***** Inter Galactic News *****
Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround
With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.
Cover art by Elana Light
*** In Brief ***
The FEL have made suitable grovelling noises whilst attending a funeral for their dead comrades held by the DEN, avoiding a further escalation of the one-sided conflict between the two affiliations. This prompted a paeon of whimsical nonsense by Halvor, the unaccomplished Dewiek lord who despite not likely being old enough to actually remember the famous Clans, was heard publicly comparing the doomed expedition by Pride Senior Pr'prz to the great feats of Mawet who made the entire Cluster tremble. Crikey, if that’s Halvor’s standard what will he do when facing a real opponent? Perhaps he will explode in an kamikaze-orgasmic ecstasy as this once ancient and proud species is reduced to a caricature of drunkards and trolls.
Another unwary traveller has been caught by the hazards of the Badlands system with the HEX requesting a rescue for their hapless crew. It’s long past time manufacturers made anti-hazard navigation a default option on newly built starships to avoid tragedies such as these. However, with the powerful Rock Hoppers Union lobbying heavily for the freedom to “kiss the rocks” as a sentient’s right, it seems we will be witnessing more unfortunate working class souls dying needlessly due to the clumsy efforts of an uncaring political class.
*** Special Transmission from the Halo Naplian Broadcasting ***
We show respect and gratitude for the fine work our collogues at the SSS provide the free galaxy. Free journalism is an indispensable service. Here is an interview with Yahn Wodenzoon you might find interesting for publication.
Host: Thanks for being with us, this is IND Halo Naplian Broadcasting's special contribution to the SSS. We show respect to all our naplian cousins. Today's guest is Yahn Wodenzoon. Let's start with the big news in free naplian circles: IND Venasporia (200), a 66 million+ naplian population that breaks its cultural isolation and joins the free naplian community. Is it all just political hype?
Yahn: I'm not surprised it's the big news in free naplian circles, to tell you the truth. With a large naplian population and their unique status as IND system, how can they not impact naplian culture. And the impact we will have on them, of course. The NeoNaplian melting pot is a cultural phenomenon the DNA has brought into Outer Naplia. Space Brat culture from the Transpiral predates it, and it has now come full circle back to the Transpiral. TransNaplianism is the term used to describe it. I see this more as a cultural development than political hype.
Host: That's interesting and all, but way too Socio-Anthro-Bla-Bla. Isn't the DTR already there trying to assimilate the system? Give it to us straight.
Yahn: Oh, i thought we weren't going to mention their name but say an unidentified powerful aff, we just talked about this before the show?!?!
Host: Ah, we're not your StudioZ. Discerning naplians want to know, what is really going on over there?
Yahn: Yes, they are in fact over there trying to assimilate the system, but it's not as bad as it sounds. It is the nature of the Republic to export its tea and biscuit culture, of course, so this should be no surprise. The Senate is still discussing things, so maybe we'll have some news next year this time. Still, the local base commander of the DTR starbase, and the Senator responsible, have assured me the DTR will respect the local government's decision to remain independent if that is what they wish. I personally know the Senator involved, and can vouch for his character. He is an honourable man and i trust him at his word. The DTR have historically been extremely possessive of the Transpiral, but it is an actual fact that there are non DTR communities in the Transpiral. There are GRC and the WMB homeworlds, and there are systems claimed by DEN and IMP. And there is the naplian civilisation of IND Venasporia. In the southern Transpiral there is already a lot of inter-aff cooperation. The DNA is involved in a number of projects, we hope the DTR will be productive partners too.
Host: We would have loved to see the look on Lady Sylvansight's face when she heard the news in the Senate. It was her faction that drove you out of the Republic, any hard feelings?
Yahn: No, not from my side, anyway. There are a number of factions in the DTR Senate, and i think level heads will prevail. They are also bound by their Constitution, of course. I just don't think they really understand the independent mindset, is all. If they manage to institute a consumer culture, i think they might be able to buy enough of the people's votes with affluence. Still, if the TransNaplian phenomenon grows, they may well be fighting a lost cause. The locals showed being impressed by the DTR's magic umbrella that protects the planet, but had no problem authorising permits for us and the partners we are bringing in to get access for our hiports or ships. If there is a problem to just come talk to them, they say. We are talking with a couple of FRE companies, and already have lined up two IND investors that are on board.
Host: It's always time to make a little plug for IND, i agree. Halo Naplian Broadcasting being an INDependent news outlet from Mei Mei Mei, and all. Let's move on to something else. You mentioned the absence of the Viceroy.
Yahn: Yes, we haven't heard talking about this at all. Am i the only one that shows surprise? Am i the only one that noticed? He has not made a public statement in a long time. Nobody from the empire is returning my inquiries. Viceroy Crowe was investigating the Hidden Master of the NLF's claims of irregular recruiting practices. We have such nice terms to describe things in politics, yes? All these thing happen around the time when the old guard seems to be regaining key positions of power within the empire. It's very troubling. Did we just witness a silent coup? I'm currently involved with some trade union negotiations with the CIA, so i asked my friend Laton about it. Even he couldn't comment. I really don't know what to make of it, but i fear for Crowe's life.
Host: Are the Naplian Peace Treaty talks officially dead? Will we be seeing the return of the NLF?
Yahn: The return of the NLF, i don't think so. I don't think we have come to that point. Let's hope we don't get to that point. Still, the empire is definitively giving off the image that it cares little for naplian concerns. Fears are that they want to maintain the segregation between imperial naplians and free naplians. People are worried about naplians being treated as second rate citizens. Many were genuinely interested in seeing the Vicreoy's report. Being a naplian yourself, you may know this better than most. It is not unusual in a family to have cousins in DNA, NLF, IMP, and KAS, HBO or even others. We had hoped to have more access to naplian populations in the empire, but we have not been able to make much headway. I think it is safe to say that the grand Naplian Peace is dead, unfortunately. We may still come up with a naplian bandaid solution, but these involve private discussions with trade unions, and i can't say more at this point. There seems to be little the DNA can do for naplians in the human empire aside from that, unfortunately.
*** Featured Blogs ***
Lyceum the Outdweller's Blog - The Dead of Winter
The Felini Tyrant sent heralds to the Dewiek High Council asking for a truce to retrieve and bury their dead in accordance with ancient customs. In this way, accordingly, a fragile peace was formed.
Lord Halvor soon arrived at Crossley and offered funds from his plunder to celebrate the victory. A feast for the dead enemies and ale enough to refresh the gullets of the Wolf Lords that had joined the successful hunt.
The ceremonial Felini funeral scows inched their way cautiously into Darkspace and arrived at the scene of the slaughter.
Fifty ships from Halvor's heavy squadron deliberately reformed their battle line in front of the sleepily drifting, destroyed Felini hulks as a mark of respect. More than a few nervous glances were exchanged by the scow's crews as they hurriedly carried out the ghoulish task of searching the dead ships and debris for their butchered comrades.
A routine scan picked up faint distress signals of living Felini still scattered among the debris. A cold shudder went through their fur and an SOS message was sent to FEL starbase Arrakeen in Skye.
"Let's just get the job done and get back to base in one piece. There's nothing more we can do for them now. Hopefully some of them will make it."
"It is done," said a heavy-hearted Avatar Chamiah.
With regret she signed the papers that would surely result in the death of a promising Felini leader. Yet signing them would avoid an unwanted and needless war and protect the futures of the Felini populations in Corewards, still recovering from years of Flagritz skirmishes and slave raids.
"I will take you to Crossley myself Pr'prz. This is a noble sacrifice."
"I will speak on your behalf as a fellow Avatar of the Felini and as Fleet Exarch. It has been some time, but I have fought alongside the Dewiek and gained their respect to a degree. My word has some weight, I am told."
"You will not be alone. But this may be your final night alive. You understand that and have made the necessary preparations?"
"What you did in Crossley was rash, but in the end you sacrificed your own ships and refusing the offers of help, which would have dragged the Felini fleets into the battle.
"You stopped the rapid escalation of a dire situation into a full-blown war by keeping a cool head and accepting responsibility with humility."
"Pr'prz, you have redeemed yourself a hundredfold. You have grown. What you have learnt from this cannot be taught.“
Old Halvor thought he had seen it all by now. But even he had been surprised, and even impressed, to see the enemy ships fight such a bloody rear-guard action over three brutal days of one-sided battle. What was this new feeling he had towards the Felini?
Ha. They had fought bravely enough. Met him head on in Winter system. Died with honour. They had not run from the carnage. All had died without complaint. Without begging for mercy.
He shook his heavy mane in confusion and sniffed his ale suspiciously.
"The captured crew and Felini offices are to be released and will be the guests of honour at the feast. We will see if their drinking is as reckless as their fighting and dying! Let the ale flow as their blood did. Skol!"
Wild celebrations, bloody inter-pack fighting and deafening, carnal howls greeted the Felini as they undocked. It was a short walk to the intimidating, palatial drinking hall of Lord Halvor and they were greeted and escorted by a dishevelled honour guard, impatient to re-join the revelry.
Spooked by the eerie silence in Dewiek space lanes as they had approached, Pr'prz braced himself for instant evisceration by Halvor. However, as he waited increasingly nervously at the periphery of the party, hours passed and nothing happened. Just the occasional song about Halvor, or a whisper that the system lord had injured another of his senior officers during drunken fighting.
But no trial by combat. No meeting of councils. No proclamations that Pr'prz's holdings in system had been forfeited, or confirmations that they would be destroyed. Nothing. Just drunken chaos, blood injuries and torturous waiting.
Avatar Chamiah soon slipped away, embracing the lavish hospitality on offer, being sure not to offend her hosts and hoping to discover the lay of the land.
As morning dawned the breakfast feast began, which simply resulting in more ale being wheeled in and more fresh, bloody meat being slapped into laps.
"You can keep everything Pr'prz," a dazed Chaimah said as she grabbed the Avatar, who had been diligently helping to patch up a few horrendously wounded - and drunk - Dewiek crew. "Let's go. Quickly. Bring that medipack for my head."
"I've not seen Halvor," she explained as they ran to the ship docks. "No one knows where he is and no one was brave enough to risk waking him by banging on any doors, despite my requests. 'He is not a morning Dewiek', they said."
"But word was passed to me that he likes you well enough. You are free to go. He will take you hunting and drinking sometime. No choice in that."
"You can keep the base in his system though. It won't be destroyed. There are no demands for it to be handed over any longer. He will arrange the fine details at a later date. Or someone will anyway, but that's it. Resolved."
"The Dewiek lord likes you I think. Because your ships didn't run, I believe. Met him head on. Haha you really are screwed now Pr'prz - you are friends with old Halvor it would seem."
Kr'Shan's Blog - Enlightenment
We have spent many months travelling across the vast wastelands of what was once a lush and beautiful hunting ground. We had hoped to find more villagers available to share stories with as well as spread the word of the All Mother, but the scarcity of food and clean water caused many to migrate to extremely remote locations.
Efforts to recruit our people to the cause of the All Mother have not gone as well as expected, perhaps it is a test of our resolve. May the Benevolent Spirit keep us strong and guide us on our path.
Our journey did have some positive experiences; a few localized areas have undergone terraforming efforts that have done much to restore the land and some of the flora, if only we could restore the many creatures that once prowled our world.
We also met a very ambitious and faithful young Felini known as Kanzirr. He has expressed great interest in hearing and learning more about the All Mother, pledging himself to our cause and agreeing to join us for the remainder of our journey. Perhaps he shall become a new Champion of the Faithful, by the grace of the All Mother and Benevolent Spirit.
We spend many more months travelling across the lands, collecting stories and sharing the All Mother’s blessings with those we meet. Kanzirr has shown himself to be a true believer and great inspiration to those we have met, with his assistance our following has grown greatly among the younger Felini. Talk of forming a new Pride Elamite has grown momentum during the last few weeks lead by the more head strong of the youthful Felini.
With only a few days until returning to the prearranged rendezvous point we realized our pilgrimage was drawing to a close. We had done much to share the teachings of the All Mother with Kanzirr and he has done well in his efforts to help spread her wisdom.
The shadowy figures, that have been with us since the beginning, have been growing in numbers as each day passed. On the final leg of our travels one of them had finally been embolden enough to approach us directly. A confident young warrior, adorned with the markings of ancient Felini warriors, strode proudly yet reverently towards our group.
With claws unsheathed and paws crossed in the traditional ancient warrior sign of respect, the young warrior looked us in the eyes, “Greetings Patriarch Kr’Shan. We have been watching as you spread the teachings of our beloved All Mother and recruiting the most promising young Felini from each village you visited. Each of us has sworn an oath to defend you as your personal guardians. Guide us as you will.”
Yahn Wodenzoon's Blog - Treatise on Naplians and Neo-Naplians
Many of you are aware of the history book definition we have learned in school:
Originally, the DNA was a collective for a group of natives or alien sentient species spread across the entire regions of space.
Naplian and native populations, of course, have been spread out over large parts of the galaxy. They live under different aff system claims and are more or less integrated in their host aff. Some are fully integrated communities, some are second rate citizens in ghettos. Naplian is essentially nothing more than a catchy term to say: hominid sentient of a non dominant race, A cultural trait that these diverse native and naplian populations have in common is that they had come in contact with vastly superior peoples with space-faring technology at a very early stage of their development.
The diversity of these traditional communities is important to stress. Any naplian population that finds itself within the borders of a large well established aff will be heavily influenced by it. Historically, there has been no single unified naplian identity. It was a creole type identity that grew out of necessity.
Rather than expound on how these communities were affected by those affs, though, i would like to focus on what we call the free naplians.
Many people are aware of the controversial NLF, i would assume. The Naplian Liberation Front that has had a long history of resistance against the human empire. In imperial circles they are deemed a terrorist organisation. By their own accounts they are freedom fighters. Here at the DNA we show respect to our naplian cousins even though we don't approve of their methods. We provide peaceful diplomatic solutions and options for free naplian and neo-naplian peoples ourselves.
Before i get into neo-naplianism, though, i should mention the last major faction of the free naplians: IND Venasporia (200). We are extremely pleased to be working with them to develop their independent system.
Neo-Naplians. Now here we get into a more homogeneous culture, sort of. Anyone can be a neo-naplian. I'm a neo-naplian human myself (i also consider myself an alien human, but that is a discussion for another time).
The Neo-Naplian culture was pre-dated by a fringe cultural phenomenon referred to as Space Brat culture. On the freighters and far away outposts in the dark peripheries, away from the large cultural centres, small groups of different sentient species were assigned to work together. The first cultural bond was the ship or outpost, species and aff flag were abstract concepts to the youngsters that grew up in this environment. It all started with the kids of people of different species to create a bond that would prove enduring. These brats got involved in political action, like the Free Falconia rallies, Peace Parties, and the DPP political movement.
It is fitting that the Space Brat culture that came out of the Transpiral is now returning to support the naplians of Venaspria. There is a sense of having come full circle, and a cultural uplifting is taking place. Neo-Naplianism.
The neo-naplian community at Naplia Junction in Aladdin is very different from the one at Lothario's Palace in Yank, or those of Mei Mei Mei for instance. What neo-naplianism has in common is that that they are culturally blended communities. They are métis, in a sense. What were once primitive pre-spacefaring peoples, they have now learned and adapted to modern technology. Coupled with that is a spiritual revival. Shamanism, the idea of local Shinto spirits, there is a blending of the spiritual and material. In that sense it is a revival of the native ways and values. These are some generalisations we can make.
There are numerous plant shrines, even tiny little bonsai plants stuck in a cubbyhole in the bulkhead of a small ship. They are loved and revered by many. There is a sense of the revival of archaic cultural traits and styles, and a penchant for steampunk décor in the more international parts of the culture. Neo-Naplian style, the mixing culture. The individual sub cultures and styles are unique one from the other. Everything depends on the makeup of the local community. There is a strong sense of local community and personal freedoms. Going Local is a concept deep ingrained in both naplian and neo-naplian cultures.
Elisa Purr's Blog - The early days of a new captain
“Incoming communication Ms Purr” crackled the speakers in the cockpit, breaking the silence and rousing the captain from her slumber. The last few days had been quiet. Too quiet for her liking. While it was nice to finally have her own ship, it had given her far too much spare time running these simple missions. She needed more excitement to keep her sharp and alert. Her tail twitched in anticipation. She needed a fresh hunt, a new challenge.
The screen activated, throwing a blaze of light across the dimly lit cockpit. A brief conversation followed. This unsettling period of calm had at least given Elisa time to locate the relevant parties in control of some powerful factions. Sooner or later she would have to choose her path.
She could feel that decision approaching.
Born a Felini, her early life had soon become complicated. Since it had happened at a young age, the memories of the attack were clouded and distant. One fact was clear, though, the attack had left her separated from her pride and her culture. Alone. She’d survived by stowing away on a salvage ship clearing the wreckage. A ragged mix of individuals living on the edges of the galactic community. They’d taken her in and she’d grown into an adult with them. It was not a traditional upbringing, but it had given her an unusual set of skills and a desire to succeed.
Elisa Purr. Not a typical name for a Felini. She smiled as this thought flashed through her mind. Her adopted name given by the salvage hunters. They struggled to vocalize her true name which was now lost to her. Too many years had passed. Too many adventures. Too much pain and blood. Truth is she was fond of her adopted name, and it was all she knew now. While her upbringing had been rough and often violent, it had made her who she was.
She cleared her mind. Time to meet these ship owners and see how much an upgrade was going to cost her. She punched the coordinates into the navigation panel.
Elisa strode out into the sunlight from the transport terminal, her eyes instantly adjusting to the harsh light. She stopped and surveyed the storage yard. A selection of Yanks used and ageing freighters. Clearly some of them hadn't moved for some time. Always good to start negotiations from a strong position. The ship traders instantly recognized and moved to welcome her.
Standing there she was quite a sight, a tall and muscular Felini female in her prime, covered in short fur with an intricate pattern. The humans she’d encountered had spoken of how attractive her fur was, almost identical to the ancient leopards of earth. Her preference had long been for a pair of shorts and a sleeveless crop top that barely covered her breasts and left her midriff exposed. In public she hardly wore anything else. She was proud of her body, her markings. And it showed. One thing Elisa didn't lack was confidence.
“Ms Purr, we’ve been expecting you” the closest trader smiled. They knew her credit was good. She had a feeling today was a good day. Her hunter senses tingled, a subtle snarl played across her lips exposing her canines. Not the type of hunt she preferred, but still one that would provide satisfaction short term.
Several hours later and the deal was done. Ms Purr’s fleet now comprised three Caravels for cargo, a Broadsword for salvage duties and two smaller craft. All of them well used but serviceable. It was time to head to the local bar and meet her new captains. Humans. She'd soon lick them into shape, one way or another. Sometimes more than a lick was needed. All the more fun.
*** Game News ***
Darak has been busy making lots of small changes to the Nexus to the delight of all. Some details here.
*** Affiliations ***
AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - Yahn Wodenzoon
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Aadolf
DOM Dominion (57) - bcd
ERC Eldar Rawk Conclave (83) - RAO
FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Crius Grimtail
FEA Felini Elamite Autonomy (60) - Kr'Shan
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Mrrshan
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) - Tiberius Crowe
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
RCF The Red Confederate Forces - ???
RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oedipus Prime
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz
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, SKW, TAG
*** Submission ***
By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous. Longer pieces or attachments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org