This week Justin and Paul sit down to help Terry brainstorm his next great work – a galaxy spanning space opera about a bastard or something! Come, listen, and enjoy.
I really like this story and would like to suggest two possible ideas to help your brainstorming.
1: You said you wanted a reason why the rival kingdom wanted to destroy the Empire other than for power, resources or religious ideology. I suggest Regicide can be that reason.
The old Emperor, when he was young, cruel and new to his throne, kidnapped the queen/princess of the Empire’s rival Kingdom. He used her as a hostage against the kingdom, forcing them to become an exploited vassal state. While captive, the queen/princes was kept as a menial servant and virtual slave. When she became pregnant with the Emperor’s child she sought help from one of the Emperor’s advisers who agreed to smuggle her child out of the Empire. But the empress found out and has the woman killed. The Adviser, an Alliance operative, exposes the queens/princesses death and this leads to war between the two star nations. Eventually an uneasy peace is reached, due to attrition on both sides. Knowing war was about to breakout, but seeing that neither side could win, the Alliance began planning for the future and stole the child who had survived his mother’s death. They planned to use the child to reignite the flames of war between the two nations at a propitious time for the Alliance, but the child eventually escapes and grows into a man who is intensely loyal to the Empire.
2: Justin pointed out that in a world with advanced technology, how could an emperor’s illegitimate child remain secret. I put forth induced Chimerism as that mechanism.
The Alliance operatives use gene manipulation on the Emperor’s child to disguise his true identity. The technique they use replaces the genetic information in the most commonly used tissues for gene screening, with a synthetic genome, but they leave other tissues and organs such as the gonads, heart, and brain with his original genome. After the child escapes and joins the Imperial Navy, his Chimerism is noted by a military medical AI during surgery to repair life threatening wounds, but a harried doctor instructs the AI to ignore all but his original profile on record. So it is not known by any but the Alliance that he is a royal bastard, until the Emperors impending death causes the senate to order an empire wide screening of all genetic records. This is intended to show the Heir apparent is the only candidate to be the next Emperor, but the main character’s profile is brought to light. And later, his mother’s lineage is revealed to the Heir, who sees the main character’s genetic ties to their enemy as a reason to brand him as a sleeper agent and a traitor and orders his execution.
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