An excerpt from PSYCHOHISTORICAL CRISIS

by Donald Kingsbury

Prolog

In all of the more than seven hundred centuries of mankind's recorded interstellar wanderings and the more than six hundred centuries since the discovery of the first crude hyperdrives there have been many regional stellar interregnums. But there has been only one galaxy-wide disintegration which leaves us in awe of its breadth and scope. No part of the Galactic Ecumen escaped.

The Dark Interregnum between the First and Second Galactic Empires -- beginning with the Nacreome Revolt in the 12,116th year of the Galactic Era and ending with the Pax Pscholaris of 13,157 GE -- is often referred to as the Dismal Intellectual Age but, in fact, was a period of renascent, even unexpected, scientific achievement . . . . Many centers of . . . notably on the Periphery world of Faraway . . . .

Introduced by exiled Imperial scientists, the walnut-size atomic power pod revolutionized . . . . Faraway's transmutator was a fundamentally new . . . . The levitator . . . .

But the dynamism of Faraway was not the only source of innovation. During the last three centuries of the disastrous decline of Splendid Wisdom's twelve millennia of Empire, the list of scientific inventions of non-Imperial and supposedly barbarous . . . .

. . . the Warlords of sybaritic Lakgan, making an abrupt entrance onto the galactic stage in the fourth century of the Dark Interregnum, disturbed the smooth flow of history . . . while reuniting more than three million stellar systems. It is little realized that the overextended conquests of the False Revival were driven by the achievements of the secluded Crafters of the Thousand Suns Beyond the Helmar Rift who, for centuries, had held a Lakgan contract to dabble in the science of pleasure-center stimulation. Their totally unforeseen development of a tuned form of the psychic probe, allowing a high-bandwidth linkage between the human brain and an exterior transducer, caused a major perturbation in our Founder's Great Plan of Galactic Revival by moving human behavior, en masse, outside of the original parameters of human psychology.

During the early centuries of its debut, the tuned probe's major utility was unappreciated -- it was used mainly as a method to control the emotions of one's opponents, notably by the brilliant Warlord Citizen of Lakgan, Cloun-the-Stubborn, who unleashed upon the Galaxy a cadre of minstrels adept at playing a visi-harmonar instrument that controlled and set human motivation. Only gradually did the tuned probe come into use as a tool to access a portable quantum-state device that has come to be known to us as the personal familiar. Today such a linkage with a "fam" seems obvious; a modern man can hardly understand how, for eighty millennia, the unaided mind . . . .

Hidden from the tumultuous politics of the Interregnum, a covert group of psychohistorians, whom the Founder left to monitor his work in secret, spent the greater part of the two centuries that followed the Deviation exploring the limits of the tuned probe and integrating its effects into the mathematics of a Revised Plan. This work by the Founder's elite Pscholars eventually became the basis of the Second Empire which . . . .

--From the Interregnum Exhibit at the Bureau of
Historical Sciences



The book is dedicated to Viola Starsong Ferrando. Visit her page.

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