ACTION NEWS: Enter The Space Duck

This is a Planets Magazine Action News Update, coming to you live with a special report: The Pisces War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!

Hello, I’m Jim Chancellite. We’ve just received word that a new commander has taken control of the war machine of the Fascist Empire. We go now to ace reporter Pat Patterson, currently embedded with the 7th Space Cavalry, on active duty on the Fascist-Rebel border. Are you there, Pat?

PP: Good evening, Jim. I’m standing on the Field of Honor. Behind me on the left are a dozen Victorious Class Battleships – Vickies; to the right are thirty D-19b Nefarious Class Destroyers, known affectionately as Poppers. In the background are the Thorns, Coldpains, and Deth Speculas that make up the transport arm of the Space Cav. Assembled on the field are ten thousand of the Empire’s finest shock troops, all eager to hear an address from their new commander. Please note the pristine black uniforms, the tough plassteel combat armor, and the legendary S’Gkach footgear that contributed so much to their fearsome reputation.

JC: What can you tell our viewers about the gear — the Schach…?

PP: S’Gkach footgear. Loosely translated, it means “Big Stompy Boots With Spikes On”. The Seventh has long been informally known as the Vakh’hl Kor, or the “Crotch-kickers”. A truly fearsome reputation for the Seventh.

JC: Ah… good to know; good to know. An elite unit, it seems.

PP: Yes indeed, Jim. This is the very force that, not long ago, wiped out an enemy heavy carrier task force with almost no losses — aside from Poppers, that is, which we’re told died gloriously for the Empire. Uh… hang on a moment… Yes, I see. Right.

We’re told the Admiral will be arriving in a few moments in his private command shuttle, the Space Duck. It’s a custom light cargo freighter, equipped with all-environment landing gear and atmospheric control surfaces for extra maneuverability. According to time-honored tradition, ‘Sa Bortas is having the new commander’s aide-de-camp place the silver marker at his landing site.

JC: Silver marker?

PP: A dime, Jim. It’s an old pilot’s joke dating from before computer landing controls.

JC: Is that… Is that a monkey with the… the dime?

PP: Actually, an orangutan, Jim. His name is Louie; believe it or not, he actually used to be a king before taking service with the Admiral. And he’s placing the dime on the platform, just behind the podium… Ah… We’re, uh, we’re just going to move the cameras back a little from the stage, Jim. It’ll just take a few minutes.

JC: Ah. Well. Right. In that case, here’s a few words from our sponsor. We’ll be right back after this with live coverage of the Admiral’s speech.

[theme music]

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