The Let's Play Archive

Master of Orion II

by nweismuller

Part 20: Thanksgiving


The Throne Hall of the Imperial Palace on Alkar was an ancient structure, dating to the years when Alkari fought Alkari with sword, spear, and bow over the hills and fields of their world. Tall vaults of gray granite were broken by long windows that ran from floor to ceiling, letting in sunlight and wind, with shutters of beaten gold able to be closed against the rain. In alcoves along the walls, stretching up along their whole height, statues of past Emperors brooded, interspersed with religious art on the walls depicting the holy Orions who were the great benefactors of the Alkari people. The glasswork lamp clusters that hung from the ceiling had once held oil lanterns, but modernity had long since replaced the archaic lights amongst the intricate glasswork with diodes. The Orions, after all, no doubt did not rely on mere burning oil to light their own halls in their day. In the center of the hall, where any attendant or petitioner could focus their attention, a tall spire of sculpted stone ended in support for a horizontal golden bar, etched over its entire surface with designs and formulas of rulership- the Imperial Throne. Later modifications had added display screens hanging down from the ceilings to either side of the Throne, where the Emperor might turn his head and take reports from his servants in his governorship.

The windows were open and the sun bright that summer on Alkar, and the Emperor Tauvua Preet clutched with both feet upon the Throne as he heard from those petitioning him. He grasped the Sword of State in one hand, the emblem of his office, while he held the other against his chest in proper ritual stillness. The Lord Governor Pooreeth of Velaree- a pleasant stretch of hill land in the temperate latitudes of Alkar's southern hemisphere and one important to the mining of titanium- was giving what was, to the Emperor's mind, an interminable report on anticipated titanium output and deliveries to the Imperial shipyards over the following five years when the Emperor's attention was suddenly struck by a musical tone from one of the viewscreens. "Critical Alert." The Emperor raised his hand clutched against his chest to call a halt to Lord Governor Pooreeth's report. "A moment, my loyal servant."

Words hung glowing on the screen. "Probe dispatch from Hase system has discovered a previously unknown alien species."

As the Emperor read this, he burst out, delighted. "The Orions have blessed us, my loyal subjects! We have met yet another species travelling the stars!"

And the Throne Hall of the Imperial Palace was filled, spontaneously, with songs of praise and thaksgiving to the holy Orions that their beloved children the Alkari should meet yet others to whom the stars were granted, for though this was not the first time they had contacted aliens since they took to the stars, still each time was a blessing.