Respect mah authoritah!
8th Nov, 2008

The Imperium is made up of several powerful allied factions: The Armies of Terra (Earth), the Adeptus Mechanicus and their armies (Mars), the Inquisition (Terra), each of the Space Marine chapters (Various worlds) and the Grey Knights (Titan) to name but a few. Each a virtual self-contained autonomous empire in their own right, so how do they interact?

This musing of mine is about the authority of each faction has over another, and how this is determined for join ventures if each is independent and actively protects and enforces it’s autonomy? How is it implement at the local level when the humans on many worlds have never seen an actual ‘Space Marine’ and only know of them as angels of half forgotten legends, or to really push out the boat: shadowy and obsessively secret order the ‘inquisitors’?

How does and Inquisitor gain power over another Imperial faction yet remain ‘secret’?

The idea I come up with is to assign a ‘second’; a liaison officer between the perceived interloping ‘allies’ and the main body they are interacting with. This allows the force to isolate the influence of the ally through the liaison officer giving the actual orders to the force’s troops.

Space Marines
In order to work, for example, with Space Marines working with Imperial Guard: the Imperial Guard in the battle zone assigns an officer to the Space Marines to act as a liaison with a rank as agreed in treaties between all the various factions of the Imperium. This allows marines to request a liaison officer through their own command structure who then tell the Imperial Guard, and it is the high command of the Imperial Guard that issues the orders to officers in the field to assign a liaison. This way the IG officer knows the orders are authentic (and no judgement calls are needed) when the Marines turn up.

I suspect that when the Imperial Guard ask the Marines for help, the petition goes to the liaison officer already set up.

The Space Marine can now order Imperial Guard units about through the liaison officer, with an effective rank of the liaison officer. This also means that a liaison officer can refuse to give an order (though upsetting the marines in battle is not a good idea, and they may dismiss the liaison officer and act unilaterally).

The great thing about this is that when the Imperial Guard see the liaison officer they recognise them instantly and accept their authority and it is the liaison officer that vouches for the marines. The Imperial Guard troopers can refuse to take an order from a marine (in battle this may be stretched) as they do not recognise the authority of the marine (which is technically correct as the marines are not part of the chain of command of the Imperial Guard).

In action I would imagine that the liaison officer act more as C&C in the field of battle rather than following the marines about (and if they do they will hang back).

I also image that the marines may take temporary campaign markings on leg armour and such.

More on Space Marines

This is where it gets fun as the Inquisitor does not have to proclaim they are an inquisitor merely a ‘special investigator’. The liaison officer assigned to them for official business does not have to be told who the inquisitor really is, all that matters is that someone high up in the world’s local government has cleared them for access at the highest level possible.

All the people of the world deal with the liaison officer. It is this officer that supplies the ‘recognisable authority’ to local populous, and provides a units to back them up. The inquisitor does not have to show a badge of office the liaison officer and the associated unit (Arbites, PDF etc.) is their ‘badge of office’.

No enemy or chaos minion is alerted to the presence of the Inquisition and the existence of the inquisition is neither confirmed or denied.

This means that all orders for assistance in the field go up through the Inquisitors chain of command (reports going with it) to the appropriate level (highest level if needs be) and then jumps over to the appropriate level in the chain of command of the faction the Inquisition is dealing with.

The Imperium is not noted for it’s speed and this system can cause problems – it can take time if an Inquisitor suddenly turns up, without any groundwork and has not been assigned a liaison officer, and demand to requisition a star ship from the navy. The navy officer does not have to comply (they wouldn’t under this system) but instead waits for order from their own chain of command to cooperate, and to what level. About all the Inquisitor can do when they show up is claim a form of ‘diplomatic immunity’ and provide some codes (probably handled like nuke launch codes) in some form of passport (which does not identify them as an Inquisitor but a noble or some other high-ranking cover).

If a liaison officer from the navy is already in place in the Inquisitor can assume command of any ship up to the rank of the liaison officer. If they Inquisitor needs more power the can request it from their own command structure which works out the details with the navy who issue the command.

All nice and neat, and also allows the Inquisition’s command and control to keep an eye on their inquisitors!

More on Inquisition

Best wishes,

Subscribe | Patronise | Contact

4 Responses

Hearing feedback is very important to me in developing my ideas. Much of my designs are inspired, and crafted, by chatting to fans on forums before snowballing into a full concept you'll find here. I would like to thank all those who have contributed critiques and participated in discussions over the years, and I would especially like to thank all those who commented on this specific topic. If you would like join in, you are most welcome!

To support my work: Connect

  1. Kage2020 says:

    Surely the answer here is that they act as “empire” and, perhaps, even as clients-patrons?


    • Philip S says:

      I introduced this idea to make the politics of the Imperium a little more interesting and improve its security model – in order to highlight how the Imperium could function being made up of autonomous ‘factions’.

      This gets around the security weakness of identification paper, e-paper, seals, tokens etc. An Inquisitor has the resources to fake identity papers if they wish, and may powerful individuals have the resources to fake identity papers too. The problem is how does the average Joe verify these papers?

      I figure you’ll know an ‘Inquisitor’ means business because they turn up with police you recognise. The Inquisitor does not even have to identify themselves; as all that really matters to you is the police.

      Example: Imagine if in our world and Inquisitor turns up in their fancy armour and a group of similarly weird retainers. It could be hard to take them seriously at first because they would look like something out of the movies (and GW products!) and your first though may be ‘fancy dress’ or they are shooting a movie (am I in the shot?). Now imagine the same strange group if surrounded by hordes of police and firearms units (who show respect to the strangers) and it may look different. To push the scenario further, how about the police drag you off and you find yourself in a cell with an Inquisitor jacked into a vacant police officer who is translating what is said into English would you view the situation?

      I important point of this set-up is to allow normal people to, those outside the loop, to respect higher authorities even when these higher authorities are unfamiliar to them. The added bonus is that the higher authorities do not have to start shooting people to prove they are serious, they can use local resources to make that point.


      • Kage2020 says:

        I guess the point might be that the various organisations are not autonomous, but rather interdependent?

        • Philip S says:

          They may be interdependent and that is why the work together, but that does not necessary translate into linking chains of command. America buys oil from Iran, they need Iran, but I doubt either recognise the authority of each other’s military over their own.

          The background says the marines are autonomous, as are the Inquisition, the Sisters of Battle, the Navy etc. they are all their own power base. They are more like countries in the UN that an actual empire. The Imperial Guard are not even allowed their own ships!

          This is my attempt to resolve this issue (square the circle)

Anything You'd Like to Add?

These comments are moderated. This requires a tempory cookie until ok'd. By posting a comment, you are consenting to this tempory cookie.
See the cookie policy.

Out of respect for your privacy: your email will not be made public. Required fields are marked *