by Chief Constable Bodwyn Wook [retd]
On Cadwal Planet, a conservancy chartered under Gaean law, we were not a ‘democracy’. There was the charter as I have said, subject to re-filing every one hundred years, there was the moribund Naturalist Society on Old Earth who were the proprietors of the long lost document, the original ‘gentleman’s company of adventurers’ if you will. On Cadwal Planet there was a rather more active and highly politicised board, and it vied for the support of the independent community there, of research scientists. Income was from controlled tourism and from the grants and research monies brought in by the professors, as well as the Naturalist Society investment portfolio, which in my time had been extensively plundered by disaffected family members of the Conservancy whose numbers were surplus to requirment, and who therefore had been kicked off planet per rule. These were the heirs of old agency families such as the Clattucs and my own Wooks. The great bone of contention, however, was an illegal colony offshore of aliens, the Yips, who had drifted in over the centuries to do the scut work, and who had never left.
Some of the younger halfwits among board and scientific old families on Cadwal Planet full of ‘progressive’ ideas about ‘development’ founded the Peace and Freedom Party, to plead the case of the overcrowded Yips on Lutwen Atoll.
The goal was ‘justice’ for the Yips, who would be allowed to settle on the mainland in spite of the hazard to the flora and fauna which were protected by the Charter. As Chief Constable of Bureau ‘B’ it was my task to enforce the charter. In essence, we uncovered a complex vile scheme complete with embezzlement and forged documents and smuggled weapons, to launch a Yip invasion of the mainland. After the ‘freedom struggle’ the Peefers (as the Peace and Freedom politicos were derisively called by charter protagonists) anticipated living in swell manors whilst the Yips did the scut work, were gardeners, made and sold handicrafts to an expanded tourist trade, and held nightly sing-songs and traditional dances on the lawns of the aforeasaid stately manses.
In short I can tell you that ‘democracy’ is in the main code for nothing but double talk, the advantaging of new but invariably bogus ‘aristocracies’ and a load of nonsense, and that Mr Jack Vance has documented the whole unsavoury business in his 1988 trilogy, Araminta Station.
[Bodwyn Wook all rights reserved 2 May 2009]