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Beyond Alpha Centauri :::

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  • Beyond Alpha Centauri :::

    Humanity has come along way since they desperately sent a ship full of colonist in an attempt to thwart fate. Many times survival has hung on the whims of a leader or more often simple chance. The Terran branch of Humanity managed to pull itself out of ruin and fill their home system. The Chiron descended factions survived their initial dealings with Planet and the ancient Progenitors to spread across the large areas of space with their unique brand of civilization. But they carry with them their grudges and a desire to insure their civilization against the other ancient factions and even older alien forces. It is a time of general peace with the odd skirmish in unknown space. But that time can’t last for forever. Alliances must be made and steps taken to ensure their continued prosperity. Old must contend with new and somewhere along the way tragedy will strike. The Humans it thought it was harsh on Planet, just wait until they find out about life Beyond Alpha Centauri:::
    Last edited by Sprayber; December 2, 2001, 23:25.
    Which side are we on? We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We are evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I'm surprised you didn't know that. --Saul Tigh

  • #2
    The Ivory Towers of Industry Slug it Out

    2700— Pollux System, Above Morganite Colony ‘Morgan Antimatter’ on Pollux C (Aristophanes, after the CEO's favorite comic playwright...)

    Security Captain Samuel Putnam was thoroughly uninterested in economics, capitalism, and everything else that a truly good Morganite is actually supposed to be interested in. His interest really lay in such high-minded things as fighting, war, the history of war, weaponry, that sort of thing. This, as it happens, is why his family sent him off to Sparta for training in the first place. He’d been born into the wrong faction, he always felt. The Morganites were all right, when they weren’t behaving like a bunch of degraded, decadent, capitalist pigs, but Putnam’s major complaint was their lack of enthusiasm in battle. Pacifists! Not like the Spartans, nor even the Pirates (who were themselves still a bunch of sneaky cowards in Putnam’s opinion). When a good chance of getting into a war arose, the Morganites could never just jump right in; they had to remain neutral until attacked. Poor old Putnam was getting downright sick of it.

    “There’s never a good chance to die gloriously in battle anymore these days!” he had been saying to his comrades at the mess tables that morning. “How can one achieve martial glory when one has to sit around all day watching over business transactions? You don’t usually have the opportunity to set fire to mindworms or blow up Recon Rovers in the Stock Market! How’s one to achieve battlefield glory when working for CEO Morgan, eh?” Much to Sam’s disgust, there was no hint of an adequate reply from any of his fellow security guards.

    These shadowy martial images were the sorts of thoughts that meandered through Sam Putnam’s mind as he watched the second ship emerge from the blackness of space for the vital link up with the Morgan Trade convoy that Putnam helped to guard. The second ship, the one approaching the larger Morganite vessel Namibian Queen , belonged to Interplanetary Enterprises Incorporated (InEn for short), which was very much a rival business to Morgan Interstellar. Though InEn was mostly confined to the very same Sol System that had been abandoned so many years before by the UNS Unity for the Alpha Centauri system, from the very first meeting of the two companies several hundred years earlier there had been intense rivalry between them (despite the obvious superiority, so Putnam thought to himself, of Morgan products) . In a way, Sam was extremely surprised by the InEn offer to start trading with the Morganites.

    However, Samuel Putnam had no doubt in his mind as to how exciting the trading would be, and if he was right then he was hardly interested in what was to happen. Before his duties were to catch up with him, he decided to actually enjoy his last few free minutes before what would undoubtedly seem to be endless hours of boredom. The only fellows excited with this thing would be CEO Morgan himself and his obese cronies. Putnam walked back into the employee’s lounge to sit down and watch some 3DMorganLinkTV before the trading began. He was not alone. There also was the major, as well as most of the other security guards. The news had not yet begun - there was another hour yet - but he wished to see it as scenes of the business transaction were expected to be shown, and Sam hoped that he would be able to spot himself waving to his mother. He sat down to see the last few minutes of the major motion picture from MGM (Morgan Goldstar Movies), Sahara (on the Sahara Burst Wars back on Earth 700 years earlier). After that film ended, some incredibly stupid 30-minute sitcom about drones began.

    As this insipid bit of garbage went on, however, the ships began to come into link-up position. As always in link-ups, there was a slight jar as the ships came together. The jar was a bit more powerful than usual, however, and shook the ship a little. Sam was at first a bit concerned about it, but then set his mind at ease. He well knew that no Morganite ship had ever before made a link-up with an InEn ship, and so there was bound to be something new to encounter. And yet, when one of the workers ran in dragging behind him a horribly scarred technician, Sam began to wonder how much more of this would be so "new", and rather hoped that this would end reasonably soon.

    “They have taken a shot at us, Dobbs!” called the worker to one of the security men. This started off a shout of something totally unrepeatable as Sam rushed over to the viewing screen. It was nearly impossible for him to see the image as so much smoke was belching from a wound in their own ship. When the smoke cleared a bit, Sam could see the dark-hauled InEn ship. There had been no link-up at all, and there were large black wounds in the side of the InEn ship as well as the Morgan ship. The two ships were now exchanging shots at each other, and there was absolutely no way to tell who it was who had fired first as far as Sam could see. The Morganite ship was, of course, lightly armored and lightly armed - all supply ships had been equipped with a few exter
    Last edited by History Guy; February 5, 2004, 19:58.
    Empire growing,
    Pleasures flowing,
    Fortune smiles and so should you.


    • #3
      Earth Coalition Headquarters, Geneva, Earth

      Prime Minister Elise Drecaille strolled in the central park of Geneva. The Coalition Headquarters was not a single building, but a large complex of land area and structures that could of been a city by itself. The park Drecaille used for relaxation was filled with nature and serenity, yet it was conviniently placed between the Parliament and office buildings.

      It had been a tough day at the Parliament. The CPP had decided to run for a vote of non-confidence, this time regarding the situation on Titan. CPP had all of a sudden decided that a CPP governor should be appointed to Titan, even though the minimum opposition governor number - three - had already been reached. Skylark, the CPP leader, had appealed to "common sense", and even tried to persuad the EDW members by pointing out that under CPP control the colony's mineral deposits would be perused much frequently.

      In the end, the Cabinet received a vote of confidence, but it had been a long debate, and Drecaille was forced to repeatedly answer to CPP questions about all sorts of statistics - Luckily she had studied them carefully with the help of the Minister of Economics, who was forced to be absent from the session due to family reasons. Drecaille had already sent him her condolences.

      The security detachment that kept an eye on Drecaille had hidden itself rather well into the park - The Prime Minister used to amuse herself on her strolls in the park by trying to discover the security officers.
      But now there was no possibility for that - the executive officer of the detachment ran to her with a data disc in his hands.
      "What is it?" Drecaille asked.
      "Here, ma'am", the officer replied and handed over the disc. Drecaille quickly read it. It appeared that the historical InEn - Morganite linkup had failed catastrophically. The Morganite ship had apparently opened fire.
      "Have the secretaries assemble the Cabinet", Drecaille ordered the officer, turned around on the gravel path and started to walk towards the Cabinet office.


      All the other ministers - except the Minister of Economics - were already present as Drecaille arrived. They all were looking at the television news.

      "Prime Minister", the Minister of Defense addressed her.
      "What is it?"
      "We have received a request from InEn. They ask us to order the military forces to ignore all InEn activities in Earth sector."
      "What are they up to?"
      "Well, Defense Operations inform us that a Morganite convoy is inbound to Moon. Also, it appears that a squadron of InEn frigates has left Moon orbit and is headed towards the Morganite ships. So it is obvious what is about to happen."
      "Has InEn asked for any assistance?"
      "No, Prime Minister", the Minister of Defense replied. "They just want us to keep our noses out of this."
      "Looking at the current situation", Drecaille said and thought of the Parliament session, "I think it's best for us. Get me Admiral Wakazashi."
      Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!


      • #4
        Dead Ships Tell No Tales

        Morgan Antimatter, Pollux System, Pollux C (Aristophanes), The Day after the Link-Up

        The suns rose over Pollux C (classified as ‘Aristophanes’), putting an end to the darkness, and to the spectacular light show over the planet. Those who first noticed “the show” around 11:00 the night before were mostly miners returning from pubs and bars in the City. Some of the farmers had seen it too, as before too long a large crowd had gathered to watch it. Even many patricians had joined the observers.

        What “it” was exactly was up for debate. It was like nothing any of the colonists had ever seen before. Talents, workers, technicians, datalink librarians, thinkers, empaths, scientists, the well-to-do, even drones began to sit in the darkness under the stars to watch it. It vaguely resembled the aurora borealis of old Earth, or one should say that that was what it resembled the most. And yet it looked very little like it.

        It was incredibly hard to describe. It was as if one large star was breaking apart to form two smaller ones, which rapidly became smaller and smaller, and then as dawn came, it all became invisible. None of the astronomers of Morgan Antimatter had any idea what it had been, or rather what it would be. Was this truly the birth of a new star, or two? Was this a Supernova? None of them had a clue. The stellar charts had no record of any such star, or stars, in that area of the heavens.

        The celestial happenings hadn’t really bothered anyone at all, and so this day was like any other. The colony’s governor, Mr. Saeed El-Hashian, was completely unsurprised by the day’s events. Morgan Steel was up by half a point; Morgan FTL was up as well. Morgan Ceramics was down. The Morgan FineFood Company was up only in Morganite territory and in the Drone Republic, it was so-so in Sparta, the only other faction that imported its products. He’d received a message via commlink that the InEn link-up had never occurred, which didn’t strike him as odd in the least. He never thought that InEn would ever do any business with Morgan.

        There was a slight accident in the mines in the afternoon, El-Hashian had heard. A worker was injured when a Morgan Mining Laser malfunctioned. The wound was slight and the laser was quickly fixed. There was little else of importance. However, at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon it was formally announced on MorganLinkTV that the link-up had not occurred do to a serious accident. There were only few details, but it seemed as if there definitely had been some casualties. At about the same time, Hercules Greyson, a commlink supervisor, alerted El-Hashian that there was a message from one of the minor advisors of Morgan Interstellar. The message, as El-Hashian soon discovered, was that there had been a battle between the two supply ships. There was no clue as to who had lobbed the first shot into the other ship, but (being Morganites who were reporting the event) it was supposed that InEn had done so. It also seemed that InEn was ignoring transmissions sent by Morgan Interstellar in order to inquire about the event. This seemed to peeve just about everybody. The governments of the Spartan Federation, the Drone Republic, and the University had all been informed and had sent their condolences. Although it hadn’t been released yet to the public, the affair was quite possibly an act of aggression towards Morgan Interstellar. Governor El-Hashian was very much disgusted, but at least he knew what had caused last night’s light show.

        Later that evening a work detail of drones as well as several farmers and workers discovered damage to two solar collectors and five farms 24 miles west of the capital city, Utopia. On closer inspection, the damage was found to have been created by large pieces of charred and melting metal, much of which had been burnt away in a descent from the sky. The metal seemed to have been from the outer layer of two separate ships, one of which was obviously the Namibian Queen (it was only obvious due to a discovery of a piece that bore the code number for the ship). One of the workers took one look at the piece of metal that bore the ship’s number and began to weep. It seemed that he had been one of the workers assigned to the ship’s construction four years back.
        Last edited by History Guy; April 8, 2002, 15:53.
        Empire growing,
        Pleasures flowing,
        Fortune smiles and so should you.


        • #5

          Sparta Command, Sparta Prime, Spartan Home System.

          Colonel Marcus Kessel stood at the large floor to ceiling window in his office that overlooked the central plaza in Spartan Command. He did this every morning so he could watch as the citizens went about their morning routine far below on the streets. The air had recently began to turn colder as the northern hemisphere of Sparta Prime slipped into winter. Kessel liked the winters here. It reminded him of the stories his father had told him about his home on Earth. A place he called New York State. Kessel’s home had always been the oppressively hot area around Sparta Command on Chiron. And had not truly felt a real winter until everyone had come to this new world. His revelry was broken by the chime that told him someone had entered his outside office. This was always to give the impression that he knew about visits before they actually happened. Of course this early in the morning, it could only be one person so he continued his gazing out of the window.

          When the buzz finally came Kessel casually pushed the button that allowed his aide to speak to him.

          “Sir, Major Caster is here to see you sir.”

          “Inform her that she may enter, Lieutenant”

          A few moments later the door opened and the tall and lean Major Lera Caster appeared at the door dressed in her usual Spartan military uniform. Her long straight black hair was fixed in the usual up fashion. Kessel remained at the window as he usually did when she was in the room.

          “Is there any more news on the incident between Morgan and the Terran Company?”

          “No sir, just that both ships were destroyed in the encounter. Morgan isn’t saying anything about it to his people beyond that there was problems with the linkup. There are reports that he has some kind of convoy already headed towards the Sol system. Probably just a routine trade convoy, but we don’t know for sure.”

          “Is that all we know Major?” Kessel turned away from the window and pushed the button that turned the window to opaque.

          “That’s all the new information we have sir. Except that there were at least three Spartans on board the Morgan ship that was destroyed. They were all representatives of Spartan MineCo.”

          Kessel looked at the major and motioned at the chair in front of his desk. “Have a seat Lera” This was a signal to Major Caster that it was ok to be Lera Caster long time friend of Marcus Kessel and not the Colonel’s third in Command. After both had sit down in their respective places Marcus let out a sigh.

          “I don’t understand what the earthers were thinking. If they wanted to start something with Morgan then why send in a single ship in and attack. Why attack at all? Morgan has the resources of many planets at his disposal. Sure they aren’t the best fighters in the human systems but they are sure to be able to crush this upstart company.”

          “All I can tell you Marcus is that from all accounts they did fire first. What do you think Morgan will do?”

          “It all depends on the next few weeks and what position the Terran government takes. Santiago always told me that out of all the leaders she faced, Morgan always represented the most danger. The others were mostly predictable and easy to prepare for. But Morgan was always coming up with something new. He has been down many times before, and always come back. It will be interesting to see what he does. I will send him a message pledging full support from the Spartan Federation. But if I know him he will want to deal with this himself so that he does not owe us anything in return. But it is important for us to make the jester as a show of good support.”

          Lera couldn’t help but smile at the mock seriousness of Kessel’s language. Kessel allowed a brief smile to cross his face before he moved on to more serious business.

          “Today during the security briefing I will announce the operation to locate the Hive homeworld. We have finished the preparations to the border. The stations are all up and running. Fleet Aztec has been assembled and is on currently fully mobilized in the border area. Now all we need to know is where the Hive homeworld is.”

          “That will be a serious challenge Marcus. We have no idea where they could be. We have locations for some border posts, and maybe one colony world. But finding the Hive planet is another thing entirely. Then of course there is always the Bree.”

          “I am fully aware of the Bree, Lera. But one of my promises to Colonel Santiago was that I would revenge the battle of Kendra. And that I shall do if it takes forever to find that planet. As for the Bree. That will take some help from the Drones and maybe others as well. I know the Drones just won’t go out and search for a fight with them. But somehow I will find a way to convince them that the Bree must be dealt with. Along with the Hive.”

          Lera started to say something but Kessel waived her off.

          “Enough of the Bree and Hive for now. There will be enough discussion about that in the Junta meeting tomorrow. What I am interested in now is how Becca is doing in her training.”

          For the next half hour Marcus Kessel and Lera Caster talked about how a 13 year old was doing in her crèche lessons. Later on in the day decisions that would affect millions would be made in secret, but for now the ruthless leader of the feared Spartan Federation was only interested in the adventures of little girl on their first week of training exercises.

          Encrypted Visual Message To CEO Morgan
          From: Colonel Marcus Kessel

          I would just like to assure you that along with our sympathies, we also offer our cooperation in anything that you may require. While I have the utmost confidence in the abilities of Morgan defense forces to handle most situations, I still offer cooperation with the Spartan Military. Also any information that passes our way, I will make sure that it will be forwarded to your people. In our dealings with the Terrans, we have found that their politics are confused to say the least. < A small smile comes to Kessel’s face > In some ways, I prefer the chaos of Lals democracy to that of the Terrans. < Kessel becomes serious again > But we will keep our lines open if ever you choose to utilize them. Kessel out.
          Last edited by Sprayber; December 4, 2001, 02:42.
          Which side are we on? We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We are evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I'm surprised you didn't know that. --Saul Tigh


          • #6

            New Lanark.

            Turmeric Galliard scanned the long arcing corridors, he ached for the brushed white walls to be aesthetically pleasing. The minimalist architecture was unmistakable in Gaian territory, this was New Lanark, their moon in Hive space.

            New Lanark had never been inhabited, or so the Hive had claimed but some how the buildings, the people, the soul of this place felt of Hive. The place even smelt strange. Of course it would it was a dead moon, this was enclosed air, synthesized elsewhere. Sterile. Air in the domes of a living moon or planet usually carried minute traces of chemicals from the surrounding atmosphere or soil from air-locks and imported objects from the outside. It was too sterile here.

            Turmeric kept his watch of the corridors, the unnerving brushed white calibrated to be easy on his eyes. From one end would arrive Elandriss Vecchio, the Gaian Science sausage and her University trained weenie entourage. While University fascist Elandriss would arrive with a bunch of social misfits, from the other end of the corridor would come...

            Echoing across the smooth arced walls came the gentle hiss of the Eastern gateway opening. Strangers always entered from the East as some archaic custom dictated. Turmeric signalled to his detail to fan out as to allow the Hive ambassador Yukio Takahashi and his companions to enter the central chamber. In his passing in, the ambassador nodded at Turmeric as if to acknowledge a secure transit to the facility.

            And almost synchronously the West gateway opened rather less grandly with the scuffling of feet and dull whispering in technical language. "In?" Elandriss asked, allowing her assistants to file in with chatter "Yes," answered Turmeric, assuming Elandriss was referring to the Hive ambassadorial entourage. Elandriss wrinkled her nose at Turmeric. "No," she said, firmly clicking the door behind her closed.

            We are guests here, Deirdre had always maintained about the Gaian settlement of New Lanark. The central chamber was clean, efficient, uninspired, nay - truly un-Gaian. It was almost to say ‘We don't really live here, we are too afraid to make it look stereotypical Gaian.' Seven metal blue velvet covered chairs circled a central computer terminal, illuminated too perfectly from false sky lighting.

            "And I trust we are all well ambassador?" Elandriss asked. The man responded with a monotone voice "Indeed. And I know the University is well, and so you must be well too, by extension of that." Elandriss smiled politely, "I have not visited the home world - their home world - for a long time." The ambassador smirked genuinely, "Well that is good to hear, I am allowed to suppose this is because you have been keeping yourself busy with this research."

            "What research?" teased Elandriss. The ambassador was stone, displaying that chipper Hive humour. "Joshua, did we have some research to do?" She asked a skinny little man to her right in mock quizzicality. Elandriss curled the corners of her lips at the Hive entourage, hoping to break a few of their gargoyle stares. Silence.

            The ambassador frowned. "The oxidative inhibitor suspension Miss Vecchio. As purported to slow cell damage from radiation. Derived from your fabled plants of Koenis, or so it is claimed."

            "And exclusive," spoke up the small man it had been established was called Joshua. "It cannot be synthesized" he sniffed "...yet." He looked at Elandriss for permission. It was wryly given. From a flat case tucked inside his white coat, Joshua slid out a compact case of chemicals. The ambassador reached out a hand for it.

            "We have discovered many of nature's marvels off-world. Perhaps you would do well to take good care of your own ecology, for such wonders are bound to await you." Joshua added a smug smile, faintly reminiscent of a Psalm reading Believer. The ambassador gave an eyebrow twitch to a female member of his company. In a second Joshua had the ambassador's full attention again, "You get your samples within a week of every botanical discovery in our territories. I am sure we take good care of our plant life. And you understand we cannot allow your insidious green scout craft to penetrate our territories outside of the designated marginal transit routes for obvious reasons." And suddenly Joshua felt thrust into his hand a compressed purple package from the Hive female. The female looked at the ambassador, "Sample 556-990-Alpha-751, as promised."

            "Something else." The ambassador rustled clumsily in his lapel ridden robes, eventually producing an optical chip. "For Deirdre, for Deirdre only" he said pressing the article firmly into Elandriss's palm. Elandriss knew what this meant, a private message specifically for Deirdre's identifier lest a fully burnt out chip."

            "And that is all?" Elandriss asked, "Are you not going to stay for the Ferraro Rocher?"


            Peacekeeper Territory

            Ferdinand smiled ‘One Hundred Uses For A Dead Spartan' read the cheesy holo book novel. While not exactly the promoted reading material of Peacekeepers, often the colonial members of a faction had a looser way about them. Ferdinand liked it.

            This was certainly true of the members of this particular Peacekeeper base, while physically far away from the benevolent hands of Pravin Lal it was still tightly wound with his bureaucratic ways that had served his nation of democrats for over half a millennia.

            Ferdinand meandered his way around the Industry Gala, searching to run into a familiar face, the economics professor turned politician at the hub of the Lal administration. Why, Ferdinand had no idea she would be here. Meeting her would be a pleasant shock. Why, if they had wanted to discuss the Morganic/Terran tensions it would have been planned, and official and recorded. This would be a discussion of spontaneity.

            "Ferdinand!" exclaimed a familiar voice from across the Gala, followed by an enthusiastic wave and beaming smile. Ferdinand looked up in a pathetic attempt at shock and surprise, waving back. "Imagine seeing you here! What are you doing in these parts?" The pair exchanged a social embrace. "A suggestion" said Ferdinand "Why don't I tell you about it over lunch?" The woman nodded and the Gaian trade minister joined the Peacekeeper economic advisor for a friendly meal.



            • #7
              On The March

              System N-189, 6 LY Outside Current Spartan Space. (Near Hive Border)

              The Spartan scout ships had been scanning System N-189 for three days now. There were no signs of any other ships, enemy or otherwise to be found. The system contained only five planets, with two being inside the habitable zone. Sparta had been eyeing this system ever since the construction of the border installations began in the 2690’s. Occasionally Spartan scouts would enter the system and scan for any alien presence and leave without disturbing much. But these scouts came with cargo and the intent of making a huge presence. As two of the scouts moved to far ends of the system, Scout 3A5 positioned itself according to plans that had been drawn up on the remote Farpoint station just 7 LY away. When the green light was given from far away commanders the cargo bay of the specialized scout opened up. Soon cameras began to record as the first Nav Buoy in this system was brought out and brought on-line. It took thirty standard minutes for the Nav Buoy to be recognized on the Central Spartan Net back in Sparta Command. But soon it took its place upon the board with every other Spartan Nav Buoy. For now it was simply labeled S-189 but it was flashing which meant that it would soon change.

              After the Nav Buoy went on-line, a signal was sent to the waiting fleet just outside the system. Engines went hot for the short jump from one point in space to another. Soon the empty system was full of Spartan battle cruisers and a convoy of colony ships and garrison ships. When all the ships had entered the system safely, the warships took up positions around the perimeter of the second planet from the Red Giant that had been dubbed Aries. Then, One by one the colony ships begin their decent down through the atmosphere of the planet leaving the outer shells to float in space. On total, five colony ships landed on the planet that day. Each picking strategic points to land near. Farming pods that had already been dropped the preceding month a had already started to produce crops that would be needed for growth. Next came the garrison ships. These were smaller and needed only a small crew to land successfully. The three garrison ships landed near the three colony sites along the equator. Soon the first shipment of Marines would arrive in orbit and the mobile garrisons would become the home of some 10,000 Spartan Marines. At Farpoint Station, ships loaded with Planetary battery weapons, escorted by more Spartan cruisers, left the confines of the system destined for the new Spartan planet.
              Which side are we on? We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We are evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I'm surprised you didn't know that. --Saul Tigh


              • #8
                Nwabudike and Marcus

                FROM: CEO MORGAN
                TO: GENERAL KESSEL

                My dear friend Marcus,
                Thank you for your kind words and condolences. We were particularly wary of releasing the information to the public of the attack on our supply ship, in fear that the Terran embassy here would be stormed by angry crowds, as happened (you may recall) once back on Chiron with the Hive embassy. The people are shaken up as it is about the story of accidental disaster. We may well have to declare war, as painful as I am sure it will be. I am sending a convoy of diplomats to Earth’s moon for a peace negotiation, but if they return with nothing accomplished there shall be no other option. I think, in fact I am sure that we shall be able to handle this on our own, but thank you for the gesture.

                On to more pleasant things, how are you yourself doing, Marcus? I have heard too little from you for the past few months. In fact I have heard from hardly anybody! This leads to too much monotony! And how is Santiago doing? I haven’t heard from her since her injury and subsequent retirement.

                I seem to remember since last I saw you that found that we both have a love for fine wines. I have just tasted one from Chiron, made from xenofungus actually. You’d never think the stuff would be drinkable (I had to be lured into trying it). One would be scared stiff that at any moment mindworms would leap out and make for your eyes and ears and nose, but in fact the stuff is quite good. I love it in fact. It’s got nice legs and a fine boutique. It’s pinkish in color, as you might expect from xenofungus. One wonders who first thought to himself ‘Hmmm…I wonder what xenofungus would taste like as a wine…’ You shall have to make a “diplomatic visit” sometime in the near future so as I can pop open a bottle for you.



                All the News A Morganite Needs
                Page 1

                SPACE BATTLE NOW REPORTED CAUSE OF InEn LINK-UP DISASTER—The Minister of Defense, Amalthea Whitaker has announced on the behalf of the CEO that the disaster of the InEn-Morganite link-up was caused by the InEn ship opening fire on the Morganite ship. A fight ensued, ending in the destruction of both ships above Pollux C, Aristophanes. There are no reported survivors, although no traces of either escape pod have been found. The CEO wishes to urge you to remain calm, there is no reason to panic or to become violent. READ FULL STORY

                DIPLOMATS SENT TO EARTH’S MOON--- It been announced that peace delegates are being sent to the Earth’s moon in an armed convoy for a peace conference with InEn, in relation to Monday’s disaster. The diplomats remain optimistic. “InEn will have to sign a peace treaty. It’s in their best interests, as they have (according to all the best sources) a much weaker army than we do. I’m sure that this will be the start of a good business relationship. It shall benefit all, I’m sure…I don’t believe that this shall lead to war,” Morganite diplomat Chinn is quoted as saying. Among the diplomats is the celebrated Mr. T.M. Morgan-Reilly, who is quoted as saying, “InEn doesn’t stand a chance.” READ FULL STORY

                LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE ARRIVE FROM ALL OVER--- Among the many letters of condolence received are those from our close allies, the University, the Spartan Federation, the Drone Republic, as well as from the Gaians, Believers, Peacekeepers (along with offers of mediation), and many others. The only word from InEn is that they shall allow a peace conference in their holdings on Earth’s moon. READ LETTERS

                NEWS FROM EARTH--- Mrs. Dingswayo, the newly appointed President of Old Earth’s Morgan Industries (the original company as founded 700 years ago by CEO Morgan himself), has spoken to Miss Drecaille, Prime Minister of the Earth Coalition Cabinet, and Mr. Coracoa, the Chairman. She reports that the Terran Alliance will take no official political position in the InEn-Morganite affair, and wishes to remain neutral. READ FULL STORY

                MORGAN PLANS STRATEGY SESSION--- CEO Morgan has announced that he will have a weekly strategy session at Morgan Interstellar, as usual, to show that even in the light of these tragic current events, Morgan Interstellar can and will function as usual. It is believed that the two major topics in the session shall be on trading the FTL Drive and on possible future business deals with InEn. READ FULL STORY

                MORGAN SAYS THE FUNNIEST THINGS--- It has also been announced that Morgan Publishers shall be re-publishing the interstellar best seller ‘CEO Morgan’s Wit and Wisdom’, by CEO Morgan and Janet Morrison. It shall be re-published Sunday to support the victim’s families. It shall be sold at all Morganite bookstores and many Spartan, Drone, and University bookstores as well. Be sure to pick up a copy! READ FULL STORY ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                Last edited by History Guy; April 8, 2002, 16:07.
                Empire growing,
                Pleasures flowing,
                Fortune smiles and so should you.


                • #9
                  Hive Prime

                  Deep Below the Surface of the Planet

                  Emperor Yang pinched the bridge of his nose in disbelief. Since receiving word that a Spartan fleet was amassing near the Hive border to try and locate the homeworld, Yang's temper almost raged out of control.

                  Calmness. Serenity. He thought. Cannot let emotion dictate my actions.

                  Yang stood in the throne room, overlooking the central courtyard. Further down, he watched his citizens go through their daily lives. Look at all I have accomplished , he thought and smiled vaguely. Billions of citizens content with their lives, an empire spanning across the stars and yet some still cannot see how better our way of life is.

                  Yang's face suddenly darkened. He turned around to face Spymaster Shirlak. Yang's imperial robes swayed as he did so. The blues and blacks flashing their brilliance in the artificial light.
                  Spymaster Shirlak was still kneeling on the ground near him, his head bent toward the floor.

                  Shirlak, dressed in the black trenchcoat uniform of the Spymaster, always showed the Emperor the respect he deserved. The throne room seems where I meet everyone these days, Yang thought.

                  The grand throne room, able to fit a hundred Hive citizens, was practically bare. Except for the massive pillars in the room, the only other things inside were the throne, the window Yang stood next to, Shirlak and himself.

                  Yang stepped forward and looked down at the Spymaster.

                  "I'm going to call council soon," Yang began with a sigh, "This Spartan threat should be met before they enter Hive space. Diplomatic channels will be used but I want our spies to keep us informed.

                  "Our greatest strength is our secrecy. If Sparta finds our home system we all may very well be staring down the barrel of a rail gun." Yang turned around, facing the window.

                  "Yes, my lord. If I may ask, who will be attending the council?" Shirlak asked.

                  "That is none of your concern, now go. I have to plan our Empire's course of action."

                  * * *
                  2 HOURS LATER

                  The command center was bustling with activity. Hive technicians were tallying ships throughout the empire, comm-traffic was flooded with orders, every one had something to do. In the middle of the chaos was the Emperor, Warmaster Kang, Minister Zell, and a handful of admirals and generals, all sitting around a holographic map of the Hive empire.

                  The massive Bulwark, Kang, spoke first.

                  "The Hive first fleet is stationed here." He pointed to a spot on the holographic map representing Hive Prime.

                  "Our fleet will stay on the far side of the planet just in case the Gaians are snooping around. Spymaster Shirlak has sent 3 cloaked scout ships to keep an eye on the Spartans. They are ordered to not engage and retreat if detected."

                  Warmaster Kang, looking at the assembled staff, continued.

                  "Our second fleet, will amass just inside Hive space. They will be right in the path of the Spartan fleet. Our third fleet, comprised mostly of carriers will be on an intercept course with the newly established Spartan waystation." The Warmaster sat down, brow furrowed in concentration.

                  Minister Zell stood up. Speaking warmly, like everyone seated before him were close friends, began his half of the briefing.

                  "My lord, gentlemen and ladies, you have heard our military campaign. I have instructed Ambassador M'rock to ask the Spartans to not enter Hive space. If word reaches the other factions that the Hive tried diplomacy before war, they would have no choice but to side with us." Zell glanced over at Yang, who nodded and smiled faintly in approval. Minister Zell continued.

                  "Our diplomatic channels must remain open with the other factions. Our lord has sent a communique to Lady Deidre of the Gaians. However, if diplomacy fails as we all know it will..." Zell looked at Kang and sat down.

                  The Warmaster, whose fur rippled, looked around at the military commanders, "...If it does fail, kill them all. No one is to survive. But leave one ship moderately intact so we can interrogate them. The rest you can burn."

                  Emperor Yang suddenly stood up and walked in front of the assembled group.

                  "My children," he began softly,"not since Chiron have we fought the other factions so intently. I've seen the Spartan war machine and they are ruthless. Our strength lies within the 'whole', not the self. Out of all the factions, the Spartans may be our greatest threat. Fight for the glory of the Hive. I will be watching all of you."

                  When the assembled Hive commanders left, Emperor Yang pulled Warmaster Kang aside.

                  "Begin mobilizing our cloned fighters. Don't ship them out yet, they will be our trump card."

                  Kang bowed, "Yes, my lord."

                  * * *

                  2 DAYS LATER

                  The Hive second fleet began the journey to the Hive frontier. Like a swarm, numerous Hive fighters flew in formation next to lumbering battlecruisers. Carriers, their bellies filled with fighters, cruised alongside frigate ships. The flagship, the Jewel of the Hive, was commanded by Admiral Brakus.

                  Brakus, a short, stocky man, paced the command deck. Always fitful, Brakus was chosen by the Warmaster for his sheer brutality. Brakus was the one who ordered the nerve stapling of the rioters in the Hive capital before Thought Control was in place.

                  Brakus waited in space for the order to depart, something that he always hated. The anticipation of blood-spilling always made him fitful.

                  "How much longer, officer?" Brakus asked a comm-officer.

                  "The corvette, Worker's Dream , is getting into place sir."

                  "Good, tell me when-"

                  "Sir, Warmaster Kang on line two." the com-officer interrupted.

                  Kang's face appeared on the viewscreen.

                  "The Emperor blesses you. Glory to the Hive!" the viewscreen suddenly going blank.

                  "Admiral, the Worker's Dream has reached their position."

                  Brakus smirked, "Good. Order the fleet to depart. I want a Spartan head for my trophy case."

                  Minutes later, the second fleet departed, headed for the Hive border.

                  * * *

                  The best strategy is always to be very strong; first in general, then at the decisive point...There is no higher and simpler law of strategy than that of keeping one's forces concentrated....In short the first principle is: act with the utmost concentration

                  -Emperor Sheng-ji Yang
                  journal entry
                  Last edited by Frankychan; December 6, 2001, 01:43.
                  Despot-(1a) : a ruler with absolute power and authority (1b) : a person exercising power tyrannically
                  Beyond Alpha Centauri-Witness the glory of Sheng-ji Yang
                  *****Citizen of the Hive****
                  "...but what sane person would move from Hawaii to Indiana?" -Dis


                  • #10
                    The Grand Temple, near Caledon, Vega Prime

                    "Damn if I know what this is."

                    Derek Sorensen shook his head sharply. The great blue orb of Vega had barely risen over the lands of Avalon, and the shadows sat long over the ruined complex designated the Grand Temple.

                    "The hieroglyphics are different than anywhere else on the wall," Sorensen's assistant chimed in.

                    "And different than any other symbols on this planet," Sorensen snapped. Noticing the young woman's surprised expression, the scientist apologized. "I'm sorry. I've been up too long."

                    But the pull of the ruins had been too much to resist. The roof was long gone, but the Grand Temple's walls were almost a hundred feet tall, every inch covered in bizarre alien writing. Despite their silvery metallic appearance, there was no hint of rust or decay on them. Great thick lines ran across the structure, from top to bottom and side to side, some straight, some curved, some closed, some opening like Progenitor resonant conduits.

                    "Maybe that panel was the control center for . . . whatever this place was." Sorensen's assistant gestured at the writing. "These lines might indicate -"

                    She stopped mid-sentence. Sorensen twitched and turned abruptly. For just a minute, the researcher had felt a tingling in the back of his neck, and a sensation of being watched. Looking back towards the panel, his vision focused just in time to see a green pulse run up the wall from the top to the bottom. At the same time something gripped Sorensen like an invisible force, shaking him on what seemed to be the molecular level. He pressed his temples hard with his fingertips.

                    "Are you all right?" Sorensen looked back at the wall. The lines around the singular panel had changed position. The topmost characters were pulsing in the same green light. Derek swallowed hard.

                    "Let's . . . let's head back to base," he suggested. "Get some breakfast."

                    The assistant seemed visibly shaken. "We can check with Seismology. Maybe they felt that too."


                    Blackrock Spire, Northern Ophelia, Rigel System

                    The native Ophelians had little that humans would recognize as language. But it was enough to co-ordinate their movements. The intruders were killing their land. Every day their black towers vomited more poison into the air, every day more earth was ruined, its entrails carved out for who knew what purpose.

                    Clutching simple weapons in their hands, the warmales slipped forward. Somewhere ahead were the enemy. They had been here earlier; the entire forest was tainted by their stench. Somewhere ahead . . .

                    Explosions. Light. Ululating pulses. Oblivion.

                    Six Drone marines stepped out of the bushes, advancing cautiously through the snow. Their innocuous-looking jackets belied the advanced weaponry they carried; impact rifles and close-range cutting lasers. In fact the sports-style attire concealed a layer of nano-engineered armor, light enough to wear for a marathon but strong enough to stop a bullet.

                    Picking up one of the warmales' rifles, a marine said, "This is rather easy." His contempt for the natives was clear; he was a man of the 28th century, fighting creatures armed with weapons that would not have looked out of place in the 18th century.

                    "Be thankful for small mercies," another said. "Let's go."

                    Stepping over the sprawling reptilian bodies, the Drones hurried away through the forest.
                    Last edited by Mr. President; July 30, 2002, 03:33.
                    Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.


                    • #11
                      Location: Earth Coalition HQ

                      Nicholas Popullos moved swiftly past the swarm of journalists and flying automated cameras, which recorded his every move (in 3D), every reaction to the questions thrusted at him and the diplomatic secretary. Not a small number of bodyguards followed, and escorted them to the black diplomatic hover-vehicle. From inside, an old hand opened the door and Nicholas stepped in, followed by his co-traveller. The doors shut and they hovered off in the direction of the spaceport.
                      It was a bright June noon in Geneva, and Nicholas’ green-blue eyes stared past the vast building complexes of the Parliament, past the crowd of journalists and security, and out to the blue skies above – where he would be soon. If his departure were delayed, they wouldn’t be able to go for a while, since Sol will eclipse Saturn and thereby making FTL travel more difficult for the light diplomatic ship to handle. Only combat and scout-ships were capable of reaching Saturn more quickly and bypass massive objects, such as Sol. And a governed colony without it’s magistrate is not a good thing to leave on it’s own.
                      “Missing open skies already?” asked the old man opposite him, with a wry smile. He was short, dressed in a grey suit and had a shoulder-length white hair. Blue eyes stared back at Nicholas expecting an elaboration on the question.
                      “Well… Mars didn’t exactly have an ‘open sky’ either… Mister?” he asked with his deep voice, sounding much more mature than his relatively young age.
                      “Jonas Ray,” they shook hands. “I will be taking care of your little trip to Titan. Tell me something Mister Popullos, how much do you exactly know about your destination?” He gave Nicholas a questionable look and the diplomatic secretary coughed, seemingly without intention.
                      “I have studied Saturn and our colonies in depth. I know pretty much everything there is to know, for a Magistrate, of course,” he answered in a crisp British accent. Jonas leaned back and relaxed his expression.
                      “I see. Well, one thing I can tell you, Mister Popullos, is that nothing is black and white, good or evil, yin or yang, concerning humans and their ‘interests’,” he smiled briefly. There was silence for the next couple of minutes and suspicious glances were exchanged. Nicholas wondered what was the old man on about. Yes, he was the new DUE magistrate to the colony but shifts in government shouldn’t cause such stirrings, or will they? They passed through a dim-lit tunnel and soon stopped at an entrance to a strange complex, where security waited. Then Nicholas was signalled that they have arrived.


                      Location: On board EC diplomatic ship, en route to Saturn

                      Travelling from Mars to Earth was a quick trip compared to this one, at least as far as Nicholas was concerned. As he waited in his small temporary room, the thoughts and suspicions arisen by Jonas invaded his minds, sparing him no peace. “Was it really to do with the power shift in the Parliament?” he asked himself. “What about the incident between InEn and the Morganities? Or am I missing something?” He ordered a set of data on Titan’s history, political, social and economic, before departure. “Just to see if anything is out of the ordinary,” he thought. Nicholas moved in his hovering seat, from the entertainment screen to the digital node installed in the corner of the room. The screen was a couple of millimetres thick and was, seemingly, radiation-free. A scrolling marquee ran across the screen, with the symbol of InEn. “Even this blasted ship is built by InEn!” he felt slightly alarmed.
                      He moved his hands around in mid-air, the computer sensing the movement, as if it was done on an imaginary keyboard, and downloaded the requested files. Nicholas skid through the text, not seeing anything odd. After a couple of minutes, he was scanning the police files and then he found it – there was absolutely no crime reported at a period of time, but the police budget grew instead of falling due to inaction. “Weren’t the Belters being attacked at the time?!” He lifted his right hand to scratch his head, and the computer translated the movement into “skip file”.
                      “No!” Nicholas shouted at the machine, but it was too late. “Retrieve data!” he requested, but instead he received a message that due to the ship nearing the destination, all entertainment and non-essential nodes must be shut down. He sighed, got out of the chair, picked up his few belongings and headed for the landing pods. Before landing, Nicholas watched in awe at Saturn and their true destination – Titan. He looked at the strange orange world and pondered at what secrets it was hiding from him.


                      “Every moment passes through the synapses of time, and each one is wasted. Such beauty of the universe, such depths of our people’s souls and yet we drain it to satisfy our own greedy interests. What have we become as a species? And what of us now? We have already been brought to the verge of extinction – shall we let our society crumble and attempt collective suicide, yet again?”

                      Nicholas Popullos
                      “Psychology and Man”
                      Last edited by Cybergod; December 6, 2001, 18:48.
                      ... This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality...
                      ... Pain is an illusion...


                      • #12

                        Above Earth's Moon, Sol System, Terran Territories

                        Imran Siddiqui, Chief Advisor to CEO Morgan of Morgan Interstellar, was less than pleased. He’d been wary of InEn from the start, and now even more so. He wasn’t crazy about being shipped off to Earth’s moon to see some more untrustworthy InEn fellows. Imran was a trusted Morganite advisor (as well as the CEO’s best friend), so he saw little reason that it had to be him that was shipped off. Of course, it was probably because he was so trusted that he was sent. At least the diplomatic ship was luxurious enough to suit the tastes of any Morganite patrician.

                        Imran was among the delegates being sent to reason with InEn. The most famous of the bunch, Imran noted, was probably Mr. T.M. Morgan-Reilly. Other than the colorful Morgan-Reilly, Imran traveled with Mrs. Sonia Rabinowitch, the vice-minister of foreign affairs. There was also the beautiful diplomat to the Terran alliance, Miss Kathyrn Dewhurst, and several lesser-known fellows, such as Mr. Chinn, Mr. O’Loughlin, and Mr. Konstantin. All in all, they were a fairly reliable bunch.

                        It was now about noon on the Earth’s moon, and it would have been about midnight for the city of Morgan Interstellar. “We are approaching the Earth’s moon now, Mr. Morgan-Reilly,” called Lieutenant-Colonel Marx from the front of the ship. Sure enough, the moon was in full view of the ship. It was the first time Imran had seen it since leaving Earth on the Unity so long ago. Many ages had passed sinces, and many lives had begun and ended. Imran always liked the way the Earth's moon appeared; despite it’s rather lifeless appearance. He’d heard someone say that it looked like some ‘hideous skull’, but he felt that this was hardly the case. What did look somewhat hideous, however, was the convoy of InEn warships approaching the smaller diplomatic ship.

                        “What is that?” asked Konstantin angrily. To Siddiqui, Konstantin's words sounded more like "Vhat iz dat?", and Siddiqui stifled a little laugh.

                        “InEn convoy, Sir. They say that they’ve come to escort us down,” responded Marx.

                        “Bloated idiots,” squealed Konstantin. The aged Russian obviously didn’t have a very high opinion of InEn. Imran had much the same opinion. He’d never seen anything in InEn short of aggression. That man, Craylen Kvaerner, head of InEn, was totally corrupt. Worse than your average Morganite, in fact.

                        “They certainly aren’t the most pleasant individuals, I’m afraid,” said Miss Dewhurst, who’d had to deal with them many times before, “I’m afraid they’ll be exceedingly cold, to the last degree. We’ll have to expect that they will hold us responsible for all this. They may even attempt to lay claims on us for the loss of their supply ship. Of course, if they do…”

                        “If they do,” said Imran, “They’ll receive quite a backlash for two reasons. Firstly, that we had the more expensive ship, and if they can lay claims on us we can certainly do the same to them, and secondly, no one can prove that we were responsible for the disaster. All reports seem to indicate that they themselves were the first to open fire.”

                        “Exactly,” responded Miss Dewhurst.

                        “They don’t stand a chance, then,” said Morgan-Reilly…again.

                        “If this does lead to war,” said Mrs. Rabinowitch, thinking practically, “and I do pray that it does not, we shall probably be able to finish it on our own. However, if the thing becomes difficult, I can secure help from the Titan and Rhea Colony, possibly. It may well work. They have a modest group of colonies on Saturn’s moons. Apparently they are for planned economics, so maybe it’ll work out. There is talk of revolution, there, and there has been ever since the Earthers carried out their 'secret' purges there. One never can tell.”

                        “That does remain a possibility,” chimed O’Loughlin, “but how about the Spartans and the Drones, our most powerful allies?”

                        “I’d say the Spartans have a good chance of entering the war on our side, but I can’t say for certain about the Drones, I’ve not heard from them since they sent their condolences. It’s a possibility. Their leader, Adams, is a Morganite supporter, so it may well be the case.”

                        “Excuse me, sorry everyone, but you’ll have to sit down and buckle up once again, we shall be landing shortly,” called back Major Carter of the security company that accompanied the delegates. Everyone did as they were told.

                        The Surface of Earth's Moon, InEn Moonbase Delta-Seven Conference Hall

                        Siddiqui looked out of his window as the ship slowly came to rest on a landing pad in a rather large crater. The moonbase certainly was impressive. From above, the thing resembled a giant octopus. The complex was composed of the giant main hall directly in the center, and eight long hallways (resembling tentacles) that led to smaller buildings (suckers, perhaps?). There was gathered a great crowd by the landing pad. Imran noted that the majority of the people in the crowd were simply InEn soldiers, all armed of course. When the ship landed, the Morganite delegates were escorted into the conference hall by a detachment of InEn soldiers under the command of a Colonel Basil Turchinov. Turchinov seemed to be a fairly unpleasant individual. He was large, strong, and he smelled bad. His beard was also very large, and was very greasy as well. He would have made the perfect psychopath. Though the soldiers failed to impress Imran, the conference hall did. It was very large, with high walls, and in place of a roof there was a large glass dome. The only light in the building was artificial.

                        “Your seat, Sir,” said one of the more pleasant InEn workers to Imran as he came in. The fellow pulled out a chair and Imran sat down, thanking him. The room was fairly bland, the walls were constructed with artificial marble. It was fairly pitiful looking, actually. In the center of the room was a table that curved around the room in a circular motion. It was made of a wood that Imran could not identify. It then struck him that the wood was artificial, just like everything else in the room. The only thing that didn’t seem to be artificial was the glass (or, as it actually was, plastic) dome and the spectacular view of the heavens that it showed.

                        A tall, hairless man came walking up to the Morganite diplomats. “I am James Johnston, sirs and madames, the central delegate from InEn,” the man said with a smile, “and this,” he said, gesturing to the three other delegates standing behind him, “is Mr. Hildebrant, Miss Shimony, and Mr. Alvarado.” The three all bore wide smiles on their faces. ‘Yet more things’, thought Imran, ‘that are artificial in this room’. He knew that this was all a show on InEn’s part. “We shall start,” announced Johnston, “in about ten minutes. I hope everyone is ready by then.”

                        Ten minutes passed quickly. Sure enough everyone was ready in time.

                        “Now,” began Mr. Johnston, “firstly I wish to thank you for coming here today for this all important peace conference. Secondly I wish to thank InEn for use of this complex for the conference itself,” (everyone on the InEn side of the room began to clap very loudly indeed) “and lastly I wish to thank Colonels Turchinov and Marx for providing apt security. You never know what can happen,” said Johnston with a laugh. This was the cause of several laughs from the InEn side of the room. Imran just felt nauseated. “The primary purpose of this conference is to assure peace for our times between those two great companies, Morgan Conglomerate and Interplantery Enterprises. To prevent war over the sad disaster that occurred last week is our main cause. Now, without further ado, let us hear the opening arguments,” and with those words Johnston sat down and the conference officially began.

                        At first, Mr. Johnston and Morgan-Reilly exchanged views on how sad and tragic the disaster was. “A shared tragedy” Johnston called it. When this had become exceedingly tiresome for everyone, Mr. Hildebrant brought up the subject of laying claims, just as Miss Dewhurst had suspected would happen. “In reparations,” began Maximillian Hildebrant, “Morgan Interstellar owes us a large sum of money. They destroyed our property, and they must, I believe, pay the fine.”

                        Miss Dewhurst stood up, she’d been rehearsing this in her mind and now she was ready. “That claim is mutual. As soon as our government pays you reparations, you shall have to pay us reparations.”

                        “You? Reparations?” screamed Hildebrant.

                        “Yes, reparations for our own, larger and much more expensive supply ship, which your people shot down,” responded Dewhurst.

                        “We owe you nothing. Our ship destroyed yours in self-defense.”

                        “And our ship destroyed yours in self-defense.”

                        “You wouldn’t have lost your ship had it not fired upon ours.”

                        “I abject,” cried Morgan-Reilly, standing up, “There is no evidence that it is we who fired the first shot, Mr. Hildebrant. You’d be wise to remember that there is just as much chance that it was your own ship that opened fire!”

                        “Gentlemen, please!” cried Johnston with another artificial smile, “Let’s not get excitable. Mr. Morgan-Reilly, let me assure you on the behalf of our President and CEO that Interplanetary Enterprises has never shown aggression toward Morgan Interstellar in any way.”

                        “Does he expect us to believe that bunk?” whispered Morgan-Reilly to Imran, who began to chuckle.

                        “Excuse me, Mr. Morgan-Reilly, would you care to repeat that?” called out Johnston.

                        “Yes, I would. I would very much like to do so. What you are saying, my dear fellow, is a load of bunk. I wish to leave. I’ll come back when you want to be honest with us, but when we come over for a peace conference and instead have to listen to your spiel and your bunk, I get angry.”

                        “Mr. Morgan-Reilly!” cried Johnston, in a shocked voice, “What ever can you…”

                        “Don’t give me that!”


                        “Look, stop talking nonsense, let’s get down to business. I didn’t come from one system to another to hear your exercises in idiocy, I came to stop a war.”

                        “If that’s the way you feel, sir, I do not care to speak any longer with you. We have tolerated your insults up to this…”

                        “Oh shut up,” said Morgan-Reilly, and he began to walk off. Imran and everyone else did the same.

                        “Well!” cried Johnston, and sat down in a snit.

                        The Morganite delegates and their guards left the hall, slamming the huge (artificial) wood doors behind them. They then walked back to the exit, and prepared to put their space suits back on. It was then that someone burst in. He was tall, yellow haired, and dressed entirely in black. Everyone assumed he was with InEn. “Yes? What do you need?” asked O’Loughlin. The intruder did not answer verbally, but instead opted to pull out a small shredder pistol. The first shot tore into O’Loughlin’s chest, and the second wounded a young security guard. Lt. Col. Marx and Maj. Carter aimed directly at the intruder with their chaos pistols and fired. The top part of the intruder’s body exploded in a flash of white and scarlet. The other delegates rushed to the floored O’Loughlin.

                        Konstantin gripped O’Loughlin’s head and the dying man said something softly. No one quite caught it. “Excuse me?” asked Konstantin.

                        “Sorry about this,” responded O’Loughlin, who promptly died. After a few minutes in which everyone was too shocked to move, the diplomats put their suits on, and a suit was put on the wounded soldier, and they prepared to carry the body back into the ship.

                        “What about the intruder?” asked Mrs. Rabinowitch.

                        “Come on,” responded Morgan-Reilly, “the InEn guys can wash him off the walls later.”

                        About 15 minutes later the ship had left the moon and was hurrying back to Cyrus. Everyone was a bit too shocked to talk. Imran felt the whole thing was surreal. The idiot at the conference (if it could even be called that, it last little over 2 hours and nothing was accomplished), the conference itself, and the murder. There was something phony about the whole thing, as if it had all been planned to go exactly as it did. Imran couldn’t say exactly what he was thinking, it was all too odd.

                        Another 15 minutes passed when Major Carter stepped back to speak to the passengers. There was a solemn look on his face. He was sick to his stomach. “It seems we are being pursued by InEn warships. They will probably overtake us. I’m very sorry to have to report this.”

                        “Oh Lord,” said Imran. The calm of the ship’s passengers ended, and many of them panicked. Morgan-Reilly dropped to his knees and, for perhaps the first time in his life, began to pray. There was a squadron of small (but extremely deadly) InEn warships coming on hard. Now Imran was sure it had all been planned to go exactly as it did. And he wasn’t too pleased by that prospect.
                        Last edited by History Guy; April 8, 2002, 16:39.
                        Empire growing,
                        Pleasures flowing,
                        Fortune smiles and so should you.


                        • #13
                          Planet MI-35, about 40 miles below Space Station Camacho, the Bree Fringe

                          The Drone dropship descended rapidly towards MI-35's surface, grav boosters firing forcefully. Simon Allison, Lance Corporal, Drone Republic Space Marines, clutched his particle impactor like a man at sea. Around him were the solemn faces of twenty Marines like himself, many of them even younger than he.

                          One year out of the Academy, Corporal Allison was being thrown into one of the most volatile flashpoints in the known universe. It felt almost like a training exercise, but there was none of the laughing and joking that so frequently accompanied such events.

                          The Bree had been sighted in the system.

                          Only one ship confirmed, a light transport. Even those, however, could carry a hundred elite Bree fighters. Allison swallowed as he thought about the stories told about the enigmatic aliens throughout the Drone Republic. They were supposed to be large, fast, cunning, and merciless. Some crueller rumor-mongers liked to tell people (particularly young soldiers who had just completed training) that the Bree had a particular ritual for dealing with their prisoners. First the bones of the arms would be broken. Then the eyes removed with surgical precision, to adorn the necklace of a war chief. Then the hapless human would be killed.

                          The dropship hit the ground. Almost before the large door was fully open, Allison and the other Marines poured out into the misty atmosphere of MI-35. "Secure the perimeter," was the order. Weapons armed, the troops spread out a hundred yards on either side of the ship, scurrying from one covering rock to another. Allison took stock of his surroundings. MI-35 was a desolate planet; all he saw were twisted rocks and gnarled vegetation, a blighted landscape stretching for ever in every direction. The air smelled like sulphur, a stifling background.

                          "Eyes open, boys," the commander, a major who Allison did not recognize, ordered. "We've got support coming down in twenty minutes."

                          Helping two other marines assemble a medium-weight grenade launcher, Allison thought about Station Camacho above them. It was not just a military base any more; nearly one and a half million people lived there. If the Bree were coming in force, disaster loomed for those people.

                          The launcher completed, Allison reached inside his armor jacket and pulled out a small gold locket. He flipped it open to take one last look at Jacqui before the operation began in earnest.

                          "Stand ready! Prepare to receive the next dropship!"

                          Simon put the tiny photograph back, close to his heart. The Bree would take Jacqui's blue eyes over his dead body.
                          Last edited by Mr. President; December 26, 2003, 02:34.
                          Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.


                          • #14
                            Somewhere on Moon

                            Two men in pressure suits walked on the grey dustball called Moon.
                            "Earth can not be seen for another two hours", the taller man sighed, ending a long silence between them.
                            "You still miss the place? I grow soon tired of even watching the blasted thing", his companion blurted.
                            They covered some more metres. The ground started to elevate, and soon they were standing on a ridge. The Interplanetary Enterprises Moonbase Delta Seven, a dense group of white domes, dark grey structures, and transparent greenhouses bringing much needed colour to the landscape, was a few kilometres away.
                            "Moonbase what's-it's-name", the tall man presented, almost with pride.
                            "Now that we are here, would you mind telling me what we are doing here?"
                            "Admiring the view", the tall man replied and produced a pair of electronic binoculars from the chaos of his backpack. He started scanning the Moonbase carefully.
                            The other man yawned and sat down on a rock he deemed flat enough not to puncture the suit. He stretched his limbs, took a sip of NutriSoup and watched the sky. "One thing I love about this place", he said to his fellow, "are the stars. Nothing like it on Earth. The frigging atmosphere makes them all fuzzy. Right, Greg?"
                            Greg took the binoculars off from his helmet, turned around and said with enthusiasm: "Come, you have to see this."
                            The shorter man rose, straigthened his back and grabbed the binos offered to him.
                            "Look at point 46 dash 77."
                            "How about that. A space ship. A ship that travels in space", he said, benevolently at first, but then snarled: "Like the ones we see everyday at Tranquility City!" He shoved the binoculars back to Greg.
                            "You do not understand! This is not a space ship. This is a Morganite ship. The peace ship, Filkins", Greg replied, and gave the binos back to Filkins.
                            "Aahh, now you have me interested", Filkins replied. "I have never seen a Morganite one live."
                            "My point exactly. This is the second Chironian ship we have sighted!" Greg said, referring to the Spartan ship some while ago back at Telemark Base.
                            "But why walk all this way to the middle of Lunar nothingness? I heard that some were going to land at Copernicus in the near future. Why did you drag me here?"
                            "Oh come on, you know as well as I do that the guys at the Club of Lunar Ship Sighters will be impressed to hear that we spotted a Morganite ship in action. And I would of taken a Crawler, but all were taken and the next one would not be free until tomorrow. Besides..." Greg's talk changed to a whisper, even though they were discussing via a secure radio frequency, "I heard that InEn and the Morganites are going to wage war. And I doubt that we'd see much more Morganites around these parts if that would happen, nah? Might be the only chance for a commoner for a long time!"
                            "Damn it, Greg, you are right. Now where was that camera of mine. We need some evidence to show to the other Clussers!"


                            InEn Combat Ship DeLorean, Command ship of 6th Fleet

                            "The Conference apparently did not proceed as planned", Captain Sagan asked quietly the man on the screen opposite to him. The Morganite ship had departed prematurely, and had left Moon orbit some while ago.
                            "You are correct. Now, I have direct orders for you, directly from Military Operations Command", Colonel Turchinov, appointed security chief of Moonbase Delta Seven, said to the Captain.
                            "Sir?" This must be rather important, Sagan thought to himself. He motioned his first officer to come closer and hear what Turchinov had to say.
                            "You are to take a group of ships you find most appropriate for the task, and destroy the Morganite ship", Turchinov said, without even blinking his eyes.
                            "Destroy a peace ship? That is a very immoral -"
                            "Those are your orders, Sagan, and if you will not obey them, I will relieve you of your contract. I am sure that someone else from the Sixth would be more then pleased to accomplish this task."
                            "Sir, I -" Sagan attempted to abject.
                            "It is your choice, Captain, but I need your reply as soon as possible. Timing is essential."
                            "Very well sire", Sagan replied and closed the commlink. "Commander", he ordered the first officer, "make it so."
                            The first officer started to issue commands to the other bridge officers, as Sagan sat in his chair and pondered intensely. Even though he would have to kill people, he could affect the event at some level.


                            "Oh heavens, it's leaving!" Greg said in slight disappointment.
                            "Quickly, I want pictures of it in flight", Filkins said and continued to burn out the visual memory on his data disc.
                            After the ship had left, the men sat down and had some lunch.
                            "Tell me", Filkins requested, "what is that?" He said and pointed at the Moonbase.
                            "Let me see", Greg replied, pulled out the binoculars and looked. "I'll be damned, it's a person in a pressure suit. He is running."
                            "Why on Moon? That's rather dangerous."
                            "He is not wearing a cheap model suit", Greg countered, "this looks more expensive. Made of fibres that are resistant to sharp objects."
                            "I see. Where is he headed to?"
                            "Our way, apparently."
                            A while passed as the men stood and watched the running person. Greg tried to contact him, or her, with his radio link, but to no avail.
                            "Hmph. You would think that a suit of that kind ought to have a working communicator", he muttered. Suddenly, a bleep echoed in their helmets, as a signal of an incoming official transmission.
                            "This is an Interplanetary Enterprises security announcement. This sector of Moonside has been closed down from other then permissioned InEn personnel. All trespassers will be escorted out of the area." The men closed the frequency from their speakers, as the report started to repeat.
                            "Maybe the fellow is coming to show us out?" Filkins suggested.
                            "All by himself? I smell something, and it isn't my - What's this?"
                            "What?" Filkins asked, somewhat concerned of the tone of Greg's voice.
                            "There's a bunch of people, and it appears that they are following him... Wait..." Greg jumped slightly, turned around and started to run. "Come Filkins, we are out of here!"
                            Filkins looked, puzzled, through the zoom on his camera. It appeared that the first person was being chased by a group of others, brandishing what appeared to be disruptor rifles. Swiftly Filkins took heed of his companions prompt and started to gallop to catch Greg, at the same time securing his camera and the data disc inside.


                            The DeLorean was closing in on the apparently slower Morganite ship.
                            "First officer, if you want to keep your job, none of this leaves the ship", Sagan informed before discussing the situation. "I have no intention whatsoever to actually destroy that ship. It is clear that they are desperately trying to get their FTL drive on as quickly as possible, since our FTL engines are slower then theirs. Now, I want to take some shots at it, and even hit it, but what I do not want to do is disable their life support, or any ability that would in any way inflict damage to their main engines. Suggestions?"
                            "Having no accurate data on Morganite ships might, as ironic as it is, turn out as their end. At least in this case", the first officer replied. "Our limited information might cause us to accidentally hit a vital system, crippling the ship effectively. Did we receive orders to take the crew as captives if possible?"
                            "No, they could of done that at base. They were inable to shoot at the ship there, however, because they had specifically requested the Coalition to stay out of it. And all defense systems are under goverment control."
                            "I see. I would suggest loading the forward rail guns with high density penetration slugs. We could use them to punch some holes in the lower decks, which usually serve as storage grounds."
                            "The two metre holes they would make would be easy to repair."
                            "Yet, Captain, it would hinder them somewhat. But to make it look like as if we were actually trying to harm them", the first officer reminded him, "we would need to launch some torpedoes. Like I said before, the lower decks should be our target."
                            "Looks like you have a plan. Relay it to Tactical, officer. I will instruct the helm to get us on the belly side of the Morganites."


                            "The Moon Conference failed big time", the InEn liaison director explained. "Also, I am afraid to inform you that the local sixth fleet of the company has been ordered to pursue the Morganite vessel and eliminate it."
                            Prime Minister Drecaille shivered. If this would get out, the public would be screaming for justice. Even the most prominent Coalition citizens would demand prosecution. And, it would probably get CPP a win in the next parliamentary elections.
                            "Some mess we are in", Drecaille analyzed the situation and motioned the clerk to mark this assembly as 'Top Secret'. Approving nods from the other Cabinet members.
                            The Economic Development of World people, Ministers of Economics, Internal Affairs, Communication and Agriculture, to be exact, were looking profoundly grim. The EDW was a prominent supporter of InEn, and without them in the Cabinet the Coalition would of probably already condoned openly all InEn actions, not to mention dispatching the Navy immediately to protecting the Morganites.
                            "We are going to get a serious ultimatum from Morgan Interstellar", the Minister of External Affairs, Peter Kalm blurted. "Even if the ship is not destroyed, the will not tolerate an attack on their ship by officially Coalition citizens."
                            "Peter is correct", Drecaille responded. "We need to think of a way we can resign from all this in it's entirety."
                            "InEn can not be let go rampant like this", Minister of Defense, Adrian Koch, announced. "Hey may be a major tax payer, but that does not give them a right to go on a personal crusade like this."
                            "Get real", the Minister of Economics replied. "Without InEn credits, the Solaris class would be still on someone's design program. Not to mention the fighters. You would still be fooling around with Blazers if it weren't for InEn research and development!"
                            "Who is the President of the Coalition of Earth? Henry Tremaine or Craylen Kvaerner?" Koch turned to Drecaille. "I plea to you, Prime Minister. End this nonsense here and now!"
                            "What do you suggest, Adrian?"
                            "But Prime Minister!" the Minister of Economics shouted.
                            Koch cleared his throat. "I suggest that we inform InEn, that if they do not cancel this campaign, and let the Morganite ship be, the goverment will proceed in taking control of all their assets on Earth. And I ask you that, at the same time, I can issue the Supreme Commander of Marine Corps an order to increase Police Force readiness by two steps. This way, we can send InEn a signal telling them that we are serious."
                            "Ridiculous!" was all that the Minister of Economics could say.
                            "I suggest we vote on it", Drecaille suggested. "Objections?"


                            "Forward rail guns charged and loaded."
                            Sagan sighed and looked at the scanner image of the enemy ship. "One to six, fire!" Some silent thuds could be heard on the bridge. All the slugs hit the ship and pierced it's hull. "Seven to fifteen, fire!" Sagan zoomed on a part of the ship's belly, which was turning into Swiss cheese as the slugs minced it. Pulverized hull plates started to swirl around the holes, accompanied by a white stream of moist oxygen escaping the insides of the ship.
                            "Arm three torpedos", Sagan ordered. "Target them at the lower part of bow. Fire at will." The thuds gained strength as the ordinance they used was now heavier.
                            "Damage report on enemy ship", Sagan requested.
                            "Serious damage to bow. Enemy speed down by three percents, but speed is now accelerating steadily."
                            Perfect, Sagan thought to himself. The ship hull was not of the best and securest possible materials to combat purposes, but it took some serious blows without trouble.
                            "Your orders, Captain?"
                            "Continue firing the forward rail guns at the bow. Same ammunition."


                            Now the mysterious running man was at the same plateau with Greg and Filkins. He was obviously faster then the pair, and gained the distance gradually.
                            "I wonder what he was doing there", Greg blurted.
                            "Probably a thief or an industrial spy, I guess", Filkins replied.
                            "I hope he is not armed", Greg said.
                            "Are you stupid? Why do you think they are following him with those disruptor rifles?"
                            They picked up their pace somewhat.


                            Sagan felt as if he was shooting an elephant with a BB gun. Except that the bow of an elephant did not disintegrate under constant fire. The ship still had over ninety percent of it's hull left, but it looked like mortally wounded with fuel and gases constantly flowing out to the vacuum.
                            "The Morganite ship is hailing us", the communications operator said. This was the first time the Morganites tried to hail them.
                            "Lock them out." Sagan did not felt like talking at that time.
                            "The other captains of the fleet are asking, when can they join in combat."
                            "Tell them that I will contact them when it is required. Tell them also that they are at this time serving as backup only."
                            The other captains were a liability. Sagan had always felt uncomfortable with them, and they all seemed to grave his position as Fleet Commander.
                            "When is the ship going to FTL?" Sagan asked the first officer.
                            "It's hard to tell. Usually the ship's FTL drive will start emitting radiation just in the moment of peak acceleration. And, do know, that the ship will not get at all faster in our scanners when the acceleration happens. It will disappear for a while, until we can tune them to longer distances. And in some moments, we will lose it since it will get out of range."
                            "We have an incoming message from Military Command", the communications operator informed. "They demand that I put them through."
                            "Do as they say."
                            "Captain Sagan, this is Military Operations Command. Disengage the Morganite ship immediately!"
                            "Excuse me?" Sagan asked. He was glad if it was true, but he could not understand why Command couldn't decide whether to destroy them or not. He waited for an order to board the ship, but:
                            "Disengage, Captain, and return to Moon as soon as possible. Repeat, return to Moon ASAP. Disengage Morganite ship."
                            "Roger that, Command -"
                            The consoles started to bleep. The scanners had lost the ship.


                            The mystery man reached them.
                            "I need your help", he said through the radio.
                            "What?" Greg asked, and was almost outraged by the man's rudeness. Just coming to me and bossing me around, sheesh, he thought.
                            "I need you to take this to Tranquil City", the man said and handed them a brand new data disc. "The instructions are there, the rest is encrypted."
                            "Who are you?" Filkins asked.
                            The man looked behind him. His chasers were getting closer and closer every second.
                            "I have no time to tell. Please, go. They have no right to inspect you, they are not from the Police Force."
                            "We know, we are Coalition citizens, but -"
                            "Go already!" the man said and drew a shredder pistol. Filkins and Greg left with all due speed. When they looked back after some time, all they could see was flashes of disruptor fire.
                            Last edited by Kassiopeia; December 8, 2001, 12:46.
                            Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!


                            • #15
                              Planet: Plex Anthill
                              Recreation Commons

                              The recreation commons, though sparcely filled, had a certain charm to it. Tables were scattered throughout the place and genetically engineered plants were arranged in simple designs. Emperor Yang once said, "Scarcity is what creates value and worth", and the commons seemed to epitomise this belief.

                              Seated on one of these tables was Ambassador Telhai M'rock, a Fran. Across from him was a common citizen M'rock met while walking through the commons. On the table was a simple chess set, black obsidian figures engaged against pieces of white marble.

                              "So citizen," M'rock said in a friendly voice, "What is it that you do?" Lifting his piece, a black knight, he overtook a white bishop.

                              The human citizen, dressed in a bland gray, moved one of his pieces. "My lord, I am an engineer. I take care of the turbolifts throughout the various levels."

                              Just then, another person suddenly approached the ambassador. Dressed in the Hive military uniform, he carried a small datapad.

                              "Ambassador M'rock? You have an urgent message from Minister Zell." The attendant said behind M'rocks back.

                              Telhai winced a bit. He hated being called during a chess match. M'rock glanced at the engineer playing chess with him.

                              "I'm sorry but we will have to play another time."

                              The engineer stood up and bowed, "Yes, my lord." He said and left.

                              M'rock spun around to face the attendant,"Alright, let me have it." he said, holding out his hand.

                              The attendant stepped forward and handed the datapad to the ambassador. Not waiting any longer, the man did an about-face and left.

                              M'rock pressed the flashing button on the datapad's side and immediately a recording of Minister Zell materialized on the screen.

                              "Ambassador M'rock," Zell began, "Our lord Emperor Yang wants you to go to the Spartan border. There is a high probability that Hive space will be invaded and he wants you to try and negotiate with them. You are to send a message that we know of their intentions and wish to discuss this in neutral territory."

                              M'rocks face went from shock to concern. He listened as the recording continued.

                              "You are to leave as soon as you receive this message. We have sent a fleet to try and prevent the Spartans from invading the Emperor's space if the talks go bad. May the Emperor bless you in this endeavor." The screen suddenly went black.

                              Telhai rubbed his face, letting this shocking news soak in. Minutes later, he stood up to prepare for his departure.

                              * * *

                              1 HOUR LATER

                              Ambassador M'rock boarded his ship, the Bringer of Peace , in a hurry. Worried, he sat in his personal cabin.

                              "One minute until lift-off, sir." The pilot announced through the speaker.

                              Ambassador M'rock waited, contemplating what he should say when suddenly the ships engines kicked in and theBringer of Peace was vomited forth from the massive cavern into space. When the ship passed through the atmosphere, it was met by two frigate ships.

                              The pilot pushed his comm to the cabin. "My lord, two frigate ships are here to accompany us to our destination. All we need is your order to jump."

                              Ambassador M'rock glanced out his view port, staring at the two warships and the blackness of space. Sleek and bristling with weaponry, the frigate ships looked like two menacing thorns floating in the void. No one understands us , he thought. Only if everyone could see how Emperor Yang has created unity and harmony amongst our various people.

                              "Pilot, inform the other ships that we are ready to jump."

                              Moments later, the three Hive ships jumped into the vastness of space toward the Spartan border.
                              Last edited by Frankychan; December 10, 2001, 01:48.
                              Despot-(1a) : a ruler with absolute power and authority (1b) : a person exercising power tyrannically
                              Beyond Alpha Centauri-Witness the glory of Sheng-ji Yang
                              *****Citizen of the Hive****
                              "...but what sane person would move from Hawaii to Indiana?" -Dis