Portraits of the Patriarchy

Hayden Alico stood in the grand foyer of Alico Station’s spinning torus. The grand foyer was next to the docking berths—it was meant to impress. But it had never impressed her.

She climbed the imposing regal staircase, with its hand carved banisters and silver inlays emphasizing the theme of dynastic power, until she reached the balcony.

On showcase here were portraits of the last nine leaders of her family, beginning with the founder, her great⁸ grandfather Dagaman Alico—with whom she shared 1/1024th her genetic material—and ending with her grandfather Servun, looking hungry and hawkish in his portrait, painted when he was still young and dapper and yet to begin his great campaigns of expansion that, outside of this station, were secretly called the Wrath. Servun was a stubborn old conqueror who refused to abdicate the fate of the Alicos to his son—her father—Cartalis. Eventually, rule would pass to her brother Nilza, according to the bylaws.

Tonight, Hayden would burn the bylaws.

Tonight, Nilza would be slain. And Cartalis, and Servun, too, his Wrath reaching its overdue conclusion.

The loyalists would not be spared. She had already separated the dissidents from the rest by observation, and by morning only her faction would remain.

But first, she pulled down the portraits, tearing the faces of the past to tatters, from Dagaman on down. She felt no kinship for these dead faces or the ancient ideals they stood for.

What did Alico mean? Nothing. This was Hayden Station now. She was taking it for herself. In an inverted way, it’s what they would have wanted.

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