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The saving of Neophyte Alessandro

The saving of Neophyte Alessandro
By Algienon

Neophyte Alessandro led the Unnamed Holy One along the dimly-lit corridor; lit only by the lantern he carried and silent but for the occasional inhuman shriek somewhere ahead. Only his companion’s calm disregard had kept Alessandro from bolting back to the daylight. Those sent to search for records in the lower levels of the archives, hundreds of meters above where Alessandro was now, came back with tales of barely audible screams, an overwhelming smell of burnt meat and of smoke seeping from the ventilation ducts. As far as he knew these corridors were rarely visited. None of the neophytes could remember seeing a single person pass through the huge thorlium doors that barred the way to the lowest levels, but they all knew that black shuttles of the Inquisition landed in the dead of night and disgorged numerous cargo crates. Left outside the thorlium doors; by morning everything was gone – the shuttles and the crates.

Alessandro had been roused from his cell some time before dawn. The dishevelled acolyte instructed him to report to the Abbot’s study immediately and then scurried off before Alessandro could ask any questions. He had been struggling with his studies and had been sent to the Abbot’s study on more than one occasion. He assumed this summons was another opportunity for the Abbot to express his disappointment and then assign Alessandro to yet another menial duty to allow him to contemplate his place in the universe. What he didn’t expect to find was the Unnamed Holy One himself sitting by the fire and the Abbot looking flustered and fidgeting nervously with his beads. He thought it was a fitting turn of events for the way the Abbot had made him feel on numerous occasions. Possibly not something someone hoping to be a monk should be thinking, but the old wind-bag did seem to delight in droning on and on at him. He was snapped from his thoughts by the Abbot addressing him.



“Alessandro I have an important task for you. His Grace will be visiting an old friend in the lower levels. You are to light his way and follow his every instruction. You are to say nothing unless spoken to and you are to tell no-one of what you see or hear. Do you understand?”

“Yes Reverend Father”

“Take this map then

"Your Grace, if you are ready?”

The Unnamed Holy One nodded his approval.

Alessandro thought back to what he’d heard of their enigmatic guest whilst he followed the Abbot and the Unnamed Holy One to the doors leading to the lower levels. A figure shrouded in mystery. Reputedly an Inquisitor, sanctioned by the Patriarch himself to use any means necessary to extract information for the church, including flaying, excruciation and excommunication in extremis. What was he doing here? And who was the old friend he was visiting in the lower levels? The stories of this night would improve his standing amongst the other neophytes significantly.

The Abbot had withdrawn a small key from beneath his robes, unlocked the huge doors and given Alessandro final instructions about where his Grace was to be taken. That had been an hour ago. The map had been easy enough to follow; though there had been many dark side passages. He had heard the screams almost as soon as they had left the Abbot; and they had become louder as they had made their descent. In all that time they had seen another soul

At the end of a long corridor Alessandro heard The Unnamed Holy One mutter a brief prayer and then knock on the door. Another shriek pierced the air, before being suddenly cut short.

“Remain here”

The Holy Unnamed One opened the door and a wave of heat and acrid smoke rushed out, momentarily blinding Alessandro. By the time he had cleared his eyes he was alone. He started intoning a prayer to the True One.

...

The Unnamed Holy One surveyed the scene around him. He was at the top of a large, deep cavern. Below him, 7 levels of plastisteel-fronted cells ran for as far as the eye could see. The occupants were predominantly alien, but here and there he saw the occasional human. Heretics! Worse than aliens; for they had renounced the True One’s gift of an eternal soul and thus damned themselves for eternity. Their disease could not be allowed to spread. They had to be cleansed!

The cavern floor was covered in as many contraptions of torture as humanity could think of; and a fair few that they probably couldn’t. He smiled at the sight of them. Like seeing long, lost friends again. He spotted a group of robed monks praying around one of the contraptions and made his way down the stairways towards them. As he approached, one of the monks, with hair as red as flames looked up and smiled.

“Take this one back to his cell and see to his wounds. Neither unconsciousness nor death shall save him from the Truth of the True One”

The monks opened the iron maiden and carefully removed the unconscious body of a man in the tattered uniform of naval officer of the Detinus Republic.
The Unnamed Holy One stepped forward.



“Brother Pyros, there is a neophyte at the door upstairs that has much hubris and may stray from the path of the True One. The gentle caress of the maiden may save him from that fate”

Brother Pyros nodded and turned to the monks, “See to it”.

Two of the monks head for the stairs, and Neophyte Alessandro, while the others disappeared amongst the forest of contraptions; taking the officer to be revived and cured prior to the tireless efforts to save his eternal soul.

“So you have finally come my nameless friend. Are they now ready for the cure that I bring?”

"The Church has sat idle for too long. We have become bloated and complacent. For too long our wealth and privilege has shielded us from the savagery that surrounds us. Aliens, heathens and heretics infest the Empire! No longer! You are instructed to go forth from this gilded cage and bring Truth in His name. To the Coreward Arm you shall go for the Church. Billions there wait to burn with faith or burn in agony. It matters little. You shall commence a burning crusade that shall ignite whole worlds. From the ashes we shall renew the Church. You will make war in His name. The True Name..."

“Finally”





 
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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    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