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214
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Tate Falls

Tate Falls

'We can delay no longer,' announced admiral Secudus, causing all heads on the bridge of the command ship to turn in his direction. 'Order the ships to enter orbit. We assault Tate.'
Entry was smooth having picked a window that first brought the far edge of the continent into view. The realtime image of the landmass was suddenly overlaid by thousands of moving red images, each with forward lines indicating vectors. These jumped perceptibly as the image refreshed and the data on each red mark was updated. A few started to pulsate indicating lock-on and identifying them as missiles.
Before even the first made contact with the ship, some of the red images flared, having roughly lined up with indicators for other ships in the fleet. At this point the sudden release of emf during detonation caused large blurs across the screens and the previously largely predictable jumps in the locations of the missiles became almost random. Noise and ghost signatures made much of the strategic level information useless. The size of the objects in the viewer ramped up, zooming in to a much more localised and less noisy scale.
The crew, in their space suits worked oversized combat controls in the complete silence of the airless bridge, receiving commands and information through their headsets, webbed to their chairs and jacked in with shielded cables to their consoles.


The ship rocked violently as the thrusters engaged suddenly, a near useless attempt to shake off a salvo of missiles heading their way.
A ringing sound was felt rather than heard immediately after the impact. A section of deck plating ripped free and started a slow tumble across the bridge. Moving less than a metre a second and turning end over end it was easy to imagine that it could batted aside.
It sheared through the torso of the first crewman in its path without so much as slowing. A spray of arterial blood splashed across the forward set of consoles and started to boil in the rarefied atmosphere. The next crewmember in its path frantically hammered at her webbing attempting to free herself, only to have her head ripped off. The open channel filled with her cry a cry cut off almost instantly. A sudden shift in the direction of the ship meant that the third crewmember in line was saved as the plating continued on its original trajectory, slamming it into a bulkhead where it wedged.

As the colony of Tate filled the main screen, partially obscured by bloody smears and a mist of red vapour, the admiral ordered all ships in the fleet to commence bombardment. At first nothing seemed to happen, small flashes appeared amongst the buildings and open spaces that formed the colony but it looked otherwise untouched. As the battle drew on however small black trails started to appear and the red image overlays became fewer and more sporadic.
'I think we've done them Sir, should I order the fleet to cease bombardment?' asked the captain.
This was met with silence from the admiral.
The fleet continued to rain down on the colony.
Time passed.
'Sir, they haven't returned fire in some time, I doubt there is much in the way of ground ordnance still intact and all we are doing is grinding up the civilian quarter. Should I give the order to cease fire?' The captain's voice held a note of pleading.
'Captain Reynolds, what we do here will be written in stone and emblazoned on the hearts and minds of humanity forever. We do this now so that we never need to do it again. Continue the bombardment until I say so.'

By the end few were even looking at the view screen. Of Tate, nothing could be seen, replaced by a thick black cloud of smoke.

Finally the admiral ordered the stand down from battle stations. As air returned to the bridge, having earlier been evacuated to avoid risks of explosive decompression, he cracked the neck seal of his suit and removed the helmet. Ignoring the blood pooling at the corners of his eyes he marched to the central display, his magnetic boots barely making a sound in the still rarefied atmosphere.
Though talking to himself, his throat-mic picked up his speech, transferring it instantly to the crew, 'Where the hell are they? We were told they had sixty ships. If they are not coming to play cavalry, they are not coming at all.' He blinked hard and returned to staring at the monitor as though sheer will alone could reveal the enemy fleet. Eventually sound returned to the bridge the soft hum of electronics, the tense exhalation from crew that had sat attentive at various consoles for more than twenty-eight hours. As suits unsealed the steady hum of air conditioning increased, compensating for the raw smell of humanity. 'Find a clear space and put us and the transport ships carrying the Emperor's Elite down close to what's left of the royalists. I want to see this for myself.'


A few hours later, he received the call in his ready room, the troops had secured large areas of the colony remains, having found little in the way of resistance. Shunning battle suit he had opted for ceremonial dress, let them know that they had been truly defeated and no longer a threat. Hearts and minds - win them or break them - either way was fine as long as they knew who ruled.
'My God, we did this,' exclaimed the captain as he stepped up beside the admiral at the head of the cargo ramp. From their vantage point they looked over hundreds of buildings, all in ruins. Smoke still poured from many. Of the occupants there was little sign, a few corpses scattered across the broken landscape. The vast majority would no doubt have been within the buildings when they were destroyed. The admiral partially turned with little more than a grimace, a reminder to Reynolds to hold his tongue and his thoughts before marching out to meet the officer in charge of the ground forces.

'Show me the prisoners,' demanded Secudus of the officer. This was followed by a short walk along what was once a wide boulevard. Glass littered the sides and a few craters forced them to leave the open central area. A few smouldering stumps remained of the trees imported fully grown from Earth and planted by the Emperor himself a decade before. Eventually they reached the square by the harbour. Here hundreds, if not thousands of haggard and dirty people stood, surrounded by a few hundred troops wearing imperial battle suits and battle weathered Tatian Royalists. Of the latter, few were uninjured. If not for them, this war would have been lost long ago.
Mounting a small pile of rubble that provided a convenient podium Secudus waited patiently until the Tatians, noticing him finally turned their attention to him. Then he waited a little longer before finally making his address.


'People of Tate. The Emperor of the Stellar Empire has charged me with breaking the rebellion. This I have done. He has charged me with ensuring this never happens again. This I now do. One fifth of your population will be executed. Lots will be chosen for you at random. Nobody will be spared the selection process and nobody will be substituted.' At the sudden outcry he held up his hand until silence once again dominated the scene. He pointed at the front of the crowd and nodded to the attendent officer to the Emperor's Elite. At a transmitted order troops moved in, separating a handful of people who were herded to the foot of the makeshift podium. He looked down at the three men, a small child and mother cradling an crying infant. Smoothly drawing his gun he opened fire. The mother was first to die. The others followed, none making it more than five steps. The guarding troops raised their weapons, threateningly at the crowd.
'I am not a merciful man you will do well to remember this,' and then softly so that only those nearby could hear, 'Don't do it Reynolds, you will die here a traitor and I will see the rest of your family on Earth executed.'

Less than 20 years later the Empire ripped itself apart...



 
News
Is open for business...
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole

A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.

The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

DEN continue to strike at the Empire

Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

AFT turn to piracy

The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

The AFT remain silent over the attack.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Combat Special Edition

Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

Felini strike back at Dewiek

Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

GTT get sucked into the war

A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

DOM make a choice

After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

DOM positions share out

Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

*** Affiliations ***


AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
KRL Krell (30) - Namica
KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact

NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS

Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

Deceased: CAL

*** Submission ***

By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****


DEN continue to shoot innocents

The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the LiQuans

A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.


 

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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