Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1 - Cover

Volume III of Legacy: Black Star, Part 1

Copyright© 2023 by Uruks

Chapter 10: A Day in the Life of Politics

A research team has been designated to study Subject Zero, which will supply the main tissue samples for the project. According to the studies, Subject Zero seems to be a completely unique lifeform with no other members of its species in the universe, at least none that we know of. Its appearance is reminiscent of a snake, albeit a serpent as large as a mountain, and its body also emits vaporous gases in some portions. It can travel through space effortlessly, much like Dragons, but even their energy readings pale in comparison to Subject Zero.

David Kavic listened with feigned attention as the Emperor gave his usual rhetoric. He sat at Chissler’s side at the end of an extremely long silver table with gold trimmings. There were at least a hundred senators seated at the table as it made an arcing and snaking pattern around the room. The meeting hall was lined with white metal and long golden pillars on either side of the long table going up at least a hundred feet in the air. White glowing symbols from the ancient language of the Hamashe spiraled up the golden pillars, providing the main source of illumination from the grand hall. Above them floated a lavish crystal chandelier shaped to resemble bird wings and feathers pointing out in all directions. The chandelier – spinning slowly on its axis – was about the size of a small house and it slowly changed colors from pink to purple and blue. Keeping the amalgamation of color-changing crystals in the air were gravity inverters designed tastefully out of sight so as not to hinder the illusion of magic. Hundreds of servants in white wigs wearing gold and black suits lined either side of the long table. They were hardly needed as most of the Senators had with them personal droids in various colors and geometric shapes to bring them food and fill their glasses.

It was a great deal of pomp and circumstance for what amounted to nothing much at all. Nothing of real import happened during these meetings, it was mostly just for Chissler to show off a bit, and a small chance for the Senators to curry his favor with flattery. The real decisions were made in the House of Senators. Chissler was making headway turning the public against the Ministries, but sentiment was turning in their favor since the attack on Galsin against the Monks and the Fire Elementals. It was also noted that a joint mission between the Fire and Water Ministries dispatched a secret coven of Mages and saved several hundred hostages. The public had noted the heroism with mixed results. Though some called it the Elementals’ faults to begin with, most of the victims of the incident had nothing but praise for both Ministries. Subjects such as these warranted some discussion at the table, but Chissler didn’t like acknowledging any victory made by the Elementals, real or perceived.

Chissler looked impeccable as always, wearing his brown fur cape over a white suit and brown leather boots. Dozens of golden medals with purple or blue ribbons, some of which he awarded himself, decorated his vest over his well-muscled chest. Around his head was a small, golden brace that served as his crown. The metal brace had white jewels decorating the sides and was parted in the middle so it did not cover Chissler’s forehead, but lined his sides instead. Even without all the accessories and fancy clothes, he would have still made for quite a figure. His long, straight black hair that went down his shoulders, athletic build, and confident manner rendered him an imposing presence as usual. His good looks sometimes made him seem like he couldn’t be fully human, but something a bit more alien. He had brown skin and dark, intelligent eyes that flashed with contempt if anyone dared to interrupt him mid-speech. His face was young and handsome despite him being in his fifties, at least according to official reports. The nobility often diverted vast resources to increasing their own age as long as was scientifically possible. Some nobles hoped to make themselves live as long as the more powerful Elementals, but most only made it a little less than a couple centuries.

“And so I predict with our continued legislation,” Chissler continued as he paced behind his golden throne at the end of the table. “The Ministries will be on the verge of bankruptcy within the next ten years or so. They will have no choice but to depose their Ministers and become fully integrated under the Tarrus Government. The Elementals, with their unnatural powers and longevity, have looked down their noses upon the poor dredges of mankind for far too long. They will be brought to heel, no longer enjoying autonomy or independence of any kind. And if those bigoted monsters don’t like it, they can feel free to rebel. The people are already starting to see them for what they are. Such aggression will only highlight their hypocrisy and seal their fate. Once their funding dries up and what little support they have left vanishes, they’ll come crawling on their knees for our mercy. They’ll have no choice but to agree to any demands we make of them.”

“In that case, I wouldn’t mind having Saria or Habiki pay me a visit sometime,” commented Senator Mixx with a sly smile, earning him a round of laughs from the others. “The Fire and Air Ministers may be thousands of years old, but they certainly seem fit enough for my tastes.”

David had to suppress a smile. Senator Mixx was much more sly than even his grin suggested. The Senator was an older man with a large white mustache that drooped down to his chin. His combed hair was short and white, and his skin was dark like Chissler’s. He wore a simple black business suit and was constantly checking the time on an old-fashioned golden pocket watch of all things.

Despite his joke, David knew Mixx to be an avid supporter of the Ministries at heart. When the Prime Minister of Elemency was charged as a fugitive, no one was more disappointed than Mixx, having been an old friend of Zanderius Alastar and the royal family. To the public, he professed his shock and disbelief, appearing to reluctantly take Chissler’s side on political issues opposing the Ministries over the years. His change in views was believable as most of his policies in the past tended to be politically neutral in regards to the Elementals despite his friendship with Alastar. However, David knew that his outward appearance was just a façade. He was biding his time along with quite a number of Senators who Alastar had been in contact with. Not even David knew the full extent of the allies that Alastar had left in the Imperial Senate, or of the allies he continued to make while avoiding Chissler’s notice. David did know that Mixx was waiting for the right time to publicly switch allegiances, and that time would likely come at the word of the Prime Minister himself within the next few years or so.

After the laughter died down, Emperor Chissler pointed at the old Senator Mixx with an amused grin. “One more comment like that, and I’ll tell your wife. You’re newest one, at least.”

Another round of laughter erupted. The Senator sitting next to old Mixx was the young and pretty Senator Fronx. She wore a black business suit and gray skirt with black slippers. She had short, light brown hair, green eyes, and creamy fair skin. She was a little plain, but still elegant enough to earn a few admirers every now and then. Senator Fronx gave Mixx a playful shove on his shoulder, and the old man winked at her mischievously. He had acted like a mentor for her when she first joined Chissler’s inner circle, but it was rumored by some that the two were lovers on occasion despite the age gap. These rumors persisted in spite of Mixx’s recent marriage to his newest wife as there had been several already. Even though Mixx was now pushing a hundred and twenty, he looked more like a man in his sixties.

“And what of the incidents with Galsin and the Mage Cult in District 8?” inserted Fronx, always preferring to tread on the side of caution. Being one of the younger Senators, she had yet to learn that these meetings were mostly superfluous. “Some of our analysts think that public opinion is turning to the Ministries’ side because of effective handling of both events. There are even citizens who express sympathy for the losses they suffered during their brief civil war, a war they stopped after realizing it was started under false pretenses.”

Not many could pick up on it, but David detected the briefest flash of annoyance in Chissler’s normally cool gaze. However, the Emperor quickly recovered and gave Fronx an easy smile.

“I control public opinion. Whatever sympathy they may have garnered, I will squash it once I show the people their true colors. It should be easy enough given all the disasters that have befallen the universe under the Elementals’ watch. A few more catastrophes given the right media coverage will reveal them for the incompetent tyrants they are, and harden the people’s hearts against them even further.”

Fronx looked like she wished to say more, but a brief frown of warning from Mixx silenced her. He was just trying to look after her. She had yet to become fully acquainted with Chissler’s temper. The Emperor never publicly denounced any of his cabinet members, but those in his inner circle who annoyed him one time too many tended to find their careers and livelihoods ruined. Such things usually occurred through media articles uncovering a deep dark personal scandal of some kind.

Chissler gave David the silent signal with a knowing glance. That signal indicated that he wished for an impromptu segue so that the Emperor could take an unscheduled recess. In this instance, the term ‘recess’ meant rendezvous with his harem of prostitutes – though such a thing would not come up in any official documentation.

As Chissler opened his mouth to speak, David pretended to check his wrist communicator as he stood up, bringing everyone’s attention to him. “My Emperor. The High Elven King is on the line. He wishes for a private audience in your office. His manner would indicate that it is urgent.”

And of course, it will be up to me to contact the Elven King and inform him to officially document an ‘urgent message’ between him and the Emperor just in case any Senators get the idea to check and use the incident as a means to anonymously embarrass Chissler. David had to keep himself from groaning out loud. A Viceroy’s work is never done.

Chissler paused dramatically for a moment as if considering, and then he nodded. “Very well. We’ll have a brief recess for now.”

Chissler turned to his attendees, gave a humble bow, and said, “Apologies for the interruption, Senators. Please enjoy food and beverages until I return.”

The Senators all bowed graciously without surprise, having become accustomed to Chissler’s unexpected departures. Some even knew the true nature of such events, but had the good sense not to say anything for fear of their own names being shamed by Chissler’s zealous journalists. The Emperor left his audience out of an exit in the back of the large chamber followed by a dozen guards in gray padded armor and armed with rifles. Small talk erupted throughout the inner circle as the Senators discussed various matters of state. A few simply ordered more food or alcohol, though some looked drunk enough already while taking naps upon the table. Chissler didn’t care if they took drunken naps during his meetings so long as they gave sufficient funds to the correct ‘charities’ afterwards. In this instance, the term ‘charities’ referred to corporations and lobbyists staunchly in support of the current regime and firmly united against the old order of the Ministries.

David watched Senator Mixx carefully as the old fox whispered something indistinguishable in Fronx’s ear. It was likely a reprimand for slightly angering Chissler earlier. Mixx wished Fronx to be his political successor one day, so he made sure she was familiar with all the ins and outs for survival in the Imperial Senate. The young Senator nodded solemnly and Mixx patted her hand with an affectionate smile before departing. The time David had been waiting for soon approached. Mixx often liked to go to the restroom to take his medicine during Chissler’s unscheduled pauses of the meetings. He seemed spry enough, but from reports that David had heard, his health was steadily declining. Mixx forced himself to keep attending these meetings out of necessity to look after Fronx. In many ways, David admired the man. He felt a slight pang of regret for how he would be forced to use the old Senator.

David excused himself from the small talk as well, following Senator Mixx to the privy. They took an exit on one of the many silver side doors lining the hall, each door guarded by armed Militia with stoic expressions. After walking briefly down a white metal hallway lined with holographic busts of the floating heads of previous Emperors, Mixx turned the corner to enter the privy, which also was attended by guards. When David entered the huge bathroom with its golden stalls, toilets, and sinks, many servants in white wigs stood straight at attention, ready to bring drinks or towels at the slightest word. A few yards to the right of the many sinks and stalls was a large round chamber with a huge bubble bath and fountains spraying water in various patterns. There were already a few Senators lounging as they enjoyed a mixed bathing party at the center of a round chamber. They laughed and joked loudly while splashing around like children at a pool. They all had towels on for now, but that might change if they ordered too many drinks. David hoped to take care of his business here before such an annoyance occurred.

David couldn’t help but watch with no small amount of disgust for those who were charged with governing the lives of trillions. To think, so many jobless and homeless are begging in the streets while Senators lounge in a golden tub having orgies and getting drunk. The pinnacle of our so-called great society ... in the hands of lazy, whiny children always too ready to shift the blame when things go wrong. And things always go wrong, so there’s always plenty of blame to go around. And yet, despite them decrying the injustices of Elementals, many of which they themselves are more guilty for causing, they lounge here and play to their hearts’ content without a care in the world most of the time.

The source of this story is Finestories

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