There are many ways to play a game. This is one of the fundamental truths (not least here at .Nu), and it’s the root and cause of many arguments, clashes, and streams of vituperation both in-game and in the Forum.
The main trouble, of course, is that there are many valid ways to play a game. One of the basic assumptions we make is that anyone voluntarily playing a game that can take two hours to play a turn and two years to finish a campaign is somewhat committed. (Some would say we ought to be committed, but that’s another article.) When we sign up, it’s for the long haul, and minor real-life factors like jobs, getting married or breaking both legs in a freak bookbinding accident will have little impact on the amount of time we spend tuning our planetary production or riding the ship build queue. There are those who think games are for children with short attention spans and then there are… us.
Now, some of our players get bored after the ship limit is reached; some coast along in Vacation for months on-end. Most of us, however, are so into the game that we participate delightedly in diplomacy. We roleplay in-game and in the Forums. We make and break agreements, show heroism or cowardice, and in short we immerse ourselves completely in our environments. And this brings us to one of the little-understood and unanticipated tragedies of this game: The Borg humanitarian crisis.
As all the clusters are aware, the Borg gladly make their technological advancements available to the untutored natives. And indeed, they embrace these with such enthusiasm that they eventually vanish into our Noble Collective, swelling our ranks and reinforcing our efforts. Unfortunately, they often reach such numbers that they overwhelm the capacity of the host planet, and our communications reports are filled up with distress calls and the like. A mere game-player might not care, but as feudal lord of this demesne, it is my solemn duty to provide for my people.
Now, that these new colonists are potential taxpayers not only makes them a valuable resource, it grants them the right to the protection of the armored knights of the Most Noble Collective. As such, we’ve undertaken to create a rescue service. We use our Firecloud Chunnel network with large-hulled short-range freighters to shift entire populations from one planet to another, oft-times a million at a time. This requires a vast fleet, and frequently the ship limit restricts us more than others in order to maintain it.
The undertaking is a vast one, worthy of the attentions of our entire fleet. Every ship, from small freighters to large and even the Cube fleets, can carry thousands of colonists at a trip. We have devoted the carrying capacity of an entire race to this great endeavour, and we will continue to do so until not a single serf or citizen stands in jeopardy. There may be hundreds of millions of our people in jeopardy, and the efforts continue.
And yet, misguided races continue to advance upon us, threatening our borders and attacking our many ships on their missions of mercy. They attack our vessels, and we fall back. They slaughter the populations of entire worlds, and we fall back! The line must be drawn here – this far, no further!
Our Cubes stand not empty; neither are they idle. Though we deplore the loss of carrying capacity, we must make room for the tools of war: fighters, torpedoes, even supplies. We will lay minefields and set up starbase defenses. And, should war be forced on us, we shall even invade the malefactors, crushing them thoroughly, completely, ruthlessly — and just as fast as we can manage in order to protect our population. For that is our feudal duty to our people; they give us their service and we grant them our protection. This is what it means to be a great lord in a culture such as ours; this is what it means to be an armored knight of the future: the strong must protect the weak, else their strength is vain.
Resistance, after all, is feudal.
This article is copyright 2013 by the writer, J. Millard Simpson. Permission is granted to Planets Magazine and its editors to publish and reprint excerpts for purposes of publicity without compensation. Ownership and all other rights are reserved.