Democratia Aut Mors, Sed Non Imperium
Frantically posting a story I wrote a year ago (seriously, a year ago) in order to appease the people who just started following my blog (I’m alive I swear)
We were the pride of the Ytrian Imperial Fleet. Five hundred ships, more than most species had in their possession, military and civilian. Five hundred ships, tens of thousands of sailors. So we did what we do best, what empires do best, we expanded our territory.
We expanded, and our rule was benevolent. We built hypergates, expanded trade, ensured the naked were clothed and the hungry were fed. We did this for those who we conquered, and in time they came to love us. A line of emperors a hundred generations long unmarred by a succession war, a line of emperors a hundred generations long each educated from birth to know they served the people. We had perfected the rule of a monarch, we had perfected the hereditary leadership, by getting rid of the only issue it had. Unreliable monarchs.
So when we came to the edge of a Republic, we were amused. Many species that now lived and died in the borders of our great empire had experimented with democracy at one point in time, and now all had renounced such failings and were happily in servitude to our glorious leader, Emperor Ytriax'us the Forty Third of His Name, Light of the Empire, Great Servant of the People.
So when we came to the edge of a Republic, we did what we always did. We gave them a choice. Submit to us peacefully, or submit to us through war. We will give you all the boons of the empire, or grind your armies away and restructure your planets to better serve.
The first of the Republic’s planets came to us, and they accepted our benevolent offer. They were enfolded in the arms of the empire, and loved as all our people are loved. They were given boons of technology such as their planet had never seen.
Then came the second, the third, and eventually the fifteenth planet of the Republic to submit to our glorious empire. We grew ever stronger, as was our destiny, as was our duty.
The other planets of the Republic, they would not submit. So we marshaled our great fleet, our five hundred ships, and we sent them to war.
The Republic met us in combat, and the Republic fell in combat. And the Republic was absorbed into our benevolent empire as dozens of species before it had been absorbed into our empire.
That is, they were going to be. But right as our great fleet, still with four hundred and sixty six great ships of combat was about to finish off the flagship of the Republic, and bring the predictable end to this predictably tragic combat, four massive ships jumped into the system.
All four were huge ships, many times larger than any of our battleships, and all were emblazoned with similar words, hated words, words I have come to dread hearing. The Yorktown, the Waterloo, the Normandy, the Gettysburg. A pale skinned biped came onto the screen.
“You sailors, soldiers, and ships of the Ytrian Empire. You will visit no more violence upon these people. You will depart this system and all systems which did not voluntarily join your empire now, or I swear you will suffer the consequences. These ships are those of the Knights Terra, as are those that will follow, and you will visit no more war upon those peaceful stars.”
We laughed, shocked by the presumption of these four ships. What paltry force this was, to presume to issue demands to us. We were the Ytrian Empire, and we knew no master but our Emperor, may he reign forever.
So our Admiral, great Ytriax'an, cousin to the Emperor Most High, amused by their impertinence, deigned to speak to the scum.
“You who are the Knights Terra, we know not of you, but you clearly know of us. We are the ships of the Ytrian Empire, and we will not permit you to stand in the way of progress. All will come under our benevolent rule, by peace or by force the choice is yours.”
After that, after that there was violence. Sudden, immediate, overwhelming violence. We had no idea the Terrans were in range for their weapons. We had no idea their missiles were capable of destroying one of our Battleships with a single blow. We handful of survivors fled, ran for the safety of home and Empire.
As we left that system, they broadcast a single message to us.
“Democratia aut mors, sed non imperium.”
We’ve spent the last decade decrypting that message. It is in a Terran tongue that was dead a thousand years ago, but they stubbornly refuse to let go entirely. Loosely translated it means “Democracy or Death, but never Tyranny”. It is the motto of the Knights Terra, who have rained death and destruction upon our Empire.
To your battle stations now crew, the Stalingrad just warped into the system, to join her sisters the Madrid, the Bull Run and the Kursk.
Defend the Emperor, prepare to meet your ancestors with dignity, and when our Empire dies remember those who destroyed it. Remember those who shattered our rule, who would not suffer our Emperor to spread his rule throughout the galaxy.
Remember the Terrans