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Samuel - First Stellar Caliph

Samuel - First Stellar Caliph
His new robes are a mixture of styles, blending traditional Brotherhood habit and the flowing light garments rapidly becoming fashionable as the masses adapted to the sweeping changes heralded by the formation of the Caliphate. His hood remains up, concealing most of his face. Despite recent surgery, the habit of concealing his face following his torture and disfigurement is proving harder to fix.

If he is uncomfortable on his throne of pillows he does not show it. The large chamber is carefully designed so that his immediate area is kept relatively cool while only a few metres away the temperature is a slightly higher, sufficient to cause some degree of discomfort at least to non-military. His personal guards standing in the many alcoves around the hall in their full battle-armour have their own internal environment controls.

As the orator drones on, occasionally trying to blink sweat back from his eyes and various dignitaries await to be introduced, Samuel recalls a very different meeting not so long ago.


"How is he?"
"Strong."
"And his mind?"
Silence.
Samuel was blessed with vastly superior hearing, something that early training in the cavernous halls of the Brotherhood taught him never to reveal. It had stood him in good stead over the years. The stranger was talking to his warden. He may go by the title estate manager or some such but Samuel was in no doubt as to his role, ensuring that he had no contact with anybody not on the accepted viewing list. He knew he was supposed to be dead. He had seen the media reports released by the Inner Brotherhood fanatics of Glory a decade ago. They showed his lifeless body at rest. They had pumped him with so many drugs that he was in a deep coma, blue lips and a slow pulse so weak as to be virtually undetectable. Even now his mind rebelled from recalling the endless days of torture both psychological and physical. He forced himself to look down at his fingers, as always surprised to see perfectly manicured nails and not suppurating stumps.

They said that they tortured him for more than eight months and for three reasons. First and foremost as punishment for his rejection of the Inner Brotherhood and their interpretation of the True Ones will; second, to have him step down as High Lord, Prophet of the True One and ruler of the Stellar Empire and third, to recognise Mark Eaton as Pope and representative of the True One in the material universe. He believed it was simpler than that. They tortured him because they wanted to as even after he was officially dead and they no longer needed either his confession or agreement to anything, the torture continued. He knew that behind those placid masks and despite their protestations that they were unhappily carrying out a necessary duty in the name of the True One, they always seemed so eager to hear him scream. By the end of a session, they were never disappointed. The nature of fanaticism is that it often justifies and even rationalises succumbing to base desires. He remembered the bloody fights on Sparta and how in revenge for stories heard third hand, his forces hacked down surrendering imperial troops and attacked convoys escorting civilians fleeing from the city. Did he court marshal them for war crimes? No, he promoted them. Viciousness, selfishness and self-righteousness, in essence the monsters of the id win wars.

Does he hate the Inner Brotherhood? It is a question he has asked himself time and time again. They raised him, taught him and made him the man his was. He admires them certainly and in his bleak moments wishes to rake out and murder every last one of them; from the highest cardinal, now posing as minor official in civilian government to the acolytes once dreaming of executing heretics and now working as lowly farmer hands. At others he simply doesnt care, individually even the worst have accounted for the deaths of dozens, maybe even hundreds. His rebellions cost the lives of millions no matter how justified it was AND IT WAS. He sighs. He understands fanaticism all too well even now after they have taken everything from him.

"High Lord?" the inflection at the end of lord catches his attention. How long had they been standing there? The one that had spoken had the air of somebody repeating himself. He looks up at the man, meets his gaze and holds it without blinking until the other sought to disengage with a bow. Clearly this was a man used to dealing with power, knowing the cusp between asserting it and arrogance.

"Mr Tweedale, could you be so kind as to call for tea, it seems I have an unexpected guest," he found himself saying. Today looked like it was going to be a rational day. He gestured to one of the settees by the window, watching the back of the stranger as he moved towards it before standing and joining him. The estate manager, his warden paused for a moment before retiring to seek the refreshments though Samuel was in no doubt that he was being left alone with this newcomer.

"A thousand apologies sire, it was rude of me intrude upon you uninvited but it is a matter of some urgency that only you can resolve." After saying this, the man sank back into the settee, relaxing and running his hand down his shining black beard. The gesture, like the oiled beard was an affectation belonging to a different era if Samuel was not mistaken. Here was a self-styled enigma. The statement, as intended was sufficiently phrased to both capture his interest while still avoiding the question of the strangers identity. Clearly this would only be revealed if Samuel's response was to his liking. He expected that if this scenario played out otherwise, the stranger would depart and the meeting would never have happened. He wondered how many similar meeting had occurred only to be obliterated in a nightly regimen of drugs ostensibly to hold back the nocturnal demons.



The seconds ticked away as Samuel digested the statement while viewing the grounds and the stranger surreptitiously watched him. Eventually he nodded, indicating the spring growth.

"It was a hard winter on this continent. We lost most of the northern wood. Those trees have stood since the early days of settling. They were originally from Earth. Everything has its season. Those that pulled through are even now putting out more shoots than I have seen in two decades. Sometimes a cruel frost is needed."

"I did not know that though I take your meaning. Yes indeed, the matter is one that should it come to pass will indeed be compared to a cruel frost by some. Afterwards I foresee green shoots of recovery and then, the True One willing it will flourish as never before. We are of course referring to the fate of the Confederacy."

"Has Spacewall sent you?" He already guessed the answer.

The tea was cold and untouched and the light failing before the stranger departed many hours later.

No drugs were administered that night or any night since. The demons were once again caged as Samuel dreamed of a new empire, not an empire, a caliphate, the True One willing.






 
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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
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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