Mass Arrests of ‘Berserker Sympathisers’
Dateline 3202.198, Nebok, Quadrant 7
International observers are reporting unprecedented levels of arrests of what are being described by the local government as ‘Berserker Lovers’. The Government, under President Angmar Archadius, has, it claims, unearthed a major pro-Berserker conspiracy on the planet – pervading all levels of society and politics. So far over 20,000 individuals have been arrested and are being held without trial as ‘known Berserker Sympathisers’. Local press, 100% owned by Katar Archadius, the president’s Uncle, are totally supportive of these moves. Others are complaining that these so-called ‘Berserkerists’ are in fact political opponents of the regime, and this ‘witchhunt’ is a smokescreen for an anti-democratic coup. Foreign press are also being curtailed and censored under a new ‘Planetary Security Act’ recently passed by the Archadius regime – forcing all correspondents to submit their copy to the censor.
Hot Boiler Hots Up
Dateline 3202.225, Hot Boiler, Quadrant 8
Fighting continues between the rival colonies of Gravis and Lucky Star in the Hot Boiler System. The recent major Lucky Star offensive, after initial successes has bogged down in the forests near the Gravis capital city. The fighting has been close and bloody, as both sides have now consumed much of their imported high-tech weaponry and are now reported to be fighting with locally-built primitive assault rifles and tracked armoured vehicles. The terrain in the battle zone is such that recent weeks have seen a number of costly infantry battles in the forests – casualties are reported as being in the thousands. Neither side seems prepared to back down, and the economic effects of this war are beginning to be felt. Civilian food supplies are said to be short, and there are shortages of key medicines and some other supplies on the planet.
Dangerous Vigilante hunted by COPs
Dateline Chynarr Q4 3202.220
Reports are coming in of an unprecedented manhunt for an individual the local press are dubbing ‘The Wonder’. After a series of assaults on various individuals in the capital city of Townsville, local police have now widened their search planetwide for this person.
The official spokesperson for the Chynarr COPs said “We don’t care if the people this person assaulted were dangerous gangsters, drug dealers and perverts – it is our job to go after them, not some self-styled ‘protector of the people’. We cannot tolerate unlawful vigilantism here”.
Local media have been vehement in expressing condemnation for this vigilante – describing him as a menace and criminal. This exceptional individual has certainly cut a swath through the criminal elements in Townsville – street and drug related crime is down by over 35% according to local statistics. What is even more remarkable are accounts of The Wonder’s abilities, which many are describing as ‘superhuman’ – though no hard evidence is available for his alleged exceptional abilities. Most famous recent story is of an incident where The Wonder was cornered by Police in an old abandoned warehouse, and surrounded by SWAT teams and police marksmen. On storming the building, 31 police were incapacitated single-handedly by The Wonder who then escaped by means unknown.
Martian Officers Disgraced
Dateline Corea Q4 3202.215
Three Martian naval officers have appeared in a military court in Corea (Q4) charged with the disappearance of a Class 5000 merchant carrying stolen cargo. The SS Martian Pride was impounded last year but disappeared a few months ago while in navy custody. It had then reappeared – with a fake id transponder and operated by a Xyonist crew.
The Martian colonial government says it had been losing quite a few ships in recent years. The special Naval court Martial was beset with some controversy as the defence counsel had argued that there had been insufficient time to prepare a proper defence – but was overruled by the Court President Rear Admiral Jaxx. The three officers were found guilty and are awaiting sentence. The 13 Xyonist crew members are being tried by the Colonial High Court on charges of piracy. It is the first time members of the Martian military have been charged with colluding with pirates.
The Great Q6 Pirate Trials
Dateline Patlabour 3202.211
Following a recent routine survey sweep into Sector EH, the Venerian Navy detected a previously unlocated pirate base on one of the uncolonised systems there. It was pure chance that the base’s emissions were detected, according to evidence from the Navy. A security operation was launched, leaving 21 pirates dead and 211 taken prisoner and charged with piracy in deep space – a capital offence under Venerian law. The trials conducted at the Quadrant Capital, Patlabor, are the largest ever held in the quadrant, and despite the overwhelming evidence produced by the state, the defendants put up a spirited and often cogent explanation for their presence on this unmarked world. Unfortunately all the accused had criminal records or were suspects for previous crimes of piracy, subversion and murder. None of the accused had access to lawyers, of course, since independent lawyers are forbidden to work in Venerian courts – but nevertheless, 9 of the 211 were able to convince the panel of judges that they were unwilling parties or had joined the pirates sufficiently recently to not have actually committed a piratical act. Suggestions by outside observers that these 9 might have been treated more leniently because they had given evidence against their ex-shipmates were dismissed by the Venerian authorities. The remaining 202 pirates have been found guilty as charged and sentenced, and by the time you read this will have been executed on Patlabor with the usual minimum of fuss.
Religious Conflict Flares once again
Dateline 3202.240 Goofball Q8
Followers of the charismatic religious leader, The Most Revered M Spuhnki, a senior member of the Goofball Enlightened Way of Humanity church are coming under criticism from various quarters for their robust, and some say aggressive, evangelical style. This has brought them into particular conflict with the sizable Hindu minority on this colony world. There appears to be spreading anti-Hindu and retaliatory anti-WOEH violence in the poorer townships of the colony, and this has been matched by inflammatory speeches by Mr. Spuhnki.
When asked how he reacted to accusations that he was stirring up religious hatred, he replied – “I am doing this world a big favour. The crazed superstitious religious fanatics of other so-called ‘faiths’ are scared that they will lose followers. We are the bearers of the message of enlightenment from the Ideal. Those who open their hearts and listen to that message will gain spiritual immortality. None of our followers are naturally violent – but even the most enlightened can be driven to act in self-defence.”
A spokesperson for the Goofball Association of Interstellar Hindu Temples responded “This was a peaceful and religiously tolerant world until that lunatic came here with his talk of spiritual superiority. He’s like something out of the Dark Age. If the authorities won’t protect our community, we will.”
The Venerian Quadrant Governor is reported to be deploying additional off-world police to the the troubled areas of the planet. Lets hope that is enough.
Former FRB to Join Rest of Binni ‘By End of 3203’.
Dateline 3202.300 Binni Q0
The joint Venerian / Martian peacekeeping forces on Binni have brought the situation in the former FRB to the stage where to possibility of local elections in the next few months is a real possibility. Insurgent murders are much reduces, and training of a democratic local militia is well underway. The death toll of off-world military personnel continues, however, 6 Martian and 2 Venerian solders died in ambushes and bombings last month.
The provisional authority, led by the controversial interim First Minister, Mrs. Dolores Peterson is having trouble extending its authority outside the cities. Despite this a provisional authority spokesperson said “Thanks to our Martian friends, the security situation here is improving day be day. We are confident that full elections will be a real possibility by early next year – and who knows – we might even vote to join the MAFC by the end of 3203”.