The Emperor's battlecruiser The Commissioner was huge—two foreboding kilometers of steel, eternium®, and duct tape. And it was designed to be foreboding. It even had three high-powered radio emitters, one FM, one digital, and one modulating pheromones, all of them constantly transmitting brooding doomsday music to anyone who would listen—music custom-composed by a genetically resurrected Hans Zimmer.
Its mission was to explore the unknown nooks and loops of the multiverse, to find new planets and new life.
But not just any life.
Its mission was to find taxable life.
Life that could be welcomed to the bosom of the Empire. Life that would pay taxes for that privilege.
After months of travel, The Commissioner had arrived in a particularly remote nook of the multiverse and was orbiting a planet sporting large, peaceful oceans dotted with small islands.
There was life down there. Life sitting on a shore, lost in speculative conversation.
"The next one, the next one will be real big." Loptrunk was sure of this. There was no doubt in his mind and no hesitation in his heart.
"Naw." Lagnose, sitting on the beach at Loptrunk's side, shook his head. "That can't be."
But Loptrunk was right. There it came, the big wave. It hissed as it ascended the sand, glittered as it passed the marks left behind by those before it, and made the sound of a million ants tap-dancing as it licked the pebble that Loptrunk and Lagnose had placed a hand's width above the wetted section of the beach.
Loptrunk grinned happily.
Lagnose passed him a Bonono. "You win, congrats. You're simply the best waveguesser of this whole planet."
Far above the two waveguessers, and completely unbeknown to them, Captain Sharpsnittle sat on his red sofa on The Commissioner's bridge. He eyed the planet in the XXL-sized monitor in front of him with a mixture of boredom and irritation.
"It's green and blue." He inhaled the pinkish smoke of a fag of Ecrivain's Specials to soothe the headache the primordial sight gave him. "Pre-industrialized. There may not even be taxable life down there."
"Er..." Sinkle, his First Officer, cleared his throat. "Let's not come to premature conclusions, Sir. I'm sure you remember the planet Pfft, Sir. It was first considered a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland. But the ghosts haunting it had developed an advanced system of horror story trading. And once they had been made part of the Empire, this trade turned out to be highly taxable. The Emperor's treasury still thrives on the license fees it earns with the stories' broadcasting rights.
"Sure, but this one is obviously not a post-apocalyptic wasteland." The captain jutted his chin at the screen. "It's not even apocalyptic. It's all just stupid forests and flat seas. No signs of intelligent life, no trading nor earning, nothing to take into the Empire's fold for taxing the hell out of it."
"You may be right, Sir. But after having traveled so far to get here, reason dictates that we have a closer look. We're here for exploring new planets, after all. For science, Sir"
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Lords & Ladies of the M'Verse: An Ooorah AnthologyScience Fiction
Each of the 100 stories featured herein will be set within a Universe of the writer's creation, all being a part of a larger, shared Multiverse. Writers have free reign to tell the story they wanna' tell and providing...