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The Baron

The Baron


He looked across the void to judge the trajectory before launching himself out from the airlock. His aim was perfect, not that he had doubts it would be anything else. Doubt was not a concept the Baron was familiar with. While the scale on the helmet hud indicated the size of the alien vessel it was only as he drifted closer that the full magnitude of it registered. Refusing to be awed by such a thing he imagined the living vessel breaking wind. By the time he passed into the shadow of the alien ship he was laughing uncontrollably and holding his stomach, threatening his perfect transition.

Back on the bridge the sensor officer looked up from the display.
‘He’s aboard sir, now what?’
‘We have orders to wait’
‘Sir, the ship, it’s firing its engines. The Baron has not returned.’
‘Damn, I warned him, I bloody well warned him. Defence report!’
‘Our weapons won’t even scratch it.’
‘Stand down,’ and quietly to himself, ’I hope you know what you are doing.’


Later, looking years older though only a few hours had passed the captain sat back in his private quarters. A large bottle of expensive spirit stood unopened. The baron had promised to share it, convinced that a short dialogue with the alien vessel would be tantamount to his crowning glory. He laughed at the comment, clearly entertained by his own cleverness though he declined enlighten the captain. Baron, a title he still called himself by habit, as he had been titled prince for a few years. He would say that prince is good for the table but for skulduggery baron is much better suited.

He had served the baron for decades and knew well his reckless streak. He led a charmed life, favoured by the True One, some would say, including the baron himself, at least in public circles. In private his views on the True One and those that served was anything but reverent. Despite this seeming whimsy the baron was always pushing in a single direction – power. He recalled schooling the lad at a young age in politics. How the child had become quiet for the first time in lessons following the revelation that his father, the most powerful man on the planet was in fact just one of many governors and a governor of a world distant from the centre of the Empire and probably unknown to the vast morass of humanity. Within a day the baron had changed subtly. He remained seemingly carefree but underneath the first flames of ambition took hold. He would question at length the historical line of the Emperor, the alliances between the various noble houses and governors of the newly founded colonies beyond Earth. By the age of twenty he had spent a year at the Imperial palace though from all accounts he left disgraced. While the nature of the disgrace is unknown, it is in all likelihood that the rebellion of the Tate and Detinus along with disintegrating relations between outer worlds and those closest to Earth played a big part. From Earth he toured the other outer colonies where he spent a fortune of his father’s money though in truth all was investment for the future and the coming civil war.

It seemed like only a few days ago, though it was decades, at the other end of the galaxy. It was the closest he ever came to leaving the baron. The robed priests had just left having finalised a secret treaty to build a warfleet to challenge the Emperor.

‘But why Samuel, he’s a raving nutter?’
‘Sparta. It should have been mine. Jasil has awarded the contract to one of his mega-corps.’
‘If you side with Jasil, Samuel cannot possibly win and the Emperor will reward you.’
‘Really, and you was the one lecturing me on politics only a few years ago. No. I side with Jasil, Samuel and the other outer worlds are easily defeated, then despite the fact that they needed my ships to win the war, do you honestly think they will overlook that they were made illegally? I side with Jasil and I will have my shipyards torn down and ships confiscated. I am sure that they will flower it up. No need for a second shipyard, better that the ships were in the Imperial Service and we don’t want to risk and Tate. They may even save themselves compensation and simply arrest me.’
‘You risk the lives of millions for your own ambition.’
‘Yes, who more deserving?’



What the baron was not prepared for was the squandering of his superior ships ‘in the name of the True One.’ Trust in the True One but choose which battles to fight. He may not be on the side of the Imperials but it’s pretty certain that he also no time for idiots.

Still, the subsequent defeat and exodus brought the Baron a lengthy period of peace as his power put him equal to the titled High Lord Samuel in all but name.
With the discovery of a new route to the Empire, the smouldering coal of ambition once again began to flame and the Baron returned to active politics. His goals were simple, regain his ancestral home and tie his family to that of the Emperor.

Within a few short years he had achieved all this, claiming under his dominion not only his own ancestral worlds but those of the other nobles, dispossessed during the rebellion.

For all intentional purposes he should have been content in his twilight years. Born a glorified farmer on a backwater world, he had risen to become a prince and trusted advisor to Emperor Lysander. Why then did he infect his own body with nanites created by an alien species and what was his purpose for venturing aboard the sentient alien ship?

The captain’s thoughts returned to the present. What was the baron offering them and what did he want in return? The words ‘crowning glory’ returned to haunt him. He slowly leaned across the table, reaching for the bottle, though not to celebrate.

‘My baron, what have you done?’




 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


 
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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,

And so with the news,
 
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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,
 

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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