nce upon a time there was a planet; a happy planet with a rich culture that was all its own, settled in the first decade of the Great Volkerwanderung and forgotten by Earth. The planet, Cambolinee, had green forests and blue oceans; cities and villages; people and pets. It wasn't Paradise, though -- Cambolinee had its share of all-too-human pain and cruelty. In short, it was a rich, varied, quite human world.
There was only one thing wrong, and that was thi s: Cambolinee did not join the Terran Empire. Eventually, it was the one Human wolrd in the Galaxy not a member of the Empire.
Naturally this state of affairs irked the Imperial Government. The huge battleships cruised the spacelanes, ready to force Cambolinee to join the Empire, but the planet could not be found -- its location was a closely guarded secret.
Cambolinee became a symbol to Humans throughout the Empire, a symbol of defiance and of a different way to do things. The Imperial Navy was not happy. The Terran Council was not happy. The Secretary General was not happy.
The Inner Cabinet, led by Lord Brin Lütken and Lady Catherine Leonov, who had become legend years earlier, made a deal with the Kien Khwei, that million-year-old civilization from near the Galactic Core. Then, the Cabinet rounded up the perfect candidates...had them convicted of unspeakable crimes and then offered them their freedom in return for a service to the Empire. The victims had no choice but to agree;.
As they had been ordered, they boarded a Kien Khwei ship . They were taken to the Core, where they purchased strange weapons from the Core cultures. They were given flasks filled with the deadly spores of Kastechia, and then they were whisked off to Gambolinee, whose location was kept secret by the Kien Khwei .
They deployed their terrible weapons...and the plagues hit Cambolinee. The world died, all of the people and animals ripped and torn by horrid diseases. And the air was made so ripe with the horrible germs that no-one could ever land there and live.
Then, having done their job well, the Planetkillers were taken back to the Empire.
But that isn't the end of the story. It isn't merely the sad tale of the death of a beautiful world, for:
News of Cambolinee's destruction reached the Empire before the victims had been returned. They came back to Earth to find themselves convicted in absentia by the very government that had paid them. The Terran Council knew nothing of any orders to destroy Cambolinee, or so it claimed.
The People were angry. The People wanted a scapegoat, and the Planetkillers were offered by the Government. Henceforth they would be cursed throughout Human space.
And then Lord Brin and Lady Catherine took the Planetkillers and had them bound, and told them the whole story, and then they killed the poor unfortunates.
And Lord Brin and Lady Catherine smiled.
And that's the real tragedy of this fable -- that the Terran Empire twisted Justice to destroy a planet, and then blamed that destruction on innocent people, and then killed them for it.
|Song of the Last Iaranori||
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