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RCES Headquarters announced today that a full inquiry would be convened to establish the particulars of the controversial Operation Cosmic Fire, conducted on the planet Daaliisa three months ago. It has been claimed that the operation was an unjustifiable use of Coalition military force, and by attacking the neutral native Droyne population, unnecessarily poisoned relations with the inhabitants of the world for the forseeable future.
Witnesses are scheduled to include Commodore Sean Lathrop, RCES Chief of Operations, members of the RCES Long Range Planning Croup, Captain Cynta Lawter and other crewmembers of RCS Aube, and Gabrielle Diabla, the reporter who first brought the event to public attention.
The resistance movement on Oriflamme continuer to escalate, today with an apparent attempt to murder Technarch-Director Antonin Karlsruhe. Karlsruhe is the feudal holder of Bourgund Shipyards, which has been held by the Karlsruhe line since the Nemyer recovery began. At 0715 local time this morning, a bomb destroyed Karlsruhe's office at the Bourgund headquarters, injuring three Bourgund retainers. No one was killed by the blast, which did an estimated Cr 500,000 damage. Karlsruhe was not scheduled to arrive until 0830, so it is unknown if the the explosion was a mis-timed attempt to kill the technarch or a simple attempt to cause property damage.
No group has claimed responsibility for this act, but investigations are under way.
In a related story, anonymous threats have been reported against the life of Coalition Secretary General Maggart who is scheduled to visit Oriflamme in just over two months There is as yet no official confirmation of the seriousness of these threats, nor the identity of those making them.
The recently founded Baldur Colonial Office today announced the departure of its first colony mission to the uninhahited world of Poyzen (1736/50 Skire X-787000-0). The colony, co-sponsored by Orlflamme, is intended to provide an additional source of raw materials for Baldur, and to expand trade and development along the so-called "Back Face of the Coalition.
The colony is the first of what is expected to be a series of similar projects run directly by Baldur without Reformation Coalitiorn oversight. Dimitri Rostov, Senior Manager of the Colonial Office, takes great pains to explain that this is not a challenge to Coalition authority, but rather a recognition of the importance of such missions and the need for Baldur to establish itself as a strong partner within the RC,rather than a weak member, too dependent upon other worlds.
Said Rostov, "We can't wait for Assembly consensus. Our future is too important to wait for some argumentative body to pencil us onto a schedule. Also, we are tired of being the 'sick man' of the backside. Baldur is more dependent upon technology imports than any other world of the Coalition, and we are eager to pull our own weight and offer something back to the Coalition. And if that gives us a stronger voice in the Assembly, so be it."
The Baldur Colonial Office has an unusual feature: one of its senior managers is an Oriflammen, Stefan Burg, present to coordinate the Oriflammen contributions to the colonial projects. The Oriflammen cooperation with the venture stems from the fact that Baldur has no open-air agricultural population, and the farmers needed for any successful colonial venture must come from elsewhere. This contribution is being coordinated by the Oriflamme Bureau of Relocation. Burg appeared with Rostov in the joint announcement and proclaimed Oriflamme's support of the Balduri initiative.
"Because the Coalition is currently committed to the coreward strategy as seen in the Title II mandate of official areas of operation, attempts to consolidate areas outside the AO, particularly along the trailing frontier, must be taken on by individual worlds. As the largest human population in theCoalition, Oriflamme is more than capable of taking on these duties herself without cutting back on her commitments to joint RC operations. No other world is able to say this, and we are proud to step forward and take responsibility."
Poyzen, the colony site, is unusual in planetological terms, in that it originally had an atmosphere classified as tainted, due to volcanic pollutants in its atmosphere. However, the world's volcanism has passed into a dormant phase, and the planet's atmosphere has cleaned itself up to the point where it is no longer rated as tainted. The world is thought to be uninhabited, having only been the site of a LastImperium scout base destroyed in the Collapse.
The Reformation Coalition Services Administration today announced the establishment of a new bootstrap project in the So Skire subsector, on the trailing face of the Coalition. This bootstrap operation is unusual in that it is being backed by joint RC resources, but is outside of the Primary Area of Operations mandated for such joint operations.
The target world for the operation is So Skire (1732/So Skire X-667843-1), a cold world whose inhabitants live in several island chains along the world's equatorial belt. One of these island nations was determined by an earlier survey operation to be amenable to off-world contact, and will be the center of focus of the upcoming bootstrap operation.
Bootstrap operations, unlike the more colorful "smash and grab" operations conducted by the RCES, are long-term projects intended to incorporate low-tech worlds and nations into the Coalition by gradually winning their loyalty via technical, medical, military, and social assistance. Because these operations are essentially intensive confidence-building projects, they are often referred to as "hearts and minds" operations within the RC bureaucracy. Bootstrap operations come under the purview of the RC Services Agency, which serves as the supervising body for the assembly of personnel, equipment, and support, but the bootstrap teams are naturally staffed by representatives of many RC organizations, including the RCES and RC Marine Corps. The coordinating officer for the So Skire operation, for example, is ]erszy Kaminski, seconded from RCES for this mission.
Until this announcement, it had been understood that RC bootstrap policy was governed by Title II, the Assembly measure that codified the Primary Area of Operations in the wake of the coreward-consolidation debate. Title II mandates the confinement of joint RC-funded expansion operations to the AO, which does not extend to the trailing subsectors, in which So Skire is located. Inside sources report that this non-AO operation is a quid pro quo offered to the Orifiamme delegation to unblock the stalled Ship Bill legislation, which was finally passed last month. The Ship Bill provides funding to the RC to allow the purchase of new Aurora-class clippers under construction in the orbitaI yards of Aubaine. Had the RC been unable to come up with funds to purchase these vessels, it was understood that their options would be picked up by Orlflamme to equip its planetary navy. The RCN and RCES strongly opposed the diversion of these important vessels from RC service, and RCN and RCES positions are usually strongly supported by the Assembl)/s federalist voting block. However, on this issue, the federalist block was split because many federalist delegates fear that the measure will only further centralize power in RC hands, to which federalists are opposed.
As if to underscore the urgency of resolving the Ship Bill controversy, the bootstrap team will be transported by RCS Immanuel Kant, newest of the RCN clippers, whose recent completion vacated one of the building slips which was promptly used to begin construction of another clipper.
A dozen years ego, Lon E. Moggart burst upon the scene of reconstruction government with his characteristic vigor; Leaving his mark upon Aubani planetory defense, power distribution, and human-Scholli relations, among other areas. As a member( the first Coalition Assembly, he was elected its Secretary Ceneral by a wide margin, and has spent the 15 months since the defining the office, often colliding with the intended formal definition of his duties.
Spending time with "the SG" as he is called by his staff is a vivid experience, and is more akin to spending time with a natural force than with an ordinary man. Maggart is almost constantly in motion, whether springing to a pile of reports to extract a significant document, hoisting his boots up onto the edge of a table to tip himself back in his chair, or grabbing on unusual large mug of coffee, slurping a mouthful of the scalding liquid, and then slamming the mug back down to slosh its contents onto the table. His informality is at once charming and disorienting, as one is not always sure how to behave around such a dynamic figure. At the some time, one is unaccustomed to finding that such an activefigure is also keenly intelligen thoughtful, and quite well-read. However, the SG is friendly and open, and one is rapidly drawn into the whirlwind arena of this active leader who does not have enough hours in a day.
CIN is proud to present excerpts from this exclusive series of interviews with the Secretary General.
IN: Your central message as Secretary General seems to be the importance of uncity. But your leading opponents in the Centrist movement condemn your policies and then themselves call for unity. What is going on here?
SG: What you have to understand is that a lot of people are fighting over this concept of unity. Federalist unity, coordinated centrist unity, racial unity, economic unity. I don't care about all of that stuff.
I'm trying to awaken people to a different kind of unity. We're already in this together, the whole Coalition, because we can still become like all those dead planets out there if we don't keep our noses clean. Unity is not a concept to argue over, it's a reality to accept, and then move on from there.
I'm continuously surprised at how quick people are to split themselves into little groups as soon as they get their backs about a centimeter away from the wall, and I'm trying to get people to come to grips with the fact that we have no Ieeway to act like that. I want people to recognize the importance of this situation, and start coming up with some answers about how we're going to keep this crap from happening again. I'm just looking for an intellectual response here. Any intellectual response.
CIN:And what kind of response have you been getting back?
CIN: What of the reports that have been circulating that there will be attempts against your life on your upcoming Gemini tour of Oriflamme?
SG: I try hard not to worry about stuff that I can't control. When I visit Oriflamme I will be making a lot of public appearances, so there are a lot of places where I could be vulnerable. But my job is not to protect myself, my job is to lead this Coalition, and to communicate some important messages to our people. Oriflamme is one of the crucial members of this organization, and deserves my undivided attention. So I am working on what I can control: preparing to communicate and listen to the people of Oriflamme, and not on what I can't control: making sure I stay alive. Now the chief of my security staff should be losing a lot of sleep, because it is his job to make sure that I don't get shot.
CIN: These death threats could come from Oriflammen separatists, hard-core Centrists, feudalists, right-wing humanists, antisubinfeudationists, or even from the Oriflammen resistance in order to discredit their government. Who do you believe that it is behind these threats?
SG: I don't care.
CIN: But surely you--
SG: I said I don't care, and I mean I don't care. And I'II tell you why. I know that those threats don't come from the people of Oriflamme. If the threats are real, they come from fringe elements who do not represent the people of Oriflamme, and I want to make it clear to you in the media, and to every Coalition citizen that these threats do not reflect on the people of Oriflamme, and I will not stand for any implication that they do. Do I make myself clear!
CIN: Eminently, Mr. Secretary
Unofficial RCN sources confirm rumors that there is a starfaring organization operating somewhere in the Shenk subsector, immediately to coreward of the Oriflamme subsector. Indications are that this organization is a human government rather than a vampire fleet, although such assessmentsare only tentative.
Details of the size or extent of operations of this group are not available, but it is known that they operate in the Shenk Rimward Main, and have been observed to operate starships in the 30,000 displacement ton range, significantly larger than any starships apemted by the Reformabon Coalition. The operations that have been observed are not consistent with either Free Trader or Mercantile Guild activities as these new activities are much more extensive.
It is not known at this time whether or not this organization presents a threat to the Coalition, although the characteristics of their shipping indicate that the potential is there.
Today saw the long-awaited opening of the exhibition "Why Cats Paint: A theory of feline aesthetics" in the newly renovated Bridget Wing of the Brusman Cultural Center.
"Why Cats Paint' is a lavish celebration of the largely unappreciated aesthetic sensibilities of cats, and is described by its organizers as also functioning as an experiment in inter-species morphic resonance and formative causation.
In addition to paintings by acknowledged masters Tiger, Bootsie, Misty, Lu Lu and Wong Wong, the exhibition features works of sculpture and cat performance art, the first of its kind to see public exhibition. The centerpiece of the show is the magnificent Breakfast, commissioned specifically for this show from Tiger, leader of the spontaneous reductionist school.
Show organizers Heather Bush and Burton Sliver were on hand for the gala reception, along with two of the featured artists, duo painters Lu Lu and Wong Wong.
'Why Cats Paint: A theory of feline aesthetics" will remain open in the Brusman Cultural Center's Bridget Wing through the end of Capricorn.
A combined Reformation Coalition force under the command of Commodore Sean "Hammer'' Lathrop has chalked up another conspicuous success here on Marax, rescuing the 12 imprisoned crew of the Dawn League trader DLS Horus, held in captivity for more than a year by TED Ushugaam II. Horus was one of the original 12 ill-fated 'Trading scouts" dispatched in 1199 on exploration missions from which none of them would return. Horus was declared overdue on 3/XIV1199.
RC intelligence services received infonnation from unspecified sources that the Horus crew, under Captain Julianne Einhatta, were being held by Ushugaam's forces in an underground stronghold in the "Cleft Bagvoot," a system of rift valleys in the high desert of Marax. The stronghold is the preCollapse headquarters of the Marax planetary defense system, and was heavily defended by batteries of TL10 planetary defense missiles. Due to the deep subterranean location of the Cleft Bagvoot stronghold, it could not be attacked directly from orbit, but could only be assaulted by troops on the ground in the valley itself.
This required a daring assault spearheaded by drop troops who neutralized the missile batteries, paving the way for the landing of heavy reinforcements from orbit. The force included units from the Reformation Coalition Navy, Reformation Coalition Marine Corps, Oriflammen Marine Corps, Nimban Army, plus Freelancers and volunteers from Baldur, organized as Task Force Strike Marax.
The task force consisted of three companies of troops plus an engineer platoon and RCN orbital support commanded from task force flagship Thunderchild, Captain Pat Ritter commanding.
The RC forces were faced by elements of three battalions of Marax troops, equipped to tech level 9 or 10. The initial RC lodgement was seriously threatened by the arrival of relic heavy armored vehicles of the "Abomination" design. These fission powered behemoths were impervious to the drop troops' weaponry, and had eventually to be destroyed by orbital missile fire. The attack was ultimately successful, resulting in the clearing of the stronghold and the rescue of all 12 Horus crewmembers. The TED Ushugaam is also believed to have been killed in the action.
The commanding officer of the System Naval Forces (COSYSNAVFOR) Captain Pat "Who Me?" Ritter, described it as, "a textbook operation. It's right there in the first chapter, under 'Goat Rodeos: How to Organize Them for Fun and Profit.""
With the recovery of Horus' crew, nine of the 12 Dawn League traders are now thought to be accounted for. The fates of traders Damerlicht, Dawn and Reine Soleil are still unknown.
The Commander, Reformation Coalition Navy regrets to announce that the Reformation Coalition Ship Marathon Victrix (TAILNO 10050) is missing and presumed lost in routine operations in the Shenk subsector. Marathon Victrix is a sloop of the Victrix class, displacing 400 tons and carrying a crew of 26. She was completed at Trybec and was employed primarily in frontier patrol duties.
The navy is unable to confirm or deny whether the loss has any connection with the speculated existence of a foreign starfaring power operating in the Shenk subsector, but is undertaking an inquiry to establish the cause of the ship's disappearance. RCN and RCES vessels operating in the subsector have been ordered to operate at a higher level of vigilance for the duration of this inquiry.
RCN forces are operating at a high level of readiness following the announcement earlier this afternoon of the loss of RCS Marathon Victrix in the Shenk subsector. All leaves have been cancelled for RCN ships in the Aurora system, and it is expected that all naval vessels present will put to space while they are fully crewed.
Expected to depart are the sloops Coral Sea Victrix, Riggins Victrix, Kelley Victrix, and the clippers Aurora and Apollo. Their destination is presumed to be the Shenk Rimward Main, via Eos, Ra and Fisher's World.
The following message was delivered to RCN forces operating in the Shenk subsector:
"In the name of The Empress Solee, the Christen Overtak, Her Brilliant Majesty Gabriella Ramstattan, I, Amaraan Abas, The Voice of Solee, declare to you Her most grave displeasure at your activities in the territory of the Soleean Empire.
"The surviving crew of your starcraft Marathon Victorious are being held for crimes against the person, lands, chattel and interests of The Empress Solee, for which the penalties are death. However, it is Her Brilliant Majesty's pleasure to commute these sentences to life imprisonment at hard labor, pending the payment of reparations by your Reformed Coalition.
"We expect the most rapid compliance with this generous offer." The message has been forwarded to the highest levels of the RC govemment. RCN throughout the Thoezennt, Shenk, Aubaine and Oriflamme subsectors are being placed on the highest level of alert.
Cynta "Sinner" Lawter, the youngest line captain in the Reformation Coalition Navy, today resigned her commission amid growing controversy surrounding the Daaliisa raid, code named Cosmic Fire. Lawter has come under increasing criticism for her handling of recent operations by RCS Aube into the Promise subsector. Charges by centrist Assembly representatives that Lawter flagrantly disregarded the limits of the Primary Area of Operation and exceeded her authority in planning and executing raids had been dismissed by senior federalist members of the Assembly. The recent disclosure of the violent and covert nature of the raid on the Droyne of Daaliisa, however, has caused federalist support for Lawter to crumble amid concern that the raid will alienate the Droyne both on Daaliisa and elsewhere. Delicate diplomatic negotiations with Droyne enclaves are reportedly in progress on several worlds.
Lawter has refused to comment publicly on the controversial raid, except to say, "This is not about the Droyne; it is about Virus, and it's not going to just go away."