A little over six months ago, the newly discovered naturally occurring plant known as Onionhead was made illegal throughout all of Federal space. Not long after, in an attempt to stop the spread of Onionhead, the Federation launched a violent campaign against the innocent farmers of Kappa Fornacis, led by the vocal Georgio Algeria. Federal marines invaded the farmers’ fields, and Federal battle cruisers rained fire from the skies.
The now wealthy farmers managed to create a new strain of Onionhead, and so the spread started, working alone and with others, including the East India Company – an Imperial trade organisation in which Senator Zemina Torval is a major shareholder.
In an attempt to warn the Imperial Senator away from Kappa Fornacis, President Hudson responded by directing a number of prominent Republican Party supporters to begin permanently establishing themselves in Autahenetsi, to change public opinion as a deterrent to farmers, smugglers and Imperials alike. Although at time of press, neither the East India Company nor Senator Zemina Torval appear to be particularly intimidated by the Federation’s efforts.
Last weekend the Imperial Slavers Association was supposed to make 5 million Imperial Slaves available for a significant discount in the markets aboard Lagerkvist Gateway. Much to the dismay of hundreds of eager Imperial traders, the slaves (and their associated discount) were delayed by members of Princess Lavigny-Duval’s retinue as they attempted to pass through LTT 9810.
This unfortunate snafu meant that the ISA was unable to make good on Senator Zemina Torval’s promise. Reports from those close to the Senator state that Zemina was furious when she learned that Princess Arissa’s agents had seized her shipment. However, in light of the Silver Allied Network incident, the Senator is said to have since seen the wisdom of the investigators' actions.
In a statement released earlier today, Senator Torval had this to say:
“It is with deep embarrassment that I must apologise to all those whose businesses were unfortunately affected by the ongoing investigation into the attack on our beloved Emperor.”
“I have no doubt that Senator Lavigny’s agents acted with the Emperor’s best interests at heart. As do we all. Indeed I urge those hard working loyalists to come and partake in the fantastic selection of discounted produce we have available for sale in Synteini.”
“A fresh shipment of Imperial Slaves is currently being prepared for sale at Lagerkvist Gateway. The sale is now officially underway, as promised, but stock levels will remain low until the new shipment arrives in Synteini later this week.”
Thousands of Imperial bounty hunters answered the call of Princess Arissa over the last week, joining her in the hunt to uncover the identity of the cabal behind the cowardly attack on the ailing Emperor.
Acting on the advice of several trustworthy members of the Imperial court, the Princess began by disrupting several large-scale criminal operations taking place in Nehet and Mictlan. Hundreds of Imperial Commanders loyal to the Princess descended on the systems in force. The fury of the makeshift fleet shattered the local gangs, and within 24 hours the fighting was over.
Information uncovered during the strike on Mictlan led investigators to LTT 9810, a system under the protection of Senator Zemina Torval. There it became apparent that a rogue division of the LTT 9810 Silver Allied Network had been acting as a financial consultancy service for some of the more successful Imperial crime families.
Senator Torval, along with SAN’s board of directors, has denied any knowledge of the rogue division’s activity. They have now opened up their records to Princess Arissa’s investigators, who are currently hard at work trying to trace a series of payments that they believe may lead back to the cabal responsible for the attack.
The Princess has requested that members of her fleet remain close to Achenar. As soon as any new information is available, the next stage of the investigation will begin.
Last week Zemina Torval and Aisling Duval went head to head in a contest Imperial citizens have dubbed the ‘Great Slaver Showdown’. Both parties used the competition as an excuse to promote their own radical philosophies regarding the laws surrounding Imperial Slavery, and it looks like we finally know whose stance the Imperial public supports more.
During the course of the competition, Aisling’s Angels freed an impressive 1,149,756 slaves, but this effort was dwarfed by supporters of the Imperial Slavers Association, who provided a better way of life for 2,387,567 non-citizens.
In recognition of the efforts of everyone who took part in the competition, the office of Senator Torval released the following statement to GalNet:
“The ISA would like to thank all participants for the overwhelming support shown for the Imperial Slavers Association and the Imperial way of life we represent.”
“Sadly even our state of the art facilities couldn’t get the almost two and a half million new recruits ready for sale in such a short space of time. However, never let it be said that Zemina Torval does not keep her promises.”
“In honour of the Emperor, for the glory of the House of Duval, and in recognition of all they have done to advance our people and culture, Senator Torval has today authorised the sale of 5 million Imperial Slaves, to be made available in the markets of Lagerkvist Gateway."
“5 million Imperial Slaves. 20% off regular retail price. Only while stocks last.”
The Future of Synteini party is calling on all Commanders to protest the actions of the Imperial Slavers Association in the Synteini system.
“Today marks the anniversary of the ‘Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves’, one of two acts that helped end the Atlantic slave trade in the early 19th century,” said a party representative. “And now a new slaving facility is opening up in our own backyard?”
The party offers their own station as a potential solution. “The Future of Synteini party will not abide by slavery, Imperial or no. I make the call to commanders: give your business to the Future of Synteini, not to the ISA. Do business at William Sargent, and starve Lagerkvist.
“Let’s hit Senator Zemina Torval where it counts - and kick her out of Synteini!”
Lagerkvist Gateway orbits the second planet in the Synteini A system, while William Sargent Vision orbits the fourth.
- CMDR Boter
Corporations operating under the direction of Senator Zemina Torval have been making waves throughout the Empire this week, as shipments of unregulated slaves continue to pour into Imperially -sanctioned slave training centres in Synteini.
Despite the questionable legal nature of the Senator’s import operations, the Senate has so far elected to not address the issue at any officially held quorum.
Some political commentators have suggested that the lack of opposition is a clear sign of the Chancellor’s waning power within the Senate, although sources close to the Chancellor have suggested that “Chancellor Blaine is simply too busy to deal with Zemina’s frankly pathetic attempts to take advantage of the Emperor’s current condition.”
The Imperial Slavers Association, in conjunction with Senator Zemina Torval, is pleased to announce the official opening of the newest ISA slave training facility aboard Lagerkvist Gateway in the Synteini system.
The facility, which includes state of the art skill implantation terminals and body sculpting shops, is already set to become one of the premier Imperial Slave training academies anywhere in Imperial space.
Commander Barham of the Imperial Slavers Association had this to say about the new centre:
“It really is a marvel of modern technology. We have some of the best trainers, working with the very best materials that credits can buy. We have no doubt that this facility will stand as a shining example to the rest of the galaxy as to how to get your unregulated workforce up to an appropriately imperial standard.”
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.
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.
Commanders' assistance helped Imperial Senator Zemina Torval gain a crushing victory and 76% influence in the Sorbago system. Torval used the Mastopolus Mining Corporation as a front to acquire slaves and bolster her power base in the manoeuvring to succeed the ailing Emperor Hengist Duval.
Senator Denton Patreus was dealt a bloody nose in the Jera system, with Commanders weighing in to ensure that the incumbent Jera Social Democrats remained in power despite Patreus's best efforts.
The Emperor himself has been making quite an impact for such an allegedly frail man. Days after appearing in the Senate to pronounce his son and heir Harold 'not of sound mind', Hengist Duval announced his intention to marry his sweetheart from their younger years, Florence Lavigny.
Even in his condition, the Emperor will be fully aware of the focus this throws on his and Florence's illegitimate daughter Arissa. The soon-to-be Princess Arissa immediately announced her intent to change her surname to Duval, seemingly putting her in pole position in the succession race.
Undeterred by his defeat in Jera, Senator Patreus has declared all out war on the tiny feudal system of Durius for defaulting on massive loan payments to him. Commanders are taking this fresh opportunity to earn credits whilst influencing the wider battle for Imperial succession. Although support for the Durius government has risen slightly since Patreus's intervention, the outcome is still very much in the balance.
The Federation are also active. After blockading Kappa Fornacis and then apparently sending Federal dropships in to bomb its Onionhead farms, President Halsey yesterday surprisingly sought to deny responsibility for the outrage - she suggested Admiral Vincent was acting without her authority.
Speaking to press in the jungle retreat on her yacht 'Xanadu' this morning, when asked about the comments Aisling Duval made on the chat show 'Celebrity Pets' Zemina Torval stated:
"That illegitimate child Aisling Duval speaks out against slavery, but she knows nothing of it. Look at our streets. We have no beggars. No graffiti. No one goes hungry. Our streets are safe.
Look at the Federation. The girl's never been of course. People die of starvation despite their crippling taxes. Is that what she wants, because it seems popular? Go to the Federation then!
She speaks for her father because he can barely talk and is only lucid for a few moments at a time. It's not as if her father will ever ascend to the throne. Everyone knows he wrecked his brain many years ago."
We couldn't reach Aisling Duval for comment.
Rumours of the slave rebellion in the Sorbago system have been confirmed. In a speech to business leaders, pro-slavery Senator Zemina Torval denied sending two of her personal Majestic Class Interdictors, the Boudica and the Elizabeth, to put down the revolt, but said:
"They have gone to Sorbago to help the local mining corporation keep the peace and to keep out the external forces that are trying to create a conflict."
Reports suggested the slaves are not being treated according to Imperial Law.
Torval has announced generous payments to those that help her, and has criticised the barbaric treatment of unregulated slaves outside the Empire in the past.
"I will personally sponsor any unregulated slaves brought to Synteini, Shinigami, Quile, LTT 9810, Tau-2 Gruis A, Naunei, and Tepertsi to be given full Imperial Rights and treated as Imperial Slaves."
Arguably the most powerful person in the galaxy, Emperor Hengist Duval, is sick.
He has ruled the Empire now for 67 years since his coronation in 3233 following the death of his father, Hesketh Duval.
Emperor Hengist is only 118, born only a week before the death of his grandfather, Hender Saik Duval. Some say Hender's spirit had already transferred to Hengist at that time.
The Duval Imperial line has been unbroken for almost a thousand years. There have been power struggles in the past, but the usurpers have been successfully dealt with behind closed doors.
This time is different.
Hengist has been not involved himself in politics for a long time, relying on his Chancellor, Senator Blaine and has taken a laissez faire attitude towards a handful of increasingly powerful and ambitious Senators whilst Harold, the current heir, quickly made a name for himself as a feckless playboy.
The warlike Senator Denton Patreus, last seen trying to destabilise the Eranin system during the conflict surrounding its 30th Anniversary of Independence from the Federation, continues his manipulative power-broking in the galaxy at large.
The preposterously rich Senator Zemina Torval is using her slaver corporation supporters and personal fleet of Majestic-class Interdictors to suppress revolts and to further her ambitions.
Commentators expect others to show their hand, too.
Much like in Imperial Rome on ancient Earth, Senators determine the tax rates of their supporters and both Patreus and Torval have become hugely popular back home as they have each used their huge wealth to lower taxation to zero.
There is a real prospect of the next Emperor not being a Duval. And the bitter fight for succession is about to spill out into the open.
Meanwhile, the Federation and Alliance of Independent Systems are watching with keen interest.