This follows on from Conversation.
“I suppose that up until then you’d thought that it was our idea for the Emperor to be a member of our family.” Rensa wasn’t quite smiling, “Would you have believed us if we’d told you?”
“Trado certainly wouldn’t have,” Yannic agreed. “Some of his strongest adherents are still unhappy with my elevation. Diligence and a whole lot of hard work seem to be winning most people over.”
“Make sure they understand,” Rensa leaned forward in emphasis, “That if they want to get all experimental they should make sure they wait until you have sons first. When the Emperor dies all accounts on the central system are locked down. Only the new Emperor can reinstate access and grant new access.”
“So the Central Unit said,” Yannic nodded, “Frankly, I went along with it at first because I didn’t want it to shoot me.”
“If we lose access to the central system then we lose access to all our records,” Rensa didn’t think he realised how important that was, “Everything is archived centrally. We would lose the automatic maintenance systems that keep the peripheral information networks running. We would lose visibility of the development plan and warnings of milestone due dates. We particularly can’t afford to miss any hard set milestones.”
“I understand all of that,” Yannic leaned back in his chair, “The Central Unit had to explain some of it from first principles in very small words, but I do understand it. What it didn’t or couldn’t tell me was how all of this got concentrated in one person’s hands.”
“During the Discord our Divine Ancestor, Persis the First Emperor, used his administration privileges to make sure that no-one, including his wife, had as much authority in the system as he did,” she sat back in her chair, “Suohonn may have started the Discord, but by the end of it the other divinities were pretty annoyed with Persis as well. When they went into stasis to remove themselves from direct interaction with the world, one of Persis’ conditions was that he would get to set the parameters for selection of the senior active administrator and he picked a copy of his Y chromosome.” Rensa looked out the window, then back at Yannic, “We weren’t always separate from the rest of the population. During the First Dynasty we married out into the general population and so did the other god lines. Aside from one of our menfolk being Emperor, Persis picked the title too, we were just like everybody else. We were supposed to be part of the general gene pool. Then Javis decided that he should be Emperor, ranted a lot about primacy of blood line apparently, developed a following and staged a coup.” She looked at her lap, “I think he might have been a lot like Trado. He killed his father, became Emperor and used the central system records to track down the members of the god lines and kill them. He kept the women of our bloodline with your colouration,” she indicated his entire person, “As concubines to ‘breed true’ to the ‘divine image’. And he indulged himself and his followers but ignored the development plan, he even destroyed infrastructure. We went from running slightly ahead of schedule to missing milestones – four Emperors over three generations and they used up all our slack and contingency on personal pleasure. When Gilhald staged his coup and founded the Third Dynasty, things were so bad that projections showed that within twelve months we would have lost up to half the population to starvation and thirst.” She looked at Yannic again. “We’ve been trying to make it up ever since, both to the populace and to catch up to the plan.”
“And if too many milestones are failed, the Central Unit takes over or the divinities are reawakened?”
“Yes,” Rensa agreed with him, “Depending on exactly which parameters have been violated. I don’t think we want either of those things to happen.”
“And so we sit here, the last breeding pair of our kind in captivity.” Yannic shifted in his chair, but smiled at her.
Rensa smiled back. “Yes, we are.”