In the first Senate session in the New Year since the public holidays, Senator Denton Patreus, Senator for Eotienses, has asked the burning question of the Senate. He directed it at the Chancellor, Senator Blaine -
“It saddens us to hear that his grace Emperor Hengist has fallen into a coma, but we need to think for the future of our beloved Empire. How long will his grace be in a coma before we trigger the succession? This has not happened in over a thousand years, and it is for us to decide. One day? One week? One month? One year?
“We need a strong leader, and we should set a date in the near future when we review the situation.”
There was a frisson of mumbling in the Senate after his comments and a general consensus to review the situation at the next session.
The Future of LHS 3447 party are celebrating an economic boom in their system. They have announced that they will share that good fortune as part of their future development initiatives.
“The success of LHS 3447 is in large part due to the numbers of independent pilots who pass through and trade in this system. In fact Trevithick Dock is known for being the starting point for many pilots’ careers.
In recognition of this we are subsidising a 10% discount for all pilots using the shipyards and outfitting facilities in Trevithick Dock, Dalton Gateway and Worlidge Terminal.”
Senator Anders Blaine, Chancellor to Emperor Hengist Duval has made a statement on the steps of the Imperial Palace-
“It is with regret I have to announce that his grace, Emperor Hengist Duval’s sickness has worsened, and he has fallen into a coma. His life is not in danger, he is stable, and his doctors are hopeful of a recovery. In the mean time I will of course continue in my role as Chancellor, and the Empire will continue to run under my day to day control, as it has done for the past decades, so nothing will change.”
Rumours from anonymous Imperial staff are that Emperor Hengist is on a life support machine and perhaps unlikely to recover.
Shares in Imperial corporations have continued to fall on the news.
Admiral Vincent, the Federal Admiral of the Fleet, has announced that the Federal Navy has now practically eliminated the narcotic ‘onionhead’ from Panem in Kappa Fornacis.
“Our systematic destruction of the crop has now paid off, and I am pleased to say we have destroyed all the crops without the loss of a single life since the unfortunate incident a few weeks ago.”
Despite continued pockets of resistance the Admiral also announced a civic aid package to help rebuild the farms to produce less controversial crops, a move that has earned praise from commentators for its political shrewdness. In a follow up statement an aide requested that independent pilots provide Agri Medicines, Crop Harvesters, Land Enrichment Systems and Biowaste to meet the increased demand generated by the package.
Rumours are circulating that the Emperor’s condition is far worse than is being admitted. One source even claimed that he has died, but that hasn’t been confirmed. A senior palace source informed us that Chancellor Blaine would announce his death if it happened. We believe it likely that his sickness has merely worsened.
Following the rumours there is also speculation is that his wedding to Florence Lavigny might be delayed. Imperial stock markets have dropped further on this news.
Despite the suspicious circumstances that have been widely reported, no further information has come to light. Social media is alleging a high level cover-up, and it seems large amounts of data have disappeared due to system failures.
President Halsey is said to be devastated, and gave a brief statement offering her sympathy to the family. It is understood there are a great many discussions going on behind the scenes to appoint a new VP, which under Federal Law must be completed within 30 days of the VP’s loss.
Alder Simons has given an emotional interview on the chat show ‘Jenkinson’-
“It’s big business behind his murder. Those evil people – the military industrial complex of old – they’ve always been against my dear Nigel’s government and its policies. Who else could launch such a big cover-up without attracting attention?”
Foreign dignitaries are beginning to gather on Capitol in Achenar, in preparation for the royal wedding. Senators from throughout Imperial space have begun arriving, and many leaders from friendly independent systems too.
Red carpets have been laid in local starports, and for the full length of the Imperial Avenue. Gilded open-topped speeders can be seen ferrying them to their ornate quarters at the Imperial Palace. For the ceremony itself, special wheeled gilded carriages pulled by horses.
The route is already being prepared with arrays of brightly coloured flower arrangements flanking the red carpets on the tree-lined route. Huge banners carrying the Imperial Crest are being raised between the trees, and on the faces of key buildings. Many have said it is this sort of thing that shows the grandeur of the Empire at its best.
Call Hagen, the leader of the League of Nabatean Defence Party, today called for a zero tax policy for citizens of the system of Nabatean at an impromptu rally.
“We citizens of the Federation are treated poorly compared to the progressive policies evident within the Empire. The Federation is older and stronger but our heritage is weighed down with the bondage of taxation. Let us learn from the strong leadership of Senator Patreus and his Imperial colleagues and ensure that our own society is not a burden upon our families.”
A spokesperson for the Workers of Nabatean refused to comment on what he described ‘the ravings of a mad man’. Ignoring the speech may be a mistake for the current ruling party as the opposition received a massive swing in support after the speech.
In a shock move the Purple Netcoms Holdings Corporation has declared itself as independent and have called on commanders to help it to withdraw the Sugrivik system from the Federation.
The CEO of the company angrily denounced the recent tax rises by President Halsey and claiming that her actions are a direct blow to the viability of the corporation and the well-being of its population.
“These tax rises put people’s jobs on the line and we are not going to let a President without any working knowledge of the economy ruins our lives or livelihood!”
Responding to the statement a representative of Sugrivik Labour condemned the declaration and affirmed their support for the President, without explicitly supporting the tax rises.
Aisling Duval has lodged an objection to the marriage of her grandfather, the Emperor to Florence Lavigny. Coming out of the Office for Marriage with her Lawyer she read a prepared statement from a cue -
“I have lodged a formal objection to my grandfather marrying his fancy woman not for love, not for marriage itself, but to change the succession without having to appear in the Senate. That’s all I’ve got to say at this time.”
This unusual action will trigger a hearing of the Marriage Council in the next few days. They will review and make a decision on the validity of her objection. Experts we have spoken to believe it is unlikely to succeed.
In contrasting news reports from the Sanna and Dulos systems, reporters revealed the latest on the independence movements in those systems.
The Federal-supporting factions in the Sanna system are comfortably holding their ground and local commentators believe that their efforts to leave the Federation will soon collapse.
In Dulos the independence movement has gained more traction thanks to the efforts of the Dulos Defence Party and their supporters. It is reported that independent pilots from around the region are providing support for both sides in the struggle.
Following a surprise move from the Ongkuma Progressive Party withdrawing their support for the slave rebellion, the last of the rebels have been killed or captured. In a statement Senator Torval declared -
“Once again the machinations of Federal agitators have been defeated. They will never learn. They deceived some of our loyal citizens into supporting their actions, but now they have publicly admitted their fault, in this instance we will be magnanimous.”
She also praised the actions of the many independent pilots who once again supported her campaign.
Commentators have expressed their support for the Senator’s merciful action. The Onguma Progressive Party has long been a part of the system’s political landscape and their survival – even in a reduced form it continues the traditions of this system.
Fresh revelations have added uncertainty to reports Vice President Smeaton’s death due to a suspected heart attack.
Retrieved data from the security systems at his apartment indicate they were not functioning at the time. It’s also been revealed that he completed a clean full medical scan in his private scanner only an hour before his death.
His partner Alder Simons, who was not there at the time, believes Smeaton was murdered. He explained there were other irregularities such as the apartment appearing to have just been cleaned.
The mystery deepened with the revelation that six minutes of the satellite surveillance data for the area appeared to have been distorted by electromagnetic interference. This does happen from time to time, but rarely in calm weather conditions such as those on the night of the Vice President’s death.
We’ve received reports from the Lugh system of the Federal backed Lugh for Equality faction losing ground in the political struggle with the rising Crimson State Group. According to opinion polls support for the Crimson State Group independence movement has risen to over 66%. The staggering increase in influence has seen them victorious in a civil war against the Lugh Defence Force and thereby gaining control of the Balandin Gateway starport. Observers indicate that the group’s success is due to a huge level of support from independent pilots.
Financial forecasters are also astounded at the volume of trading by the Crimson State Group and are now predicting an economic boom for them. This can only come as more bad news for the beleaguered system owners. The question on everyone’s lips is how will the Federation respond to this? Especially considering rumours of other Federal systems seeking independence.
In a shocking development on Mars, Federal Vice President Nigel Smeaton was discovered dead in his private swimming pool at his luxury apartment on the foothills of Mount Olympus. A heart attack is suspected, but an investigation is ongoing.
The news will come as another blow to an already beleaguered President who some pundits claim is considering resigning her post.
A new VP will have to be appointed, and several senior Congressmen have suddenly been giving doorstep speeches to get themselves in the public eye.
In an attempt to quell the clamour for her resignation President Jasmina Halsey has tried to clarify the rift between the Admiral of the Fleet, Admiral Vincent, and her office.
“Admiral Vincent runs our Navy, and I run the government. From time to time, he gives me a status report on naval operations, and we discuss issues of importance to the Federation. On the events in Kappa Fornacis the Admiral acted unilaterally, and simply reported his actions after the orders had been carried out. It is not my role to interfere with naval operations, but I do expect to be consulted when decisions of such import are made.”
Political pundits are speculating that this carefully worded speech she read out must have been the results of negotiations between the Navy and Halsey’s office. They are rumoured to detest each other, and the friendship between the Shadow President and Admiral Vincent has doubtless not gone unnoticed.
Despite the continuing ‘Oniongate’ protest on the steps of Congress, Admiral Vincent has announced that surface bombing of Panem in the Kappa Fornacis system has resumed, but this time with targeted, genetically engineered biocides to destroy the onionhead crop.
“Automated munitions deployed from orbit, release a gentle mist that then descends on the crop. It is harmless to humans and to other flora and fauna.”
This time, the protests are more muted, and the Shadow President Hudson claimed on the political panel show ‘Face the People’ -
“On the contrary. Now we see the layabouts are more worried about where their next onionhead fix will come from than about the farmers on Panem!”
Last night a relaxed-looking Senator Zemina Torval announced what had happened to the leaders of the Sorbago rebellion in a press conference following the return from her holiday cruise-
“We managed to fight off the Federal rabble rousers due to excellent support from many independent pilots fighting to support the honourable tradition that is Imperial slavery, and I’d like to pass on my thanks to them.”
Production has already restarted, and a small number of slaves that had succumbed to the persuasions of the foreign trouble-makers have now been punished.”
She also commented on the recent uprising in Ongkuma.
"These rabble rousers don't appear to learn very quickly. We will have the system back in working order soon."
Senator Torval has paid generous combat bonds to independent ships that have helped her in large numbers over the last few weeks. It is understood the ringleaders of the Sorbago rebellion were executed.
This morning during the ceremony to mark the start of term at the prestigious Olympus Village University When President Halsey began her talk a large number of the assembled students began booing her.
The university principal apologised profusely to the President before she left. Nevertheless the damage was done, and the event was carried on newsfeeds throughout much of human space – and her embarrassed and indecisive reaction and she attempted to proceed with her speech is now the butt of much satirical humour.
Arissa Lavigny has shown the plans for her parent’s wedding on the 22nd of this month, including a sneak peek at the bridesmaids’ dresses. It will be a grand affair with visiting dignitaries from systems around and beyond the Empire. Rumour has it that the Federal President and Shadow President will both be invited, although many expect them to politely decline.
The ceremony is to take place in the Imperial Palace, and the Emperor and his new wife will remain in specially prepared ornate travel chairs throughout as the Emperor is not expected to be fully recovered by the time of the wedding.
Markets rose dramatically after the news as it would seem that the Emperor’s illness is not as bad as many commentators have made out.