Continued from The Vanadium Era

The upheaval which marked the end of the immense Vanadium Era stemmed from a personal decision by Valim Poand, Noad of Vyanth.  He made up his mind to free all his city's slaves. 

Slavery was already milder in Vyanth than in elsewhere, with more rights and more customary protection for the slaves; but this latest enlightened move by the ruler of the most powerful city of Syoom astonished the civilized world, rousing deep emotions which resonated with the day/night cycle, bringing the longest of eras to an end at last. 

For two days, 17 hours and 42 minutes (the Chromium Era) Syoom was poised in front of several forking paths of history.  Then, inspired by events in Vyanth, the great slave revolt broke out in the other cities.  It lasted 31 days (the Manganese Era), during which long-buried habits of thought and of feeling re-surfaced and mingled with the new world situation.  At the cost of much havoc and loss of life the slaves won their freedom everywhere; the consequent elation, spilling from people's minds into the atmosphere, brought on the next era, the 26th. 

The Iron Era lasted 18,940 Uranian days (64.8 Earth years).  Many city regimes were founded in a reaction against the carefree irresponsibility and colourful individualism of the Vanadium Era, blaming its lack of social conscience for the advent of slavery.  Stern revolutionaries founded oppressively reforming governments, communist in the totalitarian sense.  In some cases the new slavery of ideology was as bad if not worse than the older, simpler variety.

Conditions on the giant planet, however, are fortunately not conducive to the survival of this kind of regime.  Reality is liable to break in upon the dreams of ideologues.  The Iron Era went down in a welter of muddled crises, and more natural Uranian habits were reasserted.

>> The Cobalt Era

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