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Story - Colonisation

Colonisation

Captain Jeremiah Philips took a step closer to the edge of the cliff to better survey valley below. A gentle sea breeze ruffled his hair. Unconsciously he cast a dramatic pose as the glorious late afternoon sun illuminated his face. He had the look of a visionary. Already he had mapped out in his mind’s eye the main road, light industrial zone and primary terminal. With expansion the terminal would have to quickly evolve into a local hub so as not to spoil the scenery and the main urban precinct up the slope. The forests would have to be removed in a few places though the timber would be useful and be the first resource exploited by the industry. Agriculture would presumably be primarily hill grazers though he had to admit to himself he didn’t really understand how agriculture actually worked. He dismissed the thought, leaving it to the populace to sort out for themselves. Colonists invariably brought their own stuff at least this is what he was led to believe. This place had it all. All he had to do now that he had found the perfect world and location was to think of a name. Philip’s Town? Phil Town? Jeremiah’s Landing? Now that had a ring to it.


As he strolled back down from the cliff along a natural cutting he was pleased to see that the team were already at work unpacking the tender, a far cry from the disorganised rabble that set out on to explore this arm of the Corewards’ Periphery more than three months ago. The tender, the ship’s ubiquitous all-terrain transport vehicle was looking a little worse for wear. Maintenance was overdue and they were down to their last tender following the less than impressive exploration of the volcanoes on the inner moon of the system’s only gas giant. He had put a request in to abort further exploration and return for the much needed patch up which would also include a few more vehicles. The crew were also grumbling about needed down time. The request was denied by the board. They wanted this world checked out first – thoroughly as this looked the most promising to date for the corporation’s deep space expansion. Talk was most definitely fixed on colonisation rather than exploiting one of the worlds populated by sentients native to this region of space. His contact indicated that the board was not impressed by the restrictions that were being levied on starbases, specifically their anti-monopoly policy. It seemed that this mission was time critical as a few allies were also checking out this region of space. It was policy amongst allies never to claim jump so ousting an ally from a garden world was never going to happen. Worse, allies were even expected to go to the aid of threatened outposts and starbases, though in practice this rarely happened as the fighting was invariably long over before the cavalry arrived and their job was smear the remains into the landscape. So the unwritten rule was to get in first, plant a flag and politely request that allies piss off and find somewhere else. This was seen as preferable to sending in mercs to hassle allies at a later date.

The first step in assaying the world for colonisation potential started a fortnight ago and was initially planned to include a full GPI analysis but the arrival of no less than three allied surveyors a few days ago put paid to this. The sector with the best metals deposit was chosen. The modules were quickly organised and over the course of a couple of days the automated assembly boosted a low orbital line and tethered it. There was nothing like a hiport to declare intent. It didn’t take long for the survey ships to get the hint. Now it was just a case of justifying the expense of the hiport not that he was concerned about such fiscal matters; that was an issue for those above his pay grade. Philips had heard the rumours about the bill for the last post AGM dinner. Board members squandered more stellars in an afternoon than his entire crew could blow at the finest recreation complex in a week.

While the orbital scans had indicated that this was a reasonable world though the air was a little on the thin side, it had large land masses in both hemispheres and better still vast open areas of grasslands. That was all well and good but before a true picture of the world could be established some ground surveying was needed. If there was to be a starbase on this world, then it was reasonable to expect that the governor would also want to capitalise on exports. Philips had considered forming a few ground parties and dropping them off at various locations around the world but with troops now stationed at the base and the ship due maintenance, he didn’t favour the prospect of repeated orbital jaunts while skipping between continents would take too much time. The plan was therefore to concentrate on the grasslands close to the base while the base started an audit of the world for colonisation potential.

By the time he arrived back in the makeshift camp Gavid, his second had already sent a dozen crewmembers out to various promising looking patches of flora for sampling. Saluting was not done though it was a habit Gavid had been unable to shake off. Philips wondered if it was coded into his psyche.

‘Sir,’ Gavid said, saluting smartly and added, ‘Bloody insects. This valley is teaming with them. No wonder we haven’t seen any larger fauna. I have sent Chol-hallan into the worst area down by the river. He says that his exoskeleton makes him impervious to the little blood suckers though he was licking his mandibles in anticipation. ’

Philips nodded his understanding. Hive made him uneasy and dining with them was a distinctly unpleasant experience though they had their uses. People didn’t seem overly concerned when a hive was killed in action. Everything seemingly under control, he nodded at Gavid to carry on.

Over the next day the exploration teams pulled in superficial data. Herds of fauna existed though were further inland and away from the slower running waterways, the haunt of the fearsome insects. Even Chol-hallan had taken to wearing a suit following irritation to his antenna. Nobody was without welts and swellings as they went through their arsenal of repellents until they found what worked. That in itself was valuable if this was going to be colonised. The draft report would definitely also include recommendations to dredge the river, establish artificial banks and replace the local flora throughout the colony with off-world variants that were incompatible with native insect fauna.

Three weeks later and they were on their way back to Yank and a much deserved break. It would be six months before Philips stood in the same spot on the cliff looking down on the valley. So much had changed.
‘Jeremiah’s Shitter!’ Captain Philips looked distinctly unhappy.

‘It’s not its official name, sir,’ Gavid was nothing if not pedantic, ‘I believe that after the first flood it was referred to Jeremiah’s Swamp, then Jeremiah’s Bog and finally some locals started calling it Jeremiah’s Shitter and the name sort of stuck.’

‘But they didn’t follow any of the advice laid out in the report. They have built most of the housing on stilts to save the expense of dredging and they haven’t even bothered supplanting the local flora. Whose idea was it to rely on agricultural implements to mow the local flora down? The only off-world flora incompatible with native insects is to be found in the governor’s grounds. ‘

‘They say that the colony was established in a flood plain. The whole area was under a metre of water for weeks. Apparently the dredging was scheduled for stage two.


’That said, with that really good goldilocks world Captain Reynolds discovered a few weeks back it wouldn’t surprise me if they dump this world. Maybe sell it to Garcia Enterprises as a going concern, though I suspect that they will probably just write it off. Even the minerals on this world are pretty feeble compared to Reynold’s Glory as they are now calling Estibod IV.’ Empathy was not a strong point with Gavid.

‘And have you seen the colonists,’ Philips continued, seemingly oblivious to Gavid’s comments, ‘ I was led to believe that these would be highly educated and skilled people from the Inner Empire. These are scum. Half of them are naplians. I swear somebody was trying to sell us parts from our own ship.’ Captain Philips stopped and turned to Gavid. ‘Reynold’s Glory, Reynold’s buggering, bastard Glory?’

‘It appears that he has also been nominated for the Explorer of Excellence award. Wasn’t he one of your crew?’

Captain Philips sighed as the sun sank down silhouetting him. Shoulders slumped his was a pose far from dramatic. Not that anybody in the colony would have seen. Light smoke from the standard industrial modules not designed for the thin atmosphere clung to the settlement, obscuring small details such as the founder of Jeremiah’s Shitter.

‘Come on let’s see if the crew have loaded up the consignment. I never want to come here again.’


 
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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