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Blog of the Week - Passing Time

The things we do to pass the time

It had been a slow return to activity for Githyanki, his surviving fleet was scattered to all corners of the universe, and a good number of which were very slow to return, his war fleet was still months away from being operationally ready and he was bored and somewhat distressingly everywhere he looked there was peace and quiet, he could not even intercede on events occurring around him, shag all was happening.

So he did what any enterprising sort would do when faced with eternal boredom, smoked a heaven herb joint, watched a little performance from his favourite dancing girl and resigned himself to the humdrum task of sorting out some outposts. As it happened absence had again profited his little empire with an abundant stockpile of rare ore, and with the few freighters he had loitering around in port, he set about some basic housekeeping. As he worked his way down his base manifest he stumbled on a long forgotten relic, a relic of a long forgotten war, least for him, DOM Straddle Boomerang I.

The Straddle project, code named Tumbleweed, had been an ambitious moment of madness no doubt conjured up whilst under the influence of some seriously funky narcotics, it was simple enough really, ground scout assessments had, from an early stage rated the DTR base on boomerang as beyond formidable and it had been quickly dismissed as a viable ground target, straddle was a decoy in the end, a combat test and one to check new loyalties. But the base presented a problem, especially as it was fundamentally linked to the trumped up nonsense used as a reason for the war, so something needed to be done and if we could not have it, then they should not want it…..

Stage one was easy, drop in a science station, place within it a core team of key scientists, covering a number of fields and a token defence force, add in some submerged foundations and hey presto a hidden base appeared. The nature of the plan required a landscape of coastal shallows, and the wicked side of Githyanki’s nature ruled the day when shallows were identified one sector away from the main DTR base. Stage two was a mish mash of muddled ideas, that ultimately lead to a theory of planetary destabilisation. Stick enough explosives in direct proximity to the planetary fault lines, deep enough, an issue nicely solved with further submerged foundations and you could potentially trigger a global catastrophe. Add in some chemical agents to change the atmosphere and create genocide amongst the population and the Empire would not have to remove the DTR, given enough time they would leave themselves.

But the idea even in theory was nonsense, the chance of success was tiny, and the volume of explosives made for a number of logistical shipping problems, and so the idea was canned, the spare foundations instead used to set up some sacrificial artillery bases to keep the DTR thinking straddle was the target, all of which were killed in the first days of the war. But the science station remained, a few soldiers, few tanks and a handful of science bods………..

Githyanki figured it was time to remove them, the war was done and the base could be decommissioned, so without thinking and in keeping with his generally cavalier attitude he sent a rescue tug for the men, the tanks and all other hardware was expendable and orders were issued for the base team to destroy all materials and rig the caves for collapse. Githyanki went back to his dancing girl and enjoyed his smoke as the haze descended.

Imagine his surprise when the following morning showed a missing com signal from the dispatched ship, and a quick position ping showed it as non-responsive, he called up the ships logs, which operated a standard live replication feed to relay stations scattered around the peripheries’, the final recording was cut short and the cause was unmistakable……..Githyanki was furious with himself, school boy error he thought, not checking the system lists, and the ship was the eighth is a squad of ten, one of the few to have survived intact during his vacation, it irked him greatly and the bloody DTR of all people.

And then a curious thought started to form, lending clarity to his annoyance of losing the ship, could the DTR be convinced to replace the ship? Granted they were well within their rights to destroy it, but that just made the challenge more appealing, and Githyanki, after all was bored. It was an old game and he considered himself accomplished at it, a lie, no no, better yet an exaggeration, and like all good exaggerations it should be based on an element of tangible truth, he connected to the open political channels, I’ll start with indignation he thought, see if I can get them to take the bait, and after all it is exactly the sort of thing they might expect of me……………………

Within a mere matter of days, Githyanki was pleased with himself, the plan was working out wonderfully well, the DTR governor was hooked, and during the dialogue Githyanki had sent a secondary fleet of ships to enact a hostile orbit extraction, a minor chance if the DTR had reacted sensibly, but he figured they would not, or not quickly enough, and the team had been extracted from the single base cleanly, the material all but destroyed and only enough caves left to keep it hidden along with a few jammers. And then his poker face slipped for a second, just a second mind, a ‘tell’ if you like, the unmistakeable twitch of an old gambler having the slightest moment of doubt, Githyanki got carried away.

Such was his personal amusement at the hidden bases location, he could not resist, he just simply had to let everyone else in on the gag, and besides a physical confirmation and one parked in their backyard would lend great credibility to the ruse, and so he publically posted its location and transponder code, but he had misread his opponents hand, and the publically given location of the base led to its immediate capture, a move he had not predicted and he cursed as he lost his only real card in the game……..still the key too all good bluffs was staying true to your path, and besides the DTR had brought the illusion of many bases, a hidden asteroid and a mad man on the trigger of a remote detonator, but there was a small ripple. Githyanki had always allowed himself a great deal of latitude when it came to the truth on open channels, it was no different to any other media outlet and the SSS had for many long years been the personal media channel for the DTR, but in personal private communications he liked to be a little more morally grounded, and if the governor had asked for details of other positions, or made his offer of a replacement ship on more specific terms, the game would have been up, but he did not, and Githyanki could simply make the assurance that when the ship had been received all his personal DOM assets within the straddle system would be relinquished, and so he duly waited, and two days later a better ship graced his manifests in the solo system.

The deed was done, all that remained was the concluding communication, ‘Governor’ he wrote, it is with great pleasure that I confirm the receipt of the replacement vessel for the one tragically destroyed in the Straddle system, and true to my word I am pleased to confirm that all my personal DOM assets within said system are now within your care. It is gratifying to see that reasonableness ruled the day…………………..

Only thing left really was the public trade channel, a finishing touch and an object lesson on the value of ships and crews, silly bastards flew into an open no fly zone, not fit to wear DOM colours, let them rot he thought as he took a long sip on his malt whiskey and blew a smoke ring into the air.



 
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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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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