Posts : 1560
Join date : 2011-11-21
Location : A little pocket universe after almost destroying the old one.
|Subject: Two courts, two manifestos, two siblings. Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:37 am|| |
“So, young Elegance couldn’t be present today, I take it?”
Intelligent looked up from his barely touched meal at the stallion that spoke. “No,” he replied, “She had other business.”
“Ah, well. You should tell her to unwind sometimes. All work and no play make for a dull pony after all.”
Intel wordlessly agreed, though his mind figured that his idea of ‘work’ and ‘play’ greatly differed from most of the other guests at this function. These were the old and traditional nobles, the ones that played in the Court of Virtues. As usual, the topic of the evening was about the sorry state of society, and the conversation had drifted to the proposal of universal education. The loud majority was, naturally, against such an idea.
“I believe that the whole idea is radically unsound,” opined an elderly mare somewhere to Intel’s right, “Tampering with the state of natural knowledge would upturn the entire caste system and would probably lead to acts of violence on the streets.”
“Fortunately,” a somewhat younger stallion said, “With the cogs, at any rate, education produces to effect whatsoever.”
Amidst the general laughter at the table, Intel was still semi-deep in thought. Cogs, he noted. Not ‘peasants’, or ‘working class’, but cogs. The inventor culture had taken its grip even here in the most sacred of traditional rituals, the dinner conversation, whether the traditionalists had realised it or not.
“Yet imagine if your common cog could get up and read something like that awful, awful text,” the elderly mare interjected. Her words sent a chill over the table, rendering the laughter silent. Oh, yes. The grey book. A manifesto of anarchy and revolution in a mere 125 pages. It was practically forbidden to speak its real name, and inadvisable to think it other than ‘the grey book’.
“Yes,” agreed another mare, sitting directly in front of him, “And universal education would allow the cogs to write, but not to think, leading to more like it.”
“The grey book was written despite that,” interjected a harsh voice. Intel was surprised to discover it was his own. “The author was part of the artist caste, and poets and authors are practically required to be able to read and write. As you said, they are not capable of thinking correctly, but the point of universal education was to remedy that.”
The mare raised her eyebrows, “You think noble thoughts can be taught?”
“They can be encouraged,” Intel admitted, “And ignoble thoughts discouraged.”
The mare took a sip of her drink. “I think you might be overestimating nurture over nature, here, Lord Design. You might as well try to teach a Diamond Dog not to like shiny gems, or a dragon not to hoard. Some things are just ingrained into one’s nature, and the castes are no exception. Yes, admittedly there is the occasional anomaly, but that’s what the Court of Ideals is for, isn’t it?”
Ah, yes. The Court of Ideals, the ‘Inventor’s Court’. The institution progressing Equestria’s technological prowess beyond every other civilisation in existence. Innocent ponies thrust into the amoral cutthroat world of politics, wondering how the idea of pre-sliced bread got them there in the first place. A system built, as it were, on good intentions. While it did wrest control from the traditional nobles, the inventors brought their own share of problems.
“Argh, it was better when we bestowed titles on ponies with actual valour,” said a cranky old stallion, “Ponies on the battlefield, putting their lives on the line deserve honours, not stupid tinkering pretenders!”
Intel tuned the rant out. It would be the same points flogged every party. Though some were reasonable, even good, they were tainted by the fact that old Valour only said them because his daughter was a lieutenant. If she was a butcher, baker or candlestick maker, Valour would be stressing the vital importance of the industries in pony society. Anyway, word was that young Lady Valour only got her position because of commission and couldn’t command herself out of a wet paper bag.
Intel continued poking at his meal
A rather small group of inventors were crowded around a machine. What they lacked in number, they more than made up for in significance. It could be said that besides Celestia, these were the most important ponies that were still breathing.
The machine looked complicated, intricate with both physical and magical triggers, but all eyes were immediately drawn to two things: A large dial, and a big red button.
The Enlightened were milling about. Some were idly fiddling with their clothing. Then finally, one spoke. “Elegance, when is your brother going to arrive?”
Elegance was about to respond when said brother hurried in. “Speak of the devil,” she said with a smirk, “How was the dinner, big brother?”
Intel, after apologising, answered, “Same old, same old. The nobles will not be troubling us tonight.”
“Are you sure nopony followed you?” one of the Enlightened demanded.
“Positive.” Intel turned to the machine. There was a long pause. “Well?”
Another Enlightened coughed. “Well, as the head of the Enlightened we thought you might be the one to start the Celestial Engine.”
“Let me guess, the big red button, right?”
Intel was about to step on the button, when Elegance said, “No famous words, big brother?”
A glare, then, “This should have been done a long time ago.”
The small speech garnered a smattering of applause as the button was pressed causing the pointer on the dial to rise and flaps to cover the red button.
“Say,” an Enlightened wondered out loud, “What’s the numbers on the dial for?”
All eyes turned to Elegance. “They’re to, uh, um, tell you what number it’s got to,” she attempted.
Another pause. “Oh, well. Fillies and Gentlecolts, I think we might call it an evening.”
One by one, ponies filed out, leaving just the Design siblings. Intel was examining the machine intently.
“When did you really start it, Elegance?”
Her jaw dropped. “Huh?”
“I believe my question was simple enough for a pony of your intellect to understand.”
Elegance looked down. “Yesterday.”
“And it worked?”
Intel looked at his younger sister for a long while. Then he chuckled. “That is so very much like you, little sis.”
Intel laughed as he left the room. “Come on, then. Hopefully, this thing would not come into use any time soon, eh?”
Elegance looked back at the Engine. The backup. The final solution if the worst happened.
She shook her head, and followed her brother.