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Sociology

History of Trantor

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI

The Great Sack

 

Trantor continued to experience a downward spiral in her civil activities. The Commission of Public Safety was pervasive, and continued to make inroads into the Trantorian lifestyle. The history student often asks the question: "Why was the change from stability to chaos such a sudden one? Why did the really startling events take place more or less at the time of Hari Seldon?" These are valid questions. To see them in context we must observe the history of Imperial Trantor just before the arrival of Seldon, who was himself a catalyst of these changes, and then extrapolate these happenings for a possible explanation of the Great Sack that ended both the Imperial period, as well as the Galactic Empire.

Trantor's economic prosperity, levels of unrest, psychological stability, numbers of soldiers, and so forth, show a remarkable pattern in terms of levels in relation to the 12000 years that preceded them. In this relationship, the 'stability ratio', as it was termed by Seldon, shows a relationship not unlike a logarithmic function : There is a area where generally slight decline in stability becomes "all down hill", so to speak. Hari Seldon's Project, by sheer misfortune, happened to come to fruition just at this historical down turn. The only thing that made his project successful, was the fact that Seldon and his team were completely aware of the factors that they had to deal with. Hari Seldon and his Project were very important in the last days of Empire : They were also the last to make a ground-breaking new science, psychohistory, that dealt with the statistical future of the race in the galaxy at large.

The fall of galactic civilisation was to have a terrible climax, The Great Sack, and ultimately the loss of civilisation as men returned to pre-atomic barbarism. Over the period -68-260 F.E., parts of the galaxy lost touch with other parts. Within Seldon's time, the whole periphery broke away into Kingdoms, which were Prefects in the old days. Slowly, the concept of civilisation withered, and with it the rational ideals of science, art and literature. Onum Barr noted that, because he was a scholar, ordinary, normally sensible people treated him as if he were a magician of sorts, and even expected the production of aphrodisiac potions for money. This was by no means extreme as the Empire withdrew into the Core spaces, as the edges withered from her grasp.

The true turning point of Imperial affairs was surely that of the Empire facing the Foundation in the form of General Bel Riose, of the Imperial Marines. Riose managed to perform a complete Inclosure, a strategic tactic first tried by Admiral Peurifoy, with major success. However, as noted by Ducem Barr, son of Patrician Onum Barr (see above), Riose suffered a quirk of the nature of the Fall. Riose was a strong General under a strong Emperor, Cleon II (known as the Last Strong Emperor). The question historically is always: What keeps an Emperor strong? Imperial assassination, and even overthrow were contemplated by all strong powers in the galaxy throughout the fall, and the mathematical probability of assassination stood at 2:1, even at the time of Seldon. Matters became more extreme as the Fall progressed and Imperial strength faded. Cleon II himself was assassinated not more than five years after Riose's defeat, not by the Foundation, but by Cleon's rational actions. A strong Emperor cannot permit overly strong courtiers, be they Dukes, Viceroys, Admirals or Generals (Admiralty and General of Armed forces were by now hereditary posts). Thus, with the Foundation under his control, as it might have been for Riose's victory, even Cleon realised that the science of the Foundation was better than anything the Empire had to offer. Riose would then have that power within his command, and perhaps topple the Empire, all of which was left. Riose was recalled, the Foundation left to its own devices, so that the Foundation's sphere now included Siwenna, a victory of territory, of all things. Riose was executed, a logical step for Cleon II.

Six more Emperors followed Cleon to the throne, Stannell VII being another strong Emperor, but even he could not swell the tide of barbarism sweeping toward Trantor, as even single planets broke away from the Empire, and raiders made new inroads into Imperial space every day. The twilight of the Empire drew nigh. Finally, under Dagobert IX, the last Emperor, Trantor fell. Gilmer, a privateer commanding a rotten band of ships, managed to raise an army of superior numbers to the decrepit Imperial Navy and Marine forces. He destroyed them one parsec from Trantor, and then his forces moved in to take Trantor. Gilmer's forces fought bitterly with opposition from all of Trantor, itself under siege, as the delicate jugular vein consisting of the produce of agricultural worlds was now permanently severed. Trantor fell within a week of fighting, and at least 20 million people lost their lives. Gilmer's forces ultimately razed the domes with atomic explosives, tearing shards off the planet's gleaming crust of city, ruining it forever.   A further 10 million died in this bombardment. Of all of Royal Trantor, only Streeling, the Galactic Library and University grounds (down to Billibotton), and the Imperial Palace and Gardens were preserved by the students and staff of these institutions, under Dean Yokim Sarns, then also First Speaker of the Second Foundation. The then weak mentalic powers of the Second Foundation were put to the ultimate test, as all the mentalists of the Foundation wrestled with the minds of the barbaric soldiers, and Gilmer himself, so as to force them to either ignore the University and Library, or be so reviled by it as to leave it alone. This unique event, known throughout the galaxy, did not raise even the ire of the Foundation, who did not as yet concern themselves with Seldon's messages left in the radium vault on Terminus.

Dagobert IX fled to Delicass, with his family. The Empire consisted of Neotrantor (Delicass renamed), and the other 20 worlds of the Royal Ranchy that had fed Trantor. 20 worlds were now a Galactic Empire, the mighty fallen. Trantor was in ruins. Mighty shards of ancient Glory leapt into the sky, and even 200 years later, Trantor still had a metallic glint from space. In between the spaces of the metal torn up to be sold as scrap (Trantor's main export in the century after the Sack), there flourished a community of farmers, the Hamish, so called because, they returned to their roots, and Trantor was 'Hame', the local dialect of Galactic for 'Home.' Their charm gave Trantor a new market : Tourism . To see the mighty shards of broken glory, and to see and meet the people who had withstood all of this to make their world good and pure once more, as well as to gaze on the last remnants of Imperial might still standing : The Palace, the Gardens, Streeling, and the Galactic Library, where the Second Foundation worked, drowned in silence for the good of the galaxy, and the road to new Empire, as trod by themselves and the First Foundation.

 

Part I Part II Part III Part IV Part V Part VI

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