Adagio 1 – Googol Marou
Sometimes a good historical tale requires the right story-teller to really explain it correctly. Sorry, you are stuck with me, Professor Googol Marou. I am an astronomer and physicist, not the kind of story-teller I knew so well when the events I will try to relate to you actually happened.
I am not calling this bit “Chapter Two” like an ordinary writer with writing sense would. No, I am following the unscientific metaphors that Ged Aero himself always used when telling a story. He talked about the universe as if it were a symphony played by musical instruments that don’t make sounds. Their musical notes are actually lights and energies, physics, if you will, or some such nonsense as that. So the first chapter was called a “Canto”, a section of poetry or lyrics, intended to be sung out loud. This little pile of narrative nonsense is primarily exposition, a part that is probably good to know about, but it won’t kill you if you skip it. It won’t kill the story either… hopefully. I may also use “Nocturnes” in the course of this tale, classical movements of romance and sensual beauty. And I am looking forward to the “Scherzos”, the short interludes of comic musicality and brief relief from the heavier fare.
My over-all plan for this tale is to tell you how a group of teachers were able to make history and change the Imperium of a Thousand Worlds, turning it into the New Star League, even though the stars in it were billions of years old.
Now, you might wonder how it is that a group of teachers were able to conquer and realign the very stars, especially since they didn’t know they were teachers at the outset, but I swear it is true. I’m not the liar Trav Dalgoda was. And, even though I didn’t personally witness everything I intend to tell you, I did participate a bit. And, I was able to learn even more through my special telescope.
Space in the era of this history was already partially colonized by human beings who originated on Earth. Four branches of Earthers had reached out to the stars and planets of the Orion Spur of the Sagittarius Spiral Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Texans had created the Coreward Union of Inhabited Worlds, also known as the Pan Galactican Union. Those fools in their plasticized cowboy hats had a way of running roughshod over the galaxy until they met forces more determined and self reliant than they were. I don’t apologize for Space Cowboys, there really is no excuse for them, but they were a necessary part of the cultural mix that preceded the New Star League.
The Japanese had reached out to the Trailing Area of the Spur and their colonies disappeared from known space. Many thought they had run afoul of a powerful alien menace. In some ways, it was probably the truth. Still, the inscrutable Space Samurai would come back to haunt us in a new incarnation. It would prove to be the right thing at the right time.
The Southern European Union had branched out towards the Nebulas of the Leading Edge of the Orion Spur. There they founded an exclusive humans-only Empire called the Classical Worlds. They were so pig-headedly convinced of their own perfection and superiority, that they took to living everywhere as Space Nudists, shaping the environment to accommodate the human form rather than making any adaptations themselves. These descendants of the French, Italians, and Greeks adopted Greco-Roman dress and culture, and I mean the Ancient form that had served the original Greeks and Romans back on Earth, the culture of social nudity and reverence for the naked human form. They were very enlightened about philosophy and science, but as buck-naked people, they had absolutely no fashion sense. They were also unusually prejudiced towards any intelligent being that wasn’t human. They never seemed to figure out that most humans weren’t really intelligent beings. Still, in the long run, we needed them too. Good thing we didn’t have to look at them often… well, unless we really wanted to.
And finally, the Eastern European Space Initiative had made maximum use of their discovery of the humanoid lizard Galtorrians discovered in the Delta Pavonis Star System on a planet known as Galtorr Prime. They established their Imperium in the center of the Orion Spur. Something about the Germans and Russians just naturally dove-tailed with the lizard peoples of Galtorr. The Galtorrian lizard-men and humans became the first genetically altered, melded race in known space. They were able to take advantage of the many genetic similarities between humans and reptiloids for the purposes of making the two species into one, the Galtorrian Imperial Lizard Race. They were like humans in every way, even mostly blond-haired and blue-eyed, but their snake-like eyes had vertically slitted pupils. They discovered they could thrive in Earth-like worlds and hostile Galtorr Prime-like worlds equally well. They used their supposedly superior breeding to field vast space armies and navies of powerful starships and began conquering their neighbors. This, of course, included the conquest and devastation of the Earth itself.
The Galtorr Imperium had been established almost 500 years before Ged and Ham Aero started the Great Outworld Expansion of 5526 C.E. People would come to call the Imperium the “Thousand Planets” because of the 1,212 inhabited worlds in the 882 stellar systems it had conquered or colonized. It was not the securely settled Orion Spur that I am sure you enjoy now. It was necessary to keep an active scout service even in the heavily populated center of the Imperium. Information traveled only as fast as the fastest starships, and one end of the Imperium rarely knew what was happening in the other end. There had been a need for the Galtorrians to fight three Jihads and five Unification Wars. Pirates and Privateers were everywhere.
No merchant traveled safely. New colonies often disappeared without a murmur. Delivering goods meant risking life and limb. Of course, some of my best friends were pirates at one time. You shouldn’t really hold that against them. But, it is no wonder that an outworld expansion required someone of great courage and character to step out of the general darkness.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering, “Who are you, Professor Googol Marou, to be telling us about the distant past over so many light years of space?” Well, that would be a good question. I’ve been described as a “total nut-job” on many occasions. I know what I’m talking about, though, because I’ve studied history in action through the Marou Ancient Light Holo-Assembler Telescope (the MALHAT). It takes the collected light from the stars and planets we see, and reassembles it in a holo-recording that shows what happened at the moment those light particles reflected off the event. The true genius, of course, was in finding the quantum shape-memory in photon particles and building a re-assembler. That means that to view the past as it was 500 years ago, all you have to do is look at it from 500 light years away and gather 500 year old light. This I could do from the relative safety of a space platform or space ship. I mostly preferred a scientifically-oriented lab ship, but also found Ham Aero’s quaint little hunting ship serviceable as well. And, I invented this wonderful thing.
I won’t lecture you now on the fierce repressions of the Galtorr Imperium. Most of that goes without saying, and if you’ve heard of them at all, you know it is true.
I know you are probably still marveling over the simple brilliance of the Marou Ancient Light Holo-Assembler telescope! I can’t blame you. I’m still amazed that I invented it. It makes me have to stop in the middle of my thesis just to marvel at myself. Wow! Aren’t I wonderful?
What I will tell you, though, is that the Aero brothers left known space because Ged was slowly transforming into a rare form of Psion known as a Shape-Changer. Like the telepaths, pyros, savants, teleporters, and telekinetics who made up the usual run of Psions, shape-changers could make use of their entire brain system in a conscious way to control the universe around them by mind power alone. That is not to say that they were any smarter, wiser, or more moral that the rest of us, just unusually gifted with special brain powers.
The Imperium hated Psions because they were so much harder to control. They actively hunted, persecuted, and, often, even executed Psions. I, myself, am not a Psion, but you will note in the course of this history, when I come into the picture to play a key role, that I have a real affinity for Psions and their way of life. So, as the story continues, please don’t doubt the veracity and mental stability of my observations. I’m a genius, after all. My inventions prove it.