News of 3208 Turn 72

Martian Diplomats Expelled from the Empire

Dateline Earth 3208.176

In a surprise move, the Ashanti government has ordered all Martain diplomats out of Earth space. The main Martian embassy in Havana is closing and staff are queuing to board shuttles to take them to EarthPort. Sources tell us that the Foreign Minister Rathbone has ordered that all MAFC diplomatic immunity and visas be revoked and instructed that all MAFC diplomatic staff depar tthe Embassy at the earliest opprotunity or risk being arrested for a breach of unspecified immigration laws and transported back to New Mars. This is causing something a stir in Q0, and the ripples may very well be felt all around the universe. Although there has been no public statement from the Imperium as yet, sources suggest this is connected to the arrest and trial of Lee Zhang last year – where Martian intelligence was said to have been involved in the scandal. Former Admiral Ashanti is certainly flexing his diplomatic muscles over the issue. Such a mass explusion is utterly unprecedented in peacetime – the last occasion being when Earth and Mars faced off on a war footing over the Venerian secession in 3093.
Earth stock markets dropped 8 points at the news and reports are coming in of Belter communities recalling their traders home.

Battle of Amoss Station

Dateline Amoss Q6 3208.124

Reports are coming from the crisis-torn Amoss system in Q6 of fighting between elements of the joint Sirian / RNV ‘peacekeeping force’ and elements of Earth’s 6th Colonial Fleet.
The two forces have been involved in an uneasy standoff for some time now, and this came to a head when Sirian pacifiers attempted to intercept a number of shuttles leaving Amoss Station for the planet’s surface. They backed up this interception with a battleship, and this was countered by an Earther battleship and carrier-launched pacifiers who supported Amoss Station’s own ‘Vulture Squadron’ – the elite volunteer defending pacifiier squadron. A number of pacifiers were shot down in the dogfighting that followed, and it was only the intervention of Venerian capital ships that led to the withdrawal of Earther ships before main armaments were engaged.
The Sirian military claimed to have ‘arrested’ over 40 Earther ground force personnel on the intercepted shuttles who they claim were going to join the fighting on the side of the ‘repressive von Strucker regime’ against the ‘freedom-loving resistance movement’. The Earthers claim that these personnel were merely observers and were in no way involved
in the ongoing fighting planetside (which has intensified in the weeks preceeding the battle).

Shortly following the battle, additional Earther forces arrived from the M25 – tentatively identified as the 22nd Battle Fleet . Earth sources announced that this was to ‘protect legitimate Earther interests and trade’. When challenged that the Q0 Imperial Government had announced, some time ago, that all Earth forces would withdraw from the system a Q6
Earther spokesperson said “Look, we *did* withdraw at the end of last year, as promised, but the situation has now changed in ways Q0 couldn’t have foreseen. The Sirian actions here are tantamount to piracy – intercepting merchants and even, we believe, providing arms and support to criminals and terrorists on the planet. We can’t stand by and let that happen – like any good neighbour we have to led a helping hand and try to help keep the peace.”

The 22nd Battlefleet was matched by the arrival of the Venerian 9th Fleet shortly thereafter, apparently as a planned addition to the Peacekeeping Force.
Whether this standoff will escalate further in the coming days is anybody’s guess.

Fleets on the Move Disturb Quadrant Zero.

Dateline Sol Q0 3208.155

Reports are coming in of military movements in Quadrant Zero.
Earth forces, comprising 21st Battle Fleet have been brought to readiness and dispatched out of the Sol system. IEN sources will not confirm the mission – the usual ‘Training Mission’ cover story has been circulated (the ‘training’ cover story has become a trademark, presaging most Earther attacks in recent years). Military pundits suggest this is the new right wing Ashanti administration ‘making its mark’ by putting pressure on the Sirian to back down over Amoss.
This deployment follows the mysterious dissapearance of 22nd Battlefleet previously ststaioned at Wing earlier last year – now reputed to be in Quadrant 6 near Amoss.
Meanwhile, shortly before the Earth moves, the Sirian 10th Fleet departed Sirius apparently on a ‘routine scheduled patrol’. SSR watchers suggest that the hawks may have prevailed in the politbureau and these are reinforcements for the SSR Governor of Q6. Or perhaps they are going to join the SSR/RNV ‘Peacekeeping mission’?

Eccentric leader no laughing matter

Dateline 3208.121 Nebok Q7

President For Life His Excellency Nebokissimo Angmar Arcadius, the eccentric dictator of Nebok, has cut an increasingly absurd figure in recent years since his takeover in 3202. In addition to building a huge gold statue of himself that rotates to face the sun, he has banned beards, radios, makeup, jewellery, karaoke, dogs and tri-vids, though not necessarily in that
order. He has also decreed that Megadons are now to be known as Arcadius Lizards, instituted a new dating system with 3202 becoming Arcadius Year 1, and written a novel in which a thinly disguised version of himself acquires superhuman powers and goes on to rule the galaxy which is compulsory reading for all Nebokians.
However, while the president is a figure of fun in the neighbouring GFA worlds, little attention is given to the mass disappearances of opponents of the regime (all targeted as ‘Berserker Sympathisers’) into secret camps in remote locations, to reductions in pensions and minimum wages and widespread economic misery, and rumours that hundreds of millions of credits (or ‘Arcadians’ as they are known on Nebok) have been siphoned into offshore GFA bank accounts belonging to the President and his family. Since all media is state controlled and offworld journalists are banned, a
trickle of information from fugitives and dissidents is all that we have to go on. However, it is clear that on Nebok, Arcadius’ regime is no laughing matter.

Bloated Guerillas Denied by Authorities

Dateline 3208.137 Cowboy, Q2

Venerians deny existence of ‘guerilla army’ Although order reigns in the towns and cities of Cowboy, rumours persist that the Cult of the Bloated Lady, formerly the ruling group on-planet, is continuing to resist the Venerian military presence in
the hills and mountains of the world as a guerilla force. These rumours are strenuously denied by the local Venerian authorities, but travel permits to remote areas are very hard to come by, and military activity seems to have been stepped up in recent octants.

Protest Stuns Martian Capital

Dateline 3208.158 New Mars, Q0

Four monks from the Toateng chapter of the Adepts of Clewg on Estreham, Q2, stunned passers-by in Crater City by setting themselves on fire outside the Senate building in protest against what they describe as oppression of their sect on Estreham. Estreham, claimed by many to be the homeworld of the Clewgist sect, is dominated by the mainstream Clewgist
observance, a martial and self-disciplined religion.
However, the southern continent of Toateng is home to the pacifistic Yendorian Observance of Clewgism, and has seen considerable oppression by mainstream Clewgists on Estreham who consider the Yendorians to be ‘heretics’.

Anniversary of B’Krath Battle

Dateline 3208.109 Oith Q7

Venerains in Quadrant 7 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Battle of B’krath in style, with military parades, street parties and specacular flypasts of pacifiers from the 7th Fleet. The space battle, fought in high orbit over the B’Krathian colony world was the high point of the struggle of the colonists of B’Krath and B’Narth against their opressive Martian overlords (and ‘News of the Stars’ official communique said). Quadrant Governor Filimonov presided over the celebration in his distinctive fruit-themed’Governor’s official Party Hat’.
Even on century on, the conflict remains controversial in the quadrant – especially among Martians who see the conflict as an example of Venerian agression. MAFC official spokespersons were more guarded – “It was all a long time ago, and water under the bridge, what matters now is strength and unity in the face of the alien menace”.
Despite the Quadrant 0 – led rapprochment between New Mars and New Venus, local relations are said to be no more than ‘cordial on a working level’. Many Martians here openly distrust the Q7 Venrian government, and there is a common belief that by celebrating this ‘victory’ the local Venerian authorities are signalling their disinterest in Martian concerns. Other observers suggest that the events are not aimed at external audiences at all, but are sending a strong signal to internal dissentors within the Republic.

Colonial Referenda and Memberships – from our colonial correspondent

The following colonial worlds are planning referenda: Merry Widow (AH), Metal Merchant (AH)

Referenda have been held on the following worlds: P23 (5) has voted to apply for membership of the MAFC

The following worlds have voted against holding a referenda on giving up their independence: Jideeye (AH)

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