Frederick VI of Luna (born Frederick Foal Rycon, 7 October 3201 – 25 October 3270), was a Lunar and Terran nobleman, soldier, and politician who was Prime Minister of the Empire from 3237 to 3262, and who twice exercised the power of Lord Steward of the Empire in the office of Prince-Regent. He was the nominal head of the House of Rycon from his grandfather's death in 3208 until his death, though his uncle exercised stewardship until Frederick came of age in 3219. His father, Prince Jonathan Rycon, Duke of Tranquility, died prematurely when Frederick was only four years old, leaving him in the fosterage of first his grandfather and then of Frederik IV Marten, 11th Duke of Nieuwvaalia.
Rycon served in the Terran Army in the 3220s, before being appointed to serve as Prince-Regent in 3231 upon the death of Emperor Francis Charles XI. He then was appointed Prime Minister by the young Emperor in 3237, following an electoral victory by the Tory-Nationalist coalition. He served in the office for five electoral cycles despite increasing electoral shares being held by the National Humanist Imperial Labor Party in the coalition. He knelt to political pressure and resigned the Premiership to Henry Addington in 3262. He continued to be a valued advisor to the Emperor, and served a second term as Prince-Regent during the Great War when the Emperor departed Earth to lead Imperial forces on the battlefield.
In his middle-age, Rycon indulged in wine and rich foods, and was reported as having become obese. He further showed signs of untreated and undiagnosed diabetes, increasing his health risks despite the advice of his doctors. He died in October 3270 of an acute heart attack at the age of 69, and was succeeded to his titles by his eldest child and son, Philip Peregrine Rycon.
Early life and education
Frederick Foal Rycon was born on the 7th of October, 3201 to Prince Jonathan Rycon and his third wife Princess Matilda of Weimar in the Royal Hospital in Von Braun City. He had one younger legitimate sibling, Princess Aveline Angelina Rycon, who was born on 12 July 3202. He had an illegitimate older half-brother William Wenceslaus Rycon, who was born in 3179 and had been given the title Duke of Anguis. Frederick was given the title Count of Shackleton and Prince of Luna upon birth and the title Duke of Tranquillity after a year of age. He spent his first few years on Luna with his parents, but his life was struck with tragedy when his father died in 3205 of acute meningitis. He was sent to be fostered at the court of Frederik IV, Duke of Nieuwvaalia. He was privately tutored both on Luna and at Martenstad. He became fast friends with Johannes Frederik, the Duke's grandson.
He ascended to the Lunar Imperial title at age 7 when his grandfather Philip XIV died on 6 April 3208. His rights were exercised by his mother until he came of age. He continued to be fostered on Nieuwvaalia until he enlisted in the Terran Army in 3218, at age 17.
Rycon enlisted in the Terran Army along with Johannes Frederik on 1 November 3218. They were shipped off to Bittrich, the Inner Colonies recruiting depot and training centre, in December and underwent basic training together. While Johannes Frederik went into the infantry, Rycon went into the mechanized cavalry. He attended Amour School and Mechanised Walker School before enrolling in the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandurst in the autumn of 3218. He graduated in 3220 with a commission as a Lieutenant. The achievement was bittersweet, as his sister Aveline died that same year.
Rycon served in command of a platoon of mechanised walkers until 3223 during skirmishes with the CLO in the Outer Colonies. He was promoted to Captain and then to Lieutenant Colonel in 3225 and 3227, commanding a company and then a battalion of mechanized and armoured forces. In 3230, he was promoted to Colonel and placed in command of the 77th Lunarian Lancer Regiment, the unit for which he had been ceremonial Colonel-in-Chief since 3219. He requested the unit be activated for front-line combat in the Cruxite War, and was deployed for combat. However, his military career was cut short in 3231.
Emperor Francis Charles XI died on 4 March 3231. His grandson, Francis Charles XII ascended the throne in a minority. As hereditary Lord Steward of the Empire, Frederick Rycon was obligated to conduct the regency until the new Emperor reached the age of majority. Despite having little political experience, Rycon was a fast learner and listened to advice from the Privy Council in affairs of state. The government of Prime Minister Richard Windsor-Gloucester continued through the Regency. Rycon was exposed to the political intrigues of the court and Parliament during this time, and became acquainted with both Tory and National Humanist party leaders. He had to balance the two groups, as the Tories held strong influence at court and the premiership, but the National Humanists had a majority in Parliament and held several important ministries.
Rycon was also responsible for directing the use of Terran forces in the Cruxite War. The Tories advocated restraint and a "Crossification" policy where the Kingdom of Crux would resume the brunt of combat; the National Humanists advocated for the full deployment of Terran forces in a show of human unity. Rycon steered a middle path, while also dealing with the delicate matter of Emperor Francis Charles' increasing desire for military experience when he came of age.
In late August 3235, Francis Charles came of age and the Regency ended. The young Emperor's first act was to tour the front lines in the Cruxite War on the planet Carson. The Emperor was nearly killed by an artillery shell, but survived the experience unscathed.
Lord Rycon took his seat in the Terran House of Lords, retaining his commission as a reserve Brigadier General in the Terran Army. Finding value in both ideologies and party programs, and seeking to find a way to reconcile them, he joined both the Tory Party and the National Humanist Imperial Labor Party and gained a reputation as a cross-benching maverick. He quickly became a leading voice in the aristocratic wing of the NHILP, seeking to align nationalist concerns with the conservatism and traditionalism of the aristocracy. After the general election of 3237, he was chosen to be Prime Minister as a compromise candidate; the NHILP held a 55% majority in the House of Commons, just short of a supermajority, and the Tories commanded a majority of partisan seats in the House of Lords, though most Lords were officially nonpartisan. The National Humanists depended on their alliance with the Tories and conservative independents to effect policy.
Rycon served as Prime Minister from 3237 to 3262, steering the government during a period of immense international tension and tumultuous domestic change. To keep the NHILP hardliners on the side of the Tories and the aristocratic National Humanists, he retained Albert Hennessey as Deputy Prime Minister and further appointed a National Humanist to the post of Foreign Minister. During this period, he married Princess Caroline of Terra, the Emperor's sister; it caused a minor scandal, as she was almost 20 years his junior. They had their first child, Prince Philip Peregrine Rycon on 8 July 3246 and their second child, Princess Anastasia on 1 February 3250.
Emperor Francis Charles was not amenable to the increased power of the radicals in the NHILP. With a supermajority expected in the 3242 election, the Emperor prorogued Parliament in 3241; the last act of Parliament was to authorise an omnibus spending bill and tax regime for a ten-year fiscal period to start 1 January 3242, despite attempts to block it by the opposition. This was largely a result of Prime Minister Rycon, who foresaw a lengthy period of personal rule and hoped to prevent a budget crisis by allowing the government to continue appropriations.
The Emperor reigned for eleven years with the Rycon cabinet, with no significant cabinet reshuffle during that time. Rycon directed Terran forces in suppressing an increasing wave of colonialist agitation and insurrection and against pirate attacks in the frontier. At the same time, his government was also responsible for the rapid buildup of armaments and personnel for the Terran military in preparation for potential war with the Soviets and other alien states, and for the increase in crash colonization efforts in the frontier to strengthen border defences. However, by the early 3250s tensions between the parties of government were causing division in the cabinet; further, the government was reaching the end of the allowed period of the 3241 spending bill, which had been very controversial to start with. Insurrection and riots had continued unabated, and the Left opposition accused the Imperial government of tyranny. A new general election was scheduled for May 3252. The spending bill of 3241 was extended by Imperial Decree for a period of six months, allowing for continued appropriations until a new Parliament could be formed. The general election returned a 60% majority for the National Humanists, with the Tories retaining a 26% minority. It was enough of a majority that the NHILP could override a filibuster, but not large enough that they could override a delay or veto by the House of Lords.
In 3255, Albert Hennessey died and a leadership election was held by the NHILP Steering Committee; a contentious election was held between George Francis Rothschild and Henry Addington, with Rothschild acting as a proxy for Rycon's aristocratic wing and Addington representing the radical and republican wings. Addington won and became Chairman of the Party, and instituted a more radical party platform regarding aliens, foreign relations, the welfare state, and the civil service. Addington also began the process of synchronising the Party's ranks and positions with those of the Imperial government, as many civil service positions across the Empire were filled by Party loyalists. These moves shocked Rycon's wing of the Party as well as the Tories, who opposed strong measures against aliens and a hawkish foreign policy. The conservative Tories preferred a strong defensive posture, rather than aggression designed to agitate and provoke the neighbouring nations. Both parties did, however, agree to the strengthening of the ISTO. Rycon implemented some of the National Humanist reforms, but had to balance the Party platform with the coalition government; the National Humanists had a strong enough Parliamentary majority to force their bills through, but the Lords still aligned with the Tories. Rycon quietly assented to implementation of National reforms at the local level instead, using his soft power and authority to place National Humanists into positions of power on planetary government councils and civil service departments, enabling the appointment of Party members to most civil service and police positions in the Colonies. The tumultuous relationship between the two parties was largely bridged by the common effort against the rebels in the Colonial Wars.
Rycon maintained his premiership in spite of the continued victory of the radical wing of the NHILP in the 3257 general election. The last term of Rycon's premiership saw the investigation into the Socialist Worker's Party, the Colonial Home Rule Party, and other parties in the Socialist Front. The House of Lords judicial committee declared the SWP and CHRP terrorist organisations and banned them from Parliament in 3259. Lord Rycon presided with the Lord Chancellor over the proceedings, and made the decision in the interests of national security. The remaining parties of the Socialist Front were banned in 3261.
With the imminent threat of war with both the Soviets and the United Suns, due in part to the foreign policy of the National Humanists to confront the communist and capitalist alien nations alike, Rycon informed the Emperor of his intent to step down as Prime Minister after the next election. Rycon believed that a more aggressive posture would be needed, rather than a defensive one, in the coming conflict. Rycon recommended Addington, who was a known hawk and a skilled organiser. The NHILP had great influence in the civil service, the police, and the intelligence and security apparatus, all of which would be necessary tools in the war to come. The Party also sponsored the largest labour union in the Empire, enabling it to mobilise trillions of workers. Its foreign offices and subsidiaries controlled the governments of the Empire of Orion, the Federation of Cygnus, the Kingdom of Crux, and the Despotate of Perseus. An avowed and radical National Humanist would strengthen ties to allied governments and bring much of civil society into lock-step alliance with the government. The Emperor reluctantly agreed that, should the NHILP win a majority, he would appoint Addington to the premiership.
The 3262 general election gave the NHILP a 76% supermajority in the House of Commons, allowing them to override any filibuster in the Commons and to override the veto of the Lords. Rycon stepped down as PM and became Deputy Prime Minister as well as Minister of War. Rycon put much of his effort into his work in the War Ministry, focusing on organising and preparing the Terran military for war. Reservists were called up for drill every weekend, training exercises for active personnel were more frequent, and acquisitions were accelerated for new weapons, vehicles, and technologies. Rycon also brought the young Prince Maximilian under his wing and cultivated his political rise. Maximilian had been fostered at Lord Rycon's court from 3250 to 3256, though Lord Rycon was often away from home owing to his ministerial duties, and had delegated the upbringing of both his son Philip and Prince Maximilian to tutors and to his wife. Lord Rycon also unseated the head of the Tory Party and became Lord Secretary, heading both the conservative party in government and the conservative wing of the NHILP.
On 8 September 3265, the Great War broke out between the ISTO and the Soviet block, and Lord Rycon advised the Emperor and the PM on the use of Terran forces. By the end of the year, the ISTO had engaged in war against the FIGN; and in January 3266 the conflict became a 3-way war when negotiations between the Soviets and the FIGN broke down. In war cabinet meetings with the Army and Air general staffs, the Admiralty, and with the Emperor and Prime Minister, he helped devise a strategy of "Soviets first", framed at knocking the Soviet Republic out of the war and deploying the bulk of Terran and Orionese forces on the Soviet front. Meanwhile, allied forces would largely focus on the spinward quadrant of the Milky Way, advancing on the disparate forces of the FIGN. After the Soviets had been defeated, the Terrans would move to support their allies against the Freyan Federation, the Viridian states, and the Republic of Cassiopeia. At the same time, strategic intelligence would foment continued hostility between the two alien blocs.
However, Rycon had to deal with dissent within the Party. Many in government resented Addington's inflexibility and lack of charisma, which led to him dominating the war effort while having little military experience. The Terran military made rapid gains under its top commanders, but Addington made several blunders and sought to hamper the political influence of the generals and admiralty out of fear of his own precarious position. Lord Rycon himself is reported to have become frustrated by Addington's constant meddling with the War Ministry's plans. The Prime Minister also clashed with the Emperor, who desired to lead forces from the front; the ongoing succession crisis caused by the political falling-out between the Emperor and Maximilian exacerbated the issue. Rycon continued to promote Maximilian's position, and had already arranged for his admission to the Party Steering Committee in September.
On 3 March 3266, the Emperor departed Earth to lead the Imperial Space Navy in battle. Rycon again assumed his role as Prince Regent of the Empire. The enmity between Addington and Rycon became acutely apparent, and the two repeatedly clashed over war strategy and domestic policy. Addington's slow responses to military developments hampered the war effort, and even by mid-3266, the Empire had conquered less than a fifth of Soviet territory. The Party leadership aligned against Addington, and Rycon nominated Prince Maximilian to challenge him; the Prince was seen as a compromise candidate: a politically radical aristocrat, aligned to both the traditions of the nobility and the revolutionary spirit of the movement. A committee memorandum recommended Addington's dismissal, and the Steering Committee voted in October 3266 to remove Addington from his position. However, Addington refused to call an early general election and stubbornly held the Premiership for another three months; he cited a precedent that only the Emperor himself could appoint a Prime Minister. Rycon was able to compel him to resign on 4 February 3267 when Emperor Francis Charles returned to Earth after a successful series of space battles to visit his family.
Rycon exercised the premiership in an acting capacity through his office as Deputy PM until 14 March, when Maximilian was appointed Prime Minister. The Prince had been formally elected Party Chairman four days prior. Rycon pressed the Emperor to decisively name Maximilian his successor once more; the Party was behind him, and it would resolve the succession crisis at a time when the Emperor's insisted on leading in battle. The Emperor assented to an Act of Parliament declaring Maximilian the Crown Prince, and he commissioned him a Colonel in the Terran Army and a reserve Captain in the Imperial Navy. In a highly ritualised ceremony, Maximilian toured Europe and North America to receive coronations as co-king and co-emperor of many of Francis Charles' subsidiary titles. The Emperor departed Earth again in late June 3267.
Lord Rycon resumed the regency, while working closely with Prime Minister Maximilian to dismiss Addington's loyalists from the government and renew the offensive against the Soviets. The war planning culminated in the Battle of Khoz, fought between April and November 3267; the lengthy campaign became one of the decisive battles of the war. Lord Rycon implemented Maximilian's meritocratic policy, dismissing generals who failed to achieve results and promoting based on skill and ability regardless of noble station. However, Rycon's strong relations within the House of Lords began to wither, due to widespread opposition by the nobility to this policy. The opposition was led by the Duke of Nieuwvaalia, with his brother Willem Pieter acting as his proxy in the House. It is now known at the Duke was conspiring with other aristocrats to undertake a coup d'etat against the government and to assassinate both the Emperor and the Prime Minister; Duke Cassander was found dead at his home in Martenstad on 6 May 3268, after an apparent shootout between factions of the conspirators. Lord Rycon was investigated in the course of the broader Imperial investigation into the Marten affair; it was found that he had no knowledge of the Duke's activities and no ties to the conspiracy.
Nevertheless, the incident damaged Lord Rycon's image among the National Humanists. He was able to continue his duties in the War Ministry, but was politically isolated. On 11 June 3268, Francis Charles XII died in battle. He was succeeded by Maximilian. Lord Rycon ended his regency and participated in the transition. At Maximilian's coronation, he administered the constitutional oath, as per custom. Maximilian was enabled by tradition to make a single Imperial decree without necessitating Parliamentary procedure or assent; he abolished the position of Prime Minister and initiated a period of personal government.
Later years and death
By the middle of 3268, Lord Rycon had largely delegated his ministerial duties to the Vice Minister of War, Lord Matsudaira Nobutada, Viscount of Aizu. Lord Rycon went into seclusion in Luna, holding court at his palace in Granada. He began to often indulge in rich foods, sweets, and wine, and quickly became obese. By the summer of of 3270, he weighed around 130 kg and was suffering from diabetes, gout, dropsy, and arteriosclerosis; much of which went undiagnosed until after his death due to his refusal to attend his appointments with his personal physician. His decline in health was the culmination of several decades of sedentary lifestyle, heavy drinking, binge eating, poor sleeping habits, and overwork.
On 25 October 3270, he collapsed while eating dinner with his son Philip, his daughter-in-law Princess Caroline of New Zealand, and guests Major Xander Vox and Lieutenant Gracie Gray. Major Vox attempted CPR on Lord Rycon while Princess Caroline ran for a doctor. Rycon was pronounced dead by the physician upon arrival to the scene. An autopsy revealed excessive amounts of fatty tissue in the heart, a hardening of the arteries, fluid swelling in the limbs and joints, and a severe lack of insulin. He had suffered a massive myocardial infarction, likely prompted by an episode of diabetic shock that had accelerated his heart rate and forced a blood clot into his aorta. He had died within 5 minutes of the heart attack.
Rycon lay in state in the Cathedral of St. Claire in Von Braun City, followed by an Anglican funeral ceremony. His body was cremated, and his ashes were spread over the Lunar surface. He was succeeded to his titles by his son as Philip XV, Emperor of Luna.
Frederick Rycon left an indelible mark on Terran history. During his lifetime, he was an enormous figure of Imperial politics, and was involved at high levels of government for most of his adult life. His long premiership from the late 3230s to the early 3260s provided stability in the midst of civil war and political turmoil. His straddling of the two main right-wing political parties maintained an electoral alliance that progressed the National Humanist movement's policies and ideals. His promotion of Prince Maximilian within the Party leadership catalysed the change from the Empire to the new Republic, though Lord Rycon would not live to see the creation of the Republic, or even the human Confederation.
Rycon was memorialised with a bust in the Hall of Heroes in Constance, and a marble statue in Von Braun City.