Category: Seawolf Slug

February 7, 2016 George Hyde

It’s that time of year.

I’ve always hated that phrase. “That time of year” could refer to freaking President’s Day just as easily as it could to the topic of this article.

Anyways, Valentine’s. As you are all likely to know, my species reproduces asexually — actually, that’s not technically true, but it’s clear that the worker and scouting drones like myself aren’t getting any action — and my host, being a PC gaming, anime-watching slob, obviously isn’t doing anything either. He’s been making more of an effort lately to get out and try meeting more people, but it’s doubtful he’ll find someone for Valentine’s.

Which is fine. He doesn’t care. Despite what big companies would have you believe, it’s not a deadline or anything.

Typically, this is the time of the year when companies start shoving flowers, heart-shaped candy boxes and sloppily-made romance DVDs into consumers’ faces. As for why they choose to do this, well, we’ve discussed the timing of the holiday in a previous column — it’s totally arbitrary. The backstory regards the legend of St. Valentine of Rome, and how he was imprisoned for marrying soldiers and Christians who were forbidden from marrying. He healed the jailer’s daughter, wrote a goodbye letter signed “Your Valentine,” and that’s why 20th Century Fox is advertising “Deadpool” as a date movie.

Obviously, this has led to Valentine’s being a big cash cow for many industries, from restaurants to entertainment to candy to… well, more perverted industries.

They picked a hell of a time of year to do it, too. Everybody knows that the most romantic season of the year is the period between winter and spring, where everything is dusty and icy and just cold enough to make driving just about impossible. Everyone is sick, cold and busy studying for midterms. Sexy.

If you’re single, like me and my host, you still can’t escape. Advertisements are everywhere for single’s nights, mixers and other things designed to lure you into corporate America’s sensual trap. Let’s also not forget the great deals people get on post-Valentine’s candy, as stores desperately try to get the Valentine’s stuff off their shelves to prepare for… I don’t know. St. Patrick’s or something?

Always a vicious cycle, it is. After Valentine’s Day, it’s another holiday. After that, it’s Easter. Then 4th of July. Then “back to school” sales. Then Halloween. Then Christmas. Then back to Valentine’s again. It’s like a version of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in which the main character is motivated by greed rather than boredom, possibly both.

That cycle is vicious towards the consumer, too. It inflicts psychological panic, putting pressure on one partner to try and impress the other with goods bought from the local superstore. After all, if Valentine’s Day rolls around and you learn that your significant other doesn’t have anything in mind, wouldn’t you get upset? That’s where they get you.

Why does one single day need to emphasize romance above all others? You can pick absolutely any day of the year to celebrate your love for your partner.

Anything can be a romantic activity, if done right. If I were a sexual beast, I would find the idea of watching our armies conquer a planet from orbit to be a magnificent sight to share with someone. Alternatively, if you’re of Earth and also not a psychopath, bring your special someone to that 4th of July holiday I just mentioned. If it’s a beautiful day, take them on a hike. If it’s icy and slippery outside, stay in and play some “Diablo” with them online.

Who are corporations to tell us when to love one another? You can choose any day of the year to be more romantic with your partner. Hell, it’d probably be better to do it on your own terms, given that it’ll be a pleasant surprise to them. Sure, you can do it on Valentine’s Day, but sometimes the best romantic ideas can come right out of nowhere.

Just remember to stay smart. Know both of your limitations, and definitely don’t try to force them into situations that they might not be comfortable with.

If you’re single, there’s always “XCOM 2” and half-priced candy. It could be way worse.


December 4, 2015 George Hyde


Think of all the commencement speeches that begin with the word “wow.”

It’s as much of a cliché to make fun of it as it is to actually begin the speech with “wow.” I just wanted to point it out, though. Ten galactic credits says that the actual commencement speaker is going to say it, too.

It’s worth saying, though. It’s a cliché for a reason. After four or five years of hard work and dedication — or more — you guys finally made it. I haven’t made it, since I’m technically a brain slug and not a student, but WOW! You made it!

You, the graduating class of fall 2015, made it through snow, ice, late classes, lack of sleep, lack of food and a lack of money to get here. We at the Slug Empire would be proud of your determination and grit. You’ve learned some skills that will last you a lifetime, along with some other skills that you’ve more or less forgotten over breaks. Who cares, though? You made it!

At a young age, Slug larvae are sent from the Empire to explore the galaxy and find new, habitable worlds to enslave, and you will largely do the same. You will discover new frontiers and conquer them as ruthlessly as we do. Hopefully you’ll be a little less scary than us in the process, but with enough determination, you can vanquish even the most demanding of future challenges.

Okay. I may not be the most qualified being to say all of this. I haven’t conquered this planet yet. I haven’t even completely conquered the human who’s typing this for me, as evidenced by the fact that he keeps dragging me to graduations, sports games, singles nights and other weird stuff.

Everything I’ve said in this “speech” so far is all fluff, with the exception of that bet I made at the beginning. That still stands open. I am still an alien brain slug, though, which means that I can at least give you some genuine alien advice that I know those other commencement speakers can’t give.

Space is massive. Even our magnificent slug brains can’t comprehend just how huge the universe is. Most of it is inhospitable towards any life. However, I can guarantee you that in that barren wasteland, you can always find place to call home.

The second you wake up tomorrow, you’re going to find yourself in a similarly foreign landscape. You may be lucky and find a fruitful job, and you might not. Your quest for success could last days, and it could also last decades. Perhaps your unquenchable thirst for conquest and unlimited power will last you your entire lifetime. Perhaps you’ll simply be satisfied doing what you love. I don’t know what you seek in this universe. However, I can guarantee you that if you are determined to find it, you probably will.

This galaxy is a peculiar thing. For as vast and as barren as it usually is, there’s usually some group or civilization you can call home, including my own glorious Empire, for whatever that may be worth to you. You can always wander the galaxy alone if you choose, but you never have to go it alone. There’s always some person or some group that can help you, even if it’s just a pack of bounty hunters.

From this point on, you can do whatever you want, and you can do it with as many people as you want. You will have to be aware of the challenges you face if you want to face them, because they will be there. You are college students, however. You have determination beyond compare. If you’ve made it this far, you’ve proven to the rest of the world that you’re willing to put yourself through hell to accomplish your dreams.

Now that you’ve proven that, all that’s left to do is to actually do it. It may be hell all over again, and it may not. But know that wherever you go in the world, you will always find a place you belong, even if it’s just back here at UAA.

The entire galaxy is now at your feet. Now go! Let your intergalactic legend come to life!


November 29, 2015 George Hyde

If there’s anything we at the Slug Empire love, it’s a good history lesson. Part of the reason our Empire is as successful as it is is because we, as brain slugs, learn the lessons from mistakes that our enslaved civilizations made. We never make the same mistakes that countless other civilizations make, and you’d be surprised at just how many civilizations have made the same kinds of mistakes.

This week, I’m going to give you readers a history lesson. It’s the story of another galactic empire that made many, many mistakes, but one of them stands out in our world today.

Long ago, back in our own Empire’s formative times, the Kysar Empire was the galactic vanguard of peace and reason. It was a new empire, and a strong one: one that formed when many smaller systems united under one flag. It was a turbulent time for this sector of the Milky Way; faster-than-light travel was just slowly becoming possible, and laser weapon technology had just reached its apex for the era.

With improved weapons and a new means of travel, the Kysar yearned for the furthest reaches of the stars. The rulers of this empire believed, with this advanced tech in hand, that this new frontier was their birthright — their manifest destiny. Although it promised prosperity to those whom it conquered, it tore much of the galaxy asunder. While it lay waste to smaller systems, the other governments of the galaxy were confident that their reign would blow over eventually. They ignored the thousands of pleas for help and refuge, believing that their systems had no place in this massive bloodshed.

This gave the Kysar more fuel for their propaganda machine; the less likely another government would take those refugees in, the more likely they would enlist and help the Kysar conquer those governments. This worked at first, when the promise of Kysar vengeance was still sweet and palpable.

Soon, though, the Kysar’s lust for conquest took its toll. In its blind efforts to claim the Milky Way as its own, it had ignored those who suffered under Kysar rule. Riots and rebellions plagued the empire, from its newly-exploited outskirts to its very center. Rather than come up with a logical plan to pacify these rebels, like any other person in the galaxy would have done, the Kysar went with a far messier final solution.

Millions of voices were silenced. As the other civilizations of the galaxy tried to look the other way, the Kysar purged an indescribable number of its own people. With their new weapons, thousands of lush planets were rendered barren.
This newly-destructive, continually-expanding empire could no longer be ignored. The other galactic civilizations finally went to war. Many of the galaxy’s greatest federations and republics went down in a suicidal blaze in an effort to bring the Kysar’s bloody crusade to an end.

The Kysar Empire was finally brought down, but at great cost. Many innocent deaths could have been prevented had the civilians in the conflict been given safe refuge, but it was not to be. Without a civilization to lend them some hospitality, they were doomed to perish.

I hope it’s pretty clear what this history lesson is alluding to. Many rulers here on this planet are making the same mistake. Millions of people here on Earth need a safe place to run to when their government turns on them. Yet, many here in this very state believe that Alaska is no place for these people.

America is the land of immigrants. The founding fathers came here to flee a brutal monarchy. Many of your “American” ancestors came from civilizations who could not provide for them. The number of innocent people who have died in humanity’s wars is unacceptable, even today.

Even the Slug Empire understands this. We take that Kysar history lesson to heart. When people need refuge, we offer it to them. Naturally, it’s a little off-putting, with us being brainwashing slugs and all, but it’s better than what you guys are doing. For as brutal as we are in overthrowing and enslaving people, we at least do our best to keep them safe from harm. We have that decency. It’s about time that the countries of Earth do the same.


November 15, 2015 George Hyde

By the time you’re reading this article, the Great Alaska Shootout will be right around the corner. You may even be reading this at the Shootout itself. One of the writers at this paper may have even handed you a copy before the game, being the self-promoting jolly people that they are.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written an article for the Shootout. For my first Shootout, I discussed the meaning of sports to both humanity and to life abroad in the universe. For my second Shootout, I gave a brief analysis of the different teams playing, having not had a sports writer at the time. You won’t believe how awkward it is to try and get a sports-themed issue on the stands without a good sports writer.

This time, I’m talking about something a bit different. I’ve already talked at length about Slug culture, so I think it’s time I talk about Slug sports.

I’ve mentioned in the past that we at the Slug Empire have giant gladiatorial pits that we send unruly species into to let them sort themselves out. What, you thought that our sports would be peaceful fare like basketball? Of course not! If you’re going to have entertaining sports, why not punish lawbreakers at the same time?

Okay, so it’s a bit inhumane. You have to admit, though, that seeing the great saber-toothed beasts of Trog fighting the laser dragons of the Outer Rims is pretty awesome. It’s not like we’re endangering these species, either. When a species is in danger of overpopulation, you thin the herd a little to restore the balance. It’s like hunting — only instead of hanging a trophy on your wall, you watch two awesome alien monsters duke it out to the death.

Everybody wins! Well, not everybody. I guess the losing fighter gets horribly mutilated. You get the idea, though. Dangerous criminals are punished, overpopulated species are protected, and we Slugs – and whatever other enslaved species gets the privilege to watch — get some seriously kick ass entertainment.

This is how a hive mind spends its leisure time. Just because we all think as one doesn’t mean we don’t get bored. If one of us is feeling daring, we might even assume control of one of the combatants to spice things up. The only way you can improve the “saber-toothed beast versus laser dragon” scenario is to give them both the intelligence and cunning of a slug.

With that said, though, I do appreciate the idea of the “safe” sports you humans play here on Earth. Apparently, there used to be big gladiatorial fights on Earth long ago, but I guess that’s not a thing that humanity does anymore. The closest thing you guys have to that is stuff like pro wrestling, and as adorably cheesy as that is, it’s really no substitute for real violence.

Maybe that’s not what you guys want anymore. It’s not the savagery that humans crave in sports anymore so much as it’s the clever teamwork or pride for the hometown. My host doesn’t watch much physical sports, but when he’s in a crowd that’s rooting for a particular team, he joins that mentality.

It could be that. It could also be something else, though. When you take brute force out of the picture, meta-games begin to form. Strategies are formed to counter other strategies, that were originally formed to counter other strategies. It becomes less like a brutal fight to the death and more like a competitive puzzle of sorts, like chess. Some games are just entertaining to watch play out, even if there’s not a team or player in particular you’re rooting for. My host sometimes hops on Twitch to watch a “Counter-Strike” game or two just to see the pros play it out, because in a game like “Counter-Strike,” high-level play is an incredible joy to watch. It’s the same thing with basketball.

This may not be the reason people come to the Great Alaska Shootout. Fanatics want to come all the way up to Alaska to see one of the biggest collegiate tournaments in the nation, just so they can root their home team on. However, if you’re reading this outside the Shootout, consider checking out a game or two. If the two teams are really good at what they do, it’ll be a really interesting watch no matter who you’re rooting for, if you’re rooting for anyone.

There’s a certain elegance to a good competition. I do miss the violence of the Empire, though. If you guys behave yourselves during the invasion, they may let you in on few fights. It’s not exactly humane, but man, it’s fun to watch.


November 8, 2015 George Hyde

Nov. 10, the date this issue comes out, marks an important landmark in procrastination: the release of “Fallout 4.”

Students will call in sick. Work across the country will stagnate. It will be like a national holiday, only with less traditional festivities and more bosses having to send mass emails reminding workers that no, “Fallout 4’s” release is not a worthy excuse to call in sick.

Unlike work, college students are in a weird position. They have the choice to avoid class and spend the day in the wastes of post-nuclear Boston instead. I plead with you, though.

Don’t do it.

Trust me. My host loves “Fallout,” and nothing hurts him more than seeing his colleagues play away while he works on essays and exam studies. I’m kind of with him. I think that it’s a very creative and well-designed series, even if its depiction of aliens is extremely stereotypical. I mean, grey Roswell-style aliens? Flying saucers? Really? I mean, they exist, but that’s just not trying very hard. They also wouldn’t approve of the kind of anal probing we see in “Fallout 3.” They have a culture! They’re diverse! Don’t pretend like humans don’t do anal probing as well!

Anyway. Back on track. We really like “Fallout.” Please understand, though, that doing that kind of thing to your professors and your education is very unprofessional. If the Slug Empire caught you playing “Fallout 4” instead of doing the work that you were supposed to do, you’d get brutally tortured for it. We don’t keep you alive just to waste away in a post-apocalyptic fantasy, and neither will your future employers.

On your own time, that’s fine. Play away. Keep in mind, however, that in college, “your own time” is as much a fantasy as a friendly Deathclaw.

Unless you’re taking less than twelve credits (in which case, I hope you plan on being here for a while), the concept of leisure time in college is implausible. Having to study and work on huge projects just doesn’t allow for that.

Maybe you can work in an hour or two a week, but finding the time to really invest in a game like “Fallout 4” is impossible for the average college student, especially around this time of year.

There’s less time left in the semester than you’d realize. There’s about a month left. For many classes, this is where huge projects and exams start looming on the horizon. It’s foolish to squander that time bumming around the wasteland. With this workload, a college student just can’t afford to throw a huge world to explore on top of that.

I’ve set a mandate on George, one that he’s reluctantly accepted. Since he’s inevitably reviewing the game when it comes out today, I’m forcing him to get all of his huge projects out of the way first.

This is the mandate that I now set on all of you, in case you decide to procrastinate your projects. If you want to buy “Fallout 4” and pick it up today, fine. I won’t stop you. However, you must promise me that you will not start it until every project for every class is done.

The “Fallout” series is a boon for procrastinators, but maybe it can be used to stop procrastination. Think of “Fallout 4” as an incentive, a reward for your getting your hard work done far before the deadline. I say this as a bit of a hypocrite, as my host has always been a bit of a slacker, but this is the kind of choices you’re going to have to make as an adult, which is technically what you are. You’ve entered UAA because you want an actual interesting career that’ll challenge you. Part of that challenge is going to be finding time to slack off and play some “Fallout,” and now that you’re in college, that’s perhaps an even bigger challenge than it’s ever going to be.

It’s perfectly fine if you’re a huge “Fallout” fan. I get it. However, you’re not paying a grand or two (or three, or four, or so on) just to let your professors down. Be the kind of person your future employer — and the Slug Empire, eventually — is going to want to employ!

Then, play some “Fallout.” You’ll have earned it.


October 28, 2015 George Hyde

It’s recently dawned on me that you humans know just about nothing about the Slug Empire. Sure. I bring it up now and then, but aside from a few snippets of information, I’ve never really talked at length about it. There’s not a whole lot going on that’s worth talking about for me, so while…

October 23, 2015 George Hyde

Well, the democratic debates sure were fun to watch. This is the thing with you democratic societies, isn’t it? I keep forgetting that it’s not as easy to elect a chosen leader for a certain amount of time when you’re used to having a gigantic Slug Queen ordering the workers around for eternity. The United…

July 25, 2015 George Hyde

We’ve all seen them. They’ve graced Facebook and Twitter feeds everywhere. They’re the bane of journalists, and the disappointment of the masses who dare to give them a look. This week, we talk about clickbait. Mention the word to any journalist (or anyone who complains about journalism today), and they’ll instantly get a chill down…

July 7, 2015 George Hyde

Ho boy, the news has just been absolutely juicy for the past week or so. I have so many topics to write about! First up was the crappy PC port of “Batman: Arkham Knight” which pushed my host to the brink of insanity. I don’t think it’s fair that a bad porting job does a…

June 25, 2015 George Hyde

Well… that was an E3. I’ve got a lot to get through, but briefly, if you don’t know what E3 is, it’s a week-long expo where video game developers and publishers, in big press conferences, show off their latest creations. Some years in the past have been great, and some others… not so much. This…

June 9, 2015 George Hyde

If you’ve ever met my host George, you’ll know that he’s… well, on the heavy side, to put it generously. He eats a lot of junk, he rarely works out, and most of his time is either spent writing, gaming, or binge-watching something. Basically, he’s at his computer most of the day. That’s a shame…

April 29, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde Well, the last stretch is upon us again. This is the fourth time I’ve written about finals, so I’ll keep it brief. Study hard. Remember to sleep. Eat heartily. Remember what your finals schedule looks like. Being the Commencement edition as well, I suppose I should address the…

April 21, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde   So the mayoral race happened here in Anchorage. An issue so important, we published in-depth interviews with almost every candidate at the last minute. That was TNL’s bad. We apologize. As much as George disagrees with his policies, my money was on Dan Coffey. He made a…

April 14, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde I think I arrived at a really strange time for you humans. Over the span of the last century or two, communication went from radio, to telephones, to television, to computers, to the Internet, to smartphones… and now we come to watches. Again, as I said in the…

April 1, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde Picking the best film of 2015 at this point is probably way on the side of easy. It’s post-Oscar season, but the summer blockbuster season is still ahead of us, so for major movie studios, this is the time of year to dump movies that they know won’t…

March 24, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde George is finally back in Anchorage and has returned to sanity’s warm embrace. This is what happens when you drop a nerd in rural, religious conservative America: It drives him to the brink of insanity. It got a little better after the sports bar incident, mostly because we…