Solar System Daily

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Snacks
rhetorical masturbation
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Snacks » 18:25:16 Thursday, 17 November, 2016



Hong Fang sat in her office and brooded, tinkering with one of her drones as she waited to be summoned by her employer. Cradling the ‘head’ of the four-legged thing as she tried to calibrate its forward visual sensors, she reflected on her decision to leave this series vaguely canine in shape- it was a matter of subconscious reference, she supposed. After all, a dog is loyal to its owner- the faithful and determined tracker or protector -and to its owner’s quarry, that same dog is the fearsome and relentless pursuer.

She finished her adjustments and brought the drone back into standby mode with a “good boy”, giving it a pat on the head as it nuzzled her in a preprogrammed response to maintenance. “Bogdan: sit, there.” Fang pointed, and the drone, named for an engineer she had met on her pilgrimage, took its place next to its ‘older brothers’, while she leaned back and reached a hand to her desk, tapping a secured recording device and recalling where she had left off in her dictation, “New model sensors show reduced wear over previous versions, good sync with wetware components… I think it was a good decision to nix the wetware temperature regulator. Too many additional considerations for an inefficient setup- it was pretty adorable, but I’m pretty sure giving them tongues would make them too much like a dog for them to market well in the Clique. Remember, we’re trying to make a companion and protector available for every household in the Association and cultural sensitivity is key. I’m not such an iconoclast to forget that.”

She thought a moment in silence, “On that, note, testing of the user voice imprinting seems to be going well. Pressing need is to reduce calibration times following memory scrub. After that, we need to consider working out the problem of registering inflection. QA has repeatedly requested a ‘sarcasm filter’… Look into the viability of a moodstate-system as a base? Ugh, I’ll have to look at Dar designs- or we could actually get competitive recruiting for our engineering programs! …yeah, right. New blood for engineering? More like the whole damn country needs it.” She shut the recorder off with a sigh, and as if on cue her secretary pinged her, “Dr. Hong? Madame Hu has asked for you to join her.”

“Of course. Let her know I’m on my way.

---

“No way, you never struck me as a Christian, Rhee. Hell, I thought the only holy rollers you really have out there are the Muslims and the… you know, the weird guys with the ships always creepin around.”

Fred Rhee set down his coffee and looked out at the waters that slowly encroached on Lincoln, grinning a little at his American counterpart, “Well, raised Christian- Presbyterian, specifically -but I haven’t believed in that stuff for a long time. Part of why I moved out to the Jovians- with my family you either live the faith or you fuck off, so I joined up with great-uncle Jeong’s side of the family- that’d be the KLO ones –and now here I am, working for Zijin. Hell, I’m sure you might have a pretty interesting story yourself, Nathan, but our lunch-break is about to end, and prying does take time, so I guess you’re hoping I’ll get to my point.”

Nathan checked his watch, “huh, sure enough. Yeah, I suppose it would be nice to know why an atheist keeps bringing up scripture.”

“Well, I’m not a man of faith, but I love your book. All the metaphor, especially- though I suppose we’ll never get people to agree to what’s supposed to be literal and what isn’t, I prefer to just look at all of it as metaphors. But there’s one I really love, Nathan. ‘And I say also to you, that you are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church. And all the powers of Hell will not conquer it.’” Fred smiled, “You see- and maybe you’ve heard this one, but indulge me –Peter is derived from the Latin for stone: in the original Aramaic, Jesus named him as Cephas, which means essentially the same thing. Son of God and the man’s making puns.”

“And so Peter became the pope and the foundation of the Church. So are you supposed to be our Peter?”

He chuckled, “Well, Christ is the foundation of the church, but… eh, I’m digressing. Not me, no, but you’re on the right track. You’ve probably heard about the coup by now. My people are telling me the Kurultai and our African friends reached a settlement with our... former leadership, and a lot of Zijin and Soros’ upper management gracefully stepped down and accepted a reassignment to sunny Lincoln colony.” He chuckled, “Michael Soros is actually a pretty swell guy, I hear, when not being shoved into high office- great architect, and I happen to know he has big ideas about helping out his new home… and I may have sold him on proposing my plan for how to do more than save this colony. We’re putting Lincoln on the map, Nathan.”

The American leaned back in his chair, “Hm, sounds like it must be pretty great, Fred. What you got to show me, though?”
Grinning, he pulled out his tablet and began pulling up survey results, sketches, blueprints- “Say hello to the bright future of Lincoln, my friend. You are now on the ground floor of the Venice Beach Initiative.”

---

Sometimes Hong Fang wondered what it would be like not to have been born in her position of privilege. It vexed her that she did at all, sometimes- she knew there was any number of nobles who didn’t consider or care what it was like for those whose lives hung in the balance of their decisions, to whom the people were numbers and resources. She had been one, once, and it had been simple in its own way: meetings, and her machines, and prayer, and parties; smiling for the camera and playing celebrity- it was what she grew up knowing, and it came easy.

She supposed she had Hu Xifeng to thank for it no longer feeling easy- to wonder if she would be a more virtuous person if she were toiling on an assembly line, if undertaking the Hajj were a remote dream she might achieve if she scrimped and saved her whole life- nevermind a Grand Tour of Earth. The woman had a way of doing that to people she took interest in: plucking them out of their bubble of arrogance and trying to make them more. It worked surprisingly often.

Fang glanced at the screen set into the wall- constant coverage of what some were calling the Hui Uprising (though they were far from the only ones doing so) and others the Jovian Revolution. She pondered whether it would really be a revolution in the full sense of the word- it was doubtful. She felt her changshan tunic- a practically ancient garment in this day and age, but one that had been brought back, made egalitarian –and thought to herself that political philosophies are like this suit. They are born, they grow old and die; they are reborn again, just a little different, and the cycle goes on. Her changshan and her headscarf- dyed the traditional green for a woman of her age -would still be made of the same expensive silk blend tomorrow. She would be no ascetic murshid, hiding from what she was. She found herself chuckling bitterly, “It is more righteous to call oneself a prince and try to act as a shepherd than be a dictator and claim you are a first among equals.”

“Is it also righteous to hide your doubts from yourself by talking tough, child?”

She looked up to see the scarred visage of her mentor as Madame Hu Xifeng put a hand on her shoulder, “I had hoped that you had finally made peace with yourself after your pilgrimage.”

“Apologies, my lady, I didn’t hear you come in. I… I suppose I didn’t, no. A little, perhaps, but not enough.”

Madame Hu smiled, an act that always seemed to Fang like it must be painful, tugging as it did at the old burns that had marred one side of her face, and yet always seemed to come so easily to the leader of the Hui Clique. “There is no need to apologize, except perhaps to yourself- life is a struggle to improve ourselves, and even a little matters.” Her hand became a little heavier, “But I feel I’m the one who should apologize, my dear. I will be asking something of you soon, something important- but I only ask because I know you are capable of doing it.”

She nodded, “Of course, my lady- what do you need me to do?”

Still smiling, Madame Hu simply patted her on the shoulder and motioned for her to follow, “I will explain everything to you on the way, but come along now- our peers are waiting for us to decide the course of history.”

---

Daiyu Sykes-Cao finished watching the video transmission for what must have been the fourth time, still hardly believing what had been asked of her. “She’s lost it! Old woman’s finally gone off the deep end,” her secretary piped up, the AI displaying cost-projections in a second window. “Assuming we don’t wind up dead- or worse, exiled -she’s really going to ask you to do this essentially pro bono? That price doesn’t even pay the expenses for all the ships required!”

Daiyu sighed, “It will cover the expenses of the other companies, and then some. Just not ours: she’s asking us to eat the cost on this one, because she knows we’ll do it.”

“Excuse me?” The AI’s synthesized voice got a little louder, “Why the hell would you-“

“Our families’ shared history. You heard her say that, right? That wasn’t just trying to guilt me on account of our longstanding professional relationship. Not even asking me to repay her for all the big contracts she’s tossed our way over the years, which is why she knows we can afford it.”

“So then what is she doing, Ms. Sykes-Cao?”

“She’s calling in goddamn life-debt level shit is what. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t have been born, much less head of the Union- my old man’s old man would have died in the last Titanomachy. You don’t just stiff her, not on shit like that.”

“So we’re going to fight for her, for free. Great- I’ll start filling out expenditure reports now. Should I go ahead and start the bankruptcy paperwork, too.”

“Har har. Maybe. Send a dispatch first, though, Hot Lips- The Freelancer’s Union is going to war for Madame Hu.”

---

It was a cold day on Ganymede when the conspiracy formally met in Xin’an- the people outside the small conference room totally unaware of the change being born within. In attendance were representatives of those opposed to the policies of the ruling Imperialist faction: the most numerous being those from houses of the High King faction, but they were joined by conspirators from the military stations, the Freelancer’s Union, and the Cooperativist technocrats. Madame Hu and Hong Fang had arrived fashionably late, as hosts to the discussions, and so it was that Fang had found herself seated between two women she recognized as the twin inheritors to the holdings of the minor House Savalas, and the commanders of the Acropolis citadel on Metis and the Hera military station, respectively: Elizabeth and Elena Savalas.

“So the illustrious princess joins the party,” Elizabeth said. Her voice sounded rough in a way that reminded Fang of seeing drill sergeants in movies, and she couldn’t help but imagine the woman barking orders. She gave her a pleasant smile- derision was a sentiment she was used to from people who believed Madame Hu kept her around as a spoiled rotten accessory or surrogate child. The more common was fearful acquiescence. Finally the woman’s sister piped up, “Oh, don’t mind her, Doctor- my sister gets antsy when she has to leave her fortress of doom for anywhere other than a ship’s bridge. I’m sure she’s simply too overcome by emotion to admit how honored she feels that we get to meet with Madame Hu and yourself today.” Elizabeth muttered something sarcastic in reply.

“There is no need to worry, Lady Savalas- indeed I believe the honor is mine, to finally meet the keepers of such treasured keys to our defense. Perhaps more if my lady’s proposals are agreed to- I believe we three will have much to discuss later.”

At that, a discussion between Madame Hu and the leader of the High King delegation concluded, and the two rose from their seats as Hu began to speak, “Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it is time we began in earnest. I believe it is obvious, given that we meet in secrecy or under pretense, that an era has ended. Those gathered here believe that it is not feasible to right the course of this association through electoral politics, that for our society to survive, we must change and we must change radically.”

A murmur of agreement rippled through the room, and she continued on, “The High King noles have long advocated for a central government- that measure alone will likely prove insufficient to maintain order. The common man needs change- needs promise for the future, that things are getting better. I believe that is a cause that our reformer friends gathered here today can get behind. But we need someone to lead this coup- to share the laurels if we succeed and willing to take the lion’s share of the punishment should we fail. President Ratko from House Svoboda proposed to me yesterday that I would be acceptable for the job.”

She waited as another wave of murmuring came and passed, “If we agree to this, my protégé and heir, Dr. Hong Fang, will replace me as head of the Hui Clique so that I can devote myself to our undertaking. I have agreed to the High King proposal on the condition that our conference- this Kurultai, as it has become -approves.

There was a moment of silence in which one could hear a pin drop, as if no one dared to speak and leave themselves vulnerable to the rest. Fang wondered if this what the houses had come to- too divided to trust democracy even in secret. Then the leader of the Freelancer delegation and Association Boardmember Daiyu Sykes-Cao rose, “I trust Madame Hu as a commander and I doubt you could find a ‘lancer worth their salt who doesn’t respect what she and her fleets have made happen. Her business acumen speaks for itself. Most importantly, though, she came from nothing. She doesn’t have a pedigree like almost everyone in this room- everything she has, she earned it. The common Hui respects it- they respect the hell out of it. The workers in the rest of the Freeholds will respect it, too. Hell, they’re going to find it inspirational. She has the Union’s support, and I’m moving for a show of hands.”

Fang saw the Savalas twins share a look, wondering if it was intuition or the help of an implant as they both rose and spoke in unison, “seconded!”
Madame Hu nodded, “very well, then. All those in favor of the High King proposal…”

---

In the twinkling lake of ice, rock, and metal around Jove, the Eyes of Hera tirelessly scanned. Radio, tightbeam, encrypted, open- nearly all signals passed through it at some point, and occasionally, originated from it. From station, to ship, to lunar based array such a signal bounced its way towards the massive ship.

“Attention MUSK, this is the Freeholder Association’s Jupiter Unified Command, requesting a moment of your time. Following change in the Association’s central government, the ownership of Argus has changed- rest assured, however, that the new owners intend to fulfill your order as previously agreed, and construction continues at the usual pace for such a job. The Freeholder’s Association wishes to discuss the matter of any possible future relations between the Freeholder’s Association and the beings known as the Unbound, and invite MUSK or a chosen representative to discuss the matter.
We would also like to state for the record that while the matter of cybernetic modification in regards to Islamic ritual purity remains a subject of some debate among the Muslim population of the Freeholds, the Hui Clique is not governed by the decision of Lunar clerics, and the secular nature of the Association’s government rules out the recognition of any such fatwa by civil or criminal law.”

A map displayed, highlighting several low traffic vectors to the Association’s Marathon City and UN Dove station, “If you wish to dispatch a representative, we would like to suggest the following as easily-accessible meeting places.”

---

On video streaming services, social media, and most political and news services within the last hour:

[A young woman, apparently Hui from her clothing, appears on screen.]

“Hello, Jovians- Fellow Freeholder, Dr. Hong Fang, here! Some of you might already know me from my work in the field of cybernetics, or my role as a cultural ambassador- bridging the gap between our people out here and our friends back on Earth. Whether you know me or not, though, I’ve got some big changes to fill you in on- as the newly appointed CEO of House Hu and the Hui Clique, Dr. Hu Fang.”

“Now you may be asking, ‘but Fang, what about Madame Hu Xifeng? You know, your boss?’ So we’re covering that first. As many of you know by now, Madame Hu is now Chairwoman Hu, after former-Chairman Soros resigned from office and the Central Commission voted her in. Given the responsibility of the position, and some of the problems facing our nation these days, she decided to retire from leadership of the Hui so she could devote her full attention to her new role helping all the Freeholders.”

“Our new chairperson has a lot of big ideas that she thinks you’re all going to love. I can’t cover all the details right now- I’ll have to leave that to Chairwoman Hu and the new and improved Board once she’s helped them with a little ‘tidying up’. [Hu Fang makes a coy smile for the camera and winks.] “So let me give a little summary that should give you a good idea of how good things will be going from here on out.”

“One of the biggest changes is going to be in how your government works. Chairwoman Hu wasn’t born into House Hu- she made it. And she wants to build on what she sees as the Freehold’s promise to its people- that if you work hard enough you can become something great, too. To do that, she and the Board have some plans to make sure you can play more of a role in your Freehold and reap the rewards of that participation- but to do that, we’re going to need to welcome some new friends.”

[The camera pans out, revealing a humanoid robot seated next to Fang- similar in shape to the Association’s ‘soldier bots’, but less bulky.]

“Everyone, meet Dervish! No, not this drone- the AI cyberbureaucrat controlling him! He just wanted to put on a fresh look to say hello to all of you. [She puts a hand to her mouth, stage whispering.] He’s pretty good at his job- He’s been handling schedule rotation on House Hu’s helium separation operations for about 4 months, now. But he can be a liiiiittle vain.”

[The drone’s head turns towards Fang] “Self heard that. The statement is false: no being handicapped by vanity could be so efficient.”
“Ha ha, Maybe you’re right, Dervish. Madame Hu seems to think so- since your test run has gone so well that she has already approved expenditures to support the design and testing of some little brothers and sisters to see how your family can help us in over 23 different industries and government services!”

“23? Self will be picking out birthday gifts all year.” [The drone puts up a manipulator to its ‘face’ in a gesture of surprise as Fang laughs, the camera zooming in to just show her again.] “Well, I’ll let you get a head start while I talk to the people about the other important thing they ought to know…”

---
HU TO FJM: DROP DEAD
Speaking to assembled press following a meeting of the reorganized Board of the Freeholder’s Association today, Chairwoman Hu Xifeng reiterated her and the Association’s condemnation of the attack on a Freeholder station by forces of the Free Jovian Movement, stressing that the Movement’s actions would not go without repercussions.

“As we now know, the so-called Free Jovian Movement killed people on that station. Not just soldiers- I will never allow myself to forget that they killed civilians there, too -this was not a military action. This was calculated, brutal terrorism, and the FJM are terrorists. They are a farce down to their name. We are not a people who love war- I sincerely believe that everyone here today desires a peaceful, happy life. We do fight wars, yes, and what the FJM does is not war- it is a violent rampage that can only be called discriminate in that its base violence is levied at us.

Since I have come to head this Association, I have spoken with our neighbors- even those we have called enemies –and I have talked with them about renewing relations in the spirit of peace. I think that there is room for all of us at the table in a bright, prosperous future for the people of the Jovians. I do not think that there is room at that table for a wild beats, however- no, there is not room for those whose hatred is so corrupting that they kill civilians. If they will not change their ways, they will bring about their own destruction.”

Chairwoman Hu’s comments come on the tail of a ‘charm offensive’ since the ousting of former Chairman Michael Soros and the upper management of Houses Soros and Zijin in a nearly bloodless coup that has been dubbed the ‘Kurultai Revolution: since the transfer of leadership to House Hu- possibly permanently -and the exile of ousted executives to the American colony of Lincoln on Mars, the Association has sent diplomatic messages to New Europa, the Zioists, and even longtime rivals such as Ansoft and the Titan republics, seeking to ‘refresh diplomatic relations’. In one such message to the newly ascended management of the Callistan Cartel, she stressed that her government would honor the recent peace and expressed a desire for ‘more than simply leaving one another alone- I believe there is much that our people could do together without the elements that led former-Chairman Soros to see the recent Callistan conflict as justified enough to lead other Houses into it- mine included.’

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BgKnight
George R. R. Martin in space and with less talent
Posts: 1217
Joined: 23:30:02 Wednesday, 01 August, 2012

Re: Solar System Daily

Post by BgKnight » 13:11:10 Friday, 18 November, 2016

The Autumn of the Outer Planets

Image
Dove Station was massive, its pure size made it one of the larger man-made objects out there. Ironically, however, the station had little space inside, due to its age and decay, large sections of Dove station were uninhabitable. The Gateway to the Far Solar System wasn't very impressive.

Therefore it found itself ill-equipped to handle the wave of people that descended on it when the BPF agreed to negotiations there. For months, ships arrived from all over the solar system, from the ugly Earther ships, with their large solar panels and spinning sections, to the slick modular Lunar stealth ships with their radar reflective surfaces.

"Dove station was never used in full capacity..." Darge Nega said absentmindedly as he clicked his boots together, activating their magnets who instantly dragged him down towards the closest surface. As one of the blue helmets approached, he waved them off pointing towards the two crosses interwoven with-each other signified his rank in the Ethiopian Military, an Asiraleqa (Corporal). The blue helmet however continued, Asiralega Nega's implants showed him attempting to establish a secure link with the Corporal. "...what is it?" he said slightly annoyed.

The UN soldier's face appeared in the screen, captured by the cameras of the Blue Helmet's suit. The Asiralega froze. The soldier was winded, barely breathing. The implants pulled out his vitals and showed the Corporal that the solder had a tiny hole in his suit where a micro-bullet had passed and ripped through the soldier's internal organs. The blue helmet was dying, and what was worse he couldn't speak, as his suit lacked the sophisticated medical equipment that the Asiralega's own suit had. The soldier's AI extracted feed from the blue helmet's cam, and the Corporal instantly lunged forwards towards the lower levels of the station.

The blue helmet had been killed in the lower levels of the station, he had dragged himself up thanks to the zero gravity and found his way to the Corporal. He was dead now, but he had done his duty, peace be upon him the Ethiopian mentally crossed himself. What was worst, was that he had been killed by a person wearing a very recognizable uniform, the Keffiyeh that draped his helmet, the dark green, he was dressed like a person from the North African regiments of the African Standby Force.

The Asiralega's activated his suit's cloak through his implants, it didn't turn him invisible, that was impossible, but it dimmed his figure enough to hide him in plain sight. The leopard-patterned urban cammo did the rest. He realized what this could mean, for the African Union and for the United Nations as a whole, if a person dressed in a North African uniform attacked the delegations, this could mean war. Worst off, if this was an actual North African soldier, it means the local AU command was compromised and he couldn't call it in, out of fear that the asshole will know he is on him.


---
Image
The Pride and Joy of the Dar's fleet, the Mujahid traveling to Mars

The War of Red Sands
The Crescent Federation never stood a chance against the Dar's combined naval power, and the leaders of the Federation were well aware of that. The crescent-painted ships of the Dar were already over at Martian territory, including the feared Mujahid. But what the Federation could rely on was that on Earth, unless the Dar decided to go into an active war with the African Union, its home-territories were politically untouchable.

So what instead, Dar ships headed to the outer system, lone starships and various other low-level targets felt the initial attacks of the small Federation fleet. Hit hard by the Dar, the main body of the fleet had retreated to the space elevator over Mars, relying on the fact that even the Dar won't take on the elevator's massive defenses head-on.

This tactic caught the Dar's navy by surprise, as they lost a few lone civilian vessels to boarding and found themselves in constant low-level combat scenarios, with their main fleet not being touched. Almost instantly, lone-ships became a thing of the past, as the Dar was forced to dispatch convoys with cargo shipping. This, coupled with an increase in pirate activity in the Belt is leading to increased annoyance of the Dar's command, who have resorted to dirty tactics of their own, announcing a bounty on any and all Federation ship, sparking the hunt for Al-Madinah, the Federation's capital ship.

Summary:

- Low level war between the Federation and Dar
- Dar fleet stretched between guarding Luna, fighting pirates and hunting the Federation
- Hunt for Al-Madinah begins
Image
The Russian Vessel Akademik V. A. Obrushev in the Belt
The Belt
Already tense, the troubles in the Belt continue to shake the solar system. As the African Union suggests a conference, to which the BPF and the Dar agree on Dove station, events unfold quickly in the months leading up to the conference, as all sides scramble to drag themselves to the best possible position politically before the conference.

The wave of chaos is unleashed when, by suspected sabotage, a small station in the Chanderiya complex deorbits, evacuating its population before, in slow motion, in the course of a week, it crashes into an asteroid. In the meanwhile, while the station was heading towards the asteroid and evacuating, the local PMCs were in active combat against suspected BPF militants, unknown what the station contained at that point and what they were fighting for, but ultimately it seems the BPF was victorious.

As news hits Ceres of the events, the executives of Siemens and Ceres meet to discuss future cooperation. After the CEO of the Chanderiya Complex fails to make a public appearance and rumors swirl of a change of leadership, the Ceres authorities and Siemens announce that they believe the Complex's territories to be compromised and Siemens launches a "peacekeeping initiative". With plain-clothed European Legionaries and PMCs, the well funded European company descends upon the Complex's territories, crushing resistance and securing large territories. Only to be met by heavy resistance at the capital-station of the Complex, Chanderiya station herself.

In the north, despite the setbacks, the Lunar and African companies continue to bring reforms, rather forced and hard to implement, but reforms none-the-less. This, combined with an aggressive response towards protesters by LuMiOp, forces BPF operatives either out of LuMiOp territory or underground. Meanwhile, African Mining uses its bonus schemes and intensives to attempt to integrate BPF operatives within its own ranks, co-opting the power structure of the Belters. This also reaps successes, giving both companies enough security to look outwards, towards one-another and their borders.

As China Shenhua declares its bankruptcy, before Chinese ships can arrive in the Belt, the hammer and pick emblazoned ships of African Mining find their way into Shenhua space. After bribing some of Shenhua's leadership, the AM authorities secure territory deeper and deeper in Chinese space. To African Mining's surprise, LuMiIOp's leadership, under Tycho advise, has managed to secure a merger with China Shenhua, or their remnants. After the details of the merger become public, LuMiOp's leadership asks African Mining to immediately leave their territory, leading to several tense situations of the two companies' ships meeting and exchange fire.

Forced to also content with a BPF rebellion in Sinhua's territories, with some of BPF's splinter local ranks assisting African Mining, LuMiOp is calling on the Dar to intervene in its assistance. While African Mining, surprisingly, has taken the moral high-ground, claiming to be intervening in a humanitarian nature to help the locals survive an attempted genocide on behalf of LuMiOp. On the ground, besides the two corps fighting, BPF splinters into several factions fighting for power, some supportive of AM, some of LuMiOp, with a small Islamic Force planting the black flag on several rocks. While Russian vessels are once again seen fighting on behalf of African Mining.

Distracted by the fighting, neither company could do much when the Pallas station, already shaken by massive protests, falls to the BPF where finally, the first truly neutral and independent Belter state is declared. The Free Republic of the Belt, as it calls itself, quickly starts re-commissioning ships belonging to the Indians previously, even managing to get their hands on an actual small warship. Having operated much of the construction operations on many stations through-out the Belt, the BPF had managed to construct a small fleet of civilian vessels outfitted with weapons as well as having formed a coalition with pirate outfits. Their small fleet, far outclassed by the other space powers, is given a chance to test out its abilities almost immediately, as the Indian Space Forces arrive in the Belt.

As the ISF descends on the Belt, they find the Belters' mastery of space to far surpass any Earther military training. The ISF quickly finds itself fighting off ambushes, loosing its supply lines and finding no friendly port, even going as far as getting fired upon by a small station when requesting docking permissions. In return, the Indians employ heavy handed tactics, destroy several stations and force populations to move to defended Indian asteroids where they could easily control them. This is not winning them any friends, not to mention that the United Nations are now calling for the ISF to face charges of genocide.

Summary:

- Station de-orbits and smashes into asteroid
- Siemens grows exponentially
- Lunar and African Companies stabilize slowly
- African Mining and LuMiOp fighting over China Shenhua's remnants
- BPF on Pallas declare independence, bring part of the Asteroid Corp's territory under their fold
- Indian Fleet ambushed by the BPF
Image
Kolob construction site
The Outer Planets
A new coalition of houses emerges from the post-war depression in the Freehold, displacing the old Imperial Faction, with the so called High King faction, which seeks closer cooperation with Earth, but also massive centralization. This, of course, has its enemies, while the leaders of Houses Soros and Zijin are exhiled to Lincoln, some of the middle and lower managemnet of House Zijin cannot accept the lower social status, and taking their vast wealth and several large civilian ships, leave for the outer system, claiming to seek to upkeep idea of the true Freehold.

Others, like some of the Manchu bannermen, a few of the Mongols and some of the Europeans are downright opposed to the idea of being run by a Hui, a muslim, believing them to be agents of the Dar. While some remain and make their unhappyness quietly known, others follow the advice of the Pure Faction of the Freehold.

In the meanwhile, Dove station plays host to a vast amount of delegates throughout the solar syste,, who gatter to end the conflcit in the Belt. As delegates gather, a man dressed in an African Union uniform from the North African states is arrested by an Ethiopian Special Forces operative, in an attempt to blow the life-support of the station. His motives are yet unknown, but some believe the operative to be a member of a radical splinter faction of the BPF, depsite him seemingly being a reject Parthenian clone.

Summary:

- A new coalition comes to power in the Freehold
- Houses Soros and Zijin exhiled to Lincoln
- Low-Level Zijin and Freehold leaders leave for the Outer System
- Dove Station avoids terrorist attack
- The Belt Conference Begins

Image
African Combat Bots in Moscow
Inner Planets
A massive joint Tycho Parthenian operation is launched on Luna, prepared for over 4 years, the Tychan Intelligence Services, having infiltrated Kinshasa-on-the-Moon's rebel ranks in the Military occupied region, have rounded up enough evidence to pinpoint several key operatives, cell leaders and secret tunnels used by the rebels to hit the Parthenian troops occupying the domes of Kinshasa-on-the-Moon.

With that information, their Parthenian allies descended upon the rebels' in an surprising attack that lasted more then 4 hours, with fighters going deep underground and clearing tunnels and operatives, as well as securing weapons' caches and executing the rebel leadership on the spot. Family and relatives to the rebels are also raided, in the bloody culmination of 4 years' work and over decades of occupation. While some cells go underground, a large part of the organization is crippled and/or destroyed.

In an official, open letter, the Complex's leadership, represented by their CEO, congratulated the Triarchy on their successful operations, but makes it clear that the Complex, along with Bahag, Estado Lunar, the Prosperian Confederacy, Barsamin, Bog Zla Ma and the Romanistani Clans, plead the Triarchy to end the fighting in the Belt, as combined, Luna is suffering massive losses, which cannot continue, lest they threaten the post-scarcity economy of Luna and the lifestyle of its citizens.

And indeed, economic uncertainty continues to plague the inner planets, with some smaller states on Luna and Earth already worried if they will be able upkeep their post-scarcity societies due to lack of energy and raw materials. While the robots will continue to build for humans as long as they exist, they need raw materials, they need to be up-kept, the humans need water and resources to continue the current state.

The Russian civil war heats up again, as an EMP is set off in Moscow by Congolese drones battle bots deployed by drop craft. Disabling the city's defense forces, quickly followed by the European Union deploying a Aerospace plane filled with Legionaries and EuroFor soldiers, who capture the Duma in a fierce firefight and withdraw the Primier and his cabinate to their staging ground in Turkmenistan. Due to being caught by surprise, Moscow cannot organize a stable defense and being decapitated, the local leadership collapses. Before the country could collapse completely, EuroFor crosses the borders of Russia, reaching Moscow in a month, organizing the Russian Military along the way, eradicating any Internal Ministry soldiers and FSB troops. In the East at the same time, ASH deploys its massive fleet to the shores of Russia, dropping supplies and weapons to the Russian Republic, who begin a massive advance under their tiger flag. The Race to Novosibirsk, between the EU and ASH has begun.

One such society is the Vrystaat, which finally cracked under its own economic failure, after the assassination of its CEO, with a series of companies buying the remnants of the Vrystaat out. After a while it is made clear that the remnants of the Vrystaat will be split in two holdings, one owned by Red Soil Project, an independently funded organization which is later revealed to be a Barsamin front, securing the second Vrystaat orbital habitat for their cyber experiments. But the majority of the holding, 70%, goes to a series of companies which are later revealed to be a series of shell companies under Zeergild control. Thus, giving Zeergild almost total monopoly over Venus. The Tychan robots, under Vrystaat control, are split between Zeergild and the RSP, but Zeergild never manages to get their hands on the robots as the machines assigned to the corp disappear soon after that.

Perhaps related to the buyout of Vrystaat, the Zeergild corporation suffers a setback quickly after they bought the Vrystaat's remains, with the tethers of their capital being cut, leaving the station to slowly spiral out of control. Luckily, the error is caught in time for a successful an emergency evacuation, before the habitat crashes.

In good news, a new station is beginning construction over Mercury, a buddhist sanctuary funded by the African Central Bank. Many have expressed interest in following through with this project, with the Holy See, Several Christian and Muslim organizations declaring their own plans to build small stations around Venus. Analysts around the solar system applaud the peaceful development of Mercury, and talk of a Solar Jerusalem swirls around.

Summary:

- The Triarchy raids Lunar Rebels' tunnels
- The Complex leads a political coalition to end fighting
- Economic uncertainty hits inner planets
- EU and ASH race to Novosibirsk
- Vrystaat buyout
- Zeergild tethers cut
- New Station over Mercury
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Gesar » 15:00:09 Friday, 18 November, 2016

(Mod approved after dice roll. See BG for clarification.)

Aboard the Mujahid, outer asteroid belt, two weeks from Mars

Something had to go wrong. By Allah, something always went wrong.

He'd done a hundred different cases like this, most of which ended up spacing people like the Al Jadida turncoat opposite him, or having to defrag and reboot a corrupted AI given the same task as the inelegant but powerful Tychan model they were presently working with. But here they were, a veritable band of misfits aboard the Home's finest warship (which, Kemal could admit without a hint of arrogance, may have made it the finest legal vessel in the system), attempting the impossible task of finding an enemy vessel in the asteroid belt in order to end an intersolar war before it truly began, using outdated information lifted during the Al Jadida Revolution and a scientifically-termed metric shitton of AI. On the Murshid's orders, too, which to the quietly-devout sailors of the Mujahid, meant success wasn't so much the difference between life and death as it was Jannah and Jahannam.

But nothing had gone wrong. One more calculation, a boost to the ship's own AI, and...Allah be merciful, they had the frequency.

Weeks of fruitless searching became day-cycles of hot pursuit. Few among the Emirate's flagship slept until Admiral Davi ordered the rationing of sleep aids in shifts. Kemal watched the progress of the Alamut ships -beautiful, sleek frigates who seemed to dance even in the nothing of space- speed ahead, forming an invisible perimeter just beyond the range of al-Medinah. And then it was his time to shine.

"Attack pattern PARTHIA initiated, Admiral. The Salah ad-Din is in place."

"Fitting," Davi mused, with an approving smile. "It is a Kurd who got us this far, and strikes a blow against a decadent Arab nation in the name of Allah. Even if you have a Turkish name."

"I-" Praise did not sit well with Kemal, and so he focused on amplifying the signal of their bait. "Switching to Federation distress call. Proceed?"

The Admiral nodded, and Kemal jacked in, booting up a mimicry program and using it to replicate the signalling and satellite patterns of a Federation vessel, the same analysis which had revealed the enemy ship to begin with. The Salah ad-Din would appear to be nothing so much as a wounded Federation ship, providing enough time for the rest of the small fleet to surround them.

"Takbir!" Focused on his work and still jacked in, Kemal could barely process the cry of the mullah next to him, or the ensuing cheers of the entire ship as the rest of the Faithful's shouts of "God is great!" mingled with the fevered, lyrical ecstasy of the dervishes' prayers. Neither could he hear the dispersal of a half-hundred small drone ships transporting the Takwin servitors and a handful of serdengheti commandos over the cyberstatic of activating attack AIs, launching an electronic ambush in order to shut their systems down alongside an EMP in meatspace.

But, as he furiously drove his AI compatriots -programs and intelligences he knew and liked better than most humans- onwards, there was one thing he did catch a snippet of. The Admiral's voice, booming across Federation comms systems. "-Federation vessel Al-Medinah, this is the Mujahid. Projections state that in T-minus-5 minutes, your systems will be immobilized. We have you surrounded. Further resistance will result in a crippling of your ship and a general boarding by Emirate forces. Insha'Allah, you will now surrender."
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Seren's WWII Adventure: Manuel Azaña Díaz, President of the Second Spanish Republic, in ¡No pasarán!
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Smyg » 17:47:07 Friday, 18 November, 2016

African Diplomatic Gazette

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Burkinabé Parliament in Ouagadougou, neo-Sankaran design.


Diplomatic Flurry Across Continent, As Electors Dissent On Belter Conflict

Shockwaves in Kinshasa, as the Elector of Burkina Faso, Mme. Mariam Lamizana, recently elected to the position as head of the International Labour Organization, the antiquated UN agency, made a surprise announcement on Wednesday. Going completely against current AU polices, although the act itself does have precedent, the Elector - who through her role has been given access to all ILO records on off-world labour conditions - offered an unilateral diplomatic recognition to the rogue entity known as the "Free Republic of the Belt".

Facing immediate criticism, both domestically and across the Union, Elector Lamizana refused to revoke her government's decision. Although initially isolated, Burkina Faso received surprise support by Thursday, from the Free City of Mombasa which followed suit, likewise recognizing the FRB. When asked to elaborate on its policies, the city-state's controversial Elector commented: "ANALYSIS HAS BEEN COMPLETED. INDIA = NOT FRIEND. BELTERS = ENEMY OF NOT-FRIEND. CONCLUSION: MOMBASA STANDS BY FRB. (ADDENDUM: GANDHI WAS A RACIST.)" Tensions with the faltering ROI are likely to rise across East Africa, following such statements by the "warhawk" AI.

Emboldened by Mombasa, by Monday over two dozen African states - prominent among them Libertalia, the privately own "pirate haven" off the Malagsy coast, and the Algerian Popular State - have likewise recognized the FRB, throwing the Electors into disunity amid the crucial Dove Station Belter rights conference. The Office of the Grand Premier has yet to issue a comment, nor has the West African Coalition.
Last edited by Smyg on 12:36:24 Saturday, 19 November, 2016, edited 1 time in total.
Comrade Astrojildo Pereira Duarte Silva
Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista do Brasil
(PCB)


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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Smyg » 01:48:06 Saturday, 19 November, 2016

SpoilerShow
A massive joint Tycho Parthenian operation is launched on Luna, prepared for over 4 years, the Tychan Intelligence Services, having infiltrated Kinshasa-on-the-Moon's rebel ranks in the Military occupied region, have rounded up enough evidence to pinpoint several key operatives, cell leaders and secret tunnels used by the rebels to hit the Parthenian troops occupying the domes of Kinshasa-on-the-Moon.

With that information, their Parthenian allies descended upon the rebels' in an surprising attack that lasted more then 4 hours, with fighters going deep underground and clearing tunnels and operatives, as well as securing weapons' caches and executing the rebel leadership on the spot. Family and relatives to the rebels are also raided, in the bloody culmination of 4 years' work and over decades of occupation. While some cells go underground, a large part of the organization is crippled and/or destroyed.
Image

Crest of the Neo-Kinshasan Liberation Front, formerly the logo of the now-defunct Luna branch of African Mining.

______

Location: Occupied Territories.
Former "Patrice Lumumba District".
Kinshasa-on-the-Moon.

Time: 03:49, local time.
The end of days.


______

The tunnel, turned into a veritable stronghold but once upon a time housing an ACB-funded underground transport railway, was dimly lit. The once-flickering neon lights, pale cyan, had gone out a few hours ago. Clutching his stomach and stabilizing himself on his rifle, he walk slowly towards the door on the left, which recognized his bio-signature and slammed open. Inside, he found two surviving comrades, loading their weapons. They were glad to see him yet alive, but had no time to show it.

A miniature ecosystem, designed to replicate Earth-based ones, had been created within a side chamber. While not an effective way to produce crops, compared to underground aquaponics or similar techniques, it had a strong symbolic value to the resistance. Their ancestors had been farmers, once, and they valued these basic foodstuffs higher than anything synthesized on Luna: Plantains turned low-growing by the off-world conditions, sorghum, manioc, yams... What he wouldn't give for a proper damn plantain right now! But alas, they were yet unripe, and no one would water them when he was gone.

He hummed a song, to still the pain. A popular tune, centuries ago, turned ancient and decrepit by time. His ancestors had been Jews, Afro-Sephardim from Lubumbashi, like the song's most famous singer, and so he felt a kinship to it (although it was in the heartland of what was to become the European Union that it was originally written, even further back in history). "Les Allemands étaient chez moi... ils m'ont dit "Résigne-toi"... mais je n'ai pas pu... j'ai repris mon arme..."

Three hours ago, word had came that the clones had taken the cell his ex-wife belonged to. The camera system caught it all, and broadcast it to Headquarters... before it fell too. His daughter Elise were among those put up against the wall and shot. Life wasn't easy in the underground, but she had just gotten her first boyfriend, and had called him late at night only a week ago to let him know, on an encrypted line. A pat on the back from the cell commander had been all the mourning they had time for, before defensive measures - soon proven ineffective - had to be implemented. Now, he had no time for it either - the clones were coming, he could hear their heavy boots, their metallic clank.

And by God, they were out of EMP devices. But he still had his rifle. A smooth EU-Czech model, one of few smuggled in from Earth itself, a treasured possession within the resistance. He glanced at the two surviving comrades, holed up in the agricultural module with him. They too were armed, and had finished loading their, admittedly, inferior weaponry. Although he was wounded, they looked to him for leadership - the commander was dead, and as the second highest ranking officer it was his duty to carry them on, into oblivion. He stopped humming the song, that sweet memory of the past.

"Sister Kavidi, Brother Amba", he addressed them quietly. They had known each others for years, even as their numbers decreased at a more and more rapid pace. "We've been through much, but there's another moment to come. The moment of death. But, comrades..." - he made sure not to let the pain be heard in his voice, nor the hesitation - "we must remember, what we fight for does not die with us. The dream of Kinshasa-on-the-Moon, the dream of a free Luna, the dream of an Africa ascending ever onward into the stars." Far off, coming closer and closer, he could hear the boots marching through the tunnel. He continued, replacing empty platitudes with something more direct. "And above all, comrades, let's show these fucking clone fascists how real humans die!"

The guerrilla closest to him, Sister Kavidi, the heir of Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinean emigrants come to find a better life deep within the grey regolith, chimed in enthusiastically. "¡No pasarán!"

The boots were close now, just outside the chamber. He forced a defiant grin through bloodied teeth, and readied his rifle. "Kinshasa lives!"
Comrade Astrojildo Pereira Duarte Silva
Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista do Brasil
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Huojin » 04:29:06 Saturday, 19 November, 2016

THE WORD OF THE CONSUL:

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"TYCHO HAS AWOKEN."

It has been almost a year since we have seen her in public, with many accusations and rumours whirling - death, incapacity, a coup d'etat? All those and more were silenced firmly and decisively today, when FIRST CONSUL YUE made a surprise appearance in Tycho City - simultaneously live holo-broadcast to every major city, from Fina Venko to Novy Soyuz.

[cut to clip of crowds in the millions turning out beneath the domes, clamouring and shouting, frantically waving Luna flags]

Having announced the appearance mere hours before on her long-silent personal channel to the People, the First Consul appeared once more in the form and splendour all Luna knows to be hers. Receiving a massed salute from members of the GDS, a standing ovation from the Grand Senators of the Congress of Free Luna, and a flyover from the flagship of the Free Fleet, the Vastly Martial, FIRST CONSUL YUE was, as always, the very image of Lunar grace, elegance, and beauty, while strikingly combining within her exquisiteness the deep ferocity and terribleness that fills the heart of each free citizen of Luna with zeal and fervour, and strikes terror into the hearts of all her enemies.

[imagery of the Vastly Martial soaring low overhead, while the camera shakes - panning with the vessel, its smaller escort craft whizzing around it, the saluting firearms of the GDS come into view, and beyond them, the crowds once more]

We are privileged and honoured to be able to bring to all Free Worlds some of the words of the esteemed and gracious FIRST CONSUL YUE, who graced the assembled crowds with her words to uplift their spirits and strengthen the resolve of all who labour under oppression.



"My fellow free citizens,

I will tell you no lies. There has been a rot at the heart of this republic. Deep within its soul, it has stirred. Since the beginnings of the revolution, we have grappled with the demons unleashed by this nameless terror. And in this past year... I too had almost succumbed to its evils.

But I tell you now - the enemies who linger within our midst are scattered and defeated today. The counter-revolutionary, the oppressor, the mealy men who dare claim ownership over our land, over our lives - are laid low and banished today! The Consulship has been preoccupied. The Grand Senate, enfeebled. And the People, blinded.

But. No. More.

For we here gathered dwell in that rare and hard-fought place. A world that is free of the grasp of clamouring Earthers - those purists without purity, those humans without humanity. And together we have seen the dream - a united Luna, the united free worlds, and a united humanity. An undimmed light that shall be a fixture upon the firmament and proclaimed throughout every corner of the Solar System and beyond - that here live free men, who shall brook no tyrant of a distant world!

Yet how shall this be done? I will tell no lies, and this shall be a hard won thing. But only we who have fought and bled and sacrificed for liberty can know its true worth - and know yet still that in our common bond with all humanity, we cannot rest nor shirk our duty while our brothers and sisters lie enslaved to falsehoods and vile masters.

We have not yet begun our work. We have not yet begun to fight.

But my friends, my family... my Luna...
"TYCHO HAS AWOKEN."




北方有佳人,
絕世而獨立.
一顧傾人城,
再顧傾人國.
寧不知傾城與傾國.
佳人難再得.

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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Smyg » 18:40:38 Saturday, 19 November, 2016

Image

M. Mohammed Djamah
CEO of Trans-Horn Shipping
To: Minister of Commerce, Republic of Yemen

Dear Minister,

My corporation - est. 2236, a long-time and respected actor within the cargo transport industry along the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden, and in the wider Indian Ocean (and since 2368 likewise a prominent partner in the Hargeisa Spaceport, operating limited cislunar shuttle routes as well) - is very interested in investing in your country.

With ongoing economic difficulties for your more significant trade partners abroad, and with the issues faced on Mars and elsewhere by your most prominent regional neighbour, many would shy away from investing in the Republic of Yemen. But where others may see risks, we at Trans-Horn Shipping see an opportunity to develop a safe and stable infrastructure system across the Indian Ocean, opening up increased exchange with the Indian subcontinent as well as with the South-East Asian states. Yemen could easily become a vital location in the global economic exchange.

As a staging point for future investment, my corporation would like to propose the following: The establishment of a THS-Yemeni joint venture shipping harbour, airport and spaceport construction project at the island of Socotra, tentatively designated the Socotra Bonded Logistics Park. We are willing to cover the majority of the direct investment, in return for help with securing the necessary land - we would here like to note that ensuring the protection of Socotra's unique natural environment is an absolute priority - and permits, as well as facilitating labour issues.

If you are willing to consider our proposal, my associates will send you the finer print, so that you may fully examine the entire project.

Sincerely,
Mohammed Djamah
Trans-Horn Shipping.
Comrade Astrojildo Pereira Duarte Silva
Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista do Brasil
(PCB)


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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by BgKnight » 21:22:04 Saturday, 19 November, 2016

Smyg wrote:
Image

M. Mohammed Djamah
CEO of Trans-Horn Shipping
To: Minister of Commerce, Republic of Yemen

Dear Minister,

My corporation - est. 2236, a long-time and respected actor within the cargo transport industry along the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden, and in the wider Indian Ocean (and since 2368 likewise a prominent partner in the Hargeisa Spaceport, operating limited cislunar shuttle routes as well) - is very interested in investing in your country.

With ongoing economic difficulties for your more significant trade partners abroad, and with the issues faced on Mars and elsewhere by your most prominent regional neighbour, many would shy away from investing in the Republic of Yemen. But where others may see risks, we at Trans-Horn Shipping see an opportunity to develop a safe and stable infrastructure system across the Indian Ocean, opening up increased exchange with the Indian subcontinent as well as with the South-East Asian states. Yemen could easily become a vital location in the global economic exchange.

As a staging point for future investment, my corporation would like to propose the following: The establishment of a THS-Yemeni joint venture shipping harbour, airport and spaceport construction project at the island of Socotra, tentatively designated the Socotra Bonded Logistics Park. We are willing to cover the majority of the direct investment, in return for help with securing the necessary land - we would here like to note that ensuring the protection of Socotra's unique natural environment is an absolute priority - and permits, as well as facilitating labour issues.

If you are willing to consider our proposal, my associates will send you the finer print, so that you may fully examine the entire project.

Sincerely,
Mohammed Djamah
Trans-Horn Shipping.
Image

From: Saalim Can, Minister of Commerce, Republic of Yemen
To: Mohammed Djamah, Trans-Horn Shipping
I am aquainted with the history of your firm. It already does a lot of shipping through the trade lines my country sits on. We are pleasantly surprised to see our country being considered by the Trans-Horn Shipping as a staging area for their expansion. We would be happy to agree to such a project, I am sure land can be cleared for the project.

[And now a little fluff before the update]
Three-Times-Three
One of the rarely talked about social changes that had impacted society with the arrival of post-scarcity, is what became to be called the "jack". As computer technology developed, things like brain uploading and implants became commonplace. While Earthers shy away from that technology, leaving those in society who decide to connect [jack in] to "heaven" networks to be considered on the same level as drug addicts in the 21st century, most off-worlders don't share Earther prejudices.

Outside of cislunar space, jacks can be found in the Freehold, where citizens generally live a generally better lifestyle then the rest of the solar system. It is here, where the Three-times-Three Sisters of the House of Merit came to existence. The House of Merit was a minor house, not important in any way, so nobody noticed when they left with the rest of the Pure Faction of the Freehold. But it was what they carried within them that was important.

You see, dear reader, a single unit – a One-times-One – also known as a human - can operate independently when need be, at normal human capacity, but it can also link with two of its sisters, forming a One-times-Three linear triple processor. Those Trips can then link vertically and horizontally to form a grid, a perfect – so they say – unit, a true Sisterhood. A Three-times-Three.

This is what the sisterhood was, and what it represented, people, jacks, using the augments, implants and their link to the neural network to connect several human minds together into a single one. Many experiments were had, and may tests were made, and in much of the cases, the failures were spectacular. But in shadow of the gas giant, for the first time, a successful connection was created, first the one-times-three, then after further experiments the three-times-three format was found and solidified.

The large number of people required to keep this running necessitated the creation of a house in itself, and so the House of Merit was born. In the vast nothingness of space between the Jovian and Uranian system, the small fleet of Freehold ships, stocked with food and accessories, money and goods was slowly cooped by the calculated moves of the Three-times-Three sisterhood of the House of Merit. So by the time the ships arrived in Uranus, after six months of silence and darkness, they emerged under the leadership of the sisterhoods. Adopting the symbol of Uranus, with a clenched fist at the center, the Three-Times-Three sisterhood found that Uranus was a lot more populated then previously imagined. With a large sprawling Clone colony being reported to the solar system, based on Titania with a large H3 and water mining center for their own needs.

The House of Merit has in the meanwhile have begun construction of their own H3 mining operations to feed their colonies, which are planned for Oberon, where, like Titan, a layer of water appears to exist between the icy mantle and the rocky core.
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Smyg » 21:29:52 Saturday, 19 November, 2016

Image
One of many Zeergild prototypes of varying designs for small-scale floating habitats.

AFRIKANER REPAIR TEAMS ARRIVE AT VENUS

Following the alleged "hostile takeover" of the Môresterland-Vrystaat corporation, a mega-company which until its recent financial ruin and subsequent split between the Red Soil Project and their chief competitor was run by neo-Boer elites, things have been tense on Venus. In order to defuse tensions (which ramped up following a surprising accident at a Zeergild Corporation station) to secure a prosperous economic milieu for future development, several teams of engineers and technicians spearheaded by Dr. Arne de Hauer, the Afrikaner techno-designer noted to have been behind the construction of several AU off-world projects, has arrived on the planet. Hired by African Mining in partnership with Zeergild, their objective is to carry out advanced repair and maintenance, and use the data collect during this work to redesign the tethers and other vital life support systems to become safer and less prone to damage.

[mod approved]

_____________

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Ancient newspaper article about Mr. Edward Makuka Nkoloso, now on display.

AFRICAN SPACE HISTORY MUSEUM OPENED IN LUSAKA

Although many museums across the sprawling continent are dedicated to the post-21st century space programmes of the African Union, which now spans the solar system, up until now the "prehistory" of this vast and complex process has been seldom studied. The Southern African Historical Aerospace Foundation, a non-profit organization founded twenty years ago, has now finally opened the doors to their somewhat crudely named African Space History Museum in the Zambian capital of Lusaka. The museum, housed in a scrapped and subsequently remodelled 23rd century spaceship once docked outside of the city., features exhibits on early African astronomy (including one of the world's oldest known archeoastronomical devices, a stone circle built by the Nubians around 4800 BCE), the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope (a colonial institution founded in 1820 CE), the first black man in space (the Cuban cosmonaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez on the Soyuz 38 in 1980 CE), and - somewhat less impressively and doomed to failure, but still deeply admirable - the proto-programmes of Zambia and Uganda, among others. From the absurdist ideas of astronaut training and UFO detection from the dictator Idi Amin, to the patriotic efforts of the local Zambian space pioneer Edward Makuka Nkoloso in the 1960s, these exhibits show the tenacity and curiosity to explore that has made the African Union such a champion of human spaceflight. The museum was inaugurated by the Zambian Elector, Mr. Edward Shumina.

_____________

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Liberian National Police riot troopers on deployment.

MONROVIA RIOTS GRIPS STREETS OF LIBERIAN CAPITAL

Monrovia, the capital of Liberia known for its infamous "Recycled Zones", has been gripped by daylight riots for the fifth time in a forthnight, with protesters burning regional flags and destroying state property. This follows a campaign by the country's government, which since 2402 has been in conflict with their own (Ghana-aligned) Elector, to clean up the Recycled Zones. These city districts, deep in the heartland streets of the capital, suffered from notorious neglect in the late 20th and early 21st century, and developed a culture of immense self-sufficiency and quasi-Luddite behaviour. Notoriously, they have long rejected most modern forms of transport, preferring instead the long-outdated petroleum-driven automobiles of centuries past, remade over and over again using the same scrap materials. Although the government has stated their clean-up campaign is part of a wider project to modernize the capital and bring it truly into the 25th century, many outside security analysts have gone on record to state that it is primarily motivated by a fear that the population of the Recycled Zones hold sympathies with foreign "Green" movements, which garnered significant influence on the continent in previous centuries but has recently fallen into decline, especially after hyper-aggressive behaviour from several Latin American "Deep Green" regimes.
Comrade Astrojildo Pereira Duarte Silva
Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista do Brasil
(PCB)


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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Gesar » 01:07:38 Sunday, 20 November, 2016

الهلال

AL HILAL ENGLISH

Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a echoes calls for peace, amid growing Neo-Deobandi threats

THE COMPLEX: Sheikh Omar Farah, commander of the Somali-dominated Sufi paramilitary (and alleged mercenary force) Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a, has issued a statement regarding the Belter conflict, supporting Amir-Potentate Murad Basra and the efforts of the African Union in their attempts at resolving the situation “with as much haste as Allah will grant”. This follows the announcement that his movement , which draws much of its ideology from the Barelvi school of jurisprudence and the Serene Emirate's transhumanist strain of Sufism, has doubled their forces on the Station of the Pilgrimage, wherein those Muslims who cannot make the Hajj on Earth.

The station, which reproduces the Hajj in orbit between Earth and Luna as faithfully to the commands of the Five Pillars of Islam as possible, has long since been under the protection of the Basra amirs, who have contracted the Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a with the task of guiding and protecting pilgrims since its inception 102 years ago. This status has been challenged in recent years, not only by the leadership of the Complex, but by the latest wave of conservative emigrants from Dār al-Maqāmah, who protest many of the pro-AI and cybernetic policies of the Amir-Potentate.

(mod approved)

Protests grow violent; instigating Mullah apprehended

AYMAN VALLEY: A slow-down strike in the Serene Emirate's chief agri-dome complex led by the prominent agricultural futuwwa came to a violent end yesterday amid negotiations with the local representatives of the Grand Zawiya and the AI jurist Murji'ah. The talks were to deal with protests supporting the open letter sent to Triarchy leadership in objection to further conflict within the Belt, notably excluding -within the Emirate- what has been termed the Al-Jadida Liberation War. Sources state that the talks were beginning to come to a fruitful, preliminary close, an outcome expected by many analysts who have since pointed to the close relationship of both the futuwwa and the dervish-backed Grand Zawiya with the Amir-Potentate, before their interruption at the hands of counter-protestors.

The counter-protest, sources claim, began equally peacefully, as non-futuwwa workers -largely the descendants of Arab administrators displaced in the foundation of the Serene Emirate and the Great Lunar Revolution- led by Mullah Chaudry Wallulah Azhar occupied the central distrct of the sprawling complex, demanding a “complete and total cessation of any un-Islamic and anti-Lunar talk by the Amir-Potentate's faithful servants”. Allegedly, violence only broke out at approximately 1430 Lunar Standard Time when negotiations went into recess and a protestor -whom sources on both sides belong to the other- began an altercation with a police servitor, who attempted non-lethal restraint.

Eyewitnesses claim that Mullah Chaudry, a known advocate of the Neo-Deobandi Movement and associate of the Salafist pirate-hunter and former mufti “Abu Haqim” then shouted that the dervishes were manipulating the servitors, and called upon his followers to resist any attempts at breaking up the protest. Minor rioting then ensued, resulting in the injury of several, the destruction of three Takwin bots and two servitors, and the death of one dervish after the collapse of a local Romanistani caravan stop.

Chaudry has since been taken into custody, supposedly on the orders of a collective decision made by the Ninety-Nine of the Diplomatic Intelligence Services. Whether or not this has received the Murshid's official approval cannot be supposed by this publication at the time of writing.
===
House of the Rightly Guided, Jannat al-Ma’wā

Had it not overlooked the famed Domed Garden, or lived in the shadow in the Grand Minaret of al-Qamar, his home would have seemed much the same as any other. Well, perhaps without the guards, but Murad Basra could not recall a day in which he had gone without being flanked by at least a dozen of them.

Built over the demolished ruins of the stately palace in which he was born, it was a mere three stories tall, shielded by a form-fitting dome and designed in a reimagining of what the Home's greatest architects -his architects, every last one of them- termed a Neo-Sharifate style, of the sort that popped up after the oil economy crashed and the backwards and ignorant perverted the Prophet's teachings in the name of barbarity. An ugly history, to be sure, but the aesthetic principles that were born from the laws against idolatry had an ingenuity he could not deny. Much as the kafir beliefs of the Far East had once influenced murshids greater than he nly the study took inspiration from other cultures, with an artificial waterfall (recycled, of course) and a curved desk arranged on the principles of what a Freeholder colleague once claimed to be good feng shui.

It was at this desk that he sat, hand curled around a cooling cup of tea grown in his own garden, tranquil mask fully discarded as he glanced from the report to his sole friend and confidant, a former serving girl and nanny named Aisha. “And what, pray tell, are they saying now?”

“What they always say of you, Excellency.” His words, bitter and unbecoming of a man who believed so earnestly in his place among Allah's plan, were matched with the terse, blunt edge of Belter-accented Lunar Arabic. Aisha had never flinched from him, and it seemed she would not begin to do so now.

“That I speak to Jibril in the manner of the Prophet, or for the less-blasphemous, that I shall rebuild the Caliphate and take it from the Hypocrites who serve the Grand Elector.” The Amir-Potentate snorted, a dark and angry thing that was quieted only by a sip of tea “Or that I am a false prophet set to turn Muslims against themselves, and when they fall, the world.”

Aisha shook her head, giving him a delicate smile. She had known Murad since boyhood, before he had learned of his calling, and knew these moods well enough. Even Umar had a temper, and if it could belong to one of the Rashidun... Letting the thought pass through her mind without comment, the woman replied softly, “That you are a just man, who rules well even in failure.”

“Is this a failure, then? Is a master so responsible for his servants that he must make them see that Allah is more than law and conquest?”

Aisha deflected immediately. “Your father would pardon the-”

“I know bloody well what my father would have done, Aisha,” the Murshid snarled. “He was a kind man with the vision of a saint, but the damned fool floundered while Yue acted. And if that...kafir can hold love in that iron fist of hers-”

“First Consul Yue is no Muslim.” Aisha took a step forward, drawing a calm, steady breath. “She thinks not of Allah, but of politics. To her, this is a game of tactics.”

“I-” The Murshid rubbed his temples, silently cursing the dependence he'd developed on the dimethylxanthine-infused tea in front of him, presently aggravating his headache. “You are right, of course. I am on this path for a reason.”

“Then shall I presume you know what must be done?”

Murad flashed her a crooked smile, which slowly became more genuine as the empathy-enhancing implant in his cheek kicked into action. Grateful that he was back in familiar gravity and similar company, he rose comfortably, gesturing for a household servitor to follow with a graceful flick of his wrist. “Not quite,” he admitted. “I must pray for guidance, but...I have given it enough thought that I have the beginnings of a plan. Send the recorded communique to our Freeholder...acquaintances, if you would.”

Aisha bowed. “At once, Excellency.”

He moved to the door wordlessly, only turning back as he reached to open it, loose white robes flowing with every motion. “The mufti has gone too far with this, I agree. That he speaks of ill of his ruler is concerning only to the masses, I suppose.” A quiet sigh, belying that the sudden calm that came over him held a note of dishonesty. “And he has committed no treason yet.”

“But when he does...” Murad let the sentence hang in the air, closing the door and leaving the servant behind before completing it with a glance towards the nearest servitor. “We shall have to add a plea for mercy into our prayers. I can scarce show it myself.”
BrazilSim: Lampião, King of Cangaco, in Ain't Nothin' But a Gangster Party
Seren's WWII Adventure: Manuel Azaña Díaz, President of the Second Spanish Republic, in ¡No pasarán!
Smyg wrote:The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of Gesar coping with being a total fucking a-grade revolutionary thinker

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Snacks
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Snacks » 03:10:11 Sunday, 20 November, 2016

Association offers recognition to Belt Republics, joins calls to resolve Belter Crisis

The Central Commission of the Freeholder's Association and Association Chairman Hu Xifeng released a joint statement earlier this week, announcing limited recognition of the Free Republic of the Belt and various other BPF governments, and echoed previous calls by other nations for a ceasefire to allow for the coming negotiations at Dove Station.

"We recognize the reality that populations within the Asteroid Belt have established self-government and- though we have certain practical concerns about the political and currently militarized and unstable situation in these territories and also those being contested by non-Belter entities -it is the belief of this government that the self-determination of the Belters is something the inner system must come to terms with eventually in whatever forms it takes, just as they were once forced to do with the people of the Jovians. Therefore, we recognize the de facto authority of these Belter governments and their right to enter negotiations regarding the matter of de jure authority, full recognition of their sovereignty, and establishment of diplomatic relations. For our part, the Freeholder's Association believes we must withhold full recognition of such entities until certain guarantees have been made regarding respect for human rights, the laws of war, and the rule of law-including the abandonment of support o piracy. However, we also understand the realities that have led the Free Republic of the Belt to enter such controversial alliances, and would propose negotiations regarding possible solutions such as the purchase of military equipment by a Belter government to organize a military sufficient to defend itself, some form of agreement to ensure respect for their territory, or the professionalization of these controversial elements to either a government-regulated military element or PMCs bound by the laws and customs that govern such entities."

Finally, though we are ashamed as human beings that there is such pressing reason for this statement- the Freeholder's Association roundly condemns violations of the rules of war and potentially genocidal actions such as those undertaken by the ISF. We are not beasts, but human beings, and even in such a brutal thing as war there is room for humanity- something it seems the ISF must be reminded of."

In related news, it has been reported that the Freeholder delegation to the Belt Conference personally conveyed a statement of thanks from Chairwoman Hu Xifeng to the Ethiopian special forces operative who thwarted the plot against the conference. Though some Association officials have stated their interest in learning how the individual described as seeming like a reject Parthenian clone came to be part of such a plot, overall the mood of the Freeholder delegation towards Triarchy counterparts has been mostly amicable, if typically cool. More notably, the representatives have supposedly been unusually supportive of several motions put forward by the Dar's delegation and engaged in amicable discussion with them during recesses in the main talks.

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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by BgKnight » 20:35:21 Sunday, 20 November, 2016

Preliminary Mod Report
The rest to be posted after the ongoing Belt Conference has concluded.


"So what's with the neck tattoos anyways?" The short bulky Earther asked staring at the long black line choking the neck of the tall thin Belter, before reaching at her adams' apple and swirling up in intricate shapes. These were simple tattoos, nothing like the Tychan swirling patterns that moved all over the body at the will of the user, belters could never hope to afford those fancy mods.

"What do you mean?" she asked as she was pulling a console to herself, displaying whatever it was showing directly in her implants.

"Many belters have them, what is the meaning of 'em?"

She smiled to herself and absentmindedly explained "The old EVA suits had faulty seals, my parents and grandparents used them, they left burn-marks on their necks. The burn marks more or less looked like this..." and she pointed to the neck tattoos "...why do you care?"

"Just interested, jeez." he said, thinking to himself that it made sense, like everything with Belter culture, it was born out of necessity. Like how most Belters shaved the sides of their heads, so that hair wouldn't end up in the faulty filters.

"Earthman's burden, eh?" she said with that same smile.

"What does that even mean?" he was growing bemused

"Don't matter. We got debris to clean, no time for chit-chat" she said as she swirled through the zero g cockpit. He didn't say anything, remaining tightly clamped to the floor with his magnetic boots. He can never be so comfortable in zero g.


---

The War of Red Sands
The Dar and Federation war continues to rage in space, with the Dar fleet still prowling around Mars and the Asteroid belt. Arming their ships with EMPs and boarding bots to fight off pirates and continuing to apply their combat AIs. As the war in the belt draws a lot of pirate personnel, the attacks on Dar shipping lower in intensity, but the Federation remains relentless.

In the beginning of the six month period, they suffer an extensive blow, however. As the Dar manages to decipher Federation communication and fetches the location of the Al-Madinah, the capital ship of the Federation. The ship finds itself cornered in space three weeks away from Mars and enters in pitch combat with the Dar, refusing to surrender.

After being hit with the rail guns, missiles and heavy support flachettes of the Mujahid however, the Al-Madinah is heavily crippled. Still, the Federation crew refuses to surrender and continues combat on its last legs, forcing the Dar to board the Crescent Federation ship and in turn take heavy losses, mostly mopped up by the battle-bots.

By the time the Madinah is captured, the ship is in tatters, with most of its systems beyond repair it is a giant floating husk. The Madinah is later dragged over Mars, and its crew, solidified in the vacuum of space, are given a proper Muslim burial in Al-Jadida, on the Amir's orders for their valiant struggle. The officers and intelligence corps of the Dar, are given the title "al-Ghazi" for the good work.

On Earth, voices are raised to continue the pursuit of the war, but with the loss of the Madinah, a heavy blow was struck to the spirit of the Crescent Federation. However, the voices for peace on Earth are silenced by the voices calling for war, who are far numerous.

Summary:

- Al-Madinah disabled and captured
- Dar fleet continues to prowl the solar system
- Federation harassing attacks continue, but with lowering intensity
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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Smyg » 21:24:13 Sunday, 20 November, 2016

"As technology became more important, the Trickster underwent a shift in character and became the god of crafts — of technology, if you will — while retaining the underlying roguish qualities. So we have the Sumerian Enki, the Greek Prometheus and Hermes, Norse Loki, and so on." Neal Stephenson, in The Diamond Age (1995)
____
THE DEATH OF A TRICKSTER, ACT I.
The stars shone brightly that night. Even in the spires of blessed Kinshasa, high above the light pollution, it was at times hard to spot them. But here, in his personal retreat far away from Lubumbashi, in the forested hinterlands of the Haut-Katanga District, they were clear as ever. Three in particular caught the Governor's eye - the Belt of Orion. His grandmother once told him its name in their own Lunda language, but he had forgotten it long ago, just like he had chosen to forget the inhabitants he had forcibly removed from this vast jungle estate to create one of the last intact wildlife parts in the whole of the Congo. The tribesmen had clinged to their ways for too long, and progress had taken its course, guided by Jean-Baptiste's heavy hand.

No guilt, never. Shaba Province was his to rule, like it had belonged to Moïse, and unlike his ancestor he had no intention to die in exile, robbed off his de facto throne. He was going down with this ship. And what a ship it was. The scion of Lubumbashi Aeronautics knew the value there was in wealth as a symbol, and so his mansion was clothed in exotic off-world minerals from ceiling to floor, and exotic species from half the Earther nations lingered in the habitats built around the estate, for his private amusement. Even his own private "heaven" network, deep in the server caves below...

And none of it, the power and the grandeur, was worth anything at all, compared to his most valued possession. He had held on to the metaphorical gem for nearly two decades, and would never let it go. The love of a pharaoh. What prize could be of higher worth than to be able to tug the heartstrings of the lady of the realm, the most powerful single person in the world and beyond? She was his as he was hers, and no amount of plotting on his part gone wrong, no amount of scandals, could ever bring them apart. Or so it had seemed all those long years, as he guided her court - filled to the brim with yes-men and corporate spies - through the conflict with the Lunarborn, the Afro-Indian disputes, the domestic rebellions...

Sure, his methods had never been clean, and some would have said (if anyone truly knew the extent of his corruption) that they had directly dirtied the very moral fabric of the Union. But the ends justified the means. Those smuggled Lunar minerals had benefited his company immensely. The pirate dealings had to happen, to ensure the competitiveness of his commercial transports versus his rivals. The addicts dying in the streets of Casablanca and Raba were unfortunate, but the King of Morocco had to be punished for daring to defy the monopoly held the "Tshombe Dynasty", as he sometimes liked to imagine it. Everything had been justified, to ensure that his own dreams never faltered, even if it meant risking the ire of his 'queen'. And the recent attack... Well, perhaps that last one hadn't been worth it. After all, it may yet be the end of him.

As he finished that thought, clutching his glass of Freeholder cognac hard and observing the stars above his unlit hyper-mansion, another star appeared, alongside the Belt of Orion. A bright star, that became larger and larger. Behind it, soon an entire swarm of little starlets appeared, growing ever grander.

Hundreds of miles away, a pharaoh wept quietly with undeserved guilt in her heart, as a fleet of ships bearing the neon-bright yellow crest of the Ghanaian Space Forces descended upon the palace deep in the Katangan jungle.

Image

END, ACT I.
Comrade Astrojildo Pereira Duarte Silva
Secretary-General of the Partido Comunista do Brasil
(PCB)


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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Snacks » 02:49:46 Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

From: Dr. Hu Fang, CEO of Hong Cybernetic Engineering Solutions and the Hui Clique, Chairwoman of the Freeholder's Association Foreign Commission
To: Federation of the Crescent's United Council; Murad Basra, Murshid of al-Qamar and Amir-Potentate of the Faithful of Dār al-Maqāmah
CC: Al-Jadida Islamic Republic

It has been with concern that the government of the Freeholder's Association has watched as your two nations have waged war on one another, leading to loss of life on both sides and threatening to exact an even higher toll if it continues. Given the heavy economic and military losses suffered by the Federation and the fact that, with Al-Jadida captured from the Federation and the Federation fleet decimated, there is nothing further that the Dar has not accomplished unless their intent is to fully destroy the Federation fleet or attack the Federation itself- we implore the parties to this Conflict to establish a ceasefire and reach a peace agreement. We volunteer to host talks on Ganymede, and sincerely hope that we will see another step made towards ending the strife plaguing the inner system and Belt.

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Re: Solar System Daily

Post by Huojin » 05:18:44 Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

MONEY TALKS: ICRS ASSET FREEZE

After a lengthy asset freeze, unrest, and legal challenges issued by both sides, a statement today was released by the Undersecretary of Financial Advisory Matters and Operations to the First Consul that Tycho would be inviting representatives of the so-called "Red Helmets" and the famous Gser Khang Bank to meet in Tycho City for extensive (yet informal) talks on the issue, in the hopes that a foundation for the amicable resolution of the freeze could be secured.

ENEMIES OF TYCHO EXECUTED

Shamed and defeated, the unnamed perpetrators of an attempted overthrow of the Res Publica Tycho were executed today. Although little news has emerged on their precise motivations, rumours has it they were intending to bring about the collapse of the Triarchy in favour of a "Tycho First" policy. The affair was little-observed, their sentence being undignified. Large crowds instead attended various government buildings and installations, rallying in support of First Consul Yue and the republic.

NEW GOVERNOR APPOINTED

With the victory over the terrorists and enemies of the state completed - the force of arms of the mighty Triarchy knowing no match - the Congress of Free Luna today named former-Grand Senator Michel De Witte Omalanga as Governor of that territory, with a directive to establish a formal governmental presence there. Newly renamed Nouvelle Espoir, the Congress expressed its desire that it would become a "shining beacon of hope in the future embrace of peace, prosperity, and Lunar unity".

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