Sir Chaos wrote:
And since you mention people entering adulthood - it´s not just for young people. One of the volunteers I met is a retiree, formerly working in Human Resources, whose position involves teaching high school students how to write a resumee and apply for a job. Nor is it limited to Germans; I´ve worked with a number of foreign volunteers from various countries, at least two of whom volunteered because the service come with a residence title for the duration of their stay.
That last bit might be a character hook - a player character volunteered for Imperial service because their homeworld´s government had taken an unhealthy (for them) interest in them and Imperial service seemed like a good way off-world. I´m assuming the Imperials will be reluctant, to say the least, to extradite a productive servicemember in good standing to some two-bit colonial dictatorship just on their say-so, right?
Farmed fur volunteer for Imperial Service en masse
at eighteen, and do their vocational training as Imperial Service cadets. Well, 85% do; a few emigrate or take up precarious careers as free lances instead. That results in farmed fur having long careers and constituting a little over half the Service despite making up exactly half of the recruitment intake. But recruits from the colonies are often a little older. Some volunteer at eighteen, as soon as they are eligible. Others volunteer after completing undergraduate or graduate school, perhaps having trained for some profession for juvenile reasons and discovered on graduating that there is little scope to practise it on their homeworld. Bunches more volunteer in their late thirties, having burned out or grown discontent in their careers. And a lot more volunteer between their late fifties and the age of eighty, either when their children are grown or at the compulsory or customary retirement age of their colonies. And of course there is sporadic volunteering at all adult ages by colonials whose marriages have failed, or whose careers have met with obstacles (such as being passed over e.g. for tenure), or who have met with romantic or political disappointments. A lot of people volunteer after divisive elections and after coups and revolts (failed and otherwise).
The Empire does extradite its servants to colonies when there is sufficient evidence to make a prima facie
case that yhey have committed civil crimes not in the course of their duty. The use of FTL travel to escape justice is one of its bugbears. It does not shelter criminals. But it does not extradite for political or religious offences, so there are certainly a few Imperial servants who can never go home because there are warrants out on their homeworlds for their arrest on charges of blasphemy, heresy, preaching without a licence, sedition, fomenting revolution, anarchism, royalism, liberalism, membership of a prohibited organisation, dissidence, protest, or owing an unregistered xerox. One of the PCs in my first campaign even had a warrant out on his homeworld on a spurious charge of murdering a cop, but the Empire wasn't extraditing for lack of credible evidence (and because the homeworld wasn't agitating for his extradition). He certainly ended up at a point where the Empire would have told a colony to go and fuck itself rather than extradite him (he won the Spartan Cross, the Empire's highest award for gallantry).