ACTION NEWS: Natural Disaster In Cyborg Space

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report from inside The Capricorn War.

This is Jim at the studio, filling in for Pat Patterson, who is still recovering from his last assignment. We have breaking news from the planet Tandy 2000, deep inside Cyborg space. We go now for a report from our embedded Cyborg reporter, I. M. Locutus. Are you there, I. M.?

IM: YES.
JC: What can you tell us about this disaster?
IM: AT APPROXIMATELY 2150 HOURS UTC YESTERDAY A MASSIVE NONORBITAL MINERAL BODY IMPACTED A CYBORG POPULATION AND PRODUCTION CENTER. CASUALTIES WERE EXTREME AND DESTRUCTION WIDESPREAD. MILITARY AND INDUSTRIAL STRUCTURES WERE BADLY DAMAGED. RESCUE AND REBUILDING CREWS ARE NOW ON THE SCENE TO RECOMMENCE THE WORK.
JC: Are there any specific numbers for casualties, I. M.? What can you tell us?
IM: THE CYBORG HIVE IS NOT RELEASING SPECIFIC NUMBERS DUE TO WAR SECRECY AND CLASSIFICATION. WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT AN IMPORTANT TRANSSHIPMENT HUB WAS DESTROYED CAUSING MULTIPLE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN ADDITION TO THOSE IN THE MILITARY AND PRODUCTION FORCE.
JC: I see. Can you tell us anything about the history of this… Tandy 2000?
IM: THE TANDY 2000 WAS THE ULTRA-SECRET 1983 MAIN-LINE PRODUCT OF RADIO SHACK COMPUTING AND THE LAST TO BEAR THE TRS-80 BRAND NAME. UTILIZING THE REVOLUTIONARY 80186 PROCESSOR, IT WAS CAPABLE OF ATTAINING CALCULATION SPEEDS 21.6% FASTER THAN THE IBM 286 SYSTEMS THEN AT THE TOP OF THEIR PERSONAL COMPUTING LINE. HOWEVER, DUE TO ARCHITECTURAL INCOMPATIBILITY WITH OTHER SYSTEMS AND THE FAILURE TO EMBRACE THE NEW VGA STANDARD, THE TANDY 2000 WAS DOOMED TO BECOME A FAILURE. NEVERTHELESS, IT REPRESENTED A VITAL LINK IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN COMPUTING ARCHITECTURE.
JC: That was… surprisingly interesting, and entirely off-topic, I. M.
IM: I AM ATTEMPTING TO BROADEN MY CONVERSATIONAL HORIZONS, JIM.

In other news, we have received confirmation that the long-anticipated shipbuilder’s union strike has begun. Citing concerns over poor safety regulations, nonstandard wages, and especially over the low quality of the product that they say they are forced to produce, union representatives are halting production throughout the Echo Cluster in everything except what they call “Priority builds” and a very few ships which were already nearing completion at the time the strike was declared. Hans “Feet” Charnov, the interim director of the ECSU, said this:

(film of Charnov, speaking)
“Thing is, we’re craftsmen. You gotta take pride in what you’re doing, know what I mean? I mean, some a dese small freighters they want built, they’re so far below code, I mean fuhgeddaboudit! They’ll never make it past Warp 1, most of ’em. Our workers want to build something that’ll last, something we can tell our grandkids about, ya know? Not this crap, poured concrete over string steel and not enough Duranium in the mix to make a Prius, you know what I mean?”
“Plus, da wages is still too low.”

(back to studio)
Union representatives later confirmed that negotiations are ongoing with the various Capricorn War leaders in order to permit limited necessary warship construction. The Galactic Senate has historically supported the union position in nearly every similar strike situation and is said to be highly unlikely to intervene.

And, on a lighter note, we’d like to touch base with ace reporter Pat Patterson, just back from what I understand to be rather a difficult week. How’s your vacation going, Pat?
PP: Not too bad so far, Jim. I’m catching up on my reading right now.
JC: Oh? What are you reading?
PP: Borrowed some E.C. Tubb from a friend — the old “Dumarest of Terra” novels. Great stuff from the golden age of science fiction.
JC: That sounds like fun. Looking forward to getting back to the war reporting?
PP: Well, it’ll be a while yet; I’ve got some dental appointments that can’t wait.
JC: Would those be related to…
PP: Yes, the Crystalline… er… misunderstanding. You heard about my hair, right?
JC: They shaved you bald, right?
PP: The word is “depilated”. Apparently they feel hair isn’t hygenic. Same goes for things like sweat glands and mucus membranes.
JC: Oh, my! Sounds very unpleasant.
PP: Well, it’s not so bad; the station is picking up the medical bills, and I should be back at 100% by next week.
JC: But what did they do with your teeth?
PP: I guess they thought they were parasites or something. Once I explained their purpose, they gave me some replacement implants, but I have to get them swapped out for the real thing.
JC: Not comfortable?
PP: It’s not that… They’re first-class cutting and chewing instruments, but I’m afraid to smile. Last night my waitress was watching me eat and nearly fainted; then I almost got mugged on the way back home.
JC: I don’t follow, Pat.
PP: *sigh* Diamonds, Jim. They implanted diamonds.
JC: Oh! I can see where that would be… err…
PP: A bit inconvenient. Still, it was pretty nice of them, all things considered.
JC: I suppose so. Ladies and gentlemen, Pat Patterson, a man who truly has a thousand-carat smile.
PP: Thanks, Jim.
JC: Take care, Pat.

And that’s the way it is, today, Thorsday the 20th, in the fourth year of Emperor Mentar. Long may he reign.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.

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