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Starship One is the official designation of the transport of the President of the Federation. Beginning in 3296, two Narwhal Liners served in this capacity until one of the them was destroyed on May 26, 3301 by a catastrophic Frame Shift Drive malfunction that occurred during a hyperspace jump, a disaster which killed hundreds of crew and passengers and was later found to have been caused by deliberate sabotage. The second Narwhal continued to see use until February 28, 3302, when it was retired from service due to security concerns. Since then, the role of Starship One has been assumed by two modified Farragut-Class Battle Cruisers.[1]

Starship One travels in Wing formation with at least three escort vessels belonging to the Guardian Wing, a special division of the Federal Navy assigned to protect important Federal officials. Routes that are secured for Starship One to follow are designated "Spaceflight One" or "Starflight One", terms which may also be used to refer to Starship One and its escorts collectively.[2][3][4]

The Starship One disaster

Disappearance and initial search

At approximately 03:00 Universal Galactic Time on May 26, 3301, Starship One, a Narwhal Liner carrying Federal President Jasmina Halsey, Vice President Ethan Naylor, and other leading officials of the Halsey administration, disappeared shortly after making a hyperspace jump to the Azaleach system.[3][5] At the time, President Halsey and her staff had been undertaking an outreach tour of current and former Federal frontier systems, including HIP 53688, Tinia, Aleumoxii, 78 Ursae Majoris, Dietri, Su, Furuhjelm I-645, Saga, Delphin, Nanomam, Coriccha, and Ross 860; other destinations were planned, but their names were withheld from the media for security reasons.[6][7][8][9]

The first sign that something was amiss came early on May 26, when Maisy Stevenson, the leader of the Saga Republic Party, told GalNet that Starship One was 38 hours late for its scheduled arrival in the Saga system. Federal officials on Mars initially claimed the delay was due to Halsey taking a last-minute detour to Azaleach.[2] At 15:00 UGT, however, Secretary of State Felicia Winters assumed the role of Acting President of the Federation. She announced that contact with Starship One had been lost since its jump to Azaleach 12 hours earlier, and the vessel was officially missing. The Federal Navy immediately scrambled squadrons to search for it and rescue President Halsey and Vice President Naylor.[3] At first, it was believed both Starship One and its escort vessels had been lost, but all three ships of the President's Guardian Wing were found on May 27. According to one of the escort pilots, the Guardian Wing ships had slaved their drives to Starship One's for the jump per protocol, but shortly after entering hyperspace, the escort vessels violently dropped back into normal space. The escorts reestablished contact with each other and searched the area for Starship One before jumping to the original rendezvous point and alerting Federal Navy HQ.[5]

Specialist teams from Core Dynamics and Sirius Corporation determined from wake telemetry and uplink data that Starship One had suffered explosive Frame Shift Drive failure mid-jump, catapulting the Guardian Wing out of hyperspace and tearing Starship One into pieces that were spread across interstellar space.[10] An official report released by the Federal Navy on June 2, 3301 attributed the disaster to mechanical failure. Sensor data obtained from Guardian Wing Alpha indicated a power surge in the central Power Plant of Starship One overloaded its other core systems. Automatic shutdown systems in the Frame Shift Drive designed to prevent these overloads and abort the jump inexplicably failed to operate, resulting in the loss of the ship after it entered hyperspace. No signs of foul play were identified.[4][11]

Second search

In early 3302, after a successful search for the wreckage of Starship One arranged by President Zachary Hudson, analysts hypothesized that Starship One's destruction was not instantaneous and began in the rear of the ship, which could have allowed passengers and crew enough time to reach escape pods.[12] This theory was proven on February 26, 3302, when it was confirmed that some of the thousands of escape pods recovered from the Lyncis Sector by independent pilots contained Starship One survivors, most notably Jasmina Halsey.[13] The former Federal President was eventually revived and recounted her experience of Starship One's destruction, saying that she had been in the bridge at the time of the explosion and her bodyguards managed to carry her to an escape pod.[14]

Criminal investigation

In 3305, a follow-up investigation was opened by the Federal Attorney's Office. It found that Starship One had been sabotaged shortly before it embarked on Halsey's grand tour.[15] On September 18, 3306, the Federal Intelligence Agency arrested Chief Technician Rory Webster, the lead engineer in charge of Starship One's maintenance, on charges of mass murder and treason. Webster reportedly ordered unauthorised modifications to the ship's Frame Shift Drive.[16]

During Webster's trial, which began on September 28 at the Federal High Court on Mars, the prosecution revealed that Webster had his subordinates install new power regulators on Starship One prior to its launch, an action that Webster convinced the first investigation was routine. In 3305, one of the engineers who had installed the replacement regulators realized that, like the Highliner Antares incident, the regulators could have adversely affected the Frame Shift Drive if they had been modified before use. This engineer contacted the authorities, which led to the opening of the second investigation.[17] On October 5, shortly before the trial's conclusion, Webster offered to confess and implicate the party who allegedly ordered him to sabotage Starship One on the condition that the death penalty be taken off the table at sentencing.[18] The true apparent mastermind of Starship One's destruction was revealed to be Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent, who was arrested by the Federal Intelligence Agency on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and treason on October 9. Webster provided evidence that Vincent had ordered him to sabotage Starship One and backed up his order with threats. While Webster was given a lenient sentence of 20 years in prison, Vincent was placed in a secure facility to await his trial in the coming months. In addition to reportedly having several policy disagreements with then-President Jasmina Halsey, primarily over her aggressive military interventions in Kappa Fornacis and other systems, Vincent was also noted to be a personal friend of current President Zachary Hudson. Hudson did not comment on Vincent's arrest, but a spokesperson affirmed the President's confidence in the Federal court system.[19]

By October 19, Vincent's arrest dramatically changed the Federation's political landscape due to his close ties with President Hudson. Support for Hudson and the Republican Party, which had held a majority in opinion polls since Hudson assumed office, plummeted amid accusations that Hudson and Vincent had conspired to assassinate former President Halsey. Hudson refused to issue a statement on Vincent despite mounting pressure, and over a dozen Congressmen resigned in protest to avoid association with what some News Feeds called "the crime of the century".[20] Although Hudson continued to remain silent on the Starship One developments, he recovered much of his lost standing the following month, after the Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army bombed a Federal starport and tensions between the Federation and the Empire reached dangerous levels.[21]

Trial of Lucas Vincent

The Federal Attorney's Office obtained a grand jury indictment against Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent for conspiracy to commit murder and treason in the Starship One disaster on January 11, 3307. The trial of Vincent, who is the highest ranking Federal military officer to ever stand trial, was scheduled to begin on January 25 at the Federal High Court in Olympus Village on Mars.[22] Former Federal President Jasmina Halsey returned to Olympus Village on January 20 at the request of the Federal High Court to stand as a witness in the trial.[23]

On the first day of the trial, the prosecution presented evidence obtained from Rory Webster, including a recording of a secure transmission sent from Vincent's office to Starship One on May 24, 3301 that ordered the vessel to divert to Azaleach for routine maintenance. It was during the stop in Azaleach that Webster's engineering team installed the sabotaged hyperdrive component that caused the misjump. Vincent evaded questions and insisted that the trial was a cover-up for the Liberal Party, which he claimed had Starship One destroyed to elevate then-Secretary of State Felicia Winters to the presidency. Vincent's own defence counsel downplayed his claims, and instead assailed the authenticity of Webster's recordings of Vincent's orders.[24] Jasmina Halsey took the witness stand on January 27. She confirmed that Vincent personally ordered the unscheduled stop in Azaleach, and recounted her experience of Starship One's destruction. On cross-examination, the defense counsel asserted Halsey's testimony be discounted on the grounds that she was delusional, and presented the statements Halsey had made after her rescue and revival in 3302 about having met the "caretakers of our galaxy". The former president revealed that she had no memory of making those statements, and suggested that they were a result of the trauma of the disaster and spending months in cryostasis. She provided medical documentation from reputable Alliance doctors confirming her sanity.[25]

As the trial continuned on January 29, Halsey revealed a possible motive for Vincent's attempt to kill her. She stated that in a Federal Cabinet meeting in April 3301 where Vincent was present, she announced plans to address her low approval rating with the public by taking her administration in a new direction later that year. Proposed policy changes included cutting taxes, investing in social infrastructure, and reducing the Federal Navy's budget. This would have weakened Vincent's influence and also affected certain powerful individuals connected to Vincent.[26] Next, evidence detailed on February 2 implicated Federal shipbuilder Core Dynamics in Starship One's destruction. The Federal Attorney's Office reexamined the files of the original Starship One investigation and found that in 3301, Vincent and several other naval officers were the recipients of billions of credits transferred to them by shell companies created by Core Dynamics. Vincent again rebuffed questions, reiterating that he was being framed by a conspiracy to make Felicia Winters president. Core Dynamics did not respond to press inquiries, but there were unverified reports of "large-scale activity" occurring at several of the corporation's major facilities.[27]

During the final day of the trial on February 5, the prosecution named Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester as a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Jasmina Halsey. Seeking to protect the profits of Core Dynamics, which would be adversely affected by Halsey's proposed military budget cuts, Vincent and Rochester orchestrated the sabotage of Starship One to eliminate Halsey and arranged for her to be replaced by Zachary Hudson, whom they were confident would maintain the Federal Navy's funding and keep Core Dynamics awash in contracts. The defence again tried to undermine the credibility of Halsey's testimony, and also argued that the prosecution's financial evidence had been improperly obtained and was therefore inadmissible. The jury then entered sequestered deliberations. Not long afterward, reports emerged that several Core Dynamics departments known as "Jupiter Division" were transporting ships and personnel to the HIP 54530 system, the ruling faction of which renamed itself Jupiter Division.[28]

The jury returned with a verdict of guilty on February 8, and sentenced Lucas Vincent to life imprisonment for this crimes. The Federal Intelligence Agency then immediately moved to arrest several other co-conspirators among the Federal Navy and government. Jupiter Rochester eluded authorities and fled to the safety of his Jupiter Division in HIP 54530. Questions were raised about whether or not other members of the Rochester family were involved in or had knowledge of the Starship One plot, and conspiracy theories swirled that Jupiter was a member of The Club. At the same time, prior accusations that President Zachary Hudson masterminded the Starship One disaster to remove Halsey and ascend to the presidency were effectively debunked, since Vincent's trial had presented no evidence that Hudson was aware of the conspiracy.[29]

The revelation that Jupiter Rochester funded the attempted assassination of Jasmina Halsey to increase the profits of Core Dynamics, as well as his insurrection against Federal forces in HIP 54530, provoked a public outcry among Federal citizens against corruption and corporate influence in the Federal government. The scandal damaged both the Republican Party and the Liberal Party. Trust in the former fell despite President Hudson denying knowledge of the conspiracy, and the latter was politically embarrassed by its Shadow Vice President, Isolde Rochester, having familial ties to the self-proclaimed Supreme Executive of Jupiter Division.[30] When Federal forces defeated Jupiter Division on February 18, the FIA arrested Jupiter and charged him with crimes related to his role in the Starship One disaster.[31] The Federal Justice Department sentenced Jupiter to life imprisonment without a trial on the basis of the self-evident nature of his crimes on March 5, seemingly bringing the saga to a close, but Milandu Okoro of the Federal Attorney's Office remarked that this was highly unusual. The FJD also denied the Federal Attorney's Office's request to open a full investigation into Jupiter Rochester and Lucas Vincent for possible other crimes and conspiracies.[32]

Timeline

28 DEC 3307

  • The noted historian Sima Kalhana takes a look back at the turbulent events of the last year in a four-part series of articles.
    "The start of 3307 was a time of crisis. The rise of the Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army (NMLA), the Marlinist refugee crisis and increased Empire-Federation tensions had brought a full-scale superpower war closer, with renewed attacks from the Thargoids increasing the pressure. All of this led to Pranav Antal's proposal of a diplomatic conference for all three superpower governments to work through their problems – the very first Galactic Summit. Within weeks, Sirius Corporation was selected as the neutral host for the conference. Li Yong-Rui scored another triumph by establishing the Marlinist Colonies for millions of political refugees who had fled from the Empire. In February came the trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent, accused of arranging Starship One's destruction back in 3301. His paymaster was revealed as Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester, who wanted to replace Federal democracy with direct corporate rule. His breakaway faction Jupiter Division was defeated in battle and Rochester himself jailed for life. This also led to Core Dynamics's acquisition of Lakon Spaceways being cancelled, leaving the Alliance to purchase a majority sharehold in the company. Key players on the political stage finally gathered when the Galactic Summit began in late February. The Sirius system hosted leaders from the Alliance, Empire, Federation and independent systems. Even pirate warlord Archon Delaine gatecrashed the event, causing controversy with his 'crown of bones' speech. It seemed for a while that the bickering between so many strong personalities might trigger a war rather than avert one. But gradually there was progress, with the possibility of a treaty to increase unity against the Thargoid threat. But before reaching this conclusion, the Galactic Summit was derailed by a threat from another source. Nine Martyrs – as named by the NMLA leader Theta Seven – was the largest terrorist attack in history. Hundreds of thousands were killed by starport bombings in nine systems, including the superpower capitals of Alioth, Achenar and Sol. This horrific tragedy ended the conference abruptly, but did give rise to some inter-power cooperation. A new agreement signed at the Galactic Summit allowed the Affiliated Counter-Terrorism unit (ACT) to be formed rapidly. Drawing on the superpowers' security services and other organisations, its sole purpose was to hunt down and eliminate the NMLA, a task that would dominate the headlines for the rest of the year."[33]

26 MAR 3307

  • Former President Jasmina Halsey has joined the Federal Diplomatic Corps to become an ambassador to the Alliance. In recent years Halsey served as an advisor to Prime Minister Mahon, but returned to the Federation in January to stand as a witness in the Starship One trial. She was a guest of Shadow President Felicia Winters at the Galactic Summit, and both were evacuated back to Mars when it was cancelled. At a press conference, Ambassador Halsey said: "Being at the conference reminded me that the political arena is where I belong. My new responsibilities allow me to continue serving the Federation while making use of my experience within the Alliance, and hopefully build stronger bridges between the two." Elijah Beck, head of the Alliance Office of Diplomatic Relations, sent this message: "Jasmina's level-headed advice has calmed many tense political situations. This is the ideal role for a diplomat of her calibre, and I look forward to working with her again." In related news, the Federal Diplomatic Corps confirmed that Ambassador Jordan Rochester had been recalled from duty to be reassigned. Most of the Empire and Federation's embassies in each other's space have been closed since November 3306.[34]

05 MAR 3307

  • Former Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester has received a summary judgement for multiple crimes against the Federation. The Federal Justice Department gave this statement: "The facts in the case of Jupiter Rochester are self-evident. His principal role regarding Starship One and Jupiter Division make him guilty of treason, mass murder and many other crimes. He will serve a solitary life sentence in a maximum security prison." Milandu Okoro of the Federal Attorney's Office expressed surprise: "It is highly unusual for the FJD not to litigate such a major case, considering we don't know the full extent of Rochester and Fleet Admiral Vincent's conspiracies. Unfortunately, our request to open a full investigation has been denied." Shadow Vice President Isolde Rochester has reiterated that her family were not involved with her eldest son's clandestine activities. Core Dynamics is continuing to rebuild after several departments separated to form Jupiter Division. Owen McKenna, the new CEO, has vowed to purge the company of all his predecessor's loyalists. Despite Rochester's failure to build a powerbase in the HIP 54530 system, his manifesto of placing the Federation under direct corporate rule has received praise in some regions. A corporatist movement, founded by commercial networks and civil groups, is gradually gaining popularity.[32]

18 FEB 3307

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    Jupiter Division, the breakaway faction from Core Dynamics, has been defeated in the HIP 54530 system. The independent corporate nation met armed resistance from a local faction, the Silver Legal Group, which defeated them in battle with the aid of independent ships. Director Theodore Sullivan announced: "Thanks to the courage of many pilots, we have crippled the military forces behind this illegal coup and taken control of the system." Rewards for all who fought for the Silver Legal Group are available from the Iron Wings of Justice megaship in the Ts'ao Tach system. The Silver Legal Group has been awarded permit control to prevent any further compromise of Federal assets. Pilots without this permit can perform missions for the faction at the Iron Wings of Justice megaship in Ts'ao Tach to access the HIP 54530 system. Remnants of Jupiter Division confirmed that despite their defeat, all those who sided with them during the conflict will be reimbursed at the Victory's Forge megaship in the HIP 55014 system. The Federal Intelligence Agency has taken Jupiter Rochester into custody, where he will be charged for his involvement in the destruction of Starship One in 3301. Thousands of his loyalist followers have also been apprehended, and the return of stolen Core Dynamics ships and resources is being arranged.[31]

15 FEB 3307

  • Federal citizens are in uproar after the former CEO of Core Dynamics was revealed to have destroyed Starship One to increase company profits. The trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent showed that Jupiter Rochester attempted to replace Jasmina Halsey with Zachary Hudson to secure military contracts with the Federal Navy. The Federal Intelligence Agency has arrested several co-conspirators, but its investigation is hampered by Jupiter Rochester loyalists splitting away from Core Dynamics. His new independent faction, Jupiter Division, has engaged in conflict against Federal forces in the HIP 54530 system. President Hudson has claimed ignorance of the assassination plot, but public opinion polls show a decrease of trust in the Republican Party. Many have voiced anger at such corruption at the heart of the Federation, calling for further investigations into the corporate sector's influence on government. Political embarrassment has also affected the Liberal Party, with Shadow Vice President Isolde Rochester attempting to distance herself from her eldest son: "Jupiter's horrendous actions were his alone, made completely without our knowledge. My whole family is appalled at his illegal activity. We have offered to aid the authorities in bringing him to justice."[30]

10 FEB 3307

  • The acquisition of Lakon Spaceways by Core Dynamics has been revoked following revelations of illegal activity. An inquiry by the Independent Commission for Market Equality stated that former Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester "exerted unduly influence on Lakon shareholders, including bribery and blackmail". This led to new appointees to the board of directors, who were paid to approve the hostile takeover. The inquiry also factored in the recent Federal High Court trial, which proved that Jupiter Rochester was directly responsible for the destruction of Starship One in 3301. In both cases, he set up shell companies to move enormous funds via unregistered banking systems. Core Dynamics refused to comment on the allegations, but its legal team has terminated the transfer process. The entire corporation is currently in disarray due to several departments becoming an independent faction under the name Jupiter Division. At Lakon Spaceways, Trent Delaney and several other directors have resigned. During an emergency meeting, a majority of stakeholders approved reinstating Naomi Landseer as chairperson. With stock values plummeting and industry confidence low, the future of the company remains uncertain. However, Sirius Corporation confirmed that it has made preliminary offers with regards to acquiring Lakon as a subsidiary.[35]

09 FEB 3307

  • Several departments loyal to the Core Dynamics CEO have seceded to form an independent corporate republic called Jupiter Division. During the recent trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent, Jupiter Rochester was named as the paymaster behind the sabotage of Starship One. This hastened long-term plans to abscond from Core Dynamics along with many ships and personnel. In the permit-locked HIP 54530 system, the HIP 54530 Gold Universal Group has been renamed as Jupiter Division. It is assumed to have long been infiltrated by Rochester's loyalists. Using the new self-appointed title of Supreme Executive Rochester, he broadcast this statement across all Federal media channels: "For many years, I helped Core Dynamics become one of the galaxy's strongest companies, but petty laws and bureaucracy restricted me at every turn. I have always felt that people should not be ruled by politicians, but by those holding true economic power – the corporations. It will be a long time before I can act on my commercial plans, but I will prove that corporate rule is the most beneficial system of governance for the Federation." Jupiter Rochester is the eldest son of Shadow Vice President Isolde Rochester, and a key member of the influential Rochester family. As yet there have been no public statements from his mother or siblings.[36]

08 FEB 3307

  • A Federal High Court jury has found Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and treason. The court heard how Vincent worked with Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester to sabotage Starship One and assassinate then-President Jasmina Halsey, in order to increase military contracts. The Federal Times's crime correspondent Ethan Takahashi observed: "Within minutes of Vincent receiving a life sentence, Federal Intelligence Agency teams arrested several co-conspirators in the Federal Navy along with some government officials. Jupiter Rochester himself has evaded arrest by fleeing to the HIP 54530 system, where loyalists within Core Dynamics are establishing a breakaway faction named Jupiter Division. Industry analysts believe that this corporate split has long been planned, but is being accelerated because of the trial. Rochester's responsibility for the Starship One tragedy raises many questions, especially for his powerful family. It will certainly fuel the conspiracy theory that he is a member of a covert group of powerful figures, who manipulate events to benefit the military/industrial complex. However, a more plausible theory – that Zachary Hudson was responsible – now seems to have been debunked. Nothing presented in court suggested that the president had any involvement in, or knowledge of, the plan to eliminate his predecessor."[29]

05 FEB 3307

  • Core Dynamics CEO Jupiter Rochester has been accused of collaborating with Fleet Admiral Vincent to orchestrate Starship One's destruction in 3301. As reported by Ethan Takahashi for The Federal Times: "Financial data was presented to the court showing that Vincent, along with others in government and the Federal Navy, received colossal payments via shell companies created by Jupiter Rochester's loyalists. The prosecution claimed that Rochester and Vincent were reacting to then-President Jasmina Halsey's intention to scale back military spending, which would impact Core Dynamics's profits. They arranged to assassinate her and lay groundwork for Zachary Hudson to be voted into power, knowing that his policies would result in further naval contracts. The defence argued that Halsey's testimony was unreliable, and that the financial data was obtained via improper methods so should have been inadmissible. It was also pointed out that the Rochester family had many enemies determined to besmirch their reputation. The jury has now been sequestered to determine a verdict. This means they are unaware of media reports that several Core Dynamics departments, known collectively as 'Jupiter Division', are transporting ships and personnel to the HIP 54530 system." Other sources confirmed that the HIP 54530 Gold Universal Group has officially assumed the name Jupiter Division, suggesting that it was heavily infiltrated by Rochester's loyalists. The faction has retained control of the permit-locked HIP 54530 system.[28]

02 FEB 3307

  • Evidence presented at the trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent suggested financial links to Federal shipbuilding corporation Core Dynamics. This significant development was covered by Ethan Takahashi for The Federal Times: "The initial investigations around Starship One's destruction in 3301 were outlined by the prosecution. When the Federal Attorney's Office revisited this historical data, traces were found of financial transfers routed through non-Federation banking systems. The FAO brought in the expertise of the Wallglass Investigations Agency, which discovered that these transactions were made via shell companies created by Core Dynamics. Fleet Admiral Vincent, as well as several other naval officers, received billions of credits through these companies that went undeclared. Vincent refused to answer any questions about this evidence, once again claiming that he is the victim of a conspiracy to hand the presidency to Felicia Winters." Despite multiple requests from the press, Core Dynamics has not made any public comment. There are unverified reports of large-scale activity taking place at some of the corporation’s centres of operation.[27]

29 JAN 3307

  • At the trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent, former President Jasmina Halsey has revealed possible reasons behind the sabotage of Starship One in 3301. Crime correspondent Ethan Takahashi reported from the Federal High Court: "Jasmina Halsey provided details of a top-level Federal Cabinet meeting in late April 3301, an event which was never declassified. Its aim was to address the high levels of public dissatisfaction with her administration. At the meeting, Halsey explained that she had been inspired by various peace activists to refocus on the wellbeing of citizens. She planned to reduce taxes, invest in social infrastructure and slash Federal Navy spending. As yet this was only a preliminary plan, to be implemented later that year. Halsey told the court that only a dozen officials were present at this meeting, including Fleet Admiral Vincent. All were told that this forthcoming sea change in policy was confidential, but to expect major budget changes in the coming months. The prosecution counsel stated that Vincent was therefore aware that naval defunding was imminent, something which would reduce his personal influence. It would also impact powerful individuals who Vincent was illegally connected to, evidence of which would be presented in due course."[26]

27 JAN 3307

  • Former President Jasmina Halsey has taken the witness stand during the trial of Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent at the Federal High Court. Crime correspondent Ethan Takahashi reported the details for The Federal Times: "Jasmina Halsey confirmed that the orders for Starship One's unscheduled stopover in the Azaleach system came directly from Fleet Admiral Vincent. She added that the presidential itinerary was often altered for various mundane reasons, and at the time this seemed routine. Halsey also provided an account of the vessel's destruction, describing the chaos and panic onboard as the hyperspace misjump caused rapid structural disintegration. She praised her security detail for getting her into a cryogenic stasis pod and launching it moments before Starship One exploded. During cross-examination, the defence counsel quoted her reported visions after being rescued, when Halsey described meeting the 'caretakers of our galaxy' and experiencing the 'infinities of the cosmos'. It was suggested that the testimony of someone suffering from such obvious delusions should be discounted. Halsey admitted that she no longer has any memory of making those statements, and may have been suffering from post-traumatic shock. She then provided the court with psychological reports and neural scans from the Alliance's finest doctors, medically confirming that she is of sound state of mind."[25]

25 JAN 3307

  • The Federal High Court on Mars has opened the trial of Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent, who is charged with conspiracy to commit murder and treason. Vincent stands accused of organising the sabotage of Starship One in 3301, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The Federal Times's crime correspondent Ethan Takahashi reported: "The trial began with the prosecution counsel outlining the case. Material evidence obtained from Chief Technician Rory Webster, whose testimony led to Vincent's arrest, was presented before the jury. Vincent was questioned about a secure transmission from his office to the presidential vessel on the 24th of May 3301, ordering an unscheduled diversion to the Azaleach system for routine maintenance. This is where Webster's engineering team followed Vincent's orders to install the sabotaged hyperdrive component that caused the misjump. Evading the questions, Vincent claimed that the entire trial was a 'Liberal Party cover-up' and that Starship One was destroyed 'to put Winters in charge'. With the loss of President Halsey and Vice President Naylor, Felicia Winters did indeed assume the role of acting president and became leader of the Liberal Party. However, the defence counsel played down these accusations, instead declaring that Webster's recordings of Vincent's orders could have been falsified."[24]

20 JAN 3307

  • Former President Jasmina Halsey has arrived on Mars to stand as a witness in the upcoming trial of Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent. Halsey was subpoenaed by the Federal High Court to testify before the jury. Although this was not legally enforceable, since she now lives beyond the Federation's jurisdiction, she has acceded to the court's request. Jasmina Halsey served as Federal president prior to the destruction of Starship One in 3301, which Vincent is accused of arranging. She was recovered alive, but abandoned her political career and emigrated to the Alliance. She has since campaigned as a peace activist and acted as an adviser to Prime Minister Edmund Mahon. After greeting a large crowd of supporters at Olympus Village Spaceport, Halsey gave a statement to The Federal Times: "This is a bittersweet moment for me. Coming back to the Federation feels like revisiting a past life. But perhaps we can finally lay some ghosts to rest." She was welcomed in person by Shadow President Felicia Winters, who was secretary of state in Halsey's administration. However, President Zachary Hudson has made no comment regarding his predecessor's return or the forthcoming trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent.[23]

11 JAN 3307

  • Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent of the Federal Navy will stand trial on the 25th of January, charged with conspiracy to commit murder and treason. The Federal Attorney's Office has successfully obtained a grand jury indictment against Fleet Admiral Vincent. He is accused of arranging the sabotage of presidential vessel Starship One in 3301, to assassinate then-President Jasmina Halsey. Although she was later recovered alive, hundreds died when the ship was destroyed in flight. These charges were brought following the trial of Rory Webster, a naval technician who was implicated in the failure of Starship One's hyperdrive system. Mr Webster confessed his involvement, but offered a plea bargain by providing evidence that he was following clandestine orders from Vincent. The subsequent arrest caused repercussions in military and political circles. President Zachary Hudson's long-term association with Vincent resulted in Republican congressmen losing confidence in his leadership, and increased the Liberal Party's popularity. As a naval chief of staff, Fleet Admiral Vincent is the highest ranking Federal military officer to ever stand trial. Media interest remains intense, with much public speculation about corruption among the Federation's highest echelons. The trial will take place at the Federal High Court in Olympus Village on Mars, and is expected to last several weeks.[22]

27 NOV 3306

  • NMLA terrorist attacks and the Marlinist refugee crisis have driven an increase in military spending from both the Empire and the Federation. The Federal Times has reported on President Zachary Hudson's actions: "Building on the public outcry following the Neo-Marlinist bombing of a Federal starport, President Hudson has positioned himself once again as the Federation's strongman. This is clearly a calculated effort to regain political power after negative associations from the Starship One trial. Shadow President Felicia Winters's acceptance of Marlinist refugees has lost popularity, now that terrorists concealed among them have murdered thousands. However, cooler heads in Congress agree that provoking the Empire could lead to a far greater death toll." The Empire's response mirrored its counterpart, as observed by The Imperial Herald: "As well as the construction of new capital ships, Senator Denton Patreus has also ordered the withdrawal of funding for Aegis. The Senate's consensus is that since Thargoid activity has reduced, the focus should now be on the Federation as well as the internal threat of the NMLA. Cooperation between the superpowers is rapidly coming to an end, leading to a state of interstellar brinkmanship. There is a real possibility that the Neo-Marlinists' demand for revolutionary change may have broader repercussions than they intended."[21]

20 NOV 3306

  • Relations between the Empire and the Federation have deteriorated following a terror attack by Neo-Marlinists against a Federal starport. Kepler Orbital in the Atropos system was bombed by the NMLA to eliminate several of its captured members, before they could reveal anything under interrogation by the Federal Security Service. Imperial Ambassador Imogen Luciana made this statement: "The NMLA was obviously able to make use of its bomb-making factories within the LTT 1935 system. If the Federation had not resisted our investigation, we would have shut these down and prevented the attack. Our warning about the extremist threat went unheeded, and the Federation is now paying the price. We once again insist that all Marlinists are repatriated to the Empire." Ambassador Jordan Rochester has not responded, but did confirm that Federal embassies in several Imperial systems have closed after violent anti-Marlinist protests placed diplomatic staff's lives at risk. In Congress, Vice President Brad Mitchell directly blamed Shadow President Felicia Winters for the recent attack. He accused her of "laying out the welcome mat for terrorists" by offering sanctuary to the Marlinists. Other congressmen argued that she had prioritised aid for Imperial rather than Federal citizens. There is evidence that Winters is now losing some of her recently gained political capital. However, the Liberal Party's popularity remains high in the wake of President Hudson's alleged association with the destruction of Starship One.[37]

19 OCT 3306

  • Political support for Federal President Zachary Hudson has plummeted after the results of a trial concerning Starship One's destruction. Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent was charged with sabotaging the presidential vessel, leading to hundreds of deaths. His close relationship with Hudson has triggered a public outcry and accusations of a conspiracy to assassinate then-President Jasmina Halsey. Political analyst Vihaan Niven reported on the situation: "The Republican Party is officially in a state of crisis. President Hudson has refused to make any statement regarding Fleet Admiral Vincent, despite pressure piling up from all corners of the Federation. Over a dozen congressmen have resigned in protest, refusing to be associated with what some newsfeeds are calling 'the crime of the century'. Shadow President Felicia Winters has stopped short of making direct allegations against Hudson but, in several powerful speeches, she stressed that no elected ruler can ever be above the law. Opinion polls suggest that the Liberal Party now has majority support for the first time in years, and that many people view Hudson as a symbol of corruption. In 3305, halfway through his term of office, the President won the scheduled congressional vote of no confidence by a slim margin. It is doubtful that his administration would survive if it were to be held today."[20]

09 OCT 3306

  • Fleet Admiral Lucas Vincent, one of the Federal Navy chiefs of staff, has been arrested on charges related to the destruction of Starship One. The trial of Chief Technician Rory Webster was halted by a plea bargain to reveal who ordered him to sabotage Starship One's hyperdrive in 3301. An update on proceedings was delivered by Milandu Okoro of the Federal Attorney's Office: "Mr Webster provided evidence that Fleet Admiral Vincent directly commanded him to arrange for Starship One to suffer the same fate as the Highliner Antares. The orders were allegedly provided on a private channel, accompanied by threats discouraging Mr Webster's refusal. The trial concluded with the judge summarily convicting the defendant of aiding and abetting mass murder. Chief Technician Webster received a lenient sentence of 20 years in prison, in acknowledgement that he performed criminal acts under duress. The FIA has detained Vincent in a high-security facility, and he has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and treason. However, the case is likely to take several months to come to trial." There was no comment from President Zachary Hudson, who is believed to be a personal friend of Vincent. A spokesperson for his administration said: "As always, the President has full confidence in our court system to deliver justice."[19]

05 OCT 3306

  • The Federal High Court trial over the destruction of Starship One has been temporarily halted following a proffered confession from the defendant. Chief Technician Rory Webster is charged with mass murder and treason, with testimonials claiming that he ordered his engineering team to sabotage Starship One's hyperdrive systems. Crime correspondent Ethan Takahashi reported for The Federal Times: "Despite a spirited performance from the defence, highlighting the absence of a sufficient motive, Mr Webster visibly struggled in the dock last week as the technical evidence mounted. Several jury members nodded when the prosecutor called for the death sentence, should the accused be found guilty of slaughtering hundreds. The judge was about to begin her summation, when Mr Webster's defence counsel announced that the defendant now wished to change his plea to guilty and make a full confession in return for clemency, claiming that he had acted on 'orders from the top'. There was much discussion between the judge and legal representatives. Eventually it was agreed that the trial would be suspended while Mr Webster's testimony was taken by the Federal Intelligence Agency, and then a suitable course of action would follow." The Federal Attorney's Office stated that a decision on resuming the trial is expected within a few days.[18]

28 SEP 3306

  • The trial of Chief Technician Rory Webster, who is charged with mass murder and attempted treason, began today at the Federal High Court on Mars. Mr Webster, a department head in the Federal Navy Engineering Corps, is accused of attempting to destroy Starship One in 3301. He has filed a plea of not guilty. The prosecutor laid out the charges, including this summary: "According to the testimonies of three naval engineers, they installed replacement power regulator components to Starship One prior to its launch. Mr Webster verified this was routine maintenance during the initial investigation. Last year, one engineer reviewed data for the Highliner Antares incident and realised that pre-modified power regulators could have caused an identical Frame Shift Drive misjump on Starship One. She tried to trace the components' source and found the records deleted. After Mr Webster refused to respond to her questions, she and her colleagues contacted the authorities, prompting a full inquiry." The Highliner Antares was a Sirius Corporation passenger liner that was destroyed in 3251 when its experimental hyperdrive engines malfunctioned. The defence refuted the accusations as unprovable and motivated by personal grudges, making reference to Chief Technician Webster's otherwise flawless record. The trial is expected to conclude next week.[17]

18 SEP 3306

  • An officer in the Federal Navy Engineering Corps has been arrested for sabotaging the presidential vessel Starship One. A statement was made by Milandu Okoro of the Federal Attorney's Office: "Chief Technician Rory Webster was a department head of engineering for Starship One. Testimonies from members of Mr Webster's team claim that he ordered unauthorised adjustments to the ship's hyperdrive systems while in drydock, shortly before its launch in May 3301 and subsequent destruction. This case is now being brought before the Federal High Court, where Mr Webster will stand trial for mass murder and attempted treason." There has been no comment from President Zachary Hudson, but Shadow President Felicia Winters told the press: "This was a truly horrific tragedy, and there must be justice for all those who lost their lives on that sad day." The apparent death of many Federation leaders aboard Starship One resulted in Winters briefly becoming acting president, shortly before Hudson won a vote of no confidence. There has been much media attention regarding how this event proved pivotal to both of their political careers.[16]

12 SEP 3306

  • An independent inquiry by the Federal Attorney's Office into the destruction of presidential vessel Starship One has produced a final report. Senior Attorney Milandu Okoro made this statement: "The loss of presidential vessel Starship One in May 3301, along with hundreds of lives, was a great tragedy. Despite suspicion that this was an attempt to eliminate then-President Jasmina Halsey, initial investigations concluded that a catastrophic malfunction of its drive systems was the likely cause. A new inquiry was opened when fresh evidence came to light, including testimonies from several members of the Federal Navy. Our final report states that there is sufficient reason to believe Starship One was destroyed by deliberate sabotage. A grand jury has determined that criminal charges should be made. We have shared our findings with the Federal Intelligence Agency, and understand that an arrest will take place shortly." The inquiry report is not yet in the public domain, but is thought to allege that illegal modifications were made to the Frame Shift Drive system of Starship One in advance of its destruction during flight through hyperspace.[15]

23 APR 3302

  • Imperial investigator Cornelius Gendymion has released a statement to the Prism Herald addressing accusations that Imperial agents were responsible for the destruction of Starship One. "It seems Federal Times reporter Elaine Boyd's investigations are being ignored by her countrymen. You may recall that she highlighted the suspicious deaths of key individuals involved in both the Antares and Starship One investigations before her alleged suicide. Her data detailed an off-the-books investigation into the Antares by Vice-President Nigel Smeaton, and also alleged that he was murdered. Congressman George Fallside's apparent foreknowledge of Smeaton's death was waved away, but I suspect Jacob Harris might have better luck finding Starship One's saboteurs if he searched within the Federation – perhaps starting with folks who have ties to Core Dynamics."
    Commander Corrigendum | Loren's Legion[38]

15 APR 3302

  • Tensions between the Federation and the Empire look likely to increase following an announcement from Federal politician Jacob Harris. In a statement released to The Federal Times, Harris claimed that the destruction of Starship One was not the result of mechanical failure, as was widely reported, but was in fact the result of deliberate sabotage by Imperial agents. "I cannot identify my sources for fear of compromising their safety," said Harris, "but I can assure you that their information is correct. Starship One was destroyed by the Empire in an attempt to destabilise the Federal power base. It was made to look like an accident – the official Federal investigation even concluded it was an accident – but it most certainly was not." Imperial officials were quick to condemn Harris's claims, citing both his lack of evidence and his reluctance to reveal his sources. Among those voicing scepticism was Senator Zemina Torval. "This is nothing more than uncorroborated gossip," said the senator, "and it is highly irresponsible of Jacob Harris to disseminate such rumours. The Empire would never perpetrate such an act, and given Harris's well-known predilection for scaremongering, I think only a fool would believe him." The Federation appeared less eager to dismiss Harris's claims, although a statement from Shadow President Felicia Winters indicated that she was not necessarily ready to accept the story, either. "These rumours are certainly troubling, but it would be highly imprudent for us to believe them without evidence. Harris has made an extraordinary claim, so the burden of proving that claim rests with him."[39]

04 APR 3302

  • Former Federal president Jasmina Halsey spoke to select reporters at Leoniceno Orbital today, answering the questions many have wanted to ask since she was recovered from the wreckage of Starship One. When asked about Starship One's destruction, Halsey replied: "I remember very little, really. A thunderous noise, then silence. Being thrown across the bridge in my chair, and then being unable to breathe. I remember one of my bodyguards getting me to the pod as things floated about silently, like a dream. The last thing I remember is a terrible pain in my ears and a very loud noise as the pod filled with what looked like steam." The former president's voice was distant, and she seemed to drift off between sentences. She certainly did not sound like the forceful leader from last year. A reporter from the Alliance Tribune asked President Halsey what it was like to drift through space for so long: "It was wonderful. Amazing. I saw the universe, and our galaxy within it, as I'd never seen it before, and I felt the presence of the real caretakers of our galaxy. The paradox of their existence – tiny yet gargantuan, fleeting yet eternal. They spoke to me as I drifted in the void. It was amazing. I must share their message." This unorthodox statement prompted a flurry of further questions, but Halsey's escorts promptly led her from the room.[40]

15 MAR 3302

  • Various media outlets throughout inhabited space received an anonymous communiqué this morning. "The galactic community is in peril," the message began. "They just don't know it yet." The transmission asserts a connection between Core Dynamics, the destruction of the Antares and Starship One, the Emperor's Dawn insurgency, and setbacks in Unknown Artefact research. It also claims that the deaths of Federal Vice-President Nigel Smeaton, Sean Richards, Arnold Lowe, Susan Monroe, Elaine Boyd, Emperor Hengist Duval and the disappearances of former Federal president Jasmina Halsey and Professor Ishmael Palin are similarly connected. The message concluded: "Many of those who have tried to connect these seemingly disparate events have been silenced, along with their sources. That is why I have chosen to remain anonymous. So far, only pawns have been revealed in this shadowy game. We must discover the king." Neither the Federation nor the Empire has chosen to comment on the transmission.
    Commander Corrigendum[41]

28 FEB 3302

  • For the past six years, the Federation has used a pair of customised Saud Kruger Narwhal Liners (upgraded variants of the successful Beluga Liner) as the personal vessels of the Federal president. Last year, one of these vessels was lost in a tragic accident. Today, the remaining vessel will be retired. Bexley Jones, a spokeswoman for President Zachary Hudson, said: "It is of the utmost importance that the ship bearing the callsign 'Starship One' can function as a mobile base of operations for the president, providing him with everything he needs while off-planet, in addition to offering total safety. Given the Beluga's primary designation as a passenger vessel, we have decided that it is unable meet these demands." Jones confirmed that the remaining Narwhal will be replaced with a pair of modified Farragut Battle Cruisers, a mainstay of the Federal Navy. The formidable vessels are equipped with an extensive array of heavy weaponry, and are capable of transporting multiple Federal Corvettes and a large F63 Condor squadron. "In these dangerous times, it is essential that the presidential vessel be able to offer comprehensive military support, and the Farragut Battle Cruiser can do just that," said Jones.[1]

26 FEB 3302

  • The recent Federal operation to search for survivors from Starship One was eagerly supported by the galactic community, resulting in the safe recovery of thousands of escape pods, many of them containing living survivors. As the task of identifying the pod's occupants continues, Federal President Zachary Hudson has made a surprising announcement: one of the escape pods taken to Leoniceno Orbital contains former Federal president Jasmina Halsey. "When we started searching for the remains of Starship One it was with the aim of discovering what happened to the ship. I never imagined we would find survivors, and certainly not that one of them would be Jasmina Halsey." Asked about Halsey's condition, Hudson said: "The medical team at Leoniceno has described Halsey's condition as critical but stable. It appears her escape pod was damaged and she sustained some injuries, so she's being kept in an induced coma until her wounds have healed. This is likely to take weeks. If her condition changes I will be immediately notified."[13]

23 FEB 3302

  • Federal President Zachary Hudson has announced that the search for survivors from Starship One has been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Mere hours after the campaign began, thousands of escape pods had been delivered to Leoniceno Orbital, many of them containing living survivors. In the wake of the initiative's success, President Hudson released a statement to the media: "I have been overwhelmed by the response to this campaign, which has resulted in the rescue of thousands of individuals, and I am delighted to confirm that some of the recovered pods are indeed from Starship One. We are not yet in a position to release the identities of those we have rescued, but we hope to be able to do so soon. In the meantime I would once again like to extend my gratitude to those who contributed to the search." The recovery of so many escape pods will almost certainly prompt speculation that former Federal president Jasmina Halsey may be among the survivors.[42]

18 FEB 3302

  • Federal President Zachary Hudson has confirmed that the remains of Starship One were among the wreckage recently delivered to Leoniceno Orbital. The search for the missing presidential vessel began two weeks ago, resulting in the accumulation of thousands of tonnes of wreckage, which was then subjected to rigorous analysis by Federal scientists. The analysis confirmed that the remains of Starship One had been located, prompting President Hudson to release a statement to the media: "The loss of Starship One remains a tragedy, but I must admit to feeling a sense of relief at finally knowing what happened to the presidential ship." President Hudson followed his statement with a surprising announcement: "Our researchers have surmised that the destruction of Starship One was not instantaneous, and that the front of the ship may have suffered less damage than the rest of the vessel. This means there is a very small chance – and I must stress that this is remote – that some of the crew might have been able to reach escape pods. That's why I'm calling on the galactic community to support a second search – a search for survivors. Pilots who want to contribute to the search should concentrate their efforts in the Lyncis Sector, and in particular on the ON-T B3-1, ON-T B3-2, ON-T B3-3, ON-T B3-4 and ST-R B4-3 1 systems, where we believe further wreckage from the ship may be found." The search is expected to begin immediately.[12]

15 FEB 3302

  • A Federal investigation team has released the results of an official inquiry into the destruction of Starship One. The 600,000-word report confirms that the abnormal energy signature detected just before the ship made its last jump was almost certainly caused by mechanical failure. The report goes on to assert that the failure began with a power surge in the ship's central power plant – a relatively common occurrence in a high-capacity hydrogen reactor – which overloaded several other core systems. Despite examining every piece of available evidence, investigators could not find any proof that the ship was sabotaged. They ultimately concluded that the ship's destruction was the result of a complex, multi-stage engine failure.[43]

04 FEB 3302

  • Over the past week, hundreds of pilots have been searching for signs of Starship One, the Federal presidential vessel that disappeared in May 3301. Two factions had a stake in the search – the Azaleach Partnership, which was acting on behalf of Federal President Zachary Hudson, and the Daurtu Jet Comms PLC, an organisation about which very little is known. Today, the Federation announced it had received a sizeable quantity of debris. In a statement, President Hudson expressed his satisfaction at the outcome: "I would like to thank the galactic community for its enthusiastic participation in the search for Starship One. Thousands of tonnes of debris have been delivered to the Federal research outpost at Leoniceno Orbital, which we will now subject to comprehensive spectral analysis. As for Daurtu Jet Comms PLC, I do not know what interest it has in Starship One, but I would remind them that the Federation takes a dim view of those who meddle in its affairs." Although Daurtu Jet Comms PLC offered larger rewards for wreckage than the Federation, it is understood to have received only a modest amount of space-borne debris. Given the failure of the organisation's appeal, we may never know why Daurtu Jet Comms PLC was looking for the lost presidential ship.[44].

28 JAN 3302

  • In May 3301, the personal vessel of the Federal president, Starship One, disappeared en route to the Azaleach system. An investigation was promptly launched, but the fate of the vessel and her crew, which included then-president Jasmina Halsey, could not be conclusively determined. In a statement released earlier today, Federal President Zachary Hudson announced his intention to resume the search for the ship, inspired by the discovery of the remains of the liner Antares: "Like many others, I was heartened by the Sirius Corporation's success, and I found myself thinking that if the remains of a ship lost fifty years ago could be found, surely a ship lost less than a year ago could also be recovered. I am therefore offering generous reimbursements to pilots who deliver wreckage components to the Federal research outpost at Leoniceno Orbital in the Azaleach system. Once we have gathered enough material, we will analyse the debris to determine if any of it is from Starship One. If we are able to find the remains of the ship, we may be able to determine what happened to President Halsey and the rest of the ship's crew." But it appears that President Hudson is not the only person eager to find Starship One. In a strange turn of events, an organisation by the name of Daurtu Jet Comms PLC has also announced its intention to search for the missing presidential vessel. Virtually nothing is known about Daurtu Jet Comms PLC, but the fact that it is offering even larger rewards than the Federation may convince pilots to lend the organisation their support.[45]

01 SEP 3301

  • In another shocking revelation the Federal Times today posted a story highlighting possible links between a non-exec member of the board of Core Dynamics and Vice President Nigel Smeaton's death. They first referenced an interview on January 28th with Congressman George Fallside who appeared to have early knowledge of the Vice President's death. The Congressman refused to comment on the article, but it is public knowledge of his non-executive directorship of Core Dynamics and several other major arms manufacturers. More damning was the evidence concerning one of the crew of the Starship One, Flight Engineer Nick Baron, who had previously worked at Core Dynamics before joining the President's Crew. From the information package sent by Elaine Boyd after her death, the Federal Times published extracts of financial records of the flight engineer. When tracing these records through a convoluted series of transfers, one of these transfers was through a shell corporation in which Congressman Fallside was involved. The trail of the payments revealed that Boyd must have obtained a high level clearance access, possibly provided by Agent Monroe. When asked about today's story, the Chief Editor for the Federal Times commented: "There does appear to have been a conspiracy on several levels. We believe that the destruction of the Highliner Antares so many years ago may not have been an accident. When the Vice President was investigating the death of his relative, he must have discovered some of these details, and possible the dark forces killed him, and when our reporter Elaine Boyd did the same, she too was silenced. We are still not clear how it relates to the present day. Our reporters continue to investigate. At the Federal Times we always seek the truth and we will discover the truth here."[46]

11 AUG 3301

  • 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.[47]

04 AUG 3301

  • 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.[48]

02 JUN 3301

  • The Federal Navy has today released its official report into the disappearance of Starship One. As expected, the 600,000 word document provides a detailed analysis of the inner workings of Starship One. The report confirms that the abnormal energy signature detected by Guardian Wing Alpha, immediately prior to Starship One's last known jump, was almost certainly caused by mechanical failure. The report includes an in depth comparison with the failure of the Highliner Antares and concludes there were remarkable similarities in the unusual failure mode, and it is still unclear why the automatic shutdown systems did not operate (most of which were not present on the Antares). The failure began with a power surge in the central power plant – something not especially unusual in a high capacity hydrogen reactor – causing several other core systems to overload. Despite going over hours of evidence, including video feeds detailing the last several days of life aboard all four ships of Starflight One, investigators were not able to identify any signs of foul play. In the end, the team has concluded that the cause of Starship One's loss was a complex multi-stage engine failure.[4]

30 MAY 3301

  • It has now been 5 days since Starship One lost contact, and the search and rescue teams have yet to find any trace of the missing ship or her crew. According to Lieutenant Barringer of the Federal Transport Safety Administration: "Starship One's disappearance appears to have been caused by a major malfunction in the Frame Shift Drive's safety systems. It looks like there was a major power surge, followed by four separate system failures in quick succession according to the data we have, resulting in a catastrophic explosion. We do not believe this explosion would have been survivable by anyone on board. The FTSA has seen each of these failures in commercial and military hyperdrives in the last few years, but each one has resulted in the drive shutting down and the ship failing to enter hyperspace. There are strong similarities with the loss of the Highliner Antares in 3251, but since then we have many more safety systems designed to prevent such failures. At the moment it looks like this was a terribly unlucky tragic accident. We have not found any evidence of tampering, and all the systems passed their automated pre-flight checks. Our condolences go out to the loved ones of those lost."[11]

28 MAY 3301

  • Despite claims that the disappearance of Starship One was due to a failure in the ship's Frame Shift Drive, rumours abound about a more sinister, possibly extraterrestrial explanation. Alex Snoori, host of the popular interstellar talk show Beyond Top Secret, had this to say to his listeners. "It's an outrage, that's what it is. Do you think those Martian fat cats that rule over us want you to know the truth? I don't think so. Learn your history, people. It wasn't all that long ago that our ancestors were being plucked out of the black right into the belly of bugs. Wake up sheeple, you don't want to be sitting around dressed up like mutton when they come for you. Do not let the government tell you lies. You're smarter than that. There's been a lot of hullabaloo about strange things being found out there recently. Weird, pulsing, alien things. I don't know where they came from, but I do know that they're creepy, and gross, and almost certainly dangerous. You think it's a coincidence that the President went missing just weeks after those THINGS turn up? Don't be so naive. WAKE UP sheeple, you’re being lied to."[49]

28 MAY 3301

  • Shadow President Hudson today called an Emergency Session of Congress to address concerns surrounding Starship One's disappearance. During the meeting, the Shadow President openly mocked the idea that Starship One's disappearance could have been caused by simple engine failure. "Jasmina and I weren't close – heck, we hated each other, and that's the truth of it. But the idea, the very notion, that our best and brightest out there on Starship One would have let that bird fly with a busted engine... No way. Those guys are military. We need to be looking for who did it. We need to nail them NOW. The assassin is busy covering their tracks while we speak. This dithering inaction and woolly thinking is typical of this administration. Let's face it Halsey had enough enemies like those onionhead guys, numerous frontier systems she has annoyed, and the elephant in the room – the Empire." Acting President Winters took a more levelled approach. "I appreciate the sheer gamut of emotions my esteemed colleague must be feeling, but at times like these, level heads must prevail. We have found no evidence of foul play as yet. Our engineers are sifting through copious amounts of data and so far it does look like a very unusual catastrophic failure rather than sabotage."[50]

27 MAY 3301

  • At a press conference held earlier today, Acting Federal President Felicia Winters made a personal appearance to address the disappearance of Starship One after failing to re-enter normal space following a routine hyperspace jump. "The disappearance of Starship One has us all on edge. Tensions are high, and the rumour mills are making all their usual noise about terrorists, aliens, conspiracies and cover-ups. I'm afraid the truth will likely get you all far fewer viewers, but it is the truth that the people of the Federation need to hear from me now. I'm told the early investigations from telemetry and uplink data suggest an explosive drive failure destroyed Starship One in hyperspace, catapulting all three of her protective Guardian Wing out of hyperspace. Wreckage is likely spread across interstellar space. I'm told there are parallels with the loss of the Highliner Antares way back in 3251 when she was lost with all hands on her maiden voyage. I know I remember where I was when the Highliner Antares disappeared, and I fear we will always remember where we were the day Starship One was lost. While we don’t know what caused this incident – yet – we do know that Starship One's engines experienced an unexpected surge of power just seconds before making its last jump. The search efforts will continue, of course. Our hearts and hope go out to the friends and families of President Halsey and all those lost yesterday in this terrible incident."[10]

27 MAY 3301

  • It has been almost 48 hours since the disappearance of Starship One. Early reports indicated that the ship was lost with all hands, and in this instance GalNet is pleased to announce that the early reports were mistaken. Three ships from Starship One's Guardian Wing made contact with Navy HQ shortly after the initial disappearance. Unfortunately, they were not able to shed any light on the ultimate fate of Starship One. Despite thousands of Federal scouts combing the sectors along Starship One's secured route, designated Spaceflight One, no trace of the missing ship has been found. Specialist teams from Core Dynamics and the Sirius Corporation are currently attempting to analyse the wake and uplink data captured by the President's Guardian Wing escorts in the moments before all four ships jumped. Theories involve either a rare misjump or some sort of catastrophic drive failure. Unfortunately, results so far are inconclusive as to what may have happened to President Halsey and her team. One member of the crew of one of the President's Guardian Wing, who wished to remain nameless, spoke exclusively to GalNet about the last moments before the President's disappearance. "I've never seen anything like it. One minute everything was fine. Pre-jump checks? Normal. Engine power? Normal. Our drives were slaved to Starship One, as is normal. The entry to hyperspace seemed normal at first, but then there was a terrible shock wave and our ship started tumbling. We exited hyperspace uncontrolled and in deep space – something I've never seen before. Our ship had taken damage. We couldn't reach Starship One via comms, but managed to make contact with the other two members of the Guardian Wing. We first searched the deep space around our positions, then jumped to the destination point rendezvous as quickly as we could. Nothing. Not even wreckage." The Federal Navy are requesting that any pilots interested in helping to search along the Starflight One[sic] route should sign up for active duty as a member of the search and rescue team aboard Leoniceno Orbital in Azaleach.[5]

26 MAY 3301

  • At 15:00 hours universal galactic time on 26th May 3301, Secretary of State Felicia Winters assumed the role of Acting President of the Federation in the wake of the disappearance of Spaceflight One[sic]. Speaking in an emergency broadcast to the nation, Acting President Winters had this to say: "It is with deep regret and some trepidation that I must come before you today to announce that contact with the President's ship, Spaceflight One, has been lost. Two days ago, Navy Command received word that the President would be taking an unscheduled detour to Azaleach. Her reasons as to why remain classified. 12 hours ago, following entry into hyperspace, Spaceflight One went dark. All attempts by the President's security team to trace the vessel have met with failure. Squadrons have been scrambled in an attempt to find President Halsey and Vice President Naylor, and I have faith that the Navy will do everything they can to bring them home. That said, in order to maintain a clear chain of command during this time of crisis, I will be assuming the role of Acting President of the Federation effective immediately. I hope I have your support, and I hope it will only have to be a temporary measure."[3]

26 MAY 3301

  • Reports coming in from Saga indicate that the President has missed her scheduled meeting with delegates aboard Zudov Terminal. Maisy Stevenson, the leader of the Saga Republic Party, expressed her concern to GalNet in the following statement: "We were expecting Starflight One[sic] to arrive a little under 38 hours ago. An escort was sent to meet Starflight One at the prearranged location, but the ship simply didn't appear. We informed Mars and were told that the President had decided to take a last-minute detour. I understand the President's time is precious, but it would have been nice to get a little bit of advance notice. The people of Saga spent a not inconsiderable amount of time and credits preparing to greet the President, and now their hard work appears to have gone to waste. I do hope that the President manages to find time for us in her seemingly busy schedule. I would hate to think that the people of Saga had in some way been snubbed by Halsey."[2]

25 MAY 3301

  • After what many residents have called 'years of neglect from Sol', President Halsey made a brief appearance aboard Seddon Gateway yesterday. Thousands gathered to welcome the President as she was ferried over from Spaceflight One. Sadly, upon arrival the President was whisked off to the bridge to meet with local dignitaries, leaving most residents to return home disappointed. GalNet sources aboard Seddon Gateway report that the President spent much of the day receiving visitors in the Captain's Cabin. Most, but not all, of the President's visitors were members of Federal organisations which still operate in and around 78 Ursae Majoris. Those questioned indicated that during their meeting, the President mostly spoke about ways in which the Federation could help better support small and medium sized business interests in the area. In the evening, Seddon Gateway played host to a diplomatic dinner between President Halsey and Prime Minister Edmund Mahon. The Prime Minister arrived at Seddon Gateway without fanfare at some point in the early evening. After Mahon's arrival, the two faction leaders are reported to have spent several quiet hours enjoying dinner away from the vast majority of their entourages. What the two leaders discussed during their time together remains a mystery. Spaceflight One safely departed 78 Ursae Majoris this morning, and will now be travelling to Saga in order to continue the President's tour of Federal frontier systems."[51]

13 MAY 3301

  • The crowds were out in force on Mars today, as residents gathered to watch the presidential battlecruiser, Space Flight One,[sic] depart on the start of President Halsey's tour of Federal frontier systems. For security reasons, the exact details of the President's itinerary are being kept secret. However, GalNet has been given permission to exclusively reveal the names of a dozen systems that President Halsey intends to visit during her trip. Those being: HIP 53688, Tinia, Aleumoxii, 78 Ursae Majoris, Dietri, Su, Furuhjelm I-645, Saga, Delphin, Nanomam, Coriccha and Ross 860. As Vice President Naylor will be accompanying President Halsey on her trip, the Secretary of State, Madam Winters, will be overseeing day-to-day operations on Mars during the President's absence.[9]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Galactic News: Presidential Vessel Retired
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 President Misses Meeting
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Federal State of Emergency: Winters Declared Acting President
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 GalNet: The Loss of Starship One Linked to Mechanical Failure
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 GalNet: Federal Search Efforts Continue
  6. GalNet: President Halsey Announces Tour of Frontier Systems
  7. GalNet: Tour of Frontier Systems Set to Begin Shortly
  8. GalNet: 78 Ursae Majoris Reacts to President's Intended Visit
  9. 9.0 9.1 GalNet: President Halsey Sets Out from Sol
  10. 10.0 10.1 GalNet: Shades of the Antares Visit
  11. 11.0 11.1 GalNet: Malfunction or Malice?
  12. 12.0 12.1 GalNet: Community Goal: The Search for Survivors
  13. 13.0 13.1 GalNet: Galactic News: Former Federal President Found
  14. GalNet: Galactic News: Halsey Talks to the Media
  15. 15.0 15.1 GalNet: Inquiry into Starship One's Destruction Concludes
  16. 16.0 16.1 GalNet: Arrest Made in Starship One Criminal Case
  17. 17.0 17.1 GalNet: Starship One Trial Begins
  18. 18.0 18.1 GalNet: Revelation Halts Starship One Trial
  19. 19.0 19.1 GalNet: Fleet Admiral Vincent Named as Starship One Saboteur
  20. 20.0 20.1 GalNet: Political Turmoil for President Hudson
  21. 21.0 21.1 GalNet: The Shadow of War
  22. 22.0 22.1 GalNet: Date Set for Trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent
  23. 23.0 23.1 GalNet: Jasmina Halsey Returns to the Federation
  24. 24.0 24.1 GalNet: Trial of Fleet Admiral Vincent Begins
  25. 25.0 25.1 GalNet: Jasmina Halsey Provides Testimony about Starship One
  26. 26.0 26.1 GalNet: Halsey Suggests Motivation for Assassination Attempt
  27. 27.0 27.1 GalNet: Core Dynamics Implicated in Starship One Sabotage
  28. 28.0 28.1 GalNet: Jupiter Rochester Named in Starship One Trial
  29. 29.0 29.1 GalNet: Fleet Admiral Vincent Pronounced Guilty
  30. 30.0 30.1 GalNet: Federation Damaged by Corruption and Conspiracy
  31. 31.0 31.1 GalNet: Victory for Federal Forces Against Jupiter Division
  32. 32.0 32.1 GalNet: Jupiter Rochester Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
  33. GalNet: A Retrospective of 3307 (Part One)
  34. GalNet: Jasmina Halsey Becomes Federal Ambassador
  35. GalNet: Takeover of Lakon Spaceways Declared Illegal
  36. GalNet: Jupiter Rochester Goes Rogue from Core Dynamics
  37. GalNet: Superpowers React to Latest NMLA Strike
  38. GalNet: Freelance Report: Following the Breadcrumbs
  39. GalNet: Galactic News: Did the Empire Destroy Starship One?
  40. GalNet: Halsey Talks to the Media
  41. GalNet: Freelance Report: Game of Shadows
  42. GalNet: Remarkable Response to Federal Campaign
  43. Galactic News: Starship One Destruction Linked to Mechanical Failure
  44. Galactic News: Federation Begins Analysing Wreckage
  45. GalNet: Community Goal: The Search for Starship One
  46. GalNet: Core Dynamics has Links to VP's Death?
  47. GalNet: Two Dead in Tragic Accident
  48. GalNet: Five Killed in Shuttle Accident
  49. GalNet: The Truth is Out There
  50. GalNet: Emergency Session of Congress
  51. GalNet: President's Visit to 78 Ursae Majoris Disappointing
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