The Directorate Sees All
A Meeting of the Infamous Steering Committee
The heart of the directorate is, of course, Terra. The sacred home of humanity now almost entirely consists of an enormous and highly stratified city. Its class of exceedingly rich, genetically modified nobles live in great dome-estates above the class while those who cannot afford those luxuries must toil away in the labyrinthine tunnels beneath the surface. The few remaining habitable zones on the surface either serve as private reserves for the nobles. The rest was destroyed long before the existence of the Directorate during the Time of Troubles, an event that the Directorate often uses to justify its own existence.
Terran Nobles Often Have an Otherworldly Appearance
But the range of worlds claimed by the Directorate is vast, and that is only Terra. While genetically modified nobles often govern other worlds, many of the Directorate's upper class are little more than common humans - though no aliens may enter their ranks. Access to technology varies widely across the worlds, and many possess only a smattering of sapients who live and hunter gatherers and remember the sublime light of the Directorate as little more than a warped myth.
This Froguloid Has no Idea of His Citizenship Status...
...While the People of the Metro-World of Clovis Benefit Enormously from Directorate Trade policies
As such, the ability of the Directorate to directly affect the lives of most of its citizens is minimal, though often crack downs will occur when one of the genetic elite is dispatched to crack heads and bring the localities in line with the will of the Steering Committee. The effect of all of this is to create a kind of standard culture for so-called "spacers" - even if this is highly variable, again due to the scale involved - and billions of separate ones for the inhabitants of various planets.
The most recent project dictated by the Steering Committee has been the colonization and exploitation of the so called Boom-Worlds. These worlds exist in a remote sector far removed from Sacred Terra, but a recent solar catastrophe in the sector's Galactic Southeastern edge have brought them to the Directorate's attention. The solar event is believed to have dispersed a large number of heavy atomic particles that would be suitable for extraction and refining in the service of the Directorate's military and monetary ambitions.
A Depiciton of the Boom Worlds Drawn by One of the Directorate's Most Powerful Astro-Psychics
Early colonists also claim that the event destroyed a vast interstellar civilization. While it is the belief of the Directorate that these peoples and their rules must have been inferior, since they were destroyed by a mere exploding star, the ruins of this empire have attracted scholars and looters from across Space. So have the remaining alien populations on the planets that saw only small amounts of increased radiation from the event. Xenologists claim that many of these populations show notable physical changes from depictions of members of the same species from before the solar incident. In some rare incidents aliens have shown bizarrely aggressive behavior that would seem at odds with their previous levels of sophistication.
Adventurers Exploring one of the Many Alien Ruins in the Boom Worlds
Access to these worlds is made possible only by a genetically modified group of tortured humans whose minds work in tandem in order to maintain the massive warp bubbles involved - far larger than those used by normal Directorate ships. The fact that these near catatonic members of the human race are a rare commodity in the Directorate means that access to the Boom Worlds is extremely limited, with regular travel only available to megacorps possessing writs from the Steering Committee itself and the convicts they sometimes employ. Return trips are even harder to arrange for those not carrying raw materials on the megacorps' massive barges.
It's Hard to Sustain a Warp Bubble
Despite the isolation and the inherent dangers of the region, many see the financial opportunities and distance from the hands of the Steering Committee as a chance for a freedom that is impossible in other regions of space. There's money to be made in those stars.