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Fake II

Fake II

‘They want us to meet their queen!’ Jim announced.
Hook looked up from his console, scratching his head. They had now been doing this run for a few months. Land in the hive starport, move one of the cargo containers into the rotating airlock, swing it round, watch the beetles and things swap it for another and rotate it back in. A quick check on weight and a look-see to make sure it was filled with bars of precious metals or some rare earths as previously agreed and move onto the next container.

Rival captains in the megacorp were however getting a little nosey to say the least, wanting to know the source. At the moment it was money for nothing. Pre-packed food beyond its shelf life and a few sweeteners but if others found out and wanted a piece of the action things would quickly turn sour. And now their queen wanted to meet him. Maybe this was just the opportunity to secure an exclusive deal.


‘I don’t trust them, with their bug eyes,’ Jim continued. ‘ They look at us strangely like they want to eat us or something.’ He had been grumbling on like this for the past few weeks. He kept on banging on about how rich they had become and that they could retire or maybe even buy some ships and run a fleet from a nice garden world. Captains simply can’t be trusted. They always skimmed from the top. If the corp found out exactly how much they were raking in, there would be trouble. ‘I tell you sir,’ Jim had crewed for Hook for so long, he never used ‘sir’ unless he really wanted to make a point, ‘You go in there and you ain’t coming out.’ Hook looked up from his cataloguing, seeing how desperate Jim was.

‘Tell you what, this is the last run for you, you get your share and see about getting that nice mansion on Utopia. Hell, even get a few native servants. I hear they will do anything for a personnel communicator and last year’s fashion. When I buy the planet I will give you a tax break.’ Jim looked like he was going to argue further. ‘And look after the ship while I go chat up a queen.’ That seemed to do the trick and Jim sat back down.

Hook thought himself resplendent in his official Frontier Exploration and Trade uniform. It was getting a little tight around the middle, but then he had not worn it for at least five years and life had been good recently. Flanked by eight troops, a recent addition to the ship’s small crew complement he disembarked to be met by the hive representatives. It is said by those not in the know that all hive look alike. This is not quite true. Hive larvae all look the same but they are then fed different substances and when they emerge from the change they form one of the many castes. There are small ones that scuttle on the floor; there are spindly ones and bloated ones. There are larger ones with heavy claws and armour and ones with disproportionately large heads. No doubt there are many other castes that are never encountered in the starport. Within the caste there is also some variation in shades, scaring from previous injuries though even Hook having now dealt with them for some time was often at a loss of which of the various porters was which. That said the porters themselves never seemed to mind that he called them all Ant.

The buzzing was translated into ‘follow’ and soon Hook and his people were surrounding on all sides by the bulbous headed drones. This was not just to prevent them getting lost but to prevent them being walked over or ripped limb from limb by some of the hulking monsters that seemed to lurch out of the darkness only to be intercepted by a drone before retreating back to their alcoves. The perpetual twilight was unnerving and maybe Jim had a point, Hook conceded to himself.

They arrived at presumably the throne room. This was about as far from what he imagined as it was possible to get. Instead of lofty ceilings, bright stained glass windows illuminating a regal figure seated on a throne, itself elevated on dais, the room was little more than gloomy cavern with a vast organic coiled mass at one end. This resolved itself into heaving mass of small scuttling hive clambering over the swollen mass of the queen, herself about the size of a small shuttle. From a position perched somewhere behind her head clung one of the bulbous headed drones. It seemed to be grafted in place. Hook swallowed nervously.
The translators hissed.

‘Her sight turns outward as sustenance diminishes.’ Damn, thought Hook, they are looking to start doing their own hauling. Need to nip this in the bud. He stepped forward to reply but was dropped to the ground. It took a moment to register what had happened, then the pain hit as he looked down at the mangled mess of his leg.

His squad of men reacted predictably, reaching for weapons and moving to surround Hook. This was probably the worst thing they could have done. Through his agony and the feet of the surrounding troops, Hook got only a partial look as the events unfolded. First the queen was swarmed by the scuttling creatures, covering her in living armour. The bulbous headed drones dropped to the ground as the warrior hive stormed forwards. He saw at least three of the drones crushed underfoot, their heads exploding as they were trampled. Weapon fire then added alien warriors to the corpses.

It was over in seconds or more likely Hook had passed out. Blood, puss, shell, flesh and bones along with bits of cloth were scattered everywhere while one of the drones was examining a severed hand, flexing the fingers in turn by pulling on the tendons. As he looked down at his leg, at least what remained of it and he saw that it had been clamped in a vice like grip of one of the warriors.
The voice from above the queen cut through the near silence of scuttling insects.
‘You are many? You are acceptable sustenance.’ Hook recognised his boot. It was being held to the vacuous orifice that was presumably the queen’s mouth. ‘The sustenance is superior to that previously provided. We have understood your means of moving between stars. Where will we go?’



There were billions of them and now with a taste for human flesh. Hook had never done anything noble in his life and had no intention of starting now. Despite the excruciating pain he managed to gasp out. ‘Take me to my ship, only I can get you the coordinates you need.’

‘You bastards,’ shouted Jim, having overseen the unfolding events through the helmet cams of the troops. Turning to the other crew he gave the order for activation of cloak and emergency lift off. When they stared at him in obvious confusion he added, ‘they’re all dead, all of them, now get us out of here.’

The fate of Hook is undocumented though Jim did indeed get both his mansion and servants, not to mention Hook’s share of the loot.

The FET and the empire at large got war leading to genocide of the hive on Fake.

As even something simple as taking an innocent step forward can lead to the death of millions - the moral of the story could be ‘when dealing with aliens, be very careful’ though personally I prefer ‘always install a ship cloak and don’t volunteer for away missions.’





 
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***** 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

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire On Warpath ***

The newly re-united Stellar Empire continued to wage war against the Flagritz Empire to bring about galactic peace and freedom for all. The latest system to fall to the inevitable tide of history was Morroglyph in the Coreward Arm. Dewiek intransigence reached fever pitch as the FLZ facilities changed to DEN paws and subsequently became targets of Imperial truth and justice. Despite putting themselves between the past and the future, the DEN seemed to lack much will for an actual fight with Dewiek military commanders adopting “meh” as their watchword.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT smacks NLF * DEN whack MRC * Slaves Liberated * FLZ Retreat * ARC in Orion Spur * &etc

 
***** 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

 

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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