Hello, good evening, and welcome to this special edition of the Planets Magazine Action News! I’m your host, Jim Chancellite.
Today, we’re talking about the newest Emperor War, held this time in the Leo Sector. Over the next few hours, we’ll be give you a brief rundown on the eleven champions. We’ve got our panel of award-winning experts here and ready to go and reporters out on the scene. And, if we’re lucky, we may even be granted an interview or two.
We go now to Ace Reporter Pat Patterson, who is standing on the steps of the Hall of Champions on Leonis Prime. Good evening, Pat!
PP: Good evening, Jim. It’s a lovely evening here on Leonis Prime. The sky is preternaturally clear tonight, and all artificial lighting is being kept to the bare minimum needed for safety so we can all see the newly-formed planetary cluster in which this, the Sixth Emperor War of the Nu Era, is to be held. This is to be a solemn occasion, and the few spectators allowed on the steps are very reserved, very respectful.
JC: No flashbulbs, then?
PP: Don’t even joke about it, Pat. Two years ago, one of our cameramen needed extensive surgery to remove a Leica Visoflex from his — hang on; the first champion is arriving!
[a darkened groundcar has just pulled in]
PP: Let’s see — there’s someone getting out of the car now. He’s dressed in a hooded black cloak, and he’s moving quickly up the steps. [loudly] Action News; could we have a comment, sir? We— hkk…
JC: Pat? Pat, are you all right?
PP: H… Hkkk…
PP: *gasp* Ah… s-sorry, Jim — couldn’t breathe there for a second.
JC: That sounds like a “No Comment” from the Evil Empire candidate.
PP: V-very am-amusing, Jim.
JC: All right, Pat; just sit down and rest a second. We’ll come back to you in a little while.
In the mean while, we’ll go over to our resident expert on all things military, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Tolliver South. Tollie, what do we know about the career of this Evil… uh, I mean this commander of the Evil Empire?
TS: Commodore Ville Kaupinnen has served in the Imperial Fleet since Nu Year 0022 and has led in several sectors with fine distinction. His career has been remarkably mercenary; he’s fought honorably and successfully for every faction in the Echo Cluster. Originally hailing from a distant world known either as… let’s see if I get this right… “Suomen Tasavalta”, or by some, “Finland” — reports differ on that — he has proven quite adept at avoiding interviews with members of the press, and so not much is known about him except that he quite likes his privacy.
JC: Thank you for that, Tollie. We did actually notice that last bit. Now, let’s check back in with Pat Patterson at the Hall of Champions. How are you feeling, Pat?
PP: Much better now; thanks for asking, Jim.
JC: Has anything been happening? What have you been seeing there?
PP: There’s a lot of activity at the landing strip over behind us, but no other commanders have arrived. We… My word; that’s unusual.
JC: What is? What’s happening?
PP: That’s — how extraordinary — It seems the next arrival has arrived — not by groundcar, but instead from a — a sort of window thing that opened tight out of the ground. It’s a woman; orange jumpsuit, braces on her legs, carrying some sort of plasma rifle and a small metal sphere. Odd; weapons are supposed to be be prohibited. Ah… excuse me? Yes — I’m Pat Patterson, Action News. Mind if I ask you a couple of questions?
[voice] Oh, don’t mind her. [A bright blue light shines from the metal sphere.] She never says much, really; does a bang-up job of carrying me around, though, mind you me. Marvelous reflexes, great survival imperative, experienced stalemate resolution specialist. Didn’t even seem to mind about the cake.
PP: Are you — Is that the sphere talking?
T: Core, thank you very much; as in, core intelligence. You can call me Toxis, if you like.
PP: Oh! Admiral — I didn’t realize! This is an honor!
T: Oh, well; don’t like to brag — but yes, yes, I suppose it is.
PP: Er… *ahem* It seems we’re speaking with Admiral Toxis142 of the Cyborg Fleet. Thanks for speaking with us, Admiral.
T: My pleasure… ah… Pat, is it? Always liked the name Pat; got a good solid sound to it, “Pat”. Rhymes with “cat” and “bat” and… Anyway, smashing name for a reporter. Didn’t you have some questions you wanted to ask me?
PP: Your record with the Cyborg goes back quite a ways —
T: Yep. Thirty-three years here at Nu.
PP: Like many other famous commanders, you’ve also fought for other factions. Do you think of yourself as primarily a Cyborg specialist, or are you more interested in warfare in general?
T: Funny, that; I always keep coming back to the Borg, but lately, I’ve been branching out a bit to other races for a change of pace. Privateer, Lizards, once the Birds, though that didn’t ever really take off so I suppose it doesn’t count — had a bad experience with a bird once; sensitive about their eggs, they are. Not fun, not fun at all. Pecked me something awful. And then those smelly humans, the… um, sorry about that; “smelly”; that just, uh, just slipped out.
PP: *ahem* You’ve been extremely successful in your military career; what would you say is the secret to your success?
T: I’ve wanted it. You’ve got to want to succeed in order to, you know. Ever since the introduction of the championship games I set the goal of participating in one and here I am now, entering the Leo War. Just goes to show what you can do if you set your mind on it, eh?
PP: In the past few Emperor Wars, the Cyborg commander is often the target of an early coalition. Do you think this will happen again here in Leo?
T: From what I have seen of the past Wars, all of the participants are very quick to grab as many planets as possible just as fast as they can, making it harder for the Cyborg to branch out on the outskirts of the sector. This has also been made even more difficult with the change to a low resource setting. Remote Borg outposts are harder to come by without the help of others.
PP: I see; very interesting insight. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our listeners?
T: I just want to say I’m really looking forward to the challenges this contest will bring.
PP: Thanks for your time, Admiral.
T: My pleasure. [aside] Smelly human…
PP: And back to you in the studio, Jim.
That was fascinating, Pat. We’ll be back with more after these messages, so stay tuned; this is Planets Magazine Action News.