When the Imperialum was torn asunder, many members of the House of Lords were caught in the middle of the civil war. Cut off from their peers, and what was left of the Imperialum, they were forced to fend for themselves. They sought to protect themselves, and their interests, forsaking the Empire and later the Alliance. Using what resources remained, they joined together to form the Cartel. Through their actions, they have become quite powerful in their own right.
Many Houses of the Cartel hold not only planets, but also systems, in their grasp. These groups of planets are brought together under one of the many Houses of the ancient nobility. Each House nominates a Syndic, to represent them in the Syndicate (the actual meeting place, and the meeting, is referred to as the Syndicate). The Syndicate chooses one of their peers to act as the Adjucator. The Adjucator is the equivalent of a Emperor or President, and acts in this capacity when needed. The Syndicate, however, makes the majority of decisions.
Each planet or system formed a republic, with a Syndic as the speaker for that house. (The Syndics were traditionally descendants from the isolated nobility.) An Adjucator, chosen by the Syndics heads the Cartel. Each House has a vote, cast through their Syndic. Whenever a new Adjucator is chosen, he/she must be voted in by a 2/3 vote to take the position. The Adjucator acts as an arbiter when the Cartel has meetings, as well as settles disputes between different Houses. If there is ever a tie vote, the Adjucator may break the tie (this has not happened in the last four decades, due to the Houses being an odd number).
The Syndic for each house can act as an ambassador for his/her own house, or appoint someone to act in that capacity. However, to act as an ambassador for the Cartel, one must be selected by the Adjucator, and endorsed by the Cartel.
House leadership (Syndic) is determined by a popular vote of the House membership (membership is determined through several factors, including, but not limited to: wealth, status within the House, contracts, and birth). The position of Syndic is very political, but you cant buy all the votes.
Within the Houses, there is a hierarchy that is difficult to understand, and changes from House to House, as well as being time sensitive. The heads of different branches are chosen by their ability in their chosen field. These are the future Syndics of the Cartel. The Houses are run more on the value of ability than birth. This simple fact (the Cartel believes) keeps the Cartel from falling into the ruin the Imperial faced. Anyone with the will and ability to reach greatness can, within the boundaries of the Cartel. There is virtually no discrimination within the Cartel, save that of the lazy, timid, or weak... If you want to swim with the sharks, grow teeth.
There is no differentiation between men and women in business. Since the major motivator within the Cartel is to acquire wealth, there are no restrictions for men or women. Also, there is no real method for marriage (it was disposed of as being very uneconomic), the act of drawing up contracts has become not only tradition, but art. Everything is settled under contract.
When a couple decides to have a child, everything from the childs sex, and name, is decided well in advance. The care of the child, visitation, educationeverything is literally pre-determined by the parents prior to signing the contract. This is seen by outsiders as a handicap, but the Houses see it as good buisness. Naming conventions, however, can be quite confusing.
The name that a Cartel member has can tell a great deal about who they are, however, like all things within the Cartel, it can also be very confusing to outsiders.
Example: Lord Christopher Chapman, of House Fores, is the present Adjucator for the Syndicate. His full legal name is Lord Christopher Allen Fores Chapman. The title of Lord was given to him when he first became a Syndic for his House. He will maintain that title until he dies, or it is removed from him by a trial. Christopher is his given name, agreed upon by his parents during the offspring contracting process. Allen was most probably the last name of one of his parents. The name of his House is a part of his legal name, and is always listed just before the "last" name. The name Chapman is his last name, and represents a long line of respected members of House Fores, as well as being the last name of one of his parents.
It is possible to belong to a House that one was not born into. Through financial dealings, changes of employment, or head-hunting, a member of one House may decide to join another. After the newcomer has proven him/herself to the new House, he/she may opt to change his/her name and House Alignment. This process is time consuming, and may only be accomplished with direct approval of the House in question. While uncommon, it is not unheard of.
House CordellShip Manufacturing
House HolegateArms This House has made its money through the construction of all types of armament. They produce and sell everything from small arms to weaponry for battleships. They currently hold planets in two systems, three of them habitable.
House SinclairLuxury This House deals in the wide-ranging market for pleasure. Almost any item related to creature comfort can be acquired from this House. They run the planet that they call home, as a huge resort. The wealthy come form all over the known systems to partake of the luxury and pleasures of the fabulous Sinclair Resort. One of the main items that they do deal in, is the very rare, and expensive delicacy called Chocolate.
House ForesFinance This House has made its wealth in money lending, finance, and the wide ranging stock market. The major players in the House deal with large corporations, and their monetary needs. They are sure to purchase shares in just about everything, assuring that they will have some hold over as much of the business world as possible. Hostile Takeover is their middle name.
House RandellSecurity This House is in what used to be called the protection racket. Although, now, they prefer (with the guns to back them up) the security business. They provide security to many different corporations, Houses, and non-aligned worlds. While some may call the services highly priced, the security is actually very good.
House CordellShip Manufacturing This House owns the single largest shipyard in the known systems. They manufacture hulls, and power plants for every kind of craft. If you need an inner-system runabout, a freighter, or a luxury yacht, they will build it (and House Sinclair will do your interior decorating).
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