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Who they are
The Haut are effectively the ruling upper upper class of Cetaganda. While they do not control the military directly, they control the ghem-Lords that do run the army. They genetically engineer themselves towards the objective of perfecting humanity.
The male Haut are called Haut Lords. When referring to a Haut lord (or lady) one says, "That is the haut Lord Kety." They can also be known by simpler titles, such as "Haut Pel".
There are eight planets that comprise the Cetagandan Empire. Each planet is ruled by a Haut Governor. These positions are rotated by five year terms to prevent the governors from developing a power base. The historic Cetagandan occupation of Barrayar is referred to by Cetegandans as the Ninth Satrapy.
The Haut ladies are completely distinct from the Haut Lords. A select group of them run the haut genome and ensure genetic progress is made for the good of the haut. Less fortunate haut ladies are given as wives to honor successful ghem, usually decorated admirals or generals, as an honor they cannot refuse. Haut women are also genetically augmented to be extremely attractive.
The Star Crèche contains all haut genetic material. The Empress of Cetaganda is responsible for it, causing her, and the other haut women who run it, to wield enormous power among the haut. Haut, who all have 47 chromosomes, do not reproduce on their own but are given genetically engineered haut fetuses in uterine replicators who will become their children, solely at the discression of the Star Crèche. Contracts are reached to determine which bloodlines (called "constellations" by the haut) cross and how. Control of reproduction is another way that the Haut leaders on Cetaganda control the Satraps, the other haut and, by extension, the entire empire.
This is the female counterpart to the Satrap Governors, though their appointments are lifelong instead of 5 years at a time. Their titles are the "Consort" of their planet, instead of to the governor. They are charged with facilitating contracts for the creation of the haut children for their planets, acting as intermediaries between the haut lords and the Empress, and supervision of the yearly shipment of haut children who are created at the Celestial garden on Cetaganda, and sent to each planetary satrap.
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