Accepted members of a comm are those who have been accorded rights of cache-share and protection, and who in turn support the comm through taxes or other contributions.
And then you stop. Because, oh uncaring Earth. Look what you’ve done.
Obey the lore, make the hard choices, and maybe when the Season ends there will be people who remember how civilization should work.
Likewise, no one speaks of celestial objects, though the skies are as crowded and busy here as anywhere else in the universe. This is largely because so much of the people’s attention is directed toward the ground, not the sky.
“No, it won’t. And I don’t care how they feel. They don’t have to rusting like us. What matters is what they do.”
You’ll jigsaw them together however you can, caulk in the odd bits with willpower wherever they don’t quite fit, ignore the occasional sounds of grinding and cracking. As long as nothing important breaks, right? You’ll get by. You have no choice.
Nearly all affected comms were able to subsist on their own stores, thus proving the efficacy of Imperial reforms and Seasonal planning. In its aftermath, many comms of the Nomidlats and Somidlats voluntarily joined the Empire, beginning its Golden Age.
She cries because she has been inexpressibly lonely, and Schaffa… well. Schaffa loves her, in his tender and terrifying way.
The people who built those old things were weak, and died as the weak inevitably must. More damning is that they failed. The ones who built the obelisks just failed harder than most.
This is why she hates Alabaster: not because he is more powerful, not even because he is crazy, but because he refuses to allow her any of the polite fictions and unspoken truths that have kept her comfortable, and safe, for years.
“I make sure he’s taken care of.” And she does. Corundum is always clean and well fed. She never wanted a child, but now that she’s had it—him—and held him, and nursed him, and all that… she does feel a sense of accomplishment, maybe, and rueful acknowledgment, because she and Alabaster have managed to make one beautiful child between them. S
Who’s she kidding? It’s love. She loves her son. But that doesn’t mean she wants to spend every hour of every rusting day in his presence.