World Building 4

The Trigons had fought the Skathians to a draw and secured their grip over the original Carthaginian empire, but they had been spooked by the power of the Skathians – and now they had no Sky Thunder to equalize the stakes. They began a panic program to educate themselves enough to develop weaponry that would enable the old Carthaginian armies to hold the borders of the Empire.

Replacing barrel-staved iron guns and serpentine powder with bronze cannon and corned gunpowder gave their armies the confidence to stand against massed cavalry. Placing these guns on mobile field carriages that could be moved by horses restored the mobility that the old types of artillery had forfeited. Arming their infantry with muskets as well as pole arms didn’t require their aging starship technicians to learn fabricating techniques beyond the metalworking that had been carried out for minor repairs in the starship’s repair shop.

At this stage, the local people could participate in the development of technology and weaponry and began to assume an almost equal role in the day to day activities of the Empire. The first Emperor, the Admiral, actively encouraged Gaians to learn Trigon knowledge about metal working and fabrication – as he actively encouraged his crew to marry local women and start half-Trigon families. While the crew had included about 20 female officers and other ranks, the actual number of fertile women of childbearing age was only 10. He had an eye on perpetuating Trigon power and leaving himself a legacy.

By the time the third generation of Trigons and half-Trigons reached an age where they could participate in the running of the Empire splits developed in the previously monolithic power structure. Too many of the descendants were no more than spoiled playboys, while many others held positions on the basis of their ancestry – for tasks beyond their abilities. Worse from a Trigon point of view, many of the Gaians who learned Trigon knowledge were able to outperform the Trigons in its use.

At this point Qeresh, the younger brother of an Emperor, put forward a plan that would have seen the pace of development increase irrespective of who would organize and run it, and whatever it did to the existing Trigon power structure that kept their control over an enlarged area of Gaia. While the cleverer among the Trigon rulers were prepared to accept the challenges, and bank on their abilities to keep themselves in the driver’s seat, the majority became fearful that they and their family dynasties would disappear in the process. They conducted a palace coup and forced the Emperor to order the arrest of his brother for treason.

It was never known who tipped off Qeresh, but he was able to organize the escape of nearly a thousand of his supporters and seize three galleons to sail away. The coup leaders sent warships after them but eventually all returned to report that they had not found the renegades. For almost a hundred years, Emperors sent out flotillas to find the descendants of Qeresh and his followers without success. Even the Emperor Zarl, who ruled when the Iskanders arrived, had sent out a few ships early in his reign to search in a new location. They expected that Qeresh’s technological developments would have been continued by the descendants and such activities would be impossible to hide. No such traces were ever found.

The coup leaders, and the new Emperor they soon placed on the throne, began the policy of forbidding innovation and proscribing intellectual investigation into any field of knowledge that might upset the status quo – the rigid hierarchical power structure that kept Trigons in control of the Empire. They even projected the directive beyond the Empire’s borders, setting up the spy networks that checked within the few sovereign nations of Gaian Europe for technological developments, and sending either secret groups of agents or sometimes bodies of troops to destroy them and execute the innovators.

When the Iskanders arrived and the Empire became aware of their activities, the Emperor at first suspected that they were actually descendants of Qeresh’s renegades. Commandante Zagdorf was one of the senior agents sent out to learn about them, and in the next novel of the series to appear, the prequel Arrival, readers will learn the degree of success Zagdorf attained.

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