Meta-Conversation Part Five: Biology and History

You, the readers, asked Jaco of Lady Taisiya’s Fourth Husband some questions, and he’s already discussed someand then some moreand then he got upset… but you guys calmed him down. Now, it’s time for him to wrap up and go home to his lady:

Jaco takes his time looking at the final questions.

“The Treaty,” he says slowly, “they control everything. Everyone here — all the groups — signed the treaty. It was, um, a couple generations after landfall, and everything was getting, I dunno, all violent. Three times as many men as women, things get a little tense.” He jingles his chains demonstratively. “Hard to stab someone like this, though. So, chains.

“It’s not just chains. I think they’d dictate the number of eggs we could hatch if they thought we could get away with it, but the planet’s still too knew, and rich women are still going to end up with more eggs than poor women, no matter how many laws you try to put in place. I mean, regulate stuff too much, and then you end up with people incubating egglings in barns and caves, and trust me, that just turns into a mess.”

He looks back at the map for a moment. “We’ve been here ten generations. Where we came from… I don’t know. Some of the old books, they say something about The Company, or The Boyden Company. But none of them say where we were before. Maybe it’s because, well, they mixed us up to survive here, like something in a cake batter?” He shrugs eloquently and goes back to the cards.

“Okay, this one’s good. Who lays the egglings?” He shudders, just for show. “The ladies. I can’t imagine trying to… well, I can’t. And they carry the eggs for about a month and a half before they lay them.

“We’re all the same species, I guess, as far as I know. The raiders are, at least. I’ve seen some people that look really different, visitors, but I don’t know if they just look different, or if they’re some other things.” He snorts out something like a laugh. “Heck, they could even be real aliens. I wouldn’t know the difference.”

He spends some time looking at another question. “We can dream all we want. The thing is, what our brains do and what our bodies do, well—” he holds up his wrists with their chains. “When we’re kids, sometimes if a boy shows a lot of promise, they’ll encourage him — his fathers, his mother — to train for the military or the academy. You focus, you spend all your life on that, then, until you come of age and you see if that’s a route you can take — or if you’re going to end up in chains anyway.

“But the rest, it depends a lot on the wife. Some women don’t let their husbands out of the house at all. Most women, really. Some just let them go into town for errands, that sort of things. And there’s a couple out there who let their husbands — especially their first and second husbands — even pick up a career outside the house, if there’s someone at home to pick up the housework and the child-care.” He smiles crookedly. “Or maybe that’s just lies women tell men they’re thinking of marrying, to make them come more easily to the alter.”

He stands up and bows politely to the whole group. “Thank you. I don’t get out much, after all.”

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