Farquharson

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Use of Weapons
Dedicated to the memory of Iain M Banks 1954-2013
A great mind, greatly missed​

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There are some races who fight to dominate, and others who fight to defend their way of life. Some fight because they think diplomacy is only for the weak, while others fight only when all other avenues have been tried and have failed. The Zhun-Khirs did not fight for any of these reasons. They mainly just fought because they thought fighting was fun.

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Zhun-Khirs history was of course filled to overflowing with fun-filled wars between the various nation-states and empires which had risen and fallen over the millennia. The heroes of the past were invariably great generals and admirals, conquerors and freedom fighters, those who had lived by the sword and, invariably, died by the sword. But now the Zhun-Khirs faced a grave problem. Somehow, their race had become inexplicably united into one single state, the Zhun-Khirs League. The last dissenting voices had been silenced, sent to an early grave, and all was peace and harmony. Who were they supposed to fight now?

Fortunately, at about the same time as this near-miraculous development, Zhun-Khirs scientists had unlocked the secret of faster-than-light space travel. Suddenly the distant dream of travelling to the stars had become a reality. There were perhaps no enemies left on their home planet of Ram-Dakhm, but surely the Zhun-Khirs would be able to find some out among the stars?

Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq had shuttled up to Ram-Dakhm Spaceport for the historic departure of the fleet on their first missions. Admiral Toki Ikaaq was waiting for him by the access ramp of his flagship, the corvette ZLS Ask Questions Later.


Commissary-Genera Nerka Ukaq: Well Admiral, this is a proud day for our planet. The stars await! Feeling a little nervous?

Admiral Toki Ikaaq: Not a bit, sir. On the contrary, I'm raring to go! Our three mighty ships will make mincemeat of our foes!

Nerka Ukaq: Ahem, yes... Admiral, have you considered the possibility that there may not actually be any foes out there? Scientists are divided on the issue. According to some, we may be alone in the galaxy.

Toki Ikaaq: I trust not, sir. I am travelling to the stars to find out, and believe me sir, I intend to find some other lifeforms out there to fight with or I'll die trying!

Nerka Ukaq: Excellent, Admiral. That's the spirit!

Toki Ikaaq: Thank you, sir!

Nerka Ukaq: Now get out there and kick some hyperlane butt!

Toki Ikaaq: Yes sir!

There was no lack of possibilities for the exploration of the stars.

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The Burz system where Ram-Dakhm was located, was close to the galactic hub. One ship would head to spinward to explore the few systems in that direction the same arm as Burz. Another would explore to antispinward, still also staying in the same arm. Admiral Ikaaq himself however was going to jump across to the next galactic arm following a long but easily accessible hyperlane not far from Burz, from where he would hunt out whatever foes he could find in that direction.

What wonders or horrors the ships might encounter in their travels, no one knew. But every Zhun-Khirs on the planet was hoping that, whatever adventures befell them, sooner or later it would involve the use of weapons.



So here it is, my next AAR. The setup is pretty much random, the way I like to do it. I've got myself a bunch of fanatic militarists, which ought to be lots of fun, since, let's face it, fighting is probably the best bit of the game. My goals are simple – just have fun and go with the flow. I suppose I'm aiming for Domination Victory, but I also want to focus on my military leaders, and keep a note of all their victories and defeats. Pride of place will go to those who manage to kick the most alien butt!

One or two other things in the setup that haven't been mentioned yet. I'm starting off with kinetic weapons (i.e. mass drivers) which I don't actually remember having as starters before. For those (like me) less familiar with the icons the Zhun-Khirs are Egalitarian, Fanatic Militarists, and their other traits are: Desert Preference, Solitary, Nonadaptive, Conservationist, Enduring, Very Strong. My civics are “Efficient Bureaucracy”, which gives an extra 2 core systems (phew – I wasn't too chuffed at finding the limit was down to 3 in Banks!) and “Shadow Council” which may also come in handy. I'm glad to see the Zhun-Khirs don't actually have a real democracy – that would seem a bit out of character for them.

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And finally, I should also say a word about the dedication at the top. Iain M Banks is far and away my favourite sci-fi author. If you haven't read any of his books, why on earth not? His imagination is incredible. “Use of Weapons” is one of his books – I hope the use of the title for this AAR doesn't count as plagiarism, but given the ethics of the Zhun-Khirs I couldn't resist it. Banks also wrote some fantastic non sci-fi books, which I would also recommend. Tragically he died of cancer four years ago. As a tribute, for the Zhun-Khirs ships I will attempt to imitate the witty, bizarre and tongue-in-cheek ship names which pepper the pages of his sci-fi novels.

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Iain M Banks​
 
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stnylan

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Ahh, a Banks inspired AAR is very appropriate. I have read a goodly number of both his science fiction and non-science fiction - though I think the line between the gets more than a little blurred at times - but far from all. Use of Weapons is one of my favourite.

I wonder what meaning of their own the Zhun-Kirs will find, in bones?
 

Farquharson

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We Are Not Alone

The great age of Zhun-Khirs space exploration had just begun. Three intrepid corvettes had set out on their respective journeys of discovery, while back on Ram-Dakhm, Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq and his people waited in anticipation for news of what they might discover.

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The first piece of significant news came as something of a blow. As the ZLS Taking No Prisoners entered the Trab system the ship's sensors detected a strange, apparently space-borne lifeform. An unmanned probe sent to investigate was instantly blown to smithereens. Clearly these creatures were hostile.

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This would have been good news to the martial-minded Zhun-Khirs. This was exactly what they had been looking for – indeed, their principal goal in exploring the galaxy was to find someone to pick a fight with. There was just one teensy problem. According to the corvette's captain, a grizzled and fearless veteran of countless space battles, these weird creatures possessed a military capability far in excess of his own corvette, previously considered to be at the cutting edge of space warfare technology. Perhaps a fleet of ten might be more of a match for the alien creatures.

Undeterred, Commissary-General Ukaq immediately ordered three more corvettes to be built at Ram-Dakhm Spaceport. This used up almost all of the planet's stock of minerals. Clearly, if a fleet capable of taking on these creatures was to be built, he needed to find and exploit more resources. Some likely looking asteroids had been found in the neighbouring Bikini Atoll system so the construction ship ZLS Working Hard or Hardly Working, which up till then had been hardly working, was sent there to set up a mining station.

The urgency of the task was pressed home upon Ukaq when more reports came in from the Taking No Prisoners which had moved on to the Natilia system. There the crew had made a terrifying discovery.

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The size and power of a fleet that would be able to take on these aliens was almost unimaginable. Early in 2201, about a year after the ships had first set out on their quest, Zhun-Khirs scientists published a report concerning the strange “crystalline entities” as they termed them. The boffins suggested two courses of action to Ukaq – the creatures could be studied remotely, or the Zhun-Khirs ships could attempt to destroy one and salvage the remains for analysis. To any self-respecting Zhun-Khirs, this was a no-brainer.

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And then, tragedy struck when the ZLS Taking No Prisoners entered the Astus system and was immediately set upon by more of the hostile creatures. The crew of course fought valiantly but the ship was destroyed in a matter of days and all hands lost. Needless to say, no prisoners were taken, by either side.

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The ZLS Taking No Prisoners takes a direct hit
Meanwhile Admiral Ikaaq aboard the ZLS Ask Questions Later had discovered other weird and no less hazardous lifeforms as he explored the next arm of the galaxy. Among these were the bizarre “space amoebas” which seemed just as hostile to any approach as the crystalline things. And then, in the Sanctuary system, Ikaaq made the most disturbing discovery yet.

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The ringworld, a structure of staggering technological achievement, was guarded by fleets even more overwhelmingly powerful than the crystals of Nalitia. No longer was anyone on Ram-Dakhm talking about their little corvettes making mincemeat of their foes. The galaxy held challenges far beyond the Zhun-Khirs present abilities, that much was clear. But Commissary-General Ukaq was not put off. A day would come, he felt certain, when Zhun-Khirs technology and military might would be able to take on anyone and everything, and the martial pride of their race would be upheld.

Explorations in the antispinward direction, cut short by the untimely end of the Taking No Prisoners was now continued by the ZLS Demand for Satisfaction, which had completed its explorations of the spinward end of the arm. Giving the Astus system a wide berth, the ship pushed on into the unknown and before long had found some more normal aliens, living on an actual planet, with ships that seemed not dissimilar to the Zhun-Khirs. A few months later the aliens, having apparently deciphered the Zhun-Khirs language, made first contact.

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By means of some technological wizardry, Commissary-General Ukaq was able to enter into a more or less normal conversation with the Aruchettean leader.


Aruchettean leader: Greetings, Zhun-Khirs leader. I am President Dilathi of the Aruchettean Nation.

Nerka Ukaq: Ah, yes. Greetings to you. This is Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq here, representing the Zhun-Khirs League.

President Dilathi: Hail and well met, Zhun-Khirs. We are hoping for a long and fruitful relationship with your people.

Nerka Ukaq: Ah.

President Dilathi: “Ah”? Is there a problem, Commissary-General?

Nerka Ukaq: Um... no. That is, not necessarily. I mean, it all depends.

President Dilathi: Oh. What does it depend on?

Nerka Ukaq: Well, you know. This and that. What sort of relationship we have, and so on.

President Dilathi: Oh, we Aruchetteans wish you no harm. We only wish to be friends.

There is an awkward pause.

Nerka Ukaq: Friends?

President Dilathi: Yes, you know, a free and harmonious exchange of culture and ideas. Trade, shared goals for peace and freedom for all throughout the galaxy. That sort of thing.

Nerka Ukaq: Right. Well, um... How can I put this...

President Dilathi: Perhaps you do not wish to have contact with other races?

Nerka Ukaq: Er... it's not that exactly...

President Dilathi: You do not agree with our principles then?

Nerka Ukaq: Oh no, that's all fine and dandy. Freedom, justice, democracy, all that stuff.

President Dilathi: Peace, love, harmony.

Nerka Ukaq: Ah. Well, you know, we Zhun-Khirs, we're not so big on the whole peace and love thing. I mean, it's not that we have anything against you guys, you know. It's just that, well, we were looking for some enemies that we could have a proper bust up with.

President Dilathi: Enemies? Oh no, we don't want to be your enemies.

Nerka Ukaq: Hm. That's too bad. We were hoping we could find some slaving despots or fanatical religious zealots or something. Someone we could fight a brutal and merciless war with. But you guys don't really seem that type.

President Dilathi: Oh no, not at all. I'm terribly sorry.

Nerka Ukaq: Well, I guess it's not your fault.

President Dilathi: You must be rather disappointed.

Nerka Ukaq: Yes, kind of. But I tell you what. If you happen to come across any really vile alien races in your exploration of the galaxy, keep us posted, eh?

President Dilathi: Er, right.

Nerka Ukaq: Or even just slightly unpleasant – we're not that fussy.

President Dilathi: Um. I see.

Nerka Ukaq: Well, it's been nice talking with you, President Dilathi, but I'm sure you're very busy. We'll be in touch.

President Dilathi: Of course. Farewell, Zhun-Khirs.

Opinion on Ram-Dakhm was divided on the subject of the Aruchetteans. Some believed that the various clearly hostile alien lifeforms already encountered provided the Zhun-Khirs with all the enemies they needed. There was no need to make extra enemies of races that wished to be their friends. Others disagreed and urged extreme caution, if not an out-and-out hostile stance with regard to this suspiciously friendly race. These warmongers had soon coalesced into a recognizable political faction, who styled themselves the Vanguard of the Chosen.

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They considered the space between Ram-Dakhm and Kunjai, the Aruchettean home system, to be a territorial battleground which should be filled with Zhun-Khirs frontier outposts and colonies as soon as possible. And on no account should the Zhun-Khirs League enter into any kind of alliance or federation with any alien race, no matter how friendly they seemed to be.

Commissary-General Ukaq could see that his people were becoming divided. In the past, of course, this would certainly have been considered a Good Thing. An excuse for a bloody civil war on a global scale. But now, as never before, it was crucial that the Zhun-Khirs stood as one in the face of alien threats from outside. His task was to try to keep all of his people happy.

What he needed was a victory against someone, or some thing, that everyone could agree was a definite enemy – a bunch of worthless crystallines, for example. All that he needed was a fleet large enough and powerful enough to take them on.
 
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stnylan

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Oh the Zhun-Khirity - the quest to find a suitable foe!
 

Nikolai

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Haha, what an awkward exchange...! :D

And he's back! Good stuff.:)
 

Specialist290

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Another Farq AAR? And inspired by the Culture books? Count me in! (EDIT: And I also realized it's quite fitting in light of the fact that 1.5 was the Banks update. Well played.)

(I've only ever read The Player of Games, but I enjoyed that immensely -- that, and the Culture's ship-naming philosophy always did amuse me :D )
 

Farquharson

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Oh the Zhun-Khirity - the quest to find a suitable foe!
It took me a moment to work out what you meant by "Zhun-Khirity" - obviously quite a different thing from "humanity" :p

Haha, what an awkward exchange...! :D

And he's back! Good stuff.:)
Welcome aboard!

Another Farq AAR? And inspired by the Culture books? Count me in! (EDIT: And I also realized it's quite fitting in light of the fact that 1.5 was the Banks update. Well played.)

(I've only ever read The Player of Games, but I enjoyed that immensely -- that, and the Culture's ship-naming philosophy always did amuse me :D )
Oh, you need to read more!

Haha, that conversation with President Dilathi. Perfect.
Interactions between alien races is my favorite part of Stellaris AAR writing, and usually the part that offers the most comic potential.:)

More adventures coming up.
 

Farquharson

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Some Foes Worth Fighting

Professor Appiaq Aruk, Head of Social Science at the University of Ram-Dakhm, was not a real scientist. That is, she was a social scientist, which meant that she made a living by concocting funding proposals for projects that took years to come up with results which to anyone with common sense were blindingly obvious.

For example, her current research project came under the heading “The Doctrine of Space Combat”.

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The goal was to find a way of increasing Zhun-Khirs naval capacity. Of course, the answer was blindingly obvious: just build more ships. It wasn't, as they say, rocket science. But Professor Aruk was keeping an entire University Department busy for years working on the project. This was what was known in social science circles as a “spark of genius”.

What Professor Aruk was actually spending her time on during these years was stirring up trouble as leader of the Vanguard of the Chosen.

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Such was the persuasive power of Professor Aruk's rhetoric that by the start of 2203 the Vanguard represented the majority of the population of Ram-Dakhm. There were a number of specific demands that the Vanguard were putting to Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq and his government. They wanted him to declare the depressingly friendly Aruchettean Nation to be enemies of the Zhun-Khirs League. They also wanted further investigation into suspected primitive species in nearby systems, with a view to going to war against them.

Commissary-General Ukaq agreed with much of the Vanguard's manifesto, but he was a more cautious leader. His primary concern was to build a strong economy first, so that when the day came to go to war against alien races, the League would be fighting from as strong a position as possible. He was also unwilling to make enemies of the Aruchetteans, urging his people to wait to see if other space-faring civilizations might be encountered before deciding on a diplomatic stance regarding what appeared to be their closest neighbours.

In this, he didn't have long to wait. Early in 2203 Admiral Ikaaq aboard the ZLS Ask Questions Later sent back another disturbing report from where he was exploring the neighbouring galactic arm. He had just encountered a race calling themselves the Elemmilan Watchers. Unlike the Aruchetteans, the Elemmilan possessed overwhelmingly superior technology, and were not at all friendly.

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Commissary-General Ukaq was able to have a brief conversation with their leader before communications were cut.


Empress Róinn Suba of the Elemmilan Watchers: Know that we are the Elemmilan Watchers, the chosen people of this galaxy.

Nerka Ukaq: Well, that's nice to know.

Empress Róinn Suba: Respect our holy places, and we may refrain from annihilating you.

Nerka Ukaq: Holy places, is it? Well, we're not too big on the whole superstitious mumbo-jumbo thing as it happens, so we probably won't even be able to spot a holy place when we see one.

Empress Róinn Suba: You will know it when you suffer the consequences.

Nerka Ukaq: Ah well, you may think you're all high and mighty with your overwhelmingly superior tech, but it so happens we have a secret weapon that our scientists are even now bringing to perfection!

Empress Róinn Suba: Oh. And what might that be? Advanced stupidity?

Nerka Ukaq: Ha! Obviously we're not going to tell you what it is, otherwise it wouldn't be secret, would it?

Empress Róinn Suba: Listen, flea-brain. Do you actually have anything important to say to us? It would seem not, so just remember this – you have been warned.

* click *

The Elemmilan definitely seemed like enemies, but despite Ukaq's bluff and bravado, it was clear to everyone that, like the crystallines of Nalitia, and the ringworld guardians of Sanctuary, they were not an enemy that could be taken on anytime in the foreseeable future.

Later that year reports came in from the other explorer-corvette, the ZLS Demand for Satisfaction that an unidentified alien ship had been spotted in the Cesusterp system, a little way antispinward of the Aruchetteans. Professor Aruk was not of course able to sacrifice any of her precious time to establishing contact with this race, but about six months later the aliens made first contact.

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They turned out to be a race of ruthless capitalist mushrooms calling themselves the Galactic Arkattaaq Hegemony, and their level of development appeared to be some way ahead of the Zhun-Khirs. Once again, Commissary-General Ukaq was able to engage the alien leader, Overlord Sialu I in some conversation.


Overlord Sialu I: We are the Galactic Arkattaaq Hegemony and I am the wise Overlord Sialu I.

Nerka Ukaq: Oh yes. And I suppose you're hoping for a long and fruitful relationship with us as well?

Overlord Sialu I: There is no reason why we should not be amicable neighbours.

Nerka Ukaq: Hmm. Let's see. It says here you're a Despotic Hegemony. That doesn't sound very amicable to me.

Overlord Sialu I: You need not concern yourself with our internal affairs, Commissary-General. We in turn will make no criticism of your civilization.

Nerka Ukaq: Criticism, eh? What are you saying? What's wrong with our civilization?

Overlord Sialu I: Well, since you ask, do you want me to make you a list?

Nerka Ukaq: Get lost, fungus-face. I've heard enough! We shall properly greet you in battle!

Overlord Sialu I: As you wish, Commissary-General. Our fleets stand ready to receive you.

The Arkattaaq also seemed like they would make suitable enemies for the Zhun-Khirs, but alas, it was clear that their fleets were indeed far more powerful than the Zhun-Khirs Navy. For the time being they did not appear to want to fight, so perhaps, thought Commissary-General Ukaq, this would buy his people time to catch up a little in weapons technology. Privately, he even entertained the idea of forming an alliance with the Aruchetteans against the Arkattaaq, but of course he did not let this reach the ears of Professor Aruk and the members of the Vanguard of the Chosen.

Speaking of Professor Aruk, later in 2204 she finally completed her project on the Doctrine of Space Combat. The Zhun-Khirs Space Fleet could now be expanded to be 10% larger than before. This however was purely academic since the resources were not available to build even one more ship, never mind the ten additional ships which Professor Aruk now insisted were theoretically possible.

Her next research project was entitled “Galactic Ambitions” and its aim was to find a way to expand the Zhun-Khirs borders much further than at present. Again, the solution was blindingly obvious: just get a map and draw larger borders on it. But as usual, Professor Aruk managed to persuade the major funding bodies that this was actually a complex technological challenge and would require several years of painstaking and expensive research before it could be fully implemented.

Meanwhile, over in the Department of Physics, a team of scientists under Aikpok Akpik had done something genuinely useful in developing what they called Deflectors, a kind of energy screen which could be used by Zhun-Khirs ships to deflect enemy fire. As soon as it was possible, all four corvettes stationed at Ram-Dakhm Spaceport were fitted with this new technology.

And then came another blow for the Zhun-Khirs exploration programme. Admiral Ikaaq had discovered more of the hideous crystalline monsters lurking in the Pash system and had been unable to avoid combat with them. As with the ZLS Taking No Prisoners, the Ask Questions Later didn't stand a chance in the unequal battle, and Admiral Ikaaq died a hero's death as he flew his corvette straight at the creatures with all guns blazing.

tcIoSRi.jpg

Admiral Ikaaq's successor was the fearsome Kina Kilu. Like every high-ranking officer in the Fleet, she was a battle-hardened veteran, well-known for her aggressive tactics, believing that most enemies could be defeated simply by firing at them faster and harder as soon as they were within range. Nobody knew it, but she would be called upon to put those tactics into action much sooner than anyone expected.

As has been mentioned, the distressingly peaceful state of affairs in which the Zhun-Khirs League found itself left many of its citizens in a quandary, since they no longer had anybody to fight. The so-called Fallen Legion were a group of lawless renegades who found a simple solution. Having withdrawn from mainstream society and helped themselves to several civilian freighters, they then fitted them out as makeshift gunships and embarked on a life of space-faring piracy and wanton destruction. They found a natural leader in the ruthless desperado, Iriq Tiqiia. Needless to say, as word of her nefarious activities spread, she found no lack of recruits among the disaffected sections of Zhun-Khirs society.

qGc9OAB.jpg

By the middle of 2206, the Fallen Legion had become a force rivalling that of the Navy, and when they began to threaten the precious mining stations which Commissary-General Ukaq had laboured so hard to build, Admiral Kilu was ordered to hunt down and destroy the wretched outlaws until none were left alive. Ukaq was careful to label this as a “declaration of war” against the Fallen Legion. Many Zhun-Khirs who might otherwise have been tempted to join the Legion were thus distracted by the fact that, apparently, the Zhun-Khirs League was no longer at peace, in other words, normal service had been resumed.

By now Admiral Kilu had five corvettes under her command, including her own flagship, the ZLS Diplomacy? I Don't Think So. The Fleet immediately headed for the Chedli system where Tiqiia was running amok. Unfortunately Admiral Kilu was not quite in time to save the mining station which Tiqiia had chosen as her first target, but not long after its destruction the two fleets closed in battle.

Oz1JBU9.jpg

In a prolonged engagement lasting about three months the pirate ships were all hunted down and destroyed, along with their leader Iriq Tiqiia. Admiral Kilu lost only one corvette, but it was her flagship the Diplomacy? I Don't Think So. About half the crew, including Kilu herself, managed to escape in the ship's emergency lifepods. Back on Ram-Dakhm she was greeted as a war hero. Rumours circulated that the Legion still had a lair somewhere out in space and were not completely wiped out. This was convenient as it enabled Commissary-General Ukaq to stress to his people that they were in fact still at war. Thus, everyone was kept happy.

Meanwhile the science ship ZLS Finders Keepers was ordered to Chedli to analyze the debris of the battle. It turned out that Tiqiia and her followers had managed to perfect some technologies as yet unknown to the scientists on Ram-Dakhm, such as Nanocomposite Armor, and Afterburners. There were high hopes that finding and destroying the suspected pirate lair might yield even more benefits.

The main thing however was that the Zhun-Khirs had found an enemy that they could actually defeat in battle. Perhaps Admiral Kilu, the Victor of Chedli, would also be able to take on some of the crystal aliens and clear some systems of them.

xKJS0UZ.jpg

The known galaxy at the start of 2207
 
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stnylan

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Ahh, some Banksian influences are starting to make themselves apparent. ;)
 

Nikolai

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Loving the ship names.:D
 

Farquharson

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Ahh, some Banksian influences are starting to make themselves apparent. ;)

And hopefully there'll be plenty more!
" ZLS Diplomacy? I Don't Think So", hahaha, pretty good stuff.

Yes, I was sorry to see that one blown to smithereens, to be honest. It did have a successor though.
Loving the ship names.:D

Me too! OK, it's a holiday weekend so plenty of time spend writing updates - next one coming up!
 

Farquharson

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Comrades in Arms

aOoygvR.jpg

At the end of the last episode we left the Zhun-Khirs League, led by Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq, still hunting the stars for worthy foes to fight with. The Corvette Exploration Programme had unearthed several space-faring races, not to mention plenty of hostile space-borne aliens, but all seemed to be either too friendly or too powerful to take on in battle at this stage. Only one of the three explorer-corvettes was left, the ZLS Demand For Satisfaction, and it was about to come to a grisly end, pulverized to atoms by more of the deadly crystalline monsters.

However, shortly before this, in 2206 the corvette had had a fleeting encounter with an unidentified alien ship far to antispinward in what was now known as the Elemmilan Arm, the galactic arm to rimward of the Zhun-Khirs home system. Once again, Professor Aruk of Social Science had not troubled to try and decipher their language but had left the aliens to do the work. Around the middle of 2207, the expected communication was received.


V2TGpv1.jpg

Blanvoq Leader: Greetings, Zhun-Khirs. We are the Blanvoq and I am Commissary-General Chank of the Flaming Avenger.

Nerka Ukaq: Wow! You guys have a Commissary-General? We've never come across anyone with one of them except us up till now. I am Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq.

Chank of the Flaming Avenger: Wonderful! We are a Military Commissariat, and we are on a crusade to rid the galaxy of oppression and injustice!

Nerka Ukaq: Cool! We're a Military Commisariat too, and we're just looking for someone to have a fight with.

Chank: Tell me about it. We found the Arkattaaq but they seem a bit out of our league on the military front. Then there's the Aruchetteans...

Nerka Ukaq: I know – insufferably friendly, right?

Chank: Exactly. You guys found anyone else?

Nerka Ukaq: Well, if you thought the Arkattaaq were scary, you obviously haven't come across the Elemmilan Watchers or the Guardians of the Sanctuary Ringworld.

Chank: Er – no. Sounds like some delights are still in store for us.

Nerka Ukaq: You bet.

Chank: There doesn't seem to be anyone that we can safely go to war against right now.

Nerka Ukaq: Hey, wait, I have an idea! Why don't we have a war?

Chank: Er... Well, what sort of oppression and injustice are you currently into?

Nerka Ukaq: Oh we don't have any oppression and injustice in the Zhun-Khirs League. All our citizens are happy and free.

Chank: Ah, that's a bummer. See, as far as we're concerned, that makes you the good guys.

Nerka Ukaq: Oh.

Chank: You could always introduce brutal slavery, forced resettlement and ruthless purging of dissident elements. Then we could declare war on you as part of our glorious galactic crusade!

Nerka Ukaq: Er... I don't think that sounds like a good plan, to be honest.

Chank: Um, no, I guess not. Hey, what about this? We could join forces and find someone else to fight against.

Nerka Ukaq: Heh heh! Now you're talking.

Chank: You could aid us in our struggle to rid the galaxy of evil.

Nerka Ukaq: Sure thing – and you could help us in our quest to beat up... uh, well basically just anyone who gets in our way.

Chank: Sounds cool.

Nerka Ukaq: Well, let us know if you find anyone you think you can fight – you know where to find us.

Chank: Will do – nice meeting you guys.

Nerka Ukaq: Same here!

And so the Zhun-Khirs had once again drawn a blank in their quest to find suitable enemies, but in the Blanvoq they had at last found a race that seemed to be on the same wavelength as they were. Professor Aruk, as leader of the Vanguard of the Chosen, was not at all happy with the friendliness that Commissary-General Ukaq had shown towards the Blanvoq. The Vanguard were strongly opposed to any kind of alliance with other races. As the 2210 election campaign drew near. Aruk made her case clear in no uncertain terms, and she found a strong following. It looked as if Commissary-General Ukaq's career was about to end.

Fortunately, however, the ten yearly elections in the Zhun-Khirs League were really just for show, an elaborate performance played out to convince the people that they were the ones choosing their leaders. The people who were actually deciding things were the Shadow Council, a shadowy and very secret group who generally only convened once every ten years in order to decide who was to win the Zhun-Khirs League free and fair elections. Invariably, it turned out to be a member of the Shadow Council who got elected, and needless to say, Commissary-General Ukaq was indeed a member of the Shadow Council. Unfortunately for Professor Aruk, she was not. In fact, like most Zhun-Khirs, she had never even heard of the Council.

cgGXKkf.jpg

Thus it was that, despite Professor Aruk's clear lead in the polls, when Election Day came and all the votes were counted, the surprise result was that Commissary-General Nerka Ukaq seemed to have been re-elected. There was the usual grumbling about how inaccurate opinion polls always seemed to be, which as usual drowned out the few voices that were muttering about election-rigging. For the Shadow Council, it was one more job professionally done.

Meanwhile, Ukaq was getting on with the important busines of turning the Zhun-Khirs League into an invincible war machine that would strike terror into the hearts of any foe. This was obviously going to take quite a long time, given the overwhelming superiority of many of the potential foes discovered so far. But Ukaq was doing all he could. Mining stations were being built in nearby systems as fast as possible, keeping the ZLS Working Hard or Hardly Working hard at work for the time being.

And then in 2210 Commissary-General unveiled his latest plan, with the completion and launch of the ZLS Are We Nearly There?, the first ever Zhun-Khirs colony ship, which was bound for a likely looking desert planet in the nearby Morue system. After a long and rather tiresome voyage the Are We Nearly There? finally made planetfall early in 2211. By 2213 the first Zhun-Khirs interstellar colony was fully established.

WTVY9Se.jpg

Millions of square miles of empty sandy beach – the Zhun-Khirs colonists living the dream
It will be recalled that the Zhun-Khirs League were still technically “at war” with the Fallen Legion, the pirates who had foolishly attempted to sabotage the mining operations in Chedli. It was now discovered that they had a ramshackle outpost in the Transgression system from where they were hoping to put together another fleet to terrorize the law-abiding citizens of the Zhun-Khirs League once more. Immediately, Admiral Kilu, heroine of the Battle of Chedli, was sent to deal with this threat.

Aboard her new flagship, the ZLS Diplomacy? What's Diplomacy?, at the head of a fleet now boasting ten corvettes equipped with Deflectors, Coilguns and Fusion Reactors, Admiral Kilu made short work of the pirate lair, and no corvettes were lost.

8FaJonq.jpg

The pirates had been stockpiling the resources needed to build their new fleet, and Commissary-General Ukaq now put these to much better use, building up his own fleet to maximum capacity. By the end of 2212 this was achieved, with Admiral Kilu now commanding no less than sixteen corvettes.

It seemed clear that the Fallen Legion were now history, so it was time to declare war on someone else. The obvious candidates were the annoying crystalline entities lurking in so many nearby systems. Thus Commissary-General Ukaq announced the so-called “Crystal War”, which, he declared, would not be over until every one of these vile creatures had been hunted down and eliminated. Given that this included the vast hordes of them previously spotted in the Nalitia system, it was safe to say that this was a war that would last a very long time. Which of course was exactly what Ukaq wanted.

Admiral Kilu was soon setting forth once more to see what her gallant corvettes could do against the crystal monsters, starting with those in the Trab system, which, thanks to Professor Aruk's fiendishly clever Galactic Ambitions project, now lay just within Zhun-Khirs space.

MRwpKJF.jpg

Despite the Fleet being armed with the latest weaponry and defences, it was a hard-fought battle and Admiral Kilu lost four of her sixteen corvettes before the crystal filth were completely annihilated. A lot more was learned about these fearsome enemies both during the battle, and later by analyzing the debris. It was clear that much of what was gleaned could be put to use by the Zhun-Khirs science community, especially if more specimens could be captured in future engagements.

M5yQqNX.jpg

In 2215, the known galaxy looked something like this:

QK3VCs6.jpg

Much of the Elemmilan Arm still remained to be explored, and countless apparently uninhabited systems much nearer home stll remained to be fully surveyed. A new chapter in the Zhun-Khirs saga of exploration and expansion was set to begin.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Ahh, what a nice friendly race to encounter. I mean, at least The Zhun-Khirs now have someone who can relate to them and they can write duets lamenting the lack of suitable foes.
 

El Pip

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If the Shadow Council wanted to be really useful they'd get Professor Aruk replaced with someone useful with a proper science background.

It appears there will be a race, will the Zhun-Khirs run out of crystals to smash up before they are strong enough to attack an actual enemy race? The more crystals they smash up the more tech they will gain, but only at the cost of running out of targets faster. Tricky.
 

Nikolai

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What a lovely thing it is to meet someone so like minded. ;)
 

Specialist290

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The Zhun-Kirs appear to have found a kindred spirit. Now all they need is a convenient punching bag :p

Out of curiosity, what sort of name list are you using? Those are some mighty curious system names on the map there.
 

Alex Borhild

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A very appropriate title and theme for the Banks update. I know I re-read several of the Culture series in the last few months before Banks was released, and I'll have to continue re-reading the series.

I always enjoy the Culture ship names- looking forward to seeing more in this thread, and the Zhun-Khir look like they're doing quite well thus far. Hopefully any Outside Context Problems stay away until they can be soundly defeated in glorious battle.