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The Dominion

The Dominion

Vehrenberg 157
If the admiral was feeling any emotion it did not show on his face as he stared down on the assembled crowd from the palace. That he, saviour of the Empire, the most highly decorated admiral in history should be here on a glorified farm world on the fringes of the Empire was unprecedented. The crowd were carrying royal flags and bunting had been hastily strung between the buildings around the square. Many of those present had been here for hours waiting for a glimpse of the great man himself. They had amused themselves by standing next to the honour guards while photographs and vids were taken until the admiral stepped out onto the balcony of the governor’s ‘palace’ that fronted the square.

Once silence had descended he addressed the crowd.
‘Rumours of sedition have reached the throne. I have conducted an investigation and found evidence of treason. We have taken into custody those responsible, their families and associates.
‘Nine are to be executed immediately, the rest will be returned to Earth to serve their sentence.’
Members of the crowd looked at each other in confusion. Sedition? Who? They were expecting accolades as to the growth of the colony and praise for the products sent regularly to ever hungry mouths of Earth.


The marines previously standing to attention as one changed to a distinctly more aggressive stance. These were the Emperor’s elite, the force responsible for breaking Tate sixteen years ago and in the intervening period they had maintained both their discipline and ruthlessness. It was rumoured that they even submitted to modern training techniques that physically rewrote their cerebral synapses. They were utterly loyal and fearless.
The doors to the palace below the balcony opened and a small squad of local troops emerged, surrounding Baron Vehrenberg, governor of the world. By comparison to the elite, these soldiers looked unprofessional as they shuffled forwards. They also looked pale and unsteady on their feet as though they had just been given news of being sent to the front line. The Baron himself was ashen faced, clearly desiring to be anywhere else.

They formed up on the steps between the crowd and the palace and waited, though not for long as the sound of many boots marching in perfect unison approaching from around the side of the palace.

The crowd pressed forward for a better view and were rewarded with the scene of a column of manacled people surrounded by more of the elite. The troops drove the prisoners through the now narrow gap between the crowd and governor and his squad, to line them against the wall extending from the far side of the mansion. Shock, almost palpable ran through the onlookers as many recognized people amongst the manacled. They were relatively influential on this small world. They appeared regularly in the media. Eyes turned to the admiral, questioning.

‘You see before you the instigators of rebellion. For these the most severe punishment will be meted out. Carry on governor.’
With that the sweating and miserable governor ordered his squad to form up opposite the prisoners and present arms. Silence filled the square, the crowd in a state of denial.
‘Fire.’
The single word and the accompanying cacophony of a dozen weapons discharging brought reality crashing in and screaming ensued. People attempted to flee the scene though were pulled up sharp by the presence of the elite. Pressure from those at the pack pushed the front of the crowd forward towards the elite. A series of single shots put down those closest to the elite, stopping the crowd in its tracks. The weapons though were only stunners and those downed soon stirred.

The admiral further addressed the crowd, his message also hitting the communications media and spreading across the world, though by that point it was too late. Many more had been taken into custody while the crowd had waited.

Three days later there had been more than six thousand arrests. Those charged had been delivered to the ships now in orbit awaiting transport to Earth to face the charges. Admiral Secudus from the bridge of the pocket battleship Mercy gave orders.
‘We will rendezvous with the others at the edge of the system.’
‘Yes, admiral,’ responded his captain.

Still a few light seconds from the rendezvous the sensors went wild and small new stars blossomed into the life. Nuclear detonations.
‘Sir, report coming though, they have lost seven escorts and report more than thirty enemies of unknown origin. They rest are heading our way.’
‘Unknown? No this has the Baron’s stink about it. I knew the bastard LiQuan had a secret shipyard. We are in no way prepared for this. So he looks to play cavalry does he? How long till we can jump, captain?’
‘For some of the transports three days though we could leave tomorrow, we cannot however outrun them or outshoot them. I doubt we will make it to Vehrenberg not that we would get any succour there.’
‘I agree, the two barons are in it up to their bloody necks.’

The admiral turned to the nearest console and punched in his own security code unlocking heavily encrypted data. The main navigation monitor suddenly included a pulsing red object no more than a few hours away at their current velocity. It was no coincidence that the rendezvous point was here, the admiral wanted to see the anomaly for himself before returning to Earth.
‘What is it?’ asked the captain.
‘We have been investigating the anomaly for some time. It is the reason this system has become strategically important. It’s a wormhole, stable enough to allow a ship to pass through to a region of space more than eighty light years away.’
‘What? I thought those things were science fiction or lab experiments.’
‘Plot a course to engage with the vectors indicated then transmit it to the fleet.’

The escorts covered the retreat of the ships to the wormhole, preventing the transports being boarded though taking severe damage. From Baron LiQuan’s perspective onboard his command ship Excommunication, this looked very much like shooting fish in a barrel and merely a matter of time before the last of the escorts fell. Then it would be a simple matter to capture the transports and nobody would ever know what happened. Confident in his master plan he left the bridge, taking with him one of the crew to deal with some clerical work.
Almost moments later the Excommunication’s sensor officer alerted the captain to an anomaly and after a short conference in which the implications of the anomaly were realised the Baron himself was interrupted in his private suite.

‘Balls man,’ shouted the Baron turning to the monitor and pushing back the head of the young female crewmember before adjusting his trousers, ‘I am in the middle of something. Can’t I leave you to handle a few escorts and a pocket battleship?’
‘Lord, there is a problem,’ this latest in flagranti was nothing new to the captain and beyond averting his eyes from the view screen continued. ‘They appear to be heading for some sort of rift in space we didn’t know about. We will not be able to deal with the escorts before the majority of the transports have entered it.’
‘Well bloody nuke that damned rift thing whatever it is. I will be on deck in five, no make it ten. Not even you can screw it up in that time.’
‘But Lord, we don’t know what that will do, we don’t know anything about…’ but the communication was cut.

A few transports entered the wormhole before the first nuclear salvo directed against the rift detonated. They provoked little more than the ejection of a stream of exotic particles. More escorts fell but so too were more transports escaping despite the explosions.
The last of the transports pushed into the event horizon of the rift along with the escorts and the now badly limping pocket battleship as the Baron entered the bridge. A moment’s glance at the tactical display was enough to give him all the information he needed.
‘Didn’t I tell you to nuke that bloody thing? You are letting them all escape! ‘
‘But Lord, the nuclear missiles do not enter the rift; they do not cross the event horizon. At best we have been able to detonate them in close proximity.’
‘The True One may hate the Empire but he also despises idiots, send one of your ships in and launch when inside.’
‘What happens if it closes and we lose transports?’
‘If you care to notice we have already lost them. We don’t know where it leads and what’s on the other side. There could be an imperial fleet waiting for us. This whole thing stinks of a trap.’



Seconds after the pocket battleship crossed the boundary the interceptor class starship captained by one of Samuel’s most experienced fanatics followed. Moments later the ships were bombarded by heavy radiation. The blast lasted less than a second but afterwards the rift was little more than a distorted star field like looking at its reflection in a pond with ripples.

As the weeks passed news that Admiral Secudus and his fleet were missing started to filter out across the Empire. Rumours and speculation ran rife though a full investigation on Vehrenberg confirmed that Baron Vehrenberg had carried out the execution and that the Admiral had left in accordance with his mission. The loss of the admiral emboldened those that were wavering in their support of Samuel and may well have been instrumental in the transition to open rebellion in 158.

As to the fate of Admiral Secudus and his small fleet of transports and their cargo of prisoners, they were never heard of again. That said 50 years later when the Empire reached the Cluster they encountered humans who according to their own history have been in the Cluster for hundreds of years and had a society based on a two class martial social structure. How could humans have arrived in the Cluster hundreds of years before jump drives were invented? They seemed somewhat fuzzy about their own history beyond a generally accepted story that they were a fleet of prison ships on their way to a penal colony. Of the fate of Admiral Secudus, nothing is known for certain. Nobody knows for certain what happened but speculation is that the internal nuclear detonation presumably caused the opening of the wormhole to be flung across both time and space.





Mumble-grumble  [Recruit]

The Dominion has always been a thorn in my side. They were a legacy of a previous Game Master who cared little about consistent back story. The key elements were that they arrived in the Cluster up to 500 years ago (though the bulk appear to only have been there around eighty years) and that they were a fleet of prison ships on their way to a penal colony, later changed to colonists that suffered a misjump. In the history of the game these stories made any sense. It was before the formation of the Empire and in fact before humanity had even discovered Pulac and actually reached another star system. So the whole thing would have had to have been set in the Sol system.

My first draft involved sending off a fleet of prisoners as pioneers in sub-light cryo-ships – a bit like using Russian prisoners to build St. Petersburg before the nobility arrived. This however did not sit well and I returned to the concept of time travel as their origin.

Even if time-travelling wormholes were included, bringing the time period for their creation forward, why would a bunch of ships with prisoners decide to enter a wormhole or even be anywhere near a wormhole? And anyway, where did these prisoners come from and where was this penal world?

So, with these basic questions I worked their history to be consistent with the history of the Empire. As for the destination penal world – this could have been Mars or Venus which at the time were being terraformed and would easily have served as such for an interim period. I am sure that the transport crew would have explained to the prisoners were they were destined once they had been chewed up on Earth.

The detonations around the wormhole causing the other end to swing through time thereby bleeding the fleet’s arrival across centuries rather than as a single event also solved quite a few of the anachronistic oddities regarding the Dominion’s involvement in the dewiek wars against the Architects.

Finally, by having the whole time-travelling feature as part of a major instability and detonation during mid-passage through the wormhole (it taking 100TU’s to pass through the wormhole, allowing for the final detonation to occur while all the ships were still within the wormhole but at differing ‘distances’ along it) means that attempting to replicate the procedure in-game is at best pointlessly suicidal. I subscribe to the fixed-timeline, insofar as things are as they are because things were as they were. Something in the past cannot be changed though our perception of it may alter as we determine more about it, so you can kill your grandfather before he conceived your father, all you have proved is that he was not your grandfather. There is no pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. If something didn't happen, it didn't happen. I always liked Time Riders (1992, Iron Crown Enterprises).

 
News
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***** 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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