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The changes were subtle. A small construction crew arrived and started surveying the road. When asked what they were up to, they said something about being given grants to upgrade the transport system.

The first stockpiles of cabling were of course nicked. Well, who would be stupid enough to leave a few hundred thousand creds worth of gear lying by the side of the road?

Investigations were conducted by government officials and some local gangs were implicated but no charges were brought against them, then again, nobody would be that insane. Then all went quiet for a while.

Then one day there was a barrage from the sky. At the time it seemed indiscriminate as houses in the middle of ghettoes and even in the middle of towns were destroyed. People hid or ran. Then the soldiers turned up. They were like something from another world. They wore space suits with mirrored visors and were virtually immune to the weapons of the gangs. They seemed to leap from building to building, powered by jetpacks or marched down the centre of the streets. Anyone and I mean anyone with a weapon was killed. I do not think they were human as they simply didn’t seem to care. Gang members tried using civilians as shields. The spacemen opened fire. Generally they aimed for the gangers but sometimes hit the hostage. The only difference was that they made sure that any ganger was exterminated. Even after the gangers went down with multiple wounds soldiers followed up with a head shot; no exceptions and often while stepping over the fallen body.

Of course they didn’t get them all but when they left they didn’t give an explanation for the attack or even removed the weapons for that matter. So a lot of people took revenge on the remaining gang members. I might have felt sorry for them if it wasn’t for what they did to my Kalifah. If the executions by the strange aliens were quick and brutal, the revenge exacted on those that were spared was slow if no less brutal.

Then the surveyors were back though this time with security and people collecting opinions about how life had improved and what sorts of things they would feel would benefit the community most. The equipment they placed by the side of the road remained until it was utilised. The old broken and dusty road, prone to washouts every few years was suddenly something from a sci-fi flick. It repelled sand and rain; it glowed at night and even flashed hazard warnings. Not only that, it produced enough solar energy to power the ghettos and give us local media access. That was the second time I saw the Konstantin logo. The first time I saw it was on the soldier’s armour though back then I had no idea what it was.

Things were still tough for us in the ghetto but much improved since the gangs had been removed. The Konstantin people seemed to know something about poverty as they started to build clinics and source deep underground water and built communal refectories and waste treatment plants, though they looked like they were built for the moon or somewhere.

The thing about suddenly not having to spend every waking moment looking for food and water is that it gives a man time to think and remember. When there is no longer a man forcing your down, you can stand up and act. This is not always a good thing in Africa. Our memories are long and bitter.

The first murders were almost inevitable following the demonstrations and calls for resignations of the corrupt officials that were lining their pockets while the gangs ruled. After this there were house fires as those of one ethnicity rekindled grudges as old as the deserts. Tribal designs that had been banned for decades were suddenly emblazoned on clothing. Husbands and wives of many years divorced or were beaten up. The poll takers and social workers in Konstantin pay proved ineffective at resolving issues.

That was when militia academies arrived at our ghetto. We had five, one for each of the four larger ethnic groups and one for everyone else. The surviving local officials worked on carving up the township as per group and assigning militia to patrol them. Over the course of a few months first the boundary street then adjacent ones emptied as night attacks reduced many to burnt-out shells though by day tension was much reduced to the point where people entered each others’ enclaves by day for work and shopping. The smaller enclaves started to empty as folks moved to other towns. The superhighway however only increased in traffic and soon the boundaries had to be reordered.

I watched all this changing around me as I did my daily drills at the academy and I wondered what it all meant. While we were no longer under the lash of the gangs and drugs were much less of an issue, there were still murders and corruption was just as big an issue. There were even gang clashes though now it was off-duty militia from one enclave against another. Attempts by the Konstantin overseers to direct this towards less dangerous outlets such as sport failed spectacularly.

The long night
The floodlights were what informed us something had changed. Then came the call for all militia in the enclaves to report for duty from great blaring horns that were normally only ever sounded in the morning.

As I walked along the path parallel to the highway I was surprised by just how much traffic there was on it. Only minutes after reaching the academy though, I found myself on a troop conveyor joining the steady stream.

We were on the move for around five hours arriving at our destination just before dawn. I noticed that only our academy had arrived here from our town though others conveyors were depositing militia.

Our orders were simple enough, capture a few buildings under the control of subversives and prevent reinforcements from reaching them. Our target building appeared to be some sort of civic hall. I later learned that the other groups had similar targets including an airport and the local media hub.

The actual assault was something of an anticlimax. We were pumping, expecting rebels behind every wall but made it the main entrance without even being challenged. The main door was locked but an old security man on the other side opened it at the sight of rifles. From where I stood halfway up the steps scanning back down and across the square he was explaining that people didn’t normally start turning up for work for at least another hour could we all possibly come back later?

That’s when young Rashad clubbed him to the ground with the butt of his rifle. I never liked the lad. He was hanging round the gangs peddling cred-bags and had his life mapped till the Konstantin lot buggered it up for him. He had a following amongst the militia because of his actions round the ghettos. As I said, we didn’t have the gangs and drugs were no longer such an issue though we did have murders, and violence.

Another security guard shouted something from within the building. I don’t know what it was but Rashad responded by opening fire. In the quiet of the dawn this sounded like thunder and virtually all of us dived to the ground or leaped behind cover.

Just the two of them; that was all we found, the unconscious old man at the door and the young guard by the reception desk, bleeding out across the polished floor.

As others started the inevitable looting I attempted to attend to the man’s wound with the help of Umar, though to be honest our skills were somewhat lacking. Umar was one of the older ones and ostensibly in charge according to his half-band. We did little more that stab him with a painkiller, squirt some gel into the hole and apply a blob of dressing.

That’s when we started to hear proper fighting. Rashad, returning from his looting with his grinning mates announced that he was going to get some proper sport. Umar started to stand and I realised that he was going to confront Rashad. Whatever this was about, it was not our war so I cut him off by pulling his sleeve and mumbling about checking his back for an exit wound. The distraction was long enough for Rashad to be past him and moving quickly to the door. A couple of dozen broke from what they were doing to follow him.

While that was the last I saw of Rashad and the others I heard that it was not a night to be proud of. Umar blames himself though I reassure him that he could not have stopped Rashad. He did what he could; he saved three people that night, himself, the wounded guard and probably me.

Now a few days later I read of the New African Dawn. The media tells of the coup by people looking to improve life for all Africans. This is a revolution by Africans for soul of Africa. It’s comes as a surprise how little the name Konstantin appears in the popular press, just the occasional thanks to the great Konstantin Family for their aid in supplying infrastructure over the past three years. I am under no illusion that we have won our freedom from oppressive governments. I think that we have been conquered by the steady winning of hearts and minds while using factions to murder each other. To many people, things seem to be better but I am troubled by the number of executions of both militia and former government loyalists. Not a single trial has been held. Rashad and others are AWOL while Umar has been placed in isolation. He is charged for the looting and murder by troops under his command. How soon before they turn the executors on the now unnecessary militia?

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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &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).