News of 3200 Turn 12


Stardate 3200.351

Amidst scenes of jubilation and gay abandon in the Star Party Headquarters, rank outsider Alphie Potato was officially inauguated as the next President of the Greater Federation of Asteel.

At least three political pundits have reportedly commited suicide in reaction to this totally unexpected result. Potato – the ‘Come from Behind Kid’ has once again shown political fast footwork to rival some of the greatest political minds of history.

Admittedly, the vote was close – but a Supreme Court ruling on the key New Edo Vote – placed the presidency in Potato’s chocolate smeared hands.

Reform Party hopeful Snownose, is reported to have said, off the record, “It’s a fix – that bastard Potato cheated – I’ll get him for this…I’ll…I’ll….[inaudible spluttering]’

Rumours of ‘Tuskan Crisis’ grow.

Stardate 3200.348, Tuskan Q7

News media throughout Quadrant 7 have been reporting a mysterious crisis at the little-known Earther system of Tuskan. Following on from the unprecedented step of an effective IAO ‘lockdown’ of the system and removing control of it from local the Quadrant Government – in effect making it administratively part of Quadrant Zero – ever more wild tales have been eminating from there.

The latest of these is word of huge Allied fleets gathering there for purposes unknown. Some say that Earther scientists at the ultra jolly secret Tuskanska Nuclear Weapons Fabrication Establishment on Tuskan III have come up with a fantastic new ‘Berserker Buster’ weapon. Others that there is some sort of cladestine negotiation going on with the Berserkers thenselves. Most outlandish of all is the rumour that the Forerunners have returned, from whereever it was they disapeared to, to save humanity in it’s hour of direst need.

‘Babe’ Banderas Spills All – the infamous Private Spy Interview

Private Spy
An exclusive interview with Supreme Councillor Antoinette Banderas by Hughie Scream

PS – So, ‘Toinette, you’ve panicked the entire universe and caused untold damage to interstellar trade. Where do you go from here?

AB – I don’t think that’s fair – but hey, this is Private Spy, what did I expect! Look, don’t believe the propaganda. Our declaration of a State of War – and that of Zelazny down in Q6, was a response to the same thing that caused the panic: the ESBs. The difference is… we anticipated what was gonna happen and no-one else did. That’s their look out. We needed to take
emergency measures and under the constitution – you remember the constitution Hughie? – we had to be at war to take them. So we behaved as the law requires us. Would you rather we’d lied to you about the nature of the threat like all the other nations? Not me – open government, that’s what I always promised. Don’t go getting’ on my back for tellin’ the truth.
Anyway, I think once you see the economic indicators come in, you’ll see we’re not doin’ so badly. The Q5 economy is in good shape, at least the Martian part of it is, considering we got the drek kicked outta us by ESBs.

PS – Well, I’ll hold you to that once the figures are in. In the meantime, President Alfie Potato. The one that got away?

AB – What can I tell ya, Hughie? The man was wired up by the AI freaks. The Bailey report says he wasn’t to blame.

PS – A report you described as a “whitewash” and a “shameful betrayal”, along with some things we can’t print.

AB – Did I? Maybe I did at that. Err… let’s just say it wouldn’t have come out the way it did if I’d been on the committee. But I don’t think Potato was entirely to blame. It’s the people behind him, some of whom – my lawyers say I can’t name names – were far more culpable but got away scott free. Plus I think they shoulda nailed Admiral Bastrop’s scrawny ass to the wall for threatening to mass drive us even while he was using AI pacs. But rest assured we’re on the case. Those responsible for this AI outrage can run, but they can’t hide forever. One day they’re gonna be sittin’ in a
cafĂ©, enjoyin’ a drink, and boom! Their head explodes. These things happen: anyone could be to blame – renegade Martian special forces, Centauran anti-AI vigilantes, Mukulists… who knows? It’s like Karma, y’know? What goes around, comes around…

PS – People have suggested you’ve gone soft on Potato because after the Over Summit you shared a chocolate bath with him.

AB – People can lose teeth talking like that! I still remember my Basic, and I’m not so old I can’t shove that microphone down your ungrateful throat. Now, you wanna discuss politics or just repeat some tired old gossip? Besides, he’s not my type.

PS – That’s not what I’ve heard. Hey – take your hands off me! Okay,(urk!) let’s change the subject… what about the Exterminator Cult problem?

AB – What problem? The problem is for them as join up. You know the way it goes, Hughie. We’re at war. That makes collaboration with the enemy an
Involuntary Mindwipe offence. I don’t think it’s anything any self-respecting Martian would get into, frankly. All of that bowing and scraping? To things that would kill you as soon as look at you? We got out of that business the day New Mars declared UDI from Earth!

PS – Aren’t you worried about Cultist-based terrorist attacks? The rumours are that you’re planning to bring in gun control.

AB – What – ‘Toinette “an armed society is a polite society” Banderas? I don’t think so. Let’s not deal in rumourmongering, Hughie – I won’t take away anyone’s SCA 1. Let’s move on.

PS – Okay. Do you remember rubbishing the story we broke last year that the Exterminators may be the result of clandestine Earther AI research that has been going on in secret laboratories ever since Moriarti and the Stickney City disaster? Perhaps you’d care to revisit your dismissive opinion in the light of events at Tuskan?

AB – That old chestnut rearing its ugly head again, huh? No offence, Hughie, but it’s bull. Not even an Earthworm would build something like the Exterminators. These are aliens.

PS – Even though no-one has ever encountered aliens before in the entire history of humanity?

AB – Gotta be a first time, right?

PS – Let’s get back to the point. What do YOU think was at Tuskan? And were the Venerians right to be sneaky or did the Earthers do the right thing in blowing them up?

AB – I think Earth is tying itself in knots trying to blame the Tr… Venerians for having had justifiable suspicions and thereby deflect attention away from what they were doing. And may still be doing. Kinda convenient, don’t you think, that the Venerian ships and the asteroid were all nuked to pieces? No untidy evidence left for the AI Monitoring Service.
And can you believe they’re now blaming the Tr… Venerians for forcing them to keep the IAO ships out of the battle? I just hope those so-called diplomats on New Mars don’t drop the ball on this one.

PS – Even if it means war with Earth?

AB – Hey, let’s deal with one issue at a time, Hughie! The Navy says there are still Exterminators out there. Let’s deal with the common enemy before we get back to politics as usual. But, ah… it wouldn’t be the first time we squared up to the Empire – and won. My take on AIs remains exactly the same as on Exterminators – ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All!’ Whatever it takes. If that means military action, well, you saw what I did on Over. Whatever it takes, Hughie. Whatever it takes.

PS – Now that sounds like a campaign slogan if I ever heard one. Election year coming – are the rumours true that you’re going to stand for the Senate?

AB – Now, lemme see, what was I supposed to say? I haven’t really considered it but obviously if called upon to serve… ah, hell, forget all that drek. Am I gonna stand? Hell, YES! Those stylus-pushers at New Mars need a little of the ‘Toinette Banderas touch to shake ’em up a little.
I’ll expect you to vote for me, too, you snivelling little ingrate!

PS – Stranger things have happened, I suppose. ‘Toinette Banderas, thank you.


Exclusive Private Spy report: that Earther denial in full:
1. Help! We Need Help Urgently! Come to Tuskan! We’re All Going to Die! Aieee!
2. Of course, there’s no reason they’d come to Tuskan particularly. It’s just a nuclear weapons facility
3. Oh, apart from the ancient alien base of course
4. But anyway the Exterminators have nuked it.
5. Except they don’t use nukes. Maybe it was the Venerians, then. Not us. Nope, definitely not.
6. Anyway, either way it’s all gone now.
7. Err…
8. That’s it.
9. No, really, you can all go home now. Thanks for turning up.
10. Nothing to see here. Nothing to see. Move along?

Also in this issue:
– Inside Xanadu – Glenda Slagg reports on President Potato’s pleasuredome (oo-er missus!) – see p14.

– Lookalikes.
Has anyone ever noticed the resemblance between Earther First Citizen Lee Zhang and the insane kung-fu manservant ‘Kato’ from the Inspector Clouseau films? I wonder if they are by any chance related? I think we should be told…

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