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The Dominion

The Dominion

Vehrenberg 157
If the admiral was feeling any emotion it did not show on his face as he stared down on the assembled crowd from the palace. That he, saviour of the Empire, the most highly decorated admiral in history should be here on a glorified farm world on the fringes of the Empire was unprecedented. The crowd were carrying royal flags and bunting had been hastily strung between the buildings around the square. Many of those present had been here for hours waiting for a glimpse of the great man himself. They had amused themselves by standing next to the honour guards while photographs and vids were taken until the admiral stepped out onto the balcony of the governor’s ‘palace’ that fronted the square.

Once silence had descended he addressed the crowd.
‘Rumours of sedition have reached the throne. I have conducted an investigation and found evidence of treason. We have taken into custody those responsible, their families and associates.
‘Nine are to be executed immediately, the rest will be returned to Earth to serve their sentence.’
Members of the crowd looked at each other in confusion. Sedition? Who? They were expecting accolades as to the growth of the colony and praise for the products sent regularly to ever hungry mouths of Earth.


The marines previously standing to attention as one changed to a distinctly more aggressive stance. These were the Emperor’s elite, the force responsible for breaking Tate sixteen years ago and in the intervening period they had maintained both their discipline and ruthlessness. It was rumoured that they even submitted to modern training techniques that physically rewrote their cerebral synapses. They were utterly loyal and fearless.
The doors to the palace below the balcony opened and a small squad of local troops emerged, surrounding Baron Vehrenberg, governor of the world. By comparison to the elite, these soldiers looked unprofessional as they shuffled forwards. They also looked pale and unsteady on their feet as though they had just been given news of being sent to the front line. The Baron himself was ashen faced, clearly desiring to be anywhere else.

They formed up on the steps between the crowd and the palace and waited, though not for long as the sound of many boots marching in perfect unison approaching from around the side of the palace.

The crowd pressed forward for a better view and were rewarded with the scene of a column of manacled people surrounded by more of the elite. The troops drove the prisoners through the now narrow gap between the crowd and governor and his squad, to line them against the wall extending from the far side of the mansion. Shock, almost palpable ran through the onlookers as many recognized people amongst the manacled. They were relatively influential on this small world. They appeared regularly in the media. Eyes turned to the admiral, questioning.

‘You see before you the instigators of rebellion. For these the most severe punishment will be meted out. Carry on governor.’
With that the sweating and miserable governor ordered his squad to form up opposite the prisoners and present arms. Silence filled the square, the crowd in a state of denial.
‘Fire.’
The single word and the accompanying cacophony of a dozen weapons discharging brought reality crashing in and screaming ensued. People attempted to flee the scene though were pulled up sharp by the presence of the elite. Pressure from those at the pack pushed the front of the crowd forward towards the elite. A series of single shots put down those closest to the elite, stopping the crowd in its tracks. The weapons though were only stunners and those downed soon stirred.

The admiral further addressed the crowd, his message also hitting the communications media and spreading across the world, though by that point it was too late. Many more had been taken into custody while the crowd had waited.

Three days later there had been more than six thousand arrests. Those charged had been delivered to the ships now in orbit awaiting transport to Earth to face the charges. Admiral Secudus from the bridge of the pocket battleship Mercy gave orders.
‘We will rendezvous with the others at the edge of the system.’
‘Yes, admiral,’ responded his captain.

Still a few light seconds from the rendezvous the sensors went wild and small new stars blossomed into the life. Nuclear detonations.
‘Sir, report coming though, they have lost seven escorts and report more than thirty enemies of unknown origin. They rest are heading our way.’
‘Unknown? No this has the Baron’s stink about it. I knew the bastard LiQuan had a secret shipyard. We are in no way prepared for this. So he looks to play cavalry does he? How long till we can jump, captain?’
‘For some of the transports three days though we could leave tomorrow, we cannot however outrun them or outshoot them. I doubt we will make it to Vehrenberg not that we would get any succour there.’
‘I agree, the two barons are in it up to their bloody necks.’

The admiral turned to the nearest console and punched in his own security code unlocking heavily encrypted data. The main navigation monitor suddenly included a pulsing red object no more than a few hours away at their current velocity. It was no coincidence that the rendezvous point was here, the admiral wanted to see the anomaly for himself before returning to Earth.
‘What is it?’ asked the captain.
‘We have been investigating the anomaly for some time. It is the reason this system has become strategically important. It’s a wormhole, stable enough to allow a ship to pass through to a region of space more than eighty light years away.’
‘What? I thought those things were science fiction or lab experiments.’
‘Plot a course to engage with the vectors indicated then transmit it to the fleet.’

The escorts covered the retreat of the ships to the wormhole, preventing the transports being boarded though taking severe damage. From Baron LiQuan’s perspective onboard his command ship Excommunication, this looked very much like shooting fish in a barrel and merely a matter of time before the last of the escorts fell. Then it would be a simple matter to capture the transports and nobody would ever know what happened. Confident in his master plan he left the bridge, taking with him one of the crew to deal with some clerical work.
Almost moments later the Excommunication’s sensor officer alerted the captain to an anomaly and after a short conference in which the implications of the anomaly were realised the Baron himself was interrupted in his private suite.

‘Balls man,’ shouted the Baron turning to the monitor and pushing back the head of the young female crewmember before adjusting his trousers, ‘I am in the middle of something. Can’t I leave you to handle a few escorts and a pocket battleship?’
‘Lord, there is a problem,’ this latest in flagranti was nothing new to the captain and beyond averting his eyes from the view screen continued. ‘They appear to be heading for some sort of rift in space we didn’t know about. We will not be able to deal with the escorts before the majority of the transports have entered it.’
‘Well bloody nuke that damned rift thing whatever it is. I will be on deck in five, no make it ten. Not even you can screw it up in that time.’
‘But Lord, we don’t know what that will do, we don’t know anything about…’ but the communication was cut.

A few transports entered the wormhole before the first nuclear salvo directed against the rift detonated. They provoked little more than the ejection of a stream of exotic particles. More escorts fell but so too were more transports escaping despite the explosions.
The last of the transports pushed into the event horizon of the rift along with the escorts and the now badly limping pocket battleship as the Baron entered the bridge. A moment’s glance at the tactical display was enough to give him all the information he needed.
‘Didn’t I tell you to nuke that bloody thing? You are letting them all escape! ‘
‘But Lord, the nuclear missiles do not enter the rift; they do not cross the event horizon. At best we have been able to detonate them in close proximity.’
‘The True One may hate the Empire but he also despises idiots, send one of your ships in and launch when inside.’
‘What happens if it closes and we lose transports?’
‘If you care to notice we have already lost them. We don’t know where it leads and what’s on the other side. There could be an imperial fleet waiting for us. This whole thing stinks of a trap.’



Seconds after the pocket battleship crossed the boundary the interceptor class starship captained by one of Samuel’s most experienced fanatics followed. Moments later the ships were bombarded by heavy radiation. The blast lasted less than a second but afterwards the rift was little more than a distorted star field like looking at its reflection in a pond with ripples.

As the weeks passed news that Admiral Secudus and his fleet were missing started to filter out across the Empire. Rumours and speculation ran rife though a full investigation on Vehrenberg confirmed that Baron Vehrenberg had carried out the execution and that the Admiral had left in accordance with his mission. The loss of the admiral emboldened those that were wavering in their support of Samuel and may well have been instrumental in the transition to open rebellion in 158.

As to the fate of Admiral Secudus and his small fleet of transports and their cargo of prisoners, they were never heard of again. That said 50 years later when the Empire reached the Cluster they encountered humans who according to their own history have been in the Cluster for hundreds of years and had a society based on a two class martial social structure. How could humans have arrived in the Cluster hundreds of years before jump drives were invented? They seemed somewhat fuzzy about their own history beyond a generally accepted story that they were a fleet of prison ships on their way to a penal colony. Of the fate of Admiral Secudus, nothing is known for certain. Nobody knows for certain what happened but speculation is that the internal nuclear detonation presumably caused the opening of the wormhole to be flung across both time and space.





Mumble-grumble  [Recruit]

The Dominion has always been a thorn in my side. They were a legacy of a previous Game Master who cared little about consistent back story. The key elements were that they arrived in the Cluster up to 500 years ago (though the bulk appear to only have been there around eighty years) and that they were a fleet of prison ships on their way to a penal colony, later changed to colonists that suffered a misjump. In the history of the game these stories made any sense. It was before the formation of the Empire and in fact before humanity had even discovered Pulac and actually reached another star system. So the whole thing would have had to have been set in the Sol system.

My first draft involved sending off a fleet of prisoners as pioneers in sub-light cryo-ships – a bit like using Russian prisoners to build St. Petersburg before the nobility arrived. This however did not sit well and I returned to the concept of time travel as their origin.

Even if time-travelling wormholes were included, bringing the time period for their creation forward, why would a bunch of ships with prisoners decide to enter a wormhole or even be anywhere near a wormhole? And anyway, where did these prisoners come from and where was this penal world?

So, with these basic questions I worked their history to be consistent with the history of the Empire. As for the destination penal world – this could have been Mars or Venus which at the time were being terraformed and would easily have served as such for an interim period. I am sure that the transport crew would have explained to the prisoners were they were destined once they had been chewed up on Earth.

The detonations around the wormhole causing the other end to swing through time thereby bleeding the fleet’s arrival across centuries rather than as a single event also solved quite a few of the anachronistic oddities regarding the Dominion’s involvement in the dewiek wars against the Architects.

Finally, by having the whole time-travelling feature as part of a major instability and detonation during mid-passage through the wormhole (it taking 100TU’s to pass through the wormhole, allowing for the final detonation to occur while all the ships were still within the wormhole but at differing ‘distances’ along it) means that attempting to replicate the procedure in-game is at best pointlessly suicidal. I subscribe to the fixed-timeline, insofar as things are as they are because things were as they were. Something in the past cannot be changed though our perception of it may alter as we determine more about it, so you can kill your grandfather before he conceived your father, all you have proved is that he was not your grandfather. There is no pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. If something didn't happen, it didn't happen. I always liked Time Riders (1992, Iron Crown Enterprises).

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

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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 from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
 
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*** 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

  •  
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    ***** 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.
     

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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