Imperial FarSpace Service
The overt purpose of the IFSS is to enhance stability of areas outside
the Imperium. It is not to prepare regions for incorporation into
the Imperium, and in fact expansionism is against the IFSS
charter. There will always be areas outside the Imperium, and the
longer those regions are stable, the better protected are the
The enhancement of stability necessitates a diplomatic branch, to
advise and guide the polities in stable directions. Further to
these aims, the IFSS plays no favorites. Their advice will not be
accepted if they are perceived to be playing sides -- who knows then
whether their advice is beneficial or detrimental?
So the reputation of the IFSS diplomatic branch is vital to the success
of the service. Training and cultivating statesmen is a major
drive. The IFSS statesmen are respected individuals, and their
personal reputations are gigantic.
Backing up the diplomatic branch is an extremely effective network of
information gathering. While major resources are directed at the
diplomatic branch, the majority of personnel are field operatives.
The field operates much as the IISS. Ships with small crews, but
very high quality sensor installations, are given information
tasks. Most -- almost all -- of the ships operated by the IFSS
are Donosev class survey scouts.
While it is usual for field branch crews to be given specific missions,
as a crew -- or individual commander -- gains experience and
demonstrates initiative -- and intuition -- they are more likely to be
assigned more general missions. The most effective of these crews
are given great latitude in how they spend their time. The best
are merely expected to report in every now and again, and then left
alone to go their own way. Such crews can go for years between
The purpose of the field branch is to gather information, to expand the
IFSS's knowledge base. Any and all information, no matter how
trivial, is welcomed. Once in the IFSS system, everything is
correlated and analyzed in an attempt to find anomalies -- or to find a
It is not clear what the IFSS is looking for, but the common joke is
"We'll know it when we see it." There is a policy never to answer
the question -- a question that always remains unspoken.
Of course, one destination of this knowledge is in support of the
diplomatic branch. Also, if anything interesting -- diplomatic
trends, new exploration, evidence of some "higher plan" even -- turns
up under analysis, that is reported back to the head of the
Service. Not just reporting, but extrapolation and prediction,
are the business of the IFSS.
An extension of the freedom given to crews is walkabout.
This is an exceptional measure used when conventional information
gathering methods break down. When the intelligence required is
not coming through, the Service gives all its personnel free reign to
do what they want -- go anywhere, do anything, just report back.
Often quite amazing finds come out of such a widely cast net.