This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!
Hello, I’m Jim Chancellite. We have a breaking news story from contested space. Sensors on Galactic Prime have registered the apparent destruction of not one but two capitol ships. With us to comment on this is retired Colonel Tolliver South. Good evening, Colonel South.
TS: Good evening, Jim.
JC: Now, what can you tell us about these explosions?
TS: Ah… yes. Sensors on Galactic Prime, which is monitoring the Capricorn War for the Imperial Senate, recorded two massive ship detonations a short time ago. IFF transponder data has tentatively identified these two vessels as a Crystalline battleship and a Cyborg carrier cube.
JC: My word! Could this have been the long-anticipated attack against the Crystalline homeworld?
TS: Actually, no, Jim. The explosions happened in deep space, near the current location of two Cyborg Firecloud-class cruisers, a moderate distance from the homeworld siege. Indications are that this was a deliberate strike, but who attacked whom is as yet unknown.
JC: Is there a chance that this was some sort of ruse?
TS: Later in the war, we would expect to be seeing a much greater influx of telemetry data. At this point, however, we can confirm that both the Crystal and the Cyborg contenders received a number of Priority Points appropriate to the ships named in the IFF transmissions.
JC: I see. So this is a reliable conclusion, then.
TS: Yes, Jim; extremely reliable. We also have calculated the variations in monitored Military Score to further back up our conclusions. The numbers indicate that the Privateer has completed the capture of the Colonial flagship, that the Federation has created or been given a capital ship, and several other events, including an apparent mass-recycling over in Colonial space and a starbase transfer.
JC: And what conclusions could be drawn from these developments?
TS: Well, Jim, we can be fairly certain that the Cyborg has lost between ten and twenty percent of his command fleet — a substantial blow. The Crystalline loss can be said to be proportionally heavier since they had a smaller navy, but you must remember that Crystalline military might is largely to be found in his web-mine fields. In short, it is likely that either side can claim this as a victory, despite the far greater purchase price of the Cyborg loss.
JC: And, it goes without saying, several thousand deaths.
TS: That’s correct, Jim — although…
JC: …You were saying, Colonel?
TS: You’ve got to bear in mind that every colonist and crew member serving in this conflict is present by choice. There’s no conscription permitted in these wars, and even the planets used in the competition have been created and assembled within the conflict arena for this very purpose.
JC: Well, I–
TS: Let me finish! The Nu wars were created in part to help prevent real war from destroying the galaxy! This is an artificial cluster! The brave men and women, these heroes who give their lives in here do so in order that those of us outside the conflict zone don’t have to. No citizen of the Galactic Republic, and this includes you, Jim, is ever placed in any danger that he doesn’t choose to experience, of his own free will.
JC: Yes; I know the history and the reasons for this. You forget, sir, that I covered the last real galactic war from the front lines.
TS: Ah. No, I was not aware of that.
JC: Were any of those ribbons you wear awarded for combat?
TS: Yes; I led a platoon in–
JC: Then you should know better than to dismiss the sacrifice–
TS: Now hold it! Hold it just a minute! I–
[shouting match, interrupted by a commercial]
[return to Jim Chancellite, now a bit disheveled]
And we’re back. We go now to ace reporter Pat Patterson, just back from covering Sochi. How’s life been treating you, Pat?
PP: I’m eager to get back to reporting on the war, Jim.
JC: Pardon me, Pat, but… what happened to your eyes?
PP: Something called “non-face water”. It’s a long story; I’ll fill you in later.
JC: Ah. Well, did you enjoy Sochi?
PP: Yes, I did, Jim; it’s lovely there. Minor point, though: the games actually were held in Adler, which is a fair distance east of Sochi proper. It’s still technically Sochi, but only in the same way that Long Island is a part of New York City.
JC: Ah. So, did you get a chance to see many of the competitions?
PP: Some, yes. The swimming sprints were quite an upset, as the favorites, a team of Mon Calamari from the planet Dac, lost out to the Russian swimmer Yadishat’ Podvodoy. And there was a touching moment on the ski slopes that I got to see, when a Ghipsoldal skier who had had one ski stolen by a Privateer competitor early in the race and was still trying to finish on the one ski… well, you had to be there. A Federation coach ran out on the slopes and buckled a new ski on his foot so the competitor could, in his words, “complete the race with dignity”. It was a truly moving event, and in my opinion, it just goes to show us what these games are truly all about.
JC: I wish I could have been there.
PP: I hear ya, Jim.
JC: So where will you be going next?
PP: Wherever they send me, Jim — but first, I’m going to stop off at an optometrist.
JC: Well, good luck with that, Pat.
PP: Thanks, Jim.
And… excuse me a moment… Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve just been informed that we’ve re-established contact with our reporter who had been embedded with the Evil Empire, Olen Hyvin-Kilma, and we’ll be speaking with her in a moment. You may recall that Ms. Hyvin-Kilma was somehow trapped aboard an escape pod after the destruction of the Imperial Merlin several days ago. Olen, can you hear me?
JC: You seem… agitated, Olen. Is anything wrong?
JC: Ah. I… Olen, just how much coffee have you had today?
JC: Forty-seven– ?! Olen, that can’t be good for you!
OHK: NotmuchelsetodohereJim. Portholesstillfacingthe sametwostars. Prettyandshinybutsameoldsameold.
JC: Oh! I’d thought… Didn’t the Imperial rescue force find your pod, Olen?
JC: Well! We’ll have to… err… redouble our efforts to send you some relief. You must be terribly bored.
OHK: I’dhavegonecompletelymadifitweren’tfor mycollectionof singingspacepotatoes.
JC: I… uh, I see. Well, keep in touch, Olen, and try and ease back on the caffeine intake a bit, eh?
And that was Olen Hyvin-Kilma, ladies and gentlemen, still gamely reporting from her escape pod. And that’s the way it is, today, Stunday the 23rd, in the fourth year of Emperor Mentar. Long may he reign!
We now return you to live coverage of DieHard 8, already in progress.