A few years before the start of my book series, a galactic plague of a disease called BigPox is going to spread through the galaxy and inflict mass casualties, in addition to setting many of the elements of the story into motion. Here are the events that are required to happen, along with a map of the south galaxy (the dots are star systems, the dotted lines are trade routes, and the blue line is irrelevant here): enter image description here

So here's my question: how can I imply that this plague scenario, happened before my first chapter, has made a dictator from Caput Tatiium develop dreams of galactic conquest? In other words, how do I imply that this plague happened without wasting time setting up stuff that doesn't really have much to do with the plot later on?

I want the plague to be relevant to the setting, and the main cause of some events, but nowhere near the "focus" of the entire story.

Some additional information about the effects of the plauge on my galaxy:

-The Rinascitan Monsquistadors spread the disease to Aztlan, causing the deaths of 40% of its population, including the mother of Nate, one of the main characters. (NOTE: THE "NEW AZTLAN" ON THE MAP IS AZTLAN; IT GETS A NAME CHANGE LATER ON IN THE SERIES).

-Vigam is hit particularly hard, with the Lunar Cliffs area losing its rulers and 80% of its population. Vigam in general loses 70% of its population.

-The plague misses Aurea completely.

-Planet Squid loses ~2/3 of its population

-Ishga medicine prevents Ishgabangaloodoo from being hit too hard, but its monarch is too greedy and paranoid to share the cure with anyone else. Ishgabangaloodoo loses only 5-10% of its population as a result.

-Awal Kabab is hit hard, losing 60% of its population

-Caput Tatiium is so far removed from the rest of the galaxy that there are only 5 total reported deaths.

-Arturia is hit hard, particularly the city of Caerbannog, which loses 66% of its population. Weasel's father falls ill and dies. Arturia in general loses half its population.

-Everywhere else loses anywhere from 15-20% of its population

-Symptoms are a combination of smallpox, ebola, and bubonic plague

-There is a 100% mortality rate without treatment, but with treatment it is closer to 12%.

-The Ishgas are the only civilization technologically capable enough to have a working treatment (every other planet has Renaissance-era technology or worse, using magic-powered spaceships instead of electric-powered ones like the Ishgas).

-Although primitive, most of the less advanced planets do know enough about disease not to pull any of that leeching or bloodletting nonsense and instead attempt to quarantine the sick

-Melzac is unaffected because it is no longer inhabited

-Although humans are rare in this universe, every sentient species has physiology superficially similar to that of humans, allowing the disease to wipe out basically everyone at the same rate

-The plague lasts 10 years

Some things to know about this conqueror:

-His name is Tate

-He and his parents are humans with a mutation that gives them absurd magical ability and the ability to transform into 2 more powerful forms

-He lost an eye as a child in the explosion that killed his parents, forcing him to rule Caput Tatiium from the time he was seven years old

-He rules over all of Caput Tatiium with an iron fist, extracting outrageous tributes from its twenty or so tribes

-He views basically everyone besides himself as inferiors

-In order to earn his trust, you must earn his respect, and in order to earn his respect, you must be a magical prodigy

-He has no empathy towards anyone (he is a sociopath)

-He will do anything, regardless of how "low" or "dishonorable" it may be, to get one up on anyone who gets in his way

-He is extremely smug

-He is extremely witty, vulgar, and sarcastic

-He is a heroin addict, but his mutation shields him from most of the drug's negative effects

-He views himself as "above" the concept of good and evil

-He doesn't like routine

-He is very nihilistic

-He is one of the most intelligent people in the galaxy, pulling off gambits that baffle his own generals

-Unlike most sociopaths, however, he can feel the emotion of love (but this is very rare and only happens with one person later on in the series. He attempts suicide via intentional heroin overdose after this though).

-He suffers from intense depression and self-hatred, but hides it

-He is extremely spiteful of anyone who criticizes him or gets in his way

-He is apathetic and lazy about anything that does not directly involve him or the needs of his empire

-Feels very ambivalently about death (he seems like he has a fear of death at other times, but seems to actively seek it at others)

-Has no problems committing multiple genocides

-He has lived his entire life with the belief that nobody would ever come close to matching his magical ability

-He says his moral code is to never kill without reason, but he counts "I was bored" as a reason

-He often over-indulges himself at parties or other social events

-He is a hypocrite

-His political beliefs would be considered Communist in our universe

-He uses manipulation and promise of reward to gain allies

closed as off-topic by Double U, Galastel, Thomo, Kirk, FraEnrico Oct 10 '18 at 7:06

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's related to world-building, not actual writing. – Double U Oct 9 '18 at 23:35
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    You have a laundry list of evil traits, yet you can't figure out a motive? Pick ONE. Or steal from a classic: He had a sled as a boy – he called it "Rosebud" – it represented his innocence or something…. He is a cartoon villain in a cartoon world. Just make it as enjoyable as possible. Some stories are not about character motivation. – wetcircuit Oct 10 '18 at 3:54
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    This is a question about story-building not world-building I don't think it has much of a place anywhere in the Stack Exchange network unfortunately. – Ash Oct 10 '18 at 12:07
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    @TotumusMaximus Rarely do questions of this nature last long on Worldbuilding and they never should; there is in fact a custom VTC option for just this sort of question, it's Off-Topic - "Too Story Based". – Ash Oct 10 '18 at 13:40
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    It seems a valid question to me, even if the "valid bit" is sumberged by a lot of information. The core of the question is "How do I imply that this plague happened without wasting time setting up stuff that doesn't really have much to do with the plot later on?" and it seems on topic here. – Liquid Oct 10 '18 at 15:09

No one can tell you what to write, but this is how I might choose to motivate V to play the universal domination game.

Interesting that you chose your villain to originate in one of the least effected areas. Since it is a backwater planet, his youth is spent listening to the tales of travellers and traders and he learns of the worlds beyond. He has a curious turn of mind and seeks knowledge of distant places, developing a contempt for most cultures.

He sees his world as more pure than the others which is why they had so few deaths. Isolation being their salvation does not occur to him. He develops a deep belief that it is his duty to bring such purity of culture to all other planets.

Very few illnesses have a 100% mortality rate. There are usually some individuals with a natural immunity for whom the illness either passes them by completely or they survive. He is such a survivor, which makes him feel chosen. He has been chosen for a reason, which he later decides is to take the place of the fallen rulers and just for good measure, take over the known universe.

Perhaps he was travelling during the plague and saw its devastation and knew that it had but lightly touched him.

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