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Tate Falls

Tate Falls

'We can delay no longer,' announced admiral Secudus, causing all heads on the bridge of the command ship to turn in his direction. 'Order the ships to enter orbit. We assault Tate.'
Entry was smooth having picked a window that first brought the far edge of the continent into view. The realtime image of the landmass was suddenly overlaid by thousands of moving red images, each with forward lines indicating vectors. These jumped perceptibly as the image refreshed and the data on each red mark was updated. A few started to pulsate indicating lock-on and identifying them as missiles.
Before even the first made contact with the ship, some of the red images flared, having roughly lined up with indicators for other ships in the fleet. At this point the sudden release of emf during detonation caused large blurs across the screens and the previously largely predictable jumps in the locations of the missiles became almost random. Noise and ghost signatures made much of the strategic level information useless. The size of the objects in the viewer ramped up, zooming in to a much more localised and less noisy scale.
The crew, in their space suits worked oversized combat controls in the complete silence of the airless bridge, receiving commands and information through their headsets, webbed to their chairs and jacked in with shielded cables to their consoles.


The ship rocked violently as the thrusters engaged suddenly, a near useless attempt to shake off a salvo of missiles heading their way.
A ringing sound was felt rather than heard immediately after the impact. A section of deck plating ripped free and started a slow tumble across the bridge. Moving less than a metre a second and turning end over end it was easy to imagine that it could batted aside.
It sheared through the torso of the first crewman in its path without so much as slowing. A spray of arterial blood splashed across the forward set of consoles and started to boil in the rarefied atmosphere. The next crewmember in its path frantically hammered at her webbing attempting to free herself, only to have her head ripped off. The open channel filled with her cry a cry cut off almost instantly. A sudden shift in the direction of the ship meant that the third crewmember in line was saved as the plating continued on its original trajectory, slamming it into a bulkhead where it wedged.

As the colony of Tate filled the main screen, partially obscured by bloody smears and a mist of red vapour, the admiral ordered all ships in the fleet to commence bombardment. At first nothing seemed to happen, small flashes appeared amongst the buildings and open spaces that formed the colony but it looked otherwise untouched. As the battle drew on however small black trails started to appear and the red image overlays became fewer and more sporadic.
'I think we've done them Sir, should I order the fleet to cease bombardment?' asked the captain.
This was met with silence from the admiral.
The fleet continued to rain down on the colony.
Time passed.
'Sir, they haven't returned fire in some time, I doubt there is much in the way of ground ordnance still intact and all we are doing is grinding up the civilian quarter. Should I give the order to cease fire?' The captain's voice held a note of pleading.
'Captain Reynolds, what we do here will be written in stone and emblazoned on the hearts and minds of humanity forever. We do this now so that we never need to do it again. Continue the bombardment until I say so.'

By the end few were even looking at the view screen. Of Tate, nothing could be seen, replaced by a thick black cloud of smoke.

Finally the admiral ordered the stand down from battle stations. As air returned to the bridge, having earlier been evacuated to avoid risks of explosive decompression, he cracked the neck seal of his suit and removed the helmet. Ignoring the blood pooling at the corners of his eyes he marched to the central display, his magnetic boots barely making a sound in the still rarefied atmosphere.
Though talking to himself, his throat-mic picked up his speech, transferring it instantly to the crew, 'Where the hell are they? We were told they had sixty ships. If they are not coming to play cavalry, they are not coming at all.' He blinked hard and returned to staring at the monitor as though sheer will alone could reveal the enemy fleet. Eventually sound returned to the bridge the soft hum of electronics, the tense exhalation from crew that had sat attentive at various consoles for more than twenty-eight hours. As suits unsealed the steady hum of air conditioning increased, compensating for the raw smell of humanity. 'Find a clear space and put us and the transport ships carrying the Emperor's Elite down close to what's left of the royalists. I want to see this for myself.'


A few hours later, he received the call in his ready room, the troops had secured large areas of the colony remains, having found little in the way of resistance. Shunning battle suit he had opted for ceremonial dress, let them know that they had been truly defeated and no longer a threat. Hearts and minds - win them or break them - either way was fine as long as they knew who ruled.
'My God, we did this,' exclaimed the captain as he stepped up beside the admiral at the head of the cargo ramp. From their vantage point they looked over hundreds of buildings, all in ruins. Smoke still poured from many. Of the occupants there was little sign, a few corpses scattered across the broken landscape. The vast majority would no doubt have been within the buildings when they were destroyed. The admiral partially turned with little more than a grimace, a reminder to Reynolds to hold his tongue and his thoughts before marching out to meet the officer in charge of the ground forces.

'Show me the prisoners,' demanded Secudus of the officer. This was followed by a short walk along what was once a wide boulevard. Glass littered the sides and a few craters forced them to leave the open central area. A few smouldering stumps remained of the trees imported fully grown from Earth and planted by the Emperor himself a decade before. Eventually they reached the square by the harbour. Here hundreds, if not thousands of haggard and dirty people stood, surrounded by a few hundred troops wearing imperial battle suits and battle weathered Tatian Royalists. Of the latter, few were uninjured. If not for them, this war would have been lost long ago.
Mounting a small pile of rubble that provided a convenient podium Secudus waited patiently until the Tatians, noticing him finally turned their attention to him. Then he waited a little longer before finally making his address.


'People of Tate. The Emperor of the Stellar Empire has charged me with breaking the rebellion. This I have done. He has charged me with ensuring this never happens again. This I now do. One fifth of your population will be executed. Lots will be chosen for you at random. Nobody will be spared the selection process and nobody will be substituted.' At the sudden outcry he held up his hand until silence once again dominated the scene. He pointed at the front of the crowd and nodded to the attendent officer to the Emperor's Elite. At a transmitted order troops moved in, separating a handful of people who were herded to the foot of the makeshift podium. He looked down at the three men, a small child and mother cradling an crying infant. Smoothly drawing his gun he opened fire. The mother was first to die. The others followed, none making it more than five steps. The guarding troops raised their weapons, threateningly at the crowd.
'I am not a merciful man you will do well to remember this,' and then softly so that only those nearby could hear, 'Don't do it Reynolds, you will die here a traitor and I will see the rest of your family on Earth executed.'

Less than 20 years later the Empire ripped itself apart...



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


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.


 
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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."


 

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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