remains valid, an Imperial Warrant confers the equivalent of:
*SOC 10 for non-Nobles; *Imperial Senatorial Appointment; *Court Influence (2d6); *ALL of the 'Rights' listed in Table 2 - Bear Arms, Escort (12), Free Passage, Commission, Lawful Dissent, Decree, Nobility Creation, Taxation, and Pardon; *Rank O10 authority in all branches of the Imperial Navy, Army, Marines, Scouts, and IRIS.
It is worth noting that lesser versions of Imperial Warrants can be issued by the Archdukes of the Imperium's various Domains. As per Imperial Edict 3097.
As well as only being valid within the Domain it is issued for, a 'Domain Warrant' has comparitively limited powers, these being:
*SOC 10 for non-Nobles; *Court Influence (1d6); *Right To Bear Arms, Escort (10), Free Passage, Commission, and Lawful Dissent. *Rank O8 authority in all branches of the Imperial Navy, Army, Marines, and Scouts.
A noble who issues a Domain Warrant must also fully justify this, and its subsequent usage, to the Emperor.