This is a character sketch for one of the villans in my "Fantasy World" of sorts. I hope to write more of it down. In the mean time tell me what you think from what I have written so far. Together they ruled the universe, the emperor and the machine, one by lust and the other by chore. The first saw the other as a necessity, the second viewed the first as a parameter. One could see potential conflicts in such a working relationship. Yet the empire was too vast, its bureaucracy too large, and its peoples too varied for the emperor to manage it alone, skilled as he was in such things. He had long since condescended to allow the machine to manage things for him in order to continue to feed his insatiable appetite for greater power. Instead of dividing his power among a group of trusted ministers, he had a machine made in the very image of his mind, heart, and soul. His notions of leadership, rule, control, and his lust for ever expanding dominion were integrated into a cold calculating machine, which was more like its master than any son could ever be. Yes the Emperor was the master, so he told himself, though he did not control his creation. How could he? In his lust for power he stretched his empire as far as his long arm could reach, and when he reached the point of his limitations, he found that his hunger had actually increased instead of finding the satisfaction that each new conquest seemed to promise. He could not control the machine because his abilities to govern (while very extensive) were limited, whereas the machine could always be augmented, upgraded, and improved. It was the computer that managed the economy of each new conquered world. It was the computer that told the army generals to advance or withdrawal. It was the computer that kept trade routes open, people happy, and preformed many other menial tasks had grown colossal due to the incomprehensible size of the empire. The only thing it hungered for was more data. So it was the Emperor created a system of governing and the computer that managed it. All situations that did not fit the standard algorithms were transferred higher and higher up the ladder of programs and modules until a satisfactory solution could be found. Very rarely did a situation befuddle the system’s complex network of processors. Even then it had an answer “More Data.” In this network the fate of worlds was tossed about like rats in a maze. If a new civilization were discovered, all data on it would be sent to the diplomacy module. Immediately a request would be sent to the clandestine intelligence module for a group of spies to be sent to the new people to gather as much information as possible. After a predetermined amount of time, the diplomacy module would process the planet in one of several ways. It might tickle the fancy of the computer to offer trade relations with them (and this was rare), which would then cause the planet to be filed in the Negotiations Module to arrange trade agreements. If it pleased the computer to conquer this new world, (which was usually the case) more intelligence would be gathered. This would be sent to the “Defense” Module in order to form appropriate strategies that would be handed out to the leadership in the conquest department of the military. An invading force would be made ready, while the appropriate orders would be sent to the defense department to form an occupational force that would be deployed after the planet was conquered. Even matters as detailed as the development of affective propaganda, the formation of a colonial government, and even economic policy would be underway before the first shot was even fired. Such was the efficiency of this system that at the declaration of war, the news reports of the victory were already written. Of course it would happen now and then that a civilization (they were referred to as clients) would be referred by the machine for extermination. This could happen for any number of reasons. A client could be so unruly that it was determined to be too costly to maintain control of it. A client could simply be in the way of precious natural resources and the computer might have no current requests for labor elsewhere in the empire. Or it might be found that there were simply not enough soldiers available to occupy a conquered territory and the people deemed to be too dangerous to be left unmolested. Whatever the cold reasoning was for mass exterminations, they happened. If the client was to be made an example, the act would be ruthless and savage. More often the people were simply wanted out of the way and were therefore wiped out quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. So it was that the lives of millions were allocated for destruction with as much feeling as a game of solitaire. And what did the Emperor think of the callous atrocities committed by his associate? He could care less really. After all, the machine only manifested the will its master and ruled all things the way he would. It please the Emperor to see that he had such an assistant who would manage things in tune with his will. Yet neither the Emperor nor the machine had any real control over one another. They jointly ruled all the lands that the mind of man could fathom and constantly sought for more. Yes the two got along quite nicely together. Each was probably the only friend he other had.