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The Panoply is an elite law enforcement agency of the Demarchist regime on Yellowstone, and the police force for the Glitter Band. It exists in its own dedicated habitat, governed by an armed force of prefects.

Prefect hierarchy[]

The law enforcement ranks of the Panoply's officers and employees, known as prefects.

Prefect in training, a law enforcement trainee.
Freshly graduated Prefect, but not yet qualified for assignments outside of Panoply
Field Prefect
Prefects experienced enough to police the Glitter Band.
Senior Prefect
Field Prefects that have shown themselves experienced enough to serve the administration of Panoply. Usually working from an office, they still retain field status.
Supreme Prefect
The chief of the entire organisation. At the start of the novel, this position is held by Jane Aumonier.

Notable prefects[]

Equipment and operations[]

Employees of the Panoply do not have the right to carry armed weaponry as standard, with the exception of whiphounds, multi-purpose melee sidearms (with whip mode, sword mode, surveillance mode, etc.) that are used primarily in defence or for robotic scouting of premises. If the Panoply feels the need to use heavier weaponry (e.g. plasma rifles), this must be voted on by the entire Glitter Band in an emergency poll before any action can be undertaken (although Panoply command ignores this limitation in the novel Aurora Rising, and uses heavy weapons in spite of a vote against it). In this regard, Panoply can only exist if the populace is happy for them to proceed, which defuses much potential tension in this particular society.

One issue the Prefects have to grapple with is that they can only enforce the right to vote and access to abstraction; they are not permitted to stop any other human rights violations. This eventually drives Prefect Gaffney to assist Aurora, the antagonist, in her takeover bid.

Spacecraft utilised by law enforcement personnel of the Panoply included Panoply cutters and system cruisers.


* - originally published as The Prefect
** - short midquel, set between the two novels

Naming allusions[]

The name of the Glitter Band's specialised police force is a nod at the ancient Greek term panoply (panoplía), which referred to a complete set of a soldier's weaponry and equipment (e.g. a hoplite's armour, helmet, shield, spear, sword, etc.). It was also used as a synonym for complete suits of armour in later periods. The choice of "Panoply" for the police force is figurative, probably referencing all the means they have at their disposal while keeping order in the habitats of the Band and investigating attempts at Demarchist voting fraud.


  • Aside from reflecting the legal and political aspects of the Demarchists, the generally unarmed nature of the Panoply's prefects might also reflect Reynolds' roots as a British writer. UK police forces are a notable (though by no means only) example of a law enforcement tradition where police officers do not carry weaponry (particularly firearms or other ranged weaponry) as standard equipment.


See also[]

  • Constabulary - An individual police force providing law enforcement for the planetary settlements of the Yellowstone Demarchy and their immediate orbital vicinity.
General overview: Timeline
Historical eras: Amerikano era | Belle Epoque
Major: Demarchists | Conjoiners | Ultranauts | Skyjacks
Minor and local: Banshees | Coalition for Neural Purity | Inundationists
Gillies | Hermetics | Mixmasters
Norte | Canasian | Russish | Castellano
Social and political: Ice Mendicants | Inundationists | Vahishta Foundation
Law enforcement: Constabulary | Panoply
Research institutions: Mixmasters | Sylveste Institute
Spacecraft crews: Captain | Gunnery Officer | Pilot | Shipmaster | Triumvir
Law enforcement: Constable | Prefect
Civilian professions: Mixmaster | Street vendor
Dream Fuel | Indoctrination Virus | Ferris marks
Palanquins | Polling core | Wedding gun
Brezgatnik | Hermetic | Shadowplay | Transenlightenment

* - note 1
** - note 2