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The Colonial Civil Service On Mars
An Overview of an Empire at Work
by John Gannon
This description of the colonial bureaucracy is loosely based on the colonial
regime established throughout the Indian Sub-Continent from the mid-1700s
until 1946. I used this model as Colonial India was quite similar to the
description given for British Territories on Mars. As author, I have taken
steps to simplify some aspects of the colonial service for the sake of
game flow and playability. After all, the idea is to give players a structure
to work for (or against!), not to leave them confused and befuddled - our
own governments do that quite well enough!
This description could also be used for other game systems and other
locations to represent similar power structures and organizations. As always,
in the end, it is the interpretation that you, the Game Master,
choose to put upon this work which will determine it's use...
In 1889, the hand of Queen Victoria stretches not only across the Earth,
but throughout the Inner Worlds of our Solar System as well. In all corners
of the sprawling British Empire groups of dedicated men, known sarcastically
as "Victoria's Sons", work to ensure the smooth
rule of each domain and that commerce and wealth continue to flow uninterrupted.
These are the dedicated men of the Colonial Office, and this is the
story of their work and organization on Mars. While the Foreign Office
has a tendency to garner more profit and glory, it is the daily work of
the Colonial Office which allows for many of these Foreign Office successes
in the first place. Until now unheralded, it is hoped that his article
will bring the true value and worth of the Colonial Office and it's work
on Mars the appreciation and recognition it so richly deserves.
An Overview Of The Colonial Organization
Within the Crown colony of Syrtis Lapis, there are three distinct political
divisions. These divisions are the Colonial Territories of Syrtis Lapis
(composed of Syrtis Major, Avenel, Moeris Lacus, and the currently rebel
city of Shastapsh); The Regency State of Parhoon (covering the Cities of
Parhoon and Gorovaan and their adjacent territory); and the Trucial Protectorates
(consisting of Meepsoor and Haat). Collectively, these three political
entities make up the British Crown Colony on Mars, known as Syrtis Lapis.
Each of these political sub-divisions has a branch of the Colonial Office
operating within its boundaries, the structure of which is identical from
state to state. This structure consists of a three-level system of Stations,
Districts, and Commissioners. The first level, the Stations, are responsible
for overseeing individual areas of the colony (approximately 40 square
miles per Station). Within their area, the Stations provide basic government
administration and services.
The next layer, the Districts, are directly responsible for the supervision
of the Stations in their area. Each District Office is responsible for
20 Stations (covering approximately 800 square miles total - or one map
hex). The District Offices provide more in-depth and detailed services
to the citizens of the colony, as well as providing support to the Stations
Above these Stations and District Offices are the Commissioners and
their staffs, who are responsible for control and supervision of all Districts
within their particular State, and for the supervision of the cities as
well. The number of Districts in each State vary depending upon the size
of the State. In the Colonial Territory of Syrtis Lapis there are 51 separate
districts, while in the Regency of Parhoon and the Trucial Protectorates
there are 10 districts each. In total, the British Colony on Mars is sub-divided
into 71 Districts.
At the top of the bureaucracy is the Office of the Viceroy. The Viceroy
is appointed by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and the Viceroy oversees the
colony in the name of the Queen. The Office of the Viceroy, under the auspices
of his advisors and staff, administers all three regions as the Crown Colony
of Syrtis Lapis and controls the activities of the Colonial Office on Mars.
The Colonial Station
The basic element of the Colonial Office is the Station House. In its simplest
and most primitive form, the station is a single building and at its best
a sprawling compound with several buildings, including offices, storage,
living and recreation areas. A Station is composed of four different people.
These are The Magistrate, The Registrar, The Collector, and The Assistant.
Working in conjunction with each other, these four men are responsible
for approximately 40 square miles of territory per station. It goes without
saying that in larger Stations, each of the four officers named above would
have designated assistants, but for the purposes of this article, an examination
of the four primary officers will suffice.
The Magistrate is responsible for the implementation and administration
of the Queen's justice within his area. To assist in this mission, he may
coordinate/command sections of the Constabulary, deputize local peace officers
and hire bailiffs. As a Magistrate, he has the power to sit in judgement
on civil and criminal matters, and to issue rulings in the name of the
Crown. In game terms, knowing a Colonial Magistrate (or being one) could
make dealing with the various authorities and agencies in the colony that
much easier. Of course, if you are on the wrong side of one, that Magistrate
may take advantage of his position to undermine and impede your character
whenever you have the misfortune to enter his jurisdiction.
The job of the Registrar is to maintain accurate records of births,
deaths, marriages, ownership of property, etc and a host of other statistical
information which will allow his superiors at the district level to prepare
reports and assessments concerning the lifestyle
and occupants of each station and district. In the simplest terms, the
Registrar is a one-man Department of Vital Statistics for his Station.
Accordingly, the Registrar has access to all sorts of information that
could be extremely useful to players since amongst the records will be
deeds, land claims, patents, escrow estates, personal records, leases,
etc. The opportunity to access and manipulate these documents (perhaps
by Fenian Radicals or Pro-German Agents) makes the position of the Registrar
an important one in the Colonial Service and an important position to be
held (or formerly held) by a character of the right background.
The Collector is of course a Tax Collector, but he is much more. He
is also responsible for maintaining the finances and expenses of the station
as well as overseeing the fiscal aspects of Colonial Office contracts and
projects within the station area. In a rich and prosperous part of the
colony, the Collector would have access to large sums of ready cash, negotiable
securities, bank accounts, gold, gems and other precious substances, plus
tax records. The opportunities for manipulation of these items by mischievous
players is unlimited.
The final member of the Station is known simply as The Assistant, however
his job is anything but simple. He is not there to help the others with
their tasks, but to manage the day to day activities of the station and
to ensure the smooth function of all colonial office activities within
the Station area. Do you need transport? That's the Assistant's job. Does
the Registrar need to hire clerks? The Assistant finds suitable people.
Does the Collector need to hire a canal barge to ship revenue? The Assistant
will hire one. Anything that ever needs to be done to make the Station
run, The Assistant handles. A player who has served as a Colonial Office
Station Assistant is probably a master scrounger, jack of all trades, a
fast talker, and one of the most well-connected and knowledgeable people
in his area.
Prior to the Shastapsh Rebellion, there were some 1420 Stations in the
Crown Colony, with 1020 in Syrtis Lapis, 200 in Parhoon, and 200 in the
The District Officers
These are the men responsible for overseeing the operations of the various
Stations within their District. Each District is under the direction of
a District Commissioner. This Commissioner is responsible to the States'
Chief Commissioner for the activities of his District. He is aided in his
work by an official known as the Senior District Officer. Under these two
men are five Junior District Officers, each one responsible for four Stations.
These seven men are known collectively as The District Officers. They are
supported in their administrative efforts by numerous clerks and assistants,
all of whom ensure the smooth flow of reports and papers between the Stations
and the State Commissioners Office. The officials of this office are usually
all career administrators of long service, though there may be one or two
up and coming young officials will to lend a friendly ear to a character
In each city of the colony, there is one individual who holds the title
of Resident. In effect, he is both Mayor of the community and Crown's Representative
to whatever form of Martian government or leadership might remain. The
Resident employs a staff that oversees the day-to-day operations of city
services and handles the staffing of paperwork to the Chief Commissioner.
The Resident is also responsible for coordinating with whatever Martian
administration may exist in each city. Within Parhoon and Gorovaan, the
native administration is quite extensive and fairly independent of human
control, likewise to a lesser extent in Meepsoor and Moeris Lacus, though
both cites are moving closer to the British Model of Civil Administration.
Within the Crown cities of Syrtis Major, Avenel, and Haat the Colonial
Administration has superseded the former Martian civil administrations
and thus, the Residents of these cities are not required to liaise or coordinate
with any of the former local hierarchy. The Residents are all long-service
career men within the Colonial Office, and many of them are being groomed
for eventual elevation to Commissioner.
The Office of the Chief Commissioner
This individual is effectively the ruler of his specific state. Within
each state, the District Commissioners and the Resident of each city all
report to the Chief Commissioner. Assisted only by a small staff of clerks
and personal assistants, The Chief Commissioner is responsible for overseeing
the development of the colonial territory assigned to him. This individual
is always a senior Colonial Office official of long service and high social
standing. His initial desire to turn away "annoying" adventurers might
be tempered by an impressive title, the Victoria Cross on a uniform, the
despairing eyes of a "Lady in Distress", or perhaps even a nephew or niece!
While the above descriptions define the various levels and functions of
the British Colonial Service on Mars, there are a couple of variations
worth noting. For one, in the Regency of Parhoon the Chief Commissioner
is known as the Regent-Commissioner and possesses special powers not available
to the other Chief Commissioners. The reason for this is that Queen Victoria
is still the official "Queen-Regent" for the Prince of Parhoon. As the
Queen's representative, the Chief Commissioner is also empowered to carry
out the duties of Regent and conduct state business in the name of the
Prince. Thus, he also possesses all the powers of the Ruler in addition
to his duties and obligations as Commissioner. For this reason he is known
as the Regent-Commissioner.
Also, as the Colonial Territory of Syrtis Lapis is a full-fledged possession
of England unlike the other two states, the position of Chief Commissioner
is replaced by that of Colonial Governor. The Governor possesses all powers
of the Chief Commissioner, as well as having authority over Army and Naval
forces within the colony, the power of decree, and full judicial authority
within the Territory of Syrtis Lapis.
Rule Britannia: The Colonial Government On Mars
With the plethora of Commissioners, Chief Commissioners, Regents, Governors,
Admirals and Generals that seem to abound in the British Martian territories,
the question arises: Who Is Actually In Charge On Mars? The answer to this
question is surprisingly simple, despite what seems to be the innumerable
layers of bureaucracy and overlapping authority of many of the persons
The supreme governing authority for the British on Mars is a man known
as "The Viceroy".
The Office of the Viceroy of Mars
The Viceroy effectively "rules" the colony. The Viceroy is an appointed
ruler, charged by Queen Victoria with overall responsibility for all British
Territories on the Red Planet. It is from the office of the Viceroy that
orders, commands, royal decrees, changes in policy, etc issue forth in
the name of the Queen. While only one man may hold the title of Viceroy,
it is through the efforts of others that the necessary directions are drafted,
defined, proposed, and proclaimed. This work is carried out by the members
of the Viceroy's personal staff and a group of appointed officials, known
as the Viceroy's Council.
The Council is composed of a Colonial Treasurer, a Colonial Secretary,
a Foreign Office Representative, the Commander of British Ground Forces
on Mars, the Commander of the Martian Colonial Fleet, the Chief Commissioner,
the Regent-Commissioner, and the Colonial Governor. The Council is responsible
for making local policy decisions, acting as an advisory body to the Viceroy,
and ensuring that the Queen's will is carried out on Mars.
The Colonial Secretary
While the Commissioners and Governor may command the apparatus of the Colonial
Civil Service, the administrative coordination of the three regions, supervision
of records, matters of personnel staffing, central registry of files, etc.
falls to the Colonial Secretary. Additionally, the Colonial Secretary is
also responsible for the operation and conduct of the Colonial Police Force
(much as the Home Secretary in London is responsible for the Metropolitan
Police Force there). The Chief Commissioner of the CPF reports directly
to the colonial Secretary, who represents the concerns and requirements
of the CPF to the Viceroy. The Secretary's other special portfolio is the
Colonial Building Authority (CBA). The Director of the CBA also reports
to, and takes his direction from, the Colonial Secretary.
The Colonial Treasurer
The Colonial Treasurer is responsible for all financial matters pertaining
to the Martain Colonies, from the payment of invoices to the handling of
transfer fees for use of the British Dockyards by other nations, processing
of tax revenues collected, and handling trade-related matters with other
powers on Mars. He prepares the budgets and allocates finances for all
governmental activities on Mars.
The Foreign Secretary for Mars
Due to the distance between Earth and Mars, as well as the relatively slow
speed of communications between the two worlds, it was determined early
on that the Martian Territories would require special consideration in
regards to foreign policy matters and foreign relations. With all the indigenous
Martian governments, as well as representatives of the Great Powers of
Earth present, the solution was to create for a Mars a semi-independent
Foreign Office. The result was the creation of the position Foreign Secretary
For Mars. This man (who holds the rank of Deputy Minister in the Foreign
Office) has some limited authority to make foreign policy decisions concerning
Mars. He is also the higher authority for the Foreign Office representative
The other five members of the Viceroy's Council act in the role of advisors
to the Viceroy, each providing specialty knowledge of his particular position.
General Willis and Vice-Admiral Harcourt-Smythe have been added to the
Council since the outbreak of the Oenotrian War, though both had been consulted
before in regards to military matters.
As there are no elected members to represent the Syrtis Lapis Territory,
there is a 5-man Governor's Council which makes and enacts policy on behalf
of Syrtis Lapis. This council is composed of the Colonial Governor and
the four Residents, who act in a manner similar to the Viceroy's Council.
The Viceroy is not a member of this Council, though he is of course, consulted.
The Viceroy's role is to act as Queen's Representative and to give Royal
Assent to any edicts enacted by the Governor's Council. While there have
been occasions where the actions of the Governor's Council have conflicted
with the Viceroy's Council, these have been both rare and of a minor nature.
Statistical Notes On The Colonial Government
Overseeing All British Domains on Mars:
1 Viceroy - George Cecil Orlando Bridgeman, 4th Earl of Bradford
Colonial Governor of Syrtis Lapis - Charles William Cavendish, 3rd
Chief Commissioner of the Trucial States - Sir Douglas Winn, ISO, JP
Regent-Commissioner for Parhoon - Sir Walter Temple, Lord Dundas
Colonial Treasurer - Jerrold Berke
Colonial Secretary - Phillip Twyford, ISO
Foreign Secretary for Mars - The Right Honourable Peter Goddard, KC,
GOC Colonial Military Forces - General Sir George Harry Smith-Willis,
Commander Martian Colonial Fleet - Vice-Admiral Sir Brian Harcourt-Smythe,
Within the Crown Colony:
1 Colonial Governor -Charles Compton William Cavendish, 3rd Baron Chesham
Syrtis Major - George Thomas
Avenel - Henry Withers
Haat - John Elliott
(Shashtasph) - (Jeremy Strutt - deceased) (From the Adventure "Mission
51 District Commissioners
1020 Stations (Manager/Registrar/Collector/Assistant)
Within The Trucial States:
1 Chief Commissioner - Sir Douglas Winn, ISO, JP
Meepsoor - Charles Wright
Moeris Lacus - Jeffrey Bosley
10 District Commissioner
200 Stations (Manager/Registrar/Collector/Assistant)
Within the Regency State:
1 Regent-Commissioner - Sir Walter Temple, Lord Dundas
Parhoon - Peter Staples
Gorovaan - Charles Eglantine (From the Adventure "Cult Of Doom")
10 District Commissioners
200 Stations (Manager/Registrar/Collector/Assistant)
Districts and Stations
One District = 800 square miles of territory
(There are 71 Districts in the Crown Colony)
One Station = 40 square miles of territory
(There are 20 stations per District/1420 in the Colony)
Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:51:55 EDT
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