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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.’





 
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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

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Bravo for Freedom ***

Naplian Forces have attacked three human pirate outposts in the Morroglyph system. A spokesperson for Naplia HQ told the press that the plucky duct-tape loving free people would continue their war against slavers and pirates in their home periphery.

One salty Naplian libertarian told the SSS, “The people of the Naplian Home Periphery are sick and tired of human criminals coming here just because their homeworld is an overcrowded hell. It’s time for them to go back home.”

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Igor of Fang and Horns * Admiral Loves Dick Turpin * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
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