Alternate History

Royal Observers Guild (Widget)

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The Royal Observers Guild was established in 1867 for use as a counter-terrorist service, and to begin tackling the colossal corruption within the British Empire - in particular, in the eastern colonies India and China, and in Africa where slave traders and merchants ruled. However, the guild rapidly branched out into both internal and international espionage, and was given increased funding and powers by Parliament so that it could control revolutions within Russia, China and elsewhere. A combination of that and an influential series of leaders who managed to secure more power for the guild, without giving any up, meant that it rapidly rose to become one of the strongest and most powerful guilds, and in 1979 became the fourth Service guild.

The Observers have a huge presence across the entire British empire, particularly Britain itself, Russia, and North America. Recently they have expanded control through Africa, meaning that less of a military presence is required and instead criminals are punished, theoretically, more lawfully.



Following the immediate success of the first guilds, created in 1864, Prime Minister Disraeli immediately began to consider ways that he could expand their uses. Using the three guilds that had already been formed, he identified areas of society that would need closer attention, and based on these studies he established 7 more guilds in 1867. One area in particular that had been noted as being in need of attention was the prospect of revolution, all across the empire. Russia had been continuously rebellious, and Britain's New China colonies were believed to have revolutionary intent. Furthermore, Britain's grip across Africa was weak at best, and many areas were effectively controlled by corrupt slave traders and violent tribal leaders, as well as many powerful merchants. Dealing with these issues was given high priority to maintain the integrity of the Empire, and as a result the Observers Guild was founded to address these issues. Of the newly founded guilds it was the most powerful, and immediately set about dealing with these issues.

Asian and African Progress

The Guild moved first into Russia, where they immediately set about quarantining key areas and worming out potential 'terrorists'. In particular they focused on Moscow and St. Petersburg, which had a history of resistance, and planted a number of agents into those cities hoping to seek out anti-British movements. Within four years more than thirty organizations, many of them highly influential, were sought out by the Observers and destroyed through the arrest of more than four thousand people in those two cities alone. In British New China, in the south of the country, Disraeli had negotiated with the Qing dynasty to secure many provinces in the south where the Emperor was less influential. Here the Observers Guild were again decisive, arresting several hundred people and planting spies to prevent the formation of new groups.

Not long after, the Observers moved to Africa. Here would be more difficult to restrict, as the vast majority of commerce and industry in the colonies here depended on strict domination by traders and tribal leaders. Once again, though this took a little longer, the Observers were effective. Through the use of a broad propaganda campaign, a strict 'Justice and Reward' system, and a rapid deconstruction of local traditions, customs and values, the Observers moved the balance of power to lords and politicians, who could be far more easily controlled. By 1880 corruption in British colonies on the continent was a fraction of the amount it was fifteen years before, but more crucially pro-British spirit thrived. Poverty and starvation were massively reduced, and British colonies prospered compared to colonies controlled by their European rivals. Though this wasn't acted on at first, the Observers would later continue their propaganda campaign, to further success, within these countries.

Expansion into espionage

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