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The Baron

The Baron


He looked across the void to judge the trajectory before launching himself out from the airlock. His aim was perfect, not that he had doubts it would be anything else. Doubt was not a concept the Baron was familiar with. While the scale on the helmet hud indicated the size of the alien vessel it was only as he drifted closer that the full magnitude of it registered. Refusing to be awed by such a thing he imagined the living vessel breaking wind. By the time he passed into the shadow of the alien ship he was laughing uncontrollably and holding his stomach, threatening his perfect transition.

Back on the bridge the sensor officer looked up from the display.
‘He’s aboard sir, now what?’
‘We have orders to wait’
‘Sir, the ship, it’s firing its engines. The Baron has not returned.’
‘Damn, I warned him, I bloody well warned him. Defence report!’
‘Our weapons won’t even scratch it.’
‘Stand down,’ and quietly to himself, ’I hope you know what you are doing.’


Later, looking years older though only a few hours had passed the captain sat back in his private quarters. A large bottle of expensive spirit stood unopened. The baron had promised to share it, convinced that a short dialogue with the alien vessel would be tantamount to his crowning glory. He laughed at the comment, clearly entertained by his own cleverness though he declined enlighten the captain. Baron, a title he still called himself by habit, as he had been titled prince for a few years. He would say that prince is good for the table but for skulduggery baron is much better suited.

He had served the baron for decades and knew well his reckless streak. He led a charmed life, favoured by the True One, some would say, including the baron himself, at least in public circles. In private his views on the True One and those that served was anything but reverent. Despite this seeming whimsy the baron was always pushing in a single direction – power. He recalled schooling the lad at a young age in politics. How the child had become quiet for the first time in lessons following the revelation that his father, the most powerful man on the planet was in fact just one of many governors and a governor of a world distant from the centre of the Empire and probably unknown to the vast morass of humanity. Within a day the baron had changed subtly. He remained seemingly carefree but underneath the first flames of ambition took hold. He would question at length the historical line of the Emperor, the alliances between the various noble houses and governors of the newly founded colonies beyond Earth. By the age of twenty he had spent a year at the Imperial palace though from all accounts he left disgraced. While the nature of the disgrace is unknown, it is in all likelihood that the rebellion of the Tate and Detinus along with disintegrating relations between outer worlds and those closest to Earth played a big part. From Earth he toured the other outer colonies where he spent a fortune of his father’s money though in truth all was investment for the future and the coming civil war.

It seemed like only a few days ago, though it was decades, at the other end of the galaxy. It was the closest he ever came to leaving the baron. The robed priests had just left having finalised a secret treaty to build a warfleet to challenge the Emperor.

‘But why Samuel, he’s a raving nutter?’
‘Sparta. It should have been mine. Jasil has awarded the contract to one of his mega-corps.’
‘If you side with Jasil, Samuel cannot possibly win and the Emperor will reward you.’
‘Really, and you was the one lecturing me on politics only a few years ago. No. I side with Jasil, Samuel and the other outer worlds are easily defeated, then despite the fact that they needed my ships to win the war, do you honestly think they will overlook that they were made illegally? I side with Jasil and I will have my shipyards torn down and ships confiscated. I am sure that they will flower it up. No need for a second shipyard, better that the ships were in the Imperial Service and we don’t want to risk and Tate. They may even save themselves compensation and simply arrest me.’
‘You risk the lives of millions for your own ambition.’
‘Yes, who more deserving?’



What the baron was not prepared for was the squandering of his superior ships ‘in the name of the True One.’ Trust in the True One but choose which battles to fight. He may not be on the side of the Imperials but it’s pretty certain that he also no time for idiots.

Still, the subsequent defeat and exodus brought the Baron a lengthy period of peace as his power put him equal to the titled High Lord Samuel in all but name.
With the discovery of a new route to the Empire, the smouldering coal of ambition once again began to flame and the Baron returned to active politics. His goals were simple, regain his ancestral home and tie his family to that of the Emperor.

Within a few short years he had achieved all this, claiming under his dominion not only his own ancestral worlds but those of the other nobles, dispossessed during the rebellion.

For all intentional purposes he should have been content in his twilight years. Born a glorified farmer on a backwater world, he had risen to become a prince and trusted advisor to Emperor Lysander. Why then did he infect his own body with nanites created by an alien species and what was his purpose for venturing aboard the sentient alien ship?

The captain’s thoughts returned to the present. What was the baron offering them and what did he want in return? The words ‘crowning glory’ returned to haunt him. He slowly leaned across the table, reaching for the bottle, though not to celebrate.

‘My baron, what have you done?’




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

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Imperials Declare War Against Flagritz ***

A declaration of war came last week after an unsatisfactory reply to Imperial ultimatums that the FLZ accept resolution of the previous war. J. Jones issued the following proclamation, "We hope this reminder will prompt them to rethink the status they removed them selves from and come back to more peaceful co-existence.” Doublegood, Viceroy, doublegood!

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * Species Guide * FEL Barter With GIants * High Times &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Orion Spur Special Edition ***

Explorers of the galaxy rejoiced as knowledge of a new periphery became common knowledge, revealing charts to forty star systems. The Orion Spur is connected to the massive Coreward Arm with rumours that the locals of the Monument system at the heart of this new periphery may have been responsible for the collapse of the HarCorp civilisation.

We have in-depth analysis and information about the new periphery inside this special issue of the SSS.

Also inside this issue of the SSS: * Naplian Liberation Front Reality Show * FLZ v FEL * Mercs in Graydown * DOM Scare Stories * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Hoedown in Graydown ***

Wimbles in the Graydown system have come under repeated attacks by mercenaries. The Wimbles having already lost two outposts have had their ships come under attack by boarders. The Wimbles are pointing a hairy finger at the GTT whilst the DEN are itching to get their paws in.

Pleasantly rotund Wolf Lord Lyceum reported the destruction of one mercenary ship, a Corsair class explorer called "Eye of the Chosen" which had earlier dropped off ground forces flying the banner of "God Hates Wimbles.” Which God and why he or she hates Wimbles has yet to be revealed. We suspect its corporation-loving Mammon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Sargasso Update * Wakerians * Naplian Liberation Front * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Breaking News: Caliph Samuel Assassinated ***

The nominal head of the Caliphate, Samuel has been murdered in broad daylight at the starbase CAL Sidon in the Fortress system. The allegedly mad zealot was on his way to meet representatives of various civilian factions when a shadowy figure *cough*CIA agent*cough* shot him dead.

The CIA issued the following statement to the SSS with a customary nudge and a wink: "In these difficult times, as we come to terms with the loss of Samuel, we are taking things one day at a time.

"Samuel was not only our Caliph, but our leader during the Second Civil War which laid the foundations for the Confederacy after he left the Human Empire and settled in the Darkfold. It is truly a sad day and one that will be marked in history as one of many great leaders who were cut down in their prime.

"We will strive now to look to the future, whilst remembering our past”

Speculation is rife that this is the first step towards a unification of the two-halves of the Stellar Empire. Others are more hopeful this is a return to the Confederacy or the mark of greater separation with the Imperial bloc. Time will tell what nebulous motives the shadowy puppet-master Laton turned out to have had and which alien faction will be blamed for the Caliph’s murder.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * HEX / FET Invade Sargasso * Magnus v Nevets Fight! * Dewiek Black Hole Disaster * FLZ Correction * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** STOP PRESS: Felini Victory ***

In an unexpected development, the FEL have scored a decisive victory against the FLZ. Destroying or maiming some 20 Flagritz Baseships in the Onwards system.

What is more remarkable than the victory was there was no subsequent comment by Crazy Uncle Flagritz. We might need to have a lie down now.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN and FEL * Valhalla Fighting Pits * RIP smacked * &etc


 
***** Christmas Special Edition *****

*** Ho Ho Ho ***

Welcome to the SSS Christmas Special Edition! We the Editors have put together a nostalgic pudding treat intended to delight and tickle even the scroogiest megacorp executive. So gather your cubs, squidlets and larvae for some silliness and song. Time to catch up with some classics from years gone by, raise your glasses and drink your gluttony and shame away!

Wishing you all a merry Christmas free from Krampus Jones's invading armies!

The Editors


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Claws Out in Valhalla ***

In a bold rebuke of Crazy Uncle Flagritz’s attacks in the Avalon system, the cunning Felini Nevets ordered a hit on a FLZ outpost in the Valhalla system. Claiming miscommunication with his warships, the mischevious Avatar cocked a snook at the washed-out Dewiek warrior in charge of the system whilst claiming an important victory in the often one-sided conflict against the FLZ.

This isn’t the first time the foxy Feline has masked daring-do in the shroud of incompetence. It remains to be seen whether this turns out as disastrously as the time when the FEL had to pay the costs of a war started by Prince-turned-meklan LiQuan.

Meower-in-chief Chamiah apologised for the incident in a public address laced with snickering subtext and unconcealed laughter when she got to the bit about the unfortunate loss of “5 FLZ Warships in Onwards.”

A second incident in Valhalla was reported the next day with mardy Magnus complaining he wasn’t getting his claws in on the action. Could this be the pithy ploy that puts the cat on the mat?

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Merc-y Wimbles * Valhalla Fighting Pits Get Weird * Profile of Lyceum Amaguk * &etc


 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Nun on the Run ***

Alleged cosplayer Carmilla D’Morenta got the vicars in the Brotherhood all hot and bothered when she made a run for it. Possibly tired of being tied up by the reverends and denied the love that dare not howl its name. With a sizeable, almost unbelievable, bounty on her head, the barking sister took refuge with the Dewiek Elder Nation.

In possibly the shortest chase in history, the BHD managed to strike a blow for oppressed collars everywhere when they squared off with the naughty doggy-wannabe at the Valhalla stargate. The cheeky chaplains blew their hyperdrive at close range and both the BHD and DEN flagged ships were reported to be lost in space.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DEN Ban BHD * Ulian * FLZ in Avalon * Valhalla Fighting Pits * Interview with Carmilla * And more


 

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