The man who was once warlord of Kalgan is apparently no longer alive. Men do not speak of treason—they speak only of the power and genius of this strange condottiere—this Mule. “This who?” the mayor leaned forward, and looked offended. “Excellence, he is known as the Mule. He is spoken of little, in a factual sense, but I have gathered the scraps and fragments of knowledge and winnowed out the most probable of them. He is apparently a man of neither birth nor standing. His father, unknown. His mother, dead in childbirth. His upbringing, that of a vagabond. His education, that of the tramp worlds, and the backwash alleys of space. He has no name other than that of the Mule, a name reportedly applied by himself to himself, and signifying, by popular explanation, his immense physical strength, and stubbornness of purpose.
«You—were the one?» she breathed. «Me. How much of it stays with you?» She said vaguely: «Are you the police?» «No. “Unless you count a special envoy as something. “And why a special envoy?” “It's an old custom. A direct representative of the crown is present on every military campaign which is under government auspices. “It's a method of preserving the symbol of personal Imperial leadership in all campaigns.