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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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******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

 

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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