The Empire is the traditional enemy of the Galactic Federation.
It has gone under many names, although the officially sanctioned name is the Empire of Achenar. Alternate names for the Empire have included the Achenar Empire, the Duval Empire and the Duvallian Empire.
Marlin Duval was a notorious activist in the early 2300s, often speaking out against the sometimes harsh administration of the Galactic Federation. Such was her disenchantment that she eventually packed up her family and gathered many supporters and led them to a distant system called Achenar in order to start a new colony that would follow peaceful ways.
The colony started off well, and a council of administrators was formed with Duval at the head, in order to fairly distribute power through the colony. The plan was that as the colony grew, so would the council, thus ensuring that any situation could be dealt with through peaceful means.
Unfortunately, Marlin Duval, architect of peace, was killed when her private aircraft lost power and crashed to the surface, killing her and her partner and children.
Marlin's brother, Henson Duval, immediately took over the colony's administration, and his first act was to disband the council and assume sole responsibility for the leadership of the Achenar colony. Henson violently denounced Marlin's vision for peace, and such was his passion and apparentl logic that he succeeded in converting the fickle colonists to his view in a remarkably short time.
His dream of Empire was fulfilled when he announced that the leadership of the colony and any affiliated systems would be passed down from father to son. With that mandate were the seeds lain for the purging of female descendants from the Duval line forever. Indeed, genetic measures began only two decades later to ensure that no female would be heir to the empire.
When population growth heralded the need for terraforming of other planets in the Achenar system in 2314, Henson Duval authorised the sterilisation of Achenar 6d in preparation for terraforming, which resulted in the extinction of a sentient race indigenous to that planet. This act enraged the Federation, who threatened to retaliate if actions such as this were to be repeated.
Henson ignored the Federal decrees, and began to contact nearby systems in a bid to convert them to membership of his empire. When Federal agencies heard about this they decided that the time was ripe to bring the so called Empire to an end. A sizeable fleet descended upon the Achenar system, only to discover that they had seriously underestimated Henson Duval. The self-styled Emperor had commissioned an impressive and deadly battle fleet, containing dedicated warships and defence platforms throughout the system. Such was the ferocity of the imperial fleet that the multi-role Federal ships were completely outgunned.
With this victory, the final die was cast. Worlds that had previously been approached by Duval now gladly gave thier alliegance, abandoning the embarrassed Federation en masse. The Federation tried to defend its interests with sporadic attacks and defensive actions in newly-approached systems, but the battle was in vain.
Henson Duval's successor, his son Harlan, eventually agreed to sign a peace treaty with the Federation in 2382, bringing an end to the constant warfare. As Duval stated, "the paramount goal is to survive as an empire and to serve the good of the public. What use does needless war serve when our resources are better put to expansion and trade?"
Since the treaty, a fragile and frosty peace has reigned between the Federation and the Empire. The occasional small-scale conflict has broken out, but on the whole peace has been maintained.
The Empire is a selfish and paranoid entity. Spies and agents are scattered through all other agencies, but none more so than the Federation. Almost any height will be climbed to achieve technical or military superiority over the other agency, and the Federation is equally thorough in their actions towards the Empire.
The Empire is not tolerant of other organisations in just the same way. The now-vanished Galactic Co-operative of Worlds once shared their system space as the latter organisation offered more attractive benefits to former Empire members. As such, the rivalry between the organisations was intense, and the Empire did everything in its power to covertly manipulate GalCop. Many rumours abound that Imperial agents were indirectly responsible for the fall of that organisation, but these have never been proven.
Imperial technology is far less automated than Federal tech, and the Imperial society is far more prone to make use of slavery and cloning rather than AI and robotics.