b. 7 September 410
d. 24 March 444
430 - 444: Emperor of the Terran Empire
Mark was the only son of Charles Castiligoni and Betty Jakobbsen. Immediately following his birth, the Act of Succession of 410 named him as Imperial Heir's Heir in lieu of Thomas Carroll (who had been named Heir's Heir in the Act of Succession of of 406.)
Marc grew up as a pampered prince, darling of the populace. He was educated at the Palace, and spent his formative years in the company of various Noble Families.
When Marc was nine, his father ascended to the Throne. At that point, the boy began training for eventually taking over the Throne. At the same time, he watched his father age under the pressures of rule, and he began to develop a deep-seated antipathy to the duties of the office of Emperor.
During Marc's adolescent years, the political atmosphere of the Empire was based on two opposing camps: the Carroll-led Hawks, who wanted to pursue all-out war with the Patalanian Union, and the Chen/Lütken-dominated Doves, who wanted to come to a peaceful division of the Galaxy between Empire and Union. Charles carefully steered a course between the two extremes, with the Hawks his most vocal opponents.
Prehaps predictably, Marc was fascinated by the Hawks, and was courted by Thomas Carroll, a distant cousin and most prominent voice among the Hawks. Thomas had a grandson, James Carroll, who was a year younger than Marc -- Thomas made sure that the boys had ample time together, and they obliged him by forming a strong attachment.
Marc was slow in achieving adulthood; he avoided taking adulthood tests until 428, when he was 18 years old. After passing, he entered an informal family arrangement with James Carroll and Karen Wuorio, serving as godparent to the couple's infant daughter, Catherine Carroll. When Thomas Carroll died that same year, Marc stood with the Carroll family rather than the Imperial Household, a signal that was not lost on anyone.
Charles did his best to prepare Marc for his upcoming rule, but Marc resisted all his father's efforts and instead continued the indulgent, playboy lifestyle which had been his all along. There is some evidence that Charles was considering an effort to disinherit Marc -- if so, his plans did not advance very far before he fell ill. Through the autumn of 430, Charles lingered in increasing discomfort and enfeeblement, then on 17 November 430 he died.
Marc received word of his father's death at a casino on Leikeis, and (as the story has it) stayed to finish his game and collect his winnings before returning to Laxus to take up the Crown.
Almost immediately, Marc dismissed his father's advisors and replaced them with ones chosen from the ranks of the Hawks. On 1 December 430, he issued orders to the Navy to begin the reconquest of territory conquered by the Patalanian Union. The Empire, at the peak of an economic boom, began the shift back to full-scale war. He also named James Carroll as his Heir, a choice that was confirmed by the Imperial Council in the Act of Succession of 431. It was clear to all that Marc was shifting the Empire's balance of power in favor of the Hawks.
Unfortunately, unknown to Marc and his advisors, an event had already occurred that would frustrate their efforts and have a much greater effect on the course of the Empire's history. On 23 November 430, the Hlekkar L4 gengineering laboratory belonging to Hlekkar Geneotech Ltd. was holed by a meteor strike. Proper decontamination procedures were not followed, resulting in the release of the virulent disease which became known as the Hlekkarian Plague.
Within a month, the Plague had spread along trade lanes through the Empire and into the Patalanian Union.
The next ten years were a constant struggle against the Plague. Fred Carroll, the father of James and leader of the Hawks, died of the Plague in 436, the highest-ranking victim. The economy was in crisis, and Marc's emergency decrees (wage and price freezes, martial law in some areas, etc.) did little to stablilize things. Although the war continued, it was only in a desultory fashion, and the Navy was busy with rebellious planets and pirate operations that grew up throughout the Empire.
The Galactic nightmare finally ended in 440, when Taglierre scientists developed an effective vaccine. The vaccine was distributed by the Navy, and within four tendays the Plague was declared over.
The cost, however, had been high. Over 13% of the population had died; about 570 planets were abandoned in the course of the Plague. In 417 there had been 11,659 iknhabited planets -- in 443 there were only 11,217. (Settlement of new worlds, which had continued through the Plague years, accounted for the difference.)
Following the Plague, Marc lost all interest in even a pretense of governing -- he was seldom on Laxus and paid little attention to his formal duties. James Carroll and Marc's other advisors picked up the slack and kept the government running.
On 24 March 444 Marc, at the age of 33, drowned while swimming on Promethia. He had been drinking and drugging heavily, and although his companions summoned medical aid immediately, by the time he was resuscitated there was irreversible brain damage.
Marc was succeeded by James Carroll.
The Castiligoni Emperors
The Terran Emperors