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(a transcript of a speech by M. Seldon to the Manipulations Club of Guaran, date: 032-1105)
Greetings to my old friends this evening, and especially to our new colleagues, who have just tonight been granted their Manipulators status. Again, congratulations. I hope you have enjoyed the corndogs graciously provided by the Glethax Nest.But now that dinner is over, I urge you to all get comfortable and relax on all your limbs, as I will tell you of the Hive Federation's second largest ongoing manipulation.
As you were all taught when you were yearlings, we Hivers first contacted the K'kree in -2045. Although we had long guessed that other races might have discovered jump drive, we were astonished to find that our first contact was with such a violent and uncivilized race as the K'kree.
You have all been taught the details of the war that followed. Seven years after our first contact, K'kree vessels made suprise attacks on 12 of our worlds. By -2023, they had penetrated into Extolian Sector, and were threatening to capture Tryylin, the Ithklur homeworld.
All of our past contacts with alien races had been solved by manipulations, so naturally enough the Manipulations Club was frantically studying the situation. Our most optimistic estimates were that it would take 850 years of constant manipulation for the K'kree to reach full civilization and be welcomed into our society. Unfortunately, our computer simulations of the war were that despite the formation of the Hive Federation and our new Hiver Navy, Guaran would fall within 25 years, Glea within 75, and the last Hiver world would be conquered in 125 years. We had to buy more time.
You were all taught in your nests that M. Lentuli came up with a plan whereby several Hiver ships penetrated deep into the Kilong sector and over a period of five years successfully manipulated four worlds to deviate from normal K'kree culture by aberrations such as meat sauces for food and isolation as recreation. Then, after entering into negotiations with the K'kree and revealing our manipulations to them and threatening to change their entire society, they agreed to sign an armistice and withdraw to their pre-war boundaries.
Since you all are now acknowledged master manipulators, you should now see the flaws with this story we tell our yearlings. Those five years are simply not enough time to perform a true manipulation on even four worlds. What was performed on those four worlds was nothing like a classic Hiver manipulation. Instead, a variety of psychoactive drugs and other mind-altering techniques were used to mentally "re-program" select K'kreer!. Our implied threat to the entire K'kree race was a bluff.
M. Lentuli however realized that the K'kree would not realize the crudeness of our techniques, or that it was simply impossible for us to alter their society to any appreciable degree before we were trampled under their hooves. He realized that what we were doing is threatening the K'kree sense of superiority by attacking their very sense of themselves, of what made them superior.
The K'kree acted exactly as M. Lentuli predicted. In addition to ending the war and withdrawing to antebellum boundaries (the last was a complete surprise to us, we only expected an end to hostilities), the K'kree immediately started a process of ensuring their cultural homogenity and stability. AND THIS IS WHAT M. LENTULI'S REAL MANIPULATION WAS.
While the K'kree had always been a very conservative race, once they began these cultural pogroms they became a completely stagnant race. By being constantly on the lookout for 'Hiver-induced deviations', they completely stamped out what little creativity and initiative did exist. It is no accident that, with the exception of the short-lived K'kree-Vargr conflict of 1100 years ago, the K'kree borders have been completely stable.
So, after M. Lentuli's initial manipulation, and constant but subtle reminders by various manipulators over the centuries, the K'kree have become a race completely afraid that any innovation or expansion is a sign of "Hiver contamination". As long as we constantly maintain the quiet reminders, and don't let the K'kree learn of the true nature of our manipulation, they will never again threaten our Federation.
Yes, I see a question from the back. "So, since well more than 850 years have passed since our first contact, why haven't the K'kree been civilized?". Good question. Well, studies have shown that the K'kree would have been one of the easiest major races to manipulate, because of their proximity and cultural continuity. Unfortunately, M. Lentuli's manipulation, by locking the K'kree into a single stagnant cultural model, has made the K'kree almost possible to manipulate.
Well thank you for your time. I hope you will all join me for next week's banquet and our keynote speech, "Ongoing Manipulations of the Third Imperium".