A brief biography of His Highness Emperor Augustus Alexander Constantine Mandela Washington, Lord Undying, Emperor of Earth.
His Highness was born Alexander Haskell sometime in the late 2160s. His exact date of birth is lost, because the 2160s also saw the first rumblings of the Gene Wars: first, an explosive civil war between the Gene Lords themselves over a new technological breakthrough that promised human immortality, and second, the escape of a medical subject named Angeline Haskell from the center for immortality research. How precisely the powerful Gene Lords were outwitted by a pregnant, natural-born, teenaged delinquent is unknown, along with the details of the research study: all data from the study, and most of the scientists who had participated, were lost in the power struggle, and the remaining witness was young, not particularly well-educated, and a habitual liar. None of these things stopped her, however, from spotting an advantageous situation. By the 2170s Angeline -- more commonly known as Lethe -- was the scourge of the Gene Lords and commander of a large army of mercenaries; by 2185, she and her allies had broken the back of the Gene Lords and founded the Council for Peace.
While Lethe's son Alexander had been active in the revolution from his mid-teens, it was not until his assassination in 2189 (and subsequent reappearance as a five-year-old child) that it became common knowledge that one of the immortality prototypes had survived. The concept -- transferring memories into a clone-body -- had been tried many times; Alexander was the first person on which it worked. Researchers determined that his brain had been extensively re-designed, presumably to allow such memory transfers. Their proposal for reverse-engineering the technology was roundly rejected by the Council, firstly because they could not say how many of Alexander's bodies they would need to kill, secondly because they admitted they had no real idea what was going on, and finally because they believed they would need to cycle through a few hundred "subjects" -- from fetuses to fully-grown adults -- before they made much progress, exactly the sort of excesses that had caused the ousting of the Gene Lords in the first place. The human race was therefore left with a single, politically powerful immortal.
The problems soon became evident. Alexander -- or "Icebreaker", as he was known at the time -- was not afflicted with the high-strung and humorless arrogance that had characterized the Gene Lords: for the first fifty or sixty years of his life he struck most people as an amiable, charming airhead. They were two-thirds right. Those closer to him knew him to be both intelligent and capable of terrifying bouts of energy. By the time of alien contact the Icebreaker dominated the Council by sheer force of personality, talking rings around his opponents, charming people into believing he was compromising with them. He was not -- as even his fiercest opponent Brandon Tomasek admitted -- evil; he worked for the good of the Council, or what he perceived as its good, and Tomasek thought he was not entirely aware of the overwhelming effect he could have on others. But it was impossible to run the Council as a gathering of equals while the Icebreaker was present. In a way the Empire Pact was a godsend, allowing the Council to once again become a democratic body while giving the Icebreaker a role suited to his political energy and personal magnetism. "One can only hope," Tomasek wrote in his personal memoirs, "that these alien bastards find him as unsettling as we do."
To date, this hope has proved well-founded. The Emperor has shown great talent both for understanding alien cultures and manipulating them to his own ends. While the various alien races cannot precisely be said to fear him, they certainly show more caution in dealing with humans than humanity's position warrants. The Empire has generally benefited from a ruler who is by nature inclined to take the long view. The main fear of those who opposed the Empire Pact -- that Icebreaker would eventually become jaded with age and start treating his fellow humans as toys -- remains a possibility, but so far the Emperor has shown few signs of running mad with power. If anything, he has in recent years become more withdrawn from government, content to influence rather than directly order his subordinates. The world at large, in turn, has largely come to view him as a fixture, a force of nature which alternately amuses and aggravates them but about which little can be done. He cannot be said to be well-loved by the populace, but no one has seriously tried to kill him in over a decade, a level of popularity with which His Highness seems content.
FamilyThe Emperor has fathered several children (see Imperial Wards), some of which he maintains a relationship with; he has never technically married, though he has had many paramours of both sexes over his lifetime. All, of course, he has outlived. The Emperor has never explicitly commented on this inevitability of his long life, though the only two times he has closed the Imperial Court both shortly followed the deaths of lovers, and the brutal razing of Io's Andamea colony was openly retribution for the death of a Companion and Ward that the colony had been holding for ransom.
The Emperor's only other family are the descendants of Sadine "Firestarter" O'Donnelly, daughter of the Emperor's mother and Haral O'Donnelly. Commonly known as Imperial Reds, the O'Donnellys were never technically blood relations to the Emperor and now have only the vaguest of connections to his stepsister, due to their habit of marrying or adopting any interesting up-and-coming politicians. Nevertheless the Emperor remains fond of them. Since the O'Donnellys have, via political savvy and the aforementioned adoption policy, remained dominant in the government of O'Donnelly-Tomasek Isle since pre-Imperial times, it has been a mutually beneficial relationship.
A Note on PersonalityAny significant action of the Emperor's is sure to result in a familiar media debate. Is the Emperor really as carelessly hedonistic as he seems, or is it a front? Are the shrewd political dealings attributed to him his own work, or the work of clever underlings happy to hide behind a frivolous figurehead? Is he a schemer, or a creature of impulse? Is he charming or ruthless? Which is the "real" Emperor?
The exasperated answer of almost everyone close to him has been, for centuries, that they are all the "real" Emperor (frequently coupled with the suggestion that the journalist should get a "real" job.) His Highness, like his mother, has perfected the art of chameleon personalities; he can slide from serious to flighty in the blink of an eye, hiding bitterly pointed commentary beneath lighthearted banter or disguising mockery as grave political debate -- and will be equally, sincerely himself doing both. Age has only confused the issue: the Emperor finds it deeply entertaining to sprinkle his conversation with references to obscure cultural icons and historical events, and will occasionally intersperse his fluid eloquence with a burst of the foul street-merc patios he grew up with. He was once asked by an exasperated reporter if he ever gave direct answers to questions: the Emperor replied, "Only when it's more confusing."
Generally speaking, the Emperor is politically astute, sharp of tongue and remarkably long of memory, with a broad sense of humor and a child's love of wordplay. He has no sexual inhibitions to speak of, is flippantly atheist, and has a quixotic but enduring sense of egalitarianism. He maintains an easygoing love-hate relationship with the media. On his side, he has repeatedly said that he supports a free press but would consider the world a better place if all journalists were dumped in a shark-infested ocean. On the media side, he is roundly despised for his tendency to treat interviewing reporters like cat toys, but he remains their favorite target, with his smallest move likely to spark intense coverage and debate. The Emperor, in all his moods, makes excellent theatre.