Perrin held his regal pose until the last of his court filed out and the great throne-room doors closed, by themselves, behind them. He didn’t need mere human attendants. He had his machines.
His invisible valet opened the door to his private suite as he rose from the throne, the source of all knowledge on his planet, leaving the heavy robes behind. Jewel encrusted was impressive but heavy, cold and uncomfortable, especially against aged bones.
He gently raised the ornate crown off his head, with his own hands, to not jar the neural plates it sat against in his scalp.
It was tiring, being the arbiter of all culture and of what everyone could know, but it was certainly worth it. He shook his head and sighed. It was something his oldest boy just didn’t understand. One reason he was off-planet, where his dear old dad’s police couldn’t reach him. Such a misguided boy.
Perrin settled in front of the fireplace, that sprang to life as he sat down. He put up his feet, knowing that his dinner was on its way. Same dinner he’d had for the past hundred years. Roast horse with terran potatoes, pale asparagus with green asparagus sauce. A red terran wine to start... a solid barley beer to finish. A cup of terran coffee for a nightcap, with his med machines to neutralize the caffeine and let him sleep sound.
His doctors and his medical package had been the top of the line when they’d bought Chishiki. Nothing but the best; it was completely logical since they were so far from Earth. It was what he’d planned for. To rule a thousand years. It really was too bad that the others hadn’t understood his vision. He was somewhat lonely, with nothing but these youngsters to talk to, to sleep with. No one was left who understood what it was to be truly long-lived and what it was to be the hard-working and sole arbiter of terraforming code on the planet.
It would take a while, to fix the problem with the longevity plants being drowned out by all the excess water. That was a glitch he and his techs hadn't forseen. The wilt caused by too much water. Who would have thought? It was simple enough to stop the ice harvesting on the moon until his boys figured out how to ensure the thriving crops of both lifeweed and rais’r. Corporate space would never forgive him if he terraformed such cheap and effective ways of extending life comfortably... nicely... without heroic measures... out of existence, just for some ancient, stupid contracts. People just didn't understand that business was more important. Money had to keep coming or all galactic contacts would break down.
Those old contracts... were contracts signed with people who’d already broken them, really. It was hard, working with people who just didn’t --couldn't-- keep their word. He had all of the signed contracts in his original code kernel. And a dozen verified backups. His lawyers had assured him... oh how long ago was it? It didn’t matter. The law was on his side. This was his planet. His seed money. His original idea.
He was still holding to the very letter of his agreements. People just kept getting messy and willful and refusing to see either justice or truth... they were like children who had to be smacked to bring them back into line. Like any good parent, he was diligent about how firm he had to be. He did miss Petra in a distant kind of way. Gregori... pft... headstrong liberal thinker with his head in the clouds.
Why... why was he thinking of ancient partners... dead and gone so many years ago? He should probably call Nana's great-great grandchild just to make sure they knew he was still there, still watching.
It was too bad... Perrin Jr. Just had not taken well to loving, fatherly correction. William... the heir... as second son he had second son problems... he just wanted to run and of course if Perrin had anything to say about it he’d not let William get away the way he’d let Perrin go. He’d been a much younger man then. So naive.
The bell rang and the robot valet brought his meal tray in. It was so soothing to not have to deal with people after hours. People were fickle, vile, uncontrollable, unpredictable. They never did what they should or what they said they would. People lied all the time and needed someone like him to make them do the right thing.
He lifted the lid of his teapot and sniffed fragrant steam, smiling. As he’d done for a thousand years... and as he’d do for a thousand more. No one would be able to fault him for not doing his duty, however arduous and tiring. Perrin Thermontaler was a man of his word and always would be. He nodded decisively to himself, poured tea for himself in isolate and perfect splendor. He’d recover from today’s work and be all set for tomorrow’s onslaught of – he shuddered to himself, delicately – people. Messy, lying, plebeian, stupid, people.