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214
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Diary of a Falconian

Diary of a Falconian

Finally I get to stretch my wings. The strain of having them bent backwards so that they can fit within the envirosuit becomes unbearable after a few hours. This time it was prospecting some ball of rock and ice on the edge of the system.

When I left my aerie and joined the ranks of the Emperor I somehow imagined I would be swooping across alien landscapes, soaring over mountains the hawks back home could only dream of. As I feel the blood slowly seeping back into the tips and groom the feathers I step out onto the gantry and leap out, unfurling as I fall.

Even here in the cargo bay there is only sufficient space for a swoop before having to bank sharply. I do two circles before alighting and heading to the galley for a sip-pocket of something unpalatable. My thoughts sour.

The ship is thankfully geared towards falconians. None of your solid floors, railings and simulated gravity is to be found here and only the constant wind of the ventilation systems give any indication of nominal up and down.


Having consumed the soulless mush I discard the container, watching it drift in the breeze until it hits the wide mesh, pitching a couple of times then disappearing through an intake. The mesh is starting to look a little congested with detritus; another miserable task awaiting one of the newer recruits.

The next few days are pretty much an endless routine of sensor and drive monitoring though prospects are looking good as we are on our way to one of the new worlds that apparently has a breathable atmosphere.

As we enter orbit I find myself drawn to the monitor with an external feed. The sight is breathtaking. The equatorial region is a vast gold colour, almost endless deserts. The poles are little more than white spots, though as we change trajectories, I lose sight of one.

The ground rushes up and I see that we are moving towards a thin strip of green between the small pole and the vast desert. Rivers and small seas become visible and I am transfixed as the surface now completely fills the monitor.
Just coming over the horizon is a smudge of grey and we follow the course of a river between parallel mountain chains towards it.
Along the sides of the river I can now see fields and the smudge is quickly resolving into a most settlement.
I tear myself away from the view in order to deal with the landing preparations – all trivial stuff, but still needing someone to overview and react. It’s just the usual balancing of power and compensating for this, that and the other.

When I next glance at the monitor I find that we have landed in a small base, probably an outpost. Judging by the hunched but huge beings in the starport it belongs to our allies, the dewiek Nation.

While the captain is doing whatever it is that captains do in these circumstances, I find myself with a little time to kill.
I quickly finish the post-landing checks and disembark. The stretching is wonderful. I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the alien sun on my unfurled wings but am immediately brought to my senses by a growl and a shove. Instinct kicks in. My wings drop back, my claws extend. I am staring up into the face of a snarling dewiek. On the ground it can easily rip me limb from limb and it knows it. For a second we stare at each other, then it says, ‘Wing it, birdy, I got work to do.’
That’s dewiek for you. Still, seems sound advice. I launch, powerful thighs lifting me more than three metres before a downbeat carries me up. Just for good measure I defecate into the dewiek’s path enjoying its howl of anger.
We are not scheduled to leave for a few hours so I spend them exploring the valley, enjoying the thermals and simply reveling in the liberation of knowing that I am not going to be facing repercussions for venturing into rival house airspace.
From high up I discover that this settlement appears to be little more than a colony extending a few kilometres along the upper stretch of the river. Beyond there is nothing more than untamed nature.

Food, real food. I am originally from house hawk, not for us seeds and fruits. I prefer my meals meaty and I have just seen my next one down along the banks of the river. It does not stand a chance as I swoop in low over the bank and hit it full in the back, hammering it down into the shallow water. My heel talons have made twin punctures into its back and blood is already bubbling out. That’s when I notice a small stick floating away down the river. Glancing round quickly, I also spot a small box behind a tussock of some native flora and a small stool.

I step off the body and flip it over. It’s not a species I am familiar with. It is small and furry, but not like a dewiek – maybe a wimble or just a native? I pull it part onto the bank and take to the air again. After a quick recon, finding nothing I return.



What to do? Report the event to the captain. Not likely to go down too well, he is a seed eater. Report it to the outpost – not a bloody chance. Local authorities, presuming that there are some are also unlikely to be understanding. It may have been an accident, but on these backwater worlds, they tend to have very flexible laws and a penchant for execution.
I do the only sensible thing, I drag the body back into the river and out where the current is strong and let it float away.

The shock of murdering a sentient being has killed my appetite, that is until I reach the bank and find a holding net in which there are few aquatic creatures.

I return and keep a low profile in the ship but overhear that one of the crew, house eagle, suffered some terrible wounds after an altercation with an employee of the starbase over some alleged insult.

I do not react when there is also a small news item about the possibility that the world may after all have apex predators capable of posing a threat to colonists.

Next world, I intend to stay onboard.




 
News
GTT step forward to control protection and peace in the Stellar Empire.

With the retirement of Jack Johns and various lower-level IMP officers from public life, the Imperial Services were left on the verge of being unable to fill their role as protectors of the Stellar Empire. Due to the serious nature the Imperial Services found itself in, the Emperor recently travelled to GTT HQ to attend a board meeting with the directors of the GTT.

With Galactic Trade and Transport being one of the few remaining loyal Imperial Chartered affiliations, who also supply well over half of the war material to the Imperial Services, the Emperor sought the position of the GTT with regard to the Imperial Services becoming overburdened with bureaucracy and lacking effective leadership. Effectively the Imperial Services were at the point of collapse. A position highlighted when an opportunistic supposed ally subverted four Imperial Outposts in the Inner Empire, thinking their asset grabbing would go unnoticed.
 
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  Star Date: 221.30.5

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RAGNAROK COMES

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A Forlorn Hope

The seat of Dewiek Government has fallen. What began as a small group of Architect ships picking up retreating DEN forces, amalgamated into a much larger force. The bombardment fleet comprised dozens of Adult ARC ships plus several Planet Killers. The force made short work of the impressive fortifications of the planetary orbit of Newstart. Multiple heavily armoured and maximised deflector shield platforms crumbled. They did so only after releasing their volleys of antimatter and nova weapon batteries. Any DEN warships that remained from earlier encounters also stood the line. But within the week, the last defence was gone.

Bombardment of Wolf Lair starbase proceeded without further resistance from the Dewiek. ARC Plasmas ripped through starbase shields. They demolished tens of thousands of factories and research facilities. The ARC demolished the huge military recruitment and training facilities on the planet. Over half a million trained troops evacuated from deep bunkers, leaving a token ground defence.

The ARC were not satisfied to burn the facilities and murder the workers. They deployed repeated salvos of their Virus Bombs on the wider population. Reports began to arrive of civilians of the world regressing. Leaving settlements and returning to nature. Much as the Dewiek found themselves some decades ago when they started to recover from the First Great ARC-DEN War. This time there was no High Lord Magnus willing to obliterate the world to save a remnant of the people. Newstart was already lost.

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Newstart is lost

 
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  Star Date: 221.27.2

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RAGNAROK APPROACHES

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End Game Lost

A short-lived period of peace followed the Dewiek Elder Nation’s historic and Saga-worthy defence against the Architect Planet Killers. A handful of the more typically encountered ARC ships were spotted picking off DEN support ships in Forlorn Hope before more than forty of them appeared back in End Game.

While the ARC “Adult” class ships, as the DEN had previously classified them, were eight times smaller than the “Planet Killers”, they were still as big as the largest ships any other species has managed to produce. Including the otherwise technologically advanced Dewiek.

Forty-four of these Plasma armed organic vessels smashed through the DEN forces left circling the orbit of Beacon, End Game. The mass of ARC weapons bombarded the DEN Shipyards at Ragnorak with their superheated ionized gas, razing the entire outpost to the ground.

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ARC Plasma weapons devastate End Game

 
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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.
 

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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