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Emperor of the Galaxy

Dreamed 1988/1/31 by Chris Wayan

The Emperor of the Galaxy is missing. He has been for some years. All the other leaders and archetypes are present, and making do, through the war and the postwar reconstruction, but the odd thing is... they know he's alive out there somewhere, posing as someone else! As the ceremonial and philosophical head of the unity government, he's needed, but things are still too divided, apparently, for him to feel safe from assassins. Why?

I don't know the answer--and I should. I'm the Emperor.

I'm living on a matriarchal world, a place about as sexist as 1950s America, but favoring women. I grew up in a family with brilliant women, and my only real problem fitting in here, odd though it may sound, is that men as sex objects must wear really silly clothes and I'm more a T-shirt type. This froofy stuff is too much work and looks bad on me.

I was a war-prisoner, used as a slave worker; but because I understood psychology, I rose steadily. At last became an adviser to a series of women in politics, and now I'm free in all but the legal sense--my current boss would never want to lose me to some potential rival by offending me, so I have leisure time to write. I just published a book under a pseudonym that's now being read all with great interest--not just here, galaxy-wide. I'm proud and delighted--I hoped for just such an effect. I never could have written the kind of social-role subversion as Emperor that I can now, as a slave.

In the book, I argue against certain aspects of the Prime Directive--for example, after the war, it was still acceptable on this world to have slaves, and to treat even nonslave males as inferiors. I argue that violating your own moral imperatives by not agitating for (or even using your superior technology to promote) basic fairness such as abolition of slavery and sexual equality... violating your own feelings sends a false message to the oppressive culture, and is as manipulative in the end as boycotts or sanctions or war. This argument's started a furor among ethicists.

I think it's a perfect staging for my reappearance, which won't happen yet... but at least now it may be possible on my terms, not the traditional ones.

I go walking with a few former Federation people. The three of them discuss my book (none of them know it was me). I just listen and complain "I've only read a few pages yet, I can't follow your arguments!" Oddly enough, this is true. I can't remember my own book at all! The role I play has become real.

Until I reveal myself, I won't know the book I disowned!

NOTES



LISTS AND LINKS: galactic dreams - royalty - politics - fairness - freedom and slavery - free speech - gender - sexism and other biases - amnesia - books - another dream of the Prime Directive - that other dream of imperial abdication: Learning Scales

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