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214
Previous Years
Intergalactic News
Issue 33
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The Dewiek Special
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Diary of a Krell

Diary of a Krell

The work was tedious… but she was lucky to have it. Better here than in the scavenger parties, out in the intense cold, risking death in furs and ancient breathing gear, going further and further out to find ruins which hadn’t been totally stripped. Work meant extra food, and young… or, at least, young that stood a better chance of living long enough to walk and choose a name.

Essential work. Stripping the edible leaves from the plants from the greenhouses and cutting away the tubers from the roots. Largest to the bins for mush, smaller ones to be sent back up as seed. The very smallest bulbs could be left for the juveniles to eat raw…however hard she hit, she couldn’t stop them taking a few to ease their hunger, and they seemed so small… six or seven was old enough to work, but some could still barely walk upright yet.

Must be strict… it should go with the rest of the waste; to the worm vats. A relentless cycle… Plant waste to worm… Worm to food-rat… food-rat to Krell… and ‘soil’ back to food-plant. Unless things go bad, like the time of the blight, when the mush ration had been cut by five eighths and the ‘meat’ had been the barely-processed worms themselves, flavoured with the tang of decay.


End of shift. She roared at the work crew to stop their tasks, cuffing a few, setting the younglings squealing. She was like a mother to them… none she recognized. She’d know her own by their family-scent, but nothing was familiar. Her oldest would be…. Nearly five now? Probably still in the wormery then, picking through the filth with their small, still unfused, digits for the squirming little red strings of protein.

This close to the outside, the tang of pollution could make it through aging seals and taint the air, despite the slight over-pressure. As long as the pumps operated, they could survive. Not forever though…atmospheric oxygen levels were dropping measurably. The scavenged wood from dead trees, for the charcoal filters, would probably run out long before then anyway.

She left the chilly top-outer levels, moving through the crowd as upright as possible, uncomfortably so, but necessary to make headway. The heads of bigger Krell rose, then fell in submission when they saw the badges of rank and family tattoos. A work-leader was not to be casually pushed aside by any dumb labourer in this clan… She could hold her head upright because of what was in it, even if her lack of muscle made the effort tiring.

Journeying into the depths of the building… her ancestors had been quite well-off, a complex nearly at ground-level and near the air/light-well. Back then, the space her pack claimed had been for a single family. Merely a few eights of adults, in the space where several eight-squareds lived now… Lost luxury.

Approaching home she relaxed, acknowledging a few submissions with a flare of her nostrils. Family scent…welcoming. Her pack-master was in the communal area, so she paid her respects before a quick visit to her family quarters. After checking her pups, still safe in the care of her sisters, and freshening with a little water from the condenser, she was ready for her adventure. A visit to the star-base, to meet her mate, and perhaps see the new aliens!

On the journey down, she passed a few starved-looking outcasts. Maimed males who had misjudged a dominance challenge, and lost badly. Females who had chosen their own brood over supporting that of a sister. Lacking family or pack, they existed by hunting wild-rats and selling the leather and pathetic items they’d scavenged from the abandoned above-ground levels. She traded a dole-chit for a faded book, as much to save it being turned into mulch for food-fungus as any interest she had in the pictures.

Descending the steps onto the platform of the underground station, she studied the wall-map, to check the tunnel for her destination: ‘The Aerodrome’, they had called it, back when Krell had travelled the whole world in days… floating under giant swollen bags of gas. More lost secrets of her forebears.

Into the barely-illuminated tunnel. The habitations had been built on higher ground, and the walk was easy; slightly downhill, the metal and wood of the track long gone. Other tunnels would be a nightmare of predatory rats and feral outlaw bands. Some led out onto the surface and, it was said, on to other cities. This tunnel though was frequently used, and would be safe for the short journey.

She ignored several other travelers, wary of making an inappropriate response in the poor light. Finally she made her way towards the guards at the checkpoint, arms wide and head low in submission. While checking her credentials the leader barged her in a rough, suggestive, way, which she ignored. Probably a newly-dominant male, seeking a pairing, although hard to be sure in the armour, adapted from a fitting made generations ago for a bulkier warrior, masking it’s wearers scent.

Beyond them, Kegadur, her mate, was there to greet her. She cringed submissively to him – courtship had established their relative status, and she felt too insecure to flirt in this unfamiliar place. He handed her tinted goggles, and aided her in donning them, avoiding the straps covering her ear holes. She looked quizzically at him.

“Obey! You’ll need them. At least at first”.

Trudging upwards… daylight ahead. But it wasn’t outdoors. Just another concourse and doors leading out… into a brightness more than she had ever experienced.

Bare and unprotected, should choke, then freeze… but no. Not quite what it seemed. Warm… the air was fresh and barely scented. Shading her eyes, dazzled even with the goggles, she looked upwards. The sun was just discernable as a brighter area in the eternal rolling grey of the cloud-cover. Many tiny, far brighter, sources regularly arranged around the firmament provided the illumination, and in places reflected off an otherwise nearly invisible layer, high above the buildings, between herself and the sky.

“Environment dome. Supported by the pressure. Some heating from greenhouse. Rains sometimes, when the humidity builds, and the temperature drops.”

She feigned understanding, and felt the glow of pride for her mate… a technician… an alien word, for a worker with the aliens.

“I show you to my… boss. Work-leader who directs me as if nearly equal…”. Barely cringing he called to a nearby group of warriors, one of which turned to face him in response. Not Krell after all… aliens. It approached, the others taking protective flanking positions, shockers held at the half-ready.



Curiosity overrode her instinct and she glanced up to study the figure. Pale… unhealthily thin. Like an overgrown pup, with smooth, barely callused skin. Tall for a Krell, maybe as tall as a hu-man. Uncomfortably, upright, It’s stance declaring challenge to all around. Lacking muscle, it should collapse and snap bone… but as she studied, she realized that the armour was a machine, supporting it, the faint whirr of motors as it moved.

It addressed her in a heavily accented, formal tone. “Greetings, wife of Kegadur. I am, Gramangata I greet you. I would have you perform a service. Please devour this foodstuff, and tell me of your… feelings for it”.

She glanced at Kegadur, disconcerted by a dominant coaxing her to feed, as if she was a youngling, seeking his reassurance, given by a nod. The alien peeled off a thin coating… covered in writing of all things… a memory from the books came. This is how it used to be. Food, all the same, with writing, and pictures. It broke off a small portion into it’s… hand? Four digits! It passed the piece to her.

The being observed her intently, as she raised it to her lips. She could tell interest in it’s face. Not so alien after all. As commanded, she took the lump into her mouth, and chewed.

The sensation was incredible… Richness and intense flavour… overcoming conditioning she forced herself to address the creature directly, lowest to highest.

“Sir, this food is…nothing like I’ve ever had before. It’s the best thing ever... What is it?”.

The… Ulian turned to Kegadur. “Make a note.. initial reception for the fish flavour - highly positive”.


by
Paragon





 
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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