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214
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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
******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 and most reliable unbiased publication in the known universe from our home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last couple of weeks,


Cluster War! DNA Gather Fruit
 
******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 home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,


Cluster War! MZC attacks DNA
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

The Dewiek rise again!

After the death and destruction wrought upon the Dewiek Nation by the Architects, there was a period of calm if you were a werewolf fancier. But now the Dewiek have risen to once more in the name of the Dewiek Packs, led by Skarn. Their new message being one of peace, a most unusual change for the large humanoid wolves. While they rise from the ashes of the Mizuchi Combine the Galaxy waits to see how this new affiliation acts, baring in mind the Dewiek have something of reputation.

Empire invade the Cluster!

A significant force of GTT warships recently entered the Cluster, somewhere they have not seen the need to go for a very long time. At the same time the CIA banned the Dewiek Packs from it’s space and also sent a large number of warships into the Cluster to bolster the GTT’s presence. After this show of force the Crossley system, known for it’s wormhole connecting from the Cluster to CIA space shifted to be claimed by the GTT. Currently the Empire has over 200,000 troops and 2000 warships roaming the nearby systems. Inhabitants of the Cluster are waiting to see if there are any further developments. GTT CEO Xavier Fox when asked by our office dismissed it as a “Training exercise”.

Krell sale!

The Krell Clan Dark Angels has been selling off bases, outposts and even systems lately. It is unknown why they have decided to cash in their assets and territories, but it points to the accumulation of significant wealth by the Krell clan. If you have any spare cash and want to expand your assets then it seems to our office that the best place to go is the Dark Angel Clan and ask what will be going up for sale next, assuming they actually have anything left.

*** Affiliations ***

AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
BLG Bolg Organisation (22) - Akhenaten
BHD Brotherhood (63) - de Molay
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) - <unknown>
DWK Dewiek Packs (19) - Skarn
FCN Falconian Republic (70) – Bacran *
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - <unknown>
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
NHS Noble Houses (41) – Roy Roberts
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Only known contact, please update us if this is incorrect.

NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS
Inactive: ANT, COD, DOM, HVE, IDC, IMP, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

*** Submissions ***

By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
 
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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Over 20 years of content development
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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