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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Star Date: 221.3.3
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.
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.”
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.
Star Date: 220.50.5
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.
When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...
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!
Star Date: 220.45.1
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.
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."
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.
*** 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: )
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) ******
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,
*** 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
***** 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.
***** 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.
***** 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
*** Submission ***
By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.