A question I have been asked a fair few times is “What does GSO stand for?” My reply of “Peace and security or oppression and tyranny, depending on your viewpoint” does not seem to satisfy and in an earlier draft of the book, there was an explanation. However, it was redacted somewhere in the editing process. So, for lovers of acronyms explained:
GSO = Government Security Office
There. Fully informed. But then, what is the difference between this lovely bunch of lads and the various other Imperial henchmen in the Anjelican Universe? Well, here’s a very brief spotters’ guide:
The GSO – The Government Security Office. Their brief is to find and crush sedition at the personal level. Imagine Thought Police meets Gestapo. Each world’s GSO operates independently of the local government and reports to the Vice-regal Security Office (at Stella Sector HQ), which in turn reports directly to the Emperor.
The Imperial Navy – The Emperor’s principle military force. Each Stella Viceroy must maintain his own Navy, using the proportion of taxes gathered from planetary governors, known as the “Imperial Levy” (the rest of the taxes go directly to the Emperor). There is a whole lot more to the navy (the 11th united command, alliance forces etc), which I’m sure I will be returning to ad nauseum. Suffice it to say, they are there to fight military actions in space, invade planets (through the Imperial Marines) and police space against smugglers and pirates.
Naval Intelligence – A branch of each navy, gathering intelligence and carrying out counter-espionage against organised insurrection (as opposed to the GSO’s focus on individuals). There is an on-going and bitter power struggle between the Navy and the GSO.
The Proctorate – the Imperial Proctors are entirely concerned with monitoring and enforcing the flow of taxes to the Imperial treasury. This can be at any level from viceroys and governors, right down to an individual’s pay and business affairs. All proctors are technically equal and all technically report directly and individually to the Emperor. This is to ensure that all are in a position to report infractions, no matter how high the rank of the accused. Corruption within the Proctorate is almost unheard of due to extremely harsh disciplinary measures.
The Caluphas – Originally the 483rd Regiment of the 1st Imperial Army, its first commander – Colonel Calupha himself – could not raise the funds to recruit and pay his men. So, he recruited from long term prisoners and offered the results up as a semi-suicidal force. The resulting blood lust of the violent rapists and murderers was such that civilian populations in conquered areas suffered greatly. The Imperial Armies turned them into a terror force and now there are dozens of Calupha regiments.
The Imperial Armies – Armies under the central control of the Empire, they are used as cannon fodder and occupation forces. The vast majority of those on punishment service are sent to the armies. Unlike other branches of Imperial service, commands and commissions can be bought out-right.
The Imperial Marines – See the Imperial Navy, above.
The Militia – military forces raised and maintained from amongst the local population by planetary governors, and under their direct control.
Local Law Enforcement – All local law enforcement can be structured and organised by planetary governors. On LaMarque, for example, there are regional police forces and the LaMarque Investigations Office (LIO).