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Fake II

Fake II

‘They want us to meet their queen!’ Jim announced.
Hook looked up from his console, scratching his head. They had now been doing this run for a few months. Land in the hive starport, move one of the cargo containers into the rotating airlock, swing it round, watch the beetles and things swap it for another and rotate it back in. A quick check on weight and a look-see to make sure it was filled with bars of precious metals or some rare earths as previously agreed and move onto the next container.

Rival captains in the megacorp were however getting a little nosey to say the least, wanting to know the source. At the moment it was money for nothing. Pre-packed food beyond its shelf life and a few sweeteners but if others found out and wanted a piece of the action things would quickly turn sour. And now their queen wanted to meet him. Maybe this was just the opportunity to secure an exclusive deal.


‘I don’t trust them, with their bug eyes,’ Jim continued. ‘ They look at us strangely like they want to eat us or something.’ He had been grumbling on like this for the past few weeks. He kept on banging on about how rich they had become and that they could retire or maybe even buy some ships and run a fleet from a nice garden world. Captains simply can’t be trusted. They always skimmed from the top. If the corp found out exactly how much they were raking in, there would be trouble. ‘I tell you sir,’ Jim had crewed for Hook for so long, he never used ‘sir’ unless he really wanted to make a point, ‘You go in there and you ain’t coming out.’ Hook looked up from his cataloguing, seeing how desperate Jim was.

‘Tell you what, this is the last run for you, you get your share and see about getting that nice mansion on Utopia. Hell, even get a few native servants. I hear they will do anything for a personnel communicator and last year’s fashion. When I buy the planet I will give you a tax break.’ Jim looked like he was going to argue further. ‘And look after the ship while I go chat up a queen.’ That seemed to do the trick and Jim sat back down.

Hook thought himself resplendent in his official Frontier Exploration and Trade uniform. It was getting a little tight around the middle, but then he had not worn it for at least five years and life had been good recently. Flanked by eight troops, a recent addition to the ship’s small crew complement he disembarked to be met by the hive representatives. It is said by those not in the know that all hive look alike. This is not quite true. Hive larvae all look the same but they are then fed different substances and when they emerge from the change they form one of the many castes. There are small ones that scuttle on the floor; there are spindly ones and bloated ones. There are larger ones with heavy claws and armour and ones with disproportionately large heads. No doubt there are many other castes that are never encountered in the starport. Within the caste there is also some variation in shades, scaring from previous injuries though even Hook having now dealt with them for some time was often at a loss of which of the various porters was which. That said the porters themselves never seemed to mind that he called them all Ant.

The buzzing was translated into ‘follow’ and soon Hook and his people were surrounding on all sides by the bulbous headed drones. This was not just to prevent them getting lost but to prevent them being walked over or ripped limb from limb by some of the hulking monsters that seemed to lurch out of the darkness only to be intercepted by a drone before retreating back to their alcoves. The perpetual twilight was unnerving and maybe Jim had a point, Hook conceded to himself.

They arrived at presumably the throne room. This was about as far from what he imagined as it was possible to get. Instead of lofty ceilings, bright stained glass windows illuminating a regal figure seated on a throne, itself elevated on dais, the room was little more than gloomy cavern with a vast organic coiled mass at one end. This resolved itself into heaving mass of small scuttling hive clambering over the swollen mass of the queen, herself about the size of a small shuttle. From a position perched somewhere behind her head clung one of the bulbous headed drones. It seemed to be grafted in place. Hook swallowed nervously.
The translators hissed.

‘Her sight turns outward as sustenance diminishes.’ Damn, thought Hook, they are looking to start doing their own hauling. Need to nip this in the bud. He stepped forward to reply but was dropped to the ground. It took a moment to register what had happened, then the pain hit as he looked down at the mangled mess of his leg.

His squad of men reacted predictably, reaching for weapons and moving to surround Hook. This was probably the worst thing they could have done. Through his agony and the feet of the surrounding troops, Hook got only a partial look as the events unfolded. First the queen was swarmed by the scuttling creatures, covering her in living armour. The bulbous headed drones dropped to the ground as the warrior hive stormed forwards. He saw at least three of the drones crushed underfoot, their heads exploding as they were trampled. Weapon fire then added alien warriors to the corpses.

It was over in seconds or more likely Hook had passed out. Blood, puss, shell, flesh and bones along with bits of cloth were scattered everywhere while one of the drones was examining a severed hand, flexing the fingers in turn by pulling on the tendons. As he looked down at his leg, at least what remained of it and he saw that it had been clamped in a vice like grip of one of the warriors.
The voice from above the queen cut through the near silence of scuttling insects.
‘You are many? You are acceptable sustenance.’ Hook recognised his boot. It was being held to the vacuous orifice that was presumably the queen’s mouth. ‘The sustenance is superior to that previously provided. We have understood your means of moving between stars. Where will we go?’



There were billions of them and now with a taste for human flesh. Hook had never done anything noble in his life and had no intention of starting now. Despite the excruciating pain he managed to gasp out. ‘Take me to my ship, only I can get you the coordinates you need.’

‘You bastards,’ shouted Jim, having overseen the unfolding events through the helmet cams of the troops. Turning to the other crew he gave the order for activation of cloak and emergency lift off. When they stared at him in obvious confusion he added, ‘they’re all dead, all of them, now get us out of here.’

The fate of Hook is undocumented though Jim did indeed get both his mansion and servants, not to mention Hook’s share of the loot.

The FET and the empire at large got war leading to genocide of the hive on Fake.

As even something simple as taking an innocent step forward can lead to the death of millions - the moral of the story could be ‘when dealing with aliens, be very careful’ though personally I prefer ‘always install a ship cloak and don’t volunteer for away missions.’





 
News
Is open for business...
 
******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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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.

    The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.

    The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.

    DEN continue to strike at the Empire

    Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.

    AFT turn to piracy

    The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
    Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.

    The AFT remain silent over the attack.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Combat Special Edition

    Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.

    Felini strike back at Dewiek

    Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!

    GTT get sucked into the war

    A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

    Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules

    A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.

    The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.

    DOM make a choice

    After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.

    DOM positions share out

    Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.

    *** Affiliations ***


    AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
    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) - Urd
    DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
    FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
    FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
    FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
    FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
    GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
    GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
    GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
    HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
    IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
    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
    MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
    NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
    RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
    RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
    SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
    USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
    WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

    * Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
    ** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact

    NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS

    Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

    Deceased: CAL

    *** Submission ***

    By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

    Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

    No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

    In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****


    DEN continue to shoot innocents

    The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

    This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.
     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Return of the LiQuans

    A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.


     
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    ***** Inter Galactic News *****

    Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

    Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


     

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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