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

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


 
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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,

And so with the news,
 
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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,
 

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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).
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