Galnet News

78 Ursae Majoris Celebrates Security with Shield Sale

After a series of skirmishes between independent pilots and pirates, as well as the drawn out battle against the Sobek Boys, 78 Ursae Majoris was facing a security threat in the run-up to Federal President Jasmina Halsey’s planned visit. News of the catastrophic accident that is believed to have consumed Starship One, and taken the President’s life, has been spreading through the galaxy, but 78 Ursae Majoris has now been secured.

The system saw a huge influx of independent pilots as Andrew Bailey, Mayor of Townshend Hub and local leader of the Alioth Independents, declared the security and military campaign. Independent pilots were tasked with eradicating criminal elements in and around Alliance territory, along with being enlisted in a military campaign against the Sobek Boys, a criminal syndicate operating from the Sobek system. There was a lull in fighting the Sobek Boys however, as the objective took a few days to actually reach a completion mark. Some might think there might be more behind as to why this objective wasn't touched in the starting days. Ivan Shevchenko, a known mercenary and fighter pilot, has given us his opinion on the matter:

"There is a large difference between fighting traditional asteroid belt pirates, and a well organized militia force. And that isn't something I say lightly, having been in the conflict areas. The Sobek Boys' ships were well armed and heavily reinforced. A whole gang of pirates running around with that kind of gear is bad for any system or region of space. But that could also be the reason as to why nobody was really wanting to fight them. Nobody wants to be tangled up against that kind of firepower, even I don't and I own one of the best bounty hunting vessels you can get. On the other hand, independent pilots could've also been distracted by the other directive Mayor Bailey put out to stopping pirate activity. At the same time though I have to say, who knows. I suppose in the end though, all of us who helped put a stop to the Sobek Boys and pirate activities in and around 78 Ursae Majoris did a very good thing for the Alliance and its members."

- CMDR Shevchenko

Malfunction or Malice?

It has now been 5 days since Starship One lost contact, and the search and rescue teams have yet to find any trace of the missing ship or her crew.

According to Lieutenant Barringer of the Federal Transport Safety Administration:

“Starship One’s disappearance appears to have been caused by a major malfunction in the Frame Shift Drive’s safety systems. It looks like there was a major power surge, followed by four separate system failures in quick succession according to the data we have, resulting in a catastrophic explosion. We do not believe this explosion would have been survivable by anyone on board.”

“The FTSA has seen each of these failures in commercial and military hyperdrives in the last few years, but each one has resulted in the drive shutting down and the ship failing to enter hyperspace.

“There are strong similarities with the loss of the Highliner Antares in 3251, but since then we have many more safety systems designed to prevent such failures. At the moment it looks like this was a terribly unlucky tragic accident. We have not found any evidence of tampering, and all the systems passed their automated pre-flight checks.”

“Our condolences go out to the loved ones of those lost.”

A Vote of Congressional Confidence

There is blood in the water and the politicians have begun hunting their prey.

Yesterday, Shadow President Hudson placed a motion before Congress asking that they issue a Vote of No Confidence against President Halsey’s administration. The motion was accepted, and the vote has been scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon.

According to historic procedure, if a Vote of No Confidence in the encumbent President succeeds, then the Shadow President gets the chance to form an administration, which in turn is then put to a vote. If this fails, then a full congressional election is triggered.

The Shadow President succeeding in these circumstances is not unheard of, but pretty rare. The last occasion was when the increasingly unpopular Eugene Cooper was ousted by the charismatic Antonia Madison in 3264 following a mid-term Vote of No Confidence.

Winters Willingly Agrees to Vote

Following Shadow President Zachary Hudson’s call to have Congress issue a Vote of No Confidence against President Jasmina Halsey, Acting President Felicia Winters held a press conference outside Congress to address the Shadow President’s concerns about the future.

“Let me start by saying how truly saddened I am by the loss of my long time friend, Jasmina. I know that were she here instead of me, she would be deeply disappointed with the fear-mongering being bandied about by members of the opposition. Nevertheless we have to bow to process.”

“In order to allow a right and proper number of representatives from the frontier worlds to attend, Congress will meet on Monday to formally vote on the future of the Federation. Should I be chosen to continue to serve, I promise that you will get the kind of president that you deserve.”

Hudson Calls for Vote of No Confidence

Shadow President Zachary Hudson has continued his criticism of Halsey’s administration, finally moving to the feared vote of no confidence. In his address to Congress, Shadow President Hudson has made it clear the situation needs a resolution.

“These are uncertain times and, with no disrespect to Jasmina’s memory, we need to put an end to this weak administration and bring our beloved Federation back on track. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of wallowing in this state of horrendous disarray for even a moment longer.”

“Had Jasmina returned, it would have made no difference. She was away trying to raise support from the frontier as she knew this vote of no confidence was coming. I call for it now. Let’s get it out of the way and move on, here on Mars and throughout the Federation.”

“We are not some Imperial dynasty. We do not allow the whims of our dead to dictate terms to the living.”

“As such, in her absence, and without any ill intent towards Secretary Winters, I am issuing a call for a vote of no confidence against the current administration.”

Emergency Session of Congress

Shadow President Hudson today called an Emergency Session of Congress to address concerns surrounding Starship One’s disappearance.

During the meeting, the Shadow President openly mocked the idea that Starship One’s disappearance could have been caused by simple engine failure.

“Jasmina and I weren’t close – heck, we hated each other, and that’s the truth of it. But the idea, the very notion, that our best and brightest out there on Starship One would have let that bird fly with a busted engine... No way. Those guys are military. We need to be looking for who did it. We need to nail them NOW. The assassin is busy covering their tracks while we speak. This dithering inaction and woolly thinking is typical of this administration. Let’s face it Halsey had enough enemies like those onionhead guys, numerous frontier systems she has annoyed, and the elephant in the room – the Empire.”

Acting President Winters took a more levelled approach.

“I appreciate the sheer gamut of emotions my esteemed colleague must be feeling, but at times like these, level heads must prevail. We have found no evidence of foul play as yet. Our engineers are sifting through copious amounts of data and so far it does look like a very unusual catastrophic failure rather than sabotage.”

The Truth is Out There

Despite claims that the disappearance of Starship One was due to a failure in the ship’s Frame Shift Drive, rumours abound about a more sinister, possibly extraterrestrial explanation.

Alex Snoori, host of the popular interstellar talk show Beyond Top Secret, had this to say to his listeners.

“It’s an outrage, that’s what it is. Do you think those Martian fat cats that rule over us want you to know the truth? I don’t think so.”

“Learn your history, people. It wasn’t all that long ago that our ancestors were being plucked out of the black right into the belly of bugs. Wake up sheeple, you don’t want to be sitting around dressed up like mutton when they come for you. Do not let the government tell you lies. You’re smarter than that.”

“There’s been a lot of hullabaloo about strange things being found out there recently. Weird, pulsing, alien things. I don’t know where they came from, but I do know that they’re creepy, and gross, and almost certainly dangerous. You think it’s a coincidence that the President went missing just weeks after those THINGS turn up? Don’t be so naive. WAKE UP sheeple, you’re being lied to.”

Shades of the Antares Incident

At a press conference held earlier today, Acting Federal President Felicia Winters made a personal appearance to address the rdisappearance of Starship One after failing to re-enter normal space following a routine hyperspace jump.

“The disappearance of Starship One has us all on edge. Tensions are high, and the rumour mills are making all their usual noise about terrorists, aliens, conspiracies and cover-ups. I’m afraid the truth will likely get you all far fewer viewers, but it is the truth that the people of the Federation need to hear from me now.”

“I’m told the early investigations from telemetry and uplink data suggest an explosive drive failure destroyed Starship One in hyperspace, catapulting all three of her protective Guardian Wing out of hyperspace. Wreckage is likely spread across interstellar space. I’m told there are parallels with the loss of the Highliner Antares way back in 3251 when she was lost with all hands on her maiden voyage.”

“I know I remember where I was when the Highliner Antares disappeared, and I fear we will always remember where we were the day Starship One was lost.”

“While we don’t know what caused this incident – yet – we do know that Starship One’s engines experienced an unexpected surge of power just seconds before making its last jump.”

“The search efforts will continue, of course. Our hearts and hope go out to the friends and families of President Halsey and all those lost yesterday in this terrible incident.”

Federal Search Efforts Continue

It has been almost 48 hours since the disappearance of Starship One. Early reports indicated that the ship was lost with all hands, and in this instance GalNet is pleased to announce that the early reports were mistaken. Three ships from Starship One’s Guardian Wing made contact with Navy HQ shortly after the initial disappearance. Unfortunately, they were not able to shed any light on the ultimate fate of Starship One.

Despite thousands of Federal scouts combing the sectors along Starship One's secured route, designated Spaceflight One, no trace of the missing ship has been found.

Specialist teams from Core Dynamics and the Sirius Corporation are currently attempting to analyse the wake and uplink data captured by the President’s Guardian Wing escorts in the moments before all four ships jumped. Theories involve either a rare misjump or some sort of catastrophic drive failure. Unfortunately, results so far are inconclusive as to what may have happened to President Halsey and her team.

One member of the crew of one of the President’s Guardian Wing, who wished to remain nameless, spoke exclusively to GalNet about the last moments before the President’s disappearance.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. One minute everything was fine. Pre-jump checks? Normal. Engine power? Normal. Our drives were slaved to Starship One, as is normal. The entry to hyperspace seemed normal at first, but then there was a terrible shock wave and our ship started tumbling. We exited hyperspace uncontrolled and in deep space – something I’ve never seen before. Our ship had taken damage. We couldn’t reach Starship One via comms, but managed to make contact with the other two members of the Guardian Wing. We first searched the deep space around our positions, then jumped to the destination point rendezvous as quickly as we could. Nothing. Not even wreckage. ”

The Federal Navy are requesting that any pilots interested in helping to search along the Starflight One route should sign up for active duty as a member of the search and rescue team aboard Leoniceno Orbital in Azaleach.

Federal State of Emergency: Winters Declared Acting President

At 15:00 hours universal galactic time on 26th May 3301, Secretary of State Felicia Winters assumed the role of Acting President of the Federation in the wake of the disappearance of Spaceflight One.

Speaking in an emergency broadcast to the nation, Acting President Winters had this to say:

“It is with deep regret and some trepidation that I must come before you today to announce that contact with the President’s ship, Spaceflight One, has been lost.”

“Two days ago, Navy Command received word that the President would be taking an unscheduled detour to Azaleach. Her reasons as to why remain classified.”

“12 hours ago, following entry into hyperspace, Spaceflight One went dark. All attempts by the President’s security team to trace the vessel have met with failure.”

“Squadrons have been scrambled in an attempt to find President Halsey and Vice President Naylor, and I have faith that the Navy will do everything they can to bring them home.”

“That said, in order to maintain a clear chain of command during this time of crisis, I will be assuming the role of Acting President of the Federation effective immediately. I hope I have your support, and I hope it will only have to be a temporary measure.”

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