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214
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Down at the Resource Complex

Down at the special resource complex
‘What’s that smell?’
‘Dunno, dewiek?’
‘How would you know, you’ve never even seen a dewiek.’
‘True, but then I have never smelt anything like that either.’
‘It’s Trexonian beetle flange,’ this from the new arrival, just pulling a tray from the receptacle at the start of the buffet line.
The two women turned and stared at the man evaluating his comment. Was he serious, trying to be funny or did he have another agenda. They glanced at each other with a look sufficient to encourage one to take the bait, if that was indeed what it was.
‘Your cologne or the food being served?’ said in a not quite flirty but also not quite dismissive tone.

He got the message, more details or piss off.

‘I work down at the planetary specialist resource extraction facilities of the base. There was a rupture in one of the incoming pods that flooded the bay area with Trexonian beetles. They emit a rather strong smelling sebaceous fluid from a rim of their carapaces that the locals call the flange.’ They stared. ‘I have showered and scrubbed half a dozen times. The smell is lingering but they say it will go in a day or so. Did I say I was new here? I think it may be a newboy prank they pull.’ He smiled weakly. ‘The names James,’ he finished, proffering a hand in a friendly manner.


The two women looked at the hand but neither ventured to reach for it, leaving it hanging awkwardly between them until the new guy returned it to holding the other side of his tray.

‘Say, you two ever drank raw beconisian nectar?’ Clearly from their faces they hadn’t, ‘It is something found in the stomach crop from the Trexonian beetle. There’s nowhere near enough to exploit commercially so we pass around amongst ourselves rather than report it. You know full well if we did them upstairs would simply requisition its extraction and keep it for themselves. Same thing would happen if we got caught trying to smuggle it out of the section.’ As though a sudden thought had occurred, he continued, ‘You should visit us down there, my section is Delta 2, trust me, you won’t regret it.’
‘If it tastes as bad as you smell, you can keep it.’ Not the most polite rebuff.
‘Let’s just say you would put up with smelling like this for a week just for a glass.’

They were now listening. That’s the thing about working at a starbase, exotics pass though the port on a daily basis either destined for distant worlds or from distant worlds destined for the insatiable civilian markets. No matter which direction they were headed, mark-ups meant that personnel could never afford them, even if they hung around gathering dust in great warehouses for years. The chance at something that was slipping under commerce control was not to be ignored. Further, as it was not a registered resource at worst they might pull some shitty shifts for being out of their designated zones. Finally, like most base, boredom amongst personnel was prevalent.

It was more than a week before Tersi and Issa found their way down to Delta 2 section. James had eventually scrubbed up clean after a couple of days and chattiness aside proved to be not a bad’un. He had come in a few weeks back, transfer from somewhere in Halo, though even he wasn’t certain. It rained a lot and the base was most staffed by humans, which pretty much qualifies for most starbases the Peripheries over.
James seemed inclined to make more of this than was first intimated; something to do with it not just being his secret stash. Anyway, the lads down at Delta 2 were willing to indulge a little female company around a bottle or so of beconisian nectar so arrangements had been made. They already had clearance for similar security level sections and so had pulled a few favours amongst the troops assigned to the wing. This would buy them a few three hours, more than enough time for a couple of swift drinks and a break in the monotony.

‘Caves,’ stated James cryptically when he met them in a large bay area consisting of slick plastic and steel. Standard fifteen metre pods were stacked along two walls while various automated machines carried them from one side into what was presumably a sanitizer and collected then stacked them at the other. When they stared blankly and waited for his usual effusive expansion he simply turned and walked over to a large outlined ground plate until they joined him inside the line. As the twenty by twenty metre plate dropped away they were carried down through a much bigger chamber below. ‘The pods arrive in one of the adjacent bays and are unpacked after screening and the usual security stuff then cleaned for re-use as you have just seen. What few realise though is that part of this section of the base is above the defensive cave system. Not a big part, not even used, just foam insulated.’ By this time they had descended around sixty metres. Apart from the irregular shape of the room, betraying its natural origin, the cave was like the vast majority of the base, covered in off-white and badly stained plastic insulating foam. The ground had for the most part been levelled except at one end where it rose irregularly to meet the ceiling. More pods were scattered around in various states of repair. Despite the constant whir of air recycling, there was a background smell they had encountered in the refectory.

Suddenly James disappeared having scaled up the irregular floor at the end of the cave. He was there a second ago then gone but as they took another step forward they realised that in the bright lights and lack of definition to the walls, they had completely missed an outcrop behind which James had stepped. Here they found a narrow opening and could hear voices, James amongst them. As Issa and Tersi entered they were warmly greeted by around a dozen people, mostly male and all human. As their eyes adjusted to lower light levels they made out various vats, crates and packages. How some of these were made to fit through the narrow opening was a mystery.



Introductions continued as the two sides weighed up the potential of these new contacts. That both Terri and Issa worked primarily in basic production may well have encouraged James to seek their friendship. Those on basic production are always popular. The ability to run cadcam protocols to fill in gaps in the manufacturing itinerary is a clear winner for anybody wanting to some personnel gear. Replacement parts at short notice can be the difference between knocking off early and pulling a double shift. Then there are requests for a few personal bits and pieces such as small stills and micro-refineries such as those littering the tables. This may well be the reason that production and resource sections are invariably at opposite ends of the starbase and if administration had any say, never the twain should meet.
Less than a month later James, Tersi and quite a few others found themselves transferred to new sections. Their contracts were also flagged for the next personnel relocation. It was also intimated that they would be freezing their asses off on some distant asteroid where the sun was no brighter than a star.

The ‘boiler room’ was stripped and new ‘loyal’ personnel were assigned to Trexonian beetle processing under Issa. This was the same Issa who had not only been promoted from manufacturing but was rumoured to be very close to the under-chief administrator. Consensus is that it had a lot of do with her being spotted naked and intoxicated around the admin section just prior to reallocation of personnel. Nobody however calls her the under-under-chief.

If you ever have the privilege to be called to the under-chief administrator’s office you may see a curious decanter on his drinks cabinet and if you’re especially lucky you may get a sip of something rather unusual, something that stellars simply cannot buy.





 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** 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

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

.What is It?
..a wOrmhOle?.
…No.. worse..
….the KANG singularity!…
…..It pulls us IN…..
……lOOks sO familiar……
…….yet so strange…….
……..what is……..
………that?……..

*** Flagritz Liberalise Economy ***

In good news for all the galaxy the Flagritzi have vowed to liberate all slaves across their Empire. Furthermore, the hectapods have given up eating other sentient species; taking up a strict diet of veganism and soy chai lattes. Sales of turtle neck sweaters and Forbidden Fruit laptops have skyrocketed.

The news was cautiously welcomed by the benevolent Felini Tyranny who looked forward to reducing the War phase of their daily Nap-Lick-Nap-War-Nap-Eat-Sleep cycle to a perfunctory forty winks.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Baron Womble * A Short History of the DPP * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Empire Strikes: Solo ***

A massive fleet of some 1600 warships, including large numbers of super-heavy capital 300 and 400 hullers, attacked the DEN in the Solo system, catching them with their metaphorical pants down. The DEN gate platform and some two hundred DEN freighters were subject to antimatter missiles amongst other high tech ordinance.

Jack the lad, Viceroy of the Empire, claimed a victory for freedom and the Imperial (right of) way leaving the sullen Dewiek unusually unresponsive.

With DOM platforms firing on CIA ships, will the IMP now demand the DOM add them to the Do Not Fire lists as well? And what exactly is the nature of the DOM and DEN alliance in light of the sustained attack from the Empire? And will the DEN’s alien friends stand idly by as the Empire fleet camps in the vital gate system of Solo? How will the DEN retaliate for this action or are they ready to roll over and have their bellies rubbed?

All this remains unknown. All that is certain is the “feel good” factor across the DTR has increased, with citizens reassured that for some time yet, they may continue in their slumber with the easy assurance that their number is not coming up anytime soon.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * New BHD Guy * DOM Statement * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** To Ur Is Dewiek ***

Dewiek forces had a hefty smackdown against the mysterious living ships known as the T’Cath (TCA). Seven adult TCA 400 hull capital ships, each firing eight of their notorious plasma cannons, were killed by a DEN and DOM fleet of some 700 ships.

Of the minimal losses suffered by the DEN / DOM, one-eyed Magnus and Nevets Motnhap of the FEL were amongst the dead.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Caribbean Congo Continues * Ur Witness Report * * Hive Briefing * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** The Long Quiet Season ***

Listen…
There’s no sound of anger or of annoyance,
There’re neither cruisers racing on the jump lanes
Nor there jump lanes for them to race on,
There’re neither monks chanting on the battlegrounds
Nor bells calling us to the True One.
There’s neither the lightning cracking of the sky
Nor the persistent Naplians pattering on my roof.
There’s no Dewiek arm in arm to admire the magnificent view
There’re no war drums to feed Human ears
Nor Hive sirens to steal the boredom away
There’s no unfamiliar wing creeping underneath the Falconian sun
Nor floods to enshroud the Aquaphid grounds
The land lies lonely out here
On this lazy summer’s day
There’s no pollution to poison the airs of Inversion
Nor forests to give them life
All I hear is the hushing sound of the wind
Assisting the sand to fall into beautiful undulations.

Whilst we’ve been away: * Operation Giantslayer * Naplian Liberation * Back in the DTTR * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

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