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“Is the King still alive?”
The grin slid off the commodore’s face, starting with his eyes.
“We don’t know. At first, Makann had him speaking by screen—you know what it was like—urging everybody to obey and co-operate with ‘our trusted Chancellor.’ Makann always appeared on the screen with him.”
Bentrik nodded. “I remember.”
“Before you left, Makann kept quiet, and let the King make the speech. After a while, the King wasn’t able to speak coherently; he’d stammer, and repeat. So then Makann did all the talking; they couldn’t even depend on him to parrot what they were giving him with an earplug phone. Then he stopped appearing entirely. I suppose there were physical symptoms they couldn’t allow to be seen.”
This comes from H. Beam Piper’s novel Space Viking. The king is the King of Marduk a constitutional monarchy with an elective legislature, modeled roughly on that of Great Britain. In the novel, the republic has been subverted by Zaspar Makann, a Hitler-like figure. He is now running the show (Or thinks he is – there is another puppet-master running this puppet-master.) Once he took control he used the reigning monarch’s respect for institutional norms (and perhaps chemical assistance) to serve as Makann’s parrot. Until he was no longer capable of parroting.
Remind you of anyone? A chief executive stammering his way through public appearances? Yeah, me too.
I suspect when he took office he believed he was Zasper Makann. It’s becoming more clear that he was really the king, having his strings pulled by others. It would not surprise me if soon, he dropped all public appearances in order to hide physical symptoms the public cannot be allowed to be seen. But that he will not resign and not be subject to 25th Amendment removal from office. Some claim will be made about his not feeling it appropriate to be campaigning and holding public appearances when there was business in the White House to be done.
And the puppet masters will still be pulling the strings.Published in