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Blog of the Week - A Perturbed Secretary

A perturbed secretary

Stardate 213.10.1
Onboard the mohache astral Speaks in Tongues, chief of his tribe


Speaks for Speaks was walking down a side artery, a small stack of documents in his hand and a worried frown on his face. He approached the sphincter leading to the interview chamber which opened as he drew near. He walked inside and with a soft creak it closed behind him.

The interview chamber was a spartan place, lit with a bioluminescent glow which was now increasing in intensity in response to his arrival. He sat himself down on one of the bone growths jutting out of the side wall of the chamber, and waited. This would usually take a few minutes. Leafing through the papers he had brought, his frown deepened.

It didn't take long before the opposite wall changed to a pale blue hue, an indication that Speaks in Tongues had "arrived" as it were. Now, of course, Chief Speaks could "be" anywhere in the ship, and communicate with the crew wherever they happened to be. But he had taken to insist on using the interview chamber after he had given himself over to introspection. Chief Speaks was in meditation now more often than not, and had left the day to day operations to the crew. These days he would only sometimes involve himself on matters of trade and of politics.


"You look worried, my friend," a voice filled the chamber. Not booming, but soft and friendly and everywhere. It was as if the very walls of the chamber were being used to generate the sound waves and, of course, that was exactly what was happening. The blue hue of the opposing wall undulated in tune with the voice, as if the Chief was somehow present and behind that wall. Or maybe inside it. A deliberate trick to simulate communicating with a nearby invidividual, Speaks knew. Some people, and many aliens in particular, were most uncomfortable with talking to the person they were actually inside and took very easily to pretending they were instead talking to some kind of bizarre living wall.

Speaks sighed. Yes, he was worried. It didn't happen a lot, but this was the perfect opportunity for it. "Hi Chief," he started, "how's life the universe and everything today?" – it was a common joke between them. Chief Speaks might be deep in contemplation on the secrets of existence but he hadn't lost his sense of humour. Speaks had taken to always starting their conversations like this, and it would sometimes lead to philosophical debate and what to himself were deep revelations. Not today though, today it was just a rote greeting and the Chief recognized it, "Not bad my friend, not bad at all, but tell me, what is on your mind?"

A brief pause to gather his thoughts, then Speaks pulled out one of the papers from the stack and waved it about as he spoke. "He, this, this Wylde character, he is … he is, … plowing alone." There was a certain lack of expressions in the mohache language for what Speaks thought about Wylde and what was going on and he struggled to find suitable phrases. He decided to just lay it out as it had happened. "Last week he gave orders to our freight fleets, orders I never saw, and which diverted them from what they should be doing and into the Coreward Arm, and he had them build a new starbase there, and just now he announced for all the Peripheries to see the opening of a new cut-price market out in Coptuv. He built a really big base there and all with what our freight brought in. I never knew about this, and, …" catching his breath, he was interrupted by Chief Speaks before he could continue.

"I see, he has been busy then, our Wylde?" the everywhere voice said. "Tell me, what does this market of his look like?"

Momentarily caught off guard, Speaks opened his mouth to say something but seemed lost for words. Then he leafed through the papers, found a few that were stapled together, and looked through them. "Eh, well, the usual stuff, Chief. Modules, defence bunkers, shields, some troops, … all very cheap too, not at all in line with our philosophy."

"Do you remember, my friend, when Wylde first came to us two years ago," the voice said, "his mind all set on guns and tanks, fang and claw? What do you think his market would have looked like then, had I allowed him to control it? Not defence bunkers and modules I can promise you that. No, what you tell me now inspires confidence in me, he has come a long way since then. He knows his limits this new Wylde, he knows how far he can stretch that rubber band and not have it break. And you are right of course, he does not share our philosophy. He is a greedy one, Wylde, a profit seeker not an educator. He is nothing like us at all and yet, look at the market he made. Do you not see some of us in it?"

This was a lot to digest for an already distraught Speaks. He put his papers down on a different bony protrusion that served as a small table. "… allowed him?" he finally blurted out. "Did you expect this to happen? Did you plan for it?" There was only silence in response. Speaks recognized this from previous talks with the Chief. It meant he had inadvertantly asked a rhetorical question, that the answer was already given and so obvious it need not be spoken out loud. Yes of course the Chief had planned for this, how else could it ever have happened or been allowed to happen? … but, but why? A quizzical expression on his face and his arms now hanging limp down his sides, he looked up at the blue wall not sure what to say.

After a pause just long enough to dispel the worst of Speaks's confusion, the Chief spoke again: "Our time is drawing to a close, my friend, you have known this for some time. You have not known exactly when, or how, it would happen, but you have seen the portents, indeed you have lived them. You saw me leave the Colmsera colony over to Smokes and you wondered why but you did not ask; and you yourself organized the pull-out from Borderland and still you did not ask why. You did not ask because in your soul you knew. I have learned all that I shall learn now, from the aliens. I have seen what I need to see, of the cosmos. What I must seek next, I must seek inside of my own mind and spirit not out there with the stars and the aliens."



Chief Speaks gave his secretary a few more moments to digest these words before he continued. "Our Wylde, we will let him get on with his little project. We have taught him what we can and while he will always be human he will also carry within him a small bit of ourselves. It is only a little thing perhaps, but I think it will be enough. Before long now he will gather the confidence that he needs with his Coreward business, and he will come to us with a bigger proposal. I look forward to that conference. And I look forward to the peace that will follow. Go now, my friend, and do keep an eye on him, but leave him be. He knows us well, he will not shame us."

Following this the blue light faded, leaving the wall blank and featureless. Speaks remained in the chamber for another hour gathering his thoughts before he left, the soft creak of the sphincter closing behind him, a small fat mohache wandering back down the access artery.

In the now darkened interview chamber an abandoned stack of papers was slowly dissolving into the wall; the living ship recycling discarded material.




 
News
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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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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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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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Yenni-bodies Pirates?

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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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Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

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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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”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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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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