Pi's Provision for Pummelling Pilfering Pirates
At the end of the last episode we left the Divine Puffhead Planets on the brink of the next stage of their Great Quest to find and colonize the Holy Planets of Pi. Techno-priestess Puffleribba had spent six years preparing the New Worlds Protocol which would allow the Puffheads to send colony ships to nearby habitable worlds. And of course at the top of the list, although it was not actually the most habitable planet in the vicinity of Pi-Phara, was the Holy Planet of Paphlagonia II.
The DPS Pioneering Spirit was completed in early 2207, beginning its three month voyage to Paphlagonia. As the news of its successful touchdown came back to Primordia, the whole planet erupted in a paroxysm of partying, parades, pageantry and praise to the Great Pi. Anyone would think the Puffheads had just colonized the final Holy Planet, rather than merely the first. But it was indisputably a milestone in Puffhead history, a day that would never be forgotten.
Meanwhile on the world now known as Paphlagonia Desert, there was no time for much celebration. The Puffhead colonists had to ensure their survival, and to a Puffhead, that meant a ready supply of peanuts, which were practically the only thing in the Puffhead diet. Growing peanuts was easy on Primordia, and vast tracts of the planet's surface were covered in peanut plantations. But on Paphlagonia Desert it was more of a challenge and the colonists had to set up sophisticated hydroponics plants to feed themselves. There were also solar power plants to put in place, and the beginnings of rudimentary mining operations. But a year after the Pioneering Spirit had first made planetfall, Paphlagonia Desert was a properly established colony.
Captain Veerpa of the DPS Resolute came to a similar end when she stumbled upon a large nest of alien privateers in the Oxamon system the following year. Again, the tiny Puffhead corvette stood absolutely no chance of survival once battle had been joined, and Captain Veerpa's name was added to the Puffhead Roll of Honour of those who had given their lives for the Great Quest.
This left only Captain Thripple of the DPS Intrepid II, the ship built to replace Captain Drubble's lost corvette. In 2207 he came upon a system called Providence which contained a very large arid planet, perfect for Puffhead colonization. Unfortunately it was rather awkwardly situated in the Distant Arm, a region that was now effectively cut off from Pi-Phara by the Qwe'Pulci Sovereignty's closed borders. A year later Captain Thripple made another exciting discovery in the Plauen system, even further along the Distant Arm. This system contained not one but THREE Holy Planets, although two of them were relatively small moons.
Meanwhile back on Primordia, Archprophet Pagglerod had decided that a proper navy was now a priority if the Great Quest was ever going to succeed. In 2207 he began giving orders for the building of more corvettes. These however were not sent out on voyages of exploration but kept at the ready around the spaceport of Primordia. But they were still very poorly armed, and many a prayer went up to Pi to provide the Puffheads with more powerful weaponry. And then quite suddenly the Puffhead's prayers were answered.
As they conducted thorough scans of the nearby systems, the two survey ships Sacred Scrutiny and Sacred Search were making many fascinating discoveries, including remnants left by ancient space-faring civilizations. While exploring the Plograut system, Techno-priestess Praggla of the Sacred Scrutiny found the remains of what appeared to be an automated shipyard orbiting Plograut III. In fact, the crew of Scrutiny even managed to bring the yard back to life long enough for it to complete its current orders.
The result was the construction of a warship that was far beyond anything that the Puffheads were capable of building. It was armed with X-ray lasers as well as something called a disruptor, and was protected by ceramo-metal armour and deflectors. Clearly this was a gift from the Great Pi to help the Puffheads with their Quest. The yard had even given it a name in the Puffhead language, the DPS Dark Wanderer.
This is the Orbital Mining Station of Niamba Ia. We perceive your posture to be potentially pernicious. Please identify yourselves.
Ahoy there, me hearties! My name is Cap'n Redpuff. We is the Astral Hunters, and we demands your immediate surrender, damn your eyes! Aarrr!
We cannot puzzle out your pronouncements. Please would you perorate in proper Puffhead.
Ahaar, lubbers! Wot's to puzzle out, eh? We is pirates, that's wot we is, an' we's comin' for your treasure ha-haarrr! So let's not make things difficult, see? All yous needs to do is surrender, nice and quiet like.
Pirates, eh? We will never put ourselves into your power! The Great Pi will protect us from you and your painfully ungrammatical profanities.
Ahaar! The Great Pi is it? Well, we'll see wot the Great Pi can do against Cap'n Redpuff an' his desperate band o' cut-throats!
The approaching menace of Captain Redpuff and his ungrammatical mayhem
The Puffhead Fleet, now consisting of four corvettes and the frigate Dark Wanderer were immediately ordered to Niamba under the command of Admiral Pambla. The Fleet arrived just in time to save the mining station, drawing off Redpuff and his band just before the station's defences were completely destroyed. There then followed a desperate battle in which two of the four corvettes were blown to pieces by the pirates. But after several days of intense fighting, Admiral Pambla was victorious and Captain Redpuff and his band of cut-throats were no more. It seemed like the mining station, not to mention the Puffhead language, was safe for the time being.
As well as these lawless wanderers, several more alien races were discovered during these years. In 2206 the Kraxroz Interplanetary Hierarchy made contact. They were a fairly friendly though fiercely collectivist empire to antispinward in the Home Arm. In the opposite direction in the Home Arm were the Eruxo Confederacy who, being fanatically xenophobic and totally unspiritual, wanted very little to do with the Puffheads. This was unfortunate for everyone since the Holy Planet of Pedro II happened to lie within their space. And finally the State of Vsem-Klack was located beside the Commonwealth of Man, with whom they seemed to have a lot in common. Both were xenophobic and fanatically militaristic, so this did not necessarily mean that they would get on well together.
Thus in 2210, the map of the galaxy looked something like this, with the Holy Planet systems circled in red.