Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Interstellar Dispatches 11

Originally posted by Town Criers Guild on March 30, 2008
Featured articles in this issue:

  • Firebrand Priest Blasts Hira Heresy
  • The Devil Returns
  • Thousands Die in Twin Kordeth Atrocity
  • Three Men on a Hill
  • Agora Notices

Firebrand Priest Blasts Hira Heresy
HIRA -- Shelit -- The recent arrival of the Avestite Bishop Tomas de Santiago has stirred up a razor fly’s nest of controversy. As leader of an Avestite mission to Hira to bolster the morale and fighting spirit of devout soldiers stationed there, he and his entourage took several weeks to tour the war zone from Fort Omala in the west to Shelit in the east.

Within days of completing the tour, the Bishop delivered a furious oration to the assembled faithful. He condemned not only the heathens who deny the Pancreator’s glory but also pointed an accusing finger at both the Hazat and the Shelit, admonishing them for their use of forbidden technology and the resulting soul death of hundreds of their own soldiers.

The good Bishop became incensed when he learned that large numbers of penal troops used on the Hiran frontline had been subjected to forced cybernetic conversion and drug therapy to improve their conviction and prowess in battle. It has always been the Church’s stance that the use of this corrupting technology is permissible in defense of the faithful, but only when confession and penance are used to ensure the correct moral outlook.

A spokesman for the Hazat, Sir Ricardo Paulo de Vera Cruz, answered the allegation by stating that the penal troops used on Hira are given spiritual guidance by an Orthodox chaplin and are considered to be in a state of extreme penance given their status as criminals.

Bishop Santiago did not condemn the convicts themselves for their state of sin, but those who would willingly perpetrate soul death on any scale, calling them heretics and blasphemers. The good Bishop called for an Inquisitorial investigation into the practices in these penal boot camps.

The Hazat formally requested that the Bishop be replaced, claiming that he is adversely affecting morale.

The Devil Returns
GWYNNETH -- Llanfyrth -- House Hawkwood star naval forces have been placed on alert after a convoy of five vessels was attacked while traversing the Gwynneth system. Only a single surviving vessel managed to limp into orbit to tell the tale and alert the authorities. The story told by the League Captain Gorman Palmer is a chilling one:

“We were hailed by a Hornet-class frigate and ordered to stand down for a routine inspection. As we idled, we detected incoming boarding pods, one for each of the ships in the convoy. That’s not a standard procedure in a routine inspection. I hailed the frigate to demand an explanation, but answering the hail was not a smartly dressed Hawkwood officer. Instead, it was a face I recognized as damnation itself.

“I ordered my crew to battle stations and told them to target the boarding pod with all available firepower, but we are a merchant vessel and our armament was limited. We fled into the void and Devil’s Revenge gave chase: she outgunned and could outrun us. I ordered my crew to dump the cargo to make better speed, and my chief Engineer cranked every bit of power from those engines.

“Evidently the pirate ship was only interested in our cargo and broke pursuit, but not before that alien face again filled my comm-screen, taunting me and telling me that we were to be the herald of his return. I thank the Pancreator for my life and the lives of my crew.”

It is evident from Captain Palmer’s interview that one of the most notorious pirates of the Emperor Wars has returned from the void. The Devil Beliah had seemingly vanished after a raid in the Ravenna system in 5000.

Associate Keller, a spokesperson for the Findmans’ Guild, stated that “although the Devil [Beliah] has apparently been inactive over the last few years, he was still on the ‘Pheonix Empire’s Most Wanted’ list,” and that “the League has just increased the standing bounty on his head, to be awarded dead or alive.”

Thousands Die in Twin Kordeth Atrocity
KORDETH -- Vis -- The Kordeth troubles have been an ongoing issue since the end of the Ukari War. Despite the best efforts of the Muster and the Allied Clans, terrorism and sabotage are everyday occurrences. A recent and carefully negotiated ceasefire had held for almost a month. It was abruptly shattered with not one but two atrocities that claimed the lives of thousands.

Our correspondent, Katra Price, reports from Kordeth, “in an unexpected and unprovoked act of violence during the early morning, three stars fell from the heavens to strike with precision accuracy on the Salem Vo mine-head. The first orbital-drop plasma bomb made a direct hit on the mine-head, vaporizing everything on the surface within two kilometers. In that instant, the aboveground human settlement was reduced to atoms: a thousand families gone in the blink of an eye. The howling fire-winds pushed out from the centre, scorching the land within a further thirty-kilometer radius and destroying several outlying townships.

“The second and third plasma bombs both dropped directly onto the vaporized crater, triggering a seismic shock that collapsed the main shaft, leaving a massive scar on the landscape that can be seen from orbit.

“As if that was not enough destruction for the cowards who perpetrated this act of genocide, the freighter that was the source of the plasma bombs then powered up its engines and rammed the Clear Profit transfer station, triggering an explosion that sent fiery pieces of the ruined station streaking through Kordeth’s thin atmosphere. The total loss of life is still being counted, but League officials have already stated their intent to capture the criminals who planned and carried out this vile act and bring them to justice for their barbarity.”

The Town Criers’ Guildhouse in Vis received an anonymous communication within hours of the atrocity. The handwritten note read “We deplore this act of aggression. Bava! is not responsible for this act and we condemn those who have conducted it.”

Despite this evidence, Muster officials were keen to point the finger of blame in Bava!’s direction. Muster Captain Tab Martin had this to say: “we have many leads and our inquiries will produce results very soon. Whoever conducted this act had possession of no less than three weapons of mass destruction. If these weapons had been deployed against major population centers at Vis or Darurgin the loss of life would have been much greater. This act was carefully planned, extremely well resourced, and conducted by cowardly extremists who don’t know when they’re beat. So Bava!, if you are listening, we are gunning for you!”

The Council of Allied Clans has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law.

The Town Criers’ Guild is proud to present another collection of semi-coherent mumblings from the conspiracy know-it-alls of the Three Men on a Hill.

Three Men on a Hill
This month there has been much ado in the Known Worlds, all of which has escaped the notice of the vast majority of people, likely because they are ill-educated, illiterate, and interested only in the gossip from the next town. But not so the readers of this august journal, you are the well-informed elite, and doubly so when you read on…

Let us begin with an interesting snippet from Stigmata. It seems that Brother Battle forces intercepted a crew of freelancers as they exited the jumpgate in the Stigmata system. The jump signature from the gate indicated that the starship had come from Daishan and the Brothers moved swiftly to ensure that any potential Symbiot contagion was contained.

According to our sources, the freelancers were a group of adventuring treasure-seekers who claimed to have discovered the location of a vast hoard of hidden treasures in a vault bearing the livery of House Masseri. Of course, the fabled lost treasure of the Masseri has been the source of many wild speculations. We made some further inquiries with Brother Battle Command, and we were issued with a simple statement denying the interception of any such starship or the recovery of prisoners or information related to a Masseri vault on Daishan.

Well of course they wouldn’t admit to this, nor that the Brother Battle are preparing an expedition to Daishan as you read these very words, good reader. We approached House Masseri for comment, and Sir Quintus Masseri gave us this remark: “This is preposterous; the Brother Battle are a Church Order and if they have obtained information concerning our noble heritage then they must release that information to our House immediately. It is ours by right.”

Interestingly, we quizzed the Reeves Guild concerning the legality of the Masseri claim. We were informed that Daishan falls outside the jurisdiction of the Known Worlds, as it is currently occupied by Symbiots. A legal claim could only be enforced through salvage rights, which would mean that whoever finds the treasure, owns the treasure.

The Town Crier's Guild takes no responsibility for Notices solicited in its reports. Dissatisfaction with product or services should be addressed to the merchant or manufacturer. If you can read these, then caveat emptor.

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