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Story - Colonisation

Colonisation

Captain Jeremiah Philips took a step closer to the edge of the cliff to better survey valley below. A gentle sea breeze ruffled his hair. Unconsciously he cast a dramatic pose as the glorious late afternoon sun illuminated his face. He had the look of a visionary. Already he had mapped out in his mind’s eye the main road, light industrial zone and primary terminal. With expansion the terminal would have to quickly evolve into a local hub so as not to spoil the scenery and the main urban precinct up the slope. The forests would have to be removed in a few places though the timber would be useful and be the first resource exploited by the industry. Agriculture would presumably be primarily hill grazers though he had to admit to himself he didn’t really understand how agriculture actually worked. He dismissed the thought, leaving it to the populace to sort out for themselves. Colonists invariably brought their own stuff at least this is what he was led to believe. This place had it all. All he had to do now that he had found the perfect world and location was to think of a name. Philip’s Town? Phil Town? Jeremiah’s Landing? Now that had a ring to it.


As he strolled back down from the cliff along a natural cutting he was pleased to see that the team were already at work unpacking the tender, a far cry from the disorganised rabble that set out on to explore this arm of the Corewards’ Periphery more than three months ago. The tender, the ship’s ubiquitous all-terrain transport vehicle was looking a little worse for wear. Maintenance was overdue and they were down to their last tender following the less than impressive exploration of the volcanoes on the inner moon of the system’s only gas giant. He had put a request in to abort further exploration and return for the much needed patch up which would also include a few more vehicles. The crew were also grumbling about needed down time. The request was denied by the board. They wanted this world checked out first – thoroughly as this looked the most promising to date for the corporation’s deep space expansion. Talk was most definitely fixed on colonisation rather than exploiting one of the worlds populated by sentients native to this region of space. His contact indicated that the board was not impressed by the restrictions that were being levied on starbases, specifically their anti-monopoly policy. It seemed that this mission was time critical as a few allies were also checking out this region of space. It was policy amongst allies never to claim jump so ousting an ally from a garden world was never going to happen. Worse, allies were even expected to go to the aid of threatened outposts and starbases, though in practice this rarely happened as the fighting was invariably long over before the cavalry arrived and their job was smear the remains into the landscape. So the unwritten rule was to get in first, plant a flag and politely request that allies piss off and find somewhere else. This was seen as preferable to sending in mercs to hassle allies at a later date.

The first step in assaying the world for colonisation potential started a fortnight ago and was initially planned to include a full GPI analysis but the arrival of no less than three allied surveyors a few days ago put paid to this. The sector with the best metals deposit was chosen. The modules were quickly organised and over the course of a couple of days the automated assembly boosted a low orbital line and tethered it. There was nothing like a hiport to declare intent. It didn’t take long for the survey ships to get the hint. Now it was just a case of justifying the expense of the hiport not that he was concerned about such fiscal matters; that was an issue for those above his pay grade. Philips had heard the rumours about the bill for the last post AGM dinner. Board members squandered more stellars in an afternoon than his entire crew could blow at the finest recreation complex in a week.

While the orbital scans had indicated that this was a reasonable world though the air was a little on the thin side, it had large land masses in both hemispheres and better still vast open areas of grasslands. That was all well and good but before a true picture of the world could be established some ground surveying was needed. If there was to be a starbase on this world, then it was reasonable to expect that the governor would also want to capitalise on exports. Philips had considered forming a few ground parties and dropping them off at various locations around the world but with troops now stationed at the base and the ship due maintenance, he didn’t favour the prospect of repeated orbital jaunts while skipping between continents would take too much time. The plan was therefore to concentrate on the grasslands close to the base while the base started an audit of the world for colonisation potential.

By the time he arrived back in the makeshift camp Gavid, his second had already sent a dozen crewmembers out to various promising looking patches of flora for sampling. Saluting was not done though it was a habit Gavid had been unable to shake off. Philips wondered if it was coded into his psyche.

‘Sir,’ Gavid said, saluting smartly and added, ‘Bloody insects. This valley is teaming with them. No wonder we haven’t seen any larger fauna. I have sent Chol-hallan into the worst area down by the river. He says that his exoskeleton makes him impervious to the little blood suckers though he was licking his mandibles in anticipation. ’

Philips nodded his understanding. Hive made him uneasy and dining with them was a distinctly unpleasant experience though they had their uses. People didn’t seem overly concerned when a hive was killed in action. Everything seemingly under control, he nodded at Gavid to carry on.

Over the next day the exploration teams pulled in superficial data. Herds of fauna existed though were further inland and away from the slower running waterways, the haunt of the fearsome insects. Even Chol-hallan had taken to wearing a suit following irritation to his antenna. Nobody was without welts and swellings as they went through their arsenal of repellents until they found what worked. That in itself was valuable if this was going to be colonised. The draft report would definitely also include recommendations to dredge the river, establish artificial banks and replace the local flora throughout the colony with off-world variants that were incompatible with native insect fauna.

Three weeks later and they were on their way back to Yank and a much deserved break. It would be six months before Philips stood in the same spot on the cliff looking down on the valley. So much had changed.
‘Jeremiah’s Shitter!’ Captain Philips looked distinctly unhappy.

‘It’s not its official name, sir,’ Gavid was nothing if not pedantic, ‘I believe that after the first flood it was referred to Jeremiah’s Swamp, then Jeremiah’s Bog and finally some locals started calling it Jeremiah’s Shitter and the name sort of stuck.’

‘But they didn’t follow any of the advice laid out in the report. They have built most of the housing on stilts to save the expense of dredging and they haven’t even bothered supplanting the local flora. Whose idea was it to rely on agricultural implements to mow the local flora down? The only off-world flora incompatible with native insects is to be found in the governor’s grounds. ‘

‘They say that the colony was established in a flood plain. The whole area was under a metre of water for weeks. Apparently the dredging was scheduled for stage two.


’That said, with that really good goldilocks world Captain Reynolds discovered a few weeks back it wouldn’t surprise me if they dump this world. Maybe sell it to Garcia Enterprises as a going concern, though I suspect that they will probably just write it off. Even the minerals on this world are pretty feeble compared to Reynold’s Glory as they are now calling Estibod IV.’ Empathy was not a strong point with Gavid.

‘And have you seen the colonists,’ Philips continued, seemingly oblivious to Gavid’s comments, ‘ I was led to believe that these would be highly educated and skilled people from the Inner Empire. These are scum. Half of them are naplians. I swear somebody was trying to sell us parts from our own ship.’ Captain Philips stopped and turned to Gavid. ‘Reynold’s Glory, Reynold’s buggering, bastard Glory?’

‘It appears that he has also been nominated for the Explorer of Excellence award. Wasn’t he one of your crew?’

Captain Philips sighed as the sun sank down silhouetting him. Shoulders slumped his was a pose far from dramatic. Not that anybody in the colony would have seen. Light smoke from the standard industrial modules not designed for the thin atmosphere clung to the settlement, obscuring small details such as the founder of Jeremiah’s Shitter.

‘Come on let’s see if the crew have loaded up the consignment. I never want to come here again.’


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

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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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."


 
******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,

And so with the news,
 
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As part of the update outlined in the 7th February post, turn fees have been increased as from today.

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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