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Adalyn Cross is a freelance journalist. In October and November 3305, she covered a widespread food shortage brought on by mass crop failures in key agricultural systems and the investigation into the blight that caused it for Vox Galactica.

Timeline Edit

02 NOV 3305

  • The blight that laid waste to vast areas of cropland over the past month has now officially been contained. Reports from the Interstellar Association for Agriculture confirm that the blight has been eliminated from all affected systems. The new agronomic treatment has rejuvenated emaciated fields, with the remaining harvests once again viable. Journalist Adalyn Cross published a review of recent events on Vox Galactica: "As the availability of staple foodstuffs begins to return to something like a normal level, many pundits are asking what lessons can be learned from this catastrophe. The IAA has pledged to intensify screening regulations for agricultural commodities. The speed with which the blight spread caught many by surprise, and it is vital that this does not happen again. Intelligence agencies have pledged to review their strategies for tackling interstellar terrorism. The Scythe of Panem extremists who engineered the blight have been dealt with, but who else might be planning a biochemical attack?" Meanwhile, the Rockforth Corporation's PR department is working hard to reassure customers and shareholders. Critics have underscored the role of the EX7 fertiliser as a primary delivery system for the pathogen, but a Rockforth source argued that the product's sabotage by Scythe of Panem agents could not have been anticipated. Nevertheless, the company's haste to increase profits has been highlighted as a contributing factor in the blight's impact. Rockforth is expected to release a statement in the next few days, pending an internal review.[1]

28 OCT 3305

  • Scythe of Panem, the activist group responsible for the crop-destroying blight, has been defeated in the Quator system. Supported by Bruthanvan Co security teams, independent pilots were able to neutralise the group's militant ringleaders. Scythe of Panem members have also been arrested following the raid of an unregistered facility discovered beneath the planetary port Weber Settlement. FIA Agent Gino Borstein spoke on behalf of the tri-superpower taskforce investigating the blight: "Initial questioning has confirmed that Scythe of Panem originally sought revenge for the Federation's orbital bombing of Onion Head crops on Panem nearly five years ago. But a recent change in leadership led them towards more extreme methods, fuelled by anti-capitalist sentiment, with the objective of disrupting the galactic economy. The term 'Crops for Crops' recurs in many of the data entries and communications recovered from the underground facility. We believe this phrase was used as a rallying cry by members." Traders are currently transporting the agronomic treatment for the blight pathogen, with a focus on the Diso and Orerve systems. As yet there is no official word regarding its effectiveness, but the Interstellar Association for Agriculture remains optimistic. Vox Galactica published an opinion piece from journalist Adalyn Cross: "A vital question remains: has the damage already been done? While the originators of the blight have been brought to justice, can a galaxy-wide eradication of food supplies be prevented?" Pilots who assisted with the campaign in the Quator system can now pick up their rewards from the Bruthanvan Co at Quator Station.[2]

26 OCT 33305

  • People across the core systems are adapting to food shortages caused by the blight, as the threat of widespread starvation increases. Vox Galactica journalist Adalyn Cross has been following the situation: "With staple foodstuffs scarce in many systems, long-forgotten brands have been resurrected, as freeze-dried and preserved goods return to favour. Restaurant menus are being reduced, and new recipes have been devised by innovative chefs – many of whom refuse to reveal their ingredients. On certain worlds, alternative crops are being imported, with the extra costs offset by increased taxes. Private companies such as Rackham Capital Investments and Silva Holdings Inc have also donated enormous sums to foodstuff shipments, which has been hugely appreciated by the general public. In a curious development, one direct beneficiary of the blight has been the fishing industry. Pescatarian diets are on the rise, with many celebrities declaring a newfound passion for seafood dishes in the absence of fresh fruit and vegetables." Despite this, billions now rely on food cartridges and ration packs that offer only basic nutrition. Welfare charities are shipping aid to wherever it is most needed, but admit that their resources have been stretched to breaking point. "With the mutated blight proving so effective at destroying cropland," said Cross, "Mason Chu's warning that we may be facing a galaxy-wide scourge looks more likely to become a bitter reality."[3]

20 OCT 3305

  • A tri-superpower group has identified the cause of the blight that has ruined crops on multiple worlds. Gino Borstein of the Federal Intelligence Agency delivered a report on behalf of the cross-superpower taskforce: "Working with the Rockforth Corporation, we have confirmed that the EX7 fertiliser was deliberately contaminated with a chemical compound shortly after mass production began. The contaminant has a unique synthetic composition specifically designed to introduce a highly aggressive pathogen that quickly destroys plant matter. Our investigations have uncovered several potential leads, and we expect to identify the contaminant's point of origin soon." Vox Galactica journalist Adalyn Cross commented: "Taken at face value, this seems to absolve Rockforth of causing the blight. But there may yet be culpability issues, considering the company's cavalier attitude towards regulatory checks. Commentators have pointed to the requests made by the Interstellar Association for Agriculture as evidence that the company placed profit above safety. The question is: who is behind this attempt to eradicate the food supplies of billions of people? Are we dealing with a terrorist attack on an interstellar scale? Or was this an attempt to ruin Rockforth, perhaps committed by a dangerous corporate rival?" In related news, additional cargo checks have been implemented at starports following the blight's rapid spread. Researchers have theorised that contaminated goods ferried by unsuspecting traders are to blame for introducing the blight to non-agricultural systems.[4]

18 OCT 3305

  • A collaborative body has been formed by the three superpowers to trace the source of the blight that is laying waste to crops on key agricultural worlds. The development was covered by journalist Adalyn Cross for Vox Galactica: "We know that the Rockforth fertiliser caused the advanced decay that has affected so many crops, but the specifics remain unclear. Was the corrupted fertiliser the result of an industrial manufacturing error, or perhaps sabotage by a rival company? Is there evidence of a deliberate effort to harm the people of the core systems? With billions of citizens facing food shortages, departments from all three superpowers are collaborating to identify the origin of the blight and halt its progress. The speed with which the blight has spread is frankly stunning." Rex Whitlock, marketing director at Rockforth Corporation, released this statement: "This development has come as a shock to everyone at Rockforth. Our EX7 fertiliser passed many rigorous tests and successfully increased crop productivity in controlled experiments, so we have no explanation for its calamitous effects. We would like to reassure customers and shareholders alike that we are cooperating fully with the investigation."[5]

14 OCT 3305

  • The cause of mass crop spoilage on key agricultural worlds has been attributed to a new disease affecting plants. Dr Genevieve Kane of the Interstellar Association for Agriculture summarised the organisation's findings: "The rapid decay of plant life on multiple planets was caused by the same strain of advanced blight. Its origin and vectors remain unknown, and it has so far resisted all established methods of treatment. Our analysis has not determined if the blight is a natural mutation or an artificial pathogen. Until we confirm this and develop a method of preventing further spread, viable cropland will become scarcer and the production of staple foods will continue to drop. The Vandermeer Corporation has offered to assist the IAA with its research. The company's experience of molecular diagnostics will hopefully contribute to a breakthrough." Journalist Adalyn Cross reported on this development for Vox Galactica: "Speculation on the cause of the blight has spread like wildfire, with theories ranging from chronic mismanagement to industrial sabotage. Political enemies are also being blamed in every affected system, with competing factions quick to lay the blame at each other’s doorstep. As tensions rise and billions find themselves short on food, such accusations are likely to escalate to dangerous levels. Trade initiatives and charitable imports are all proving helpful, but will that be enough to stave off disaster?"[6]

11 OCT 3305

  • A recent commodity appeal has spurred civil unrest in several systems, with civilians fearing that their respective governments are unable to cope with the widespread crop failures. Vox Galactica published a report on developments by journalist Adalyn Cross: "Following crop failures on a massive scale, the projected availability of staple foodstuffs has drastically fallen in a number of systems. This, in turn, has triggered increased prices, panic buying and stockpiling - all of which have exacerbated the problem. On the most severely impacted worlds, such as Birmingham and Simpson's Eden, citizens are taking to the streets and demanding answers from the authorities. But with food supplies being strangled at the source, it appears little can be done to appease their frustration." Nathaniel Lopez of the Galactic Welfare Trust, a charitable aid foundation, made this statement: "Low-income families and those dependent on welfare have been hit hardest by these shortages. Our organisation is distributing food cartridges, but frankly the magnitude of this situation dwarfs our efforts. Billions of people are at risk of going hungry if a solution cannot be found. We call upon food manufacturers to help alleviate the problem by reducing prices. To those companies aiming to make a short-term profit, be warned – you could be contributing to significant loss of life from starvation."[7]

03 OCT 3305

  • The impact of low crop yields in key agricultural systems has reached civilian populations, prompting public concerns over food availability. Freelance journalist Adalyn Cross published this report on Vox Galactica: "The scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables has become a major concern. Despite the efforts of agricultural bodies and corporations to prevent shortages from affecting the general public, the availability of produce is believed to have fallen further in recent weeks. With fear of a widespread food shortage rising, stockpiling of staple foods by markets and citizens has increased. Prices have fluctuated as opportunistic suppliers take advantage of the situation. It's clear that the situation is more complicated than a mere bad harvest, but as yet there has been little effective response from local governments." In related news, the Rockforth Corporation has publically responded to the Interstellar Association for Agriculture, following requests for compliance documentation related to its new fertiliser. Rockforth marketing director Rex Whitlock made this statement: "We see it as our duty to lead the recovery of affected farming communities, and our revolutionary fertiliser will play a big role. I have full confidence that our new product meets the IAA's standards, and we will fulfil their request at the earliest opportunity."[8]

References Edit

  1. GalNet: The Lessons of the Blight
  2. GalNet: Scythe of Panem Militants Defeated
  3. GalNet: In the Shadow of the Blight
  4. GalNet: Blight Traced to Synthetic Contaminant
  5. GalNet: Superpowers Collaborate to Investigate Blight
  6. GalNet: The Mystery of the Blight
  7. GalNet: Food Shortages Spark Civil Unrest
  8. GalNet: Poor Harvests Impact Core Systems
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