At this stage, we should probably ask ourselves an important question: how did it all get started?
Why the Empire of Man? What is its role? Its justification?
First, as befits our mercantile, shallow age, we must see if there any valid economic reasons behind the ever-expanding colonial rule of humanity. This is a question easily answered. No. The techniques we learnt from the Old Martians have guaranteed us an endless and near-infinite supply of energy. Our needs for raw materials can be, and are, easily and cheaply solved by our robotic mining stations on the diverse moons, planets and asteroids of the Solar System and, in the main, we do not use indigenous populations as workforce: our industrial processes have for a long time been fully automated.
Next, to fully answer those who believe humanity to be the mere puppet of blind, fated forces, we must address the demographic argument: is the expansion motivated by a need for more living space, a way to give humanity the Lebensraum it craves? There again, we can swiftly brush this idea aside: early in the conquest a handful of planets were duly colonised, slowly, on the cheap, as if as an afterthought, but their potential for human habitation was never fully exploited. Be it on Earth or inside his artificial habitats, man, it seems, prefers to stay within the confine of the Solar System. Furthermore, the global human population has been slowly declining over the past two centuries. There simply is no demographic pressure.
But according to what, for want of a better term, we will have to call a more positive, optimistic, hopeful outlook, the Empire would be the result of that peculiar human need to increase our knowledge of the universe. In this – to say the least – peculiar Weltanschauung, the senseless and unending slaughter is merely a necessary step on the road to some unspecified scientific nirvana.
Again – and forgetting that this is simply a morally dubious way to justify the perpetration of evil by the promise of a speculated future good – it is certainly not the case. And again it can be easily proven: the alliance with the Dogs has given our race access to the Treasure Hoards of the ancient Martians, the repositories of their science and technology. Of this mountain of knowledge, we have not yet begun to understand even a fraction of a percent. Compared to the Huylee, we are mere children, a toddler playing in a cardboard box, and dreaming of the car its father drives to work. And it its well known that nowhere else in our travels have we found such an advanced civilisation. There is then no need to enslave the galaxy to further our understanding, for if we were serious about this goal, we would only have to concentrate our resources on Mars and, first and foremost, eliminate the main obstacle that stand there in our way: the Dogs, who even now persist in killing 99 percent of all human being who set foot on their planet.
This result in the Dog at rest being a surprisingly beautiful creature, of ever-changing lines and sleek grace. Its perpetually arched back gives it the bearing of some strange, alien Sphinx, and its huge, obsidian eyes an air of quiet inscrutability. Its mouth is small, considering, and only hint at, when open, the disquieting amount of cutlery that lie therein.
The body is entirely covered in a black and white mane of silky hairs, short in places, long in others, which like cats they preen excessively. This is not a Martian attribute, all the creatures of this planet having been hairless, as far as we know. It was probably an innovation brought back by the Huylees from their constant travels. This fur serves many different functions: a sensory organ as well as a mean of thermoregulation and, since each hair is independently controlled, a way to reduce the drag coefficient of the Dog as it moves to a variety of mediums.
So then, what is the reason behind our continuous and unchecked expansion? After all, given the state we leave most inhabited worlds in our wake, it cannot be argued that we do it for the sake of the natives.
The depressing truth is that there is no obvious reason, only inertia and, perhaps, relentless and well-aimed propaganda.
We do it because, in an age of wealth and opportunities without equal in history, some of us still insist in reasoning according to the old realities of the times of scarcity. The tragedy being that these people tend to put themselves in charge. We do it because nobody outside of humanity has the power to stop us, and nobody inside cares enough to be bothered. We do it because, when we started, it seemed a worthwhile thing to do, a cheap dream if you will, and, now that the dream has turned sour, nobody knows how to stop. We do it, in the end, because power and greed are their own justification.
But, most of all, we do it because it’s an easy way to keep the explorers busy.
Did you know that the general p[population has a startlingly low opinion of the Space Service? This, you will have to concede, is rather strange. After all, these people are, according to the propaganda continuously dished us in over-generous helpings, the crème de la crème. It is certainly true that they go through the most arduous recruitment and training program ever devised. In scientific and theoretical matters alone, their schooling takes years and it can be said that each of them holds the equivalent of several PhD’s. Physically also, they are all prime specimens, functioning at near-Olympic levels, first-rate pilots and experts in a huge variety of combat and survival techniques. And, obviously, there is also the matter of their unique genetic heritage.
But strangely the opinion in which they are commonly held is not that high. Numerous polls and market researches have proved that point: in spite of the propaganda, people simply do not rate our space farers very much. They do not dream of being one, or even meeting one. They certainly don’t want their children to become one. Scientists, yes. Doctors, certainly. Even lawyers and journalists enjoy a higher social standing. Even politicians!
And that is because the general population is actually composed of responsible, sensible adults, who know the truth, even if they would rather not openly acknowledge it. And the truth is this: the Space Service is ran and staffed by the maniac, the insane, and the wholly criminal.
You know them. Throughout our history we have been plagued by them. They are relatively few, a small percentage of each generation, but even a few of them is enough to make life unbearable for the rest of us. In an ideal world, the best way would be, of course, to be able to rid ourselves of them, at birth or soon after; they are, after all, easily detectable. But we do not live in an ideal world and, failing that, the best solution is to keep them occupied.
Inside the tent, pissing out, or outside, pissing in? The best way, it seems, is to have them outside, shitting on the whole galaxy!