Thursday night, Stanton Memorial Auditorium, Steel Canyon Campus of Paragon University.
"As part of our Extradimensional Perspectives series, I'd like to introduce tonight's guest speaker, who will offer a unique first-hand commentary on the prevalent philosophical stance of another world. She comes to us from a Delta-Zeta dimension which endured a tragic history resulting in terrible loss. Our guest had a distinguished career in that world. Born into the Aristocracy of a variant British Empire, daughter of a duke and duchess, graduated with a distinguished certificate in Imperial Service, Lieutenant Commander in their Meta Command, holder of the Medallion of the Superior Order and the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, as well as knighted Dame Commander of the Imperial Guardians. Here, on our Earth, she is an FBSA certified hero managed through ELITE, Cooperative Agent in Standing with the Paragon Police Department, Associate Member of Vanguard, Member of the Freedom Phalanx Reserve, and Member of the Global Defense Force. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Dame Victoria Crawford, also known to the public as Lady Warspite."
"Greetings, distinguished professors, fellows, students, friends, and new acquaintances. I must say, ordinarily public speaking is not, as you say, my thing. But after that glowing and overly generous introduction, I am moved to do my best. As Professor Williams prefaced, I am here to speak on the essential nature of my former home's official guiding philosophy. You will find it odd, that a government would be guided so abstractly, instead of by what you call political parties here on this Earth. Some background exposition will be needed.
In October of 1760, in my world as well as yours, George III took the throne of England. In your world, he had a long, and somewhat spotty reign, and was heavily checked by Parliament. In my world, he was a Titan of the highest order. He took the reigns of a government split between parties, an aristocracy crass and confident, yet divided and mixed in their views of the future of the Kingdom, and worse, beginning to manifest a deep introversion resulting in both inbreeding and a lack of ruling vigor, both physical and spiritual. In your world, over time, I believe this left the empire unable to guide itself through the storms of the 19th and 20th centuries, ending in a rump state, bereft of its pride and stature, meandering through history, bending to its every wind, living among residues of past glories they no longer appreciate or even wish to preserve. Hold back your outrage a time, and bear with me, if you will.
In my world's 1780's, while contesting with the rebellious colonies in North America, the King instituted the 'Georgian Reforms'. A man of great vision and strength of will, he restructured the workings of the Aristocracy. In outward form, the system retained the same feudal forms, structures and hierarchy. But internally, requirements were placed upon it. Rank has privileges, so the saying common to both our worlds goes, and also responsibilities. Well, in my world, rank then took on far, far greater responsibilities. Public service was no longer an abstraction; it was concrete, measured, and required. Inheritance of lesser titles in each generation was assured, but maintenance and enlargement were not. Service to the State; mercantile, industrial, scientific, administrative, or military, would be required. Nor would procreation entirely within the great families be tolerated any longer. This, as you can imagine, was met with resistance. But George III was up to this task. There were penalties, expulsions and executions.
And then there were marriages. No title could be passed to a child not of one commoner parent raised. My own father was born the son of a cobbler, but married a Duchess, and became a Knight, Baron, and Duke on battlefields. New blood; even if we lacked the genetical knowledge that came later, was welcomed into the old families. Marriage was less frequently the result of romantic notions of youth, nor obsessions of emotionally stunted bachelors or maids, but rather of wisely paired matches with official sanction. Honestly; the literature of your 19th century is insufferably dramatic and tortured, and I think on this account.
Our Aristocracy became a means of aspiration of the people. With success in private life, or in public service, a commoner could win a place; a mate, titles, authority in governance, a seat in parliament, and even lands to call their own. And not only blood, but lineage. The aristocracy found new ties to the people, new obligations to Britain Herself. And from this Empire was born. King George became His Imperial Majesty George III. In my day, though he bore little resemblance to this England's Prince of the same name, Emperor Charles III reigned, with vision, strength, and will.
Simultaneously to George's reforms, the war with Bonaparte did not go well. Your rebellious counterparts in the Americas, and I add fortunately you all here tonight are quite different than that traitorous crowd, allied closely with his armies, caused us to abandon North America, and nearly brought ruin to the continents. In 1821 we killed Bonaparte, triumphed in Europe, and gained the provinces of Gaul, Germania, Italia, and Iberia. Lands to be granted to the many new Houses of Nobility created on battlefields around the world.
And then continuing wars; many more than you have suffered here, sadly. Wars with the Czar of All the Russias, wars with the Manchu Emperors, and worst of all, Wars with the United States, and after it swallowed Canada and the Empire of Mexico, The Eighty-Eights States of the North American Federal Republic; a republic in name only, I assure you. Political factions, these parties you struggle with, became moot. Our guiding philosophy we call "Imperialism" -- the Aristocracy, properly following the enlightened popular self-interest of the Nation, leads in all things. We held to the long run; what would we pass to our descendants? Higher status, or lower? Greater lands or lesser? A better world, or worse? Sacrifices made in the short run were not to be avoided, but the be cherished, and lauded as investments in the greater future. Lord Tennyson, one of our great Philosophers, and champion of the Imperialism school, said it best: "To Desire the Ends is to Desire the Means, to Desire the Means is to Desire the Power, and for Power, to Desire the Will." Perhaps you understand better why my world was so different.
We were achieving great heights. Some you could hardly imagine. Industrial power a century stronger than yours. Damming Gibraltar. Irrigating the Sahara. Populated stations in orbit, and on the Moon. A bright future for Humanity under Imperial rule was on the horizon. But for the opposition of the Americans, Russians, and Manchu; who all had their own visions of the future.
And London, Manchester, Paris, and Berlin radiated wastes; struck by American Hellbombs in the war of October '62. Other places laid waste. Four times in the hundred years such weapons were known, we exchanged them with our great adversaries in the West and East.
Eight years ago, there was an accident in an Imperial Science Command laboratory in Guyana. We had many such; secret laboratories and military installations around the globe and in space. A scientist I only know of as "Forbyn" became a mutated blob of biogenetically virulent virus particles, and began to spread like wildfire. Does this not sound familiar? Quite. According to Portal Corp, the majority of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and especially Delta mode dimensions experience some sort of biogenetic plague. Some, like your Devouring Earth here, are only modestly intelligent and controllably virulent. Some, like Praetoria, are vastly more intelligent, and more virulent. Ours was much less intelligent, not even sentient, and yet incredibly virulent.
We killed our world fighting the Americans while trying to stop it. But more than that, our burning desire to dominate the world created it. Sometimes the Power and the Will to use it are too much for the Ends we wish to achieve.
Take from this what lessons you may. I know I have. Goodnight, and peace."