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214
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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.’


 
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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

 

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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