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214
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Africa

Africa


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?




 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** 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

 
***** 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


 

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