Xenonion Interviews: Sergeant Conrad, planetary defence soldier

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In the late 2240s, the United Nations of Earth (UNE) began a mass colonization program of continental worlds in neighboring systems. The endeavor, and colonists associated with it, became known as the ‘First Wave.’

Terra Nova in the Alpha Centauri system was one the first worlds colonized in the ‘First Wave’. While it is now an important core world of humanity, few people know that its initial planetary settlement was almost abandoned after a critical food shortage and subsequent outbreak of violence caused the deaths of over 15,000 colonists.

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The project would have been shut down completely had it not been for the 13th Planetary Guard, a colonial defense army that was tasked with reducing unrest. The platoon, also nicknamed ‘The Supply Suckers’ were credited with restoring law and order for long enough to allow for supplies from Earth to arrive.

Xenonion News was able to speak to one of the key soldiers involved with the 13th Planetary Guard, Sergeant Conrad.

This article is sponsored by TeleShroud - the galaxy’s largest psionic telecommunications provider.

Sergeant, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us. Can you talk us through your experience on Terra Nova?

Of course. It was tough. The defence army had just been established only a few months after the first colonists had re-assembled that ship shelter. Those first few months were the hardest.

I understand food went pretty quickly?

The amount of Space Ramen we went through was insane. I don’t know why the colony ship was only stocked with 1,500,000kg of Space Ramen, but it wasn’t enough, that’s for sure.

How soon did it run out?

Pretty soon. Maybe a month or so later. It probably didn’t help we were all comfort eating. But the supplies dwindled - in the end people were getting upset and unrest was rising.

Did the UNE try to help?

We were expecting them to send some more supplies, but it turned out our colonization had pushed the whole government into debt, and they couldn’t afford to help us.

But really, it felt like they forgot about us. The remaining Ramen packets were our lifeblood. A currency. A really precious currency that was hard-fought to come by.

What happened next?

More and more pops were unfrozen from cryo. We had maybe 400 people originally on the colony, with up to 19,000 in stasis that were automatically woken after a set period of time. The computer couldn’t be overridden. Every day tens of new pops were unfrozen, and every day more Ramen went.

Then the food stores in the ship shelter got raided. Thank the Worm we were given laser carbines, they were next most important thing that people would pay attention to after Ramen.

So the 13th Army took it upon itself to guard the food stores?

We did, and for trying to help we faced a damn revolt. The People’s Front of Terra Nova they called themselves. Or wait, maybe it was the Terra Nova People’s Front. Or Popular Front. I don’t know.

Anyway, while it may have sounded like a proper planetary revolt, it was only forty people. But when all forty of them have slug throwers, things tend to get a bit more complex….

It sounds like a precarious situation, how did you resolve it?

Unfortunately, it got worse.

Those bastards got one of my soldiers, Private Easting, when he was on his lunch break. We didn’t have any food, but we would pretend to eat Ramen for the psychological boost.

Anyway, he was in this fake canteen that we’d drawn on one of the hallways, and he got fifty shells to the chest. The fake canteen was ruined too.

We tried to fight back with force, and the Popular People’s Front of Terra Nova started using guerrilla tactics.

Such as?

They kept cutting the power. There was only so many temporary fixes our techies could do to our Fusion Generator. Stalking through the darkened corridors of the reassembled ship shelter, we hunted them and they hunted us.

The halls became a blood soaked battlefield as pops picked sides. Worm, we were barely holding out. What started as a fifty strong security force, got reduced to ten after months of all out fighting.

The irony was, for all the pops that we lost, equal amounts awoke from cryo. We had this constant flow of new, terrified pops. In the end, we stopped explaining what was going on to them and started shoving flak jackets and kinetic pistols into their hands.

Did the UNE know what was happening?

We tried calling for help on a daily basis. No-one responded. They did seem to be reading our biweekly reports though - the read receipts were on. On our charts, it looked like Terra Nova had a booming population with all the pops coming out of cyro, but the only thing that was booming was the mortuary. Literally. It was bombed pretty early on.

It sounds like a tough situation. If only you had a TeleShroud fax machine. It has excelled psiwave upload speeds and has been proven superior to other forms of communication in terms of guaranteed message delivery.

A what…?

Look, do you think we had time to be fixing fax machines? The one damned one we had was destroyed alongside the fake canteen.

It was up to us, and no-one else, to end the strife.

It’s a shame, because it sounds like you really could have benefited from a TeleShroud subscription package

What the hell are you talking about?

TeleShroud. The galaxy’s largest telecommunications provider.

Ok but… why?

TeleShroud offers some of the most competitive -

Right, right, whatever. Can I just finish my story?

In the end, we enforced peace by gunpoint. We unthawed every cryo pop there was and gave them the last of our weaponry.

I would have liked to seen the facial expressions on those smarmy People’s Front fools as we drowned them in ten thousand angry colonists.

What happened to them?

They got pulped to death. The pulp made for a pretty good nutritional replacement, so the survivors fed on that.

Of course then an outbreak of Super Scurvy set in, and we lost about 90% of the colony. But by that time, we’d all seen so much death that we didn't even flinch at our comrades falling beside us.

Well that took a particularly grim turn.

Desperate times indeed.

The government finally remembered us about six months later when the economy stabilized.

They kind of just ignored our reports and just gave us the order to build 25 tiles worth of hydroponic farms.

I guess they wanted to really fix the problem. And work goes quick when you’re ravenous for a packet of anything but Spicy Pitharan flavoured Ramen.

However, thanks to the establishment of those farms, things are back to normalcy... mostly.

If those People’s Front fools come back, we’ll hold the line while you fellas get the cavalry, right?

I cant make promises, Sergeant. But TeleShroud certainly can. A promise to deliver not only the best in psionic telecommunication devices, but also the galaxy’s highest rated customer service.

I... Wormdamn it. I guess I can order a few of the damn things.

Sergeant Conrad has remained a member of the 13th Planetary Guard on Terra Nova, and is now based out of the newly constructed Planetary Fortress.

Sales of the planet’s main luxury resource, Ramen, remains buoyant, and stocks remain closely guarded by ‘The Supply Suckers’

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Area empire develops Xenomorph armies despite safety concerns

LSS Nostromos Science Ship, Zunar J-5 System, Luuhma Combine

The Luuhma Combine, an empire of militarist-materialist humanoids, today confirmed it has successfully completed development of a controversial new biological weapons program.

The weapons, called 'Xenomorphs' are in essence a novel species of arthropods that have been genetically engineered as ferocious warriors.

While not yet fully battle-tested, it is hoped Xenomorphs can be utilised in both offensive and defensive Luuhma armies by 2252.

Dr. Reedlay Scoot, chief military researcher on the project told our newsteam:

"For decades we've been looking for a way to enhance our army's capabilities. We've tried adding attachments to armies, but that was too time consuming. We tried cybernetically enhancing or cloning our soldiers, but public opinion turned against that. So effectively all we were left with was bioweapons - and that's how we came up with this project."

Xenomorphs are based on DNA Luuhma scientists harvested surreptitiously from Scythaans, a neighbouring species of hyper-aggressive, fanatic purifier arthropods. Desirable traits that the Scythaans lack, such as intelligence and obedience, were added later in the Xenomorph's development. Dr. Scoot explained:

"Obviously I can't tell you too much, but basically we designed the Xenomorph to undergo several metamorphoses during its life-cycle that would provide opportune moments to refine its development. Xenomorph eggs are developed in a lab and implanted orally into volunteer Luuhmas from our criminal justice system. Don't worry, it's very safe and they're reimbursed with a voucher for a free meal at TacoBell. Anyway, once the Xenomorph develops into a larvae, its gains genetic traits by devouring the Luuhma from within. The clawed abomination then usually bursts through the hosts chest and begins its grotesque career as an adult. It's the adult form that's very, very dangerous and makes a perfect weapon!"

Image: A fully developed xenomorph displayed in a biocontainment tank.

Image: A fully developed xenomorph displayed in a biocontainment tank.

Developed on a secure research vessel in the Zunar J-5 System, Xenomorphs can grow to 3m tall and weigh up to 300kg. They are equipped with hundreds of teeth, several large claws, a long muscular tail and acidic blood.

While combat data has yet to be generated, Luuhma officials are confident the creatures will be efficient and obedient warriors. Several uninhabited planets in the region, such as LV-462, have been identified for battle trials.

However, multiple military personnel, and indeed the Galactic UN, have expressed concern regarding the Luuhma's bioweapon's project.

Kane Gutscäre, head of the Galactic UN's Department of Mild-To-Moderate Concern told us;

"To say we're mildly or moderately concerned would be accurate. While bioweapons aren't strictly prohibited by galactic law, and the Luuhma are doing their best to keep development on a secure lab aboard the LSS Nostromo, these Xenomorphs are still a complete unknown, and we really don't know what will happen when they're operational. You only have to look at the fatality rate of 100% for Xenomorph hosts, and the high rate of staff on the research vessel being mutilated to confirm that."

Dr. Scoot has dismissed these claims, stating:

"This is outrageous. If this new technology was dangerous it would have been clearly flagged as that when we began research. It's not like we're doing something wild like making jump drives here or anything. All our data suggests these Xenomorphs will be just as obedient as if we had cloned our soliders. The simulations suggest there would be minimal collateral damage if they were released into a civilian population. The staff that have been severely disfigured by Xenomorph bites were due to initial teething problems - no pun intended. And anyway - we included an ingenious fail-sail to prevent them from reproducing - all specimens are female!'

Luuhma's research partners have applauded the new technology for its originality as well as its potential in combat. They are expected to soon develop similar technologies pending the outcome of battle-testing.

> More accurate reporting from Heuknaize could not be possible