Holding the Line

 

Continued from The Age of the Wise

The student of Uranian history is bound to notice, at an early stage in nen's studies, that the eras can be grouped into two main categories: the very short, ranging from minutes to about a hundred Earth years, and the very long, ranging upwards from ten thousand Earth years.  (There are three exceptions, eras of intermediate length, a few thousand Earth years, namely eras 54, 57 and 77.)

Next, the student may notice, when examining the sequence of eras, that it is unusual in Uranian history for two of the long eras to follow on directly from one another without any short era or eras in between.  This is because the major transitions, instead of being clean breaks, usually consist of a volley of crises which are apt to cause more than one world-shaking eomasp in fairly quick succession.

But eras 72, 73 and 74 are exceptions to this pattern.  Each were very long (60,000 Earth years or more), and they occurred one after the other with no intervening short eras.

It is not difficult to explain the smoothness of the transition from 72 to 73.  It was deliberately managed by the mighty brain of the last of the Simulators.  Afterwards, this great Ghepion lived on, but in secret, having announced that it was taking no further official part in human affairs.

Our account has now reached era 73, the Tantalum Era: 17,532,219 Uranian days, 714 Uranian years, equivalent to 60,000 Earth years.  By Uranian standards, though not by Earth's, it was a decadent era, in the sense that it was living off the moral capital of the past, without adding to it.  In the main it was not degenerate, but neither was it heroic - and this is unusual for Ooranye. 

This statement must (of course) be qualified.  A relatively few individuals were heroic.  They "kept the world turning" by their own standards of honour, courage and public service, as well as by flashes of personal genius.  But they had to do so while operating within a culture of cynicism and of lack of confidence in its own values. 

It is no accident that this is the era in which most of the lawyers and police in Uranian history have lived; most other periods have had no such close equivalents to these typically Terrestrial phenomena.  Two of the era's most famous characters were a great detective, named after the legendary twice-Sunnoad, Restiprak Zentonan (another sign of decadence: in no other era were people "named after" anyone) and his opponent, the un-named criminal mastermind known simply as the Grardesh Sponndar.  Adventure is something that no Uranian era - decadent or no - has ever lacked.

It is not, perhaps, a coincidence that the sunnoadex dwindled into a largely ceremonial institution for much of this period.  Most of the Sunnoads of era 73 were figureheads rather than foci of events. 

>> The Kalyars

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