Alasdair I Frosticus
|Flag of Alasdair I Frosticus|
|Motto: Be of your frostiness, not with your frostiness|
|Region||The Dreamed Realm|
|Official Language(s)||see below|
|Leader||His Imperial Majesty the Basileus Alasdair I 'Frosticus'|
|Population||c.4.5 - 5 billion|
|NS Sunset XML|
The nation known as The Holy Empire of Alasdair I Frosticus exists in the Dreamed Realm, a mysterious plane of existence capable of intersecting with what Imperial citizens know as Ordinary Reality, and is ruled by its namesake Emperor (or Basileus). The country initially rose to fame in Ordinary Reality for hosting World Cup 2, the second installment of the enduring football World Cup.
The nation is apparently continually dreamed into existence by the meditating monks of the Imperial Monastery of The Holy Wisdom in the capital city of Alasdairopolis. It is rumoured that should the monks be woken, the entire nation would crash out of the Dreamed Realm, killing untold millions. Reality within the Holy Empire is said to be not only malleable, but also actively manipulated in the service of the State and its citizens. While a stable reality is clearly preferred, this malleability leads to occurrences that may be considered strange - or in some cases downright impossible - to visitors from Ordinary Reality. The study of the Dreamed Realm and the science of dream reality is referred to as oneirology.
The nation consists of a fertile coastal plain, where most of the population live, and an arid highland called the Chaco - where a disproportionate percentage of its football stars come from. Politically, Alasdair I Frosticus is said to combine elements of Byzantine-inspired Orthodox theocracy with the efficiency of Paraguay, though others claim that this comparison hides the fact that the Empire is something of a civil rights lovefest.
Much of what is known about the Holy Empire comes from the arcane tome the Codex Frosticus, which exists in several different versions (the A, B, C, D and E texts). The reliability of sections of the Codex has been called into question by several Ordinary Reality scholars, but few can agree on which parts are reliable and which are a tissue of myth and fabrication.
One of the great mysteries of the Holy Empire is whether its inhabitants are real, or are themselves artificially dreamed into existence. The different versions of the Codex Frosticus are unclear and contradictory on this point. It may well be the case that some are real, and some are unreal, but separating the two would appear to be impossible for the casual visitor.
There is some question in Ordinary Reality as to whether Imperial citizens are immortal – national football team coach Juan Tzimisces has been involved in the national squad since World Cup 1. While most oneirologists deny that Imperial residents are by necessity immortal, clearly both aging and time pass differently in the Dreamed Realm.
There appear to be roughly two ethnic groups in the Empire, the Coastal citizens and the Chacan citizens. This is agreed upon by all versions of the Codex, though they disagree on what distinguishes the two groups. Coastalites and Chacans usually appear identical to the outsider, but a Chacan in particular would consider it a grave insult to be mistaken for a member of the other ethnic group. Chacan surnames end with –es, while Coastal surnames end in –o. It is believed that they also speak with different accents.
All of the Codex Frosticus texts agree on how the government of the Holy Empire is structured. The Codex A and B texts further agree that the Holy Empire is modelled on the theoretical ideal of the Byzantine state - a single universal empire and a single universal church.
The Head of State, founder, and ruler of the Holy Empire is the Basileus, Alasdair I Frosticus.
In theory, the Emperor’s power is supreme, but in practice the government features constitutional checks on that power that have led to the Holy Empire being better known for its extraordinary political freedoms and civil rights than for autocratic imperial rule. These constitutional checks recognise the power of four other elements in the State: the Court, the people of Alasdairopolis, the provinces, and - to a lesser degree - the Orthodox Church of the Holy Empire. These elements are each represented by councils with certain powers; the first three are referred to as the Senatorial Councils or State Councils, the latter as the Church Council. The Senatorial Councils are collectively considered to be the Imperial Senate.
The Court is represented by the Great Council. This body of approximately 50 members includes most of the High Ministers of State, representatives of the military leaders, and a selection of the City and Provincial aristocracy. Members are appointed by the Emperor, subject to approval by both the Great Council and one of the other 2 State Councils. Ministers of State and military representatives only serve while they hold their post, but the other members are appointed for life, and can only be removed if they retire, die, or through the request of the Emperor followed by a majority vote of the Council. The head of the Great Council – and the closest thing the Holy Empire has to a Prime Minister – is traditionally titled the Keeper of the Imperial Purple Inkwell.
The Little Council, consisting of some 150 members, initally evolved as the representative of the merchant and professional classes of Alasdairopolis through their purchase of Senatorial rank, though it has since become more broad-based. Suffrage is available to all registered adult residents of the capital who either meet certain property requirements or who practice certain protected professions (mostly medical and educational). Soldiers, clergy, and monks are specifically excluded from the suffrage. Members are elected every 2 years.
The Provincial Council (which meets in Alasdairopolis) represents the interests of the Themes (or provinces) of the Empire, and evolved as a response to the dominance of the capital, partially through the purchase (again) of Senatorial rank by Imperial residents outside the capital, and partially through the auspices of the landed classes. It is a bicameral legislature. Members of the Noble Provincial House is appointed by the Strategos (or governor) of the relevant theme, five per theme. The 333 members of the Common Provincial House are elected by Theme, broadly proportional by Theme, with additional members for certain important cities. Suffrage is near-universal, only excluding clergy and monks (and residents of Alasdairopolis excluded from Little Council suffrage vote in Provincial Council elections). Decisions must pass both the Noble and Common Houses to take effect. Members are elected for 5 year terms.
Legislation may be proposed by any of the three Senatorial Councils, or the Emperor personally, and must pass both the Great Council and one of the other two State Councils to be presented to the Emperor, who maintains the power of veto (though vetoing a law passed by all three Councils would be unprecedented). The power to propose legislation affecting the Imperial purse is reserved to the Great Council and the Emperor. Members of any Council are automatically granted Senatorial rank. In theory, all three Councils could sit together in a single body as the collected Senate, but in practice this would only happen to acclaim a new Emperor.
The Church Council, called by the Patriarch of Alasdairopolis at his discretion, and representing the Dioceses and major monasteries of the Empire, may not propose legislation, but it may rule on the theological soundess thereof. If the Council finds against a law in this regard, it is returned to the Great Council, and will become law if it passes a second time. Since the threat of excommunication is a powerful weapon, this power is open to abuse, and is the major area of potential contention in the constitution. Most meetings of the Church Council, however, only rule on directly theological matters – only under strong (or obstinate) Patriarchs does it enter politics. The Church Council may also be asked for its opinion on legislation before voting; this is usually little more than a courtesy, but the Imperial government takes matters of courtesy extremely seriously.
Law and Security
To the casual observer, the only law of the Holy Empire appears to be 'that which is not expressely forbidden is permitted'. This is, of course, a gross oversimplification. The B, D, and E texts of the Codex Frosticus mention three Freedoms from Necessity guaranteed to all citizens of the Empire. These are Freedom from the Necessity of Death, Freedom from the Necessity of Want, and Freedom from the Necessity of Unhappiness. While citizens may choose to die, be poor, and be unhappy, no citizens need be any of these things. Given the extent to which reality can be manipulated in the Holy Empire, this raises interesting philosophical questions on the nature of death, poverty, and unhappiness in the Holy Empire, and the extent to which these are controlled by citizens or their government. Otherwise, all laws flow from the maintenance of these freedoms, which are sometimes collectively referred to as the essence of Frostiness.
The A and C texts of the Codex mention a fourth freedom: Freedom from War. However, other legal scholars believe that this inherent in the nature of the Holy Empire's separate existence from ordinary reality rather than a legally codified freedom.
It may seem bizarre, given the nation's apparent total lack of prisons and inherent freedoms, that the Holy Empire has any need for internal security forces. Nonetheless, it is believed that there are two primary security units, the State Bureau for Internal Security (SBIS) and the Imperial Secretariat of the Purple Inkwell (ISPI). These organisations do not deal with what outsiders might consider petty crime (which may not in any case be illegal where it satisfies the Freedoms from Necessity without causing direct non-consensual harm to another citizen), but their precise duties are unclear.
The Codex D text has a nearly-illegible piece of marginalia suggesting that SBIS and ISPI are mainly involved in carrying out surveillance of non-citizens and either persecuting or controlling (the text is obscure here) the small cult that is said to worship the Oneiromancer.
There is little need to subject non-citizens to the Imperial legal system. Any outsider caught breaking the law is immediately transported back to Ordinary Reality, though there are rumours of detention without trial or even torture for outsiders caught delving into the Oneiromancer cult. These rumours have been consistently denied by the Imperial government.
The Imperial flag is believed to be loosely-based on a supposed standard of Ordinary Reality Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, but coloured to emphasise the golden beauty of the Empire. The four B’s represent the Basileus’ personal motto: Βασιλευς Βασιλεων Βασιλευων Βασιλευσιν, or ‘King of Kings Ruling Over Kings’.
The National Anthem is the Imperial Hymn. It is an entirely instrumental piece noted for being both emotionally stirring and mercifully brief.
The precise nature and date of the founding of the Holy Empire remain a mystery, even to those who have studied the Codex Frosticus in detail.
There are myths and rumours that state that the Dreamed Realm was initially created by a figure known only as the Oneiromancer. The same myths state that the Basileus waged war on the Oneiromancer, casting him into the void between the different worlds of the Dreamed Realm, and eternally fearing that he might one day return to reclaim the Empire.
It is said by some that a small cult worships the Oneiromancer to this day, though most Imperial citizens deny this.
Imperial archaeologists have uncovered what they claim to be the remains of a pre-Imperial civilisation that proves the Oneiromancer never existed, but there are those who argue that any archaeological discoveries in the Empire are unreliable as the existence of archaeological sites may have been manipulated by the authorities.
In so far as anyone can tell, the only ruler the Holy Empire has ever had is the Basileus Alasdair I 'Frosticus'. His heir is Isaac, the Prince Imperial, who is believed to be the Basileus' nephew, though little is known about the Emperor's brother except through the relevant excerpts of the Analects of Frostiness (see Literature, below).
The Basileus' motives for founding the Holy Empire remain as mysterious and unclear as so many other details of the nation.
Particularly problematic for those who would attempt to write a history of the Holy Empire is the fact that time appears to not only pass inconsistently within the Empire, but in some cases is also non-linear. It is said that the various Codex texts only begin to make some sort of sense when the reader realises that three days may have passed in Alasdairopolis where three weeks have passed in the Chacan capital of Philadelphia, and that an event which happened on Thursday in St. Mary's City might conceivably have happened on Monday in New Nicea. The Codex A and B texts even state that, in some rare cases, timelines may split so as to allow multiple events to happen in the same place at the same time. Needless to say, most outsiders find this very hard to understand or cope with.
In terms of the history of The Holy Empire's interaction with Ordinary Reality, the nation first came to broader attention through hosting the second football World Cup. In those days travel to the Empire was considerably easier, and could be undertaken by simply setting out to make the journey – though the precise transition from Reality to Dream was sometimes uncomfortable for those making the trip.
The Codex B, D, and E texts claim that after this early period of interaction, the nation withdrew itself from contact with ordinary physical reality for many years after the Basileus apparently decided that the corruption of the physical world was detrimental to the ongoing serenity of his people. The dreaming monks severed the link between the altered existence of the dream plane and the physical world, and the Holy Empire appeared to fade from contact with ordinary time and space.
The reclusive nation eventually indirectly revived contact with Ordinary Reality. Initially this was solely through The Archregimancy, which - in addition to its theological function -served as a gateway of sorts through which reality and the Holy Empire could intersect.
Given the nation's almost total disappearance from contact with Ordinary Reality, the announcement that a Holy Empire squad would enter World Cup 25 in honour of the tournament's silver jubilee came as a shock to many. The Imperials duly played a friendly against World Cup 1 hosts Ariddia, winning 6-2 in an exhilirating display of Frosty Football. Unfortunately, the nation's lack of exposure to Ordinary Reality over the preceding years led to the team being infected with a fairly ordinary flu virus which, due to the lack of any exposure or resistance to disease, soon turned into a virulent plague. Tens of thousands - including all but one member of the party that travelled to Ariddia - died before the Ariddian Plague was brought under control by the Dreaming Monks.
This incident initially strengthened the Basileus' resolve to have as little to do with ordinary reality as possible, and stringent quarantine measures were put in place for those crossing between realms. These measures have been gradually relaxed, and since World Cup 32, Ordinary Reality visitors have been welcomed again to the Holy Empire in small numbers, though crossing to the Dreamed Realm these days requires the use of a specially-constructed portal.
The architecture of the Holy Empire has been described as Neo-Classical Slavo-Byzantine. In practice, this means that many buildings combine elements of classical Roman and Greek architecture with medieval Byzantine and Russian elements, with the use of gold and platinum lining (particularly on domes) and bejewelled ornamentation said to be almost indescribably beautiful - though some visitors apparently find the style is occasionally prone to ostentation.
An appendix to the B text of the Codex Frosticus includes the following description of the Imperial Capital, believed to have been writted by an Archregimancy monk:
We went on to a city of indescribable beauty. Its walls were built of twelve courses, each of a different precious stone, and its gates were of gold and silver. Within the gates we found a golden pavement, golden houses, golden seats. The city was filled with a strange light and a sweet smell. At the edge of the town we came to a wonderful palace, and we entered a hall as broad as a stone's throw. From one end of it to the other stretched a table of porphyry round which many guests were reclining. A spiral staircase, situated at one end of the hall, led to an internal balcony. Two eunuchs, resplendent as lightning, appeared at this balcony, and indicated that we too were to join the guests at the table....
The most spectacular buildings in the Holy Empire are said to be the Great Palace, the Imperial Basilica of the Holy Wisdom, and the 100,000 capacity Imperial Hippodrome, all of which are gold-domed (the palace also features platinum domes) and bejewelled. The Hippodrome's decorative features have occasionally caused problems at sporting events - one chariot race supposedly reached a farcical conclusion when sunlight caught a facet of a particularly large and inconveniently-placed diamond, temporarily blinding the lead chariot racer, and causing a collision of such epic proportions that no one finished the race. The problem is now believed to be solved.
Other notable buildings include the Meteora Stadium of St. Mary's City - which seems to almost hang in mid-air from the cliff face above the city - the Floating Gardens of Philadelphia, and the Pharos of New Nicea.
The literature of the Holy Empire is particularly known for its poetry. The Imperial Epic of Guillermo B. Yeatses and the Love Sonnet of Isaac, Prince Imperial are perhaps the best known examples. These and other works are described more fully in the separate entry on the poetry of the Holy Empire.
Otherwise, the most famous work of literature in the Empire is the Analects of Frostiness, a series of sayings that encapsulate the Imperial philosophy of Frostiness. The sayings take the form of learned (and possibly apocryphal) conversations between the Basileus and his brother.
Well-known plays include the famous the Defeat of Tessan (which perhaps, strictly speaking, belongs to the literature of the Archregimancy) and The Borderer of Double Stock, a heroic tale of a nobleman of superhuman strength and prowess born to a Dreamed Realm mother and Ordinary Reality father, and who repeatedly routs whole armies single-handed.
All versions of the Codex agree that the official religion of the Holy Empire is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The Orthodox Church of the Holy Empire (or OCHE) is led by the Patriarch of Alasdairopolis. The main cathedral is the Basilica of the Holy Wisdom, and the main centre of theology is the Holy Monastery of the Holy Wisdom. The OCHE is believed to claim canonical descent from both Moscow and Constantinople, though the precise line of Apostolic Succession remains unclear.
It is said that the Archregimancy serves as a vast, self-governing seminary for the OCHE, and the A and B texts of the Codex state that the Holy Synod of the latter nation is itself an autonomous (though not autocephalous) branch of the Church.
However, despite the central role of Orthodoxy in the Holy Empire, it is believed that most Imperial Citizens are fairly relaxed about the role of religion in everyday life - certainly far more relaxed than the occasionally intolerant outbursts from the Archregimancy might suggest. Despite the official position of the OCHE, there is total freedom of religion in the Empire, and a fair number of the population are believed to be lapsed Orthodox, agnostic or even atheist. There are also believed to be small numbers of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu Imperial citizens, though precise figures are hard to gauge.
The reliability of persistent rumours of a small, persecuted cult of Oneiromancer worshippers are impossible to prove.
The official language of the Holy Empire is unknown. Through a process that remains unclear, but is presumably associated with the malleable reality of the nation, all visitors to the Empire are able to make themselves understood by simply speaking their native language, and hear all conversations as automatically translated into their native language. Similarly, all texts are immediately readable by any literate visitor to the Dreamed Realm.
The various texts of the Codex Frosticus are entirely unhelpful on this point. The A text is in English, the B text in Byzantine Greek, the C text in Latin, the D text in Old Church Slavonic, and the E text is in pre-Maoist reform Chinese. There are persistent rumours of the existence of an F text in Sanskrit, and oneirologists are said to not only take these rumours very seriously, but also to be actively hunting for the F text. There are also vague rumours of a G text in a Semitic language, though reports are contradictory over whether the language in question is ancient Hebrew or classical Arabic; unlike the F text, the G text may be entirely legendary.
Few aspects of the Holy Empire more clearly represent the unusual nature of the nation and its internal reality than its geography. This is even more true than with the inconsistent and non-linear passing of time. In the Holy Empire, geographers see the phrase 'Euclidean geometry', reach for the dictionary, and throw it away.
The Holy Empire apparently has no physical boundaries - it is believed to be simultaneously spherical and flat. Walking off (or, more accurately, sailing off) one 'edge' will merely find you returned to the opposite 'edge'.
Despite this unusual nature, all of the Codex Frosticus texts agree that the Empire consists of three broad geographical zones. These are:
The Great Sea: A mighty ocean of apparently limitless size. It is said that many ruins of vanished civilisations, including the legendary sunken cathedral of Heldscalla, lie deep beneath the surface. The Great Sea completely surrounds...
The Coastal Plain: The region where most of the Empire's citizens live, this fertile plain lies between the Great Sea and the massive cliffs that separate the coastal region from the Chaco. Some 90% of the Empire's population, agriculture, and industry is located in the Coastal Plain. The plain in turn completely surrounds...
The Chaco: A vast raised plateau where the searing heat of the dry season alternates with the suffocating humidity of the wet season, the Chaco is separated from the rest of the Empire by a massive, almost impassable cliff face. Agriculture is almost impossible, with most of the region consisting of dense underbrush cut by narrow marshy channels. Only 10% of the Empire's population live in this desolate landscape, though it has always disproportionately contributed to the nation's cultural and sporting life.
While the precise area of the Holy Empire and its physical landscape is apparently impossible to measure, it seems undeniable that the Holy Empire is slowly growing in area so as to accommodate its rapidly-growing population. Visitors to the Empire are therefore baffled that travel times between cities and landmarks remain constant. For example, while it is undeniable that the distance between Alasdairopolis and the Chacan capital of Philadelphia has increased over time, it has always taken precisely two hours to fly between the cities, and 24 hours to drive the same distance. No oneirologist has ever been able to satisfactorily explain this phenomenon.
Few details of the Holy Empire's internal political structure are known. The detailed listings of provincial divisions in the various Codex texts are, for the most part, completely contradictory. The difference provinces of the Empire are believed to be called Themes, and the governor of a Theme is called a Strategos, but the names and nature of most of the Themes largely remain a mystery.
The few details that are known are as follows: The Imperial Capital of Alasdairopolis is believed to have a special status outside of the ordinary Theme structure, as exemplified by the separate Little Council in the Empire's political structure. The entire vast area of the Chaco is a separate Theme, and its capital is Philadelphia (which is believed to be the only city of any substance in the Chaco). The cities of St. Mary's City, New Nicea, and New Chalcedon are all capitals of Themes, but the names of their respective themes are unknown. At least one Theme is called the New Opsician.
It would probably take a lifetime of scholarship to unravel more detail on the Empire's political geography.
There is also the possibility that the inconsistent descriptions of the internal political divisions in the Codex texts may reflect that these divisions are themselves affected by the Empire's malleable reality, and that they are subject to constant change. Opinion amongst oneirologists on this matter remains divided, as indeed it does on so many topics relating to the Holy Empire
The Holy Empire has no economy in the commonly understood Ordinary Reality sense. In a nation where precious metals and jewels are commonly used as decorative motifs in even the most basic of homes, different standards clearly apply in the Empire. It would seem that as all citizens are free from the necessity of want, money and goods are simply acquired as needed - though the A, C, D, and E texts of the Codex are quite clear on the point that need is not always necessarily the same as desire.
The official currency of the Empire is the nomismata, but the unique economic conditions make it difficult to place a consistent value on the nomismata. Several Codex texts seem to imply that it is worth whatever the user needs it to be worth. How hyper-inflation or total economic collapse are avoided under these circumstances remains unknown.
All visitors to the Empire who have attempted to remove precious metals and gems from the Dreamed Realm agree on one point, however: in most cases, these items will turn into base metal and glass the moment they arrive in Ordinary Reality. The exception seems to be items that are gifts from the Imperial Government, which appear to maintain their state and value once removed from the Dreamed Realm.
The C text of the Codex has a discussion over whether this means that most precious metals and gems in the Dreamed Realm are themselves iron, copper, lead, and glass, and that they are only perceived as items of great value, or whether they are genuinely items of great value whose inherent nature changes once they leave the Dreamed Realm. As with so many other Imperial mysteries, this may never be resolved.
The Holy Empire holds a vital role in the early development of the World Cup as hosts of World Cup 2 and one of the two founding members - along with World Cup founders Ariddia - of the original World Cup Committee. Famous World Cup Hall of Fame commentary team Basil & Theo are also considered to have been highly influential in helping to develop early World Cup commentary styles. The Holy Empire participated in all four of the first World Cups.
But even by World Cup 4, His Majesty the Basileus was growing disillusioned by the impact on the Holy Empire of participation in Ordinary Reality sporting events. There was little active participation in World Cup 4, and but for a brief, and still unexplained, participation in World Cup 7 qualifiers, the Holy Empire seemed to completely fade from contact with Ordinary Reality. Tanah Burung honoured the Holy Empire by naming the Frosty Cup, the direct precursor to the Cup of Harmony, but otherwise the role of the Empire in the early years of the tournament were soon forgotten by all but a tiny few.
The emergence of the Archregimancy in World Cup 24 signalled a new interaction between the Dreamed Realm and the international sporting community, and the Holy Empire Football Association quietly took up its seat on the Emergency World Cup Committee around the same time. So quietly that few noticed or considered the implications, and it came as a shock to almost everyone when HEFA announced that the Empire would be entering a team into World Cup 25 in celebration of the tournament's silver jubilee. The resulting tragedy of the Ariddian Plague is described elsewhere.
Despite the devastation caused to the team by the Ariddian plague, a hastily cobbled together replacement squad of misfits, criminals, and Juan Tzimisces Jr. (sole survivor of the plague) was still allowed to enter World Cup 25, but was forced to play its home games in the Archregimancy due to quarantine restrictions. While that team acquitted itself surprisingly well, winning 6 of its first nine matches through a near-comical sequence of accidents and odd incidents, a sour taste was left by the final qualifying match when it was revealed that midfielder Jorge Vatatzes had been surreptitiously replaced with Giant Zucchini legend Urk, almost forcing the Holy Empire to forfeit the game at half-time.
HEFA, with the full permission of the Basileus, continued to try and enter teams intermittently over the next few tournaments, though quarantine restrictions meant that home matches were almost always played in the Archregimancy. Additionally, many of the teams consisted of Dream Simulacra, temporary artificially dreamed squads, rather than actual players. In one of these World Cups, the entire squad consisted of simulacra of World Cup Hall of Fame legend Juan Tzimisces. The nadir was reached in World Cup 30, or World Cup XXX, for which - due to a clerical error - HEFA entered a team of porn stars and strippers.
The tide truly began to turn in World Cup 31, when - for the first time since World Cup 7 - HEFA entered a proper squad of proper footballers, and visiting fans were allowed back into the Holy Empire. The Imperial squad qualified for the tournament proper in World Cup 32 for the first time since World Cup 4 - though many considered that qualification to be a fluke. Nonetheless, the Empire again qualified for World Cup 33, reaching the second round for the first time since World Cup 4. The extraordinary comeback was completed in World Cup 34, when the Holy Empire, in conjunction with World Cup 1 hosts Ariddia, co-hosted the tournament, bringing the World Cup back to its historic roots.
In truth, however, despite the glorious past and increasingly prominent present, the Holy Empire have always underachieved in the World Cup, with two quarterfinal appearances in World Cups 2 and 34 (both times as host or co-host) remaining the only time the team has made it past the second round.
The national team's colours, which are taken from the national flag, have remained substantially unchanged since the very first World Cup.
The home colours consist of a yellow shirt with red and black trim, and red shorts with yellow and black trim.
The away colours consist of a red shirt with yellow and black trim, and yellow shorts with red and black trim.
The national team does not have a nickname, though Ordinary Reality media reports have occasionally misunderstood Imperial media reports as indicating that the nickname is 'the Imperials'. This is, however, always strenuously denied by HEFA.