DO NOT alter or remove any information in this article/section. It consists of primary source content created and owned by Frontier Developments that has been transcribed here verbatim, including any errors, for use as a reference. Other articles may cite the information provided here.
Meet the Powers - Li Yong-Rui
Sirius Gov CEO Li Yong-Rui is the focus of this seventh article from political commentator Marcus Macmillan about the movers and shakers in 3301.
In this week’s historical article from Sima Kalhana, she wrote about the founding of the Sirius Corporation. The Li dynasty’s involvement with the Sirius Corporation can be traced back to the company’s founding almost 800 years ago.
By the age of 25, Yong-Rui had earned doctorates in physics, politics and economics. He was hired by Sirius straight from college. He then quickly made his way up the ranks, and at the tender age of 35, Yong-Rui was made Vice President of Forecasting.
He has a proven track record in business, but has also demonstrated significant insight in the fuzzier elements and in particular how to provide effective government. With these skills he was considered the ideal candidate for Sirius Corporation’s new Sirius Gov division.
The Sim-Archive of Antal Opens to Visitors
For the first time in the history of Utopia, the famed Sim-Archive, located in Antal, is being opened to outside visitors.
The archive is a vast collection of memories stored as sims, allowing others to relive the experiences of Utopian pilgrims in the form of vivid virtual reality experiences. In the past, those sims have been used to educate Utopians and to reform dissidents within the community.
Today, pilots from across the galaxy can buy Utopian sims from the more limited, public section of the Sim-Archive. In a brief statement, Simguru Pranav Antal urged all-comers to travel to Antal.
"What we are offering to our brothers and sisters throughout the galaxy is an opportunity to learn, to experience, to live through the memories of thousands. From childlike wonder, through crushing terror, to unrestrained joy, the sims we offer are not just a means of entertainment, but the purest, most direct tool for achieving empathy and consensus."
Fight Against Cerberus Plague Continues
The drive to deliver quantities of Ceremonial Heike Tea to Hart Station in the Bast System continues, as the starport’s medical teams work around the clock to create as much of the Cerberus Plague antidote as they can. According to Carl Simmons, the Chief Medical Officer of Newton Dock, the rare tea is the only substance that can counter the virulent effects of the disease.
Independent pilots who are in a position to help with the effort are reminded that the Union Of Bast Liberals is offering incentives to pilots who deliver Ceremonial Heike Tea, which can only be purchased in Brunel City Station in Heike, to Hart Station.
Remembering the Antares Incident
Continuing GalNet’s exclusive series highlighting key events in human history, historian Sima Kalhana remembers the Antares Incident.
In last week’s article about the Sirius Corporation, I described the Antares iIncident as one of the corporation’s greatest failures. Until the recent disappearance of Starship One, this was considered the most infamous spacegoing accident of all time.
The Highliner Antares was to be the first of a new type of fast, comfortable liner, making a trip in hours rather than the weeks that were common at the time, and offering a previously unseen level of luxury – something we are accustomed to in the top-class liners of today. It was the first ship to use a production version of a new type of hyperdrive, a predecessor to the modern fast hyperdrives.
The Antares vanished during its maiden voyage in the Sirius system in 3251, with many celebrity guests on board. The event is poignantly remembered in this quote from the Federal Times:
“Your reporter watched the departure of Antares on her maiden voyage, the monolayer streamers glinting in the harsh light of Sirius as she moved gently away from the orbital habitat and out to launch range. Spacemen talk of a graveyard of lost ships, a place where all who lose their lives in the colossal drive to colonise the galaxy rest in gentle luxury.
“We can be sure that the great Highliner Antares is now in their company.”
The exact cause of the accident was never properly determined. The final report indicated that it was most likely caused by the unlucky failure of a single component during the start of the jump, causing a small fire in a key part of the drive that resulted in a massive explosion and consequent misjump at the same time. There were, of course, a great many fanciful explanations, too.
Since the accident, no confirmed wreckage of the ship has ever been found, although several claims of discovery have been made over the years. Combined with the lack of a definitive cause, this has led to considerable speculation and many conspiracy theories concerning what actually occurred.
The final safety report into the incident found there were insufficient safety precautions within the internal drive systems. This delayed the commercial introduction of these drives for several years, damaging the Sirius Corporation, and ultimately resulting in the fitting of many additional safety features to these new hyperdrives. It was later speculated that the deaths of those on the Highliner Antares effectively saved the lives of many more in the subsequent decades, as the number of ships that went missing was measurably reduced, and the new drives proved to be much more reliable than the earlier, slower drives they replaced.
Imperial Commanders Closing in on Secret Smuggling
Rumour has it that several Imperial Commanders are closing in on a well-known smuggling route between the Torval and Delaine owned systems. Imperial slaves are illegal in Delaine space but sell for a small fortune on the black market. The Empire hates this because it takes what they consider indentured servants and citizens from a life of Imperial service to a life of forced labour. Commanders who use the secretive route have plenty to say about the prospect of impending Imperial intervention, with Commander Infinity+1 saying:
"Ain't it funny how we're s’posed to be the bad guys, but the Empire has so many slaves they're practically giving them away!"
When pressed to reveal the systems he runs between, Infinity stated, "I'm not telling you about my favorite route, but let me just say thank you to the honorable Zemina Torval"
Profits allegedly run towards 4,000 credits per slave. Only time will tell if the Imperials can break the back of this illegal trade route and round up the smuggling ring, but one thing is certain – until the Empire fixes the problem of Archon Delaine, there will be other runs to take its place.
A Treaty in Tatters
Legate Andariel, of Aisling’s 13th Legion, has officially ended the ceasefire between the 13th Legion and Winters’ Wolves. Following a number of reports of Winters’ supporters undermining Aisling’s control systems, the Legate made the decision to dissolve the treaty. A press conference was held aboard Smoot Station in Chona, where Andariel explained his position:
“It has become apparent that Winters’ Wolves, while claiming to honour the treaty, have done no such thing. I have received many reports of Winters’ supporters, some of them well known Wolves, undermining our control systems. I cannot stand by while Winters undermines all that we have worked for in the name of Aisling Duval – doing so would make the 13th Legion appear weak.”
While no names have been disclosed, it is clear that these breaches of the treaty are unacceptable. The treaty was originally signed on July 17th 3301 to allow the 13th to focus on the Imperial offensive against Archon Delaine, with mixed responses from other Aisling factions. With Delaine’s forces all but melting away, it has been speculated that the 13th Legion is using false-flagging tactics to get the treaty removed so they can resume hostilities with Winters.
Meet the Powers - Zemina Torval
Senator Zemina Torval is the subject of this article from political commentator Marcus Macmillan about the movers and shakers in 3301.
In many ways Senator Torval represents the solid and traditional politics of the Imperial Senate. She is seen as a paradox by some, particularly with regard to her views on Imperial slavery. She adopts the position that tradition expects but that many fail to achieve in the care of the millions of slaves from her business interests. She can be vocal in condemning those who fail to take proper care of their slaves, but she is equally open about how they form the foundation of the Empire.
She takes the long and more considered approach to amassing power. She lacks the impetuousness of Patreus, but is quite willing to work with him to achieve her goals. She prefers diplomacy to force, but has a substantial military fleet capable of handling most situations.
Her desire for power is more than personal ambition: she is, in a sense, the matriarch of a developing dynasty. Torval focuses her energy on building a legacy for future generations. Even though she was born wealthy, she still possesses a strong work ethic and will labour tirelessly to get things done.
While her time is dominated by her senatorial responsibilities and business concerns (she is, famously, the controlling shareholder in Mastopolos Mining), Torval tries to find the time to be with family, who are very important to her. In her younger days she enjoyed hunting, but that pastime is now limited to her rivals in business and the Senate.
Five Killed in Shuttle Accident
A Sirius Corporation shuttle was destroyed this morning when its docking computer failed on approach to Patterson Enterprise in the Sirius system. While such failures aren’t unheard of, they are rare, especially among smaller craft.
Elaine Boyd from the Federal Times asked a Sirius Corporation representative how the company was able to determine the cause of the accident so quickly. She was told:
“The telemetry from the shuttle provided clear evidence of a stall in the computer’s operation as the vessel approached the docking port. The boost protocol should have been disabled but was instead activated, causing the shuttle to crash into the station.”
The representative stated that the crash would be investigated further, and in particular why the software failed in this instance.
Everyone onboard the shuttle was killed including Sean Richards, a senior consultant engineer who helped to compile the incident report on the recent disappearance of Starship One. Richards had also formed part of the task force some 50 years earlier with the Antares enquiry.
The Eve of the Wedding
The atmosphere here on Capitol is electric. The whole city is abuzz with what some commentators have declared ‘The Wedding of the Century’. Street parties are in full swing in every Imperial system , but none compare to the grand events underway here at the birthplace of the Empire, especially within the Fragrant City as it is now known.
Dignitaries from every major population centre in the Empire have arrived over the past week, and now it is the turn of the foreign dignitaries to arrive with much fanfare. Shadow President Winters is representing the Federation, her business-like attire contrasting with the bright colours of the welcoming officials.
Notable by his absence was Federal President Zachary Hudson. While the Secretary of External Affairs will represent the Federation at the wedding , many have interpreted President Hudson’s absence as a slight – one that may well colour Federal and Imperial relations in the future.
Morning of the Wedding
Even though the ceremony won’t start until midday, well-wishers have been lining the procession route throughout the night to ensure they have a good position. The weather here is clear and warm for this auspicious day, and billions of people are expected to watch the event live through syndicated entertainment feeds. Even the people of the Alliance have been getting into the spirit of the celebrations by adding shiny accessories to their usually dreary ‘fashions’.
The Imperial Navy is out in force, with the Naval Infantry in their finest dress whites providing security and a spectacle along the route. This reporter was lucky enough to walk the route with the elite guards who had been selected to escort the procession. When asked what this task meant to her, Sergeant Jenner replied:
“Well, obviously this is the greatest honour of our careers. I’ve served in the Naval Infantry for over 30 years and this is simply amazing. Most of the troops will admit that, although they signed up for combat duty, being assigned ceremonial duties of this nature makes them proud.”
Emperor Hengist Duval Attacked During Wedding
The city is in a state of shock following news that the Emperor was attacked by a high-ranking official during the wedding ceremony.
Details of the attack are scant at the moment as a total comms blackout was imposed throughout the immediate area following the incident. One of our sources has indicated that the assailant was killed, but that he managed to injure the Emperor before he died. We do not know how serious the Emperor’s injuries are, but our hope is that he makes a swift recovery.
Along the route of the procession, millions of citizens and slaves who had been celebrating the grand occasion wait in stunned silence for news of their beloved Emperor. We wait with them.
Emperor Hengist Duval Dead
It is with a heavy heart that we report that Emperor Hengist Duval died en route to the Imperial Navy Medical Facility near the Imperial Palace. Confirmation of the news came from Chancellor Anders Blaine, who appeared visibly upset.
He confirmed that the Emperor died after being stabbed by a member of the congregation. Chancellor Blaine refused to provide any details of the attacker, but stated that a full investigation was underway.
A source from the Imperial Intelligence Service told us that the attacker was a member of Senator Denton Patreus’s party attending the wedding. The Senator was unavailable for comment.
In the streets, the Imperial Naval Infantry has started ushering people home as the official period of mourning begins.
Pirates Targeting Medical Supply Ships
According to officials at Hart Station, medical supply ships transporting the Cerberus Plague antidote from the starport are being targeted by pirates. Naturally, these attacks are substantially undermining attempts to eliminate the disease, which continues to affect a number of systems. One official said:
“It’s just despicable. I wouldn’t expect compassion from pirates, of course. But don’t they understand that this affects them, too? If the Cerberus Plague isn’t eliminated, it could spread to every corner of the galaxy. Everyone will suffer, even the pirates. Do they think they’re immune or something?”
In an effort to combat the threat posed by the pirates, the Union of Bast Liberals has started offering rewards to those who eliminate any of the pirate vessels. With luck, this will allow the medical ships to deliver the cure to those who so desperately need it.
Further Outbreaks of Cerberus Plague
While medical teams across the galaxy work to deliver the Cerberus Plague antidote to systems affected by the disease, fresh outbreaks of the pathogen are appearing in other systems. According to recent reports, the following systems are currently affected by the Cerberus Plague:
Any independent pilots who wish to help are encouraged to eliminate the pirates targeting medical supply convoys in the Bast system. The Union of Bast Liberals is currently offering rewards to pilots who destroy these pirates.
Cerberus Plague Continues to Affect Starports
Although a cure for the Cerberus Plague has been found, the disease has not yet been eradicated, and it continues to wreak havoc in certain systems.
The following systems have been affected by the plague:
In these systems, the following station services are unavailable:
Authorities in these systems have reported that services will remain offline until the Cerberus Plague has been either contained or eliminated.
Fight Against the Cerberus Plague Gains Ground
The fight against the Cerberus Plague, which to date has claimed thousands of lives, appears to be gaining ground. Following the efforts of medical teams to deliver the antidote to systems affected by the disease, reports have reached us that the plague has been eradicated from the following systems:
Meanwhile, the effort to help those suffering from the disease continues.
Gutamaya Shipyards Reinstates Restrictions
Last month, Gutamaya Shipyards temporarily lifted the rank-related restrictions on the Imperial Clipper and Imperial Courier, thereby allowing any independent pilot with an active rank in the Imperial Navy to purchase and fly one of the vessels. Following news of the Emperor’s assassination, however, Gutamaya Shipyards has decided to withdraw this offer, and to reinstate the default restrictions on all their ships.
Official Period of Mourning Begins
Chancellor Anders Blaine held a press conference in front of the entrance to the Hall of Martyrs and declared the beginning of the official period of mourning for Emperor Hengist Duval:
“It is my solemn duty to officially mark the first day of the four-week period of mourning for our beloved Emperor. As is customary, the body of the Emperor will be placed in the vestibule of the Hall of Martyrs for public viewing and the paying of respect.”
The Chancellor refused to answer questions from the assembled reporters concerning the investigation into the assassination. When asked about the succession, he replied that the matter will be handled in the Senate once the funeral has taken place.
Following tradition, the Chancellor and invited dignitaries wore the black sash of mourning. These will be worn throughout the mourning period and then burned during the internment ceremony.
The Hall of Martyrs was constructed over 600 years ago following the victory against the Federation in the first conflict between the two superpowers. It is open to the public only during the mourning period of those who are to be entombed there. The vast and exquisitely crafted hall beneath the Imperial Palace contains 16,032 obsidian pillars, and only the most honoured members of Imperial society are laid to rest there.
Chancellor Blaine Issues Statement
With no clear successor to the Emperor, Chancellor Blaine has accepted the task of governing the Empire until the succession has been determined. He reiterated his statement that the matter would be resolved after Emperor’s funeral. He then revealed more about the investigation into the regicide:
“Officers from the Imperial Guard and Imperial Intelligence Security Service have begun their investigation and are being provided with the resources they need.
“The assassin has been identified as Brendan Paul Darius. Senator Patreus has confirmed that the man was a member of his entourage, and the Senator is helping with the investigation. Darius killed the Emperor in a savage attack using a concealed blade, and a separate investigation has been launched to determine how he was able to sneak a weapon into the Emperor’s presence.
“Darius was killed by the Emperor’s Guard during the attack, and we have as yet been unable to determine his motive for the murder.”
For the remainder of the session, the gathered senators offered support and words of condolence to the Imperial family.
Children of Liberty Call Out Alliance Hypocrisy
A group calling itself the 'Children of Liberty' has made a public statement concerning the Alliance and what they call its “rampant hypocrisy”. The group claims that a "huge gulf" exists between the Alliance's professed goals and values and the reality present in many of its member systems.
"For an organization that purports to be devoted to the ideals of liberty and self-determination", the release stated, "the Alliance certainly tolerates a great deal of despotism and tyranny within its own borders. It's about time the Alliance addressed the rampant hypocrisy of allowing dictatorships – as well as other restrictive, undemocratic forms of government – membership into their supposed bastion of freedom and liberty."
The statement went on to list a number of Alliance-sponsored autocracies in various systems, and called on the Alliance and its supporters to sponsor serious democratic reform in said systems by backing democratically-aligned factions over autocratic ones.
Commander Virgil Kyle
A Week in Powerplay
After an exciting week it’s time for another report on the political manoeuvrings and struggles of the galaxy’s most prominent political players. Hostilities have flared up, so read on to find out who benefitted from the chaos and who has been a victim of it.
Arissa Lavigny-Duval used this week to recover from the turmoil her administration had fallen into, with her supporters preparing several systems for expansion and undertaking widespread fortification throughout her space. This impressive defensive effort has assured Arissa’s rise to the #1 spot in the GalNet rankings, despite the successful enemy undermining of Cook and He Xingo.
Aisling Duval has suffered an unexpected drop to #3 in the galactic rankings this week. An increase in hostile activity in Aisling’s space, and the successful enemy action in her system of Syntheng, has pushed her administration into turmoil. This downturn in the face of a relatively minor offensive on her space calls into question Aisling’s ability to maintain control over her rapidly growing sphere of influence.
Zemina Torval has struggled in recent weeks, and her drop in rankings is certainly understandable. The Senator had her control of nearly half a dozen systems successfully undermined, and her only expansion attempt, in Mannoda, failed. While Torval’s resource reserves and her supporters’ impressive fortification efforts were enough to stave off turmoil, she will be facing a difficult week if the hostilities in her space continue.
Denton Patreus has used the recent weeks to recover from the sharp drop in support his organisation has seen. With the Kumo Crew distracted and under pressure from Operation Davy Jones, and Federal corsairs focusing on Zemina Torval, the Senator’s forces surged ahead, rapidly expanding Patreus’ sphere of influence and securing a rise in the rankings for their ambitious leader. It remains to be seen if this impressive recovery can be maintained if Denton’s systems once again come under attack from his rivals.
Zachary Hudson had a successful week. With expansion paused due to recent turmoil, his supporters completed an impressive fortification program throughout much of the President’s sphere of influence. This meant that only one of Hudson’s systems was successfully undermined by the enemy, and it gives the Federation politician an impressive reserve of resources to draw upon.
Felicia Winters has had her space heavily infiltrated by enemy wings for weeks now, and her supporters always staunchly defended her systems. However, this past week saw a sharp increase in hostilities in the Shadow President’s powerbase, straining her modest forces. With her grip on much of her space undermined by rivals, Winters’ administration falls into turmoil, and it’s only through impressive effort from her supporters that just one of her systems is at risk.
Edmund Mahon has shown that his organisation has the ability to grow stronger even in the face of extreme difficulties. The Alliance politician’s rise to #2 in the GalNet rankings is well earned this week, with his resilience to heavy hostile action attributed to a successful fortification program and a series of expansions into highly profitable systems in the recent weeks. While both of those factors give Mahon a good reserve of resources to draw on, his enemies successfully undermined eight of his systems in what likely heralds a period of increased hostility, likely to tax the rapidly expanding organisation.
Li Yong-Rui’s Sirius Gov has retained its high galactic standing despite a sudden increase in attacks on its systems. While the ability of Li Yong-Rui’s supporters to withstand the added pressure is impressive, the successful undermining of two their systems and widespread hostilities throughout many of their border systems likely spell an end to a period of relative peace for the organisation. As tensions with Sirius’ neighbours flare up, the corporate government is sure to come under increased pressure from without.
Archon Delaine and his Kumo Crew continue to defend against the Imperial offensive – dubbed ‘Operation Davy Jones’ – which is now in its fifth week. While the pirate lord’s grip on his claimed territory has been severely challenged, with one of his expansion attempts stopped in its tracks and his control over more than a dozen systems undermined, there is yet no victory in sight for his attackers. With a relatively small powerbase and key systems fortified against aggression, the Kumo Crew remains unbroken, having avoided falling into turmoil and even securing one new system, Kakmbuta.
Pranav Antal has experienced an amazing surge in support in the recent weeks. Emboldened, his supporters claimed several new systems for Utopia, including Ewah, where a fierce battle with the local opposition forces took place. While attempts to claim the distant Sothis faltered and expansion into Lidpar was countered by staunch enemy action, it seems clear that Utopia will continue to grow at a quick pace. The one difficulty facing Pranav Antal’s organisation is somewhat lacklustre fortification efforts, which may expose Utopian systems to enemy action, should hostilities flare up.
Millions Pay Respects
Millions of senators, patrons, clients, citizens and slaves from across the Empire are making the journey to the Hall of Martyrs on Capitol in the Achenar system to pay their respects to the late Emperor. The queue to view the Emperor’s body already stretches several miles from the Imperial Palace, with the waiting time now measured in days. Naturally, senators, patrons and clients each have their own entrances.
Palace officials have announced that the viewings will continue, at all hours, until the final funeral preparations begin on the eve of the funeral. Volunteers from the palace staff will aid the mourners and keep the line moving.
The Imperial Naval Infantry will also be stationed along the ever-lengthening line – not because of security concerns, but to ensure the welfare of the waiting people. The population of the city swelled beyond normal capacity during the wedding celebrations, and the influx of mourners has pushed the city to bursting point. Along with the military deployment, local residents are providing those in the queue with food and drink.
Those unable to make the journey to Capitol have created memorials in their own cities, starports and colonies, and are assembling to give their respects.
The Reign of Emperor Hengist Duval
In respect of the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval the planned article for this week has been moved to next week so that historian Sima Kalhana relates some of the key moments from his life.
Emperor Hengist Duval was the 15th in the Imperial Duval bloodline to lead the Empire and he saw a great deal of change in his comparatively short reign. He was born in 3163, only a few days before the death of his grandfather Hender Saik Duval. Some claim that the spirit of Hender had already passed to Hengist such were the similarities in looks and manner noted in Hengist’s later years.
When his father, Hesketh Duval, died in 3233, Hengist assumed his place on the throne. The live broadcast of the coronation created an impression of a serene transition. However lurking beneath this appearance lay significant tensions. Most significant of which was the growing power of the Senate which had developed during the extended period of his father’s illness. A parallel with the situation with Hengist’s coma can be seen in recent months.
At the start of his reign the cold war between the Empire and the Federation was starting to thaw, a process which continued for decades, although friction has recently resumed with the rise of certain powers like President Hudson and Senator Patreus.
Hengist’s reign witnessed a major technological advancement with the introduction of the new frame shift drive. This sped up travel between stars systems and even inside systems by an incredible margin. It created a more quickly shifting political, military and commercial landscape as reacting or causing changing became much easier.
Hengist fell ill early in 3300, and he managed to continue light duties throughout the first half of the year. His sickness worsened as the year progressed and during this time he remained in seclusion with only rare visits to the Senate. At the turn of 3301 he slipped into a coma. Many expected him to not awaken from the coma and it was a great surprise when he recovered several months later.
Near the close of 3300, Hengist decreed that his only legitimate child, Harold (who is Aisling Duval’s unmarried father), was not of sound mind and so unfit for rule, and in any case had no legitimate children himself. Following this announcement Arissa Lavigny-Duval declared that she was the illegitimate child of Hengist. The Emperor supported this claim by announcing his forthcoming marriage with Arissa’s mother, Florence Lavigny, and was expected to formally adopt Arissa and cement her claim to the throne.
With his murder and the marriage not completed the succession to the imperial throne is again not clear cut and many fear the potential instability this could cause to the Empire if not decided quickly after the Emperor’s funeral.
Leaked Footage of Emperor's Assassination
In a move sending shockwaves of revulsion throughout the Empire, an independent newsfeed, Russell Networks, based in the Tulill system, has broadcast what is claimed to be a holographic recording of the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval.
Imperial networks are refusing to show the footage and all levels of imperial society are outraged at this insult to the Emperor’s memory. The recording’s authenticity hasn’t been confirmed, but it does clearly show someone who looks like Brendan Paul Darius attacking the Emperor. As the Emperor passes by Senator Patreus’ entourage Darius is seen to lunge from the group. He then stabs the Emperor several times with a blade and inflicting severe facial injuries until being taken down by the nearest guards. In it, others in Patreus’s entourage, including Senator Patreus himself, appear to move to try to stop the attacker, and do appear to be genuinely surprised and shocked.
Chancellor Anders Blaine condemned the broadcast in a statement and refused to comment on its veracity.
Portrait of a Bounty Hunter
Social historians sometimes have a tendency to focus on the rich and powerful, forgetting that the people who dwell on society’s margins can also have an impact on the shape of the galaxy. In this new series, we take a look at some of recent history’s less well-known figures, and shine a light on their unique achievements. Our first episode explores the life of the bounty hunter Ziva Eschel.
Ziva Eschel began her career in the Federal State Police, spending ten years as a Viper pilot in the Beta Hydri system. She left the force shortly after she and her partner were imprisoned by the Judas Syndicate on the infamous Black Mausoleum. Eschel escaped with her life but her partner was executed, and, due to the unique status of the Mausoleum, the Beta Hydri authorities were unable to bring his killers to justice.
After quitting the Federal State Police, Eschel acquired a lease on an old Sidewinder and began a career as a bounty hunter operating out of Beta Hydri. Her approach relied more on careful planning and preparation than flashy flying, but she nevertheless progressed to larger and more dangerous scores, upgrading her ships and finally settling on the Dragon Queen, a highly customised Fer-de-lance.
Eschel is not a public person and has eschewed several invitations to syndicate her operations to ‘Federation’s Most Wanted’, but in police and bounty hunting circles she is known to be both cautious and dangerous, and also meticulous in adhering to the law – a rare trait in her profession.
Eschel and the Dragon Queen were last seen heading for Jackson's Lighthouse, possibly in pursuit of the notorious Red Hourglass.
Where's Walden Now?
Today marks 36 years since the last ‘Walden Day’, the annual celebration of the great leader across all four continents of Lave, where prefects, primes and factors would try to outdo each other with how much love they could show the planet’s ruler.
Lave in 3301 does its best to forget the past. Years of relative prosperity and capitalist competition between the LFO, the Defence Party and the Workers of Lave reflect the different social classes of the planet’s regions. Each formed out of different parts of the old regime and its adversaries. But the question remains, what actually happened to Doctor Hans Walden?
The holovid footage of his execution has been replayed countless times on hundreds of programmes. Some preach conspiracy, others see tampering, but most agree that Walden’s clone research, journals, and the numerous patents sold to Imperial contractors bearing his name point to his having experimented with the duplication of his own genetics.
Since 3265, the government has released no evidence of hidden scientific laboratories on Lave or any of the plotted asteroids in the system. Rumours of a secret colony on Lave II have never been confirmed, either, but the rumours keep resurfacing. Yes, Walden was executed during a live vidscreen broadcast...but was that the only Walden? Could there be others, lurking out there on a nearby planet, waiting to return? If there are any clones left, forgetting the past won’t help us deal with the future.
Patreus Reacts Angrily to Crowd's Taunts
Some elements of the lower-level Imperial political scene have challenged Senator Denton Patreus to explain his connection to Brendan Paul Darius, the assassin responsible for the murder of the Emperor during the wedding ceremony with Florence Lavigny. Since the revelation of the assassin’s identity the senator has steadfastly refused to comment, but responded angrily to accusations from a vocal minority in the crowd outside the senate.
“The notion that I might somehow be linked with the murder of our most loved Emperor is offensive. It does bring dishonour and shame upon me that a man in my employ could perform such a heinous act, but it was certainly done without my knowledge. The thought that I allowed such a man near his august presence torments me.”
He also added that the full resources of his office were being made available to the officers in the investigation and that he would aid them in any way he could.
More responsible commentators agree that the accusations are ridiculous. Speculation remains however as to why the man killed the Emperor and whether he was acting alone or for another party.
Pirates Defeated in Bast
Official sources at Hart Station have confirmed that efforts to eliminate pirate vessels targeting medical supply ships in the region have been resoundingly successful. The Union of Bast Liberals, which placed bounties on the pirates, has stated that a total of 1,869 independent pilots helped to thin the bandits’ numbers, thereby allowing the much-need Cerberus antidote to reach systems affected by the disease. Consequently, the Cerberus Plague has been eliminated from the following systems:
A spokesperson from the Union of Bast Liberals said: “There are times when the words ‘thank you’ just don’t seem adequate. These pilots have saved literally thousands of lives, so, on behalf of all those they have helped, we want to offer our sincerest gratitude.”
Two Dead in Tragic Accident
Two people died in a crash when a personal transport collided with a Lakon Type-9 Heavy transport vessel. The small ship, a type used to run between orbital facilities, was destroyed in the impact. The small vessel was ferrying two transport safety officials to the Laphria Shipyard in the Artemis system. They were on a knowledge sharing mission.
The Transport Safety Authority issued the following statement from their headquarters on Mars:
“This type of accident is always a terrible tragedy for those involved and the Laphrian authorities have promised full disclosure and co-operation with our investigation.”
They also reported that the pilot of the Type-9 was being treated for shock. She saw the transport break open only metres from her large window as she approached the station.
Elaine Boyd from the Federal Times asked for the identities of the dead and was told that they wouldn’t be disclosed until the next of kin had been identified. She pressed further asking if one of the dead men was Arnold Lowe, a senior investigator in the Starship One disappearance. She was told ‘no comment’ and no further questions were taken.
What Sort of Man Can Kill an Emperor?
The Imperial Herald today released an article about the man allegedly responsible for the regicide of Emperor Hengist Duval.
The article detailed Brendan Paul Darius’ upbringing in Eotienses, the home system for the bulk of Patreus’ activities. His parents were a relatively wealthy client family under Senator Patreus known for their observation of traditional values. They worked on one of his many estates in the system. After completing his formal education in history and ethics he served as an officer on one of the Senator’s Majestic class Interdictors, eventually rising to the rank of captain.
Following two decades of distinguished military service he joined one of Senator Patreus’ liaison teams responsible for maintaining relationships with colony governors, planetary leaders and starport officials throughout the Senator’s region of controlled space. His dedication and talents saw him rise above his parents’ station to become patron.
The story tells of a man dedicated to service and traditional imperial values. A man who eschewed personal comforts and focused on his work. In the end the puzzle remains – why would such a loyal man kill his Emperor?
Apalar System Calls for Aid
The government of the Apalar system has issued an unusual request, inviting independent pilots to help them elevate their system’s economy. According to Omar Jordan, governor of Svavarsson Terminal, the system is strategically positioned between the territories of several major powers, and is therefore ideally placed to provide these powers with services. The governor said:
“Our system is bordered by the territories of Archon Delaine, Zachary Hudson, Zemina Torval and Denton Patrius. Surely these individuals can understand the benefit of having an independent high tech system on their doorstep?”
Governor Jordan did not directly address the threat posed by Archon Delaine’s forces, which are closer to the Apalar system than those of any other power, but it seems safe to assume that one of the factors behind the appeal is a desire to counter this danger. After all, if Apalar could enhance its economy, it could convince one of the other powers to bring it under their control, thereby reducing the chances of a takeover from Delaine.
Apalar Labour is offering rewards to independent pilots who assist with this effort by delivering industrial materials to Svavarsson Terminal in the Apalar system.
Pegasi Pirate War
Last month, Archon Delaine’s aggressive advance toward Imperial territory was halted. Defensive lines along the Imperial border held strong as the expeditionary forces of Operation Davy Jones were joined by detachments of the Imperial Fleet. Many in the Empire are now referring to the escalating conflict as the ‘Pegasi Pirate War’.
Tens of thousands of ships throughout the Pegasi Sector have been impounded or destroyed in an attempt to weed the pirates out of hundreds of systems. Vastly outnumbered, Archon’s forces have employed asymmetric tactics, effectively denying the possibility of decisive battles. Sieges of certain systems, such as Ngam, have been repeatedly broken by the Empire and re-laid by the Kumo Crew. Tacticians on either side have yet to produce an advantage in this war of attrition.
One thing remains clear through the fog of war: the struggle to liberate or dominate the Pegasi Sector is far from over.
Rescued from the Kumo Crew
Reports are coming in from the Pegasi sector of scores of marked slaves being rescued by Imperial Commanders participating in the ‘United Offensive’. Acting in concert with members of the Sirius Corporation, Imperial Commanders are carefully extracting human cargo from Kumo Crew vessels. The cargo is then delivered to Sirius Corp Commanders, who fly them to safety for relocation. Unconfirmed rumours indicate that members of the Utopians are also joining the rescue and relocation efforts.
Spokesmen for the Kumo Crew have vehemently denied that marked slaves are anything but common criminals and degenerates, but one prominent case has received coverage on media circuits. Known only by her first name (for her own protection), former slave Aasha has become the face of the United Offensive.
"Imagine my surprise when I woke up from stasis in Comanga surrounded by pirates!" Aasha originally entered a two-year Imperial slavery contract as part of the Quivira settlement with Silver Universal PLC. "I thought it was the right thing to do", said Aasha. "I was a trained mechanical engineer and could fetch a shorter term than any anyone else in my family. The priates said that's what made me so valuable."
Imperial Slavers Associated reiterated its previously stated opposition to transporting slaves outside the Empire. They added that any Imperial slave rescued from the Kumo Crew, or any violation of their terms of service agreement, would result in that slave's contract being rendered null and void.
"I don't know the Commander who saved me", a tearful Aasha explained, "but I am so thankful to them, and the friendly folks at Sirius who helped me get to the relocation authority on Munshin."
Torval Offers Support to Patreus
Some of the more sordid elements of Imperial media have continued their campaign against Senator Patreus about his connection with Emperor Hengist Duval’s killer.
Over the past week Senator Patreus and his followers staying on Capitol have endured abuse from their accusers whenever they appear in public. This escalated into violence today as the Senator visited the Hall of Martyrs for his own viewing of the Emperor’s body. When he arrived a mob formed and tried to prevent him entering the vestibule and reacted angrily when Patreus’ own guards attempted to force a passage. Imperial Naval infantry on the scene separated the parties and allowed Senator Patreus to enter the Hall.
After the incident Senator Zemina Torval was the first to condemn the behaviour in a statement to guests and press at an event with Mastopolos Mining:
“This kind of insolent behaviour does not reflect well upon these groups or our beloved Empire itself. In this time of mourning we should all be mindful of our actions. The Emperor has been dead for only a few days and these rebels descend into near-barbarism. They should be cast out of the Empire.”
When asked about the accusations she scornfully replied:
“Denton represents what is strong within the Empire. His loyalty to the Emperor is unquestioned and anyone suggesting otherwise is a fool.”
Imperial Inquisition and Emperor's Grace to Hold Meeting
Mavia Kain, the High Inquisitor and leader of the Imperial Inquisition, is scheduled to pay a visit to Admiral Varrwen Mako Brennus, leader of Emperor`s Grace. The meeting will be held in the Emperor's Grace stronghold of Rishair at Lindblad Port. Both leaders will discuss a number of Imperial issues, including the assassination of Emperor Duval and the present military operations in the Pegasi sector.
Rumours about the groups’ cooperation have been circulating since the start of the united Imperial offensive in the Pegasi sector. Both factions are presently engaged in a peacekeeping operation against the Kumo Crew, which began when Archon Delaine illegally invaded Imperial space and took Imperial citizens into slavery. Emperor`s Grace and Imperial Inquisition pilots are fighting together against this notorious crime lord, as both groups see him as a threat to galactic peace.
Sources close to Admiral Brennus revealed that the factions share the same traditional Imperial values. A senior official noted that: "We both care about the Empire, the Imperial way of life, and Imperial citizens. We are natural allies. The Empire is going through tough times - we need to support each other."
Commander Raf von Thorn
Aliens Kidnapped the President
The spectre of President Halsey’s disappearance in Starship One refuses to die down. Despite the findings of the official report some claim that the matter is far from closed. One such person is self-proclaimed conspiracy expert Ricardo Bentonio on his investigative show ‘The Hidden World’:
“They took her for their own purposes. Not the lizard people from Andromeda, that’s the Imperial Dynasty. She’s been taken somewhere different.”
Federal Navy officials refused to comment on this allegation. One Congressman was overheard joking “Does anyone listen to that loon’s shows? Except his precious lizard people from Andromeda, of course!”
Aisling Duval Reviews Her Security
The personal security for Princess Aisling Duval is under review as yet another private conversation has been leaked to the press. Considering the content of the leaked recording some commentators have suggested that the princess would be better served by being more circumspect in what she says.
Much of the audio is undistinguishable but at one stage Aisling can be heard saying:
“Denton would never do something like this. He’s far too up tight and strait-laced. Besides, he’s a nobody now. That Lavigny bitch – she’ll get the sympathy vote from this and she knows it.”
A spokeswoman for Princess Duval stated:
“This is clearly a fake intended to discredit the princess. To think that someone would stoop to this type of low politics in our time of grief is repulsive.”
Assassin's Family Brutally Murdered
The immediate family of Brendan Paul Darius – including his mother, father, sister and six year old niece – have been found murdered at their home on Eotienses. Inspector Reeve commented to local press that these were the most horrific deaths he had encountered in his many years of service.
After the murderer of Emperor Hengist Duval was revealed to be Imperial citizen Brendan Paul Darius, a light protection duty was placed with his family in case of reprisals, although locals were sympathetic to the family’s dishonour rather than blaming them.
Inspector Reeve didn’t comment on how the killers were able to subdue the guards, even though no fatalities in the team have been reported. The Inspector promised swift justice for the murders and called on anyone with any information to contact their local security office.
Pirate POWs Pack Prisons
The Pegasi Pirate War stemming from the United Imperial Offensive has taxed the logistical prowess of the Empire. Supplies, ships, and personnel must be transported up to hundreds of light years from their source to the Pegasi Sector. Provisioning the Imperial fleet over such distances is a monumental task in itself, but the steady stream of prisoners of war extradited to Imperial space must also be provisioned, guarded, and accommodated. Many prisoners await judgement by the Pilot’s Federation for their crimes, while others face judgement in Imperial courts.
With many thousands of prisoners now in custody, accommodation is becoming an issue. Prisoners are currently held in hundreds of locations, creating additional logistical problems. Sources within Empire have indicated that a search for a suitable penal station, capable of holding all the prisoners, has begun.
Economy of Apalar Improves
Officials at Svavarsson Terminal in the Apalar system have announced that they have received the necessary quantities of industrial materials to elevate their system’s economy. The request issued by the government of Apalar was met with resounding enthusiasm, as independent pilots from across the galaxy helped to give the system the boost it needed.
Rewards for those who delivered industrial materials to Apalar are still pending, but Apalar Labour will make an announcement when these rewards become available.
Further Disturbances in Mourners' Line
Imperial Naval infantry have once again intervened as protesters – who have taken issue with Senator Denton Patreus’s connection to Brendan Paul Darius, the Emperor’s murderer – attempted to prevent access to some of Senator Patreus’s allies late last night. This time the agitators resisted the soldiers’ efforts to maintain peace. After several attempts to peacefully resolve the situation, a riot squad was deployed to restore order.
The action was efficiently completed, but smaller disturbances and protests flared up throughout the night. All were pacified by the troops but many mourners were forced to flee. Calm was eventually restored and an Imperial Guard company has now been stationed to secure the entrance to the Hall of Martyrs. A full regiment of Naval infantry has also been moved into the city.
A Week in Powerplay
It's time for another weekly report on the struggles of the foremost political powers in the galaxy. Some have fallen from grace and others have climbed higher than anyone expected. Read on for the details.
Arissa Lavigny-Duval seems set to remain the most influential individual in today’s political landscape. Immensely popular among members of the Pilots Federation, Arissa was able to secure seven more systems with ease while still contributing the bulk of the Imperial forces for the Pegasi Pirate War. While the size of her sphere of influence puts a heavy strain on the Princesses’ organisation, so far her pilots have managed to compensate through widespread fortification.
Aisling Duval’s administration faces another week of internal turmoil, which explains her drop to #4 in the GalNet rankings. While the ‘Peoples’ Princess’ continues to enjoy the support of many Commanders, her short-term situation is difficult. Her sphere of influence has grown rapidly and now includes many systems that are draining her resources, leaving her space vulnerable to the increased enemy undermining seen during the past week.
Zachary Hudson has extended his influence to four new systems this week, showcasing the increased ability of the president’s agents to project power across the galaxy. Hudson’s ability to expand his reach might be compromised, however, by developments at home, where enemy wings continue to attempt to undermine his control. Although determined defensive efforts allowed Hudson’s organisation to avoid falling into turmoil, it was a close call, sparking concerns for the future.
Felicia Winters’ administration has recovered from the turmoil of last week thanks to well-coordinated fortification efforts and a minor decrease in enemy activity. While danger has not passed for the Shadow President’s organisation, her supporters have again showed an ability to resist sustained hostile efforts to undermine her control, which have plagued Winters for the last two months.
Zemina Torval has seen her support base – which was previously dropping – stabilise and even slightly increase this week, as her supporters increase their efforts. Torval is still in an extremely difficult situation, however, as with almost a dozen of her systems undermined and both her organisation’s efforts to claim new systems failing, she is facing turmoil in her space. As her enemies smell blood in the water, it’s unclear if Torval’s organisation will be able to recover from its current difficulties.
Denton Patreus has enjoyed a surge in support in recent weeks – a situation his Commanders used to expand his grasp, adding five new systems to his sphere of influence this week. This expansion came at the same time as a drop in fortification efforts at home, however, and focused counter-attacks from Kumo Crew pilots. With Patreus’ administration barely escaping turmoil, it seems that the Senator’s rapid expansion will be checked, for now, by problems at home.
Edmund Mahon has proven without doubt that his #2 ranking is well deserved. Despite being the focus of extremely heavy enemy action, with seven systems undermined and several others threatened, the Alliance politician’s organisation avoided falling into turmoil with ease, even commanding a respectable reserve of resources to draw on. This is the result of both impressive fortification and a legacy of smart expansion choices, which is sure to make Mahon a formidable player on the galactic stage for the foreseeable future.
Li Yong-Rui claims the #3 position in the GalNet rankings – an impressive achievement for an organisation with fairly modest levels of Commander support. Sirius Gov continues to benefit from a strong strategic position, high-income systems and diplomatic efforts, which ensures the organisation does not see as much hostile activity as some of its neighbours.
Archon Delaine’s Kumo Crew has resisted the Imperial offensive in the Pegasi Sector for the past six weeks, and there is no end to the fighting in sight. While Archon’s control over most of his territory has been undermined, this has failed to push the pirate crew into turmoil, as his pilots focus their defence on a handful of key systems. What some envisioned as a quick knock-out blow has turned into a war of attrition, and as Torval, Patreus and Aisling face trouble at home, Arissa Lavigny-Duval’s legions might have to shoulder the burden of the conflict mostly by themselves.
Pranav Antal has added five new systems to the Utopia, continuing the surprising surge in activity for this once-minor organisation. With the ambitious attempt to establish an Utopian commune in the distant colony of Takurua successful, it appears that Antal’s rise to #8 might be sustained, or even improved, as long as Utopia continues to enjoy a period of relative peace.
Imperial Citizenry Pays Tribute to Late Emperor
Far from the Hall of Martyrs, Imperial citizens across the Empire have been paying tribute to the late Emperor. Many local system authorities have renamed landmarks and buildings in his honour, and a few have commissioned architects and artists to create new memorials in local capitals. The grandest of these designs has been commissioned by the Facece Empire Party on Topaz, featuring a modernist interpretation of the late Emperor sat atop a triumphal arch in the capital's main square. A statement released by the Facece Empire Party reads: "This minimalist sculpture will represent the spirit of the late Emperor, and all those who went before him, as a caretaker watching over the people".
Pilots’ bars have become more akin to literary salons of late, as commanders attempt to unravel the mystery behind Brendan Paul Darius' motives, and determine the existence of a possible mastermind behind the shocking assassination.
Perhaps the greatest tributes have come from the ordinary Imperial citizenry. In the days since the Emperor's death, the Office of Imperial Statistics has reported a 16% upsurge in newborn males being named "Hengist", reflecting the populace's great affection for their late head of state.
Commander Stateira "Starcloak" Eleshenar
Florence Lavigny Calls for Calm
In her first public appearance since the death of her fiancé Emperor Hengist Duval on their wedding day, Florence Lavigny made a short statement in the Imperial Palace press hall and answered a few questions. Her comments come amongst rising tensions on Capitol.
“We must remember proper decorum in this sad time. Our beloved Emperor would not want his death to be used as an excuse for some of the unpleasantness seen in our city. We should mark his passing with proper quiet reflection and respect for our fellow citizens.”
Although clearly devastated by the loss of her long-time friend, she maintained an air of regal dignity, providing a glimpse of what she might have been as Empress Regent. As well as calling for calm, she recalled earlier times with the Emperor in his youth, even some events while her first husband Prince Aristide Lavigny was still alive. These anecdotes forced smiles from even the most sombre reporters gathered there.
A Brief Look Back
In this series, we look at some of history’s less well-known figures, and examine the part they have played in shaping the galaxy. This week, we revisit a group of individuals whose exploits were covered by a number of media outlets last year.
Commander Angel Rose
Angel Rose’s career belies her relatively mundane origins, which saw her grow up on a starport under the watchful eye of her mother, Maugvahnna Rose. Angel’s rebellious streak was evident from an early age, however, and in a calculated attempt to exasperate her mother, she left home at the earliest opportunity to become a trader.
Unfortunately for Angel, things did not pan out exactly as she had hoped, and through a sequence of unfortunate events, the aspiring merchant found herself drawn into a life of crime, ultimately becoming a reluctant (and not entirely successful) assassin. This in turn led to her entanglement with a group of pirates, resulting in the events that so entertained the viewers of the Underground Channel last year.
Most of those who know Maugvahnna Rose would describe her as a ruthless social climber, and in most cases they would mean it as a compliment. The daughter of a seamstress and a corporate pen-pusher, Maugvahnna was never going to be content to follow in her parent’s footsteps, and at 23 she married the most powerful man that her limited social network gave her access to. Four years later she gave birth to her only child, Angel, although it fair to say that Maugvahnna was never burdened with an overabundance of maternal spirit. She went on to carve out a career as a starport captain, and played only a small part in the misfortunes that drove her daughter to a life of criminality. At least, that’s how Maugvahnna tells it.
Pirate Dread Katherine
With her thick mass of shoulder-length dreadlocks and studded gun-metal jewellery, few would mistake ‘Dread’ Katherine for anything other than what she is – a pirate. Born into a wealthy agricultural family, Katherine was kidnapped by pirates when she was just 19, and found herself an unwilling spectator to a campaign of murderous plundering – an experience that gave rise to a profound hatred of any form of machismo, and indeed of men in general. But Katherine’s proximity to the pirate life also bred a certain appetite for its dangers and freedoms, and it wasn’t long before she became a pirate in her own right. Today, Pirate Dread Katherine is one of the most feared buccaneers in her region of space.
Federation Continues Debate on War
Dissent is growing within Federation congress over the situation in the Pegasi sector. Though many view the Pegasi Pirate War as a chance to let the Empire waste their resources, a growing contingent is becoming frustrated with the Federation’s lack of response.
"Tolerating such rampant lawlessness in our sphere of influence makes us look increasingly feckless. If we don’t react with a show of force, it’s an open invitation for every would-be warlord to subjugate Federation space”, Congressman McRand argued in congress today.
“Involving ourselves in the same war as the Empire is just asking for a security and diplomatic nightmare. Frankly, I trust these Empire pilots little more than I so Archon Delaine”, responded Congresswoman Faye.
Debate continues in congress over taking a more active stance in the war. At last count, over 140 Federation systems and 89 billion citizens were under the control of the Kumo Crew.
Times of Mars | Interstellar Press
Children of Liberty Offer Prescription for Empire's Future
The group known as 'Children of Liberty' released another public statement today, this time addressing what it sees as the "crossroads" the Empire finds itself at in the wake of Emperor Hengist Duval’s assassination.
"Everyone can see that the Empire is at a crossroads, but it is not just a question of who will lead the Empire - it is a question of whether that leader will be answerable to the people. The Empire was founded on the principle of a representative democracy, one in which senators – duly elected by the people – carry out the peoples' will. Marlin Duval would be ashamed of how her noble vision has been twisted and corrupted by her brother and his progeny."
The statement went on to lament that none of the current claimants seem qualified to "restore liberty and honour" to the Empire, although the statement did say that "ironically enough, Aisling Duval embraces the most democratic methods, and goals, of all the claimants. Perhaps if she embraced the aim of returning the Empire to its democratic roots, the lovers of freedom in this galaxy would have someone they could actually support."
Commander Virgil Kyle
Commodities needed in the Kamcha, Dinkas and Jang Di Systems
A mysterious organisation called Emperor’s Dawn has issued open contracts for a diverse selection of commodities: Ceremonial Heike Tea, Battle Weapons, and Toxic Waste. Each of these is to be delivered to a specific starport, as outlined below:
Battle Weapons should be taken to Saarinen Station in the Kamcha system
Ceremonial Heike Tea should be taken to Sikorsky Orbital in the Jang Di system
Toxic Waste should be taken to Blaauw Port in the Dinkas system
Little is known about Emperor’s Dawn, but it seems that the curiously-named organisation, which is based in the Kamcha system, has access to considerable resources, as it is throwing a lot of money at this commercial endeavour. Pilots of a mercantile disposition would do well to consider participating in this effort, as there is certainly an opportunity for resourceful traders to make a tidy profit.
Democracy Threatened in Old Worlds
Allegations have surfaced from sources close to the office of Prime Minister Edmund Mahon that unnamed elements within the Pilots Federation are deliberately undermining democratic factions in the Old Worlds. These groups are allegedly scheming to push corporate governments into power to strengthen trade agreements with Alioth.
The Lave system appears to be the latest victim of these efforts. With support from independent pilots, the incorporated Lave Fortune Organization has become the most influential faction in the system. If they are successful, Lave will become the third system in the cluster – after Leesti and Reorte – to have its democratic government overthrown by a corporation.
The rise of the Alliance as a galactic power has brought prosperity to the Old Worlds, but commentators fear that its basic principles are being undercut by Edmund Mahon in order to protect trade interests. The Prime Minister’s office has yet to respond to these allegations.
Commander Kulzar (AKA Léonard Chamberlain)
Allied News Service | Interstellar Press
Gun Battle Ends Darius Family Murder Investigation
The hunt for the killers of the Darius family came to a dramatic conclusion today in a firefight with local security forces on Eotienses.
The Darius family was brutally murdered four days ago in what is believed to be revenge for Brendan Paul Darius’s assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval. All of the suspects – who are understood to have been local vigilantes seeking revenge for the Emperor’s murder – were killed in the operation. In a statement, Inspector Reeve, who led the investigation, said:
“Considering the savagery with which the suspects butchered the Darius family, we couldn’t take any chances while attempting to arrest them. They were heavily armed and opened fire as our officers entered the building.”
He refused to answer questions about why the family wasn’t in protective custody, or how the protection team were able to be subdued so easily. One local witness of the operation claimed that no attempt was made to arrest the suspects, an accusation Inspector Reeve vigorously denied.
President's Bodyguard Found Murdered
The Federal Security Services today revealed that a member of the Presidential Protection Detail has been found dead in her home.
“Agent Susan Monroe was killed in the early hours of this morning and there is evidence that her residence had been searched. At this time we do not know why, or if anything was taken. Her death was caused by several stab wounds to the chest and neck.”
When asked whether there were any suspects in the case, the spokeswoman responded:
“We don’t have a suspect at this stage and the investigation is progressing. We do want to speak with Elaine Boyd, who was romantically involved with Agent Monroe, and have identified her as a person of interest in the case. We urge her to contact us to help us with our investigation. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Elaine Boyd then they should inform us or their local law enforcement agency.”
Elaine Boyd is a reporter with the Federal Times, which refused to comment when asked about the reporter.
Imperial Slave Association Audited
A surprise audit of the Imperial Slave Association was recently conducted by a special committee of the Imperial senate. The records and practices of the ISA were meticulously examined to ensure compliance with laws governing the treatment and transportation of Imperial slaves. The committee found numerous violations of transportation regulations in systems near Imperial borders, and numerous border-security officers and pilots were subsequently indicted for these violations.
No serious violations concerning the treatment of Imperial Slaves were uncovered, though many warnings were issued to those who were found holding slaves beyond their fixed term of service. Imperial slaves found in these circumstances were restored to full citizenship and reimbursed for the labour they performed beyond their established term.
The ISA issued a statement following the audit:
“We wish to reiterate that the sale of Imperial slaves to non-Imperials and to systems beyond Imperial space is strictly prohibited. Any who are found engaging in this illicit activity will be held accountable."
Claims of Federal Involvement
With the long history of conflict between the superpowers, it is not unexpected that some of the more paranoid members of the Imperial population have directed their suspicions concerning the Emperor’s assassination at the Federation. While no-one in authority within the Empire takes these claims seriously, some of the citizens and lower members of Imperial society wonder that if the claims aren’t true, then why don’t those in charge simply say so?
Some believe that these unanswered, if unreasonable, questions lay at the heart of some of the trouble reported in the queue of mourners on Capitol.
To many of us, the thought that the Federation would risk all-out war by killing the leader of the only other superpower capable of battling them on equal terms is far out there. But it’s not the craziest theory by a long mark.
Conspiracy theorist Ricardo Bentonio claims that the Emperor is not dead, instead it is just his human host that has been transformed and the being we knew as Emperor Hengist Duval has returned to his homeworld in the Andromeda galaxy.
'Operation Uranus' Successful
This week, Archon Delaine hit back at the renewed Imperial offensive. Using a multi-pronged attack, the Kumo Crew struck hard at systems under the influence of Senator Patreus. Dubbed ‘Operation Uranus’, the campaign successfully pushed the system of Contiku into turmoil.
The number of Kumo Crew raids within Imperial space increased during the week, with multiple Imperial commanders reporting run-ins with the cartel. Although a combined task force of Imperial powers laid siege to the Pegasi sector, pilots loyal to Senator Patreus failed to prevent the pirate counter-attack. This may jeopardize the fragile alliance between the powers, and strengthen internal opposition to the Pegasi Pirate War.
Time will tell if the operation has shifted the balance of the power, but Archon Delaine certainly refuses to go gently into the night.
Liaedin Chronicle | Interstellar Press
Federal Times Reporter Named as Murder Suspect
Following news of the brutal murder of Agent Susan Monroe, the Federal Security Services upgraded Elaine Boyd’s person of interest status to 'suspect', and called for any information regarding the reporter’s movements.
“This was a particularly savage murder of a person who laid their life on the line. We believe that Elaine Boyd was using her lover to access confidential information. While we haven’t yet ascertained the exact nature of the information she was trying to access or why she murdered the agent. It is also unknown whether Agent Monroe was a willing participant in the information retrieval, although we believe that her murder indicates that she was not.
“We urge anybody who sees Elaine Boyd to report her location immediately. At this time she is considered dangerous and should not be approached.”
In a statement, the Chief Editor of the Federal Times said:
“Having worked with Miss Boyd for seven years, I find it hard to imagine that she could commit the crime she is accused of. We are of course helping the security services with their inquiries, but I can confirm we have had no contact with Miss Boyd for several days.”
Emperor's Killer Not Working Alone?
While Chancellor Anders Blaine has provided almost daily updates on the investigation of Emperor Hengist Duval’s assassination there has been little progress of note until today. The breakthrough is reported to have originated from an investigation into the killing of Brendan Paul Darius’ family.
The local investigator, Inspector Reeve, discovered encrypted data files hidden within the toys of the six year old girl killed in the attack. These files have revealed the existence of a secret group – calling themselves Emperor’s Dawn. They are an ultra-traditionalist movement fearing the erosion of imperial values.
The exact reason why the Emperor was targeted is as yet unknown, but it was discovered that Princess Aisling has also been targeted by the group. In response to this threat her security has been increased.
Chancellor Blaine concluded his update by saying:
“This unexpected development has revealed a hideous cancer within our society. One that will be hunted down and eradicated with the utmost urgency.”
Federal and Imperial Diplomats Discuss the Pegasi Sector
Historically, areas of mutual interest have resulting in cooperation between the Empire and the Federation. Now it seems that the humanitarian crisis in the Pegasi Sector represents one such mutual interest.
In a meeting between Federation and Imperial commanders, Commander Nyluss of the Merchant Marines offered these words: "We must re-establish liberty in those zones that have become lawless. The Kumo Crew and its vagabond leader will no longer be tolerated in our space. I call upon all Federation pilots. How can you tolerate this encroachment upon our worlds?”
Commander Corrigendum of Lavigny’s Legion added: “We welcome all those who want to oppose the tyranny of Archon Delaine, and ask that Federation and Imperial commanders operating in the Pegasi sector give one another a wide berth as they work toward the common goal of bringing Delaine to justice."
Commander Corrigendum, Lavigny's Legion
Report Raises Concerns about Operation Davy Jones
The Stratis Information Group, an independent think-tank of political, defence, and economics analysts, has published an in-depth study of Operation Davy Jones, the ongoing conflict between the Imperial Navy and the forces of Archon Delaine.
Aside from providing statistics regarding the current Imperial deployment, the report raises concerns about the overall purpose of the operation, stating that: “The current premise of ridding the Pegasi sector of the Kumo Crew is merely a cover for aggressive Imperial expansion into Federation-aligned systems.”
Stratis analyst Marcus Orrin elaborated on the concerns: “The Imperial Navy has invested a tremendous amount of effort and resources in securing the Pegasi sector. To believe they will simply withdraw from the region once hostilities come to an end is to ignore historical precedents. The Empire will likely maintain an occupation force in the Pegasi sector for some time after.”
Times of Mars | Interstellar Press
Famous Reporter Commits Suicide
The hunt for Elaine Boyd ended today with the discovery of her body in a low-rent hotel in Wyrd. Local law enforcement reported that they received an anonymous tip-off about her location and discovered her body as they gained entry.
The former reporter of the Federal Times was accused of murdering her partner, Agent Susan Monroe. An investigation into her death is already underway and agents from the Federal Security Service have been granted special access to assist the independent local police.
The police have so far refused to provide any details, but an off-the-record source has revealed that a suicide note was found. It allegedly states that she could no longer live with the guilt of killing her lover.
The Federal Times has so far refused to comment on the fate of their reporter.
Heike Starport Security under Strain
On patrol outside the busy starport of Brunel Station, Heike Security Forces pilot Kenji Nobu reluctantly admits that not all visitors to the station are being subjected to "the full scrutiny of the law".
"There's just too many of them and too few of us", Nobu said, resignedly. In the last 24 hours, nearly 750 ships have docked at Brunel Station, mostly small or medium transport ships – over 10 times normal volumes.
"Word is that the brass is waiting on approval for emergency funds. The pilots’ union rep said we might have to put in some overtime. Nothing I haven't heard before, though", said Nobu.
Dockworker Sothy Ferrell elaborated on what was drawing pilots to the station: "Some fruits, some coffee, but mostly tea. How 'bout those monks growing the stuff? No doubt they're loaded!"
It has been reported that a faction called Emperor's Dawn has recently issued a contract for large quantities of ceremonial Heike tea. The group is located over 200 light years from Heike, with most of the journey lying within Federation space.
"I might recognize a name or two coming up on the scanner”, said Nobu, “but most of it just runs together. Listen, I gotta get back to my patrol.”
Commander Tyber de Maat
Zaonce Market Circular | Interstellar Press
Fuel Rats Complete 1,000th Rescue
Heroes: that's what some call the Fuel Rats. Ever since launching their emergency fuel delivery service a little over two months ago, the Fuel Rats have made an impact on the lives of over 1,000 commanders who would otherwise have faced a long spacewalk home.
For one stranded commander, over 31,500 light years from inhabited space with five months’ worth of exploration data on board, the Fuel Rats’ service was greatly appreciated. Commander Paul Kavinsky, in partnership with Commander Rusticolus, made an incredible high-speed transition to the far side of the galaxy to rescue Commander TheHairyMob.
Commanders Anuranium and Domaq also demonstrated the lengths to which the Fuel Rats will go. High above the galactic plane, 2,800 light years north of Sagittarius A*, a commander found himself stranded with no hope of returning home under his own power. The limited number of nearby stars made locating the hapless commander exceptionally difficult, but the rats found their man.
A little closer to home, Commanders Aitken and Dardevel were not to be outdone. Commander Ghetto King was only moments away from drawing his last breath, with only two seconds of emergency air remaining, when the Fuel Rats swooped in to save the day.
This reporter joined the Fuel Rats to witness a rescue mission firsthand. I experienced a mix of adrenaline and warm satisfaction in knowing I had made a positive difference to another pilot’s fate.
Commander Ceska Zbrojovka
Radio Sidewinder News
Civil Aid Crisis as Millions of Mourners Fill Capitol
The civic authorities on Capitol have reported needing to use strategic reserves of food, medical supplies and shelters as millions of mourners now fill the streets, waiting for their chance to see Emperor Hengist Duval’s body before the funeral next week.
In all of history there has never been as many people on the home planet of the Empire as there are today. This strain has pushed all of the emergency services way beyond capacity, so extra troops have been drafted in for increased security and to assist with distributing the aid. Imperial Navy personnel are also providing medical and rescue services, with temporary command areas deployed throughout the city.
The problem is exacerbated by the mourners remaining in the city after paying their respects. People are being urged to leave the Capitol if they have already visited the Hall of Martyrs, but many are choosing to stay to witness the funeral.
Athena System Hosts 'XYZ Fight Club'
The popular gladiatorial tournament known as the ‘XYZ Fight Club’ took place again this weekend. Our reporters were ringside for the spectacle. Pilots descended on Athena, pitting dog-fighting skills against one another in both light and medium ships.
Criminals targeting participant Commander Angel Rose marred the start of the event and forced an evacuation of Darboux Orbital, but Commanders Rhea and Lynk1973 ensured that contingency arenas allowed combatants and spectators to avoid further harassment.
Commanders Bodmans, Danten and Old Sauveur dominated play for the light rounds – fast-paced jousting with no shortage of collisions. Commanders DJTruthsayer, Estelath, Ace Rimzy and Jankster gave solid performances, but were knocked out.
The light semi-finals saw Bodmans – recent champion of the Sol Grand Prix – facing off against Commander Rainy Day in close-quarters knife-fighting. Rainy Day spent chaff and shield-cells before Bodmans delivered the deathblow – a barrage of missile-fire – that delighted the audience.
Medium-class contents continued into the night, involving Couriers, Vipers, and Diamondback Scouts. Commander Synaptic made notable use of their DBS-stealth capabilities to evade missile-fire, but eventually succumbed to their opponent’s attacks.
Angel Rose's Viper took on Commander Louise of Darkwater's Courier. Audiences watching the event live cheered the commander from Slough Orbital, but it was not enough to protect her from her opponent’s rail-fire as a victorious Louise of Darkwater moved into the later rounds.
Showing impressive skill in the marathon tournament, the same pair of combatants managed to reach the finals for both classes. Bodmans and Old Sauveur intitially exchanged fire in Eagles, with Old Sauveur proving victorious in the fast-paced battle through a well-timed use of shield cells. Going head-to-head in Couriers to decide the victor of the medium heats, Bodmans eventually claimed victory at the end of a protracted defensive battle.
Commander Edgar Starwalker
Lomas Racing News | Interstellar Press
Zemina Torval and Florence Lavigny Join Patreus’ Campaign
Senator Patreus has seen a resurgence of support since his declaration of war against the group responsible for Emperor Hengist Duval’s murder. Reports from the campaign have indicated that Emperor’s Dawn is now claiming responsibility for the regicide, although this hasn’t been independently confirmed as yet.
In a Senate session, Senator Zemina Torval declared her support for the operation and instructed her loyal followers to join the campaign.
Analysts have been keenly watching the political landscape shift in the weeks since the Emperor’s death. Many had written off Patreus as his influence waned with the dishonour of his association with the Emperor’s assassin, Brendan Paul Darius. However, his decisive action against Emperor’s Dawn has raised his profile. Some believe that it is a cynical ploy by Patreus, but none can argue that he has gained the support of the Senate heavyweights.
Even Florence Lavigny has spoken out for unity and support for Patreus:
“When I was much younger, and my first husband dear Aristide was sadly eaten by a Ling Lang in his own menagerie, there were conspiracy theories, none of which were true. The simple truth was he was foolish to keep so many dangerous animals as pets. I’ve known Denton for years, and I know he wasn’t involved in the Emperor’s murder. Hengist had many enemies, but Denton Patreus was not one of them.”
Imperial Internal Security Service Requests Exploration Data
In an unprecedented move, the Imperial Internal Security Service – the organisation responsible for domestic security throughout the Empire – has issued an open contract for exploration data. Agent Cope of the IISS made the following statement:
“The Imperial Internal Security Service is conducting a comprehensive revision of its information networks, and is therefore in need of as much fresh data as possible. The more information we have, the more accurate we can make our database. We thank the community in advance for their cooperation with this effort.”
The request was preceded by rumours that the organisation was actively gathering information about the group known as Emperor’s Dawn. When asked about the rumours, Agent Cope said:
“I can assure you that any allegations concerning interest in specific individuals or groups are entirely groundless. The IISS has a remit to analyse any available data for useful intelligence, and the exploration data we have requested will be subjected to this analysis. That does not mean, however, that this operation has been designed to gather information about Emperor’s Dawn.”
This refutation was somewhat undermined, however, by an article published this morning in the Imperial Citizen. In the article, the Citizen claimed to have intercepted an IISS communiqué in which Emperor’s Dawn was specifically mentioned:
“Our recommendation concerning Emperor’s Dawn is to gather fresh astrological data, and to filter it for information about the group’s movements and bases of operation. Our belief is that the organisation has no more than half a dozen bases within inhabited space, but it would nevertheless be advisable to accumulate accurate data.”
The request is being managed by the Cemiess Empire Party on behalf of the IISS. Independent pilots interested in participating should deliver exploration data to Mackenzie Relay in the Cemiess system.
Antares Incident Links to VP’s Death?
The case of reporter Elaine Boyd took an unexpected turn today as several respected newsfeeds, including the Federal Times, received encrypted data packages. It is claimed that these were automatically sent by Elaine Boyd from a public storage server with instructions to be delivered if newsfeeds reported her death.
The data apparently reveals a connection between the death earlier in the year of Vice President Nigel Smeaton and the Antares Incident. His death was officially declared an accident, although many at the time suspected foul play. Those suspicions are likely to rise again with the revelation that he was related to one of the crew aboard the Highliner Antares when it disappeared on its maiden flight 50 years ago.
Elaine Boyd discovered details of a private ‘off the books’ investigation by the Vice President into the incident and that he suspected it was caused by sabotage, rather than drive component failure. He had already spoken to a number of now quite senior officers involved in the original enquiry. Elaine Boyd’s information implied that he may have been killed to stop his investigation.
In a statement, the chief editor of the Federal Times said:
“We hope that amongst the information Elaine has provided there is evidence to prove her innocence in the crimes she was implicated in. We are continuing to examine the data in detail.”
Agent Susan Monroe Part of VP’s Protection Detail
The Federal Times today revealed the latest article in their ongoing investigation into the apparent suicide of their reporter Elaine Boyd.
They revealed that Agent Susan Monroe, who Boyd was accused of murdering, was part of Vice President Nigel Smeaton’s protection detail at the time of his death. It already seemed obvious to many that Agent Monroe was the source of the reporter’s information, but now there is greater likelihood that she provided it willingly.
Officials from the Federal Security Service insist that Agent Monroe was an unwilling participant and they had evidence to link the agent’s death to the reporter.
The Chief Editor of the Federal Times responded by claiming this was ‘nonsense’ and that he would not rest until the truth was revealed.
Cold Ice, Warm Trail
Early this morning, an Imperial Navy commando unit uncovered a hidden forward command post for the Kumo Crew invasion force in the Tjakiri system. There was evidence that the site had been occupied as recently as half an hour prior to the raid, as ice was found in a glass in the abandoned command centre. DNA from stray hair follicles was analyzed by a forensics team – the results were a match for Archon Delaine.
"It's frustrating to think that we missed apprehending the most wanted man in the galaxy by mere minutes", commented one of the commandoes, "but every day we come a little closer to getting our man.”