Chapter 1. The Empire.

The planet known on Earth as Gliese832C, orbiting the red dwarf Gliese832, in the constellation of the Crane, was inhabited by a highly evolved civilization that had discovered how to travel in the space for hundreds of years. The beings who lived there had a humanoid body structure, much taller than the Terrestrians, so much so that most of them exceeded eight inches in height. The build was robust and equipped with a powerful musculature proportioned to the gravity of the planet that had a mass more than five times that of the Earth. The body differed from the human body by a very highlighted spine that protruded from the back with a cartilage crest that continued along the neck and reached the top of the skull. The head, proportionate to the rest of the body, showed very protruding cheekbones that made the small eyes sunken with a rhomboid pupil placed vertically. The mouth, without lips, showed a set of teeth similar to that of humans but with much more evident and sharp canines. The pinnae, small and very close to the skull, were pointed. Completely hairless, they had thick, leathery skin of a greenish color. One of those beings would have recalled the figure of a reptile to the mind of a Terrestrian. Normally, they dressed completely, leaving only the head uncovered, with garments of various shapes depending on the caste to which they belonged.
Despite the technologies at their disposal, the social organization, however, was primitive and similar to that widespread on the Earth in the Middle Ages. A great Emperor exercised absolute power over the planet and the worlds they had subdued. Under him, some Dukes managed power in his name but, in practice, they were independent and divided the domains between them. The most deserving, according to the unquestionable judgment of the Emperor, received the title of Governor of a conquered planet where they could dominate at will. The Empire had army and space fleet but each Duke could have private troops and his own ships too. In the past, rivalries had arisen between the Dukes that had resulted in bloody wars but, with the conquest of many other planets and their partition, they were all interested in the new conquests and the rivalry between them almost disappeared.

Duke Lundthor entered the throne room, already crowded with low-ranking nobles. With a slow and martial step he walked to a seat on the right of the throne and sat down after having addressed a greeting, with a deep bow, to the Emperor Hulhus who, half reclining on his huge throne, was looking at the room with a bored air. Behind him stood ten Guardians, in their black uniforms with steel plate reinforcements, holding the kwerr. It was a weapon supplied almost exclusively to the Guardians and consisted of a long steel shaft that carried a very sharp, slightly curved serrated blade on top and a beams generator, adjustable from paralyzing to deadly.
Two Guardians entered the room holding between them, by the arms, a completely naked being who barely moved and was bleeding from the various wounds he had in several parts of his body. Arriving in front of the throne they made him kneel in a hollow square in the floor, three yards on each side and ten inches deep, remaining motionless on the sides of that kind of tub. The Emperor's guttural voice rang out in the silent room “What is the accusation?” Duke Lundthor rose from the seat and turned to the Emperor said: “Great Hulhus, this ignoble Patrician disobeyed my orders and stole several...” he could not finish the sentence that the Emperor silenced him with a gesture and, addressed to the two Guardians, ordered: “Proceed!”. Simultaneously the sharp blades of their kwerr crashed, one in the throat and the other in the neck of the prisoner who collapsed to the ground with his head half detached from his body, in a pool of blood. After a few seconds, the bottom of the tub opened in two halves causing the body to sink while, from the sides, a steaming liquid with an acrid smell came out and washed away all the blood. The room remained silent when the Emperor rose from his throne and left, followed shortly after by the Duke.