ACTION NEWS: Ships Destroyed At Homeworlds

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. The top news story for today is the simultaneous destruction of multiple vessels in or near the orbits of their owners homeworlds. With us to discuss this occurrence is military scholar Dr. Harv A. Liddell-Hart, best-selling author of the seminal work “Strategery”. Thank you for joining us here, Dr. Hart.

HLH: Glad to be here, Jim; call me Harv.
JC: Uh… all right, Harv. So you’ve seen the reports; what do you make of them?
HLH: Well, let’s start off by being specific: There is no indication as to the identity of the ships in question.
JC: But —
HLH: Yes, yes; one was NAMED “Merlin-Class”, but that doesn’t mean that it WAS a Merlin.
JC: All right; I can see your point. But can’t we infer–
HLH: I’m getting there.
JC: All right.
HLH: Now the other two were named “Gleep” and “Software Hard Care”. The name of the first indicates a strong likelihood that it was a test-ship, sent in perhaps on a suicide mission; in all events, it cannot possibly be a major battleship.
JC: How do you —
HLH: Naming your battleship “Gleep”? Please.
JC: Ah.
HLH: Now, the “Software Hard Care” implies a person for whom English is not a first language–
JC: “English”?
HLH: Oh. Ah, yes. I mean to say, “Galactic Standard”. Heh; sorry about that.
JC: Quite all right.
HLH: Err… and, yes. The periodic statistical report shows no great movement. The Birds and Empire didn’t move at all, the Cyborg, significantly, was reduced by one, and the Fascists… went up by eight.
JC: And this tells us…
HLH: Well, that the Fascists likely destroyed a capital ship, quite possibly a Merlin in fact, and built something with the resulting priority points. And this was, tellingly, near or in their own home cluster.
JC: So it WAS a Merlin — his own, in fact!
HLH: Possibly, possibly. And the Cyborg must have gained some points, using one more in their construction.
JC: Seems reasonable.
HLH: And what else would the Cyborg build except for a Firecloud?
JC: So… the destroyed ship was worth two points?
HLH: Or… err… possibly one, with a second point being awarded for… err… for other things.
JC: Ah… Harv, what is it that you’re not telling us?
HLH: Oh, it’s the merest speculation. Nothing worth reporting. But it’s worth bearing in mind which enemy ships would orbit the Cyborg homeworld.
JC: Oh?
HLH: Possibly a cloaking ship that had somehow been seen, if you follow me.
JC: I see. [pause] Oh. Yes, I do see. So… what of this third ship?
HLH: I believe we can conclude that it did indeed die against a starbase defense, as the position and lack of earned points excludes most other practicable answers.
JC: But this is all speculation.
HLH: Yes, the merest speculation, precisely correct.
JC: Well. Thank you for your insights, Dr. Hart.
HLH: Oh, my pleasure as always, Jim.

We here at Action News have approached many of the governments involved in this for any insights into the destruction, but none has responded officially. Nevertheless, we have received corroboration in the form of rumor and off-the-record comments for many of the speculations raised by Dr. Hart.

We do now have a recorded statement from the naval commander of the Federation forces in the Capricorn War, which follows now:

“From Admiral Serrin Forge, Supreme Commander for all Federation forces in this sector:

At the beginning of this conflict, Fascist and Privateer attacked our peaceful nation without any aggression from our side. The Cyborg, an old foe, came to help us and now we are “allied under arms” to save our nation.

The Federation will not go down so fast. We will rise up as a phoenix from the ashes!”

No statement was made regarding the appropriateness of using territories formerly owned by the Robotic Imperium as a base from which to launch this recovery; however, a spokesman for the Cyborg/Federale Front has been quoted as calling this invasion “fully justified” due to “criminally irresponsible minelaying activity”. Representatives for the Robots have thus far been unwilling to comment save in archaic binary.

And that’s the way it is, today, the second of Zorkmid in this seventh year of the Emperor Mentar, long may he reign! Stay tuned for tonight’s episode of “Big Shot” for bounty hunters!

[theme music]

Hey, Amigoes! All three hundred thousand bounty hunters in the star system — how y’all doin’?
And now it’s time for “Big Shot”, the show that tells all about fugitives!
Shucks howdy! Up first today is this hombre — Pancho Julio! A notorious serial mine-layer, Pancho placed minefields all around the new Federation home base. Federale forces have moved in every direction in search of this notorious bandit, but he is still on the loose!
And the good news is, he’s worth a whopping eight million woolongs!
This is the biggest reward this season, so go out and get him, buckaroos!


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