Mandapanda asked:

Strigan says to Breq, "I've never been able to understand how the Radchaai can keep the ships enslaved" (talking about the ships like Justice of Toren). Breq answers, "If you think about it you'll see you already know the answer to your question". I don't understand? How do the Radchaai keep the ships enslaved?

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Fred Baba Looking back a sentence, the exchange goes:

“Doesn’t it bother you,” Strigan continued, “didn’t it ever bother you, that you’re slaves?”
“The ships. The warships. So powerful. Armed. The officers inside are at your mercy every moment. What stops you from killing them all and declaring yourselves free? I’ve never been able to understand how the Radchaai can keep the ships enslaved.”

The question “Doesn’t it bother you... that you’re slaves?” could just as easily be posed by Breq or any ship AI to any of the humans subject to the rule of the Lord of Radch. And thus understanding how the Radchaai compel obedience in humans would also answer the question of how they compel obedience among ships (who are also sentient beings, with feelings and free will, who choose obedience over the alternatives). The main methods are:

1. Appeals to abstract principles: justice, propriety, benefit, and civilization.

2. Threat of physical harm to the ships, humans, and those they care about.

3. Explicit psychological tampering through AI programming, human "re-education", and the creation of ancillaries from dissidents and prisoners of war).
William Cline
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Budd The ships care about the officers and soldiers aboard. To disobey would to risk the entire crew.
Nenad Nesic
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HBalikov This is an issue that is central to the story. Baba, Cline, Budd and Nesic all tackle it, giving us some of the reason that this book is so interesting. I find each of their responses helpful but there may be other aspects that we discover in Leckie's further tales.
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by Ann Leckie (Goodreads Author)
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