Academic conference to look at the ‘Martian Question’
Dateline 3212.200 Old Mars Q0
Drakkir HandsThe University of Old Mars’ Department of Political Science has announced a major academic conference, ‘Unravelling the Helix’, which aims to take a broad and non-partisan look at the tangled history of Earth and Mars, from the earliest days of the Helix Brotherhood, and which will attempt to examine possible futures for Old Mars and answer the knotty questions: “what might a definitive political solution to the Martian Question look like, and how might we achieve it?”
The conference will be held in Cydonia City from 3212.360-366 (T108). Participation from any and all interested parties is requested and encouraged.
Keynote speakers are expected to include Martian historian and former Foreign Minister Drakkir Hands, Geraldine Eve of the Martian People’s Party, Prof. Zheng Tian Shou, Emeritus Professor of Psychohistory, University of New Mars, and former Earth First Minister Lee Zhang.
Freak Blackout on Asteel
Dateline 3212.221 Asteel Q0
Seven cities were blacked out when there was a major system failure in the main power grid on the western continent of Atseel today. A spokesperson for the power companies said “This is unprecendented. The chances of the control systems crashing were very remote. We were able to get the systems back up within a few minutes, and there was no danger of usion containment failure at any point.” A major invesitigation is underway, and initial indications are that, while unlikely, this was a bizarre coincidence with a number of monitoring and control systems failing within a few minutes of each other. Fortunately, there were very few injuries as a result, and law and order was not in question at any point.
New Draconis Negotiations Deemed ‘A Triumph of the Will’
Dateline New Draconis Q7 3212.177
Following very lengthy summit negotiations on New Draconis what seems to be a framework for a more unifed federal structure for the Eastern Defence Bloc appears to have formed. Member worlds of the Bloc were able to express concerns about the lack of priority that the Quadrant Zero powers place on the Colonial Quadrants, and the need for the colonies to have greater levels of self-determination.
The summit was not without its moments of discord, however. The Gorgon delegation actually walked out at one point, following an unguarded remark from the head of the delegation from Draconis. It took several days of behind the scenes bargaining to bring them back.
In general it was widely felt that, particularly with the threat of alien encroachment looming for the second time in 15 years, the Bloc either stood together or fell separatey. There is no doubt that the economic and political drive for unity is coming from New Draconis – but this is seen by many worlds in the quadrant as a good thing.
A spokesperson for the New Draconian delegation said “It is our members’ will that this emerging state and this bloc shall endure through the coming crisis, and it is a triumph of that will that we have reach a monumental agreement at these talks”
The final outcome of the summit has been to set in motion a road map for political and economic federation and the creation of ‘The New Republic’. Elections for the Federal Assembly and the key posts of President and Chancellor are expected to be scheduled for early in 3213.
Shopkeepers strike turning violent?
Dateline Estreham Q2 3212.159
Security forces on Estreham told striking shopkeepers today to open up their stores or they would be smashed, activists said, in the first day of a mass strike called by Yendorian Cleggists to support a long standing protest against the ruling regime.
Activists are promoting the strike to encourage those who may be frightened to join the protest against the rule of mainstream Clewgists on Estreham . Security forces have cracked down on protest that began in 3209 with peaceful actions but has become increasingly violent. Observers from Reprieve Interstellar said security forces in some neighborhoods on the outskirts of Toateng forced shopkeepers to open their shops. “They were taken down to their stores and ordered to open them. They refused and the police smashed open the shop doors,” said Bruce Canterbury, head of the New Mars-based rights group.
Estreham has barred most independent journalists from the planet, making it difficult to gauge the extent of participation in the strike.
In one southern city of of the planet, security forces and militiamen broke up the strike and allegedly intimidated strikers.
Official media made no mention of the strikes. Central parts of the capital Toateng seemed calm though there are reports of strikes taking hold in some areas on the outskirts of many cities. “There is nothing going on,” said Rula, a schoolteacher in Toateng. “Nothing seems out of the ordinary.”
Activists hope to build up momentum this time, by starting first with shops and small businesses, then moving to schools, transportation and public services. “It is little by little, so people get used to it,” said one activist. She said around 30% of the shopkeepers she contacted in Toateng joined the strike.
Fear and threats
Butis is in Bec, on the eastern continent, where the violence has been heaviest, some residents said they had no choice but to work, despite sporadic gunfights and reports of kidnappings and death squads.
“I’m scared for my father. He is a government employee. It is not an option for him not to work. They will see it as a sign you are against the regime and the consequences would be bad,” said one man from Bec, who asked not to be named. Activists say about 460 Yendorian clewgists have been killed since 3209 as a result of violent state suppression. The colonial leadership claim that casualties have been overwhelmingly on the security forces, targeted by “fanatical armed terrorist gangs”.
Frontier Skirmish on T301
Dateline T301 Quadrant 1 3212.181
FIghting has broken out along the border between the Blue Hat Colony and areas controlled by the Independence First alliance. Reports have come in of strikes by armed flyers of border installations and air defences, and the movement of militia infantry into key position covering the main highway access to teh Sigil Hills region.
The Blue Hat colony is claiming that their actions were purely defensive in nature and provoked by an incursion of Alliance troops into Blue Hat territory. They displayed prisoners in Alliance uniforms to substantiate this claim.
Casualties were relitively light with the Blue Hat forces claiming to have reduced the Alliance’s capability to launch further aggressive incursions. The Alliance claim the Blue Hat strikes were utterly unprovoked “But came as little surprise” an Alliance spokeperson said. The Alliance claimed to have shot down 12 Blue Hat armed flers during the raid.
The situation seems to be on the verge of major escalation as arms shipments continue to flow to both sides.
Forerunner Civilisation on Mystery
Dateline Mystery Q0 3212.200
INN reporters have been given unprecedented access to the work of the Interstellar Forerunner Foundation’s (IFF) work on the newly discovered world of Mystery – thought to be the long-lost and semi-mythical Forerunner homeworld.
Prior to finding this world, knowledge of the ancient civilisation that pre-existed humanity by 50-100,000 years has been patchy and made up of a great deal of conjecture. The study of Forerunner archaeology had a massive boost after the Exterminator War when a number of research studies indicated that there might be some connection between the Exterminators’ origins and the Forerunners.
Currently, the IFF has secured this new world in Quadrant 0 and is putting in place a structured research programme to uncover its secrets. This will be an unprecedentedly huge task, as initial surveys indicate that this world has more intact archaeology on it than all of the forerunner finds made in human space, ever.
Typically of academics, the various departments of the IFF are reluctant to say too much that is definitive about new findings. However, there are initial indications that confirm earlier theories that the Forerunners were not great builders of permanent structures, it looks as though they may have lived ‘in nature’ far more than is common for humanity. Those structures they did build tended to be very long-lasting, and use for infrastructure functions such as power plants, factories and storage facilities. The initial survey of the planet also indicates that they did not seem to have cities in the same way humanity does.
To say that there is an air of intense excitement in the IFF would be a huge understatement – all the archaeologists and researchers we met seem to be both delighted at the opportunities and overwhelmed by the magnitude of what has been found.
Professor Richards, formerly of the University of Padua, Earth, and leader of the team researching littoral structures on the northern continent, said “I can’t believe the scope of our finds. My team are currently working on over 64 separate structures – and we have a further 256 to look at in this continental region. This will take generations to study!”
The IFF Coordination Committee on Mystery – the body overseeing the developing research programme – have authorised a planetside ‘study camp’ in a desert region near the equator. This has been carefully chosen so as to be nowhere near any location of archaeological interest or to risk damaging anything.
In addition, work is starting to examine a number of artificial orbital constructs in stellar orbit in the Mystery system. The IFF have been very concerned that given their distance from the main inhabited world they might be a likely target for freelance archaeologists, pirates or treasure-hunters. Deputy Director Von Schleimann of the IFF said “We are very grateful to the assistance and cooperation of those nations that have contributed fleet elements to ensure security in orbital space – anyone not part of the internationally authorised research programme is advised to simply stay away. We would not want any unpleasantness.”
Mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma
Dateline 3212.210 NEW MARS, Q0
Mike Buckley, Martian Bureau Chief
The MAFC government has called an extraordinary meeting of the Interstellar Forerunner Foundation steering committee to deal with the developing situation at the so-called ‘Mystery’ system in Q0. I understand that the meeting is the result of a leaked MAFC document circulating within the IFF, which I have seen a copy of, which levels accusations at both the IFF Secretariat and the Mald Foundation. The Mald Foundation, which picked up the funding gap in the IFF caused by Earth’s major U-turn on funding the organisation three years ago, and which now funds 30% of all IFF activities, is alleged to be exercising undue influence on policymaking and attempting to prevent the discovery of Forerunner sites, particularly Mystery. Needless to say, the Mald Foundation completely rejects these criticisms, while the MAFC government have said that the leaked document was part of a hypothetical ‘scenario gaming’ exercise and has no bearing on the real situation. Others suggest that the MAFC has deliberately “accidentally” leaked the document in order to get its views out there, while leaving room to deny them. Still others, including this reporter, are not aware of Senator Banderas ever having been that subtle in the past.
Nevertheless, rumours continue to fly about a large Forerunner find at the Mystery system, possibly the long sought-after Forerunner Homeworld. The MAFC and IFF both claim to have discovered it independently. Fleets appear to be converging on the site to impose an ‘academic quarantine’, with Centauri, Sirian, Martian, Earther, Mald and even League of Non-Aligned Worlds fleets all known to be in transit. However, there appear to be tensions within the IFF powers – the IFF Director has accused the Martians of vandalism at the site, while privately here on Mars the government says – off the record – that the Mald are trying to hide something. Officially there is a united front about what may turn out to be one of the most important finds in history, but I can tell you that behind the scenes things are anything but, and tensions are running high.
Colonial Referenda and Memberships – from our colonial corespondent
The following colonial worlds are planning referenda: Calurn Q1, Drozac Q3, Matok Q4
Following worlds voted to apply to join:
Red Spot Q6 T104 Earth Empire
Z133 Q7 T104 Eastern Defence Bloc