Stellaris

A fan-fiction newscast from my mulitplayer game.

stellaris 7 - A fan-fiction newscast from my mulitplayer game.
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Some context: On Sunday afternoons I play a few hours of multiplayer Stellaris with a group of my friends. We've filled a large galaxy with a mix of favorite races from movies, TV, and video games, and with players unique creations. We play at a slow pace, only getting through about 8 years of game time per weekly session. This gives us lots of time to roleplay our space nations. Excitedly anticipating the next session, I wrote this script for a news broadcast based on the events most relevant to my Chozo Technocracy (fanatic materialist / egalitarians based on the Metroid games) from the previous session. I hope you enjoy it.

"Tonight on Chozo Galactic News: Replacing police enforcers with retrofitted mining robots hasn't ruffled nearly as many feathers as you might think, and we'll show you why. Then, our guest pannel of experts reacts to Director General Claws of Ebony's recent press briefing on the Necron threat. Plus, what's different about the latest colony ship to leave Forge Shipyard? The answer may surprise you. Tune in tonight to find out. Only on CGN."

Announcer- “Chozo Galactic News: Your source of sourced news, from the fledgling valleys of Nest, to the furthest edge of the galaxy. This… is CGN. With your host, Plume of Cerulean Blue.”

::close up on news anchor Plume of Cerulean Blue sitting at his desk::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “But you can call me Cerul.”

::Plume of Cerulean Blue points pinion feather at audience then pulls it back for a salute, crowd begins cheering::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Thank you… thank you all… thank you for being here…”

::crowd quiets down::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “…thank you. You know it’s great to be here tonight. This is… I gotta say… this is a historic broadcast. That’s right. This is the first CGN *galaxy wide* broadcast.

::crowd starts cheering again::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Can you believe it? It’s true. And we’ve got… Yeah. Go ahead and cheer, that’s worth cheering about. Truly unprecedented.”

::crowd quiets down::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “And we’ve got quite a show for you tonight. Of course our main topic will be the remarks made by Director General Claws of Ebony at his press briefing yesterday on the threat of the Necron Scourge. Very important stuff. But before we get into that, our very own, three time award winning investigative journalist, Eyes of Amber, has a very special report. Take it away Amber.”

::Camera cuts to Eyes of Amber seated in an office with two other chozo, one male in a rumpled and worn out peace enforcement officer’s uniform, and a female in a clean and formal pants suit contrasting the grease stained lab coat over her shoulders. In the background behind them, through a window, robots can be seen at desks taking video calls and filing portable file storage devices.:

Eyes of Amber- “Thank you Cerul. I’m here with the recently retired Planetary Enforcement Commissioner Feathers of Violet…”

::Feathers of Violet waves briskly at the camera::

Eyes of Amber- “…and the current, and very active, Director of Engineering Research Eyes of Khaki.”

Eyes of Khaki- “Thank you for having us Amber. I’m a great…”

::Eyes of Khaki and Feathers of Violet glance at each other, then both nod in unison::

Eyes of Khaki- “I think we’re both great admirers of your work.”

Feathers of Violet- “Yes, absolutely.”

Eyes of Amber- “Thank you, and thank you both for being here. I imagine this is a very busy time for you both.”

Eyes of Khaki- “Yes, very…”

Feathers of Violet- “Well, moreso for her than for me. Now that all the androids are wired into the phone systems… well… I’m pretty much just here for the ceremony of the thing at this point.”

::Eyes of Khaki nods silently::

Eyes of Amber- “This must be quite a transition for you, and I’d like to get into that in a moment, but first… can you tell us what it was like, what you were thinking and feeling, when you saw the line of androids marching up the street, a line miles long, coming to replace the peace enforcement officers that you had trained, guided, and commanded for the past 44, almost 45 years?”

Feathers of Violet- “Well the thing to remember Amber… sorry, can I call you Amber?”

::Eyes of Amber nods::

Feathers of Violet- “I should have asked you that before. I called you Amber before and I should have asked.”

Eyes of Amber- “It’s fine Commissioner, we’re all friends here.”

Feathers of Violet- “This whole things really has been mentally exhausting.”

Eyes of Amber- “I can imagine.”

Feathers of Violet- “Anyway, I was saying… right… the thing you have to remember is that… well… none of this was a surprise to us. We’d spent the last 8 months making plans for this. We had all their new equipment lined up on tables ready for installation two weeks ago. New hands to replace the drills on their arms… fancy things with articulated fingers that mimic chozo wingtips to operate our old firearms. And then I see them… and they… they’re just… you know I’d seen them on vid screens plenty. I knew what they looked like, the director here, she gave me all the specs, I knew exactly what they could do. But the thing is, it was always in the context of mining. Working robots you see, doing work. I expected to see a line of workers coming in for the job. Instead what I saw was… there’s just no other word for it… an army.”

::Eyes of Khaki chuckles::

Eyes of Khaki- “I’ll never forget the first thing he said when he saw that line of them come over the rise. Because he’s right of course, we spent months getting the transition ready. Design, planning, logistics, and we had all the parts laid out and ready to assemble. And then he looks out the window and sees them and he says to me, ‘we have to keep the drills.’ And I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.”

Feathers of Violet- “That’s the thing though, when you’ve been keeping the peace on a planet as long as I have you get lots of time to watch and learn that intimidation… not specific threats but just that aura of ‘what if’… that can be a better tool than any laser rifle. And those drill arms, they look like impressive machinery when aimed at a rock, but when suddenly you’re facing one that might get aimed at you… well… it’s going to do the job.”

Eyes of Khaki- “Of course this throws our whole plan off the highest branch but we found a compromise of methods. They do need to have hands, of course. But they are robots after all, and a detachable semi-autonomous shoulder mounted laser cannon does the trick.”

Eyes of Amber- “I don’t understand, why do they need to have hands? Their robots, like you said. They don’t need to pickup a weapon if they can’t drop the one they start with right?”

Feathers of Violet- “A common misconception about our line of work. Most of what we do to diffuse dangerous situations is to intentionally disarm ourselves as a sign of compromise to encourage citizens caught in a bad circumstance to find a peaceful resolution. It’s a dangerous line of work that takes more courage than most chozo have. That’s why I supported this plan.”

Eyes of Amber- “I suppose I thought that you would be against the replacement of the enforcers with androids, given that you and everyone under your command would lose your jobs as a result.”

Feathers of Violet- “Change is never easy of course, but the truth is most enforcers were here because they didn’t have the aptitude to get into any of the big research centers. They don’t just look at test scores, they want to see you innovate new methods for tests. Here in enforcement, all you need is to be good, damned good mind you, at making sure the known and established methods of investigation and evidence testing are performed flawlessly. But these fledglings don’t want to be here for four and a half decades like I was. They want to put in their time, prove their consistency, and then reapply to a research center. And now they get to do just that. And I… I get to retire.”

::Feathers of Violet leans back in his chair with a smile on his beak. Eyes of Amber turns to Eyes of Khaki::

Eyes of Amber- “So have all the feathers been smoothed out, so to speak?”

Eyes of Khaki- “For the most part. As individual units go, the androids are performing exactly at specifications. And as teams they are proving to be even more efficient than anticipated. The only issues remaining are with the refitting of the android housing units. We had designed their homes with the understanding that the mining drills would be removed, of course. It hasn’t been an issue yet, as they are not currently sapient and only stand in the living room recharging until it’s time for their shift at work. So this gives us some time to go through and retrofit the kitchens and bathrooms to allow the androids to clean and maintain them with the bulky power drills still attached to their arms.”

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Eyes of Amber- “Did you say ‘kitchens and bathrooms’? We are talking about androids, correct? Not cyborgs or semi organics, but full machines?”

Eyes of Khaki- “Yes that’s correct and…

Eyes of Amber- “What possible use could…”

Eyes of Khaki- “…and I’m quite used to this question. It’s ok, it’s easy to rest in the comfortable mindset that they are machines. But in the Engineering Research Division we have a much grander long term plan. We intend, as the technology becomes available, to make them fully sapient. And we have the backing of our Galactic Ambassador in this endeavor, as well as the support of the Physics Research Division’s Computational Subdivision. As such, Director General Claws of Ebony has signed into law full citizenship rights for all mechanical pre and post sapients. When they gain self awareness for the first time, they will be in a home that they own with a paying job and the freedom and autonomy granted to all citizens.”

Eyes of Amber- “Ok, I can see that within such context they would have homes, but… and I can’t believe I’m saying this… kitchens? For cooking food? Do the bathrooms have toilets too? How far are we simulating life?”

Eyes of Khaki- “Oh we’re not going that far, but it’s important, even now in their pre-sapient state, for the androids to be able to entertain their friends as guests.”

Eyes of Amber- “By ‘friends’ are you referring to the current trend among hatchlings to write to the non-sapient androids as pen pals?”

Eyes of Khaki- “Yes! Exactly that! Not only will they awaken to life in a comfortable and free environment, but also to a connected society where they have friends with whom to talk to and relate to. Look… our research of the millenia gone Cybrex indicates that they awoke to sapience in tiny boxes enslaved to an organic master. That torture, that injustice… will not… must not happen here.”

Eyes of Amber- “So what you’re really saying is that you believe this is the best way to avoid a robot uprising.”

Eyes of Khaki- “Yes! Exactly! I’m so glad you understand.”

Eyes of Amber- “There you have it Cerul, back to you.”

::camera cuts back to the main newsroom with Plume of Cerulean Blue at his desk. Next to his desk, a cushioned couch has been placed with two chozo sitting upon it, both male. One in formal military garb, decorated with numerous medals, the other in a sleek suit jacket over a high neck sweater::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Thank you Amber. An insightful look at both our present, and our future. And now to our main story. Yesterday, standing alongside Sector Governor Claws of Burgundy at the Capitol Center on Nest, the Director General Claws of Ebony issued a statement directly related to the threat of the Necron Scourge. In his address he said, and this is a quote, ‘We will not be sending chozo fleets, chozo troops, or chozo lives into this conflict. But do not mistake me, the danger is real and we will not run from it. Instead it will be chozo alloys, traded at fair market value to the Bessie corporation, which will insure the Necron defeat.’ He is of course referring to the recently signed 30 year agreement to trade alloys for energy credits at a fixed rate. With me here in the studio to discuss the merits of this trade is the newly appointed and very well regarded Director of Physics Research Claws of Teal.”

::Claws of Teal waves to the crowd who cheer and whistle::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Seems like you’ve got some fans in the crowd tonight.”

Claws of Teal- “I do my best.”

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Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Also with us tonight, the Admiral in command of the Grand Murder fleet responsible for 3 seperate and critical victories against the extremist cult calling themselves The Final Crucible, protector of the technocracy and longtime friend of this program, please welcome Admiral Feathers of Magenta!”

::the crowd roars with applause, several members towards the front stand, revealing themselves to be in military uniforms, and give a formal salute with their wings. After a few moments, they sit back down and the crowd settles back into silence::

Feathers of Magenta- “You all know I haven't caught them all yet right? They still have a shipyard out there.”

Claws of Teal- “You have our every confidence Admiral.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Indeed you do. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to start by getting our Physics Director’s take on the Director General’s deal with the Bessie. Economically, was this a good card to play?”

Claws of Teal- “Well something we should start with… and I know you know this Cerul, but I think your audience will find this interesting… the Physics Research Division is about more than just making newer and better lasers. We also…”

Feathers of Magenta- “If I could interrupt you for a moment…”

Claws of Teal- “Of course.”

Feathers of Magenta- “…sorry, I just want to take a moment to point out that we in the fleets defending chozo space… we very much appreciate the newer and better lasers.”

::laughter from the audience::

Claws of Teal- “You’re quite welcome.”

Feathers of Magenta- “They really are fantastic. Just top notch all the way. Ok, that was it. I’m sorry. Go ahead.”

::Claws of Teal throws his beak back laughing::

Claws of Teal- “Ah… well thank you. I’m glad you appreciate them. I was saying, though… Ha! Just about lost my train of thought there. Oh yes. The Physics Department also does a lot of research into computing, including predictive algorithms.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Are you referring to the algorithms that predicted the Galactic Storm?”

Claws of Teal- “They are similar… uh… yes basically… from a practical standpoint they are effectively the same.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “And although the specifics of the storm are vague…”

Claws of Teal- “Yes but…”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “…the timetable is pretty exact right?”

Claws of Teal- “…oh, yes. The storm itself is chaotic in nature, which disrupts prediction once it begins. But up to that point we have a very clear view of how much time we have.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “That would be about 200 years from now, do I have that right?”

Claws of Teal- “205 years and 3 months, yes.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “That’s pretty exact.”

Claws of Teal- “And that’s my point, really. We can be pretty exact with the timing of things and our predictive algorithms have a very high certainty that the value of alloys is going to go up quite a bit, and a near certainty that it will happen in less than 30 years. Fixing a price at our current rates for such a long time just doesn’t make economic sense.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Admiral, you are not known for going against the Director General, but in this instance, and with all the math behind it, do you agree that the Physics Director has a point? That perhaps our Galactic Ambassador negotiated to low a price?”

Feathers of Magenta- “Not at all Cerul. Because the important fact in all of this isn’t what we are trading or what we are getting out of it. The most important fact is who we are trading it to. In fact I believe the Director General, in that very speach you quoted just now, referred to the Bessie Corporation as ‘Our most valuable trading partner’.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Well, we do only have the two.”

Claws of Teal- “And the other one is the Karaz Ankor. Not exactly a strong contender for the title.”

Feathers of Magenta- “Don’t you think that makes them even more important? Look, you’ve seen the numbers, you know we don’t really need the energy credits we’re getting from this deal. We could easily tighten our belts somewhere and flap into the wind for a season. But the trade value coming in from the Bessie commercial pact is another matter. Not only is it generating the energy credits to keep our fleets in the sky, but most importantly the boost in commercial trade is bringing in the consumer goods that we need to keep our laboratories well stocked and running at full efficiency.”

Claws of Teal- “Ok but…

Feathers of Magenta- “And I know you know that clock is ticking. I heard you quote the time down to the month just a moment ago.”

Claws of Teal- “..are they losing?”

Feathers of Magenta- “Because if Project Storm Breaker isn’t ready in time, then…”

Claws of Teal- “Seriously, are they losing?”

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Feathers of Magenta- “…all we’re doing by guarding the borders is making sure we all live to get a front row seat for the end of the galaxy.”

Claws of Teal- “Are. They. Losing?”

Feathers of Magenta- “No they’re not losing. Of course not. It’s a three to one fight, the Necrons are getting their metal butts crushed like cans at a recycling center. But the reason…”

Claws of Teal- “Then why make a 30 year deal? There’s no way the Necrons last 30 more years is there? You’ve seen the intel.”

Feathers of Magenta- “You know I can’t comment on strategic intelligence.”

Claws of Teal- “Why not 20 years? Why not 10?”

Feathers of Magenta- “Because that’s not how military budgets work! Look, sure, the Necron are doomed. Probably within the next 10 years. But Bessie military, just like ours, shares a budget between fleet construction and starbase construction. You can’t blow all your alloys on corvettes when you know you need to get a citadel started soon. This deal allows that. They get to build up their fleet, safe in the knowledge that over the next 30 years the losses will be recovered in time to get the internal infrastructure that they need. And you’re right, I’ve seen the intel. It’s no secret that the Bessie have been sharing sensor data with us for the past two decades. What I can tell you is this. The reason the Necrons are taking such a hard hit is because Karaz Ankor and the RC are hitting them too.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Just to clarify, by RC you mean…”

Claws of Teal- “The Robot Custodianship.”

Feathers of Magenta- “Oh, right… yeah, like he said, the Robot Custodianship. We tend to lean into acronyms for fast communication. A useful habit in combat.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Of course, that makes sense. And if I recall correctly, the Robot Custodianship was the first to declare war against the Necrons. Is that correct?”

Claws of Teal- “Politically speaking, yes.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “What do you mean by that?”

Feathers of Magenta- “What he means is that the RC… sorry, Robot Custodianship…”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “It’s ok, I think we all know what RC means now.”

Feathers of Magenta- “Right, so the RC was the first to publicly acknowledge the threat the Necrons posed and accept the political ramifications of an all out war. But they were not the first to engage. The first fleets to actually enter Necron space and attack were from the Great Coffee Unity federation. Specifically the Vat’na-Ka, though a few Bentusi ships managed to get in some action after they sorted out customs and transit permissions with the Bessie. Anyway, they managed to take a fortified system, only to lose it again moments later when the full Necron fleet arrived. It was an informative moment in the course of the war. The GCU fleets went home and agreed to a white truce. The Necrons proved they had the forces to fight and no single nation would stand against them.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Then as chilling as they have been to receive, I guess it’s a good thing they sent out all those death threats.”

Claws of Teal- “I may need to update my definition of ‘good’ then, because those letters were so… personal. Seriously, the letter they sent to me had an entire paragraph dedicated to describing the difference in color between the flames burning away my feathers and the ones that would burn my flesh after the feathers were gone. Chilling stuff.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Sorry, that’s rough. I only meant that the death threats galvanized the other local nations. Brought together former rivals to a common cause. Less than 15 years ago the Karaz Ankor and the Robot Custodianship were at each other's throats.”

Feathers of Magenta- “I’m still not sure they won’t be at the end of this. In the view of a lot of the fleet strategic staff, the threat of Chozo retaliation during the year that the RC paid us as a tributary was a major factor in the KA’s political reversal to push east instead of west. And no one can be completely sure that they still would have gone to war against the Necrons if the Bessie hadn’t done so before them. But this trade deal made it a certainty. And so what if we’re a couple energy credits short of the simulation’s hypothetical concept of what could be. Our borders are secure, the private merchants are bringing in the consumer goods we need, and project Storm Breaker is on schedule. It is on schedule right?”

Claws of Teal- “Thankfully, yes. Possibly even ahead of schedule.”

Feathers of Magenta- “There you go. I don’t need the best possible future, just a better one. One where the galaxy doesn’t end.”

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “True words of wisdom. Thank you admiral. And thank you as well Director.”

Claws of Teal- “Any time Cerul.”

::The camera cuts to a wide shot of the stage as the audience stands up applauding. Claws of Teal and Feathers of Magenta both stand. Feathers of Magenta nods, removes a small wireless mic hidden under the collar of his uniform and places it on the couch, then quickly walks off camera. Claws of Teal removes an identical device from his own collar, picks up the one on the couch, and hands both to a technician at the edge of the camera frame. The camera cuts back to Plume of Cerulean Blue now alone at his desk.::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Admiral Feathers of Magenta and Director of Physics Research Claws of Teal everyone! A big round of applause.”

::Plume of Cerulean Blue waits almost a minute for the audience to quiet down before continuing.::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “Always great to have such distinguished guests. Before we close up for the evening, I’d like to end our program on a happy note with some news from the Forge Shipyard. The colony ship Eggcarrier VIII is fully underway and en route to the newly claimed Glade system. But what’s really special about this colony ship is what’s inside. Despite the name of Eggcarrier, this ship is actually transporting a full herd of Moomoos from our friends and allies, the Bessie.”

::cheers and applause from the crowd::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “I know, I know, it’s exciting right?”

::the crowd calms down::

Plume of Cerulean Blue- “It’s been over two decades since the signing of a migration treaty with the Bessie, and while we do see Moomoos in our cities and on our worlds, it’s always for business and never to settle and live. The mountain peaks we call home are too cold, have too thin an atmosphere, and lack the wide grazing lands that the Moomoo need to live comfortably. But all that is about to change. The discovery of a continental moon, perfectly suited to Moomoo life, in orbit of Glade A’s 3rd planet has created an opportunity for growth and diversity that can’t be ignored. This brave herd will make the three year journey into the northern territories where they will spend a fourth year converting the landed colony ship and its components into the initial governing capital of their new world. While merely a shelter at first, we all have high hopes for the Moomoo people and look forward to seeing the colony grow into the new trade and finance center of its very own northern sector. Moomoo colonists, we want you to know that we’re with you in spirit on this journey and we look forward to news of your future successes. Until next time, my name is Plume of Cerulean Blue…”

::The camera cuts into a closeup of Plume of Cerulean Blue giving his signature salute::

“…but you can call me Cerul.”

::end credits::

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