The Horse, the Dog and the Emperor

Part of my ninja pirate robot universe.

I think having a ninja pirate robot universe is a very fun thing to have.

The Emperor is a robot.

I just have a lot of fun with this universe.

Originally published 17 Apr, 2007.

Today the Emperor recieved a petition for pardon from a man who had used his neighbor’s horse to sire foals that he sold for a great deal of money. His neighbor involved the shogun, who decided that the appropriate punishment was to kill all the horses involved that they not cause temptation and unrest. The petitioner argued that it was inevitable that horses were bones of contention by reason of their value and by reason of their usefulness.

The Emperor computed, and sent back a reply asking how it was that a foal was sired using only one male horse and one male man. The Emperor had thought that the laws clearly stated that a male conducting itself to the point of coitus with another male was subject to beheading in any case. The emperor also wondered as to how two creatures such as they were had achieved projeny given what it understood of the biological process that resulted in foals.

The petitioner sent back his humble apologies, and his explanation that the foal had been sired on a female horse belonging to the petitioner that he had owned for many years and bought legally. Included with this letter was the bill of sale, which the Emperor dutifully examined and found valid. In cross-referencing the bill of sale the Emperor did find that the seller was a horse thief condemned and hanged the year before. Since it had no record of a missing horse fitting the description given in the bill of sale, the Emperor considered this information null and void in relation to the case in question.

The Emperor considered the problem late into the night while the Imperial concubines rubbed it with oil and checked to make sure that its hardware was in tip-top physical condition. The Imperial concubines were the finest mechanics the planet had to offer. It relaxed under their gentle ministrations and considered the problem of horses.

That night and late into the next morning, the Emperor sat and thought about law. It then downloaded the revised laws (all of them) that it had created into the Imperial Database, from which its drones drew their operating code. It also sent simplified versions of its revised laws to its human shoguns, that they might warn their people of the new way of things. It sent copies of the laws also to the imperial family, the far-flung nobles who still lived and ruled despite the Grand New Order. It did not expect them to listen to its laws (they seldom did), but it did expect them to read the revisions.

Considering as it did that humans placed value on things that was not concrete and inherent, it had in the night calculated the exact values it felt were appropriate for each material, by weight and usefulness, so that there might be no more talk of ‘value’. Each thing had a value per weight, and each job had a value per time/skill ratio, and these values were now fixed throughout the empire. To pay anything other than these prices was punishable by pirates, and the Imperial Drones stood by to enforce the new price scale.

This did not work as well as the Emperor had hoped. Unhappily the Emperor reverted its code back to, scrapping all revisions inherent in and going back to the drawing board on the matter of the value of horses.

The morning after that, the Emperor decided to test whether the Empire would work better if the humans were the beasts of burden and the horses were their overloads. To be fair to the other animals, all other domesticated beasts were included. Violence against a beast on the specified list was punishable by death (after all, yesterday the reverse had been true). Beasts were to be taken care of to the best of the servant human’s means and capacity, and the beasts were to do no work they did not want to do.

After betatesting, it decided that while having the beasts running the country worked very well in keeping the complaints down, it had also spurred a turn towards violent rebellion among the humans that the Emperor was loath to ignore. Once more, the Imperial code reverted to and the Emperor considered the petition.

That very afternoon, before it had a chance to consider its next code upgrade, a message came via dog. The dog had a red ribbon around its neck, and the Emperor’s database indicated this probably meant it was female. It executed a perfect bow, muzzle to the ground and paws out in front, tail high, and then trotted forward to lay the scroll it held in its teeth at the Emperor’s feet. One of his concubines retrieved and read aloud a retraction of the previous petition and a declaration that he would submit to the divine will embodied by his shogun.

Throughout the Emperor’s thinking about this development, the dog showed no signs of distress. It sat quietly and wagged its tail, tongue hanging out slightly as it panted.

This drew the Emperor’s attention.

“You are not afraid of me in the slightest, are you, dog?”

The dog barked happily.

“I thought not. Would you like to be my grand vizier, dog? I have need of someone who will speak her mind freely and be not afraid of me.”

The dog barked again.

“Very well. The position is yours. Serve well and faithfully.”

The dog barked.