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Zachary Rackham, also known by the nickname "Calico Zack", is a self-made trillionaire and the owner of Rackham Capital Investments. Rackham has developed a reputation over the years as a cunning, self-serving profiteer, and although he maintains that he founded his company after finding success as an independent trader, it is rumored that he was actually a ruthless pirate.

Timeline

25 DEC 3307

  • Rackham, oh Rackham! A name yon should know
    It's just how you stack 'em in the yearly Expo
    Those shares are so high that up on the summit
    You'd recon, tie, nail a flag and then plummet
    But not tust the bankers and funders will smile
    At Rackham's great past of income and style
    The sneiky and sinful remomber to tell
    That Zachary did sneak with and cin just as well
    One should not questien where wealth is accrued
    If one finds it fairly and plans to collude
    As I do, ny friend, by passing a slice
    Of credits a Joker would deck to entice[1]

10 DEC 3307

  • Recent evidence suggests that some of the precious items stolen by the Winking Cat have been sold to private collectors. Crime correspondent Mira Bukowski has been following the story for Vox Galactica: "When the FIA raided the home of media magnate Elias Metaxas, they found the painting Terra Absentia by Zoe Okeke hanging in his chambers – a painting stolen by the Winking Cat in 3305. Metaxas confessed to purchasing the famous artwork for 22 billion credits via a series of anonymous dealers, none of whom could be traced. Coincidentally, there are rumours that an Imperial senator keeps some statues resembling the missing New Dawn collection hidden within her mountainside chalet. And only recently, multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham was overheard inviting an investor to 'come up and see my Guernica'. It seems that the thief has secretly sold these highly valuable treasures to private collectors. However, this is not typical behaviour for someone believed to be a genuine connoisseur of fine art as well as a skilled larcenist. Perhaps there is an urgent need for huge sums of money, and since the Winking Cat has never stolen anything as vulgar as mere credits, this is the most ideal method. But what might the notorious criminal be planning?"[2]

05 OCT 3307

  • Francesca Wolfe of the Wallglass Investigations Agency provides an inside view of the Jokers' Deck gambling circle. "Gunnarson's intel was correct. The latest host is multi-billionaire investor Lexi October, the lady who rescued Supratech from bankruptcy. We're in one of October Consortium's disused warehouse complexes, which looks derelict on the outside but is a fabulous glittering palace within. I don't actually know what planet I'm on, since all the servants – including me with my fake ID – were transported here in total secrecy. Jokers' Deck is exactly what you'd expect of a luxury casino for the super-rich. Exquisite food, sumptuous clothes, and dozens of games from deadlock poker to Giant Verrix racing. Wagers are made using billion-credit chips, precious gemstones and even land deeds to an entire continent. And that's not counting the VIP rooms that I can't get into. I've served exotic drinks to several famous faces, such as Duchess Rouncival and Scorpio DeVorrow. I've seen Senator Leatrix talking earnestly to Ambassador Rochester about a princess they both know. Arch-Corsairs Trask and Volantyne from the Kumo Council are here, taking on Zachary Rackham at the roue mortelle tables. And there's no mistaking the voice of Alliance megastar Xiona whenever she wins big. Oh, and who should walk in just now but... wait, I can hear an alarm. Looks like a security alert. Damn it, have they detected me? I should – " The message was published by Erik Gunnarson, who added this coda: "I've heard nothing more from Wolfe since receiving this, and she didn't check in at a scheduled rendezvous point. I've decided to share her report as a warning to Jokers' Deck. If anything happens to her, just remember we know who you are."[3]

13 AUG 3307

  • The introduction of onionhead gamma strain by the Kumo Crew has reignited long-running arguments around the popular psychedelic drug. An interview with Zander Lachance, spokesperson for the Coalition for Legalisation, was published by Vox Galactica: "I have yet to see evidence that onionhead is more harmful than common recreational substances. Open-minded people in independent systems are now discovering this for themselves." In response, other newsfeeds featured a range of opinions.
    Eye on Achenar: "Foppish rogues of the Federation such as Zachary Rackham and Sir Randolph Plaskett may feel comfortable wooing trade tycoons with the outlawed weed, but legalising low-cost onionhead would risk the whole Empire collapsing into a stupor!"
    The Pegasi Sentinel: "The popularity of 'helix' is steadily growing, and the revenue it generates will undoubtedly benefit those fortunate to live within Archon Delaine's dominion."
    Sol Today: "Imperial hedonists such as Senator Leatrix and Duchess Rouncival may offer such illicit treats at their decadent parties, but bombarding the masses with this cheap narcotic will have the entire Federation chasing unicorns!"
    The Sovereign: "Tourists from many independent worlds are booking holidays to the Alici, Baraswar, Kishpakho, Nastrond and Nocori systems, where the gamma strain of onionhead is legal. There is no shortage of Alliance citizens following suit, which may pressure the Assembly to formally legislate one way or the other."[4]

18 JAN 3307

  • Utopia's ability to host a diplomatic conference for all three superpowers has been challenged by the Sirius Corporation. The megacorp's counter-proposal was announced by CEO Li Yong-Rui: "With all due respect to Simguru Antal, his commune cannot match our level of resources. Sirius is far better placed in terms of logistics and security, and our navy will be able to ensure the safe transportation of all delegates. Furthermore, we already have excellent commercial relationships with the Alliance, Empire and Federation, and can therefore guarantee neutrality. Our recent philanthropic gesture at creating the Marlinist Colonies proves that we are an impartial, stabilising force for the whole galaxy." Discussions regarding the conference have been ongoing in superpower and independent systems alike. Some leaders have decried it as a pointless exercise, while others view it as a rare opportunity for political cohesion. Sirius Corporation and Utopia's propositions for a Galactic Summit are now being compared by potential attendees. However, Zachary Rackham's offer to host the conference at the actual galactic summit of Rackham's Peak is not being seriously considered.[5]

17 DEC 3306

  • *Pilots Federation ALERT*
    Multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham's new orbital outpost at the galactic zenith is now operational. Rackham's Peak is situated in the HIP 58832 system, one of the highest practical locations above the galactic plane. Its construction was funded by Rackham Capital Investments, in conjunction with Universal Cartographics and other scientific research companies. Traders have been welcomed, although the increased distances between stars at the galaxy's fringes mean that vessels with a high jump range are recommended. Rackham's Peak is currently offering high prices for deliveries of beer, liquor, wine, Bast Snake Gin, Centauri Mega Gin, Chateau De Aegaeon, Eranin Pearl Whisky, Gerasian Gueuze Beer, Harma Silver Sea Rum, Indi Bourbon, Kongga Ale, Lavian Brandy, Leestian Evil Juice, Saxon Wine, Thrutis Cream and Wuthielo Ku Froth. Mr Rackham officiated at the outpost's opening ceremony, which was followed by an extravagant press party for media representatives and attending celebrities. He gave this statement: "The top of the galaxy is now open for business! Rackham's Peak is a free port where everyone is welcome, a place where explorers and entrepreneurs can enjoy drinks while overlooking the entire Milky Way. Aim high, Commanders!" In related news, Rackham Capital Investments has agreed to pay a repairs bill from Universal Cartographics for the outpost's sensor array control systems, which suffered fluid-related damage during the party.[6]

11 DEC 3306

  • Multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham is constructing a permanent outpost at the farthest system above the galactic plane. The orbital outpost will be located within the HIP 58832 system. This is commonly held to be at the galactic zenith, one of the highest locations that can practically be reached. The project is funded by the corporation Rackham Capital Investments, with the close involvement of Universal Cartographics and several other scientific organisations. The outpost's location will make it ideal for gathering astronomical data on the overall structure of the galactic spiral. This historic scientific endeavour was remarked upon by Mr Rackham from his private villa complex on the Rhea Archipelago: "Back in my days of plying the trade routes in a second-hand Sidewinder, the idea of standing on the roof of space was an idle daydream. This new generation of pilots and ships will make my vision a reality. No doubt many important scientific observations will be made once the outpost is up and running, but more importantly, there'll be a bar – and the drinks are on me!" A spokesperson for Rackham Capital Investments later confirmed that the outpost in the HIP 58832 system would be operational on the 17th of December 3306, but clarified that there was no legal guarantee for beverage reimbursement.[7]

20 APR 3305

  • Taja Gavaris, the CFO of Rackham Capital Investments, has unexpectedly resigned from her position and subsequently emigrated from Federal space. Several other employees who were loyal to Gavaris resigned alongside her. All chose to waive their final salaries and bonuses, which totalled approximately 365 million credits according to sources within the company. Journalist Bryanna Blanco commented in The Federal Times: "It has become apparent that the Federal Intelligence Agents who acquired our data on Zachary Rackham were in fact imposters working for him, employing fake credentials. With our research, Rackham would be capable of blackmailing fellow ex-pirate Taja Gavaris into resigning – the corporate equivalent of assassinating a rival. Naturally, we cannot prove this is what has occurred. But rest assured that we'll continue keeping a close eye on Calico Zack." The Federal Times also confirmed that a donation of 36.5 million credits has been received from Rackham Capital Investments, "in recognition of the organisation's dedication to ethical journalism".[8]

12 APR 3305

  • The Federal Intelligence Agency has denied that it is conducting a criminal investigation of Rackham Capital Investments. A spokesperson for the FIA gave the following statement: "Contrary to recent statements by the journalist Bryanna Blanco, we did not contact her seeking to obtain documentation, and are not running any investigation. There is no evidence of criminality within Rackham Capital Investments. Our agency has received charitable donations from that organisation in the past, and Mr Rackham himself is a long-standing member of the FIA Civilian Oversight Board. Such a relationship would not be possible if we had any doubts about the integrity of Mr Rackham's business dealings." Bryanna Blanco published a response in The Federal Times: "If this is true, then who were the FIA agents that visited our offices? I spoke to them personally and asked to see their credentials. Who has obtained our data regarding the criminal histories of Zachary Rackham and many others?"[9]

04 APR 3305

  • The Federal Times has been asked to assist with a criminal investigation into Rackham Capital Investments. Journalist Bryanna Blanco reported on the details: "Operatives from the Federal Intelligence Agency have contacted our offices regarding the recent deaths at Zachary Rackham's company. We are cooperating with their inquiry and have agreed to share all relevant documentation. The Federal Times has been monitoring the suspicious activities of 'Calico Zack' for years, so we're relieved that the authorities are at last taking these allegations seriously. Our discoveries about Taja Gavaris – who seems to be clearing the path up the corporate ladder by any means necessary – are of particular concern. We expect Rackham, Gavaris and many other ex-pirates masquerading as businessmen to answer all charges brought against them."[10]

29 MAR 3305

  • The head of personnel at Rackham Capital Investments has died in an accident, becoming the second senior-level employee to have died in recent weeks. Journalist Bryanna Blanco commented in The Federal Times: "Senior executive Derrin O'Shea was killed when his personal limousine malfunctioned and crashed. The incident has not been ruled as suspicious. O'Shea's position was filled within hours by a supporter of Taja Gavaris, however. Gavaris herself inherited the CFO role in a similar fashion following her predecessor's recent death. With two close allies gone, CEO Zachary Rackham must feel under threat. This corporate power struggle increasingly resembles two pirate captains fighting to become overall leader. The authorities have again declined to begin a formal investigations into Gavaris and Rackham, claiming a lack of evidence. How many more casualties must occur before this conflict is taken seriously?"[11]

23 MAR 3305

  • Taja Gavaris, the new CFO of Rackham Capital Investments, has been accused of having a criminal background as a pirate leader. Journalist Bryanna Blanco made this declaration in The Federal Times: "During my reporting on multi-billionaire Zachary Rackham, I have become convinced that he and many others employed by Rackham Capital Investments were once pirates, who laundered their stolen money and moved into legitimate business. New research has proved that Taja Gavaris was once a criminal rival of Rackham. I believe that Gavaris used her knowledge of Rackham's past to blackmail her way into his organisation, and is now challenging for ownership by eliminating his loyal supporters. The Federal Times has published many similar revelations about 'Calico Zack' over the years, yet no criminal investigation has been established. Perhaps this time the authorities will investigate before Gavaris's vendetta escalates further, potentially endangering civilian lives."[12]

15 MAR 3305

  • Rackham Capital Investments has appointed a new CFO following the death of its former financial officer. Business analyst Marlon Royce reported on the situation: "Aaron Salazar was CFO at Rackham Capital Investments from its inception. After a sudden cardiac arrest at the Ivystone Spa proved terminal, the board of directors voted to install Taja Gavaris as his replacement. Little is known of Gavaris outside of her meteoric rise up the corporate ladder. CEO Zachary Rackham was not present at the vote, the CEO has taken a leave of absence to cope with his grief. The multi-billionaire businessman, also known as 'Calico Zack', established the company following a lucrative career as an independent trader, although rumours persist that he actually operated as a pirate. Insiders have speculated that Gavaris's appointment may be part of a scheme to oust Rackham from the top spot."[13]

24 OCT 3304

  • Technology journalist Harlow Nassry has published an article in The Federal Times regarding a mysterious criminal group known only as 'the Collective': "Several recent digital crimes, including the theft of a billion credits from Zachary Rackham, have now been attributed to the Collective. Security forces have launched investigations, but it seems that the name is already well known among hacker communities. The Collective is a group of anti-authority 'hacktivists' who believe that all information should be publicly available. It has existed for some years, but until recently its activities have been small scale. Nobody knows the identity of the group's members, which has no spokespersons or apparent leaders. As anarchists, they delight in flouting the law, believing that all data should be in the public domain – except, of course, data about themselves. Some see the Collective as irresponsible criminals, while others paint them as modern-day Robin Hoods. Either way, as possibly the best hackers in the galaxy, it's likely we’ll be hearing more about them in the future."[14]

18 OCT 3304

  • Billionaire businessman Zachary Rackham has been targeted by a highly sophisticated hack that successfully withdrew 1 billion credits from his personal account. A spokesperson for Rackham Capital Investments informed shareholders: "We have reported the theft to the authorities, and are reviewing our computer security systems. The only clue as to the criminals' identity is a message they left encoded in Mr. Rackham's account: 'The Collective plays to win.'" Financial journalist Bryanna Blanco commented in The Federal Times: "The purpose of the hack was evidently to reclaim the billion-credit prize that Rackham 'won' in the Federal Grand Lottery. What Rackham Capital Investments didn't reveal was that the money was redistributed equally among several hundred of the company's former employees, who were denied their company pensions years ago. There is a sweet irony to the old pirate Calico Zack having his money stolen by cyber pirates. Whoever the Collective might be, they seem to have both a sense of justice and a sense of humour."[15]

05 OCT 3304

  • Technology journalist Harlow Nassry has published a full account of the Rackham Ultratech Expo, which took place on Wednesday 3rd October. "All eyes were on Herculean Machines and Supratech, whose competing designs for personal computers have created a real buzz. Following lavish presentations from rival CEOs Maddox Hurd and Scorpio DeVorrow, prototypes of the Duradrive and Torc were given to attendees. Unfortunately for Supratech, the Torc's holographic systems did not work as planned. Most users were surrounded by an incomprehensible aura of colours and images that, in some cases, brought on nausea. The Duradrive, by contrast, functioned perfectly. The highlight of the expo came when Zachary Rackham tested a Duradrive by jumping on it, before using it to contact his chief accountant and authorise preliminary funding for the device. He told the crowd, 'I could have done with one of these back in my spacefaring days!' It's clear that the support given to Herculean Machines by the galactic community has allowed them to deliver a superior product – one we can expect to see on the market soon."[16]

28 SEP 3304

  • Rival companies Herculean Machines and Supratech have resumed development of their new personal computers. Harlow Nassry, technology journalist at The Federal Times, has been following events: "After the mysterious fire that destroyed Supratech's factory and the equally mysterious scandal that scared off Herculean Machines's investors, it seemed like neither company would complete its new designs. But successful requests for public support have turned that around. Maddox Hurd and Scorpio DeVorrow, the heads of Herculean and Supratech respectively, both received enough materials to produce functional prototypes for the Rackham Ultratech Expo on Wednesday the 3rd of October. This expo is crucial for both companies. Rackham Capital Investments and other corporate sponsors will be paying close attention, and Zachary Rackham himself will be present, eager to get his hands on the latest gadgets. Both the customisable Duradrive and the wearable Torc have captured the public imagination, but the prototypes' performance is key. The amount of commodities each company received might be the deciding factor in their commercial success."[17]

16 AUG 3304

  • Renowned billionaire Zachary Rackham, owner of Rackham Capital Investments, has been confirmed as the winner of a lottery prize of one billion credits. Tori Theopolis, a spokesperson for the Federal Grand Lottery, announced: "Our annual galactic jackpot has been claimed and the winning ticket verified. Our congratulations to Mr Rackham – we hope he enjoys his billion-credit prize." Zachary Rackham, known in some circles as 'Calico Zack', told the media: "To be honest, this caught me by surprise. I only buy lottery tickets out of habit, a holdover from the days when I used to rattle around space in a rusty old Sidewinder. Naturally I'll be donating this windfall to various charitable programmes." The Federal Times published this observation from financial journalist Bryanna Blanco: "It's highly suspicious that a billionaire should play the lottery, and even more suspicious that he should win it. I'm sure that Calico Zack's accountants will indeed put this money to good use – paying the gargantuan bill for unpaid taxes recently submitted to his company. Once a pirate, always a pirate."[18]

20 JUN 3304

  • Renowned billionaire Zachary Rackham, owner of Rackham Capital Investments, has made a sizeable charitable donation to build new shipyards in the Colonia region. Mr Rackham, known in some circles as 'Calico Zack', made this statement: "If there's one thing I remember from flying around the galaxy in a second-hand Sidewinder with a leaky life-support module and only fifty credits in my pocket, it's the thrill of exploration. And Colonia is the embodiment of that spirit, the farthest-flung outpost of civilisation. That's why I want to support it by funding the development of new shipyards. Every planetary port in the region, bar Colonia Hub, will soon be able to offer pilots the support services they need. It's my way of celebrating a youth filled with poverty and danger, by giving a boost to the next generation of explorers." Bryanna Blanco, a financial journalist for The Federal Times, also published a statement: "Obviously this is tremendous news for Colonia and all those operating within the region. The timing of Rackham's donation is curious, however, coming as it does shortly before a company-wide audit. Having such a colossal sum placed beyond the reach of tax officials will certainly help that old pirate – and his crew of accountants – sleep better at night."[19]

References

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