From: Ibrahim Luzige, African Mining Aquistions Branch
To: Cairo Kumar Bonaccorso, Acting CEO of the Callisto Grouping of Companies
CC: Leadership of the Freehold, League of Ansoft Leadership, Heads of the Titan Republics, Al Musawwir
African Mining endorse these proposals put forward by the venerated Admiral Park Kwang-su.
To all parties in conflict [CALLISTO] and entity [AFRICAN MINING]: message incoming. AI detected: moodstate [PLEASED], origin [DAR]. Accept transmission?
Al-Musawwir's "form" disintegrates into a crystalline shower, leaving only a distorted kaleidoscope and sound for a few long moments. By the time it speaks, it seems to be developing itself into a new shape, a shimmering display of swaying technicolor whose outline seems vaguely feminine.
"Very good! This one's most munificent master shall begin the preparations for a grand negotiation hall overlooking the Domed Gardens, presuming such a beneficial arrangement is agreed upon. All involved parties are hereby invited, with the Parthenian Collective and the leadership of African Mining welcome to attend as observers."
From: Cairo Kumar Bonaccorso, Acting CEO of the Callisto Grouping of Companies [Called the Callistan Cartel]
To: Ibrahim Luzige, African Mining Aquistions Branch; Admiral Park Kwang-su, Jupiter Unified Command of the Freeholders' Association
CC: League of Ansoft Leadership, Heads of the Titan Republics, The Leadership of the Freehold
The leadership of the Callisto Grouping of Companies, agree with this proposal. We will see you on Luna, gentlemen.
Fire was exchanged on the Argentinian-Chilean border. It is unknown who fired first or for what reason but the loss of life on both sides of the border has added fuel to the already tense atmosphere in South America. However war is unlikely to come due to Argentina's reported ownership of a neutron bomb.
The Free Mars Essays
The Free Mars essays continue to circle around the Martian underground, several additions have been made to the essays. And the governments have responded in kind, several citizens have been arrested in the Mexican colony on Mars, charged with spreading propaganda.
Refugees in Ceres; Part 3
A surprising and tense situation has emerged over Ceres, as a large Triarchal aid fleet, gathered from all the member states of the Triarchy and escorted by the crescent painted warships of the Dar have met with a similarly large African Union relief force, both bringing massive amounts of aid, water and provisions to help the refugees. The initial shock of the warships' arrival was coupled with a tense stand-off over Ceres, but ultimately the needs of the many outweigh the international tensions and the Triarchy and African Union were allowed to disembark their ships and deliver aid. Such was the size of the fleet, that reportedly 2/3 of the ships had to be offloaded by shuttles and not allowed into the docks as to not clog the movement of trade vessels. With the warships in place, piracy is expected to lower in the next weeks as it has become too dangerous.
Last week after a grand meeting between the Grand Mufti of the Serene Emirate of Dār al-Maqāmah and the CEO of LuMiOp, the company has declared it will strike back at the hackers who have attempted to disturb their operations. The Grand Mufti has made it clear that any attack on the Triarchy or their economic satellites is an attack on the Triarchy itself and reasserted the Emirate's position. After the announcement, several servers went down around the world, in locations such as the United States, China and in Russia, all however contained no relevant information for the LuMiOp operatives, as they seemed to have been used just as a way-point for the hackers' attack. Investigations continue.
Russian Civil War
The Russian Space Forces have a confirmed a sighting in the Asteroid Belt, apperently they have chosen to hide where nobody can look for them, in the midst of the debrees of the asteroid field. Upon sighting, the few small ships and several large ones moved out of their hiding spots and disappeared in the belt. It is still unknown where they are headed or what they are planning. The Vladivostok military has finally come into combat with the Internal Ministry Forces, under their upside-down flag, creating a stable umbrella from anti-air and anti-space missiles to protect them from any attacks from the air they were able to wrestle control of several major eastern bases, declaring the Russian Republic. Several other major cities have gone dark and the Russian military has either scattered or is forming new governments all over the place. Moscow and European Russia continue to be under the control of the FSB, but that cannot last for long. Both sides continue to reach out for foreign aid, but their requests fall on def ears.
Riots in the Southern US on True Patriots day
Following a flash floods in the southern United States, a series of riots have erupted, egged on by the local deep green movements. Every year in memory of the "True Patriots" movement, a large parade is held in Louisiana, however this year that parade quickly turned into a riot and was joined by many others all around the southern united states. The True Patriots were a green movement, founded as a spiritual successor of the Patriot party of the 1960s and inspired by some of the green and agrarian philosophies of the New Agrarians of 1930. The True Patriots were in many ways the first deep green movement, founded and supported by internal climate refugees in the mid 21st century, concentrating on helping and supporting people. Ultimately, the True Patriots' open condemnation of the central government is what brought them down as they were subjected to bloody raids FBI.
Although often overshadowed by other revolutionary groups during the 21st and 22nd century, the impact of the True Patriots on American history should not be understated. They laid the foundation for future Deep Green sympathies and solidarity movements in the continental US, sympathies which would themselves give way to the Magnolia Revolution of 2183 which spelled the end of the Washingtonian USA. Secondly, and more subtly, the True Patriots represent a middle point in the history of Southron Nationalism in America. Where before the True Patriots the main influences on Southron Nationalism were from Confederate Romanticism and White Supremacy after them they were influenced largely by reactions against Neoliberalism and a focus on Agrarianism and Eco-nationalism. The True Patriots themselves represented this middle point in that they contained aspects of both, as evidenced by their flag which still borrowed heavily from Confederate symbolism which was then contrasted by their (especially as the years passed) more colorblind eco-activism
The Callistan Crisis may be coming to an end, as both sides have agreed to meet in Luna, their ships already in route. Stability has returned to the shipping in the solar system, with some water and H3 ships being able to reach Ceres and other stations and deposit their goods that have waited patiently for this to be over.
Gser Khang Bank freezes ICRS assets
ICSRs has suffered some losses due to the freesure of assets, their leadership however has failed to respond and the volunteers on the ground, while doing everything within their power, are growing short on supplies. Crisis has been averted for now as Tycho has sent rapid response teams and aid to support their mission. But many fear that may not be enough for the long run.
The Dar's Fatwa against the Unbound
Nearly 7,000 of the Dar's Muslim clerics have signed a fatwa against the body modification of the Unbound, saying they were "beyond Islamic purity". Around 1.5 million Muslims visiting a shrine dedicated to a Islamic Martyr near the dome of al-Salah in north western provice of the Dar, during the Urs religious festival have signed a petition against attacks of the Unbound.
Mufti Mohammed Saleem Noori, one of the clerics who signed the fatwa, told Solar System News: "From Sunday onwards, when the annual Urs began, members of religious movements of the Dar have been distributing virtual forms among followers' implants seeking e-signatures to show that those signing stand against wanton murder and unislamic body modifications" Another cleric, Hazrat Subhan Raza Khan, said the decision had been made in the wake of the Europa asteroid strike, attributed to the Unbound by some news organizations, to spread out the message that the Muslim community condemns these "freaks".
Parthenian ships depart from Jupiter
The Parthenian ships that have sparked so much tensions are now departing from jupiter to unknown locations, their move is recorded to not be back towards Luna though, which has led many to speculate as to their destination. Recordedly by the end of the three month period they made a stop at the Titan Republics and Ansoft but it is unknown if they had kept moving afterwords or maintain their positions. Many believe they continue forward.
Private Assistance in Lincoln
Preparations for construction works have commenced on Lincoln, reportedly Tychan companies have offered to also assist, as well as the American government being in talks with the Tycho Republic for a large chunk of aid which is to help the colony. So far the American government has been very receptive for all the help coming in, but the African companies present and the Freehold's investors are not happy about the new player on the block. The silver lining is that the competition might drive the price of the whole project quite a lot.
A new player on the solar market, Sonkrag Volkstaat are slated to enter an agreement with the giant Môresterland-Vrystaat in exchange for a new solar technology promised by Sonkrag's chief engineers. This comes at a time where the Vrystaat's stocks sky rocket after a large shipment of Tychan servitors arrive on Venus, able to withstand the pressures of the surface they can work extracting operations for the Venusian giant.
After significant debates in the Intersolar Committee chamber regarding the shock action by the Gser Khang Bank, the Intersolar Committee of the Red Sun has opted to release full, authenticated electronic records of its funding sources as known to the ICRS, where data is available and legal to release. Such transparency is not unheard of, as it contains all funding trails and transactions from the moment they enter the ICRS' system to their present locations in many banks, and reveals the full extent of the Committee's assets, though not its spending - though generalised spending information is freely published already by the ICRS on its matrix hub. The majority of the income is sourced from small donations by individuals.
Meanwhile, the asset freeze and the basis of the investigation is being challenged in court, protesting innocence and the various breaches of law involved in the sudden private investigation, without warrant or due process being carried out. The disclosure release was advised against by the ICRS' legal team - which has swelled significantly thanks to the pro bono additions of many of the Solar System's most famous rights lawyers - as unnecessary and weakening the principle that the freeze is an unjustified imposition - but the President of the Committee, Rosa Hector, has issued a statement at a press conference, explaining the final decision of the Committee.
"In these dark and turbulent times, in which our charitable work is, sadly, more necessary than ever, it is beyond belief that the International Committee of the Red Sun should find itself prevented from carrying out its independent humanitarian mission by baseless allegations of corruption. Even as I speak to you today, the provision of essential aid and supplies to the Refuge has been reduced, increasing the suffering of already downtrodden refugees. Even as I speak to you today, the Committee has been prevented from deploying hospital ships or the Red Helmets to the ongoing Ceres crisis, due to the forced re-allocation of funds to our existing work on Luna. Thanks to the clumsy and misguided actions of the Gser Khang Bank, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands more people are suffering. For our response, we have elected to release full details of our funding sources as known to us, to demonstrate that we have nothing to hide, nor guilty consciences lurking within us. All are welcome to peruse the authenticated records and come to the same conclusion. We will be seeking compensation from Gser Khang once this issue is resolved - though no amount of compensation will make up for the human lives lost while this unprovoked and unjustified attack on our organisation continues."
Protests and a boycott movement against the Gser Khang Bank have sprung up, attracting the support of many across the system - surprising no-one, given the widespread support enjoyed by the ICRS among the humanitarian-minded. Among the more famous names lending their support and media presence - who have attracted significant attention to the Red Sun cause - are Anwar Alexander, the renowned author of the futurist Alantropa Quadrilogy, star actress Drea Yu, star of such trid blockbusters as "Shadows of Singapore" and "The Belly of Iniquity", and Lunar protest musician Floriana MacCailín, who is presently recording an untitled album to raise funds for the refugees affected by the Gser Khang Bank freeze.
"Imagine lies, and then write them down in order. That is literally all authors do!"
Serenissima's WW2 BoP: The GM (obviously) Metal Gear BoP: Japan 1971: Israel Dawn of Worlds: Aaru, the Soulguide
The man in tight black-and-purple garb and a finely cut beard extended his hand towards his welcoming committee, as he stepped out of the amphibious aircraft plane. It was a Lubumbashi Aeronautics product, of course, a luxury model crafted in off-world minerals. Unknown to African Mining (although some suspected it), the company mainly imported their ore from LuMiOp Ltd., having found the pro-Lunar competitor to be a better of source of some rarer strains more suitable for their purposes.
Did he come as an envoy of the Grand Premier, to make deals for his company, to represent his province? Who knew. He was certainly here now, though, and they could do little but accommodate him.
"Elector Andriantsimianatra, it is good to see you again. It's been too long - the Grand Ball of 2395, no?" The politician's name dripped off Jean-Baptiste's tongue like honey. Most outsiders didn't do too well with the complex names of the central Imerina highlands, but in Mother Africa no man could be a sufficiently skilled diplomat without taking enough linguistic coaching to avoid embarrassing incidents with pronunciations. The Elector nodded, with a smile plastered on. It had indeed been the Grand Ball of 2395, which went down in memory due to having become infinitely rowdy the moment the very restrained Grand Premier, always a bit of a party killer, left the scene. Notably, the First Minister of Lesotho had been stabbed to death by a crowd of Swazilander envoys, outraged at his drunken comments about their Queen. "It was, yes."
As they entered the dome, the Governor shot off a few standard lines, the general pleasantries that could be expected from any enlightened autocrat representing the political-industrial powers of the world. Hidden beneath the words were the same type of attitude Jean-Baptiste always let off: A rather smug type of passion, albeit a charismatic one. Elector Andriantsimianatra - or Capitaine Andrian, as most of the populace knew him, far from all of the Malagsy majority preferred the traditionalist long-form version - sighed. He had never been one much for bullshitting, diplomatic protocols be damned.
They stopped once through the airlocks. By their side, a mighty baobab tree rose up, its roots planted firmly in artificial soil. Its size - what, ten metres? Jean-Baptiste tried to estimate it, with a brief glance - showed it was a miniature version. Whether it was kept naturally dwarfed by the habitat's size, if some marvel of biochemistry held it down, or the locals had just taken an interest in the art of bonsai trees, was unclear. At the roots sat a small sign, neatly printed, reading: "Adansonia grandidieri. Origin: Lake Ihotry."
"I'll be blunt, Elector." Jean-Baptiste smiled widely, to no visual effect from his companion. "Please be, Governor" came the reply, curtly. The Katangan continued after a short pause. "We have need of your privateers, sir." A raised eyebrow, greying and tinged by a scar. "Is that so? Well, if you got the proper licences to offer me, and authorization from the Grand Premier..."
"There won't be any permits needed this time, Elector. This is off the books. And Madame Sewamba... prefers not knowing about such things."
A flash of white teeth came from the Malagsy man, in his neatly tailored suit. "Should've said so straight away. Please, tell me. What can Libertalia do for you, Governor?" Outside of the reinforced walls, weaved together from layer upon layer of steel, plastic and metals harvested by miners across the Kuiper Belt, the waters of the Indian Ocean passed by quietly.
A European citizen has been captured in the European colony, attempting to set charges on a government building. A checking account was found in his apartment, assets have been tracked to an off world bank. Europol has been tracking the citizen for quite some time, he was reportedly at Res Publica Nachis before these events unfolded. In the meanwhile, liberty poles have been erected in several key locations in Mars. Res Publica Nachis has come under direct scrutiny for these activities, but the Republic continues to deny any such activities. Activities to root out dissidents continue and have reached some success in the European and Arabian colonies. But the idea of an autonomous Mars, rooted in the people's minds ever since the war, continues to exist.
Refugees in Ceres; Part 4
The Refugees have started streaming out, boarded on transport ships and heading back towards their stations. With authorities secure in the knowledge that the war is coming to its end, the security situation in Ceres has improved. Across the board, the adequate reaction of the international authorities has been judged acceptable by the citizens of Ceres. There has been a slight shift in the population, with some of the natives leaving while a bunch of the refugees settling in to the colony. The end of the refugee crisis of the colony is in sight.
Russian Civil War
The Russian Space Forces have been sighted close to Ceres, re-arming and filling up with fuel on an African Station. Letter they appear in combat with a pirate outfit in the asteroid belt. In the meanwhile, the Vladivostok military has won a critical battle against the Internal Ministry Forces, but have made no moves to leave the anti-air shields and attack the government. In the meanwhile, sectors outside of European Russia, still ran by the Internal Ministry and FSB, are raptly going dark.
In a tense series of negotiations, the Al-Salah Accords are signed between the Freehold and the Callistan Grouping of Companies. In the end of the negotiations, the Freehold has won back control of Chandra Station and in return relinquishes its hold over the Callistan capital, bringing back Callisto to the hands of the Callistan Group. Fears that the old management of Callisto, political prisoners of the Freehold on the Callistan stations, would overturn the peace upon release proved to be in vain as the middle management of Callisto, now in charge of the group, set about to spacing the old CEO and his goons quickly. Peace reigns in the Jovian sector again.
Gser Khang Bank freezes ICRS assets
Protests in the capitals of the Earther and some of the Lunar powers are slowly expanding, with a boycott of the bank being declared online and with some people choosing to withdraw money from the bank. The protests are small, so far, but they are big enough to be notable on the news. What does turn the table however is the high-powered lawyers and executives that join the team of negotiators of the ICRS and have filed a lawsuit with the World Court, based in the Hague, as well as several smaller Lunar courts. The tide is slowly turning against the Gser Khang bank as the banks' CEO is unavailable for comment and his advisers continue talking about an investigation on the ICRS' activities. In the meanwhile, on Luna some people have gathered in a counter protest, calling it a "Hands Off Luna" campaign. Many pundits question the activities of Gser Khang, as they seem more like a scare tactic then an actual legitimate investigation, something the lawyers will be happy to fight in court.
Private Assistance in Lincoln
Tychan assistance continues to come in, bringing in Dome-building knowledge with them to support Lincoln. The result is both sides being forced to grudgingly work together and assist-each other in the massive construction project that they are laying the foundations for. Pars from Earth and Luna have already arrived and construction is commencing.
Out in the quiet spaces between the edge and the inner, there is more than just nothing.
Rounds scudded off the shell of the LuMiOp ship, the leading shots for calibration hitting true. Solar panels turned to glittering dust before the sabots punched through the living quarters. She closed in at high burn, dropping another volley but she already knew it was over for the miners.
UTRECHT didn't really have a grudge against them. She'd been observing the vessel and a few others like it for several months and they were harmless compared to her. Plenty of people were. But the Dar had upset her. It seemed stupid, since they were more AI than people these days anyway. Apparently though, the next step in human evolution scared even them.
So this ship was going to be hers, and she was going to get stronger from it. She squirted a tightbeam signal to their ops bridge.
"You have the following choice. You may join the Free League, or you may die in the cold depths of space, unmourned and unremembered. LuMiOp vessel 9A-UE-KLII, how do you choose?"
The mounted grapples on the vessel rotated toward UTRECHT as she deployed the combat drones. They chose death it seemed. The drones crawled off of the plating on her outer shell and launched into space with puffs of gas and controlled burns. Diamond-coated saws spun and oscillated in the silence of space. Piece by piece, she would have this one... and then perhaps try that convoy she got a squirt on leaving Ceres from KOBA. But first, they would have to stop breathing...
The ship was huge. That was certain, and as it came into the Jovian sector several vessels pinged for ID. He knew that he was most definitely being watched. Let them, he thought. He bristled with Point defense cannons, long-guns and reactive armour plating. A flight of autonomous combat drones that could provide a significant threat on their own soared in complex intricacies around him. Huge thrusters of a customised design assured that he could burn and adjust with suprising ease. He refused all ID pings, moving in stately immensity through the moons. Normally he avoided coming into the system, but he had a deal to fulfil. He transmitted a tightbeam direct to the partner he had agreed this with.
"Argus Freehold, this is MUSK. We're in position and ready to begin operations in Jove space..."
You can find someone who agrees with you on practically anything, if you look hard enough, and especially if you search alternate media. Even people who find a society of clones who think they're Laconian somehow interesting to follow, despite the complete lack of reciprocal interest.
- Welcome to Clonewatchers - your one-stop-shop for everything Parthenian, everything Lunie, everything bonkers from those copycats up there. Copy that, J I?
- I sure do Kay - and well it's been a hell of a time for that!
- That's right - now we've all been studying closely those images smuggled in from Jupiter of the keyship and escorts - and boy are we disappointed that they didn't get to start some fireworks. Seems we're not the only ones, eh?
- Nope! Some discontent up above that the Parthenians didn't just roll on in and wipe out the Freeholders like the good old days might make some of you do a double take... right? Right? But seems all is not well in clone society about the fact they're all still alive.
- One day we'll lose all of our viewers due to these puns, you know.
- You mean we'll be eclipsed by other clone-watchers?
- Shut up, J I. On with the news...
- ...copy that! Remember the last round of deathsports? Well some of the gladiatorial teams, those retired troopers too bored to sit about not getting shot, stabbed, depressurised or decapitated... they seem to have started wearing some kind of emblem in support of the cartels.
- Who are, we should remind our fellow Earthers, evil unfreedom loving types devoted to being just the worst. That reminder especially for our viewers tuning in in a professional capacity, rather than an amateur one. The Freeholds are just so free.
- One day you'll lighten up, Kay - anyway, seems the criticism of the Archon over the issue is heating up, at least as far as you can hear criticism in a society where everyone is too busy training to batter each other to bother with such troublesome issues as elections.
- Here's hoping they don't start getting involved in too much democracy, or they'll have to start listening to pollster AIs telling them what they think too...
“You dhimmi are all the same,” Naqib Nasir Soliman chided the technician, Tenzin (all the Khang-men seemed named Tenzin, for some reason), as he inspected the idolatrous mess that had become his quarters, eyes fixed on a small holo-painting of what appeared to be some six-armed demon-god or whatever the Buddhists had. A report could be heard in the background, the Murshid's calm voice intoning about the difference between finding Allah's work within oneself and mocking that, undoubtedly in the context of the new embargo on any found helping the Unbound. “No sense of aesthetics. Or self-preservation.”
Tenzin sallied forth immediately, and Soliman could have sworn from behind all the cybernetic implants and AV-glasses, the Tibetan was rolling his eyes. “Save the talk for the mob...Naqib. You know how it goes out here. Even the Murshid's bogey-man isn't about to tell me no, when this little run might just be the icing on his halal cake.” The dervish was known to be the biggest proponent of Basra's “Ninety-Nine”, and had received the assignment on special request. “I mean, assuming it works. Which it will.”
The ship's captain wasn't quite convinced, but gestured for the tech to follow. They made their way out of the ship in silence, Soliman matching the strides of his cybernetically-enhanced subordinate with something passing for ease. After this, I'm going to the futuwwa. Too old to be walking about unmodified, that's Allah's truth.
Reaching the exterior of the Iskander, the pair of them paused, admiring the sleek, polished hull of the lightly-armored Alamut-class ship, one of the Home's preferred vessels for this sort of run. The Africans had called its class the 'Nyigu' back in the Revolution, because the only way to catch one was to spray-and-pray or get stung. And the sting...always hurt. “I hesitate to ask, but...what's it do, precisely?” Soliman turned to Tenzin, who seemed fascinated by the servitors updating the standard next to the three stars-and-crescent that emblazoned every ship. Not a good sign, that, he considered, briefly examining the text, written in ornate Lunar Arabic.
Disbelievers shall be the owners of hell-fire.
Tenzin smiled, a sickening thing. “You ever go out to the synth-bars in the Belt, boss?”
“No.” A sigh. “Yes.”
“Total sensory overload. It's a cocktail of every drug in that bar, the high, the crash, the OD. It's fucking the most beautiful woman in the system while she hits you with a belt and calls you a piece of shit, times a million.” The Tibetan only laughed at his friend's wincing. “Just...apply it to the context. Throw in a bit of chaos...change the speed up, you know, slow it down and then switch it up...don't relent at all...”
“By Allah. That's...horrible.”
“Sometimes horrible things are necessary to prevent worse things. I think a lama told me that once.” Tenzin shrugged. “It's an order, that's what it is.”
Soliman shook his head, mask of sangfroid obfuscating his sudden urge to vomit, turn in his resignation, vomit again, steal his ship, and flee to Mercury. “True enough. What's this one called?”
“'That one' chose a name for itself. It's a grim, dutiful sort, no sense of humor. You'll get along great.” The captain gave him a look, and Tenzin got to the point. “It's called Al-Mumit.”
Liberty polls continue to be erected around Mars, with authorities taking them down quickly afterwords. Several more bomb threats are called out, but don't amount to much, as tense raids in Mlema Wa Uhuru shake the colony, with a long chase through the capital city culminating in a stolen space-plane successfully leaving the atmosphere. The African Martian Intelligence Directorate has not released any details of the chase or of who is being chased, but rumors swirl that the plain has landed at Res Publica Nachis. In the meanwhile, a small detachment of Russian Space Forces has landed on the planet, guided by a detachment of Ghanian Marines. They have declared their intention to build a colony in the south, under European territory on the border of the Hellas Sea, under African protection. In the meanwhile, the Pure Trio, a famous dervishes traveling throughout the solar system, have arrived from Luna.
Siemens Mining has acquired the rights to mine in areas previously reserved for Chinese companies, pushing China Shenhua out of their areas of control. With them owning, two of the major space stations in the area, they have managed to expand their base of operations rapidly, to control major asteroids in the area.
Delegates from various Prospero Confederates and Estado Lunar meet in Tycho to discuss cooperation. Few details have emerged from the negotiations, one such is the agreement for economic cooperation that has been brokered between the Estado Lunar, Prospero and Tycho.
Morocco Royal Space Committee
The Moroccan Royal government has declared the establishment of their own space plane production. Advanced space-plane constructs have been presented in a conference aimed at investors and prospective clients. The technology on display has drawn much interest from large companies on earth, especially in China and India, due to its very advanced nature, even by Earther standards.
With help from the Dar, the LuMiOp high command have declared that they have discovered the culprit of the attacks upon their data. The information has been traced back to a small AI based on an asteroid mining station in the Indian Asteroid Corporation's territory. Tensions between India and Luna have been steadily growing.
MUSK arrives in the Jovian System
The MUSK, the largest ship in the solar system by far has arrived in the Jovian system, hailing the nearby stations. Response is yet to come from the Freehold, but many are worried about what a ship this size is doing in this side of the solar system.
Kolob Engines Test
The Latter Day Saints, has declared that the engine of the Kolob, their generation ship, has finished engine tests successfully, with the crew modules installed and the engines operational, the generation ship has finished 70% of its construction. Ten levels of environmental engineering, crew quarters, temples, schools, wastewater treatment, machine shops, and forges, and at the center, the vast interior have already finished construction, meaning that only the wiring and all the internal operations and machines remain to be installed.
Murshid's Belter tour
The Murshid of the Dar has set out to the Belt for a tour of good will, he is set to visit the major stations of the Lunar-ran Belter Companies, emphasizing the Dar's continued protection but also speaking of a need for reform for their workers. He is expected to arrive in the next three month period.
The Sunkrag Volkstaat Scheme
The Sunkrag Volkstaat company, marketed as the revolution in solar technology and the newest player on the block that was going to change the world when it entered the market with a multi-billion nzimbu deal with the Morsterland-Vrystaat. Upon purchase of the company's assets, however, the Morsterland-Vrystaat executives discovered it was an elaborate scheme, the revolutionary technology promised was nothing, but a very complex fake and the executives of Sunkrag Volkstaat have disappeared with massive amounts of money lost. Morsterland-Vrystaat has yet to release its yearly report on earnings, but from news emerging of layoffs, massive losses are inevitable.
The liquid was brown, and smelled of chocolate - a synthetic aroma, of course. A pleasant substance, certainly. Could have been mistaken for choco-milk or some such, were it not contained within a nasty-looking syringe. The young man in black and blue studied the syringe carefully, then threw a few glances at the opened package in front of him. It was full of vials, with the same dark brew.
They were seated in a hiding-hole dug into the Saharan bedrock, somewhere far north of the now-blossoming Timbuktu. A miniature dome of the Martian type, fit for half a dozen men or so, turned upside down and covered in the endless sands, relocatable only through GPS. They were the first to come by in months, and the munitions and water storage was intact. The surveillance database, when accessed, showed that nothing but a few Green Sahara Initiative surveyor drones had flown by in the past couple of weeks. Ironically, the project that would return the wastelands to the bounties of the past would also drive safehouses like this into irrelevancy, as the frontiers moved and the desert became populated once more.
There were three of them, around the table. Zodi was the first to speak, the young man in black and blue, utilising the lingua franca of the Oasis System: Tamasheq. "Your product is interesting, sir." The colour, texture, scent... it didn't resemble any other drug he usually moved - heroin, amphetamine, neo-krokodil, mescaline extracted from the genetically engineered Congolese Peyote, and so on - and it made him uncomfortable. It was always a good idea to be on top of the situation, and Zodi felt he knew too little of what he was getting himself into. The man on the opposite side of the table, a heavy-set soldier with "POLISARIO" emblazoned on his beige shirt, grunted. He was just the escort, out to hurt an enemy of old indirectly on the Sahrawi Elector's orders.
The narco-nomad turned to the third man instead. He may be young, but the tribe - or cartel, whichever it was classified as these days - had chosen to rely on him to monitor this exchange, and he wouldn't fail them. He always had to be sure of what he was doing, especially today, the eve of his very first own operation. His raised eyebrow, scarred by a poorly installed but certainly functioning sight-enhancing implant, translated across any language, and the soft-spoken gentleman in white next to the soldier smiled. "Indeed, Mr. Ag Ghaly. It's, pardon the pun, quite out of this world." So, that was it. It was off-world. The laboratory rat continued his monologue, as Zodi studied his features, soft and pale by North African standards. Although his dialect was clearly Ivorian, quite different from Zodi's own Azawadi tongue, it seemed likely that he was the son of white expatriates.
"Although the flavour and scent is quite artificial, naturally, there is in fact a substantial amount of, hm, 'refined' is perhaps the best word, theobromine." Zodi didn't for a moment believe this drug involved no more than a hyped-up super-chocolate of some sort, although that was arguably the point that would make it the easiest to sell. Still, he hadn't trekked across the desert for three days just to transfer chocolate. There had to be something more nefarious, some chemical compound yet largely unknown to the Earthborn markets. Luna, Mars, Venus or Jupiter, he wondered? Each had extensive amounts of minerals and gases, which could be turned into just about anything. Maybe best not to ask, the tribe's own lab could figure it out, perhaps. Nevermind that for now. "Well then, theobromine it is, sir. Now, mind spilling the details on where you want our caravans to take your product? Europe?"
The scientist shook his head, smiling even wider. He opened up his datapad, revealing a map, and pointed out the drop-off point, right outside a major city. "Not quite. The Company has interests in Europe... wouldn't want those poor fools to get afflicted with my work, would we?" His teeth flashed an uncanny yellow, and Zodi could swear he saw a dark red light humming somewhere behind the man's tongue. He replied curtly, having looked at the map for a moment. "Well then, Casablanca it is." The largest city in the Maghreb, the pearl of stories long forgotten. It had no idea what was about to hit it.
AL HILAL ENGLISH: AMIR-POTENTATE MURAD BASRA TOURS THE OUTER SYSTEM
HEPHAESTUS: Arriving on the capital ship Hafaza after a brief conference with the leadership of the Memnonian Cyberocracy, the self-proclaimed Murshid of Luna, Murad Basra, has given his first address outside the moon to a swelling crowd of Hephaestus Corporation's leadership and workers. This comes after a grand procession to mark the occasion, with Hephaestus security forces accompanying two dozen of the Amir-Potentate's personal dervish guard, clad in white and armed with powered scimitars and standard-issue shock sticks through the Corporation's main habitat complex, with Basra and the Corporation's chief executive leading the parade in an anti-gravity vehicle. The parade ended with a ceremonial display of Mevlevi whirling and the Murshid placing his personal blessing and prayers upon a new Hephaestus mining craft, the Eucleia.
His Benevolent Excellency Murad Basra, Amir-Potentate of the Faithful of Dar al-Maqamah and Murshid of al-Qamah
During the speech, Basra -having forsaken his traditional Neo-Punjabi garb for a more modern uniform- reiterated the message that he had promised to deliver during his most recent address to the Faithful of Luna, saying: "Just as my home is anchored to the Earth in exchange for the benefits of the tides and the length of the day, so too must al-Qamar be the anchor on which the Belt rests. Thus we may both prosper, and thus we must approach not only our intersolar relations, but our domestic life. Let us remember the tale of Umar, who bore the burden of his people in plain clothing, and in turn prospered from their joy, his Caliphate growing wealthy."
This comes after a recent crackdown within the Serene Emirate against the conservative Deobandi faction which held primacy during the reigns of the first two Amir-Potentates, a move that analysts claim to be in line with the growing focus of Basra's government on soft power and reform. These insiders further claim that the Serene Emirate's attempts at projecting Lunar influence are modeled after the Murshid's internal policy -much of which has served to cement his base among the once-disenfranchised, as well as provoking increasing outcry from human rights observers- as evidenced by his calls for greater rights to the Belter working poor and his instrumental role in establishing a peace during the Callistan crisis. One source in particular alleges that present talks between the Belter corporations and Dar al-Maqamah involve a re-negotiation of trade deals on terms favorable to the former, as well as further investment and potential economic integration, with the condition of following a charter of labor rights.
Following the speech, the Amir-Potentate has returned to the docking port at the Hephaestus headquarters, where three sadaqah ships have been ordered to distribute charitable donations of electronics, toys, and clothing to those among the populace who can only afford basic necessities. It is expected that after this and his scheduled meeting with the Hephaestus Board of Directors, he will journey onwards to LuMiOp before returning to the holdings of Hermes Asteroid, where the leadership of the Callistan Group and the League of Ansoft will be invited to meet for additional talks.
Al Hilal is a subsidiary of Al-Jannah Intersolar, an incorporated conglomerate affiliated with the Serene Emirate of Dar al-Maqamah.
Thought for the Day: "The faithful is like a brother to a fellow faithful: he is like his seeing eye and guide. He will not double-cross, wrong, or deceive him, nor will he fail to fulfill his promises to him."
I did some calculations and a lot of rolls, and in the end of the day, this turned into a major event from a small series of events. This is mostly based on chance, and it seems that everyone was on the receiving end of it. I will make it clear there are no winners in destabilizing the solar system to such an extent, boys. Now y'all can fix that with a bit of diplomacy and cooperation, or you can fuck it up even worse, your choice. This is for E2404 and M2404, since its such a massive event I will leave you all adequate time to respond and wont post for the next two days.
The Shape of Things to Come
Vesta used to be the jewel of the solar system, the best place to be if you are a Belter. But like everything in the Belt, it turned to shit quickly. Vesta, unlike Ceres, was under the control of the Triarchy, ceased in a Lunar operation to "restore order" in the belt after a wave of protests struck the Belt and a riot escalated into a shooting conflict over Vesta.
But now, things had changed, and changed they had big-time. For quite a while the Belters here were quiet, while their brothers and sisters continued to struggle out in the rest of the Belt. The decline of Vesta, however, and the continued control of the Belt by Lunar and Earther corporations have caused the creation of the Belter Prosperity Front. It started here in Vesta, and it spread like a plague, to other stations all around the belt.
Amir-Potentate Murad had arrived ahead of schedule, Tala Shabazz's looked on as the Amir's tall body gracefully left the ship, the way only a Lunar citizen can, adjusted for lower gravity the man's graceful moves displayed a certain self-assurance. His guards, moving in a similar graceful manner, however displayed a more brutish stature, gliding in their suits, seamlessly connected to their bodies, retracting to their backs. The extensive use of modifications by Lunar citizens was seen even here, as a series of beautiful tattoos, made in the shape of verses form the Koran, withdrew from the faces of the soldiers to reveal their long beards, well kept.
Tala Shabazz didn't see the Amir arrive personally, she was a Belter, Beltalowda was not allowed on the upper parts of the station, like many other stations. Only well wala, Lunar, Earther, Belters, obsessed or working with the inner worlders, it was all the same to her. Traitors or oppressors. Inner worlders have stood on Belter necks for too long, she thought. Only to be surprised to hear the same words come out of the Amir's mouth, empowered by amplifiers installed in his vocal apparatus. His soft voice sounded half like a prayer, like every Dar preacher.
He spoke of a need to reform, for the workers, to give the belters more, to help them, not suppress them. Reform for their workers, he said, allow them to create and gather in unions like in the Dar. Bring them to the post-scarcity economy. And once he left, protests begun, whether the companies liked it or not, the protests shook the belt. They didn't wear the flag of the Dar, however, as much as the Amir wished. Some believed his words and he won many converts, but as the inner words are about to realize, the Outer Planets Spring.
Al-Qahrt Al-jadida Colony
Before the Outer Planets Spring could be dubbed as such, it begun, like many revolutions around the solar system, with Lunar support. Citing the present unrest, the Dar raises the price of energy exports to Mars, adding dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs. A series of terrorists attacks show to be the final nail in the coffin, as the bubbling tensions on Mars boil over. A massive cyber attack, later revealed to be Lunar originating, smashes the Arab colony's control and command operations for just long enough to have a number of Dervish-inspired fighters to funnel into the colony, and specifically the capital building of it, executing a bloody and aggressive coup and beseeching the Dar and Triarchy for assistance.
For a few hours it looks like the coup might be successful, but then the Arab Military, based on the space elevator on Phobos, descended upon the colony, firing off drop-ship soldiers and benefiting from the assistance of local Chinese corporate troops as well. After a series of tense battles, the capital slowly begun falling back to the hands of the colonial troops with heavy losses. The Chinese soldiers reported that the fighters facing them had high-grade military equipment, reportedly of Lunar make. After some of the fighters are captured, few within their ranks are unveiled to be Lunar operatives disguised as rebels, fighting alongside the rebels.
Before the victory could be secured, however, Crescent painted ships, already in the region to guard the Amir-Potentate of the Dar, appeared over the colony, responding to rebel calls for assistance. The Lunar ships call out the Arab and Chinese vessels in orbit to withdraw, but both refuse to respond to the hails and instead the small Arab ships open fire at the vastly superior Dar ships. The AI lead ships detect the missiles directed at them, 3 hours before they arrive, starting evasive maneuvers and firing a grape shot in intercept course of the missiles, disabling them within the hour. As Chinese ships, more advanced then their Arab counterparts choose to withdraw from the combat, the Lunar capital ship charged up his rail-guns, withdrawing power from all else, including life support, and obliderated the lead of the Arab fleet, leaving the others to withdraw. In a few days, the Al-Jadida Colony is completely under Dar control, which quickly sets about establishing a independent government.
Political Changes on Mars
A month later, as the dust settles, it is revealed by insiders, that the Dar is sending Helium-3 to Triarchy sympathizers, who can sell the excess at reduced prices to neutral settlements, while raising the price of H3 on the rest of Mars. While an expected move, this is not stopping the African Union from instantly spinning this as the Triarchy attempting to destabilize Mars and not caring for the Martian people. The massive amounts of money dumped into the now free Al Jadida Islamic Republic however manage to mitigate such propaganda, as the Dar opens its deep deep pockets and spends heavily.
However this clear-cut line in the sand means that some countries in the region are forced to choose sides, Kasei City abandoned its policy of neutrality and chooses to throw its lots with the African Union, encouraging Chimera League, long worried about the colonziers, to declare for Luna. The Lincoln colony already with heavy Tychan and African investments, decides to bite the bullet and the American administration ejects the Tychan companies in the area, choosing to go with full Freehold and African Union support.
In the meanwhile, the sleeping colonial conflict for the future canal of Akhtari Azar-Gun erupts again, as the Mexicans blame the Iranians for an attack on their border in Flamejante Areias, where they loose three Mexican Armed Forces soldiers. Brazil quickly threatens the Mexicans that in case of an action for the canal, their colonial troops will have to move in themselves.
The knock off effect of the Martian Crisis is immediately felt in the belt, as the Amir speaks, and some of his followers listen, many more belters, seething with anger and resentment, plot the end of the inner planets' domination of the belt. Belter Prosperity Front organizes massive protests throughout the Belt, as workers stage walk-outs and strikes, the resaults are different for all organizations.
Hermes Asteroid Ltd, due to its massive robotized work force, instantly manages to cage up the Belters who are striking and continue operations unabated, bringing in operators from Ceres and the inner planets. Hephaestus Corp, the largest belter company, ran by belters, attempts to stop the protests by force and finds that the anger of the belters hits their own kind as well. Grinding the operations of Hephaestus to a hold with belters demanding better conditions.
The Russian fleet in operation of the African Union proved to be quite the asset for African Mining, as it was able to field a large enough force around its major stations and operations to keep the whole thing going until a fleet from earth arrives. The Belters are silently angry, but the massive investment by African Bank and the company's honed skills at subterfuge within the worker-force and strategic advancements keep the locals quiet.
China Shenhua and the Indian Asteroid Corporation however are not that lucky, with both being the first places where fire between BPF operatives and colonial authorities exchange fire. Riots and looting have engulfed some of the major stations there and soldiers are already being requested from earth.
LuMiOp has spared no expenses in hunting down the BPF, spacing BPF operatives caught preparing terrorist attacks, while also bringing in additional PMCs to operate in the area. Incidents flash constantly, however nothing like the Chinese and Indian zones, who are facing open revolt.
Siemens Mining, paying its operatives vastly more then most other companies, have used this moment to silence all opposition to their takeover of the Chinese operations in the area and to bring some key belter supporters to their ranks. With Chanderaya fallowing the Asteroid Corporation's fate, Siemens is looking to expand aggressively.
Skouries Extraction Operations, already employing the trash of the solar system has nothing to fear and is the second benefitter from the conflicts. They have allegedly entered talks with the African Mining and the Ceres Authority to cooperate on economic manners.
In the meanwhile, the Ceres mining authority, already shaken by the refugee crisis, proved surprisingly effective in their operations, dispersing rioters and arresting dissidents quickly, not allowing the conflict to spread to the capital of the Belt. While the Indian and Chinese stations look like the fall of Saigon, the major corporations are now thirstily looking onto their territories.
In the meanwhile, all the way into the Jovian system, the victorious Freehold has woken to a rude awakening, as the loss of trade and instability in the inner system start depriving them of customers, leaving them with less and less money to spend around on their fancy Soros Doctrine. To add insult to injury, the Free Jovian Movement has raided one of their stations, killing several hundred people and crippling a vital section of the station, before the Lancers responded in time.
In the midst of all this chaos, the economic uncertainty that struck both Luna and Earth is a small thing, but is not left without mention, as both major hyperpowers experience an economic shock and the AIs trading in stocks immediately have to adjust for the massive losses suffered on all fronts. Earthers living on basic assistance and Lunars living their ordered lives are worried it might come to an end.
Needless to say, on Earth, the Crescent is not happy with the take-over of its colony, and is now seeking closer cooperation with the African Union. And with Russia's civil war cooling down without further advances by any of the sides, Earth seems pretty peaceful compared to what is happening in space. Marocco has a small increase in drug usage, of a new synthetic drug, but its space program continues.
Also overshadowed by all of this is the complete bankruptcy of Môresterland-Vrystaat, after the Sunkrag Volkstaat Scheme brought the company to its knees. Many worry what would happen with the company, as several other companies are already vying to get to buy-out their considerable assets.
As tensions rise in the solar system, IPBM (Inter-Planetary Ballistic Missiles) are once again aimed by the hyperpowers towards each-other.
“You will begin to implement this list of reforms immediately.”
His voice was absolutely melodic, not that it made the Chairman feel any better. The Belter situation was always bound to come to a head, but that this man -their chief fucking backer- had been the one to pull the rug out from them was as perplexing as it was infuriating.
Or maybe that was simply because he knew the screws were about to get just a little bit tighter.
The Murshid was staring at him, he realized, a placid smile on his bearded face as he awaited an answer. The Chairman shook his head, pouring himself another drink before refusing. “You know I can't do that, Your Excellency.”
“You can and you will.” Still smiling, Basra reclined in his chair, appearing even more leonine than usual. “The Prophet told us that we all must struggle to perfect ourselves. Non-believers are no exception.”
“With all due respect-”
“No. This is not negotiable. You either accept or refuse.”
The Chairman scowled. He was only in charge of a minor corp, nothing even approaching the levels of Hephaestus...who had, it seemed to him, so far gotten off without even a knuckle-rapping. “You can't do this,” he blurted out. “The strikes- we need a show of force!”
“There is no greater power in the universe than the love we share with the rest of Allah's children.” The lyrical, modified laughter of the Amir-Potentate was even more unnerving, particularly as the smile that accompanied it slowly departed from his hazel eyes. “But if you insist on a show of force...” He tilted his head to the side just so, and in walked two men in the white power armor of the dervishes, accompanied by a woman he recognized as one of the strike leaders. “Please allow me to introduce you to Madame Sahnoun. It is my understanding that you believe her to be a member of the ah, BPF, no?”
“What is the-” The Chairman began to rise from his chair, only for Sahnoun to reach a hand out to brush his shoulder, in a grotesque mockery of reassurance.
“-the meaning of this,” Basra calmly explained, long fingers resting on his cheek. “Is that you will implement the councils I have proposed, and agree to the charter that your strikers demand. Brother Rashi here will remain to ensure that the work is completed, and Madame Sahnoun will install my fifteenth servant, Al-Qahhar, to allow the Islamic Movement of the Belt a continued oversight in our little project.”
The Chairman slumped downwards, defeated even as he asked, “And...if I refuse? Will you space me, like your LuMiOp dogs?”
Basra and the woman both laughed then, and this time, the Amir-Potentate's amusement was plain to see for all. “Oh, by no means. You will walk out this door a free man regardless of your choice, brother.” A pause, the mask of serenity on the prophet-king's face falling alongside his even tone. When the silence broke, he was practically whispering. “Insha'Allah, if you refuse, you will find allies among the African Union. Perhaps they will even be of assistance when the Helium-3 stops flowing, presuming the Freeholders Association retains the capability to export energy. Surely, their garrison may be a welcome sight for you, when Madame Sahnoun's associates seize your ships. Which...I believe...”
The rebel and the Amir shared one last look before turning back to the Chairman, the former giving a brief nod. “Will be in approximately 12 hours. The choice is yours, brother. Salam.”