Monday, 30 July 2012

Interstellar Dispatches 19

Originally posted by Town Crier's Guild on November 30, 2008
Featured articles in this issue:

  • Mammonist Heist Foiled
  • Millirice Harvest Failure
  • Town Criers Win Legal Ruling
  • Three Men on a Hill
  • Agora Notices

NEWS
Mammonist Heist Foiled
BYZANTIUM SECUNDUS--Imperial City--The Imperial Eye has revealed that its agents have foiled the second attempt by Mammonists in a month to attack the Imperial Mint. This attempt ended in a siege that lasted almost a day, until members of the elite Phoenix Guard were ordered to assault the building and capture the heretics.

Raiders entered the Imperial Mint in the heart of the Imperial City’s financial district disguised as cleaning staff. As the gang brandished weapons and secured the perimeter of the building, one member of staff was able to raise the alarm. The heretics took hostages and tried to force them to open the lower level vaults, where large caches of minted coins are stored.

The Imperial City Constabulary sealed off the building within minutes of the alarm and was quickly reinforced by a detachment of troops from the Byzantium Secundus Planetary Guard Regiment. Unable to escape the Mint, the Mammonists fired warning shots from the upper windows of the building to keep security forces at bay.

Negotiation began after twelve hours of tense siege when the Mammonists made demands for food and water. Agent Terpin Sylvar of the Imperial Eye entered the building to negotiate directly, taking with him the demanded supplies. In return, the Mammonists released seven of their twenty hostages.

Information obtained from the released hostages revealed that the heretics had wired the lower vaults with explosives to destroy the minted reserve of firebirds rather than steal them as had first been presumed. When Agent Sylvar failed to return after three hours of negotiation, two squads of the Phoenix Guard were placed on standby to deploy at a moment’s notice.

Finally, the Mammonists demanded a flitter for themselves and their hostages. Captain Arden Cameton of the Constabulary agreed to their demands and requested Phoenix Guard intervention.

The siege ended as the two squads of the Phoenix Guard arrived aboard the flitter that was supposed to ferry the Mammonists to safety. The first team secured the roof, while the second team abseiled down the exterior of the building to enter via the windows. The firefight was over in moments with only one casualty among the hostages.

Agent Sylvar was recovered unharmed and was believed to have assisted the Phoenix Guard raid by wrestling with the Mammonist leader to secure a dead-man detonator that could have destroyed the entire building.

Millirice Harvest Failure
GWYNNETH--Llanfyrth--For the second year running, the millirice harvest on Gwyneth has failed, leading to wide-scale shortages of basic food staples. Since the harvest last month the costs of living have almost doubled, which is also affecting fiefs on the planet who do not primarily rely on agriculture. As always, it will be the serfs who suffer most from these shortages, though the coming winter season will be hard on everyone.

We spoke with Sir Orin Hekarn Torenson, Seneschal to Count Thomas Hawkwood, who told us, “This is a disaster; two years running will cause hardship for everyone. We all depend on the millirice harvest and much of our produce is shipped offworld. Production is down, exports will be down and the costs will be soaring. We need to examine the reasons for this failure and ensure that we don’t make it three failed harvests in a row.”

“The weather has been particularly dry this year causing the millirice to wither on the stalk before the harvest. This may be related to the recent increase in the Red Sun’s solar activity, which has seen an upsurge in solar flares, by around 23.5%”, said Engineer Herton Lowmax, an expert advisor from the Engineers Guild in the field of agricultural technology.

Bishop Drew Coultrain had a different point of view. “Prayer! The Pancreator looks with ill favor upon those who practice paganism and show only lip service to the true Faith.”

At the behest of Count Thomas, the Engineers Guild was contracted to examine and resolve the water shortages by digging three bedrock wells and a series of channels to feed the water to the fields.

Sir Orin said, “The count is a forward-looking man, and the expense of this building project is justifiable to ensure that next year’s crop is not a repeat of the recent disaster.  The project has received criticism from some quarters, but desperate times necessitate desperate measures.”

Town Criers win Legal Ruling
LEAGUEHEIM--Kesparate--Only a few short months ago, the Town Criers Guild in general and the Interstellar Dispatches specifically were accused by Bishop Julius Haverland of promoting the sin of mass media. The offending articles were of course our very popular, if short lived, Magic Lantern Reviews.

The matter has now been resolved with a legal ruling from the Free Court. With representation from the Guild of Reeves, the Town Criers Guild successfully argued that a review column in our publication concerning magic lantern recordings intended for private viewing did not constitute an incitement to encourage the spread of mass media communications.

The ruling comes into force with immediate effect, though the Universal Church is considering an appeal against the judgment. It is also possible that the matter could be called to a hearing before the Ecclesiastical Court, which would have precedence over the Free Court in matters concerning spirituality.

The Town Criers Guild will keep you, our esteemed readership, up-to-date on this issue. In the meantime, we can reveal that until there is a formal ruling against the publication of further magic lantern review, this popular feature will be making a return in the near future.

SOCIETY
Welcome once again, conspiracy fans, for our regular Three Men on a Hill conspiracy round-up of the strange, foreboding and downright weird tales from across the length and breadth of the Phoenix Empire.

Three Men on a Hill
Hot on the heels of yet another conspiracy scoop we can reveal that despite the embargo on travel into Symbiot space, at least three vessels have jumped deep into the quarantined space of the shapeshifters. These freelancer crews are little more than unregulated thugs without the patronage of a guild to temper their illicit activities.

It has, however, come to our attention that one such ship has departed the Phoenix Empire carrying the Lord of House Masseri. Our sources have indicated that after the Town Criers Guild reported the discovery of the lost treasure of Daishan, Count Claudio Masseri has made every effort to raise funds and support for a recovery mission to the lost homeworld of his House. Few had anticipated that he would actually lead the expedition in person.

We are aware that Count Claudio is not alone in this venture and is accompanied by a number of old guard Masseri supporters and sycophants from his court on Cadavus. Among them is Baron Agusto Masseri, the commander of the count’s personal guard and Sir Bauldwin Masseri, who serves as chief diplomat and liaison with House Decados.

We understand that the freelancers hired to carry the expedition into forbidden space were recruited on Aylon and that by all accounts the count was already in possession of a jumpkey for the nightroad from Stigmata to Daishan.

Three Men on a Hill approached the office of the Stigmata Garrison Commander for comment and were issued with this statement, “The Garrison is not aware of any legal authorizations to travel to the Daishan system and will respond with appropriate and measured force to arrest and detain all vessels entering Stigmata space from known Symbiot jumpgates. Any ship that resists boarding and inspection will be treated as hostile and duly destroyed.”

Should Count Claudio not return from Daishan, then the already-weakened House Masseri will find itself burdened with greater problems. Without the house leadership or an acknowledged heir, succession could be contented by any one of three of the count’s nephews. The ramification of a conflict over succession could be profound.

AGORA NOTICES
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.

Study at the Academy Interrata
The Academy Interrata, the leading institution of higher learning in the Empire is seeking new students for the upcoming term. Scholarships are available for truly outstanding students.

Successful applicants can choose from a wide variety of electives including: Physick, Tech Redemption (Learn from the Superior Order of Engineers’ top experts), Archeology (Scraver-led, including field trips!), Think Machine Science, Military Tactics (Muster Approved!), Administration (Imperial, Guild, Noble or Church), Law (Interstellar), Accounting (Reeve Standard), Xenology, Natural Philosophy and More.

All courses are Church Approved and Guild Supported.

Available Campuses are Leagueheim, Byzantium Secundus, Criticorum and the new College of Marine Resource Management on Madoc.

Please contact your local agent for details.