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by Alvin Plummer
Well, they kept it, but "under wraps", and mainly in connection with their religion. Much of the nobility eventually Mora (Mora: Spinward Marches 3124 A99AB7-F). They never fully revealed their family connections to the Consulate, though. They 'kept in touch' with Zhodani family members back in the Far Frontiers sector (the zhodane "Afachiabr Sector"), though always discreetly and never seriously treasonous...except in 'flexing' a few laws here and there.
Even after the Psionic Suppressions were repealed in the 1140's, they did not "come out of the closet". They remain quite secretive about their psionic powers; although the Regency Govt. knows about it, they rather aviod the general public knowing. And their family connections to the Zhodani Consulate is a deep deep secret.
Born at 1158 to King Shi (at age 62) and Concubine Agiigugig Raised as the Heiress to the Crown, under a regent (King Shi died in 1167) Crowned Queen at 1179; married that same year
Queen Ashki is a good example of how a minor noble can dominate a subsector, if the political enviroment permits it.
At 1179, Ashki inherited a bankrupt government from her father, King Shi (1194 - 1179). For centuries Gekashiishaa, a ancient form of Vilani communism (it originated at Diaspora, at -7200 Imperial), worked well on Persephone.
The unexpected loss of Glisten slashed revenue to Persephone, and the enormous bureaucracy failed to react quickly or creatively enough to avoid the long-term consequences.
At 1179, Ashki became Queen of Persephone. Two months later, Persephone's four main creditors arrived at her palace for discussions on debt servicing. But, Persephone could give no more without threatening the very stability of her society, and the Crown itself. So she recieved an ultimatum:
"Turn over the administration of your government to us" [Give us your crown] or "Slash social spending." [And face the planetary equivelant of the Rebellion and Collapse] or "Declare bankrupcy" [And have your crown stripped from you by the Archduke, for dereliction of Duty.]
Queen Ashki choose to end social spending, but in a way that kept her crown on her head.
Basically, she maneouvered the political situation so that not only did her political and ideological enemies, the leaders of the Old Order, recieved the blame for the financial crunch, they also had to publicly sign the documents that ended the old system of Gekashiishaa. Moreover, in a stunning move, the Queen held them personally liable for the debt, and confisitated all their property and wealth to pay for it. All this at the tender age of 21.
After destroying the Old Order - by implication, but never by openly challenging it - Queen Ashki began to establish her New Order - again by her actions, rather than proclimation.
She surrounded herself with wealthy, aggressive young men who's destiny she controlled with steel smiles and velvet words. The priests who she favoured did not wish to perfect their inner faith, like the old establishment wanted. The "New Balance" required the conversion of offworlders, rather than "keeping your own life clean next to the spiritually dying, crying out for help and Balance in their lives".
Those who suffered the most in the nameless New Order were mocked and attacked ruthlessly if they dared complain. Very few even understoon what was going on, as the situation was so novel in their 770 year history that their wasn't even a name for it, or a word to describe it. Those that did understood could do nothing: their leadership was disgraced, their ideology in ruins.
By 1190 the economy was finally recovering. With the death of Gekashiishaa a new, vigourous society was being born. In this society freedom reined, with one limit: never challange the elite, the Digamu. The drive of this society was for raw, unlimited wealth and power, cloaked/limited by an extreme piety to the High God and His Balance. Anyone could rise as high as they can, but if you fall, not a hand will be given in aid. A lot better than the old 100% income taxes. A lot crueler than the excellent old health care system, free to all.
At 1193, Queen Ashki again sent a political earthquake throughout Persephone, when she sent out most of Persephone's 70 million-man army to fight on Florine (District 268: Spinward Marches/1533, D312975-A), a balklanized world on the edge of the Aslan New Lord territories. Currently, Florine is involved in a bitter civil war with pro-Aslan, pro-Regency, and pro-Independent fractions (among others). The decision to send Persephone troops under the Imperial Banner to war electrified the planet at the time, providing a potent kick of patriotism. The troops are still there, but now mainly as garrison troops.
This is the first time that Persephone's army has fought (in anything tougher than police actions) in 360 years and the first time that the Army has left the subsector.
From 1195, the Queen, now sure of herself in the interstellar sphere, began to promote Persephone interests throughout the subsector. Diplomats and missionaries have been sent as far as the Consulate and the coreward Vargr states. Several major deals with large subsector corporations are turning Persephone into a hub of industry and activity. Her Royal Majesty is promoting large families, to increase population and become a major contender for the title of subsector capital.
The Queen feels that the greatest limitation to future Persephone greatness is tech level limitations and the fact that Glisten (Glisten: Spinward Marches/2036 A000986-F) remains in Aslan hands, limiting commerce through Persephone. To remedy this, she is openly courting TL B and C companies to shift their operations to Persephone, via tax breaks, stressing the lack of trade laws and regulations of any kind, and the low, low wages that Persephonians are willing to accept. Slowly but surely, interest is picking up. She is certain that a "Critical point" is nearing that will change Persephone forever as a flood of 'high-tech' companies move in.
As for Glisten, she is pulling strings in both Naval circles and at the Archduke's palace to create a naval base at Persephone. She is also stressing the critical political and geopolicial importance of reconquering Glisten. As for Virus, we all know that Virus has died out back in the wilds, now don't we? This ain't 1130, after all.
This year (1200), she has just bought four TL-B, 350-ton traders to handle increasing traffic. The new starport will be ready within the year. And the Naminolus religion is spreading throughout Strouden. The only fly in the bottle remains the new subsector governor, Subsector Governor Anthony E. Prentice-Hall, who attempts to stymie her every move. He endlessly proclaimes, in his nasal whine, that Persephone is upsetting the entire subsector economy, with the possibility of a major economic shift in power and economic consequences which no one can forsee or control.
In subsector affairs, she has increasingly sided with Strouden (Lunion: Spinward Marches/2327 A745988-D) against Adabicci (Lunion: Spinward Marches/1824 A571896B-B) and the subsector capital of Lunion (Lunion: Spinward Marches 2124 A995984-D). This increasing acrimony is dividing the subsector into two competing blocks, and massive girdlock in the subsector government houses. The subsector Duke is attempting to calm the subsector with ineffectual meetings and soothing words, but "It ain't working".
Among her other drives, she is attempting to persuade the sector nobility to help her convince the Archduke to declare himself Emperor. She feels that this would give a strong boost to the fortunes of the Nobility, and promote the drive to reunify the Empire. Both "Good Things" from her perspective.
She is angling for a promotion, eventually as Duchess of Persephone Subsector, but right now as Countess of Ushama. As Countess, she would have authority over nearby Penkwar (Lunian: Spinward Marches/2128 X978000-0) and Harvosette (Lunian: Spinward Marches/2129 C330737-9). Harvosette are of the same culture as Persephone - Ushama and have the same system of rule; Harvosette was a colony of Persephone from the 870's to the 960's. Of course, only the Emperor can grand new noble patents... but maybe Regents can do so, too. Queen Ashki is trying out both avenues.
Finally, as Champion of the Widows, she is involved in several major charities throughout the subsector. She also promotes several events, both throughout the subsector and on Persephone, to bring the plight of widows (and widowers) to public attention.
Throw Range: 28
Unarmed Combat Damage: 1
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