The world of business is a shady one.
Vast orbitals hover overhead, casting the world into darkness as they pass. The businessmen, wearing suits and ties to a man, sometimes glance up as the jewel-studded orbitals pass; but then they turn back, sighing, their necks bent. It has been very long since any of them saw the sun.
Once, they say, things were different. In the time of King Aldric, "the Wise", the businessmen (and women, even!) held their heads high. Their ties were waxed and lustrous; their hands held briefcases holding the lucre from a hundred looted nations. In all the world, there was no claim higher than to say that one was a Businessman; except, perhaps, to be a Prince. And the Princes of Business -
- ah! -
- where they stepped, the world trembled!
But this was in a way their undoing; for the world had trembled too long, and now drew itself up in fury. "No longer shall Corporation oppress Person; the tool shall not wield the man!" they declared, and sent the Princes of Business fleeing into exile. In their places they raised up other sovereigns, of Art, Peace, and Love; and these warred among themselves, and King Aldric was scarce able to keep them under reign.
Then Aldric died, in his bed, at the ripe age of forty-score and six; and his daughters were scarce able to keep peace among themselves, let alone the realm.
Naturally following this: thirty years of war, the erection of the Basalt Monoliths and their subsequent toppling, the repulsion of the vengeful Princes of Business, the Binding of the Businessmen (those poor few who remained in civilized lands), and the building of the jeweled orbitals, whose passing brings such sorrow to the eyes of the businessmen. And all of these are epics in their own right, which could take a fortnight or more to tell in full; but my time here is short, so I will speak only of those last.
In the aftermath of the destruction of the Monoliths, the skies were once more free of man's intrusions, and the spirits of the air felt free to visit those many indignities in which they delight upon Man's sorry head; torrential rain, freezing snow, deadly lightning, scorching starfire, and any of a half-dozen other woes I might name. Other worries preoccupied the rulers of the realm for the next century, and often the people, in their torment, forgot the lessons of history and called out for the return of the Golem Petrarchs, if only for the alleviation of their present sorrows.
But at last came a time of peace, and a ruler wise enough to seize it for what it was: "We will dedicate ourselves, as a people, to this one cause," she said. "To free ourselves from the tyranny of nature; from the air and the earth both. In twenty years time, my people, I swear this to you: we will live in space!"
And then they did!
It was pretty great.