April 12, 3308
Arissa Accepts Marlinists’ Independence
Following a referendum by the Marlinist Colonies, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has formally recognised their autonomous status.
Prime Consul Kayode Tau of the Marlinist Consulate reported on his latest meeting with the Emperor:
“Her Majesty was clearly uncomfortable with the democratic way in which the ex-Imperial citizens in the colonies now govern themselves. But she gracefully acknowledged that the Marlinist population had declined her invitation to become an Imperial protectorate, and would thus remain independent.”
“However, there was a proviso to Emperor Arissa’s acceptance of the decision. She insisted that the Marlinist Colonies must work with the Empire’s intelligence agencies to prevent any resurgence of the NMLA or similar terrorist groups.”
It has since been agreed that Imperial Intelligence and the Marlinist Constabulary would collaborate on identifying Neo-Marlinist extremists. Colonel Saskia Landau and Major Milo Castile, both former co-leaders of ACT, have agreed to work together once again.
In recognition of the minority who voted to rejoin the Empire, dedicated customs and immigration channels for registered Marlinist citizens will soon be established.
April 8, 3308
Marlinists Reject Emperor’s Offer
A public referendum in the Marlinist Colonies has resulted in the majority voting to remain fully independent from the Empire.
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval had proposed to make the colony systems an Imperial protectorate in return for Marlinist allegiance to the Imperial throne. This would have permitted an autonomous government while creating many civil and military links.
First Minister Octavia Volkov announced the referendum’s results in the Marlinist Parliament:
“Our people have given us a clear mandate: the colonies stand alone. In accordance with the key principles of Marlinism, we reject monarchy rule in favour of republican governance and direct representation.”
“Most of us are still haunted by the trauma of becoming refugees in 3306, when millions of innocent Marlinists were accused of supporting terrorist acts. We fled from an Empire that had become intolerant and abusive. This cannot be so easily forgotten.”
“Nevertheless, we recognise that approximately a quarter of our population voted to accept the Emperor’s proposal. The ties to our homelands remain strong, and we still share much culture and history with the Empire. But the will of the masses is evident.”
“I offer my thanks to Her Majesty for extending this offer, and call upon her to recognise and respect the decision of the Marlinist Colonies.”
April 5, 3308
Marlinists Hold Public Referendum
The population of the Marlinist Colonies will vote to accept or decline the offer to become an Imperial protectorate.
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval’s proposal aims to build links between the independent colony systems and the Empire, from where the Marlinists originally fled as political refugees in 3306.
The Marlin Standard ran an editorial summarising the situation:
“Should the Marlinist Colonies remain an isolated republican society, or should we move beneath the Empire’s protective wing? It’s a question that most of us never expected to be asked.”
“Many expressed fierce anger that Emperor Arissa has dared to ask for our allegiance. In her desperation to hunt down the NMLA she persecuted all believers in Marlinism, arresting thousands and displacing millions of her own citizens. Can we now trust her to welcome us back?”
“Others are concerned that the Marlinist Colonies remain vulnerable, claiming that becoming a satellite nation of the Empire would provide military defences as well as economic boosts. And for those still holding on to their past lives, the attraction of reconnecting with friends and family in the Empire is strong.”
“Whatever the outcome, First Minister Octavia Volkov’s swift decision to put this issue to a referendum is a splendid example of Marlinism in action. Votes are already being cast, and the result will be revealed at the end of this week.”
March 29, 3308
Empire Reaches Out to Marlinists
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has outlined a plan for the Marlinist Colonies to be officially reconnected with the Empire.
The Marlin Standard published an exclusive report from Prime Consul Kayode Tau, after he attended a diplomatic meeting on Capitol:
“The essence of Emperor Arissa’s proposal is a pledge to grant the status of Imperial protectorate to the Marlinist Colonies, in return for swearing allegiance to the throne.”
“In practice, local government would remain autonomous but the Imperial Navy and security agencies would have a permanent presence. There would be investment in trade, with Empire-based companies as preferred partners. New channels of transportation and communication would be opened between Marlinist and Imperial systems.”
“Emperor Arissa and I discussed the issues at length. Following her experience with the Lords of Restoration, Her Majesty now accepts that most believers in Marlinism are not terrorists or revolutionaries. She has, however, insisted that the Empire must be watchful for any Neo-Marlinist resurgence.”
“When I broached the topic that some senators had suggested absorbing the Marlinist Colonies by force, the Emperor assured me there would be no military action. She spoke of her ‘need to cleanse the wounds left by the NMLA’, and I believe this is a genuine sentiment.”
The Marlinist Parliament has received full details of the proposal and is preparing a response.
March 21, 3308
Arissa Convenes Key Imperial Figures
Various Imperial allies, ambassadors and nobles have been summoned to Capitol for a series of meetings with Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval.
Political journalist Cassia Carvalho provided details for The Imperial Herald:
“There are rumours of many behind-the-scenes changes among the upper echelons of power since Emperor Arissa returned. But this latest event was mostly in the public eye and seemed designed to reassure the citizens of her physical presence.”
“Members from all echelons of the Imperial aristocracy arrived at the palace with their entourages. Court ceremonies were held to reaffirm their fealty to Emperor Arissa, all with as much spectacle and grandeur as possible.”
“Less public were Arissa’s closed sessions with representatives from the Imperial Diplomatic Corps. Laurentin Sharpe, the Empire’s senior ambassador to the Alliance, said: ‘The purpose of these briefings is to update Her Majesty on political developments that occurred during her absence, and to receive guidance for the future.’”
“Alongside the parade of familiar faces was one very unexpected figure: Prime Consul Kayode Tau of the Marlinist Consulate. His megaship, Fairfax Vision, was afforded full diplomatic immunity when it arrived in the Achenar system. Considering the turbulent history between the Empire and the Marlinist Colonies, what might Arissa be planning?”
March 11, 3308
Imperial Guard Defends Duvals
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has ordered the Imperial Guard to provide increased security to surviving members of the Duval dynasty.
Many Imperial Family members, including Prince Harold, were assassinated by the NMLA. Sources close to Emperor Arissa state that she is determined to preserve the remaining Duval bloodline as well as deter any future attacks.
The Imperial Guard is a legion of elite warriors under the direct control of the Emperor. Although typically seen performing ceremonial duties, they are a highly trained fighting force. It is understood that their numbers have been boosted by a focused enlistment drive from other areas of the Imperial military.
A cohort of Imperial Guard has been placed at the service of Princess Aisling Duval. She has gratefully accepted their presence and integrated them with her existing security team.
Similar squads have been posted to the households of Archduke Otto Lombardo-Duval and Lucretia Roche-Duval, both of whom are descended from the siblings of Emperor Hesketh. Legionnaires were also assigned to direct relations of Emperor Arissa, including her prominent cousins Admiral Lucius Lavigny and Countess Guinevere Lavigny.
Only Hadrian Duval declined the offer of additional protection, stating that he will rely on his Praetorian Guard. He reassured his followers that a hand-picked corps permanently surrounds his infant son Hector Duval.
March 7, 3308
ACT Disbanded Following Defeat of NMLA
The Alliance, Empire and Federation, have agreed to close down the Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit.
A joint statement from all three superpowers stated: “ACT’s primary mission to locate and destroy the Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army has been successfully accomplished.”
ACT was formed in March 3307 following the Nine Martyrs attacks, when the NMLA simultaneously bombed multiple starports. The independent taskforce rapidly took the lead in investigating the terrorists, calling upon the resources of many agencies, specialists and freelance pilots.
The co-leaders of ACT have now returned to their respective security services. Captain Saskia Landau was personally awarded the Achenar Service Cross by Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, in recognition of her key role in identifying the Lords of Restoration. Landau has now accepted overall command of Imperial Intelligence, reporting directly to the Emperor.
Captain Milo Castile, Inspector Mara Klatt, Praetor Leo Magnus and Senior Agent Tanya Ramirez have all been similarly commended for their successes. The joint statement also paid tribute to those members who lost their lives in the fight against terrorism.
ACT was formed under the Cornelius-Lasky Convention, which was ratified at the Galactic Summit. The treaty requires governments to cooperate against large-scale threats to civilian populations, and is now commonly viewed as a historic achievement. Since it remains in force, ACT could be reformed in future if a similar threat to the NMLA arises.
February 24, 3308
Battle of Summerland Ends NMLA Threat
Pilots’ Federation ALERT
The Empire has carried out reprisals against the rogue faction Darkwater Inc in the Summerland system.
The private military firm had trained NMLA terrorists and held Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval captive, on the orders of a cabal of senators named the Lords of Restoration.
Darkwater mustered an impressive armada, but these were no match for a combination of superpower forces and independent pilots. Colonel Ronan Brock, the mercenaries’ leader, was killed during the fighting when he fled from the Onyx Storm megaship and was shot down by Imperial auxiliaries.
Emperor Arissa praised all those who helped destroy Darkwater, and declared: “Let the Battle of Summerland mark the victorious end of our bitter war against both the NMLA and the traitors who sought to destabilise the Empire.”
ACT clarified that “Although there may always be Neo-Marlinist extremists, the large-scale threat of the NMLA has finally been nullified.” All data obtained from the terrorists’ Omega Grid network has now been shared with the relevant security agencies.
With Darkwater eliminated, the Empire has installed a new controlling faction into the Summerland system. The Praetorian Vigil will report directly to the Emperor and govern in her name.
The Summerland Patron’s Party will redeem combat bonds and provide other rewards at the starport Henry O’Hare’s Hangar. A permit exemption allowing all independent pilots to enter the Summerland system will remain active for the next two weeks.
February 21, 3308
Further Omega Grid Secrets Revealed
ACT has released details about a plan by the Lords of Restoration to frame Hadrian Augustus Duval as the leader of the NMLA.
The information was extracted from the NMLA’s Omega Grid network and published by Captain Saskia Landau:
“It was Senator Ursula Torquatus who devised a scheme to undermine the Imperial Family and turn citizens against them by ‘exposing’ a Duval as the NMLA mastermind. Hadrian Duval was seen as the logical choice since many viewed him as an extremist through his prior association with Nova Imperium, though Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval officially pardoned him in 3306.”
“The Lords of Restoration used a virtual doppelganger of the Emperor, indistinguishable from authentic transmissions, to convince the Senate that she was communicating from a safe location. A similar doppelganger was developed to replicate Hadrian and was used to send orders to NMLA allies such as the Landgrave of Mudhrid.”
“This is how they planted evidence, discovered in April 3307, that Hadrian had converted to Neo-Marlinism and was determined to wipe out all other Duvals. Yet, despite triggering an unsuccessful Federal attack in the Paresa system, the accusation was not verified or widely believed.”
“Months later, the Lords of Restoration tried to kill Hadrian and Lady Astrid before their son Hector could be born, fearing the continuation of the Duval dynasty. But other senators moved the family to a secure location, beyond the reach of their agents.”
Hadrian Duval has publicly thanked ACT for uncovering this information and officially absolving him of all suspicion in this matter.
February 17, 3308
Empire Declares Reprisals Against Darkwater
Pilots’ Federation ALERT
Darkwater Inc in the Summerland system has been declared a hostile military target for its role in abducting Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval.
The private military firm, led by Colonel Ronan Brock, was secretly hired by the Lords of Restoration to train and equip the NMLA. Darkwater troops also kept the Emperor imprisoned in a concealed bunker for over a year.
Once their involvement was revealed by ACT, Darkwater’s forces regrouped around the megaship Pearl Mandate. Colonel Brock led an attempt to gain control of Summerland as a defensive measure but was unsuccessful. The mercenaries have now been branded as wanted criminals by the system authorities.
The order to strike against Darkwater came directly from Emperor Arissa:
“I call upon my loyal servants and all other warriors of honour to wipe out this nest of traitors. We remember the innocent victims of the NMLA by punishing those who enabled them.”
The Summerland Patron’s Party will redeem combat bonds for destroyed Darkwater ships at the starport Henry O’Hare’s Hangar. Although the Summerland system is typically permit locked, the Empire has arranged a total exemption for independent pilots for a three-week period.
To guarantee that Darkwater is thoroughly eliminated, the Empire is offering a range of incentives to pilots. These include awarding the rank of Master in the Imperial Navy Auxiliary, discounts on Imperial ships and weapons in the Summerland system, and Imperial Hammer railguns for the ten pilots who achieve the most combat bonds.
February 16, 3308
Arissa Retakes the Imperial Throne
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has attended a public ceremony following her year-long abduction by the Lords of Restoration.
Her proclamation from Trasken Square, standing before millions of Capitol’s citizens and flanked by legions of Imperial Guard, was broadcast across all channels:
“To those who protected the Empire during my enforced absence, I offer my deepest gratitude. My trusted chancellor, senators and security agencies are to be commended.”
“To those who dared to attack Imperial citizens, who dared to impersonate me and mislead my people…who took the lives of my family. Know this: there will be no place to hide from my wrath.”
“And to all citizens who may fear these uncertain times, I vow that your Emperor will lead you into the glorious future that is ours by right.”
Subsequent messages from the Imperial Palace praised ACT and its supporters for their work in freeing Arissa and destroying the NMLA. Princess Aisling Duval was also thanked for her dedication to finding out the truth, although some newsfeeds have noted that Aisling would hold a strong claim on a vacated throne.
February 14, 3308
ACT Exposes the Lords of Restoration
The Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit has unveiled a secret cabal of Imperial senators who masterminded the NMLA’s terrorist activity.
The information was obtained after ACT successfully penetrated the NMLA’s dark-comms network. Captain Saskia Landau provided this summary to the media:
“Senators Gereon, Jourdain, Nerva, Scordato and Torquatus were at the heart of a powerful conspiracy to permanently remove the position of Emperor. They called themselves the Lords of Restoration, based on their aim to restore executive power to the Senate.”
“The NMLA became their terroristic agents, weaponised to assassinate the Duvals and other obstacles. Its members were militarised at Darkwater training camps and provided with sophisticated equipment by corrupt Imperial Intelligence agents. But the Lords could never fully control the terrorist figurehead Theta Seven, whose attacks against non-Imperial starports were not part of their original plan.”
“Marlinism was also exploited as a political lever. The hope was that, compared to this democratic ideology, citizens would view a senator-led Empire as a moderate compromise once the Imperial Family was gone. While this led to the establishment of the Marlinist Colonies, the Lords’ later attempts to influence those systems via puppet politicians did not succeed.”
“Following the assassinations of Prince Harold and other Duvals, the Lords abducted Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval in January 3307. She was kidnapped en route to a secure location, with Senator Nerva falsifying confirmation of her safe arrival. This allowed the Lords to engineer communications with the Senate via a virtual doppelganger, which were accepted as genuine since they were verified by Imperial Intelligence agents.”
ACT is working closely with Imperial security agencies to identify all those who collaborated with the Lords of Restoration.
February 9, 3308
Arissa Rescued from Year-Long Captivity
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has been found alive after being secretly imprisoned by the private military firm Darkwater Inc.
The Imperial Herald published a special report on recent events:
“The absence of the Emperor from public life for over a year has prompted much speculation. The Senate claimed that she was being kept safe from assassination attempts by the NMLA, and that they remained in contact with her.”
“In truth, she was being held captive by the NMLA’s secret benefactors. This group of Imperial senators referred to themselves as the Lords of Restoration. They were revealed only after ACT recruited independent pilots to help decipher the terrorists’ dark-comms network.”
“Chancellor Blaine immediately ordered the Imperial Guard into battle against Darkwater soldiers. A ship fleeing from the Summerland system was intercepted, aboard which was a cryogenic pod containing the Emperor herself. She was swiftly returned to Capitol, and is currently under the care of the Imperial Palace medical team.”
“The IISS has launched a security operation based on ACT’s information. This reveals that groups within the Senate, Darkwater and Imperial Intelligence formed a long-running conspiracy to fund and empower the NMLA. Senators Alberto Gereon, Karl Nerva, Ursula Torquatus and several others have been placed under arrest.”
“ACT has stated that it will provide additional information soon.”
January 26, 3308
Arissa Addresses the Empire
The Imperial Senate has shared a personal message from Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval, who has been in a secure location for nearly a year.
The brief statement was broadcast on all public channels:
“Citizens of the Empire, be assured that your Emperor is alive and well. I regret that my temporary seclusion has lasted for so long, but I have remained in contact with the Senate during this time.”
“I was advised to depart from Capitol when Imperial Intelligence warned me about a legitimate NMLA assassination attempt, and of Marlinist sympathisers within the highest levels of our government. Once the work of this loyal agency is complete, I will continue my work in leading us toward a prosperous future.”
Eye on Achenar reported that this address was “welcomed by a relieved Empire”, adding that it was vital to “root out all Marlinist traitors”. The Imperial Herald noted that the Emperor seemed to absolve Imperial Intelligence of the allegations that it was secretly enabling the NMLA.
However, a caution was sounded by Princess Aisling Duval:
“Arissa has communicated with the Senate in the same manner for months, so this changes nothing. Only a public appearance will alleviate my concerns regarding her wellbeing. I would be delighted to host a suitable event if she will accept my invitation to attend in person.”
January 20, 3308
The Missing Emperor?
Princess Aisling Duval has discussed growing concerns over Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval’s lack of public engagements in recent months.
In an interview with The Imperial Herald, she said:
“Chancellor Blaine assures us that the Emperor has been kept in seclusion for nearly a year to protect her from the NMLA. But why has this prevented the Empire’s ruler from engaging with her citizens? After all, Hadrian Duval and his family were placed under the same senatorial protection without disappearing altogether.”
“We know that the Emperor has communicated with the Senate on various matters during this time. Government channels are generally trusted thanks to Imperial Intelligence’s verification protocols. But Captain Landau’s recent testimony, which links Imperial Intelligence to the NMLA, has me concerned. How can I be sure that a breach to our most secure networks wasn’t responsible for the location and murder of my father, Prince Harold?”
“Until Arissa appears in person, it is irresponsible to assume her safety is guaranteed. I will be most relieved to have my fears proved wrong.”
Chancellor Anders Blaine responded:
“With the greatest respect to Princess Duval, I have never had cause to believe that Her Majesty the Emperor is in any danger from her own security agencies. Her imminent return to public life should alleviate such concerns.”
January 7, 3308
Imperial Intelligence Denies NMLA Connection
Senators have refuted ACT’s claim that the NMLA made use of official but highly secret Imperial communications devices.
Captain Saskia Landau maintains that the terrorist group’s dark-comms network was very similar to the Omega Grid, an undetectable messaging system used exclusively by Imperial Intelligence.
Senator Karl Nerva told the media:
“In her desperation to seek out the NMLA, Captain Landau is chasing shadows. Imperial Intelligence must operate under total secrecy, but I assure you that this ‘Omega Grid’ is just as much of an invention to discredit the Empire as Serene Harbour was.”
“Landau has overstepped her authority with these outlandish accusations. I once again propose that ACT be disbanded and its operatives returned to normal duties.”
The Imperial Herald reported that other senators are calling for Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval to overrule those who are blocking ACT’s investigation. The newsfeed highlighted that she did not attend any functions in person during the past year, and has not broadcast any public messages.
In response, Chancellor Anders Blaine gave this statement:
“Her Majesty was placed under secure protection in early 3307 after several failed assassination attempts by the NMLA. She has been communicating remotely with the Senate on all official business, but does plan to return to Capitol very soon.”
January 1, 3308
Duvals Gather to Celebrate New Year
Princess Aisling Duval marked the start of 3308 by introducing her cousin Hadrian Duval, his wife and their newborn son to Imperial high society.
Entertainment journalist Solomon Helios broadcast a report on the event:
“It’s an annual tradition for Princess Aisling to invite the great and the good to her palace on Emerald, although the tragic loss of her father in 3306 meant that last year’s gathering was cancelled. This year she made up for it with a sumptuous, glittering celebration of the kind that we Imperials are famed for.”
“For the first time, Hadrian Duval and Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval were in attendance. This youthful couple were surprisingly charming for a pair who would once have been arrested on sight. They entertained guests with stories of trading and fighting aboard tiny ships, from the days when their only title was Commander.”
“However, the real guest of honour spent most of his time asleep, oblivious to the colossal attention he drew. Yes, baby Hector made his very first public appearance, having been born while his parents were under senatorial protection. Many dignitaries insisted on having their image recorded beside the ‘future Emperor’, a phrase one could hear being murmured throughout the palace.”
“But what of the current Emperor? Unlike Hadrian’s family, Arissa Lavigny-Duval remains in seclusion and only communicates remotely with the Senate. Now that the terrorists have been quelled, surely the time has come for Her Imperial Majesty to reappear before her loyal subjects?”
December 9, 3307
Tributes Gathered to Honour Duval Heir
Pilots’ Federation ALERT
The birth of Hadrian Duval’s son has been celebrated in grand fashion in the Paresa system.
Praetor Leo Magnus, the new leader of Nova Paresa, publicly thanked pilots for delivering Chateau De Aegaeon, HR 7221 Wheat, Indi Bourbon and Yaso Kondi Leaf to support these highly exclusive proceedings. Payment is now available from Dyson City starport.
Political journalist Cassia Carvalho discussed the arrival of Hector Mordanticus Duval in The Imperial Herald:
“As Emperor Hengist’s illegitimate grandson and former enemy of the state, Hadrian Duval has always been the outsider. Indeed, his newborn son’s middle name seems deliberately chosen to remind the Emperor that she ordered Hadrian’s mentor, Imperator Mordanticus, to be shot in cold blood.”
“But over the last two years, Hadrian’s position has gradually shifted from isolationist rebel to legitimised ally. He appeals to citizens who are unhappy with a female monarch, even more so now that he has a male heir. And he remains closest to the Imperial bloodline, with most other Duval family members having been assassinated by the NMLA.”
“Therefore, unless Arissa Lavigny-Duval or Aisling Duval produce children, it’s entirely possible that Hadrian’s child might inherit the throne. Despite only being a few days old, Hector Duval’s impact upon the Empire could be measured in centuries.”
October 25, 3307
Senators Offer to Protect Hadrian Duval
The recent NMLA attack in the Paresa system has encouraged the Imperial Senate to reach out to Imperator Hadrian Duval.
An official pronouncement was made by Senator Caspian Leopold:
“A majority of us believe that preserving the Duval bloodline is paramount for the future of the Empire. Hadrian Duval is not officially a member of the Imperial Family but he is the grandson of Emperor Hengist, meaning his as-yet unborn child is also of royal lineage.”
“The NMLA has already murdered many Duvals, including Prince Harold. Indeed, Hadrian himself barely survived an assassination attempt last year. It’s clear that the Empire can provide greater security than he currently has, and it is our duty to do so.”
“Therefore, we propose making both Hadrian and Lady Astrid wards of the Senate. They will be placed under the highest level of protection, at least until this grave threat has abated.”
Imperator Hadrian Duval is currently holding discussions with a delegation from the Senate. Political observers believe that their proposal may be conditional on him severing ties with Nova Imperium, an isolationist organisation that was once outlawed in the Empire.
Independent newsfeeds have speculated that since the NMLA’s terror campaign began, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has been under similar senatorial protection and performing her duties from a secure location.
September 21, 3307
An Heir for Hadrian Duval
Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval, wife of Hadrian Augustus Duval, has confirmed that she is expecting a child in December.
The story was broken by the Paresa News Network:
“Lady Astrid was visibly overjoyed as she told us of her pregnancy, and of Hadrian’s excitement at being a father. Her only complaint was that she’s no longer allowed to fly support missions for Nova Imperium. Once a Commander, always a Commander!”
Mainstream media channels also commented on the news.
The Imperial Herald: “This has caused tangible ripples of unease in the Senate. Since neither Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval nor Princess Aisling Duval have heirs, Hadrian’s claim to the throne will be strengthened if he alone ensures that the Duval bloodline continues.”
Eye on Achenar: “Who cares about the spawn of Emperor Hengist’s illegitimate grandson? The NMLA may have assassinated much of the Imperial Family, but this outcast boy is still a footnote in their noble history.”
Vox Galactica: “Despite his unofficial status, Hadrian Duval has many silent supporters within the Empire. His isolationist stance appeals to nostalgic citizens, as does returning to the tradition of male Emperors. Should Hadrian have a son, he may feel empowered to seek his birthright more forcefully.”