This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!
Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite. Our top story today is an official press release from the Cyborg Collective. Rather than submitting it through the normal channels, they have sent us our embedded reporter, I.M. Locutus, who is with us in the studio. How are you feeling, I.M.?
IML: MUCH BETTER NOW, JIM.
JC: I understand you got rather shaken up in transit.
IML: IT’S A MYSTERY TO ME WHY WE BOTHER TO PRINT “THIS END UP” AND “FRAGILE” ON THE BOX. THE POSTAL SERVICE SEEMS TO READ THAT AS “THIS END DOWN” AND “SHAKEN NOT STIRRED”.
JC: Ehrm… Am I to understand that they sent you to us in a shipping container?
IML: YES. THIRD CLASS. AT LEAST THEY INCLUDED THE CROWBAR. LAST TIME I WAS STUCK IN THE CRATE FOR SEVEN WEEKS BEFORE SOMEONE HEARD ME KNOCKING.
JC: Hem. I see. Uh… perhaps you’d better read us the statement, I.M.
IML: RIGHT, HERE GOES:
“IS THIS THING ON? TESTING, TESTING– OH, IT’S YOU. PAY ATTENTION AND GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME. NO MESSING WITH THE WORDS, EITHER — SAY IT JUST LIKE WE’RE SAYING IT, NO CHANGES, NO EDITING, AND NONE OF YOUR DAMNED PROOFREADING! AHEM.
WE THE COLLECTI— *crackle*
JC: Uh… I.M.? Are you all right?
[holographic image of the Cyborg Queen appears in front of the now-inactive I.M. and begins to speak]
CQ: *SIGH* IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE RIGHT, SEND A WOMAN.
WE THE COLLECTIVE OF THE CYBORG WISH TO CLARIFY A FEW MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT OUR ALLEGED WITHDRAWAL. FIRST, THIS IS A RETRENCHMENT AND NOT A RETREAT. SECOND, WE HAVE TWENTY CUBES, NOT SEVENTEEN. THIRD, WE WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT WE WENT TO GREAT LENGTHS TO AVOID THIS, EVEN OFFERING TRADES OF OUR FIRECLOUD TECHNOLOGY TO MANY OF THE OTHER POWERS IN ORDER TO PERSUADE THEM TO DROP THE WEAK AND SPINELESS AND OFFER US A TRUE CONTEST.
AND FOURTH AND FINALLY, WE ARE LEAVING BECAUSE YOU ARE UNWORTHY TO ENGAGE OUR FLEETS. UNTIL YOU HAVE STRIPPED FROM YOURSELVES THE BURDEN OF THOSE LESSER PLAYERS WHO LACK THE ABILITY AND MORAL STRENGTH TO STAND ON THEIR OWN, YOU SHOW YOUR OWN WEAKNESS, YOUR COWARDICE, YOUR MORAL BANKRUPTCY. WE HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE PRIVATEER, THE FASCIST, AND THE REBEL WILL PROFIT MOST FROM OUR DEPARTURE — THE PRIVATEER BECAUSE HE IS BOTH AVARICIOUS AND AUDACIOUS, THE REBEL AND FASCIST BECAUSE THEY CAN CAPTURE BASES WITHOUT LOSS. ONCE THEY BEGIN TO FIGHT THINGS OUT AMONG THEMSELVES THE WAY A TRUE CHAMPION SHOULD, WE WILL RETURN AGAIN. BUT NOT FOR AT LEAST FIFTY TURNS; WE NEED A VACATION. SOMEPLACE WITH SAND AND SUN AND LITTLE MECHANICAL UMBRELLAS IN THE DAMN DRINKS.
AND NOW FOR YOU, LITTLE REPORTER DRONE.
[I.M. wakes up, startled]
THE PRESENCE OF YOUR NARROW-GAUGE MIND IS REQUESTED AT THE NEW HIVE. WE FIND YOU ENTERTAINING. WE’RE SURE YOU CAN FIND IT; THERE’S A HUNDRED CYBORG WARSHIPS ALL WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD IT. TOUGH TO MISS.
JC: Well, now! That was quite a statement. Any comments from you, I.M.?
IML: NO, I’VE GOT TO GET BACK IN MY BOX NOW. I DON’T WANT TO MISS THE AFTERNOON MAIL.
JC: Do you know where you’re going?
IML: LET’S SEE WHAT THE LABEL SAYS. “BORG HIVE, GENERAL DELIVERY, ECHO CLUSTER, HOLD FOR PICKUP, SIGNATURE REQUIRED”. OH DEAR; THIS DOES NOT BODE WELL.
JC: Oh. Well… safe travels, I.M.
IML: THANKS, JIM.
Later in today’s broadcast, we’ll be talking with our market experts on the massive surge in Cyborg Electra cola sales coming from Fascist supply ships across the cluster. There’s been quite an economic impact, but some critics are raising safety concerns over the highly-touted “Light Of A Million Suns” production method.
But first we return you to Skaro Prime, where we’re continuing our coverage of the barratry trial of the notorious Captain Lincoln F. Sternn. He’s been charged with a massive list of crimes in connection with the “Cloud Nine” and “Mary Celeste” disasters, and today, after three years of appeals and early mistrials, with six justices, fourteen lawyers, forty-seven law enforcement officers and the Yale Whiffenpoofs all facing indictments on corruption charges, the new trial has finally opened. We go now to Ace Reporter Pat Patterson, reporting from just outside the courthouse. Pat?
PP: Thanks, Jim. This morning’s session was a detailed reading of the charges. As we speak, the defendant is entering his plea and then they’ll move right on to the first witness.
JC: Isn’t that unusual?
PP: Both sides want to rush this through. I asked the defense attorney about it, but he just shook his head and said “He’s got an angle.” I’m not sure what that means — but we’ll soon find out. The [a loud crash is heard] — hang on — [a hollow *boom*]
JC: Pat? What’s going on?
PP: I don’t — Jim, there’s something going on inside the courthouse. I’m hearing — there’s loud crashes, possibly some explosions — that was blaster fire — now someone is bellowing “Sternn!!” very loudly. This could be another assassination attempt, Jim.
JC: Never a dull moment, eh, Pat?
PP: That’s why we call it “Action News”, Jim.