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214
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Story - Arridian Spur

Arridian Spur

Deep in the inner offices of EEM Balmoral two executives meet for a very private meeting.

‘What’s with the dermal wear? Anything to do with getting a new secretary?’
‘Humph. I don’t want to talk about it.’
‘I warned you about felini, brush her up the wrong way?’
‘Just drop it, ok? We have a deal to broker.’
‘Fair enough, so I looked over the documents. I’m not sure about this. What we have got so far is looking pretty good, more than a dozen settlements and now all signed up to intergalactic trade. Can’t you just sniff the stellars? Turning beads into… hum, stellars I suppose.’
‘Stick with analysis and leave prose to the wimbles.’
‘So the way I see it, this is more about risk limitation?’
‘Interesting, go on.’
‘Well, I'm thinking, after the collapse, a lot of merchandise simply disappeared along with the various captains. Some thought that they were out Morroglyph way or possibly around Glaxius but beyond a few early reports of pirates and a few free lancers, we haven’t heard of any great pirate empire. So the question is where did they go. At its height the League had over five thousand ships, granted most were both small and light but they had some big haulers and not a few heavies for belt work. Even after accounting for the many that have been scrapped by civvies for their materials, there must be hundreds still out there. We have reports of some that have been retrofitted for piracy but what of the rest?
‘So, presuming that they are in this,’ he glances down at the doc-pad and scrolls, ‘Arridian Spur, or possibly beyond one of the Gates.’
‘Gates, there are stargates in Corewards?’


‘No, it seems that they named some of the outer systems gates. There was a reason, though I can’t remember. Anyway, just to be confusing, the system Arridian for which the spur is named is just beyond Zewt and beyond that is called Traitor’s Gate; the first of the Gate systems we will gain access to through this deal.
‘This is a fairly rough region of space from all accounts. The stars are in close proximity to a small cluster of blue giants. These have an effect on both subspace and throw of a lot of nebulosity. Jump times seem to fluctuate as does the rings and some of the stars themselves have a tendency to flare.
‘From all accounts quite a few HarCop explorers and vessels were lost in the Spur. It is therefore hardly surprising that those on the run have bolted to this region of space.’
‘So how many systems are we talking?’
‘Over twenty certainly. We are still negotiating for those beyond Belle.’
‘How many years does your analysis calculate the return period?’
‘Hard to tell. There are a couple of known settlements, such as in Arridian and way out in Imlakvir but there is quite a lot of unknowns. Rather I am hoping that opening access will alleviate the potential of a growing independent faction that could challenge our investment in Coreward.’



'So the game plan is to negotiate access sooner rather than later and then make all the systems open access and let the mob descend on them?'
'Cunning eh?'
'What happens if they don't go for it?'
'Well, no doubt somebody will which means one of two things will happen. Either they will encounter these pirates and tip them off that the hub of Corewards has some new players or they won't.'
'Won't?'
'These HarCop investors, they got burnt badly by the League and are now playing their cards close to their chest. Even so I have heard rumours that a few merchants encountered another hi-tech species well beyond one of the gates and I am certain it does not lie in the Arridian Spur.'
'Is this related to the rumours of a weapon capable of destroying worlds and the deaths of billions?'
'Weapon or fatal technology, it's still just rumours though there does seem to be some credence to them. Whatever the truth I would rather a buffer between whatever's out there and our core investments.'
'So we go ahead and afterwards again push for further access.'
'Agreed.'
'So, why a krell secretary?'
'They know how to take orders.'
'I'll leave it at that.'




 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?


 
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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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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