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RCES spokesmen have announced plans for the construction of a new class of long-range exploration and trading vessels. The starships, which are to be designated "schooners," would fall in the 1000 displacement ton range and would be equipped with a power spinal mount weapon, possess excellent jump and maneuver characteristics, and will enable RCES to undertake long distance missions beyond the current boundaries of the Primary Area of Operations.
The announcement has caused some controversy in the Assembly, with several centrist delegates already vowing to kill funding for the project. RCES spokesmen have defended the project, claiming that RCES is already run ning a number of strategic operations outside the AO with Assembly approval, and that the new ships are necessary for continued success. In addit ion RCES officials have pointed out that their service will require newer and more robust starships if they are to go ahead with the planned contact mission to the Covenant of Sufren, currently scheduled for sometime late next year.
If funded, the class will initially number six vessels; Resolution, Spitfire, Hellion, Adventure, Daring and Endeavor.
In a rare and unexpected show of unity, leading centerist and federalist Assembly delegates emerged from a marathon negotiating session this morning to announce that a rough agreement on the contents of the long awaited "Admission Bill." Although the agreement remains provisional, both sides have expressed strong support for the compromise, reflecting that the agreement is, in the words of Oriflammen delegate Jerie Stakakis, "something we can all live with." It is expected that a more formal draft of the bill will be submitted to the Assembly for ratification sometime later this month.
The purpose of the Admission Bill legislation is to enable the political expansion of the Coalition through the inclusion of new worlds. Presently, the only new worlds added to the RC since its founding have been the boneyard world of Adrian and Vezina, conquered by RC military forces in 1200. Continued political squabbling between Assembly factions has prevented any meaningful addressal of the issue since, although a number of promising candidate planets have been contacted in the interim.
The compromise worked out last night side-steps the contentious issue of entry standards by the creation of what the document calls "Associate status." Coalition Associates would enjoy certain privileges in exchange for a number of responsibilities within the scheme. Associate worlds woul d enjoy observer status at the RC Assembly, economic integration with the Coalition and enhanced educational opportunities, while retaining a large measure of their own local authority in exchange for a binding defensive agreement and Coalition-supervised governmental reform, as necessary. A two-year probationary would be mandatory, after which the issue of full membership would be subject to a free vote in the Assembly.
Spiri officials are expressing consternation and dismay after a large starship filled with several hundred environmental activists landed on this pristine agricultural world to stage what Ecotopia Now! spokesmen termed a "Human Be-in." Although there have been no reported incidents of violence, local people are upset at what appears to be a planned week-long event of therapeutic drumming, candle-light singsongs, crystal "convergences" and "masculinity/femininity" workshops. A midnight march on the Evholt Forest, a local Spiri sacred site located some fifteen kilometers from the starport, was prevented only when Shrine Guardians announced that they were prepared to publicly commit suicide rather that allow the site to be "defiled."
Ecotopia Now! members profess to be mystified at the hostile reaction they have received from local inhabitants. "Like, can't they see we're all, like, on the same side?" asked one reveler. Another asked, "Can't we all just get along?"
Ecotopia Now! was founded in 1199 on Lucifer, ostensibly as an environmental watchdog agency. Recently, the movement have begun to embrace elements of Pangaiaist philosophy and alternative spirituality, particularly after its Executive Council was co-opted by an Advisory Board mainly made up of Luhtalan entertainers and former celebrities. The movement now numbers 30,000, and draws membership from across the Coalition.
Coalition recovery teams under the auspices of the Exploratory Service have extablished a permanent base of operations and frontier quality starport on the cemetery world of Bhule.
Though recovery operations have been underway on Bhule for quite sometime the pace of these operations has been painstakingly slow due to a near total infestation of embryonic viri. To date these operations have yielded little in the way of strategic materials and were in danger of being canceled all together, however, thanks to the acquisition of new viral counter measures provided by the Covenant of Sufren the pace of these operations has recently increased to such a level that a permanently manned recovery station has become necessary.
All starship captains should modify Bhule's UWP to E510365-9 with a population code of 2 to reflect these changes. Unrefined fuel is available to Coalition registered starships at standard rates.
On a more somber note, RCES teams working near the ruins of Bhule's Imperial Scout Base have discovered the nearly intact remains of the independent starship Vigilante. A modified Stellar-class liner of the Admiral Bertil-class, the Vigilante was well known throughout the Diaspora sector for its actions against pirates and raiders during the Hard Times. Perhaps best remembered for its actions in the Unity of Promise, the Vigilante dropped out of sight in Diaspora only a few short months before the final Collapse.
What began over a month ago as a scheduled week long demonstration for peace and understanding on the pastoral world of Spires ended suddenly last night as the members of Ecotopia Now! hastily abandoned their cantonment, boarded off world transports and fled the system.
Though only a few of the Ecotopia members paused long enough let their thoughts be recorded the words they have left us with did little to dispel the mystery surrounding their sudden departure. Many local Spiri described the Ecotopian's attitudes early last night as disturbed and obviously pre-occupied. "They acted as if something in the shadows waited for them and they knew it. They were all afraid, very very afraid." One young Spiri woman reported. "They professed a desire to achieve enlightenment and a oneness with nature, nature it seems, was not prepared to accept them." Village elder M'kara Bhatal's words were considerably more cryptic. "The Evholt Forest is a source of great power, a power which they coveted but possessed neither the will nor the strength of character to possess. Much like your Pandora they merely desired to possess and not understand, that was their undoing. Eventually the forest's spirit became their master and not the other way around, they could not accept that and so the forest turned on them."
One week ago four Ecotopia Now! members were arrested for skinny dipping in the sacred springs of B'shan near the forest's heart. Though the Spiri steadfastly refused to accept any form of compensation from Ecotopia Now! for the incident, the perpetrators were immediately escorted to K'unara Downport and placed on the first transport off world. One of these individuals was heard remarking before boarding the transport, "This is like, so unfair man. We were just having some fun and now they're like, shipping us to Eos, postage paid. We're like, Lhutalan's man, don't they un derstand that?"
The field where the Ecotopia Now! camp had stood for more than a month is now devoid of activities, nothing more than a muddy field covered with collapsed tents and garbage. Garbage that the Spiri have been left to clean up.
RCSA is pleased to announce the upgrading of Aurora's SB & D shipyards from it's current B classification to an A classification following the completion of it's first 'keel-up' starship, Oracle. A custom built TL-12 mercenary cruiser variant, Oracle was built under contract for Hiver Technical Academy and is expected to be donated to RCES upon completion of it's shake-down cruise.
Though not nearly as extensive as the yards at Oriflamme or Aubaine, the Auroran yards are only capable of constructing starships under the 900 displacement ton rating, the Auroran yards are expected to lessen the burden of new starships currently shouldered entirely by Aubaine.
Work is currently underway to refurbish a number of larger slips damaged in the Collapse.
The pre-dawn skies over Janie lit up violently this morning as dozens of Soleean drop-ships descended from orbit and began securing the recently built starport in the Republic of Carcovaan.
Although initial resistance to the landings was fierce, the speed and ruthlessness with which the Soleean's attacked coupled with heavy orbital bombardment quickly subdued most of the Carcovaani resistance as many units were forced to fall back into more rural areas. Though the extent of the orbital bombardment is unknown radio transmissions were intercepted from a number of key Carcovaani installations indicating that they had met a similar fate.
Three Mercantile Guild starships were either destroyed or captured on the ground and a handful of Guild technical advisors on loan to the Carcovaani government are known to have been captured during the initial landings.
RC bootstrap teams working in Equatoria and the Republic of Gallos have either headed underground for the time being or escaped on the RMS Crystal Goddess which was landed on the planet's far-side when the landings began.
RC Navel experts see Solee's landings on Janie a merely the beginning of a protracted campaign.
In a move bound to create controversy, Secretary General Lon Maggart personally oversaw the appointment of Lt. General Rafael "Blackheart" Cohen as senior commander in charge of the Reformation Coalition Marine Corps.
"General Cohen is one of the Coalition's most competent field officers, we cannot afford to have him sidelined because of problems here on Oriflamme. As a military confrontation with the Empire of Solee becomes more and more inevitable men, of General Cohen's caliber are becoming increasingly valuable. You may see this as a challenge to the authority of Oriflamme, I see it as the only alternative we have left."
Lt. General Cohen was relieved of his command by the Council of Technarchs last Sagittarius when he disagreed with the sentences handed out to a number of ex-Oriflammen Marines suspected of sabotage. Since that time more than a dozen other Oriflamme Marines have been tried and convicted of acts of sabotage, a crime on Oriflamme which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years hard labor, Lt. General Cohen has been present at each of these trials submitting evidence on behalf of the accused.
Several hours after the Secretary General's announcement Lt. General Cohen and his senior staff officers boarded the Reformation Priority Courier Fairfax, a Lord Baltimore-class Yacht, for an undisclosed destination. Speculation is that the Fairfax will be transporting the General to a rendezvous Shenk Rimward Main where he will personally assume command of his troops.
The mood around Devil's Throne was somber this afternoon as Junior Technarch of Public Affairs Hystr Prin announced the sudden and unexpected death of Senior Technarch Jessika Lucas and four of her senior staff members when their G-Carrier experienced a sudden power failure at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters and slammed into a mountainside just south of Bangala late last night. Though officials on the scene are referring to the incident as an "unfortunate accident" they are quick to point out that Senior Technarch Lucas had been the recipient of a number of death threats in the weeks leading up to the crash and as such they are treating this as a criminal investigation rather than a civil one.
Though accidents of this type are not unheard of, the thirteenth Imperial Duke of Delphi died in a similar manner, they are uncommon enough that investigators are quick to rule out mere mechanical failure and instead have labeled the accident either a deliberate act of sabotage or mechanical incompetence. "It's really to early to know exactly what happened to cause this power failure, but we're focusing our attention on the ventral power conduits. There was a fair amount of internal structural damage inconsistent with the crash dynamics." Said senior site investigator, Alain Crowder. "Right now were waiting to hear back on the contents of the FDR's (Flight Data Recorders) recovered earlier this morning."
Though there have been no official claims of responsibility, officials on Oriflamme feel that it is only a matter of time before some group steps forth.
In a maneuver that can only be described as "audacious," advanced elements of Task-Group 17 engaged and defeated a pair of Soleean Patrol Cruisers in the Dunas system today. The twin Patrol Cruisers were apparently engaged in a hard target search of the fourth moon of Gwendor, Dunas' largest gas-giant, when the encounter began.
"They were making enough noise to wake the dead." Said Captain Ilkura " Kegger" Saturn of the RCS Kelly Victrix. "We're still not sure what they were looking for, but they were so intent upon it that by the time they knew we were there it was already to late. The Angkor Wat went low, we came in high, gave them the opportunity to surrender, they declined, so we lit them up with the missiles we had in place. Poor bastards didn't even know what hit them."
An RCMC force eventually boarded the two stricken vessels and took the survivors prisoner. While a large percentage of the Soleean crews were killed in the brief exchange of fire, the captain and first officer of one of the Patrol Cruisers were captured unharmed and immediately transferred to RC Navel Intelligence for interrogation.
As Navel Intelligence officers began scouring the vessels for information, a damage control team from Angkor Wat boarded the Patrol Cruiser, ISNV Royal Defender, to affect repairs in preparation for moving the vessel out of system. The second Patrol Cruiser, ISNV Imperial Guardian, was considered unsalvageable and as such was abandoned in an eccentric orbit.
In spite of concerted efforts on the part of both Angkor Wat and Kelly Victrix after the engagement no trace could be found of what it was the two Patrol Cruisers were looking for. "They were looking for something, something they thought was really important. What it was we'll probably never know for sure."
In a speech delivered early this morning Secretary General Lon Maggart spoke bluntly about the increasing tensions in Shenk subsector as a result of the Soleean Crisis and of a number of steps the RC would be implementing at home to ensure a swift resolution. Though his words were vague about the actual dangers posed by Solee, the seriousness with which the Assembly views the situation was best exemplified with the SG's own words.
"With the continued deterioration of the Solee situation we are left with little choice but to commit a greater percentage of our forces to maintain that frontier, furthermore as the possibility of hostilities continue to increase with every moment it has been decided that there will be an immediate review of Oriflamme's, Bourgund Shipyards, and Trybec's, Dawn Construction Yards, B-ratings in the hopes that they can be upgraded to A- classifications at sometime in the immediate future. To this end no effort will be spared to assure the material and technical expertise are available to allow for this classification change to occure in a timely fashion. As such all materials recovered from the Wilds relating to the construction, repair and maintenance of starships and their components shall be considered eminent domain of these shipyards and shall only be distributed to other shipyards should those materials be superfluous."
For sometime technical crews from the Bourgund Shipyards and Dawn Construction Yards have traveled to Aubaine to acquire the necessary information and skills to allow for the eventual upgrading of these facilities. In the wake of this mornings announcement by the SG it was decided during an emergency Assembly vote that technical experts from Aubaine would instead journey to the shipyards at Oriflamme and Trybec to oversee and assist with their transformation into A-class facilities.
It is expected that by sometime early tomorrow morning the first Aubani technical crew, consisting of some twenty-five individuals, will depart for Oriflamme aboard the freshly returned Fairfax, additional crews will depart as necessary. The first crews headed for Trybec are scheduled for departure sometime later this week.
Citing faltering album sales and the collapse of the "Genocide" tour Dulinor the Black and the Stormtroopers of Ilelish announced in a press conference this afternoon that they would be "calling it quits till this whole Ithklur thing blows over." The announcement came early this morning from a media filled penthouse suite high atop the Thessaloniki Hilton.
Originally formed under the name "Jump-Point-Zulu" the band had a number of minor hits on the Crystalline Label before changing its line-up and name more than two years ago. Following the name change there was period of idleness during which the band engaged in an intensive hunt across Fija to find what front man Ned Whiskus, the man who became better known as Dulinor, termed "the one." Four months later the band released their first album with new basist "Margaret Lucan" (formerly, Cadence L'engle of Thessaloniki). Though slammed by the critics as "pedestrian" and "bland" the newly founded band would quickly climb the charts to become one of Fija's the most wildly popular bands, much to the dismay of trend analysts everywhere.
Dulinor and the Stormtroopers most recent album, "Clarion" is currently double platinum on Fija and threatening to break into gold status on a number of other RC worlds.
As news of the break-up spread, thousands of devoted fans filled Starlight Park across the street from the Hilton and were rewarded by an impromptu, what many are calling, "final performance" by the band. Perched atop a glacially scoured rock outcropping known by locals at "Hestra's Table, " Dulinor, Margaret Lucan and the other Stormtroopers of Ilelish delivered what critic's agree was perhaps their finest performance, lacking the stunning visual displays that had become their trademark it was an intimate setting with just the band, their music and their fans. When it was all over the band disappeared into the Fijan night in a pair of Astrin APC'.
It is with heavy heart that I must report the destruction of the RCS Coral Sea Victrix with a loss of over 70% of her crew.
Coral Sea Victrix along her sister ship Cymbeline Victrix and one other, as yet, unidentified RCS vessel were engaged in refueling operations around the smaller gas-giant Storvreta in the Dunas system late last night when a Soleean strike force jumped into system and attacked the three smaller vessels though the Soleean ships were eventually driven off it was not before inflicting heavy damage upon the Coalition vessels.
"From the start the engagement looked pretty much like a write-off. They were bigger, faster and we were still cracking fuel. It was our intention to simply jump out of system but their closure rate was to fast and Coral Sea had just completed her skim." Said Captain J.L. "Jasper" Caledon of the Cymbeline Victrix. Fighting a delaying action to allow for the recovery of survivors from the Coral Sea Victrix, Captain Caledon employed "unusual" tactics at best, closing with the Soleean command ship under cover of nuclear detonations until finally engaging the vessel with lasers and plasma cannons.
Though the Cymbline Victrixsustained heavy damage in the engagement the survivors of Coral Sea Victrix were recovered in a timely fashion allowing for the third RC vessel to join briefly in the fray before the Soleean's retreated. Both surviving RC vessels are currently engaged in salvage operations of the Coral Sea Victrix in an attempt to deny Soleean high command of any useful intelligence.
Through analysis of the sensor logs on board the Cymbline Victrix the Soleean strike force has been identified as consisting of the following vessels: 1 Kinunar-class cruiser, 1 Fiery-class escort and 3 TL12 Far-Traders. Given the presence of the Far-Traders Coalition Navel Intelligence surmises that these vessels were bound for the Janie system with ammunitions and supplies for the Soleean forces occupying that world.