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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Empire, Resurrected (A Short Story) rss

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Jason Beck
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A score of planets moved through the air, their holographic forms gliding silently in orbits around their respective stars. Mecatol Rex hung in the center of the galaxy, the desolation of a war three thousand years ago still evident, even on a representation mere inches high.

A figure moved forward, flowing robes of a deep scarlet hue rustling, and pushed a long, delicate finger into one of the orbs.

"Zero point zero point zero. Recently discovered home world of the L1z1x Mindnet." The voice- spilling into the room from miniscule speakers hidden away in the room’s wood paneling- was smooth and feminine, with only a hint of the mechanical betraying its synthetic nature.

"Further information: Current economic conditions," the figure replied.

"The economic systems utilized by the Mindnet remain unclear, due to the collective nature of their consciousness. Recent reports indicate that the opening of trade routes between Zero point zero point zero and Winnu, as well as recent technological exchanges facilitated by the Galactic Council, have resulted in the construction of a large number of new factories, suggesting the arrangements have been beneficial." As the voice spoke, the hologram zoomed in on the world, and a bright red rectangle appeared over a section of one of the planet’s smaller continents, indicating the area of new industrialization.

"Zoom out. Further information: Disposition of galactic military forces."

"That information is classified. Re-verification of identity is required before I can proceed," the database said, sounding almost apologetic.

"Galactic Council Authorization X772RR013."

"Passcode and voice-match authorization for High Councilor Alom Veq Tison authenticated." The galactic map re-appeared: groups of planets glowed in green, orange, grey, purple, and blue, while tiny blips of the same colors appeared around them. "There has been no significant change in the disposition of military forces across the galaxy since the time of your last query." A cluster of orange blips slowly swirled around Mecatol Rex, and the database continued, "The Mentaak Coalition continues to blockade this system, though they have not yet landed troops here. There are unconfirmed reports of Winnu agents jamming the signals of their troop carriers, but the Coalition has not issued any formal statements. If you’d like, I can display a live feed from an orbital communications array and show you the fleet."

The councilor shook his head at the suggestion, heavy bronze and amber earrings clinking softly as he did so. "No, no, I’ve already seen them. They’ll be here soon enough. Further information: Status of de-militarized zone between Winnu and Mindnet space-"

"Councilor I have an urgent message from the Prime Minister," the database interrupted. Alom waved in affirmation, "Yes, yes, put her through," and soon found himself looking at Oriah Veq Fez, leader of the Winnu race. Her features were softer than his- though no less haughty for it- and her skin a darker shade of green. Purple robes clung to her figure, the vibrancy of their hues undiminished by her holographic form, while elaborate ornamentation of amethysts and silver swept up from her chest, around to the back of her neck, and up to her forehead.

"Councilor," she said, dispensing with the lengthy greetings that customarily governed Winnu interactions, "we have received confirmation from our sources on Jord that the humans are preparing to land forces on Mecatol."

Alom looked aghast. "Humans? Seizing the capital? That is arrogant, even for them. What of the Mentaak? Their fleet is still in orbit. Has there been a declaration of war?"

The Prime Minister shook her head. "No. Nothing formal." Oriah’s brow wrinkled in concern. "If the humans are intent on laying claim to the Imperial throne, possession of the capital will strengthen their case considerably."

"What would you have me do?"

A ministerial sigh escaped Oriah’s lips and her gaze turned away for a moment, before she looked back at Alom. "Our plans need considerably more time," she said, "but the work you have done so far has been helpful. Keep the Council busy, and don’t anger the humans." Her mouth twisted into a wry smile. "Don’t worry, Councilor, we will come for you."

~

Streams of light filtered down through the glass dome of the ancient chamber of the Galactic Council, made frail by the environmental shields that kept the remnants of Mecatol City safe from the toxic wasteland around it. Sentient beings of various shapes, sizes, and colors moved with steady dignity and purposeful strides to and from the individual boxes where delegations from different planets had argued, negotiated, and voted for generations.

The vast, amphitheatre-like chamber swept gently down to a dais surmounted by a mighty, vacant throne. An elaborate speaker’s podium, on a lesser dais, faced away from the throne, out to the boxes. Though the podium originally faced the throne, it had been painstakingly turned to face the assembly some three centuries ago, after a delegate from the Hacan had caused a firestorm of debate by commenting on the absurdity of talking to an empty chair.

High Councilor Alom’s mellifluous voice filled the chamber as he spoke from the podium, the graceful motions of his hands seeming to underscore his points, no matter how mundane. "As you can see, statute 1107.4A from Imperial Code 29, Section 8, Subsection 43 expressly prohibits the introduction of any legislation for the Council’s consideration between the hours of eight o’clock and nine o’clock on the morning of the Tuesday of the third month of the year. Winnu must therefore object to the Council’s consideration of Resolution FF23.98 from the Empire of Sol, as the proper procedures have clearly not been followed."

An angry commotion erupted from a delegation in the tier of boxes closest to the throne, and the Winnu councilor’s words were buried beneath furious speech: "That so-called ‘law’", spat the human, "was passed over four thousand years ago as a political maneuver to keep one specific resolution from being introduced at that time, and-"

The L1x1z Speaker banged his gavel for silence, and Alom’s voice began to resonate through the chamber again, "The ancient nature of this law gives us all the more reason to follow it, Councilor, as I am sure you will agree. Please also be advised that, according to statute 97.3.1.2A of Imperial Code 13, Section 24, Subsection 866, the same or very similar resolutions cannot be submitted to the Council unless a waiting period of at least two full Mecatol weeks has been observed. This waiting period is increased to three weeks in the event that re-submission is due to a procedural error, as is obviously the case here..."

~

Alom bowed his head, enormous earrings jangling as he did so, twists of platinum and blue opal giving way to sea-green robes that fell artfully to the carpeted floor of his office. "Prime Minister," he said.

Oriah looked harried and sleep-deprived, her holographic form betraying the dark circles under her eyes and the creases of worry in her brow. "Councilor, your ability to keep the assembly under your control has given us considerable breathing space, and you are to be commended for it, but the influence and power of the humans has expanded to such a point that we can no longer afford half-measures." She took a deep breath to steady herself, and continued, "The Universities of Jol-Narr have made a swift ascendancy of late, too, and the Admiralty and I feel that if we delay any further the Imperial throne will be forever out of our grasp. You must do something, Councilor, to keep humanity occupied. Our fleet is on the way."

Alom nodded. "The Supreme Commander of the human forces is visiting their armies here. I think we can arrange something... suitable."

~

The Winnu High Councilor again stood before the Galactic Council, his tone calm and stern, his robes simple and white, his usual ornamentation absent. "Under Imperial Law 48.59.12.3AX, also known as the High Treason Resolution- which should be available on your vidscreens- armed aggression against the Imperial throne is considered a crime punishable by death."

"Although the throne is technically vacant," he continued, "you can see from Subsection 27.9C of Section 36 in Imperial Code 99 that the 'Imperial throne' is defined as ‘the actual physical throne of the Emperor, as well as his physical person, all his possessions, and all planets subject to him’. Since the world of Mecatol Rex may properly have been considered an Imperial possession until its annexation by the Empire of Sol, owing to the Treaty of Binding that founded the Lazax Empire- the text of which is also available on your vidscreen, and you will find the section of interest in Article 71- it is reasonable for us to conclude that the Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the aforementioned Empire of Sol," Alom turned his head and gave a small nod to the human, now seated in Sol’s delegate box and turning an increasingly-deep shade of red, "is guilty of treason."

A hush fell over the chamber as delegates nervously shifted in their seats and shot each other wary glances. The human delegation was more animated, and their councilor leapt to his feet. "This is an outrage!", he thundered into his box’s microphone. "There hasn’t been anyone charged under this law in over three thousand years! The very notion of treason against a non-existent empire is absurd, and-" A quick and unnoticed nod, and the human councilor’s microphone died. He looked around, briefly, in confusion, and his eyes narrowed in anger. More shouting, about treachery and sabotage, but the chamber was too cavernous for any but the nearest delegates to hear.

"Matters involving treason, as specified by item 39 under Subsection 28 of Section 41 in Imperial Code 99 may be voted on by the Council without the observation of normal procedures and, as such, I move for an immediate vote," Alom resumed.

The L1z1x Speaker nodded his assent and spoke, his voice tinny and artificial, "A vote has been called by the Winnu Councilor regarding the issue of treason committed by Peter Ilovych, Supreme Commander of the armed forces of the Empire of Sol." He looked over at Alom. "How do you vote?"

"We vote ‘Yea’", replied Alom.

"Winnu and its dependent systems have registered 23 votes in the affirmative," the L1z1x noted. He turned his gaze again. "How do the Universities vote?"

"Abstain."

"And the Mentaak Coalition?"

"Abstain."

"And the Empire of Sol?"

~

A score of holographic planets moved through the air of High Councilor Alom’s office, and the voice of the database could again be heard: "As you can see-" and again the holograms were painted in hues of purple and grey, orange, green, and blue-"the execution of Supreme Commander Ilovych has caused a serious disruption in human defense coordination, and numerous systems have been overrun by the Universities and the Mentaak. Additionally, fighting has erupted between the Mentaak, Universities, and L1z1x over several systems that border wormholes frequently used as interstellar shipping lanes."

"Further information: Winnu fleet disposition."

"That information has been sealed on the authority of the Parliament until the war is over, so I cannot access it at this time. Observation from orbital communications arrays suggests the bulk of the Winnu fleet has arrived here at Mecatol and soundly defeated the human defenses. Based on current observable maneuvering patterns, I can extrapolate that the fleet is preparing a ground invasion coupled with orbital bombardment."

The door to Alom’s officer slid open, and the Prime Minister strode in, her elaborate jewelry and robes of state abandoned for a suit of grey flexarmor. "Councilor," she said, a smile flitting across her face, "you have done your people a great service, but our assault on this planet has precipitated widespread invasions of human-controlled space. If we do not act quickly, it is likely the Universities will seize the opportunity and claim the Empire, and if they do this, we expect them to have the support for it."

Alom nodded, gravely. "Yes, Prime Minister. I have already scheduled a vote on an emergency resolution to cement our influence. I am confident we can manipulate the Council into supporting our bid to the throne. I suspect it will be a near-run thing, but as soon as we are in control of Mecatol, they will not be able to stop us."

The light in the office trembled, and Alom and Oriah walked to the huge window that looked out on the ancient Imperial capital. Projectiles flashed across the sky and screamed towards the ground in the distance, their final impact unobservable through the environmental shielding. "There is an agreeable symmetry to this," Oriah mused. "The humans killed the empire when they bombed this planet into desolation, and now we must bomb them to resurrect it."

Alom nodded as he took her hand in his. "Most agreeable," he said, "most agreeable indeed."
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Jason Beck
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This is the fourth in my short-story-ish-style session reports. You can find my other report for Twilight Imperium here, for Acquire here, for Last Night on Earth here, and The Resistance here. /shameless self-promotion off

This was a five player game of TI3 (with the Universities of Jol-Narr, to my left, the L1z1x Mindnet to my right, the Empire of Sol to the left of the Universities, and the Mentaak Coalition to the right of the Mindnet), utilizing most of the features of the Shattered Empire expansion, including the strategy cards from SE. We did not use Distant Suns, nor did we use space mines.

We also used a couple of minor variants to tweak the political system, including having everyone draw an agenda in addition to an action card during the Status phase, as well as putting out a "display" of five agendas that could also be selected to be voted on during the Assembly phase, rather than choosing one from your hand (with the two oldest rotating out at the end of every Assembly phase).

I narrowly squeaked out a victory ahead of the Universities, as I scored my final points earlier (because I took Assembly) than he did (because he took Bureaucracy), though Sol was the clear front-runner until the Public Execution law was passed, targetting him. Everyone played a good game, though.

FWIW, this SR has a very heavy emphasis on the political because this game represented my attempt to push the political system of TI3 as far as I could (as, for example, I took Assembly nearly every round).
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Scott M.
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I love the narrative SR reports. The bring alot of life to a game with so much theme and story.

Check out my Profile for my TI reports. I try to follow along the same line turn by turn.

Loved it.. gg tip for your creativity!
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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) » Forums » Sessions
Re: Empire, Resurrected (A Short Story)
You should try and write some novel about Twilight, you know? Very entertaining read, the first one about Hacan was also very nice.

Good job!
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Adam Mitchell
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Extremely well-written and most enjoyable! Thanks for posting such a fine Session Report!
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