My interstellar empire, the Dynasty, draws some inspiration from the Gao’uld of Stargate. Encompassing the entirety of the Hyades cluster, it is ruled with an iron (or platinum) fist by the Sovereign-Lord, who the various areas of government and state-run corporations ultimately answer to. He is also the only known human who possesses the necessary supernatural abilities to create the wormholes that allow interstellar travel.
Like the Gao’uld, the Dynasty prevents uprisings and resistance movements by withholding various key technologies from its subjects. However, the degree to which it does this is nowhere near their late-90s-sci-fi counterpart. The most significant of these withheld technologies is advanced computers. While civilians are stuck with junction transistors and ferrite core memory, the nobility and their close-knit associates have at their fingertips silicon-based MOSFET processors and electric RAM. Otherwise, the technology in this setting is roughly equal to The Expanse, with fusion energy and linear-acceleration engines being commonplace.
This means people can fly a fusion-drive spaceship as their day job, hauling people and supplies across vast gulfs of space in the absence of AI autopilots, all the while consulting a microfiche navigation manual projected onto a CRT status display. Then, they can go back home to their centrifuge station city, buzz into their apartment, and relax to a nice cassette mixtape of Space Beatles.
This also means that any aspiring rebellion won’t stand a chance. In space combat situations, they would be facing advanced point-defense systems, decoy-proof missiles, and near-flawless weapon tracking software. In communications, they would have to dodge swarms of autonomous signal interceptor buoys, and any signal that gets caught can be easily decoded with the Dynasty’s superior decryption algorithms.
There is, however, one detail I haven’t figured out. How does this empire prevent its people from accessing 21st century computer technology? Can they feasibly prevent pirates from stealing their shipments of Space AMD Athlons? Would it really be possible to suppress the manufacturing of MOSFETs?