Axiom - February 2000
Long Live the King - Simon Clay
(page 10/18)


Princes Henry and Harold killed when antigravity unit fails
Simon Clay
The Crown Prince, Prince Henry, and his younger brother Prince Harald were killed earlier today in an aircar accident,
such a failure is well known. In flight, the car's wings give the pilot an ability to soft-crash the vehicle, but at low speed the wings do not provide enough aerodynamic lift for control. For this reason, all aircar pads are fitted with their own gravity nullification units that cut in if they do not receive a 'functioning' signal from the aircar every tenth of a second. That the aircar's drive and safety systems failed together is being treated as suspicious in the extreme. The Imperial Guard sealed off the Palace and its four thousand-acre grounds within seconds of the crash. Despite their prompt action no arrest has been reported,

although the police force has thrown the majority of its resources into examining the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Eyewitness reports, page 2
Accident or murder? page 3
More details pages 4-13
along with their pilot and bodyguards. Sources in the Palace say that the aircar was on final approach to a landing pad in the grounds when its antigravity unit failed. His Most Glorious and Excellent Majesty, King Richard of the Empire of Man was said to be 'distraught' and later, on hearing of the nature of the crash, 'furious'.
The fact that final approach to landing is the only time an aircar is vulnerable to

28th January 2834

The Guardian

Richard killed in massacre at spaceport

Simon Clay
Richard I of the Empire of Man was assassinated at 11:17am GMT today. He had returned from an inspection tour of the Jovian Colonies aboard the Imperial Star Yacht "Terra" and shuttled down to the London Spaceport when his party was attacked by an armed party of unknown size.

A statement from the Palace reports that a modified freighter jumped into normal space deep in the Earth's gravity well, destroying itself in the process. However, the freighter's transit tunnel was used to launch assault pods into the
Earth's atmosphere. Powered armour clad troops dropped onto the landing field, where they engaged in a pitched battle with the Imperial bodyguard, increased to twenty marines since the suspicious deaths of the Princes Henry and Harald almost six months ago. All of the Imperial guard were killed in the attack, along with several aides.

Eyewitness reports place the size of the attacking force at more than one hundred strong, and suggest that the Guard eliminated most of the before they fell. One bystander said of the Imperial guard, "They almost got away with it.
There were only five or six of the...[attackers]...left when the last of 'em went down." Richard I died at the scene.

Given the suspicious circumstances of the deaths of the King and both his sons the Council of Electors has chosen to appoint King Richard's younger brother, Prince David of America, Regent pro tem, citing the events surrounding the assassination of David II in 2798 as precedent.

The Imperial Police Force has been given permission to use telepaths to scan all members of the Royal family ...

17th July 2834

The Guardian

Prince to be executed for treason following discovery of false memories

Simon Clay
David Stewart, the former Prince of America, was convicted of high treason at the New Bailey last night. The execution is set for 2nd August.

Liberal reform groups protested the conviction, based, as a leak from the court revealed, on "false memories". False memories are "written in" by a telepath to cover up "real" memories that must be forgotten for some reason. The technique has been illegal outside the Imperial military since its discovery in 2157, but is still widely used in organised crime circles. The replacement effect was believed to be undetectable, but a psi-research institution, coincidentally sponsored by James, Prince of Europe,
now heir to the throne, has recently developed a method of detecting "false memories".

The fact that the technique is new and relatively unproven is what has the reform groups up in arms. Although convictions have been obtained before based on the presence of false memories, there has always been convincing circumstantial evidence to support it. This case was conducted in closed court, and the evidence in support of the false memory evidence has not been released. Sources in the New Bailey report that the judges of the case, the Council of Electors, were "furious" at the leak, and have refused even to consider releasing any more of the court proceedings ...

31st July 2834

The Guardian

James III confirmed king

2nd August 2834

The Guardian

Simon Clay
Despite continuing furore about the conviction, David Stewart, the former Prince of America, was executed by firing squad at dawn, 6:23am today. His eldest son, James III, was confirmed King of the Empire of Man by proclamation of the Council of Electors, released at 9:00am, also today. The coronation is set for 15th August ...

His most Excellent and Glorious Majesty, James III of the Empire of Man put down the data pad. He glanced round at the marines of the Imperial Guard standing at parade rest near the entrances to his rooms in the Imperial Palace.

So his father was dead. Now he was safe. He turned his back on the Guard, and looked out of the window. The rain pounded on the well-kept lawns, but he saw the Throne of the Empire of Man with himself in it, dressed in the regalia of Emperor. In his mind's eye he caressed the upholstery on the arms.

He smiled.