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Hive Society

Hive Society

To describe a single society and call this the template to all would be highly inaccurate. There are probably dozens of distinct hive cultures within the Peripheries. Here therefore is described the most common. This is one which has a single laying queen tended to by workers forming a macro-life form called a colony.

Hive within the colony come in all sizes known as castes, ranging from a few kilograms to a hundred or more. The nature of the caste is determined during its egg and larval stage. At these stages its egg is rubbed in ‘substance’ and it is fed ‘substance’ after hatching. Generally speaking, within a crèche area there will be a range of castes being raised together for the first few months. After this they will be separated into caste training areas for the next few years until they reach maturity.

Their swift maturation is however countered by their short life-span, rarely more than a couple of decades and often less than a decade in the case of castes assigned to hazardous tasks.


Substance
‘Substance’ is the generic term for a wide range of pheromones and complex volatile organic molecules produced naturally by various castes of the hive colony. The blending of these compounds produces such variations to be considered an entire language unique to each hive colony.

Collective Consciousness
There is a lot of myth surrounding collective consciousness. It is presumed that not being pre-occupied by finding a mate, raising children, attaining self-aggrandisement should mean that hive societies are incredibly efficient. This however is far from the truth.

Individual hive are raised to do certain tasks and will do them, though for only a few hours a day or when the task is presented. This means that for a lot of the time, a hive member is otherwise unemployed. If a crèche chamber for example is without eggs and larvae to tend, those assigned to the area will simply do nothing until being directed to another crèche by caste member responsible for assigning job locations.
In many respects a hive society can be similar to others in that the individuals outside of a ‘work environment’ have their own interests, though for hive, these interests tend to be quite narrow. It is a full spectrum effect with the highly self-aware mediators at one end of the spectrum through the warrior caste at the other. A group of crèche workers (somewhere in the middle of the spectrum) for example may also socialise together, seeking the same entertainment. This may be following the same set media operas set in crèches or eating at the same locations and gossiping. They will have routines such as who is responsible for which chores within their group. The main difference is that while they are all within the collective due to the pheromones, they have little interest beyond this narrow area. A crèche minder for example will not be interested in astronomy, electrical engineering or for that matter gardening. Warriors and regurgitators (larvae feeders) at the other end of spectrum may simply spend their down time sleeping and eating, both of which they do in prodigious amounts.

Queens
The queens for most hive species have very low self-awareness, content to be pampered and produce eggs. They have all their needs taken care of. They are often fed so much ‘substance’ that they do not even resist their own murders.

There are exceptions with some queens showing astute intellects. When this happens, the hive can show surprising capability to advance as a species. These events have historically been associated with hive invasions or off-world spawning events.

It is thought that the first of these queens may well have started the first hive affiliations, specifically producing hive that were immune to ‘substance’ as a means of developing self-awareness within the species.

The Brains of the Colony
There are within the society mediators. These are hive that deal with the running of the colony. They carry around the ‘substance’ feeding small amounts to the other hive but also passing on general requirements such as increase crèche facilities, expanding food production or even closing down areas. These have to be much more self-aware, rationalising situations and discussing the issues with other mediators. Generally speaking when important matters arise, chambers become filled with these, buzzing their opinions and garnering support from other mediators. Eventually decisions are carried by the majority vote, though under some situations where there are no obvious solutions, the entire colony can stagnate for days.

Hive Eggs
While other species have civilians that can be transported from one world to another in order to colonise it, the hive cannot do this. Removing individuals from the collective, removes them from it permanently. They cannot function as a society.

As a typical colony will only reach its population of 50-70,000 individuals over the course of a couple of decades, colonisation of a world will often be achieved through artificial means, i.e. hive eggs will be given to an existing hive colony. This is because eggs can be stored and will remain in stasis for months; even years until they are triggered into hatching through the use of ‘substance’. As this is only produced by an active colony they cannot be hatched within a base. The eggs are turned over to the civilian hive colony for hatching and maturation.

Outside Interaction
These mediators are the ones that are generally sent out to deal with other species and interact with starbase merchandising, though they will often be accompanied by other castes bases on the nature of the interaction, for example a few mediators will be accompanied by purser castes when it comes to dealing with purchases of food trade items or by warriors when discussing possible conflict. They are also the ones that have the highest tolerance to ‘substance’ (smallest receptors) and for this reason a drop in ‘substance’ production by the queen is first noticed by them, causing them to start the process of re-queening. It also means that these are the caste most likely to leave a colony of their own volition in order to seek employment by a starbase.

Visits to a hive are possible by both other hive and in fact other species. Generally speaking, there will be a designated visitors region with castes matured to deal with ‘aliens’. Going ‘off-road’ is however possible. In these cases, the visitors are continuously surrounded by mediators (and specialist sub-castes), when venturing through all areas not sanctioned for free access.

As soldiers are not present throughout a hive colony, once past the various check points moving around is relatively safe, though the constant stream of mediators moving between the various zones could result in being reported.

Colony Appearance
Hive are rarely ones for art, though it is not unknown, especially around the visitors zone and in the areas dominated by mediators and their sub-castes. They produce music and media though few non-hive would appreciate either. Scratchy noises and infrasound are popular as are shows about daily life of a fungus farmer. These can often be seen and heard throughout the many chambers.

Communal living is the norm with corridors connecting semi-submerged chambers formed plastics, metals, stone, and glass or even in some frontier colonies, packed earth. Under extreme circumstances, the walls may even be made from dead hive, their bodies literally glued together with hardened mucoidal secretions. Lighting is often only present where it is necessary. Sleeping chambers rarely have any form of illumination with hive simply clambering over each other until they find a place to sleep. The same can generally be said for food halls where tactility and smell often serve far more effectively than sight.

The industrial, media, visitor and commerce zones however are illuminated at all times and are generally continuously active. Hive do not take holidays or have a working week but by the same token, it is common to see hive clustered around doing apparently nothing. They will turn up to do a job, find it is not needed and simply hang around until a mediator sends them elsewhere.

Colony Size
A fit and healthy queen can lay around a hundred eggs per week. Presuming that most eggs will mature and hive generally live for just over 15 years, a typical colony will achieve the size of 80k individuals. More often though a colony will stop at around 50k as during this period new queens will be spawned and they will leave with a portion of the adult population in order to create new colonies. In this way a planet will eventually be populated.

In a few cases where the technology of a hive civilisation has advanced, the queen will be subjected to augmentation which increases her ability to lay eggs. This can vastly increase the potential colony size and in the case of Fake (a small hollow moon that was eventually destroyed), a single colony measured in their hundreds of millions, maybe even billions.

The swift maturation and demise of a hive (along with their general inability to reproduce) means that a colony will react to environmental change quite quickly. Resource constraints for example will read to the closing of crèche facilities. Few new crèche workers will be matured and the ones in the closed units will be reassigned. Within a few years the colony will be down to optimum numbers which can be maintained.

Crime
Within a hive colony crime certain occurs, though not in the usual sense.Even though it is the queen that lays eggs, other hive will also lay eggs, passing them off as the queen's. There can be cabals of layers associated with crèche chambers (a common theme in media operas). Mediators may attempt to overthrow a queen in favour of a new one, or instigate the creation of a new colony when one is not needed. Murders, criminal negligence, illegal hoarding are also common. The presence of non-collective gangs within the colony can also play a significant role in criminal activity especially where a colony is very large, measuring in the millions. Theft by nearby colonies is also fairly common.

Conflict
When multiple colonies start to impinge on each other due to restrictions in space, one of two things can occur. Where one colony has a strong queen, the warden caste will liberally spread ‘substance’ along its border and even into the territory of opposing colonies in an attempt to confuse and change the loyalty of hive. This only works against hive currently within a hive collective. Administering ‘substance’ to a hive removed from the collective has no effect as the receptors quickly atrophy when no longer stimulated by regular exposure to ‘substance’.

As the weaker colony quickly loses hive members the mediators may either attempt to re-queen the colony or more often, remove the queen and speed up the integration process. There is rarely conflict in these cases. Generally speaking mediators from both colonies have met and determined the outcome. In these cases, it is often the role of the weaker colony to mature drones as the last act of the old queen, thereby ensuring their legacy is passed on.



Where the two colonies have strong queens and are roughly equally matched a conflict will ensue. This is the only time in which the queens leave their brooding chambers. They will actually sever themselves from the sac and confront each other. The release of pheromones however often leads to conflict between the rest of the hive and with the advance of technology, leads to fairly indiscriminate bloodshed. Such conflicts are however exceptionally rare.

World Government
Mediator sub-castes matured specifically for dealing with other colonies and global affairs may form a government if there is sufficient need for one. They will determine global policy between the hive colonies and produce a list of laws applicable to off-worlders. This said, where there is activity within the confines of a single hive colony or beyond the boundaries of all the hive colonies on a world, it is invariably the case that nobody will care unless there is a direct threat or impact. This is because few hive venture far from the colony. Farmers account for the vast majority of hive that spend more than a single day beyond the bounds of a colony. The reason is hive continually pass ‘substance’ between its members. Some castes are capable of storing the substance for a few weeks (such as scouts) but generally most castes need a near continuous supply.





 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** 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

 

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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