Elections in the Greater Federation
Dateline 3215.101 Asteel Q0
News is coming in of election results in the ‘Evens’ – quadrants 2, 4, 6 and 8. Despite the incumbent’s traditional strength in Q6, the surprise news is the success of the AFP outsider Hansel Bismark in taking Q6, giving the lie to asserions that her popularity is just local, and there has been a good showing in the polls for the AFP in both Q7 and Q5, though these quadrants have yet to take their final vote.
The Potato camp appear completely unconcerned by these reverses, and are predicting a landslide in the ‘Odds’ when they vote next octant. Surprise re-entrant is Reform Party veteran political bruiser Rhett Elgon from Q7, returning to the fray after his humiliating defeat back in 3200.
The campaign is very visible here in Q0 as advertising and speechifying is proceeding apace. The Independent from Disney, Senator Blether, has gained considerably in Potato’s core homeworld – particularly on his key plank of war veteran rights and the Invasion of Disney. His key campaigning slogan so far is “I’m The Roach Exterminator – An Eye for An Eye-Stalk” and this is striking a chord among many on Disney and in Q0 generally.
Observers are asking once again, is this history repeating itself. At this point in every one of the last three Presidential campaigns Potato has started from a weak position in the polls, but has managed to pull the election out of the bag at the last minute. Can the ‘come from behind kid’ manage it once more? Winning four elections in a row would make him the greatest Esteeler president in history – or at least the most durable.
Human Trafficking Epidemic
Dateline 3215.084 T39 Q3
The international pressure group Universal Freedom has published a report highlighting a problem hitherto regarded as rare. They document a widespread practice of Indentured Service Contracts in a number of colonies in Quadrant 3. These contracts explicitly take away a number of significant freedoms and even the right to pay for work done – and are nearly impossible to get out of. Many poor unemployed people, particularly naturals, sign up to these contracts believing them to be a cheap way of gaining passage to the brave new world of a distant colony. The reality turns out to be quite different, and in a number of systems in the further reaches of Quadrant 3 the practice has become a lucrative source of effectively free labour. There is no doubt that this has significantly helped the economies of those worlds.
When approached by INN the colonial spokesperson for the High Council of T39 said “The High Council believes in supporting those far-sighted corporations that have been instrumental in generating wealth for the whole colony. We do not believe it is a matter for government to regulate commercial and contractural matters – who do you think we are, those socialists in the Centauri Conglomerate?”
The main corporations involved in the traffic in human cargo is the Zong Ni Batsu corporation and Middle Passage Shipping Interstellar, though many more familiar household names have been implicated in the practice.
How is this possible in the early years of the 33rd century?
Religious Laws Face Criticism
Dateline 3215.058 Japeth Q2
Following elections last year, the colonial Government of Japeth has taken a shift towards sectarianism. Concerns are being voiced by opposition parties that new laws being forced through the planetary Diet by the majority Clewgist Quality First Party discriminate against the non-Clewgists on the world.
The First Minister, Simone Shackwel, in a recent speech, said “… Clewg knows that we are doing this to improve the quality of life, through constructive criticism – and leading to the ultimate development of our colony.” Critics are not reassured, citing regulations that require government employees to espouse ‘good Clewgist Principles’ as a condition of employment. Taxation has been used to allegedly penalise producers of non-Clewgist foodstuffs, and strict restrictions on broadcasters, banning game shows, soaps, sport and reality TV.
Already there have been mass protests, and opposition leaders claim to have been harassed by the pro-Clewgist ‘Guardian Staff’ – a section of the Ministry of the Interior that deals with ‘political extremism’.
Pirates or Liberators?
Dateline 3215.078 Deadlock Q1
Following some brief but severe fighting in the main city of Old Volcano, a group of ‘Independent Traders’ have effectively overthrown the Government of Deadlock in Q1. The takeover has been met with some rejoicing on the planet as the colony had been ruled by a Theocratic Council led by the much feared High Panjandrum Darius Zehring. Zehring’s rule was long accused of widespread human rights abuses (so much so that the planet was refused admission to the Free Worlds Alliance). Political resistance had been ruthlessly suppressed by the Church’s ‘Guardian Angels’ – a paramilitary force of religious fanatics.
However, in a surprise move, a group of ships full of heavily armed combat crew – supported by local resistance fighters, stormed the Inner Sanctum and Zehring was ‘accidentally killed’ in the firefight. Large numbers of Guardian Angels surrendered after a surprisingly brief struggle.
The planet is currently being, in effect, ruled by the leader of the ‘freelance independent space ‘traders’, Captain-General Chen Pyong-Lee.
The Captain-General made a public statement “… we are here to make sure justice is done – too long have the religious bigots, toadies and abusers ground civilised Deadlockians under their iron heels. We believe in freedom, and to this end I am today giving orders for a planet-wide election to select a new, secular and rational government for this colony. No more rule on behalf of someone’s ‘invisible friend’ – Freedom for Deadlock!”
There was a brief violent backlash from supporters of the previous regime, but this was quickly dealt with by the newly-formed Deadlock Free Corps, a scratch local security force keeping order during the transition to democracy. It says here.
Dateline 3215.071 Y26 Q7
Scientists are getting very excited by the discovery by the colonists on Y26 of what is claimed may be a sentient aquatic tool-using species inhabiting the oceans of the planet.
The locals have long had legends of ‘mermaids’ as they call them, but it appears that there is a species of amphibians who have built undersea habitats and use tools and show signs of having a language and higher cognitive processes.
The initial work is being led by the prestigious and renowned scientist Doctor Shigetaki, formerly, Head of Exotic Fauna at the Shi’ar Institute of Agriculture. Dr Shigetaki said “… I am delighted to be able to study these amazing creatures, my experiments are not complete yet, but I am rapidly getting to know what makes them tick, bit by bit.”
The local government has placed an exclusion zone around the areas of the ‘mermaids’ known habitation areas, halting mining surveys and development work in the region.
Arms Race or Self Defence?
Dateline 3215.090 Organia Q4
The Organian State Defence Committee has announced a major upgrade to defence capability by the purchase of a new armed merchant to be armed with nuclear missiles. The OSS ‘Peace In Our Time’ is being equipped and will become operational before the end of the year. The Organian Government asserts that this is a purely defensive expansion of its military capability. The ‘Long Lance’ class merchant ship is the first to be used by an independent colony. Observers suggest this might be an escalation caused by trade rivalries between Organia and its neighbours Blinky, La Ascunsion and Vaishka.
The Organians have also created a new elite ground force special forces formation known as the Legion of Heroes – made up of exceptionally capable individuals with the task of ‘defending the state against all enemies, foreign and domestic’.
Colonial Referenda and Memberships – from our colonial correspondent
The following colonial worlds are planning referenda: Dobird Q8, R44 Q4
Referenda have been held on the following worlds:
Result – voted to apply to join:
Bullfrog Q7 T126 MAFC
T39 Q3 T126 None – stay independent
P14 Q5 T126 MAFC
News in Brief
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation opens new production line for ‘RoboNurse’
K’Grath tightens quarantine controls.
Transhuman pressure group outlawed on Dyme Q7
New Republic rolls out ULTRON II anti-pirate system
‘It’s not dino-flu’ says O’Sullivan Council
Old Mars Separatists say General Strike ‘80% successful’
Transhuman Rights legislation fails on 116AL
55.1% in favour of exterminating Roaches, poll says
Archivists uncover lost copy of 500th Anniversary edition of ‘Dr Who’
Solar Scouts form new clubs on Old Mars.