We have portraits of all the other leaders to accompany the articles - only Grom remains. I have no idea what to expect. The man is more than half myth. Marcus and I sit in the lobby drinking tea that tastes vaguely of gunpowder and spices. The word comes through: Grom does not want to be photgraphed on the mocked-up throne we had in mind. He will stand in front of the station viewport, with EG Prime ganging in space behind him. The cameras are ready. They have been ready for an hour. Without warning, Grom strides in. The makeup crew approach but he waves them away. He glances at their creams and paints. Then he's advancing on me, angry. "I do not hide these," he says, gesturing to the medals on his chest, "so why should I hide these?" He points to his scarred face. I splutter something about not meaning to offend him, but he gives me a slap on the back that jostles my vertebrae, and lets out a laugh that could crack glass. I have never felt more out of my depth in my life.
Grom began his rise to prominence as an admiral in the Federal Navy, but retired after becoming disillusioned with the pervasive corruption with the Federation. His departure had coattails, as a number of Federal pilots fiercely loyal to him also resigned and helped him create the EG Pilots. As a result, many within Federation leadership continue to disparage him as a traitor.
Yuri Grom was born in 3256. He voluntarily cut short a promising career as a Federal admiral on the path to becoming an instructor and retired on ideological grounds in 3301; though he never discussed his decision, it is widely believed that he had become disgusted with apparent corruption prevalent in the upper echelons of the Federation. Some Federal pilots resigned alongside Grom in order to continue serving under him. Grom's retirement came as a shock to Federal command, and a complete account of his departure has never been publicly released.
As the Dictator of the EG Pilots of Euryale, Grom has developed a reputation as shrewd conqueror and highly charismatic leader who inspires deep loyalty in his subjects. This has been attributed to his penchant for negotiation, as well as his strict adherence to tenets of honor and fair rules of war. Some say that Grom has persuaded entire settlements to surrender to him without any bloodshed.
While Grom has gained a measure of respect among the Empire and the Alliance, he is publicly reviled by Federal PresidentZachary Hudson and Federal military leadership as a traitor and insurrectionist. The rank and file of the Federal military do not share these views, however, and although Grom's writings and broadcasts are banned, it is rumored that small groups of Grom followers persist.
Ambush in Delta Pavonis
After years of the Federation refusing to acknowledge Grom and his faction, the dictator had his first formal diplomatic meeting with a Federal representative on September 17, 3307, when he met with Federal AmbassadorDelphine Dumont in Delta Pavonis. Grom and Dumont had traveled to Delta Pavonis to persuade the system's new ruler, Grand Duke Simion Petrescu of the independent Autocracy of Delta Pavonis, to officially align his minor faction with one of their governments. By September 24, Grom and Dumont had unexpectedly developed a rapport, and negotiations had turned towards a compromise deal in which the Autocracy of Delta Pavonis would remain independent while establishing trade and political relations with both sides. Observers speculated that the potential compromise between the EG Union and the Federation was a sign that Grom's hatred of his old enemy was finally relenting.
However, the Federation upended the conference when it moved to capture Grom on September 30. Undercover Federal agents attempted to detain Grom and his delegation at gunpoint in Kessler City. Grom escaped to his megaship, the Indomitable, thanks to the sacrifice of his personal guards, and found his forces were already under assault from Federal ships. President Hudson later confirmed that the Federation had sought to use the conference to neutralise Grom. Grand Duke Petrescu denied any involvement in the Federal plot. The Federal Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador Dumont officially denounced Hudson's actions on October 4, and Dumont extended Grom a personal apology. Insiders within Hudson's administation suggested that the effort to capture Grom had stemmed from the president's need to recover his popularity following a recent spate of rebellions. Grom's forces prevailed on October 7, 3307, and the Federal flagship, Freedom's Foundation, was captured as spoils of war. In a show of mercy, Grom granted the surviving Federal troops and crewmembers safe passage out of the system, but he also issued a direct warning to President Hudson that the ambush would not be forgotten.
31 DEC 3307
The last in a series that reviews the events of the past year, by noted historian Sima Kalhana. "October brought further controversy for the Federation, when a diplomatic conference in the Delta Pavonis system was revealed to be a honey trap designed to capture Yuri Grom. Only a rush of support for EG Union allowed their ruler to escape, causing political embarrassment for President Hudson. There was more corporate drama when Zemina Torval relinquished her long-held majority sharehold of Mastopolos Mining, fuelling rumours of a family rift with her cousins. Torval Mining Ltd became a fully independent corporation run by her daughter Constantia. The Colonia Bridge project officially started the first of two phases this year which would see the construction of 56 megaships between the Alcor and Colonia systems. Brewer Corporation enjoyed great public support for improving this travel corridor along the 22,000 light year journey, and revealed plans to enhance it further in the new year. Hadrian Duval, his wife Lady Astrid and their unborn child were the specific targets of another starport bombing by the NMLA. It proved unsuccessful, but did result in the Imperial Senate offering them protection in order to secure the Duval bloodline. It also led to a manhunt for Theta Seven, the galaxy's most wanted terrorist. In November, Orion University claimed that the dredger occupied by the Scriveners Clan was legally their property, but the nomadic descendants of its original crew refused to give up their home. The stand-off caught the public attention, with some supporting the clan's right to independence and others keen to discover what their Knowledge Core contained. Ultimately the Scriveners retained their freedom, sailing off into the void with their secrets intact. Many were shocked when Admiral Tanner, Aegis's military chief, went rogue and tried to force access to a starport controlled by Salvation's allies. His conviction that the anti-xeno superweapons were responsible for provoking the Thargoids was, however, not enough to win the day. The NMLA threw everything they had at the Mudhrid system in an attempt to rescue Theta Seven, who was hiding among the Far God cult to avoid capture. But the terrorists were crushed by ACT and a coalition of ships, with Theta Seven martyring himself by destroying the hijacked megaship Sacrosanct. A happier event in December was the birth of Hector Duval, son and heir of Hadrian and Lady Astrid. There were celebrations across the Empire, but also questions asked about the future of the Duval dynasty and if the child might one day inherit the Imperial throne. The year ended as it had begun, with Thargoid vessels swarming into nebula systems. But with incursions steadily increasing over recent months, there were fears that this time they might prove unstoppable. Salvation's superweapons were once again deployed to halt the aliens' progress, but will they be enough to prevent the Thargoids from threatening humanity in 3308?"
03 NOV 3307
Many factions have seceded from the Federation in recent months, but recent polls suggest the likelihood of further withdrawals is waning. The Federal Times published an update on the situation by political correspondent Sofia Trevino: "Some negative reaction to the Proactive Detection Bureau was anticipated. But it's unlikely that Congress foresaw nearly forty systems abandoning the Federal Accord, as their governing factions declared independence. Fears that this would spiral into mass rebellion now seem misplaced, however. This is partly thanks to the PDB's recent role in preventing Jupiter's Wrath from committing terrorist acts. Although that group is hardly in the NMLA's league, evidence that communications surveillance can save lives seems to have convinced some Federal citizens to reconsider their opposition. President Hudson's efforts against the breakaway factions were hailed by his supporters and decried by his opponents. But the Federal Diplomatic Corps remain displeased that Hudson suffered no repercussions for violating diplomatic immunity when attempting to capture Yuri Grom. Shadow President Winters continues to call for the PDB to be shut down to prevent the Federation from becoming an authoritarian police state. But many accuse her rhetoric on civil liberties to have triggered the secessions in the first place. Meanwhile, many Federal factions are carefully observing those who did become independent. Their future success or failure may well determine whether or not this rebellion continues."
13 OCT 3307
The Proactive Detection Bureau has been instrumental in identifying violent corporatist extremists within the Federation. Deputy Director Bethany Blake of the Federal Intelligence Agency gave a statement to the media: "In recent weeks, our surveillance algorithms flagged a series of coded communications for investigation. We found that a network of radicalised citizens were discussing plans to assassinate members of Congress and leading political figures. This movement, which calls itself Jupiter's Wrath, is inspired by Jupiter Rochester's failed attempt to enable corporations to directly rule the Federation. Their goal was to enact revenge on those who they consider to be the 'enemies of Jupiter Division'. Using data intercepted by the Proactive Detection Bureau, FIA agents performed a series of coordinated strikes in several Federal systems. Over a thousand armed extremists were arrested before they could act. We are currently working to identify the remaining Jupiter's Wrath members." Vice President Jerome Archer claimed that this was further validation of the Domestic Counter-Terrorism Act, which permitted the PDB to be established. However, Shadow PresidentFelicia Winters commented: "I commend the FIA for performing their duties. But I also question the timing of this operation, coming so soon after President Hudson's appallingly reckless attempt to capture Yuri Grom. To me it seems calculated to show his administration in a positive light, while ignoring the violation of citizens' privacy."
07 OCT 3307
*Pilots Federation ALERT* The battle between Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar and EG Union has concluded successfully for Yuri Grom's forces. Freelance war correspondent Karleen Troy reported via Vox Galactica: "For the past week, the Delta Pavonis system has been aflame with ship-to-ship engagements. But despite a fierce effort from Federal auxiliaries, EG Union was able to muster superior numbers. Eventually the Federal flagship, Freedom's Foundation, was boarded. I picked up comms chatter that described intense fighting before EG Union soldiers overran Federal troops. Since then I've learned that Yuri Grom has agreed to let the surviving crewmembers leave, but is claiming the megaship as 'spoils of war'." The following message was sent by Yuri Grom on public channels: "President Hudson has revealed his true nature as the corrupt heart of the Federation's rotting carcass. This treachery will not be forgotten." Pilots who supported Yuri Grom can collect their rewards from the Indomitable megaship. Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar confirmed that although the Freedom's Foundation is now under EG Union control, reimbursement for all Commanders who fought for Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar will be processed remotely by the 9th of October 3307.
04 OCT 3307
The Federal Diplomatic Corps has officially denounced President Hudson's attempt to capture Yuri Grom in the Delta Pavonis system. The political conference was to determine whether the system's ruling faction would ally with the EG Union or the Federation. It was abandoned when a Federal black ops team attempted to arrest Yuri Grom's delegation, triggering a conflict in the system. AmbassadorDelphine Dumont told The Federal Times: "We have no option but to state that our own government has violated the conventions of diplomatic immunity. This conference was established in good faith with all parties. We were not informed that any hostile act against EG Union was planned. I offer my personal apologies to Yuri Grom. Our negotiations were spirited but honest, and I genuinely felt that progress was being made." This is the first time that the Federal Diplomatic Corps has distanced itself from the actions of a sitting president. Political observers believe that this is to maintain its reputation for integrity, especially in dealings with the Alliance and Empire. Public reaction in the Federation has been varied, with President Zachary Hudson being praised and criticised in equal measure. Insiders within his administration suggest that he is under enormous pressure to regain popularity, following the recent rebellion of several Federal systems.
30 SEP 3307
*Pilots Federation ALERT* The Delta Pavonis political conference has erupted into conflict between EG Union and Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar. Yuri Grom, the ruler of EG Union, broadcast this message: "This conference was nothing more than a trap! My delegation was apprehended at gunpoint by a squad of undercover Federal agents. Sacrifices made by my loyal guards enabled us to escape from Kessler City, only to find our ships under attack. The Federation has declared war – I will respond in kind!" PresidentZachary Hudson gave an official statement: "Yuri Grom is a traitor and a dangerous threat to Federal security. We cannot ignore any opportunity to eliminate this ruthless tyrant." Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar has asked for Federal auxiliaries to provide combat support to its forces. In return, the EG Union called for help from "allies of Yuri Grom and enemies of the Federation". Grand Duke Simion Petrescu, the host of the political conference, has rejected claims that his faction was secretly working with the Federation to entrap Yuri Grom. The Federal Diplomatic Corps has not yet commented on its role in these events.
24 SEP 3307
Negotiations between the Federation and self-styled dictator Yuri Grom are underway to determine the Delta Pavonis system's allegiance. Political correspondent Conrad Sterling published an update for Vox Galactica: "In recent years, Yuri Grom has developed a degree of mystique. He was one of the few leaders not to attend the Galactic Summit, and news from within his dominion was scarce. But now he is visibly relishing the opportunity to confront Federal representatives under the protection of diplomatic immunity. Initial exchanges were belligerent as both sides argued over who would be the most beneficial partner. This was to be expected since Delta Pavonis is one of the Federation's founding systems, and it would be a significant coup for EG Union to establish a presence so close to Sol. What was unexpected was the mutual respect that gradually developed between Yuri Grom and AmbassadorDelphine Dumont. Her charming manner clearly appealed to the dictator, even bringing forth his thunderous laughter on occasion. A deal is now being discussed that would allow the Autocracy of Delta Pavonis to have trade and political ties with both parties while remaining independent. Perhaps the Federation has learned some lessons from the recent rebellion, and perhaps Yuri Grom's hatred of the superpower he once served is finally abating."
17 SEP 3307
Delegations from the Federation and the dictator Yuri Grom are meeting to determine the Delta Pavonis system's future. Both are on a diplomatic mission to convince its controlling faction to either swear allegiance to Yuri Grom or become a Federal member state. Delta Pavonis was one of the original signatories of the Federal Accord in 2242, but has recently been governed by an independent autocracy. Yuri Grom himself is present, having arrived on the megaship Indomitable. Grom was once a respected admiral in the Federal Navy, before defecting with huge numbers of ships and followers. They established the independent EG Union, which he presides over as a military dictatorship. The rival delegation is led by AmbassadorDelphine Dumont of the Federal Diplomatic Corps. They were transported on the Freedom's Foundation megaship courtesy of Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar, which formerly controlled the system. The ambassador invited newsfeeds to witness her initial introduction to Yuri Grom, who seemed slightly taken aback by her warm greeting. Grand Duke Simion Petrescu, ruler of the Autocracy of Delta Pavonis, told attending journalists: "The conference will take place in Kessler City on Reagan's Legacy, where our distinguished guests will enjoy our famous hospitality. I look forward to learning more about their respective proposals." This is the first time that the Federation has diplomatically engaged with Yuri Grom. Political observers noted that this tactful approach may be due to several Federal factions recently declaring independence.
29 MAR 3304
The EG Union has announced that its campaign to build a shipyard in CPC 20 6743 has received the wholehearted support of the galactic community. Hundreds of pilots supported the initiative by delivering commodities to Lyakhov Dock, and by eliminating agitators in Ross 720 and surrounding systems, thereby ensuring the safety of traders. Pilots who contributed to the initiative can now collect their rewards from Lyakhov Dock in the CPC 20 6743 system.
22 MAR 3304
Yuri Grom has announced an initiative to create a new shipyard in the CPC 20 6743 system. The shipyard will produce capital ships with which to defend human space from both human and alien threats. The EG Union, acting on behalf of Yuri Grom, has placed an open order for various commodities to build the shipyard, and has promised to reward pilots who deliver these commodities to Lyakhov Dock in the CPC 20 6743 system. The organisation has also placed a kill order on all ships on its wanted list, to ensure that pilots delivering commodities can do so safely. The spokesperson elaborated on the nature of the campaign: "Recent events have demonstrated that humanity is not prepared for a possible Thargoid invasion. Building a shipyard for Farragut-class ships is the first step in establishing a defensive perimeter. It is essential that traders do not encounter any difficulty when delivering materials, which is why the EG Pilots – Yuri Grom's elite task force – have been asked to eliminate any agitators. We are also asking independent combat pilots to help us neutralise any threats." The campaign begins on the 22nd of March 3304 and will run for one week. If the final target is met earlier than planned, the campaign will end immediately.
27 OCT 3302
The Dangerous Games dominated headlines earlier this year, as some of galaxy's most powerful minor factions took part in a brutal battle for supremacy. After weeks of fierce competition involving hundreds of independent pilots, it was the EG Pilots who emerged victorious. Having spent the intervening months consolidating their assets, the EG Pilots are now ready to enter the galactic stage. Consequently, the temporary restriction on preparatory activity in systems within 30 light years of the Clayakarma, Nauo, Gyhldekala, Boga and Kpaniya systems – imposed by the United Research Council partly to allow the EG Pilots an opportunity to secure their position – has now been lifted. Like all powers, the organisation will seek the support of the galaxy's independent pilots, who will play a central role in its fate. Very little is known about the group's leader, Yuri Grom, although he is understood to have started his career in the Federal Navy, reaching the rank of Admiral before parting with the Federation and entering politics. Following a brief conflict in the Euryale system, in which Grom clashed with his former Federal allies, the ex-admiral emerged as the leader of his own independent power. Propaganda distributed by the EG Pilots offers a succinct description of Grom: "Yuri is idolized by his supporters and respected throughout his controlled systems. His support among the populace is absolute, his dominion unshakable." One thing is for sure – Grom's career, and the future of the EG Pilots, promises to be anything but boring.
Freedom among the Stars.
— Yuri Grom's personal slogan
To smuggle is to steal from your State, and thus from every law-abiding citizen, whose interests it protects.
— Yuri Grom - Dictator of Euryale
Freedom does not mean Anarchy. Unyielding, lawful rule is crucial to the principle that one man’s freedom ends where another man's freedom begins.
— Yuri Grom - Dictator of Euryale
Progress in mankind's development is inevitable, but it is imperative that we prevent the lust for innovation from jeopardizing the successes of our past.
— Yuri Grom - Dictator of Euryale
Though narcotics are an absolute evil, we should not fight them with prohibition, but by improving man’s quality of life. A contented, free citizen has no desire to indulge.
— Yuri Grom - Dictator of Euryale
Slavery, the violation of our most basic right to freedom, is unacceptable in modern society. However, Imperial slaving traditions are different – their citizens choose this fate, we should respect their customs.