Sciencefiction in oudere boekenverzameling met korte verhalen. Paperback.
Dat is "Dynasty of One" , een kort verhaal van James White , ook het antwoord op de vraag Galactic Emperor heeft onsterfelijkheid, maar voor een prijs . Je moet het gelezen hebben in de James White-verzameling Futures verleden .
Geavanceerde beschaving met een liniaal die een test moet doorlopen om heerser te blijven.
". . . The Just, the All-powerful, the All-knowing, His Celestial Majesty, Tate the First!"
He sat down.
Nobody moved, anywhere. This was no ordinary function, where he granted audiences or issued the decrees which could alter the destiny of whole stellar systems. This was the time when he had to prove his fitness to rule, or die. In utter silence he pressed one of the two studs set in the arm of his throne, and tried to relax as golden bands of beautifully worked metal closed around his limbs, chest, and head, holding him rigid.
Als de persoon voor een menigte naar het podium loopt, passeert hij een delegatie van buitenaardse wezens. Hij herinnert zich een tragedie met de buitenaardse wezens en heeft er spijt van dat het zijn schuld was.
Helgach, Tate thought as he paced, outwardly calm and unafraid, between twin rows of beings who bowed low at his passing—or, if physically incapable of that form of obeisance, twisted or twitched their respect in some other way. It had happened two hundred years ago, but he still felt guilty about Helgach. And he would feel much worse about it in a few minutes. It was a terrible thing to wipe out a race, to cut the teeming population of a planet down to a mere handful, but he had done just that.
The population of Helgach had been close to four billion. One hundred thousand had survived, thanks to his direct, forceful, and blindly stupid handling of the situation. Now, as befitted the representative of his most fanatically loyal system, Helgach's ambassador occupied a coveted position barely four yards from the throne. Racial memory could be extremely short at times.
De tragedie was dat de zon van de buitenaardse wezens zou exploderen en dat de buitenaardse wezens die watergebonden waren, hulp nodig hadden bij het evacueren. Ruler had een reddingsmissie met veel ruimteschepen georganiseerd.
Tate relived that mad dash at the head of the greatest fleet of starships ever known to the Helgach system, the shock tactics which tore the natives from their homes and cities before they half-realized that anything was amiss, and he felt again the almost palpable hatred that struck him because there had been no time to explain. And he felt proud—justifiably, he thought—at thus getting the last of the Helgachians away before their suddenly unstable sun blew itself up.
Iedereen dacht dat ze allemaal veilig waren in de stasis-watertanks, veilig om de sprong naar hun nieuwe thuis te maken. Bij aankomst werd ontdekt dat er een ernstige storing was in de tanks en stierf de helft of meer van de bevolking.
But his too-perfect memory was bringing back things which he should have noticed; small indications which could have averted the disaster to follow. If he hadn't been so busy patting himself on the back he might have suspected that the suspended animation tanks were not perfectly suited to their occupants, and he would not have arrived at New Helgach—after a trip half across the galaxy—with a fleet filled with decomposing corpses.
Little over a hundred thousand Helgachians had survived to repopulate their new planet. It was, therefore, much more than politeness that made him inquire the number of the native ambassador's sons.
De test is een leerstoel waarmee de kandidaat zijn herinneringen uit het verleden herbeleeft en als ze hun pijn en spijt doorkomen, geven ze aan dat ze de macht aankunnen en meer intelligentie krijgen en langer leven.
The radiation which stimulated the regenerative centers produced other effects as well, some of them good, others quite fatally bad. The treatment increased the I.Q., and gave to the mind a perfect, eidetic memory. It also, for the few seconds duration of the treatment, so intensified the effect of what had come to be called the "area of conscience" that any being having sufficient intelligence to base his actions on a moral code had to take three seconds of the most frightful psychological torture ever known. He had to live with the cruel, debased, and utterly nauseous creature that was himself.
Many preferred to die rather than take three seconds of it. Most had no such choice—their life force was obliterated with the first, savage blast of self-knowledge.
This secondary effect of the treatment was experienced as a complete reliving of the past, with each incident diamond-sharp in visual, auditory, and tactile sense recall. But not only that. The mind was given a terrifying insight into the end results of that being's most trivial-seeming actions. Unthinking words or gestures made over the years and forgotten, when blown up by the triple stimulus of perfect memory, increased I.Q., and a hypersensitive "conscience" became lethal as a suicide's bullets. The mind just could not take such an overwhelming blast of self-guilt, even for the three seconds, so it, and the body containing it, died.
Only one person had successfully undergone the Immortality Treatment.
Tate, though he had lived—with thirty-seven previous treatments—for seven hundred and sixty-eight years, still took only three seconds. And there was no blurring or telescoping of events. Each incident was complete, and though it occupied only microseconds of time, each bore its charge of guilt potential.