The Mulian Empire
Adapted from “Conversations with a Dictator” by M. Mikotoson, Galactic Press
Although it no longer exists on any galactic map, the Mulian Empire is universally acknowledged to have been one of the cruellest and most bloodthirsty regimes that our galaxy has witnessed. Despite its small size and relatively insignificant influence on the galactic stage, no other state can be said to have exhibited such extremes of cruelty and excess as those witnessed under the Mulian regime.
Some years before the Great Revolution that ended the reign of the last Mulian Empress, Ruby IX, I was sent as an agent with express orders to infiltrate the empire and gather information on the way of life within its boundaries. I have no doubt that one misstep during those times could have ended my life, but perhaps it was the very nature of my outspoken dialogues with the Empress that kept me alive where more sycophantic courtiers inevitably met their deaths.
The Mulian Empress, Ruby IX
Since the Empire’s first contact with other civilisations came after Ruby IX took the throne, it is difficult for outsiders to penetrate the myths that surround her rise to power. The most common claim is that she was a hereditary ruler, a rare despot following a long line of mainly peaceful and benevolent heads of state. Other sources go so far as to claim that she was only fourth in line for the throne, and that she cruelly assassinated her parents and elder siblings (or perhaps half-siblings) in order to secure the empire for herself.
In point of fact, whilst I can find nothing to contradict these claims (for indeed, such historical discussions were banned in Muli by the express order of the Empress herself), during my time there I came to put my faith in another, lesser known, history. This version claims that Ruby IX was born a commoner (the translation of Mulian here is unclear, and it could equally mean outsider or alien), and that in her youth she raised an army and waged a surprisingly effective war against the Mulian nobility before claiming the throne for herself. Such a blood-drenched sequence of events seems unlikely to have gone unnoticed by the populace, but I was unable to find anyone brave enough to confirm the veracity of this tale. Nonetheless, it is my personal belief that this version is the truth, and that the earlier tale and the name “Ruby IX” were both invented by the Empress to lend credibility to her claim to the throne.
“But, my Lady,” the foolish courtier replied, “surely you are too small to control a horse of that size?”
As one, the other attendants gasped in shock and fell silent, recoiling from the courtier as if to distance themselves from his mistake.
For a moment, however, it seemed as if the Empress was not displeased, for instead of reprimanding him, she merely laughed. Thinking himself safe, the courtier immediately relaxed, not even attending to the nature of the Empress’ dangerous smile.
“Guards!” she called, lazily raising a hand. In that instant, the courtier realised the situation he was in, and began apologising profusely for his transgression. It was too late to make amends, however, for in moments the palace guards appeared to drag him away. Eyewitnesses say that his screams echoed in the dungeons for many days before he finally gave in to blessed oblivion.
One defining characteristic of the Empress that set her apart from her people was her relatively small size, a fact she disliked anyone mentioning. In the royal court, it was forbidden to refer to the Empress as small, and the punishments for doing so were always fatal.
At the Royal Court
“But what of your people- do you not understand that you are little more than a parasitic existence living off them and draining your own empire in the process?”
The Mulian empress paused for a moment, as if struggling to comprehend my words. Finally, she replied, “They should be glad to serve me- what other purpose can their lives have?”
Only in the Royal Court of the Empress herself can we truly see and understand the unthinking cruelty that she came to inflict upon the populace. It should come as no surprise that executions were common even for the most minor of infractions, but perhaps the best example of the Empress’ attitude was her approach to mealtimes.
At each meal, the Empress would demand a number of courses be prepared for her personal consumption, sometimes as many as a hundred; it almost goes without saying that any dish that did not meet her exacting specifications resulted in the death of either the offending chef or a member of their family. Once the spread was laid out, servants and attendants would be forced to watch whilst she sampled a bite or two from each plate; it was often the case that much of the food would be left untouched, but nonetheless it was a standing law that no-one else could be permitted to eat it- instead, it would be thrown away or fed to the palace wolves. Anyone caught stealing even the smallest morsel from the Empress’ table was immediately sentenced to death, despite the fact that the Empire in general was undergoing a state of famine.
In this, and many other ways was the Empire structured to cater only to the whims of its leader. In latter years, advances in technology enabled the Empress to mentally enslave a number of attendants, giving her absolute power over their actions. She would routinely work them to death carrying her litter and performing other tasks, before replacing them with further mind slaves.
The Great Revolt
Several years after I booked my passage out of the Mulian Empire, the inevitable happened- the oppressed people of Muli rose up and overthrew their Empress in a revolution no less bloody than the regime that had ignited it. Although it is commonly believed that the Mulian Empress died in this revolt, I fear that the truth is very different. As I discovered during my time at the royal palace, the Empress had already put an escape route into place in case of trouble- a space capsule designed to take her and a select group of attendants to another world.
According to the observations I have gathered, and my own calculations, it is my conclusion that this capsule was indeed launched during the closing years of the great revolt, and that its destination was a minor planet known to its inhabitants as Earth. Since there were no immediate reports of the Empress’ arrival, I believe that her original body was damaged upon landing, and that she therefore reincarnated herself into an infant form. Citizens of Earth, I beg of you- find the Mulian Empress-Reborn before she matures! The fate of the galaxy is in your hands!
Postcript written by Dr K. Pelias, included in the tenth edition
Although few heeded the words of Ms. Mikotoson, it turned out that her fears had been correct. By 2010, the Mulian Empress-Reborn had regained her full memories, and began waging a bloody war that threatened not only the planet Earth, but the rest of the civilised galaxy. It was eventually decided that the only way to contain the threat was to bombard the Earth with antimatter warheads, thereby killing the Empress-Reborn and the rest of the populace. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our readers by this.