Bel Riose was an energetic general. He was young and the idol of his men. Riose earned the title of “The Last of the Imperials” and his strategic ability was only matched by his ability to handle men. He had been stationed as military governor of Siwenna because of his distaste of the Imperial court. He liked to fight and the Foundation was his target. He planned to venture into the Foundation as a minor prince and study his opponent. To begin his campaign, he met with Ducem Barr the son Onum Barr. Ducem had assassinated the Imperial viceroy to Siwenna 40 years before in vengeance for the loss of his brothers, sisters and mother during the Imperial massacre. Riose knew this. He had come to Ducem to learn of the Magicians. Ducem, like his father, prided himself on the obscure knowledge of the Foundation, in which the Magicians were actually Traders with hi-tech gadgetry.
With Mallow now gone, the Foundation lacked the certain hard daring and resolution it once had. Sennett Forell was now the richest Merchant Prince of the Foundation. Just as widely accepted was the fact that he was Mallow’s illegitimate son. He and other wealthy Traders had captured one of Riose’s scout ships as he was leaving the Foundation’s sphere of influence (about 4 months afterwards, when Riose was heading back to the Empire after completing his surveillance). They knew Riose was an Imperial general and they suspected the worst. Forell prepared to send in independent traders to spy on the Empire.
The Forth Seldon Crisis had begun.
Cleon II was the Lord of the Universe. He was informed of Riose’s career of conquest for the Empire and he wanted someone he could trust to act as his eyes and ears on the frontier. Brodrig, his Privy Secretary, was his choice.
Riose was prepared to take the Foundation. He had gathered sufficient forces and assembled them on the fringes of the Empire. Ducem had warned Riose of Seldon’s predicament. No matter what his tactics or forces the Foundation couldn’t lose. Riose took up the challenge. It was a dead hand against a living will. During the Empire’s Inclosure movement, a Trader had been captured named Lathan Devers. He was held captive by Imperial forces and his ship impounded. Riose was using him to learn more about the Foundation. Soon Ducem and Lathan realized that each had a common interest- escape. Brodrig held aprivate meeting with Devers to learn Riose’s true motives for conquest. Devers used this opportunity to misinform him in an effort to get Brodrig and Riose at each other’s throats. He told Brodrig that he believed that Riose’s ultimate objective was to take the Empire through economic means. If he could learn the secret of transmutation of elements from the Foundation, he could disrupt the Empire’s entire system of economy and quickly rise in power. Brodrig believed all this, however Devers’ plan fail. Instead of stopping Riose, Brodrig became an active member of the Empire’s offensive.
Later, when the conflict had surged into the Foundation’s inner defenses which included the surrounding Four Kingdoms, Barr and Devers managed to escape from Riose. They had knocked him out while in his office and escaped using Devers’ trading vessel. No ship of the Empire’s could match its speed and they were soon clear of the Imperial menace. Just as they were leaving Riose’s office, Barr managed to get Riose’s communication capsule (which he had just received while they were there). Devers was able to open the capsule using tools developed by the Foundation and they obtained the following message:
FROM: AMMEL BRODRIG, ENVOY EXTRAORDINARY OF HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY, PRIVY SECRETARY OF THE COUNCIL, AND PEER OF THE REALM.
TO: BEL RIOSE, MILITARY GOVERNOR OF SIWENNA, GENERAL OF THE IMPERIAL FORCES AND PEER OF THE REALM.
I GREET YOU. PLANET #1120 NO LONGER RESISTS. THE PLANS OF OFFENSE AS OUTLINED CONTINUE SMOOTHLY. THE ENEMY WEAKENS VISIBLY AND THE ULTIMATE ENDS IN VIEW WILL SURELY BE GAINED.
Both were sick of doing nothing to help the Foundation, but Barr believed that no one man could change the course of history. He firmly believed that it required the will of man-masses and social or economic changes to alter the future. These were the factors which Seldon himself had outlined about two-hundred years ago. Still, they devised a plan in which they could ruin both Brodrig and Riose which in turn would stop the Empire’s advancement. They planned to show the Emperor Brodrig’s message and inform him of his treacherous scheme. Since the capsule would be once again sealed, the Emperor would have a good chance of believing them (since the last 9 out of 10 Galactic rulers were victims of their own staff and generals). With hope in their hearts, they set course for Trantor.
After a month on Trantor and several thousand credits of bribe money used they had got nowhere. Devers and Barr were forced to leave when the Imperial Secret Service were on their tails and ready to arrest them. However, the Emperor did recall Riose and Brodrig for treasonous actions on his own accord and the war between Foundation and Empire came to an end. Siwenna now passed from the Empire’s political rule to the Foundation’s economic one, Devers was recognized with honors and Barr was given the title of Lord. The dead hand had crushed the goals of a living will.
Toran was a provincial and son of a renegade Trader, Franssart (One-arm) and his new bride, Bayta, was of the Foundation itself. What was more, she could trace her ancestry back to Mallow. They left the Foundation to go to Toran’s home, Haven. Haven II was a planet of Traders. Though it had sprung from the Foundation and could rightly be claimed part of it, the Traders were fiercely independent. Their vessel landed on Seldon’s birthday, and due to all the celebration and fanfare Fran and his friend,Randu had trouble meeting the newlyweds. Once settled down, they all began discussing the galactic situation. Bayta, a historical specialist, believes that another Seldon Crisis is pending, since it had been almost a century since the last. Meanwhile the Galactic Empire is falling apart from the triple disease of inertia, despotism and maldistribution of the goods of the universe while the tyrannical Foundation grows. Lately, the Foundation has been trying to collect taxes on Haven. So far two visits by the tax collectors have been made and neither has left. However, the second was accompanied by a light patrol ship and as the Foundation’s awareness and interest arises, surely more attempts will be made. Haven is heading for trouble and a crisis is just what it needs. Though all believe that the Foundation will inevitably win, Haven and the other independent Trading worlds are simply looking for an edge which they can use to mold the Foundation with.
After resting at Haven for a while, Toran and Bayta are sent to the semitropical leisure world of Kalgan to investigate a man called the Mule, a man who just recently single-handedly took Kalgan as his own, and as a result, a man who the Traders feel can spark the fifth crisis.
Captain Han Pritcher of (Foundation) Intelligence is summoned into the Mayor’s office on Terminus for a private conference. Mayor Indbur III wanted to know the reason for Pritcher’s chronicinsubordination. The first Indbur seized power and put an end to free elections. Of the dynasty, he was the most brutal, yet most competent. Though the Indbur’s reign over the Foundation was tyrannical, order and peace was maintained. Indbur III was only the second mayor to ever be born into his position. Of the three, he was the least brutal but most incompetent.
Pritcher was an individual with his own motivations, and from this he suffered a blotched service record. He served the state in the way he thought would be of the greatest service. He refused an assignment to investigate and suppress renegade Traders on Haven because he felt that the new warlord of Kalgan was of more importance to the Foundation. Indbur disagreed, since Seldon said that no single man could change the course of history. However, Indbur argued that since the Traders were once of the Foundation, a conflict with them would lead to a civil war and Seldon made no guarantees about that possible outcome. Indbur ordered Pritcher to Haven. He left for Kalgan.
Toran and Bayta landed at a common hangar on the East Peninsula, a middle-class resort on the Inland Sea. They were lounging on the beach one day when they met up with a jester named Magnifico Giganticus who was wanted by the authorities because he escaped from the Mule’s court. Toran uncharacteristically becomes forceful with the Mule’s men, threatening with his Foundation citizenship. Magnifico, Toran and Bayta go back to the ship for their identification papers.
Captain Pritcher heard about the beach incident and visits them at the ship. He reveals to them that he is a member of the democratic underground movement in the Foundation as well as his suspicions about the Mule. He suspects the Mule is a mutant. Magnifico, one of the few who had seen the Mule, verified this. They all took off expecting to leave Kalgan with a fight, however no resistance to their departure was given. Rather, the Mule claimed that the Foundation had abducted a member of his court, which furnished the provocation for war.
Ebling Mis, a psychologist who had taught himself the basics of the long forgotten and obscure science of psycho-history, storms into Indbur’s office to announce the arrival of the Fifth Seldon Crisis which was a mere four months away. Dr Mis’ prediction is realized when armed ships from Kalgan enter Foundation territory and open hostilities. Captain Pritcher was detained upon his arrival to Terminus. He is sent for before his scheduled execution for treason.
The twenty-seven independent Trading worlds, united only by their distrust of the mother planet of the Foundation, meet on the ribbon-world of Radole to discuss the development of the war between the Foundation and the Mule. News travels quickly that the Mule captured Horleggar, and there are a few who become seriously concerned. On the fifth day of the all-Trader convention, Randu, Mangin of Iss and Ovall Gri of Mnemon confer privately about the latest developments of the war. Together, the three represent about half the military potential of the Trading worlds. Randu told the others that his nephew, Toran, sent him a capsule warning that the Mule is a mutant. Randu felt that the Trading worlds should throw their forces on the side of the Foundation rather than against it as they had planned. The other two firmly disagreed and refused to help the tyrannical Foundation. Days later, Mnemon was bombarded by the Mule’s forces in a deliberate and unprovoked attack. Haven was also under siege. Ovall learnt from the survivors of Mnemon that the Mule possesses an atomic field depressor which, though by no means perfect, can render an entire fleet obsolete.
Back at Terminus, Mis tries to pry any information at all about the Mule from Magnifico. To quell his fears, he gives the clown a Visi-Sonar, an ancient instrument that when played affects the emotions of the listeners. Once Magnifico had played the instrument, Mis suggests that he display his talent to others by holding concerts. However, even with what little Mis learns about the Mule (since he can not use a psychic on Magnifico for fear of killing him) he is still unable to convince the mayor that the Mule was not predicted by Seldon and therefore not the crisis he expected.
When Hari Seldon comes to life once again in the Time Vault to talk about the fifth crisis, he talks of a civil war between the totalitarian government and the independent Trading worlds. He makes no mention of the Mule, stating that the probability of non-deviation is 94.2 percent. Suddenly all atomics are rendered useless as the Mule’s forces set down on Terminus. Mayor Indbur III surrenders and the mighty Foundation is conquered and occupied. But Toran, Bayta, Magnifico and Mis escape to Haven.
Randu and Mis talk of the strange gloomy mood of defeatism on Haven. They believe the Mule may have discovered a form of radiation capable of depressing mental energy. They also ponder about the reason why the independent Traders are holding out longer than the Foundation. However, ten Trader planets have already turned over to the Mule and perhaps ten move waver. Randu feels that Haven is ready to surrender.He wants Mis to leave for Trantor and learn more of mathematical psychology so they can defeat the Mule. More importantly, Randu wants Mis to find the Second Foundation.
It has been four months since the fall of the Foundation. Captain Han Pritcher, armed with a tiny atomic bomb under his tongue, is prepared to blow the mayor’s palace along with the Mule within off the face of Terminus. During those four months, he found what was left of the underground in the city of Newton. He met Orum Palley (a.k.a. Fox) there. Fox set him up with appropriate ID and Captain Han Pritcher of the National Fleet became Shield-man Lo Moro of the 45 Shop of Atomic Field Bearings Inc. For two months he worked as a laborer when finally Pritcher saw assassination as the only way of defeating the Mule. It took another month to make all the arrangements when finally Pritcher was ready. However, once he made it within the palace and into the former mayor’s office, he was informed by the Mule’s viceroy that his bomb no longer functioned. The viceroy has been following Pritcher’s actions during the entire four months and allowed him to get this far. He tells Pritcher of the Mule’s greater aims- the conquest of the entire galaxy. Pritcher is to be converted as he was, for the viceroy himself was once the warlord of Kalgan.
Toran, Bayta, Magnifico and Mis broke through the blockade around Haven and sped towards Trantor. Over the news channels they learned of Haven’s defeat. On their way they were stopped by what seemed to be a Filian ship since their position was inside the borders of a local Inner Kingdom which is called the Autarchy of Filia. They were boarded and inspected during which time Toran and Magnifico were taken to the Filian ship; Toran to make repairs and Magnifico for identification purposes. There were no repairs to be spoken of, and Magnifico was released without a problem. 250 credits later and they were back aboard their own vessel heading for Trantor. Toran suspected that the Filian ship was actually from the Foundation and that the men aboard were under the Mule’s control. Magnifico informs the others that he saw Pritcher on the other vessel. He explains the meeting as an accident rather than suspecting that they were followed. He suggested that perhaps Pritcher had a plan of his own, but when he came across the other ship, he was forced to investigate to make sure that he was not being followed. When he heard about Magnifico and his strange likeness he was brought aboard for proper identification. Pritcher perhaps did not wish to meet the others since the secrecy of his plan was of the utmost importance.
The Galactic Empire was reduced to twenty agricultural worlds with the small planet of Delicass, renamed Neotrantor after the Great Sack, as the new capital. Dagobert IX was Emperor of the Galaxy, Lord of the Universe. Squire Jord Commason was the largest landowner on Neotrantor and “friend” of the crown prince, Dagobert X. The real brains behind Commason though was his chauffeur, Inchney. Inchney suggests that Commason holds the four new arrivals from the Foundation for the Mule, yet squeeze them of their knowledge using the psychic probe. However Commason was worried about the prince and his inevitable interference. Inchney believed that leaving the girl to the prince would keep him occupied. The squire agreed. Meanwhile, the four travellers were having an audience with the aging Emperor. They convinced him that the rebel Gilmer, instigator of the Great Sack, was still alive on Trantor and that they must have the Emperor’s permission to travel to Trantor and uncover him in hiding. Eagerly, he gave his consent, but before they were able to leave, they were captured by Commason and Dagobert X. Using his Visi-Sonar, Magnifico killed the prince and disabled Commason which allowed them to escape to Trantor.
Lee Senter was leader of the Group on Trantor. They lived a simple existence, farming and trading scrap metal for provisions and gadgets. The visitors said they were looking for the University Grounds. Senter communicated their presence to Neotrantor, where Toran thought he saw that Filian ship land when they were leaving.
In the University, which was untouched by the bloody Sack, Pritcher appears before Bayta, Magnifico and Toran. He tells them that he is now a colonel under the Mule. He admitted that he was following them since their accidental encounter. However, since his orders make no specific mention of them, he wishes to exercise their old friendship. He tells them of the Mule’s mutation- his ability to mold people emotionally, hence former enemies of the Mule becoming his most trusted subjects and the overwhelming feeling of despair and defeatism that Haven was experiencing before its fall. He also explains that the Mule knows all about their quest for the Second Foundation. Pritcher believes their plight is helpless against someone such as the Mule and tries to warn them away from the danger they are exposing themselves to. He then leaves them as they were.
Ebling Mis was sick. He had spent weeks in the University library trying to reconstruct Seldon’s work to find the Second Foundation. He had found it at long last. He tells Bayta that Foundation NumberTwo was a world of mental scientists where psychology rules, where as the other Foundation emphasizes the physical sciences. However, Mis was not ready to reveal his knowledge yet. During the last few days of his search, Bayta started carrying a blaster around “just in case”. When the dying Mis was ready to tell the others of the location of the Second Foundation Bayta killed him with her blaster before he was able to get the word out.
Bayta explains to Toran that she had to kill Mis so that he would not tell the Mule the secret of the Second Foundation. She had discovered the Mule’s identity- Magnifico the clown. The Mule told them the story of his rise to power and his lust for revenge on mankind to pay for his mistreatment as a child. He explains how he used the Visi-Sonar concerts on Terminus and Haven to spread defeatism and despair among the population and his ability to trigger high brain efficiency in individuals. He got his atomic field depressor by doing this to a Kalgan technician. He did this to Ebling Mis as well. His potentialities were high and with his mind at high efficiency, he might have possibly duplicated the work of Hari Seldon. The Mule needed Mis to find the Second Foundation, and thus make his conquest and unification of the galaxy complete- 700 years short of Seldon’s plan. Unfortunately, the process is ruthless and pushes the subject to the limit, hence the psychologist’s deteriorating condition. The Mule admits that his one mistake was Bayta. He left her emotions unaltered because she was the first person who liked him for who he was. He cherished the natural feeling too greatly. Her free mind was eventually able to piece the clues together and find Magnifico’s true identity. All the while the Mule has been in communication with his generals through an ultra-wave sender. Though he was caught on occasion, that person would simply leave with a slice out of his memory. The Mule left Toran and Bayta unharmed. Despite his set back, the Mule departed to continue his search for his last hurdle- the Second Foundation. He is known as the Mule not because of his physical strength, but rather his strength of purpose.