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Caliphate Nights #1

Caliphate Nights #1

The whirling motor-blades of the craft kicked up a thick fog of crimson dust as the rear wheels set on the mud cratered surface. The gravity was thick like soup. The front-wheel thudded to touch, pulling at the safety harnesses of the shaken occupants. The marines, already drained by pulling hard Gs in the descent, unbuckled with relief and checked their gear, loading their packs and rifles. The youngest grunt got out first, heaving and spewing the contents of his stomach until he settled himself. More experienced troopers lurched out after him. If they were comforted by the recruits display they only showed it by friendly taunts and jabbing their fists on his helmet as they passed.

Last out of the high-g lander marked SUV-86 was the General: black buttoned up jacket, matching gloves, side-pistol and thick UV goggles worn with an indifferent coolness. As the chopper made its ascent away, he took out a Parejo cigar and cut the end. He took a moment to appreciate the rich smell. Grown and hand wrapped on Jericho, he never took a mission without one at hand. Enjoying it would have to wait until the job was done.

The marines fanned out and secured the landing site as the scout set up the triangulation beacons. The cave entrance leading to the hive was less than two clicks north. The General set the mission timer on his vacuum sealed mechanical watch before giving the barest nod to the squad. They set off in a measured pace, blood thinners working to keep their hearts pumping in the torturously thin atmosphere.


The countdown reached the first mark and supersonic booms were heard overheard. The squad braced themselves, the mortar stands and magazines were secured on the ground. They watched the flash and smoke ahead before the ground tremors hit them. Lifting the equipment back up, they continued to the cave mouth now billowing out smoke. Putting on their face masks and infrared hooded lamps, they darted in quick motions providing covering support arcs in rotating overwatch guards.

Their enviro hazard meters flashed warnings about bio contaminants and close proximity fires as they waded through steaming pools of ashen goo and the burned sinews of the hive walls. The fragmented remnants of hive workers and guards lay strewn in a mess of liquified silicate and ooze. The walls were sheared by plasma burns and the clouds of shattered thick carapaces.

The tunnels stretched deep below the mud flats but the bombers had used precision markers planted weeks beforehand to hone in on their targets. The hive were experts at rooting out human tech but the boffins had doused some workers with crafted genome identifiers that were otherwise benign before reintroducing them back to the collective.

This hive was not particularly big but it was relatively isolated. It made for a perfect target for the mission. The wasteland of melted organic computers integrated into the structure indicated it had been sophisticated. Its call for help would have a response before the second mission time marker. By which point the General intended to be past the Karman line.

The brood chamber lay ahead behind a solid wall of calcified biomass. The workers had thrown themselves into a sacrificial pile a dozen thick to protect the queen from the oncoming superheated plasma. It had worked too, as predicted. Hive were tough sons of bitches. The squad positioned itself into three crossing fire lanes and the scout set thermal detonators at the identified fractures in the obstacle. The personal shield generators held as the explosion roared upwards past the squad, leaving two human-sized entry points. Grenades filled with inhibitor gas were thrown in and the squad followed securing the interior.

The General stepped inside and stood for a moment, appreciating the defiant posture of the hive queen within. It made a typical display of dominance, rising to its full height and expanding its intricate webwork of wings on its thoracic segments. The effort didn’t illicit so much as a flinch from the steadfast human.

“Your majesty,” he said curtly. The Terran basic transmitted over short-range subspace. If the tone was sarcastic, nothing of it remained in the translation.

The General saw the dim blue light of attached neural receptors activate and knew the queen understood him. The response came after the briefest of pauses, the subspace meta data rich with shrill anger and despair: “Why?”

“It’s moving day.”

The queen tried to lurch forward, intending a swift motion to decapitate the intruder but inhibitor gas had dulled her awareness. Sonic nets had already pinned her to the spot and her motion only increased the tension and brought the giant form crashing to the ground, anguish and fear distinctively measured by its pheromone release. The marines finalised her restraint by drilling metallic bolt pacifiers into her thorax. The nearby subspace echoed briefly with a tortured scream before unconsciousness took over.

As the marines dragged their prize out of the caves, the General took off the breathing mask and put the cigar he carried to his mouth. Finding some matches in his breast pocket, he lit and puffed until the tip was a glowing ember. The scout set the communication relay before him and handed him the handset.

“Come in, Sierra Uniform Victor. This is Scott. The breeder is ready for transport. Over and out."

CIA Warning: Caliphate Nights are apocryphal stories from the Caliphate. Any resemblance to people or places is likely coincidental. We are watching (TM).


 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** 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……..
………that?……..

*** 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

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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Over 20 years of content development
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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