By Tessa Salmagard, 9T (Age 13)
It’s not uncommon for Galactics who are unfamiliar with Evagardian culture to assume that Evagardian Bloodline Recognition is a framework for a rigid caste system within the Imperium. That’s not exactly true, and a concise reply to that allegation was recently given by Tetrarch Maxine Sanchez, 5T in an interview with Commonwealth News. She stated: “Bloodline Recognition does not determine a family’s value in the Imperium. Having a Bloodline Recognized is a desirable novelty with little or no impact on social equality.” This statement is not untrue, but it is incomplete; the subject is contentious, and extremely nuanced.
Bloodline Recognition is measured in tiers, with first tier being the most prestigious—of course there is only one First Tier Bloodline, and everyone knows that name—thus, the highest achievable Recognition is Second Tier. Prior to the Unification there were no tiers, and nothing to distinguish an Evagardian whose family had served for generations from a newly-minted Evagardian—someone recently brought into the fold, leaving their Earth nationality behind. Bloodline Recognition status emerged informally in the 2070s. The status was purely ceremonial, and there was no centralized database or no rules regulating it. Back then, so-called Bloodline Recognition amounted to simple awards given to families at the local government level. Conservative-leaning Tetrarch Akie Kinsey, 10T proposed a referendum on Bloodline Recognition during her Senate run in 2082. The idea proved popular, and the referendum subsequently passed with more than seventy percent of Evagardian subjects in support. Authority at the provincial level to grant Bloodline Recognition and canonize that status in the Empress’ Garden was voted into law by the Imperial Senate in 2082, just twenty days after Kinsey’s win.
In most basic terms, Bloodline Recognition is intended to benignly reward generational, meritorious service to the Empress. In the statute outlining the program, it is made explicit that Bloodline Recognition does not emphasize the value of one family over another; it merely gives a way to signal the age of the family. Bloodline Recognition was never intended to be a primary motivating factor for subjects to pursue; it was meant as an additional incentive for local governments to utilize in their interactions with their constituents.
What it turned into was exactly what its critics predicted: something widely maligned as a classist symbol, and outside the Imperium, the subject of considerable ridicule. Perhaps the most problematic aspect of Bloodline Recognition is the colloquial language that came to surround it. When someone is called a ‘Liner’, it is rarely a compliment. All Evagardian subjects have equal rights as subjects in the courts; there is no such thing as Evagardian citizenship—yet language has emerged whose use suggests that only those of Recognized Bloodlines are ‘citizens’ of the Imperium, and the use of such language has become sufficiently ubiquitous that a substantial number of Galactics, and even some Evagardians believe that there is such a thing as Evagardian citizenship.
Criticisms persist, yet there’s never been a substantive political push to change policy relating to Bloodline Recognition. Populist firebrands occasionally condemn it, and it’s an evergreen wedge issue in New Unity’s rhetoric, but most career politicians avoid it from both sides. Those who come from Recognized Bloodlines only advertise it discreetly, typically with the simple two-character tag following a family name: a number to denote the tier, followed by the letter T. Example: Alice A. Everly, 5T. History appears to show that the program is popular enough that for most individuals aspiring to a career in politics or public service, the cost of criticizing it usually outweighs any possible benefit.
Your Bloodline affects your life. How? That depends on what your interests. The Imperial Historical Society prides itself on drawing its personnel from families as old as their exhibits. Progressive industries are often thought to be less keen on recruiting from Recognized Bloodlines due to not wanting to give the impression of being old-fashioned. Local feelings and personal connotations overwhelmingly govern the interplay between Bloodline Status and specific professional consequences—which is to say that one’s mileage with Bloodline Recognition will vary wildly depending on where one is and what one is attempting to do. In a broad sense, most agree that having your Bloodline Recognized is advantageous, but there are exceptions. Imperial Security and Evagardian Intelligence are two of Evagard’s prestigious entities, but the data unequivocally show that they favor recruits without advanced Bloodline Recognition. This trend is growing; it’s becoming sufficiently unfashionable for certain organizations to seek out old families that it’s increasingly common for children of those families to omit that status from applications and resumes.
The thorniest line of work with respect to Bloodlines is one that only one percent of the Evagardian population qualifies for: the Imperial Service. Even before Bloodline Recognition was a widely-recognized program, older families overwhelmingly populated the officer corps of both branches. Only recently has the Service made a deliberate effort to diversify its ranks, and that was only in response to increased recruiting needs due to concerns over tensions with the Ganraen Commonwealth.
In conclusion, while Bloodline Recognition does not rigidly divide the haves from the have-nots in the way that many Galactics believe, Recognition is advantageous in most facets of life, with few downsides. When surveyed on their goals and aspirations, nearly three quarters of school-aged Evagardian youth report advancing their Bloodline status as their top priority.