Created by: Garry Stahl
Appearance: Several Stories in Epiphany Trek
Number of Members: Billions and billions.
Game Role: Threat to Federation peace and wellbeing, a foil for the PCs.
World Role: The Natural Rulers of the Galaxy
Relative Influence: Major The Acceptian Empire controls the output of hundreds of systems.
Public or Secret?: Public, very public.
Publicly Stated Goal: To rule the Galaxy
Race advantages: Large, old and well established. The Acceptian Empire didn't happen yesterday. They are firmly entrenched, and even on the client worlds you will find few that would change things even if they could.
Special Abilities: None really. They have the same "abilities" enjoyed by any large political structure.
Race disadvantages: Large old and well established. The Empire has a lot of inertia.
Special disadvantages: Inertia. Acceptians do not adopt change readily.
Those who favor them: Client races that find comfort in the Empire
Those opposed to them: Anyone on the list to become a client race.
Area of Operation: Area rimward of the UFP.
Headquarters Location: Stellas (Our Sky) Located in the center of the Empire.
Public Face: Feathered Man's Burden
Nature of MembersTwo kinds. Acceptians and clients. Acceptians get all the advantages, clients carry the load.
The Acceptians are a six-limbed avainoid species. They stand on average 2.1 meters tall with considerable variation within that range and weigh, on average 32 kilograms each. They are fight capable in 1g. Coloration is a varicolored mottled brown with black beaks and a dark red cere . Skin that is bare of feathers is leathery and the same color as the cere . Feathered skin is softer and less brightly colored. They are carnivores and have the beak and talon structure typical of carnivorous birds. Their hands have four fingers, Three fingers and a directly apposed thumb. They have fixed talon-like fingernails. The lower legs and lower arms are free of feathers. Their eyes are various shades of yellow and red with a round iris.
Acceptian wingspan averages 6.3 meters. They can fly in a one G field. Acceptians are good fliers. Their light weight is due to hollow and pneumatic bones. A good deal of their skeletal structure is connected to their respiratory system.
Gender Differences: Outside of reproductive anatomy females are a third larger than males, averaging 2.3 meters and being broader built. They are not as agile in flight as the smaller males.
Senses: Acceptians are in interesting mix of superior and inferior senses. Eyesight is superior. At a distance Acceptians have eight times the Human visual acuity. This does not translate into eight times the close vision however.
Hearing is decent, about the equal of Humans. With their lack of an external ear Acceptians are not as good at locating the source of sounds.
Where Acceptian are not well equipped is the olfactory sense. They have a notoriously bad sense of smell. Those in the Empire with better noses, nearly everyone, will tell you a large group of Acceptians can turn your stomach. Acceptians sensitive to the needs of their clients, most, will keep a being with a sensitive nose to let them know when they need to clean up if it isn't visually evident like blood all over your feathers. Deeple females are preferred for their delicate noses.
The sense of touch is well developed., feathers aside. The lower limbs are not as sensitive as the areas with feathers. Indeed the feathers themselves are part of this sense. Air movement or touching the feathers causes a reaction in the shaft root. Anything that moves the feather apart from the skin. The feathers themselves have no feeling however.
Taste is largely by contact with sense organs within the crop . Acceptians do not chew. they lack teeth and must eat food in what ever size it comes, or cut it down to size before eating it. One will taste a meal for hours after it is eaten. So you want your meals to taste good. An Acceptian's idea of "tastes good" will not match that of other species.
Diet: Acceptians are obligate carnivores. This means they cannot digest vegetable matter. Salads and fruit will turn their stomachs, likewise they cannot digest milk and milk products. Eggs they can eat. They have an otherwise iron stomach. This is a good thing as their sense of smell as mentioned is not good. They can eat meat that felines would turn their noses up at, meat even hyenas would walk away from. Some Acceptian dishes require rancid meat. Acceptian feasts can also be a stomach turning occasion.
An Acceptian sees himself as the master of all they survey. While they recognize that an individual can and will fail, they contend than the race can handle everything. They are born to rule, Feathered Man's Burden if you will. Acceptian good guys will be of the manifest destiny type. Willing even eager to see that all they rule benefits from that rule, but with Acceptians surely ruling. The Acceptian bad guy will see themselves as the embodiment of the manifest destiny of rulership, and as personally incapable of failure, or a bad decision.
They are openly curious, yet cautious of anything too new. New stuff gets tested to death. Confidence rises as their numbers increase. While one Acceptian might wonder what is over the mountain, but not go and see, a flock of them will be off as soon as possible. It is possible to get individuals to so move, but only if they feel the opinion of the community is behind them. The approach is rather like penguins on an ice floe, they shove and push, all wanting to get into the water, but none wishing to go first. Once one does jump, or is pushed, they all pile in behind them.
This curiosity hampered by a heavy caution has ruled throughout Acceptian history. People wondering, and not taking action until a community consensus existed or sufficient curious people existed to launch an investigation or exploration. It has meant that Acceptians are slow to make war, and have never had much history of war against each other , or so the report goes. They certainly never came close to destroying themselves. All their serious aggression has happened individual to individual or against foes of other races.
Another factor ruled by this all or nothing approach is the general reaction to a fight between Acceptians. It is possible within the culture for two Acceptians to challenge each other for dominance in some fashion. This can boil down to a fight. Such fights are never lightly undertaken because one of the combatants will be dead at the end of it. Even if the loser is only lightly wounded, the observing Acceptians will close in on the fallen loser and rip them apart. True each will only get in his or her one swipe. However, when the crowd parts the only thing left will be a mass of bloody feathers. Acceptians have made deep studies of why they do this. It is generally believed that an Acceptian fighting an Acceptian produces a pheromone that increases the aggressive reaction of this around them. It certainly doesn't happen when Acceptians fight non-Acceptians, or other races fight before Acceptians. The matter is not discussed in polite company. It is not a behavior they are proud of, and if they could find a way to stop it they would.
Acceptians being a feathered species are not physically modest by nature. It is considered rude for a male to expose his penis, but only slightly more so that it would be to stick your tongue out at someone. The loss of feathers is another matter. However naked the average Human feels if nude in a public place an Acceptian stripped of their feathers is ten times worse. Partial loss of feathers is a reason to remain out of public view. Total loss, if seen, is usually enough to consider suicide. Any loss of flight feathers can cause a panic attack. Even if Acceptians no longer depend on flying to protect and feed themselves, it is a deeply ingrained thing to protect that ability.
This fact has been used in the past, and the present to humiliate people both as a mob or official action. Taring and feathering if you will, but no tar, and they take the feathers off not put them on.
Growth and Aging
Acceptians are egg layers, with a female laying a single hard-shelled egg two weeks after fertilization. The incubation period is eight weeks. At one time eggs required constant attention. In these modern times incubators mean than the egg is kept at the ideal temperature and rotated regularly without parental supervision. Enlightened parents will see that the egg is talked to on a regular basis. In the final month the embryo is developed enough to hear sounds inside the egg, and it has been proven that these parental sounds do stimulate intellectual development.
The resulting chick is totally helpless and weights slightly over a pound. Chicks are able to eat meat right from hatching and require constant care and attention. They are hatched naked, and cannot regulate their body temperature. They must also be stimulated to defecate. They do not require stimulation to eat, and will do so until tight bellied and somnolent. This continues for the first six months of life. The chick is little more than fuzz covered appetite that eats and sleeps. They are fragile. Dropping one from the height of the parent's arms can be enough to seriously injure or even cause death.
By the end of the six month period the chick weighs five pounds and is bright-eyed and ready to go. By this point its brain is sufficiently developed to allow learning to take place. The young will be trying their legs and flapping their wings. Flight is still years away, but that doesn't keep them from exercising the wing muscles. At this point the chick is slightly more advanced than a human infant is at birth, and considerably larger. Their appetite will drop off from the early and endlessly ravenous state and settle down to something more normal for their body size.
By the age of one year the young will weight in at six to seven pounds and be steady on their feet. They should gain about 10 pounds per year for the next seven years until they achieve full growth.
At the age of three formal education begins. For Acceptians that means the state run public schools or a private tutor of choice. As many Acceptians are in the second estate, private tutors are common, although most families see fit to send older, adult sized children to boarding school for the last three years of their education. The period of primary education lasts for 14 years, and an Acceptian that has not finished such schooling in an acceptable manner cannot participate in society. They will not be able to gain a mate or any position of responsibility.
Long before the Acceptian is of an Education, as it is said, they will have reached their adult height and gained adult plumage. They will also be sexually mature. The female will lay from two to five eggs a year whether fertilized or not. Infertile eggs are destroyed.
Once an Acceptian has finished schooling they can seek employment and a mate, usually in that order. While most Acceptian families are rich, their clan owning entire planets, employment within the family holdings is required for respectability. An idler is consider beneath contempt. Both males and females will be so employed. Females in sedentary positions, males in positions of action. Some males will leave the family business to serve in the military services. This is usually expected of the second son.
Once established the Acceptian can seek a mate. The male looks for a female that will be of equivalent social rank, or higher. One that once the mating ceremony is past will not crush his eggs in spite. Women have total control of how many and which eggs are incubated. If she feels that she was married unfairly, or poorly, she will see the male never sees any progeny.
The female looks for an ambitious male that will advance their joint social position. Most females will mate with a male below their social station, and thus she wants one that will not rest on acquired laurels but will seek to raise both their status through hard work. Once the mating is accomplished neither party has much recourse. Divorce, while possible stigmatizes both parties as people that make bad decisions. As a result a couple will endure a difficult marriage rather than risk the social ruin that public admittance of failure in that most intimate of business would bring.
Courtships are usually long drawn out affairs that heavily involve the members of both clans. Marrying without the approval of the clan heads is almost as bad as divorce. You might as well join the military, both of you, or give oath to some god of love and join the priesthood. While arrangements are all but required, the pairings are nearly always the idea of the couple, and simply, or rather complexly, approved by the two clans.
Once the innumerable negotiations are complete the couple can wed. The ceremony is usually civil in nature, with much pomp and circumstance. The more important the couple and their families, the more pomp you will have. The ceremony is capped by the couple copulating in public. It is a moment of great performance anxiety on the part of both of them. In the past it was often faked to the best of their ability. In modern times stimulants assure the male's ability and the female's receptiveness. It also assures that neither will be able to comfortably sit though the long party afterward, a source of bawdy amusement at the reception. The act is brief, and no pleasure is expected.
Once the discomfort of getting married is over the couple can expect to settle into a long and productive life together. With due ambition and work both may progress socially and achieve high status. It is rare to actually gain the position of the Clan leaders, but even that is possible. For the leading couple it means Clan Matriarch for the female, and Planetary Governor for the male. For others, each will do as well as personal ability and influence can gain. It is the time to raise one's own children, and to enjoy the fruits of hard labors. Being the rulers is not an easy task, even if you are born to it.
Life can be expected to last up to 150 years on the outside. Medical technology can make this comfortable, even if it cannot prevent the gradual loss of ability. Few Acceptians over the age of 90 can fly. Bones become brittle, and muscle mass decreases. Body, or pin, feathers become sparser and all feathers become more prone to damage. A truly ancient Acceptian has a difficult time maintaining an unragged appearance.
Death is seldom unwelcome by the end of life. While a pain free existence is assured, living with a body that increasingly refuses to do as one wills can itself be a tiring and frustrating thing.
Mating & Reproduction
Acceptians are egg layers. Males can mate at any time, and females are usually receptive to non reproductive mating. It is a pleasurable process for both parties. Unlike Terran birds Stellain Avianoids have separate evacuation and reproductive openings.
Males are possessed of a retractable penis. This organ is inserted into the female oviduct for fertilization. The sheath provides lubrication and enzymes that aid reproduction in the female. The penetration is surprisingly deep from a mammal point of view. The male reaches the ovary itself. Males have paired testicles well inside the body cavity.
Females have a dedicated oviduct. This far more complex than a simple tube. Along the path are the organs that coat the egg in albumen and yoke as well as the hard shell. A females begins life with two ovaries. During puberty only one will develop, usually the left one, however a fourth of the population is "right" overied. It makes no difference to the female's reproductive cycle. Most women never know which one is active. A young woman, with in her first two decades of life, that loses the active ovary for any reason has a good chance of the idle organ taking its place. Modern medicine can aid this process. However by the time she is thirty years old it is too late. The extra ovary will not develop.
Once a female starts developing an egg she is sexually unresponsive. Penetration is painful for the female. A sure sign you should stop. Intercourse during this time will destroy the developing egg. In the week before this she is at her most fertile. She is not simply responsive to sex, but eager. Intercourse is wonderful. Enzymes on the male's penis stimulate the shelling and yoke organs as he passes through them. A fertile egg can mass a third more than the same female's infertile eggs because of this. Nature has its methods. The development period is two weeks.
Females are 100% in control of reproduction. Females lay eggs several times a year from puberty on, fertile or not, that egg is going to lay. However society places it in the hands of the female to state if the egg is fertile or not. If she says not, it's not, her call is never questioned. She has total control over whether a given egg gets to the incubator. No unmated female will declare an egg fertile. Infertile eggs are destroyed, usually by the female that laid it.
Female restrooms have facilities to make egg laying more comfortable (I'm not sure what those would look like), and a sort of cracker garbage disposal thing to get rid of the infertile results. A woman expecting a fertile egg will be carrying a brooding pouch in case it gets laid away from home. She will then cancel plans and get the egg home and into the incubator as quickly as possible.
Infertile eggs are given slightly more care than the usual biological waste. Handling one isn't considered disgusting or unclean, but they are not saved. They are never disposed of unbroken. Crack it, flush it, grind up the shell. Clean up, dry off, rest a bit to let things settle back to normal, resume what ever you were doing. It is nowhere near as traumatic as humanoid birth, nor does it take as long.
Are there unannounced and unadmitted "abortions"? Yes. But a good girl never lays a fertile egg outside of marriage, and all girls are good girls. Because it is the female that controls what eggs get brooded, good girls stay good girls.
Also as a result of this practice unwanted children are not a problem, ever. Low populations are the problem. The Empire is constantly promoting child rearing one way or another to keep Acceptian numbers up.
Once an embryo can be seen moving within the egg it is quickened. It is now considered a "pre-child" and the parents start to take an interest and to value the egg. After quickening the egg is no longer considered "mere property", however it is still property de jure. Destroying a quickened egg can get you eaten by the parents if they catch you at it. Loss of a quickened egg is a blow to the parents, but not one requiring mourning or special care. Such failed eggs are generally incinerated without ceremony at a funerary facility. The parents will make another egg.
Incubation is eight weeks. A new hatched chick is a hatchling. At that point it it still property by Acceptian law. Kill it and you chance getting eaten, but it is not yet "murder" to kill a hatchling less than six months old. It is a serious civil matter and if you are not eaten on the spot (not a crime if the parents catch you at it) you will have your feathers sued off. Loss of a hatchling is a sad matter. A small ceremony and decent arrangements for the body are made. The parents will make another egg.
After six months the chick's Mentation is equal to a human newborn. They begin to respond to more than movement and food. At any point after six months a chick is considered a child and is a person under law. killing them is a criminal matter.
Communications: The Acceptian syrinx  is highly flexible, and they can speak most humanoid languages, and a few of the more difficult non humanoid languages as well.
The following Client races are known in the Empire. They are doubtless others that are not known of.
Acceptians overran the Ane world of Harmony 800 years ago. The Ane lacking any technology or military were powerless to prevent it. However they have made the process pointless and profitless. It is hard to succeed when the entire telepathic population is being a downer at you.
In 800 years they have ruined 6 clans. The Acceptians have managed to build a single city. However every attempt to use the planet to profit has failed. At this point no clan will assume the responsibility. They have the problem of a wonderful planet no one wants. Now it's sucking on the budget of the Star Service.
The Star Service has been training Kronin on Harmony, and losing them gradually. Every class sheds a few.
The Acceptians have been offered (by the Ane) an equatable solution. Just stop claiming our world. The Acceptians point out their investment. The Ane to the "sunk money" fallacy. In short no movement has been made.
A somewhat piggy looking humanoid at least in the face. An Phar have hard hoof like nails, and are stockier than the Human average. They walk plantigrade. Physiologically they are Human to 7 places. Human and An Phar are even capable of cross species lust. Breeding will not happen.
An Phar are the ubiquitous race that is all over the Empire and few people notice. One Acceptian sneeringly called them; "A race of shopkeepers". A statement they would take pride in.
Butos are also Avianoids. They are considered second class citizens of the empire, but more second class than anyone else. Butos are shorter on average than Acceptians, and have a shorter rounded wing. Their eyes are black and they have a mottled gray and black coloration.
Butos have risen as far as the Second Estate in the Empire. Most are well adjusted members of the Empire, but there are others who would as soon see the whole thing destroyed.
Humanoid deer people. Deeple run 5 foot tall on average. Deeple have slight muzzles, cloven hooves and are fur covered. They don't have antlers. Their normally red coats are lightly spotted with brown and white. They are agile, and can find foot and hand holds in all but the smoothest surfaces. A Deeple will free climb a brick wall the way we use a sidewalk. They are mammals, and bear young one at a time. Females have pectoral mammaries less prominent than those on Humans.
Deeples are pacifistic by nature. They much prefer to run and hide than confront someone. They can drill themselves out of that, but it is an effort. Unless their backs are to the wall they are never steady fighters. When their backs are to the wall they are vicious.
The non aggressive Deeple don't realize that they drive the technological engine of the Empire. Even if they did they would be unaware of what to do with that power. In the 1600 years the Acceptians have owned them they are comfortable in their chains and wouldn't know what to do without the Acceptians.
The Gashe, a rubberhead Humanoid, were a running concern of seven worlds when they encountered the Acceptian Empire. The war was not pretty and destroyed the Gashe economy. The Acceptians by this point could absorb the damage. They gladly rebuilt Gashe worlds as their own.
The Gashe have been part of the Empire for 400 years, but they are not, for the most part, forthcoming Imperialists. There are still laws in place forbidding the display of Gashe Republic symbols or the performance of Gashe patriotic songs.
Gormelites  also called Shaggies are large ape like creature with a limited mental set. They are fully sentient, but not civilized or from any indication civilizable. Acceptians use them as cannon fodder, and the Gormelites don't seem to care. They enjoy fighting.
Keth are serpentoids. They are 6 meters long and built on the constrictor model. They possess arms as well. Keth are live bearers.
The scholar serpents have been part of the Empire for only 200 years. The Acceptians found them in a peaceful preindustrial society. Or rather a post industrial society. Signs that thousands of years ago the Keth had been a space going culture were everywhere and largely ignored.
The Keth have been quietly accepting of the Acceptian presence. They do find that the ability to get around the Empire is useful to their studies, so they aid those that provide the means.
A petite Humanoid topping 1.7 meters they have a female dominated society. Males might do the heavy work, but females make the decisions. They have been integrated into the Empire for close to 1100 years. Acceptian meta culture has not overwritten this. The Kreeen look favorably on the Matriarchy of the Acceptians and see the Matriarch herself as their leader.
they are frequently found in bureaucratic functions. They have minds well suited to detail and pattern searching. They are not great innovators, but they can keep track of the innovations. A Kreeen/Deeple team is excellent for basic research.
These stocky, noseless, and hairless humanoids are the prime soldiers of the Empire. Kronin  are on average 2 meters tall and weight 95 kilograms. Kronin are mammals with the expected parts in the expected places. Kronin are telepaths as well. One of the few known telepathic warrior races. Kronin society is based on military organization. Everything is so organized from kindergartens to factories.
Over the 1200 years that Kronin have been part of the Empire they have become the conscience and honor of the Military forces. They serve willingly, with distinction and with honor. They are proud of their place and their history.
Since the Horizon incident there has been a dissident population of Kronin on the Ane world of Oz. This is about as far from the Empire as one can reasonably get. The Kronin fill their desire for military organization and work by acting as police and security forces. Any Kronin that can no longer honorably deal with Acceptians and can get to Harmony is removed by the Ane, no questions.
Sparrials [7 are a small, vaguely feline race, descended from a tree-dwelling predator. They are bipedal; their hands have four skeletally-thin opposable fingers with retractable claws. They are sleekly furred; most coats have varying patterns of brown or rust, but albinos are relatively common. The mouth is the most "alien" feature; closed, it does not look unusual, but it contains several fleshy organs and grids of rough, serrated bone that serve as teeth.
Sparrials entered the Empire as an ad hoc type people. In the last 1000 years their culture has been totally over written by the Acceptians. They are largely merchants and servants to various Acceptian houses. Sparrials lack the technical ability of the Deeples, but they make excellent mechanics.
Truul  are stocky humanoids that seldom top 1.1 meters. They have a wild mop of hair on their heads, and are mammals.
Truul are the one exception to the rule that criminals are slaves. Truul are natural slaves. It is believed that a race unknown developed the Truul as complacent servants. Truul have no will. Other than a tendency to latch onto a "master" they have nothing in the way of survival skills either.
Acceptian law forbids breeding Truul to be slaves. Truul are not forbidden to breed, but you cannot farm them. At this point the majority of the Truul in the Empire live on Harmony among the Ane, who made the mistake of trying to develop a will in them.
As with any widely spread race the Acceptians have a multitude of schools of art. Arts, in the fields of both sight and sound are widely patronized and enjoyed. Most Acceptian art is not produced by Acceptians, but by a member of one of the client races within the empire. Acceptians will say that is because government is their art. Once in a great while some Acceptian will buck the system and rebel to the life of an artist. Usually they are very good, and gain acclaim throughout the province, if not the empire. The are guaranteed to grow old rich, and lonely. While the fame can be had, and wealth will flow, no proper Acceptian would consider such a person as a mate.
Museums and other centers of art will be found with the frequency you will find them on humans worlds. Acceptians also see art as a method of "doing for the subjects" Like the old Soviet Union, tickets for the "ballet" will be cheap, in what ever form "ballet" might take.
Another common form of art support is direct patronage. Every Acceptian house will have it's "pet" composer, artist, etc.. These are kept to spread the fame of the family, make the official portraits and so forth. Again, these artists will be from the planet's client race. They are allowed entry into the society of their betters by virtue of their talents. Each a credit to their race.
Acceptians do not wear clothing other than belts or harness to aid in carrying objects. The practice of dying their feathers is known, and has fallen in and out of fashion over the many years. Jewelry worn on the lower legs and arms is common. Necklaces are items of rank, and not worn as common adornment While it is possible to do insets into the beak without harm, it is seldom done because the beak grows rapidly, and such insets would be quickly lost. Painting the beak and talons is common and again the fashion varies. Currently family crests are all the rage.
The Acceptians have a single official language in which official communications and documents must be in. However they have made no effort to suppress local languages on the worlds they own. The Acceptian syrinx, or vocal organ, is extremely flexible in the sounds it can make. They can speak any languages than humanoids can and quite a few they cannot.
Officially Acceptians are an areligious people. There might be casual mention of "the first shell" or "the first egg", usually in oaths of some kind or another, but that will be the extent of any public "religion". Unofficially Acceptians follow dozens of major and minor cults. None is recognized by the Matriarchy as "official". No cult has any political power.
This is a result of the Burning of the Priests An event in the dark years before spaceflight. Legend has it that the Priests had usurped power in the name of gods, and someone, no name is even given, found there was no god behind the priests. The priests were dragged from their temples and set afire. The people were set to burn every temple and priest around, but saner heads prevailed. The explained that while these priests were guilty of misusing their office, that was not the case for all. Each must be taken on their own merits. However, laws were put in place that no priest could hold political power, or public office. This law is still followed in spirit to the present day. Those entering religious life renounce all familial or political ties to do so, no matter the religion. This is not required to merely be the adherent of a religion. All Acceptians are reluctant to discuss their religious beliefs. The greater the social or political position, the more reluctant they become.
Acceptians organize in clans. Each clan will have a first family, and all families within the clan will be related by blood and marriage to the first family.
Males are considered the protectors. It is the duty of a male to see to the protection of the clan and it's holdings. Be that as a member of the local police force or as a representative to the Pinions. The Armed services are not as a policy sexually integrated. Fighting is a male business.
The business of females, other than egg laying and child rearing is management. Acceptians consider the day to day running of a planet or a company a "female matter". It is associated with parenting. You find more males in the Hall of Pinions, but the planetary manager will be a woman.
Acceptians have a Matriarchal empire. Females will be found in the top spot of most ministries and government positions. However both males and females will be found in every level of government. An Acceptian is considered part of the government simply by being Acceptian. It's your empire pal, rule it. They are taught that they are superior to all other races, and it is their natural place to rule. To this end Acceptians have carved out a tightly knit empire and have hundreds of client races.
There are four "Estates" of social rank. They are:
- The Royal Clan, or the First Estate. This has been the same clan for 500 years now. The Royal Clan is as large as any other clan, and everyone within will know his or her exact position within it. The Royal Estate is consider to be Stellas itself, the Acceptian Homeworld.
- The Noble Clans or the Second Estate. It is very unusual for any race but Acceptians to be in this social class. To be considered of the Second Estate an Acceptian Clan must have a holding. This means a planet. The number of noble families is limited by the number of class M planets in the Empire.
- The Common People, or the Third Estate. This is the majority of the Empire, and all client races. Acceptian clans of the third estate are always in the market for a planet. Until now it has been necessary to displace another clan to get one. Third tier families are looking at the opening of the frontier as the golden opportunity that it is.
- Slaves, or the Fourth Estate. All slaves are criminals, all criminals are slaves. Acceptians have no prisons, those convicted of less than capital crimes are enslaved. The period of slavery can be from life to 90 days. Once tainted by the fourth estate one's reputation can never be recovered. Noble families will usually pay vast sums to keep a family member from serving such a term. Many Acceptians would rather die, and commit suicide, rather than be reduced to slaves. However, it is fine for anyone else.
The Matriarch and her court are the heart of the Empire. While the Matriarch no longer has the power of absolute rule she once had, it is her power to appoint the ministers of state and governors of each Province of the Empire. She must be advised of the decisions of the Council of Pinions, and can block an action she considers ill advised by calling an election to replace the First Speaker of the Council.
Under the Matriarch is the Council of Pinions. This body is the equivalent of the British House of Lords, only it is where the real power lies. Every landowner, that is planet owner, has the right and responsibility to sit on the council. They can also send a proxy, and with the business that many have, many do. Proxies cannot serve as First Speaker.
The Council is organized into ministries, and headed by the First Speaker who is elected from among the peers. All laws of Imperial scope are created here. They command the Star Services through the Star Lord who commands all Her Luminance's Imperial Forces. It is likewise organized into the dozens of ministries large and small that form the bureaucracy of a large and old government. In may cases the ministries have become so top heavy that the Ministers have absolutely nothing to do with what the ministry is actuality suppose to be doing. Periodically some scandal will cause a given ministry to get cleaned out and streamlined. However, this has never been done with the entire government structure.
Governors appointed by the Matriarch rule each of the many Provinces of the Empire. It is here that direct power is to be had. Governors while directed by the Council of Pinions, are in practice far removed from the seats of the central Government, and to wait for instruction would be folly so Governors never do, even when that instruction could be had within hours. Each Governor will have a smaller versions of the Pinions at his own disposal, and regional government resembles central government both in form, and many times in function, or the lack of it. Governors also have discretionary power to request the aid of the Star Forces. Most are reluctant to do so as to involve the Star Forces brings oversight from the Council of Pinions.
Lastly you have the planetary governments. These are owned by a given Acceptian Clan, and ruled by the head of that clan. Government is the family business. What ever the race that might live there, they are the subjects of the Clan. Such power can, and does get abused. If word of the abuse gets back to the central government, measures are taken. That said, Acceptians are by and large responsible rulers. Their code of ethics states they are natural rulers, and requires they be good, fair, and just rulers. Acceptians are taught from an early age that honor is of great importance. An Acceptian will overcome all reluctance to try the new if their honor is at stake.
- Vic'teer Matriarch of the Empire. Vic'teer is the gracefully aging Matriarch of the Empire. She is notable for hatching damn near every fertile egg she laid after her marriage to Prince A'breet. He died in a tragic accident playing aerial games. The Prince apparently miscalculated his sweep and put one wing into the ground. In spite of every medical effort to save him he died two weeks later from the massive trauma of slamming into the ground at high speed. Many believe to this day that he simply didn't want to live when he was informed that he had lost both wings due to shattered bones. Vic'teer has never remarried, although she could easily do so. She has mourned A'breet since that day.<P>Now in late middle age she continues to wield a stern hand over her large and somewhat cantankerous brood. She can boast among her children many with drive and ambition, she equally goads those that are willing to rest on the advantages of their station.
- Prince A'breet II. First Lord of the Star Service. The eldest son of the Matriarch, A'breet possess all the drive and poise of his late father. He gravitated to the Star Service at a young age, and with his Mother's backing has risen from within the ranks on merit. He is the first Star Lord in several generations to actually have served in the Star Service. Due to him morale in the Star Service is at a 100 year high.
A'breet II has recently married. An event of universal consequence it was transmitted to the entire Empire by subspace. His marriage to Teeana of the Clan Ga'har and the subsequent hatching of their First Egg has the entire Empire giddy with joy. With Matriarch Vic'teer enjoying a robust health and no sign of slowing down, the young girl is considered the presumptive heir.
- Prince E'wee. Prince E'wee is the other end of the spectrum. E'wee is perfectly happy to live the life of the dilettante. He expends no more effort than he must, and has never sought a wife. This does not mean he is unaccompanied. His various dalliances have rumored to include a few Buto woman. Nothing has ever been proven, and the scandal that would result if proof was public would rock the Imperial clan. Unknown to anyone in the public or his family Prince E'wee is a leading member in the Talons of Fear, a secret organization with less that savory goals and practices.
- Princess Mag'reet Mag'reet is a public minded young woman that causes her mother a good deal of grief because she can't keep her beak closed. She is a leading light in several humanoid rights organizations, and constantly advocates rights reforms in the public forum. She is not popular in the Hall of Pinions. A fact that doesn't bother her in the least.
Mag'reet is of an age to marry, and as of yet has not settled on any of a large number of adoring suitors. She seems to enjoy playing the mating game.
- Deeisreel of Clan Stllas. Deeisreel is the current First Speaker of the Pinions. Deeireel is an older Acceptian that hobbles about on a cybernetic talon., a souvenir of his days in the Star Service. He is proper and conservative. Traits that make him popular in the Hall of Pinions, and keep him on good terms with the Matriarch.
The Acceptian military is organized on the same scale as the government. Acceptians will aways be on top. While the Star Service consists of many client races, what ever your rank it is below an Acceptian Least Fourth if you are not Acceptian. Buteos rank next highest followed by Kronin, Deeples, Sparrials, and Gromilites last. Other races, not yet mentioned would fall between the Kronin and the Gromilites. Gromilites don't have rank other than "cannon fodder". They spar for dominance among themselves, but no one places any value on it.
Rank in the Acceptian Star service is more fluid than in Starfleet. A Least Second can find themselves a Most Second on another ship. Rank is a function of seniority among your Peers and reputation. In the scene of “Ships in the Night" where Taggel informs Kerchin that his excellent work will be reported Taggel is giving Kerchin a reputation boost. This will enhance his reputation and rank among the Seconds. The broad categories are Fourth, Third, and Second. These are a function of actual rank and follow you about, unless you command. A commander is always a First, regardless of their last assignment.
Taggel was Second in "Lines in the Sand". The Most Firsts consider he did as well as could be done, and he got a reputation bump. He won the challenge and that got him a reputation bump as well. This made him Most Second. When given command of the Vigilant he got a huge bump. Size does matter and while he might have been the lowest on the "Firsts List" he had the largest command, and was therefor senior in the fleet. Among a gathering of Mothership Firsts (Scary the circumstances that might cause that to happen) he would be the least of their number, unless one of them had yet to fight a war city in which case Taggel's record would count for more. If all had fought a war city and each was commissioned at the same time, the size of the city and number of the assisting fleet would come into the occasion. Taggel would lose points for the USS Kongo and Nabol forces, but gain them for the mass of the war city and the number of ships his Most First commanded. The fact the city had better shields would also factor in his favor. None of this would need to be discussed. The other First will have read the action report as he will have read theirs.
The Acceptian Star Service is much smaller than Starfleet. Their total forces number in the thousands not the tens of thousands. Two Acceptian Firsts are much more likely to know each other than a similar situation in Starfleet.
The Acceptian Star Service is built around the idea of needing to control populations, not controlling commerce and space travel. As Acceptians are the only ones with star ships within their own sphere they have a limited capacity for ship to ship combat. This does not mean they cannot fight ship to ship, and in a close action Acceptian ships are as dangerous as those of any other Star Forces. What they lack is the ability to handle a running fight.
The threat of the Thrasite War Cities has resulted in the building of a class of super ships designed around a one to one battle with a War City, and winning. The Motherships are massive vessels than can maul any starship at medium range or better. They can decimate space stations or even planets at extremity long ranges. The great diamond shaped vessels are from 1500 to 1750 meters long, and can be every bit as wide. Within the hull are also quarters for up to 20,000 troops, and support for the fleet Strikers. There are no classes of Mothership. Each vessel is a one off constriction. Motherships carry class 10 dual propose weapons and the class 20 coaxial cannon used against War Cities.
The most common ship in the fleet is the Monitor. These mammoth vessels are more mobile space station than ship. The are roughly half the size of a Mothership and cannot get out of their own way. They are support for fleet Strikers and Battleships. As they are usually in a system they do not have marine quarters. While tactically not a great threat they are porcupines in a close fought action, and a mutual pass on a Monitor is likely to leave the intruding ship crippled. Monitors have class 10 weapons, although there are still monitors in the fleet with as low as class 6 weapons.
The next most common vessel is the Patrol Battleship. These are pocket versions of the Mothership and carry a full compliment of marines. These vessels can support two Strikers and usually move in fleets of two to four with accompanying Strikers. Patrol Battleships are the firemen of the Acceptian Star Service. They do everything from search and rescue to counter-insurgency. Patrol Battleships carry class 10 weapons, and no battleship has less than class 8 in service.
Next on the food chain is the Seeker. This vessel is the size and throw-weight equal of a Federation Heavy Cruiser. They carry smaller crews due to Acceptian space requirements, They have only a limited compliment of marines, and never carry the lower classes of soldier. Seekers are exploration ships. They probe the edges of the Empire seeking what there is to find. Seekers have class 10 and 8 weapons. The last of the class 6 Seekers was recently withdrawn from service.
The smallest ship in the regular Star service is the Striker. These are the Acceptian equivalent of the Federation Defiant, heavily armed gunboats. However they are the size of Federation Light Cruisers, again the Acceptian space requirements. Strikers carry no troops. They are only for fleet defense and anti-ship patrol. They are short ranged and will always be found either close to a system or within a fleet. Strikers carry class 10 or 8 weapons. Also of note is a striker is the only ship a Buto would ever have a chance of commanding, and only if it had an all Buto officer core.
Acceptian ground troops are never Acceptian. The fliers are hollow boned and fragile in close combat. They leave this to the client races of the Empire.
The Kronin are the premier ground troops of the Empire. The warrior culture of the Kronin has been bent to the will of the Acceptians and the Kronin see themselves as the conscience of the Empire. Ground officers are always Kronin.
While their are many races that fit the middle range, only one is listed as the bottom, that is the Gromilites.
The Acceptians are well aware of the value of a buck. The Empire at large is on an energy economy, and new clients are brought up to speed as quickly as possible. Primitive planets do not stay primitive. They have the produce of over a hundred Energy Economy worlds to draw on, both in material and people. If there is an economic engine in the Galaxy that can equal the Federation, this is it.
The Acceptian Empire is in the habit of dominating and absorbing any independent worlds they have encountered. This plan hit a speed bump at Galron when the Federation defended the planet against takeover. The Acceptian Empire is still feeling out relations with its larger, and powerful neighbor to the coreward.
What races and people lie to the outer edge or the sipnward edges of the Acceptian Empire are not currently known. What is known is this:
The Acceptians have had minor brushes with the League in the form of member Nabol. The more the Leauge learns of the Acceptians the less they are liked. After the experience of Nabol  the Empire is not worried by their disapproval.
Relations here are unremitting war. Thasite warcities wander in from the area called the Cold Marches. The Acceptians keep the majority of their Motherships in that area. So far the Star Service has kept the Thasites at bay. No more than two warcities has ever been a threat at the same time. That was a bad year. Those Thasites that have been taken by the Acceptians as prisoners have proven to be amenable client of the Empire, so far.
Contact with the UFP has been rough. There have been shots fired. Neither side has come out of it cleanly. For it's part the UFP is willing to have peace, but will not allow neutral worlds to be over run. The Acceptians want those worlds, but not at the cost of war with a power like the UFP.
Features in the Empire
Pulsar with a rock steady beat. It is the time signal for the whole of the empire.
Supernova remnant, a feeding black hole that is slowly pulling in the nebulas from the two near by stellar wrecks as well. The whole area is a general hazard to navigation.
A large cold nebula considered a hazard to navigation. There are no stars in it and it gunks up warp drives something awful. Best to avoid it.
There is one outpost on the edge of the Expanse that is the base for highly specialized single H miners that sweep the nebula. They might make a dent in it in the life of the Acceptian Species.
A magnetar that dates from the time of Evil. Astronomer believe they went off close together. The star of terror being smaller. Yea, hazard to navigation.
History of the Organization
2000 years ago the Acceptians boiled out of Stellas in primitive warp drive ships. They conquered every world they encountered by economics or by force of arms. This pattern has continued to the present day. Currently they hold an old and highly established empire that is now in contact with the UFP.
The Acceptians have not been at general war in over 1000 years. They have fought a dozen little brush wars of conquest a century, and put down as many rebellions, but no power within their history has seriously threatened them. They are running a slow motion war with the Thasite War Cities. As a war city crosses the Acceptian border it gets involved and eventually destroyed.
Due to the slow and though method of Acceptian conquest, they hold an area the fraction of the size of the UFP's patrol zone. It is more in line with the conquests of either the Klingons or the Romulans. Their current empire is a sphere 400 light years across, a complete sphere. Acceptians tolerate no hostile, or even neutral independents within the Empire's sphere of control. It has been a dozen generations since a race fought them to the point of that race's destruction.
One of the pet Acceptian military theories is of the existence of a power they are not large enough to overcome by economic force, and not strong enough to conquer. The idea is bandied about with little real seriousness among the fashionable set, and with deadly seriousness in the halls of the War College. Neither circumstance has occurred in their 2000 years of starflight. With the first tendrils of contact with the Federation, the military thinkers are slowly looking up from the books, and wondering; "Could this be the one?"
The truth about the pre-starflight period is that no good records remain. There is a question as to whether this loss was one of accident or deliberate action.
1: Cere: A fleshy, membranous covering of the base of the upper mandible of a bird, esp. a bird of prey or a parrot, through which the nostrils open.
2: The truth of the matter is that Buteos, a related avainoid species, landed on the Acceptian home world first. Acceptians might have destroyed each other if not for that intervention. This information is no longer available, and was a deliberate act of altering history. The loss of those ancient lessons might bite them in the tail feathers one day. The nature of the alteration of the records of first contact and the early Acceptian history is unknown in the current generation. They believe the history as written to be true, unless you're a Buteo.
3: The crop is equivalent to the human esophagus. The Acceptian crop is stretchy and can hold food before it is moved into the gizzard and from there to the stomach.
4: Syrinx:The vocal organ of birds, situated at or near the bifurcation of the trachea into the bronchi.
6: Kronin are from the GURPS "Aliens" source book by Chris W. McCubbin. they are adapted to Epiphany Trek. They were first introduced in Lines in the Sand.
7: Sparrials are from the GURPS "Aliens" source book by Chris W. McCubbin. they are adapted to Epiphany Trek. As of yet none have been introduced in my writing. They were present on the Vigilant.
8: Truul are from the GURPS "Aliens" source book by Chris W. McCubbin. they are adapted to Epiphany Trek with few changes other than setting. As of yet none have appeared in my writing.9: Ships in the Night. Nabol is the world the fight is over. They didn't get any help from LUW once the Thasites had finished mauling their fleet.