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Despoilers of the Golden Empire

"Despoilers of the Golden Empire" is a science fiction novelette by Randall Garrett, originally published in Astounding Science Fiction in March 1959 under the pseudonym David Gordon. The story appears to be about an expedition through space to a planet inhabited by a civilized but technologically backward people, whom the expedition conquer. However in the last line it is revealed to be anything but that. In terms of genre, the story reads like a pulp magazine yarn mixing space travel and classic swashbuckling themes, to the point where the characters even fight with swords, bringing to mind the adventures of Flash Gordon, or the Barsoom stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs.