Elgon takes the Odds, Potato in tailspin
Dateline Asteel Q0 3205.260
Asteel, Q0 – GFA Presidential challenger Rhett Elgon has won in Quadrants 1, 3 and 7 and has taken a lead in the polls, while the Potato administration seems to be imploding. Following the disappearance of Science minister Leroy Squash and the resignation of Defence secretary Stan ‘the Man’ Morgan, it has now emerged that former secretary of state Gerry O’Brien is under investigation by Presidential decree on possible charges of misuse of office and misappropriation of
funds after it emerged that six naval ALSIs that had been detached for unspecified “police work” were in fact mothballed, and the money used for other purposes.
Nevertheless, Potato remains in contention in the presidential elections ahead of the crucial Q0 vote; he secured a win in Q5, and business leaders have been pleased by his appointment of Clarence Fasterow as Secretary of the Treasury, and a new appointment as Secretary of State is expected imminently. New economic indicators indicate that the government is in fact wealthier than previously thought, and a massive new CVI construction programme looks set to counter criticisms that Potato is “weak on defence”. In spite of opposition claims of rampant corruption and cronyism, the GFA economy remains buoyant, and most recent polls put Governor Elgon just one percentage point ahead of President Potato; within the margin of sampling error.
Hyperlinium workers’ strike threatens Centauri shipbuilding
Dateline Kumarajiva, Q0:3205.267
A mass walkout has occurred among HyperServices Inc staff at the Sellascale Hyperlinium Facility (Sponsored by GenPower), the main producer of hyperlinium in the Centauri Conglomerate. Staff claim that management indifference to their health and safety concerns has led to “significantly higher than normal” rates of leukaemia and other radiation-related
illnesses among workers. However, HyperServices spokesperson Wayland Smithers replied that the workers had been “whingeing” for some time over provision of safety equipment and healthcare, and having failed to get their own way on these issues had now resorted to “blackmail”.
Under Centauri law, strikes are generally regarded as Breach of Contract – the most serious crime possible.
However, the highly-skilled workers at Sellascale could not be easily or cheaply replaced. In the meantime, hyperlinium production – and hence the entire Centauri shipbuilding industry – remains at a standstill. Centauri shipbuilding companies are calling for intervention by the Democratic Board.
Silent protest outside Venerian Consulate
Dateline Europ, Q0 3205.282
From across the known Universe they came – mothers, wives, girlfriends, and their friends and supporters, all of them claiming that their loved ones had vanished into Venerian government jails, many of them to be hanged, or simply to disappear without trace. They are the Mothers of the Disappeared, and they marched in their thousands in a long and silent, dignified line, filing quietly past the Venerian Consulate on Europ, holos of their missing relatives pinned to their clothes in silent accusation. The Venerian government has, they claim, under the guise of ‘eradicating piracy’, arrested, tortured and killed thousands of innocents. Some of them had been critics of the Venerian regime, others simply in the
wrong place at the wrong time. All of them are now tarred with the brush of ‘piracy’, and the Venerian government has refused to discuss any individual case;legal decisions in the Republic are final and irrevocable.
I spoke with the Venerian Consul, and she told me:”the loss these people have suffered is of course a personal tragedy for each of them. However, each person has been subject to thorough investigation by the relevant authorities and found guilty in a proper tribunal. They have had access to state-provided legal representation, and it has been determined that they committed crimes of robbery, violence and piracy. Our justice is firm, but it is fair. Who are the victims here? The families of muderous cutthroats you see here, or the people they attacked?”
News of Political Referenda – from our Colonial Correspondant.
Reports are coming in of a number of colonial worlds considering referenda on membership of a major polity.
In quadrant 0 the settlers on Vulkan, Nimrod and Vijanta recently voted on whether to hold referenda, but there were a strong votes for retaining their independence.
In the outer quadrants :
Morpork in Q2 has voted to conduct a referendum, to be held on 3206.050.
Crabston in Q3 has voted to conduct a referendum, to be held on 3205.300
Drum in Q4 has voted to retain its independence and has no current plans to hold a referendum on polity membership.
La La in Q8 had a stormy debate in its legislative congress in which a vote to hold a referendum was narrowly lost by the ruling party, forcing a vote of no confidence and the fall of the ruling Subtle Democrat party. There is little prospect of a referendum here for a while.
Pandemonium in Martian Senate as Douglas is “invaded”
Dateline New Mars, Q0 3206.277
A domestic political storm of epic proportions has engulfed New Mars on the news from Q6 that the government of the MAFC member world of Douglas has been forcibly removed in an action taken by federal forces under the command of Chu-Sho O’Hare, MSN CinC Q6. Heinrich Zemo, the controversial president of Douglas, and 256 other members of his
administration have been “taken into custody” by MSN forces and are allegedly being held at an undisclosed location.
In Q6, the Quadrant High Council has, at the urging of Mr Rivendrop, the representative for Douglas, passed a motion condemning the action as “illegal and unconstitutional” and calling for the immediate return of the detainees. A legal action on behalf of the detainees – all of them MAFC citizens – has been launched in the Q6 Regional Association Court, which
has passed the matter to the Martian Supreme Association Court in Q0. So far no explanation for the action has been forthcoming from MAFC authorities in Q6, and Supreme Councillor Zelazny claims to have had no foreknowledge of the move, while Admiral O’Hare says that his orders came from Q0.
Reactions in the Martian media in Q0 ranged from anger to incredulity, and the government’s opponents have vented their spleen on the floor of the Senate and the Council of the Martian Union. Leading the attack was Senator ‘Toinette Banderas of the pro-Quadrant rights MCGP Party. She has called for an immediate statement from the Harness government on the matter, and has threatened to call a Senate vote of No Confidence. The far-right New Helix Party and soft left Martian
Liberal Welfare Party have also been unusally united in their condemnation of the move, and the New Humanity Party, one of the government’s coalition partners, also appeared to be trying to distance themselves from the government’s action. Even some of the government’s own backbenchers have been notable by their absence in recent days.
MAFC Colonial Government Offices Burned.
Dateline Douglas Q6 3205.241
Widespread unrest and anti-Martian protests have followed the recent forcable arrest and alleged kidnapping by MSN forces of the elected President, Heinrch Zemo, and 256 of his senior party members and ministers. The Provisional Planetary Government met in urgent session and condemned the actions of the MAFC and the MSN as an act of “interstellar piracy”.
Off worlders are being advised to remain in their homes, and the MAFC Tourist Office for Quadrant 6 is recommending holidaymakers against visiting Douglas at present. So far there have been over 20 deaths, mainly of suspected ‘Martian Sympathisers’. Shops and businesses thought to be owned by off-world Martian interests have been sprayed with anti-martian graffitti, such as ‘BEMs Go Home’ and the like. A large riotous crowd attacked Martian colonial offices, and despite efforts of the local police, managed to break through police lines and burn down the building.Speaker Dormammu of the provisional Government said “This is tantamount to a declaration of war on the people of Douglas. Give us back our President, you bastards.”. President Arnim Zola of the neghbouring world of Blenda has personally pledged support for the people of Douglas, saying “the MAFC is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.”
Exclusive INN Breakfast with Frost Interview, with Surre-David Frost (2)
Dateline Earth 3205.275
SDF: Hallo, Good bording, and Welcome. We return today to our serialisation of ‘Unreliable Memoirs’ by former MAFC Foreign Minister Drakkir Hands, and the second part of our interview with him. Drakkir, it’s good to have you back.
DH: It’s good to be back, Surre-David.
SDF: I’d like to move on to the Mars-Venerian Entente, if I may. Not a popular move within your own country. At first sight, your respective political systems are poles apart. Surely Mars has much more natural partners in the Centauri Conglomerate or even the GFA?
DH: What you have to understand, Surre-David, is that astropolitics is not about domestic political systems.
It’s about realpolitik and similar views of the political situation. Indeed, with due respect, the short-termist views prevalent in the governments of the Conglomerate or the GFA make them quite difficult partners for Martians to work with.
But all of this came about because of the election of Lee Zhang as First Minister of Earth. He was the instigator of the New Washington Treaty, and I felt that that was a profoundly destabilising influence on the four-power balance of power that has preserved peace in Quadrant 0 for 200 years.
My own thesis, which I set out in the book, is that Zhang’s New Economic Policy – in essence the militarisation of the Earther civilian economies of Q0 – has thrown a spoke into the wheel of the Ancien Regime. And he knows that he will face opposition both internally and externally because of it. In order to preserve the economy on a war footing he needs to
present a credible external threat. With the Exterminators defeated, who better to fit the bill than the Venerian Republic? He also knows other major powers will become nervous about Earth’s new power as compared to themselves, and so to forestall that he manages to bring onside President Potato, and more recently the UoX. He initiates the hugest expansion of
the IEN – and the IAO – that the Universe has seen.
The next logical step to my mind would have been to engineer some kind of ‘incident’ that acts as a pretext for war with the Venerian Republic – some kind of pre-emptive strike.
The only logical course – it seemed to me – to prevent Earther hegemony in the universe was a defensive alliance capable of standing up to this threat. And hence the Entente. It all follows completely logically.
SDF: Is that why you call Lee Zhang “possibly the most dangerous man in the Universe”?
DH: Yes. I believed that his ambitions may lead to catastrophic conflict further down the line.
SDF: And yet here you are on Old Mars, just a fraction of an AU from Earth.
DH: Surre-David, I have always been a great admirer of Earth’s history and culture, even though I have been pilloried for it in the Martian press. I served as ambassador here for 12 years, I married an Earther, my son is an Earther citizen and indeed a serving officer in the IEN. It is precisely because of my love of Earth that I wanted to discourage it from the course
it was – and indeed is – taking.
SDF: I’m sure that if the First Minister were here, he would argue that in the face of the Exterminator threat, we need every ship we can get our hands on, and that if Earth is capable of bearing the weight of global leadership on its broad shoulders, why shouldn’t it? Who else could? And that only a paranoid Martian would question the good faith of a man who has always demonstrably put the best interests of humanity as a whole first.
DH: Well as you say, Surre-David, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
SDF: And no qualms about the Venerian Republic’s human rights record? By defending it, are you not condemning
billions to live in a tyranny no Martian would ever endure?
DH: That is a business for the Venerian people. My concern as foreign minster was to look after the best interests of Martians. And besides, it could be argued that by constructive engagement with New Venus we are far more likely to encourage changes than by isolating them, as Earth seemed keen to do.
SDF: And did you achieve any such changes?
DH: Well no, but Rome wasn’t built in a day!
SDF: I’m afraid we’re out of time again. Perhaps you’ll return for the final part of our series next time. And now, Boira, with a summary of the news.
Surprise Victory on Amoss
Dateline 3205.247 Amoss Q6
Contrary to the common practice on Sirius-sponsored worlds, an independent party has won the election to the Planetary Diet. The Two Sponsored Parties – the Societial Freedom and Workers Party and the Siriusist Democratic Party, both lost to the new and very popular Socialist Revolutionary Party. A mass rally celebrated the formation of the new government, which got 61.3% of the vote – a landslide victory.
The new President, Wolfgang Von Strucker, said in his inaugural speech that “..there will a few changes around here – Amoss will not be a backwater for much longer. We are responsible only to God and history. ” This was met by rapturous applause and cheering.
Independent observers report that the main reason for the independent’s success was the perceived weakness of the Sirius colonial authority and the popular appeal to a ‘need for change’. Some sources suggest the new government may have secessionist tendencies.