©2008, Patricia (Pat) Mathews

This is a work of Fiction. It is based in part on the Science Fiction World known as “Lords of Creation,” written and copyrighted by S.M. Stirling in 2006. The author agrees to abide by the Stirling Fan Fiction site disclaimer. This work is copyrighted by Patricia (Pat) Mathews in 2008, except for those parts derived from “In the Courts fo the Crimson Kings,” and its sequels, which are copyrighted by S. M. Stirling and used here by permission. All characters in this fiction are, in fact, fictional, and any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.

A Coercive’s Life

To the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “A Policeman’s Lot” from “Pirates of Penzance.”

When Coercives aren’t engaged in their employment

(their employment)

Or executing someone else’s plan

(else’s plan)

Their capacity for atanj and enjoyment

(and enjoyment)

Is just the same as any peaceful man’s

(peaceful man’s)

We are careful what we do to one another

And we don’t do private feuding on the sly

What I do to you, you may do to my brother —

But — you killed my boyfriend, so PREPARE TO DIE!

(Prepare to die)

Oh, when our Martian politicking’s to be done

(to be done)

A Coercive’s life is not a happy one

(a happy one).

Oh, the person of the Crimson King is sacred

And I wouldn’t be a Martian if I dared

Point a gun at any member of his family

But His Highness never told us that he cared

(oh, that he cared)

And a bastard daughter’s not the same at all

(not at all)

A Coercive’s life is one of rise and fall

(of rise and fall)

Your Supremacy has won our death-duel fairly

(won it fairly)

You have learned some tricks our order never knew

(never knew)

There’s a game of atanj playing in the palace

(in the palace)

With a place upon the chessboard just for you

(just for you)

If you beat the bureaucrats and Papa’s cousin

You can bet your Terran’s life that you have won

But with Pretenders here a quarter-weight a dozen —

Oh, an Empress’ life is not a lengthy one.

(A lengthy one.)

❀ ❁ ❀