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.
In the popular show “A fireside chat with Serena”, the celebrity royal, Aisling Duval, surprisingly talked through tears about narcotics -
“Yes Serena, that’s my early childhood. I hate narcotics and think they should be made illegal. My mother died from them before I was old enough to remember her.”
When asked about her father she replied -
“Oh Serena. He was led astray in his youth, but Dad is a lovely man, and would make a great Emperor if his controlling father wasn’t so spiteful.”
Commentators have expressed outrage at her comments about our beloved Emperor, and the network cut the broadcast at that point.
Senator Torval has criticised the arrival of a Federal warship now stationed in the Luluwala system.
“They think they can throw their weight around. Stationing a warship at this small outpost can only be a distraction from their lack of enforcement of their own laws.
“They think stationing a cruiser in Luluwala is a show of strength? A show of real strength would be to move against slavery in the Federation. Really they are being weak.”
There has been no comment from the Federal government as yet.
Rumours are coming in from multiple sources that rebellion has broken out amongst slaves in Ongkuma.
This news has surprised commentators given the speed with which the Sorbago rebellion was crushed last year. Some commentators speculate that the rebel leaders are relying on intervention from independent pilots, although many consider this to be a foolish hope after the widespread support the Senator received in the Sorbago campaign.
Indirect confirmation came from a comment in social media from a lowly shipyard loader driver, who posted that the ‘Cleopatra’ and the ‘Marlin’, two of Senator Torval’s Majestic Class Interdictors, were being provisioned to leave for the Ongkuma system.
Senator Torval is still on her holiday cruise on the ‘Xanadu’ so was unavailable for comment.
It seems many private pilots have been helping Senator Patreus’ warships against the government of Durius, and that the government is suffering serious losses.
Despite Senator Patreus’ actions Durius has still not settled the debt. Governor Malachai gave the following interview from his governmental headquarters -
“It is heart-warming to see the support for a down-trodden system like ours from commanders of independent ships. Sadly there are those who are siding with Patreus. We hope they will see the error of their ways before it is too late.”
There are reports from sources close to Senator Patreus is pleased with his force’s progress so far. Another aide quipped that that the “Governor Malachai is clearly deluding himself!”
We have seen several off-the-record comments from unnamed Congressmen who are angry at the publicity Onionhead has received from the President’s various announcements, and her criticism of the Admiral of the Fleet.
According to reports on black market pricing, the value of Onionhead has soared throughout Federal space, despite its illegality. The ‘Oniongate’ protests are still ongoing, seemingly paralysing the senior leadership from taking further action.
On the Imperial Herald political show, Arissa Lavigny gave a long and detailed interview, hinting that the Emperor's status was not as serious as some claimed.
"We've heard a lot of debate between the honourable Denton Patreus, Aisling Duval, and Zemina Torval, but we need to look at the Empire itself. We need continuity, not in-fighting. His Excellency Chancellor Anders Blaine has served my father well for over five decades. Soon my mother will finally marry my father, but rest assured if and when the time comes I will serve the Empire as best I can, and will bring continuity and stability."
Share prices on Imperial markets have already risen in pre-holiday trading.
In a statement Shadow President Hudson announced his sympathy for Sanna.
"Our taxes are crippling those we most need to help. We waste it on bureaucracy and the lazy. We should be supporting and protecting hard working States like Sanna."
It is understood a Federal Battlecruiser will be deployed some time in the New Year to provide a venue for discussions, and to help Sanna remain within the Federation.
Aisling Duval provided a colourful outburst while discussing Senator Torval's home system Synteini on the lifestyle show 'Favourite Holidays'.
"Torval is a horrible, twisted old lady. We have no beggars or people going hungry on the streets as they are down her mines working their fingers to the bone, starving in private!"
Senator Torval, now back in Synteini for the holiday celebrations responded:
"I wouldn't set any store by her childish outbursts. She doesn't know what she is talking about. A happy New Year and Empire Day to all."
The Congressman for Sanna, Marcus Albertson, has given a speech to his own parliament in Sanna.
"Federal taxes are holding back our progress. We say we have democracy but what can we change? Our coffers are sucked dry by the Federation as they lord it over us. What do we get in return? We get one vote in Congress. One vote! We are powerless. I suggest we get no votes in Congress and keep our money and our freedom! I suggest we leave the Federation immediately!"
His speech was met by cheers, not just from his own party, but from the opposition too.
The armed conflict between Senator Patreus’s Imperial forces and those of the impoverished Durius system continues.
Patreus is paying well for outside assistance, but an exhausted Governor Malachai has spoken out.
"What can we do? Our people are dying. We cannot pay even the interest on these crippling debts. Those irresponsible fools that accepted this money in the first place are long gone, but we are left to pick up the pieces. How can we ever hope to get out of this hell?
I call on those independent governments out there like ours thinking of getting into debt with this evil Senator to think twice. We are forced to protect our homes because that is all we have left."