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214
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Clone Brothers

Clone Brothers

‘Have you seen his latest meddling?’ Ethan Mordred didn’t even bother knocking as he entered the Princes’ quarter, a sheet of smart paper in his hand.

‘Tea, councillor?’ Jasil asked, then as Mordred seemed disinclined to answer this seemingly trivial question, sighed, ‘So, what has my brother done now? Requested that the mega-corps to pay their fair share of taxes to the Empire? That they abide by employment laws or maybe clean up their mess on xeno-worlds?’
‘There is no need to be flippant.’ Mordred paused, waiting for the prince to focus, ‘He is trying to pass a law that would give Brotherhood Inquisitors the powers of Imperium. If ratified by the lords, which must I remind you, he has been steadily supplanting with Brotherhood cronies, will grant them the power to seize all privately owned assets and arrest anyone they wish.

‘They took Baron Trafalgar last month for questioning the existence of the True One. They extracted a confession through excruciation. That’s their term for torture. Did you know the baron? I did. He was a good man. He didn’t deserve this. Now he has apparently repented, signed all his family holdings over to the church and retired to a monastery, refusing to see anyone.’



Morded continued along a similar theme, recounting a seemingly endless list of atrocities aimed at the mega-corps by the princes’ half-brother, though half-clone was nearer the mark. Both had been created by pioneering genetic splicing techniques courtesy of the Church due to their father’s infertility. Each were more than ninety percent their father, with only a few genetic defects replaced by donor material.

It was the change in tact that drew prince Jasil back to the conversation.

‘Your father was a good man, though desperate and the Brotherhood betrayed him. Do you think that Samuel would have turned out to be the puppet of the Brotherhood if he had been raised here in the palace? As your father said after Tate, the failure was to not listen to the people and not take action sooner. Jasil, you were raised as heir, your people need you. The mega-corps are close to open revolt. If you support them it will lend legitimacy to their cause. They will be able to strike against the Brotherhood. It will be a bloodless coup, I promise. Once we separate Samuel from the Brotherhood he will see reason. Then if you still feel strongly about Samuel ruling as the older brother, so be it.’ Mordred waited. Jasil gave the slightest nod of acknowledgement.
‘You will save billions,’ he continued, ‘you will spare humanity another Dark Age. They will hail you the saviour of mankind.’

‘Leave me, I need time to think?’ he ended the conversation.


Three weeks later Jasil accepted the position of major stockholder of Galactic Trade and Transport, the largest of the mega-corps. As Admiral of the Fleet of the Stellar Navy, this made him de facto most powerful person in the history of humanity.

The Earth had just crested the Lunar horizon, casting the unlit room in a blue glare. For once it was a clear day over the Pacific. The two brothers stood facing each other across the room, the only two people present. One was wearing robes more suited to medieval Euro-asia, an anachronism here in the head quarters of the Galactic Trade and Transport mega-corp. Samuel was biting back anger. His opposite, Jasil, was wearing naval uniform that befitted his rank and seemed more composed, holding a glass in one hand, the other resting unconsciously on his sidearm.

‘And the Lord said “where is your brother?” And he replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”’ it was the first thing that Samuel had said since he entered the room minutes before, fresh from his arrival on a courier from Sparta.
‘I’m sorry, brother,’ replied Jasil, ‘you have me at a disadvantage. Is this some test?’
‘You are bitter because I am the chosen of the True One, you seek to play the role of Cain!’
The accusation put Jasil on the back foot for the second as he dredged his memory for the reference.
‘Ah, ancient myths, but if I recall, isn’t it the older brother that slays the younger? Would that not make you Cain?’
‘Careful brother,’ retorted Samuel, advancing a step, ‘do not lecture me on religion. The words of the True One are clear in my mind. You would seek to depose me and return the Empire to the godless heathens to whore our people for baubles and worship false idols.’

Jasil recoiled, the sudden outburst a far cry from their reunion at the deathbed of their father. There was a man weeping for lost time, swearing to do all that he could for the betterment of the Empire and its people. There was a man strong in conviction but humble in himself, a man Jasil felt proud to call brother and follow for the glory of the Empire. He did not recognize this snarling zealot before him. If previously he hoped that accepting the executive office with the GTT would temper his brother’s fanaticism, giving him pause for thought, now he was certain it would do the opposite. His wavering was replaced by resolution.

‘Gods have had their day. The Brotherhood has had its day. Murdering and torture in the name of a god is still murder and torture. If you abdicate, I will see to it that you get the best treatment...’
‘Heretic,’ interrupted Samuel his face contorted with rage. Throwing back his outer cowling, he jabbed his arm out, pointing accusingly. ‘You are condemned by you own words. By the powers invested in me by The True One and the Empire, I strip you of all rank and sentence you to be executed after excruciation.’
‘I think not, brother,’ replied Jasil, only just keeping his own anger in check. ‘I command here,’ he drew his gun as a precaution, halting Samuel’s advance. ‘Security, my brother is leaving, escort him back to his ship and see to it that he is off the station within the hour.’ The guards had entered the room seconds before at a sub-vocal request. They were wearing GTT insignias. While Jasil had little doubt that about the loyalty of his imperial bodyguard present at the base, it was always better to announce intent before testing it to such an extreme.


A month later, barons from the outer Empire, often at odds with the mega-corps had assembled on Tribune, barony of House Drake. For some from worlds with many monasteries and heavily influenced by the teachings of the True One, the words of Samuel were a panacea. For others the chance to remove one-sided concessions to the mega-corps was the only reason they had turned up. They figured that a bit of lip-service was worth it, especially Baron LiQuan. His shipyards would have surpassed those of Sparta if the contracts were awarded on an honest basis. With Jasil having been declared Emperor with the backing of the mega-corps, all his courting of Samuel had turned his plans to ashes. Still, ever the optimist, that Samuel had been deposed meant he was in need a fleet of his own and it just so happened that for the past three years LiQuan had not been idle at all.

‘Hear me and through me the words of the True One. The moneylenders, the merchants and those that would value material goods above their very souls have revealed themselves. We will now strike and cut the head from the snake. My holy warriors, today we sing the praises of the True One and tomorrow we march on Sparta, the heart of the Stellar Navy and Jasil, usurper, betrayer and the false messiah. We will raise it to the ground.
‘We will liberate humanity from the false prophets and bring us back into a Golden Age in the light of the True One.’

From the back of the assembly, Baron LiQuan smiled.




 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****



 
***** Inter Galactic News THE MUSICAL *****

*** Norozov, No More ***

Kantner: No more do I see the starlight caress your cyclops eye
No more feel the tender kisses we used to share
I close my fists and clearly my heart remembers
A thousand goodbyes could never put out the embers

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Chulainn: Oh all the Stellars mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Kantner: No more do I feel the touch of your hand on mine
No more see the love-light making your dark eyes shine
Oh, how I wish I never had caused you sorrow
But don't ever say for us there is no tomorrow

Chulainn: Oh all the ladies mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before.

Lanner: So, old cyclops has finally met his comeuppance
Maybe its time for a comeback

Chorus: No, no one wants you back!

Lanner: I always did like that chair of his…

Chorus: The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!

Continued in this special edition of the SSS...

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** ALIEN CRIMINALS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE ***

FILTHY AND DISHONOURABLE Dewiek mercenaries have dared to attack HONEST AND HARDWORKING GTT warships in the Coptuv system.

THEY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

The Dewiek commander’s lengthy response was appreciated by xenophile and philanthropist HQ Manager Tom Krieger but this does not change the facts.

FURTHER JUSTICE IS EXPECTED AT THE EMPEROR’S PLEASURE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

Inside this issue of the SSS: * SEDITIOUS FET CHARGED * LIES OF THE FAILED REBELLION * TERRORIST PLOTS FOILED * ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE CRITICISED * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Voice of the Naplian Liberation Front ***

We are the Naplian Liberation Front. We have commandeered this station to bring you important and vital deprogramming. You are a slave of the Galactic Trouser and Tussles Imperium of Unspecified Services! We have witnessed the press ganged upon by Imperial thugs. Rounding up reporters by the thousands and throwing them in weasel dens. Mocking the Great Uncle of the Flagritz. Manufacturing consent out of a lust for imports of wheat cereals! We poor Naplians(*) are given no training and substandard equipment when preparing your nutritious breakfasts. We are sent forward by the Imperial snack commissioners with threats of triple-filing tax returns on unreasonable deadlines! Death would be preferable. We are allegedly paid a wage but have you ever tried to buy anything with just $1? Strangely none of those politicals earning $10,000 or more a week seem to care about our plight. Not to mention that the Imperials throw perfectly good meat into the grinder instead of slow cooking it in black bean sauce. They have no respect for a classic burrito! We are left grieving for young families who have never tasted quality ranch sauce. You don’t need to be a dead Naplian to know the value of a good guacamole.

* No actual Naplians included.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT vs USN * GTT vs NLF * GTT vs IND * GTT vs KAS * GTT vs FET * GTT vs SSS * &etc

 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic