The strange world of dan t. quilp

Welcome to the Empire of the Princes of Vay

The interrogators became the Princes’ ultimate weapon in their battles with the dissidents – Yabbasin, the Royal Chromicler

 

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The Princes of Vay, who gave themselves that pompous title, began as wealthy merchants and landowners . Having been introduced to the delights and hazards of space travels by their distant neighbours, the Zimirans, the Princes began trading with their neighbours for grains and minerals, making contact with Tiris, Stranna and Locra which had a surplus of wheat and barley.

It did not take the Princes long to work out that certain exclusive luxuries they enjoyed, such as missiles and high velocity rifles, gave them quite an edge. It would be to everyone’s advantage, not to mention their own, if all the neighbours were united in one Empire. The two largest, Burka and Gordis, were made offers they could not possibly refuse.

The Burkans were the first to be offered a choice between ‘joining’ and obliteration.  Their resistance lasted a few hours. The Gordians were more sensible. They agreed almost immediately, and always made of show of gratitude when they were given, in return for large quantities of their cereals, a miscellany of well-used technology, such as crawlers, powered by smelly and noisy engines, solars which were driven by the sun, and a meagre allocation of solar panels which converted their sunshine into energy for powering such strange devices as ‘coms’ or ‘e-boxes’ (mobiles), chillers (refrigerators), picca boxes (televisions, cameras, and videos) and d-boxes (computers).

This arrangement became the pattern aa other planets followed Gordis’ example, due mainly to the addition of a demonstration. A small group of influential citizens would be taken into space to watch the instant obliteration of an uninhabited planet or asteroid. When one witness asked how they knew it was uninhabited he received the simply reply, “Well, it is now.” The Empire of the Princes of Vay quickly became a reality.

Like anything created in such haste the new Empire was not without its problems. While the princes had complete domination in space they lacked adequate means to control all aspects of life on each of the planets, and they soon discovered it was easier to leave most of their subjects to govern themselves.  But ‘self-government required the looming threat of their regiments, known simply as the Blacks, coupled with the very visible presence of IMPSEC (short for Imperial Security) which ensured the security of the ‘bases’ the Princes’ footholds on each of their subject planets.. To these deterrents, the Princes  added a much smaller force known as the House of Interrogators which could seek out and remove troublemakers without the inconvenience of going through the courts, which could be seen as a denial of self-government and  become a potential cause of unrest.

Isolated on Erinyl, a small and untroubled planet, the House was a small establishment of six Senior Interrogators, their researchers and data analysts, acting under one director known as the Superior. They controlled the activities of field officers, also known as Interrogators, who travelled throughout the Empire dealing seeking out and removing villains without awkward questions being asked.

Their story is told in a series of books describing the hunt for the elusive Serpent. It began when Senior Interrogator Abran sent Lieutenant Retz to Burka to investigate a bizarre theft of space dollars, and stumbled on a much greater menace, the elusive Serpent. The theft was thwarted and the lesser villains removed to everyone’s satisfaction. But Senior Abran became obsessed with this unseen enemy and the long pursuit began.

 

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