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214
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Clone Brothers

Clone Brothers

‘Have you seen his latest meddling?’ Ethan Mordred didn’t even bother knocking as he entered the Princes’ quarter, a sheet of smart paper in his hand.

‘Tea, councillor?’ Jasil asked, then as Mordred seemed disinclined to answer this seemingly trivial question, sighed, ‘So, what has my brother done now? Requested that the mega-corps to pay their fair share of taxes to the Empire? That they abide by employment laws or maybe clean up their mess on xeno-worlds?’
‘There is no need to be flippant.’ Mordred paused, waiting for the prince to focus, ‘He is trying to pass a law that would give Brotherhood Inquisitors the powers of Imperium. If ratified by the lords, which must I remind you, he has been steadily supplanting with Brotherhood cronies, will grant them the power to seize all privately owned assets and arrest anyone they wish.

‘They took Baron Trafalgar last month for questioning the existence of the True One. They extracted a confession through excruciation. That’s their term for torture. Did you know the baron? I did. He was a good man. He didn’t deserve this. Now he has apparently repented, signed all his family holdings over to the church and retired to a monastery, refusing to see anyone.’



Morded continued along a similar theme, recounting a seemingly endless list of atrocities aimed at the mega-corps by the princes’ half-brother, though half-clone was nearer the mark. Both had been created by pioneering genetic splicing techniques courtesy of the Church due to their father’s infertility. Each were more than ninety percent their father, with only a few genetic defects replaced by donor material.

It was the change in tact that drew prince Jasil back to the conversation.

‘Your father was a good man, though desperate and the Brotherhood betrayed him. Do you think that Samuel would have turned out to be the puppet of the Brotherhood if he had been raised here in the palace? As your father said after Tate, the failure was to not listen to the people and not take action sooner. Jasil, you were raised as heir, your people need you. The mega-corps are close to open revolt. If you support them it will lend legitimacy to their cause. They will be able to strike against the Brotherhood. It will be a bloodless coup, I promise. Once we separate Samuel from the Brotherhood he will see reason. Then if you still feel strongly about Samuel ruling as the older brother, so be it.’ Mordred waited. Jasil gave the slightest nod of acknowledgement.
‘You will save billions,’ he continued, ‘you will spare humanity another Dark Age. They will hail you the saviour of mankind.’

‘Leave me, I need time to think?’ he ended the conversation.


Three weeks later Jasil accepted the position of major stockholder of Galactic Trade and Transport, the largest of the mega-corps. As Admiral of the Fleet of the Stellar Navy, this made him de facto most powerful person in the history of humanity.

The Earth had just crested the Lunar horizon, casting the unlit room in a blue glare. For once it was a clear day over the Pacific. The two brothers stood facing each other across the room, the only two people present. One was wearing robes more suited to medieval Euro-asia, an anachronism here in the head quarters of the Galactic Trade and Transport mega-corp. Samuel was biting back anger. His opposite, Jasil, was wearing naval uniform that befitted his rank and seemed more composed, holding a glass in one hand, the other resting unconsciously on his sidearm.

‘And the Lord said “where is your brother?” And he replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”’ it was the first thing that Samuel had said since he entered the room minutes before, fresh from his arrival on a courier from Sparta.
‘I’m sorry, brother,’ replied Jasil, ‘you have me at a disadvantage. Is this some test?’
‘You are bitter because I am the chosen of the True One, you seek to play the role of Cain!’
The accusation put Jasil on the back foot for the second as he dredged his memory for the reference.
‘Ah, ancient myths, but if I recall, isn’t it the older brother that slays the younger? Would that not make you Cain?’
‘Careful brother,’ retorted Samuel, advancing a step, ‘do not lecture me on religion. The words of the True One are clear in my mind. You would seek to depose me and return the Empire to the godless heathens to whore our people for baubles and worship false idols.’

Jasil recoiled, the sudden outburst a far cry from their reunion at the deathbed of their father. There was a man weeping for lost time, swearing to do all that he could for the betterment of the Empire and its people. There was a man strong in conviction but humble in himself, a man Jasil felt proud to call brother and follow for the glory of the Empire. He did not recognize this snarling zealot before him. If previously he hoped that accepting the executive office with the GTT would temper his brother’s fanaticism, giving him pause for thought, now he was certain it would do the opposite. His wavering was replaced by resolution.

‘Gods have had their day. The Brotherhood has had its day. Murdering and torture in the name of a god is still murder and torture. If you abdicate, I will see to it that you get the best treatment...’
‘Heretic,’ interrupted Samuel his face contorted with rage. Throwing back his outer cowling, he jabbed his arm out, pointing accusingly. ‘You are condemned by you own words. By the powers invested in me by The True One and the Empire, I strip you of all rank and sentence you to be executed after excruciation.’
‘I think not, brother,’ replied Jasil, only just keeping his own anger in check. ‘I command here,’ he drew his gun as a precaution, halting Samuel’s advance. ‘Security, my brother is leaving, escort him back to his ship and see to it that he is off the station within the hour.’ The guards had entered the room seconds before at a sub-vocal request. They were wearing GTT insignias. While Jasil had little doubt that about the loyalty of his imperial bodyguard present at the base, it was always better to announce intent before testing it to such an extreme.


A month later, barons from the outer Empire, often at odds with the mega-corps had assembled on Tribune, barony of House Drake. For some from worlds with many monasteries and heavily influenced by the teachings of the True One, the words of Samuel were a panacea. For others the chance to remove one-sided concessions to the mega-corps was the only reason they had turned up. They figured that a bit of lip-service was worth it, especially Baron LiQuan. His shipyards would have surpassed those of Sparta if the contracts were awarded on an honest basis. With Jasil having been declared Emperor with the backing of the mega-corps, all his courting of Samuel had turned his plans to ashes. Still, ever the optimist, that Samuel had been deposed meant he was in need a fleet of his own and it just so happened that for the past three years LiQuan had not been idle at all.

‘Hear me and through me the words of the True One. The moneylenders, the merchants and those that would value material goods above their very souls have revealed themselves. We will now strike and cut the head from the snake. My holy warriors, today we sing the praises of the True One and tomorrow we march on Sparta, the heart of the Stellar Navy and Jasil, usurper, betrayer and the false messiah. We will raise it to the ground.
‘We will liberate humanity from the false prophets and bring us back into a Golden Age in the light of the True One.’

From the back of the assembly, Baron LiQuan smiled.




 
News
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”

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Doomsday On Pause

At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space

As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.

Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.

Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.

Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease

Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 
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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.

Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.

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Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.

We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."

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Valhalla Stargate Reopens

Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.

 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt

After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
 
News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----



(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...

(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )

... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***
  • DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
  • CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
  • Krell denounce worship of the True One

  •  
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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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