ACTION NEWS: Pirate Raids Continue Unchecked

This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!

Hello; I’m Jim Chancellite, with a breaking news story from Colonial space — the apparent theft of the Colonial flagship, the newly-commissioned GS Parthenon, by a band of pirates that appear to be working with elements of the Cyborg military. We take you now to embedded Colonial reporter Hephaestus Tyrol, reporting live from the site of this daring raid. Fess, are you there?

HT: Yes, Jim; I can hear you.
JC: What can you tell us about this raid? Was the Admiral captured?
HT: There were initial reports of that, yes, but now it seems apparent that the Admiral somehow escaped capture. We’re told that he will be giving an address to the troops in a few minutes.
JC: And, how is it that you weren’t on the Parthenon during the raid? We had thought that you were still on the ship yourself.
HT: No; our crew came down with the construction team late last night; the plan was to get some interviews from the ground crews and then check in on the settlers.
JC: Just good luck, then.
HT: Absolutely. The last we’d heard, the Privateer ambassador was actively engaged in negotiations with the Quorum of Twelve at the very moment the raid began. I’m given to understand that he left the room for a moment, slipped his guards, and vanished, taking the entire reserve supply of Colonial Ambrosia with him.
JC: So there was no warning?
HT: None at all. The Parthenon had just arrived and was set to begin her patrol; she was fully fueled and stocked for a long voyage. And then, she just vanished from her moorings.
JC: Unbelievable!
HT: Yes, Jim. Now, we’ve heard from our embedded Robot reporter, D’Anna Beers, that several Robot ships have suffered the same fate, but this is the first raid on Colonial territory since the border skirmish with the Empire several months ago.
JC: Now, is this a ransom attempt, or are they–
HT: Just a moment, Jim; they’re telling me that the Admiral is about to begin his address. Yes; yes, here he is.

“This is the Admiral.
“Moments ago, our fleet was attacked by a group of pirates operating alongside members of the Cyborg military. This was a well-planned and thoroughly coordinated first strike against our fleet, and it was intended to cripple us.
“We are not crippled. We have been badly damaged, but our home worlds and our shipyards remain intact. Even now, precautions are being taken to prevent a recurrence of this incident among our other ships, and the Quorum of Twelve is prepared to institute full wartime production.
“Don’t look for vengeance; that profits us nothing. Instead, let us secure our home worlds from danger and protect our civilian population from harm. Then, when we are prepared, we will coordinate our fleet with those of our allies to end this threat — permanently.
“The safety of our families, our loved ones, our very way of life stands in jeopardy. We shall not falter. We will not let our people down. They’re counting on us.
“That is all.”

HT: If you’ll excuse me, Jim… it looks like the Admiral is boarding his private Raptor, and that means we’re about to miss our ride out of here.
JC: Good luck, Fess. Contact us when you can.
HT: I will, Jim. This is Fess Tyrol, signing off.

And we have a late-breaking update from the Cyborg Hive on the recent disaster at Tandy 2000. We’re told that civilian casualties were lighter than initially reported due to a shipping delay, and that an augmented disaster containment team is already enroute. A prepared statement from the Cyborg Press Drone reads, “WE PLAN TO ADD THE TECHNOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL DISTINCTIVENESS OF THE METEOR TO THE COLLECTIVE. IT WILL BE ASSIMILATED.”

In other news, the Cyborg Imperium has been plagued by a series of what we have been told were industrial accidents. A report from the Senate Board of Industry has shown the loss of two Cyborg starbases over the last two months. No official statement has been released from the Cyborg Hive, but unofficial sources tell us that these were not due to military action but instead some form of internal error. There has been intense speculation about the possibility of acts of industrial sabotage, but no solid data is as yet available. With us here is retired Colonel Tolliver South, to speak to these issues. Thanks for joining us, Colonel South.

TS: My pleasure, Jim.
JC: So tell us about this Senate report. Is this truly routine?
TS: Yes it is, Jim. By law, the Board of Industry is required to submit a summary of all military and civilian production within each designated combat area once each fortnight.
JC: “Fortnight”, Tollie?
TS: It’s an archaic term of time passage; it is similar to a Galactic month in length. But the law predates the adoption of the modern calendar.
JC: I see.
TS: Now, this report is mostly concerned with the shipbuilder’s strike, but it clearly shows a periodic decline in Cyborg industrial production with, and this is the interesting part, no corresponding loss in military strength.
JC: Fascinating. Now, what would this indicate?
TS: Well, to be honest, there are several possibilities, but given the political instability within the Capricorn sector, the most likely seems to be some sort of industrial sabotage, most likely by a foreign power.
JC: Are there any indications as to who–
TS: No; nobody has taken responsibility, and the Cyborg Hive has remained completely silent on the subject.
JC: Well, but who do you think would be the most likely?
TS: The known allies of the Cyborg are the Federation and, now, the Privateers… but neither of those seem quite right. This sort of action wouldn’t be in the best interest of the Feds, and the level of coordination between Cyborg and Privateer forces indicates that they plan to work together for some time to come.
JC: So the bottom line, then, is…
TS: Your guess is as good as mine, Jim.
JC: I see. Thank you, Tollie.
TS: Thank you, Jim.

And now, a word from our sponsor. When we return, we’ll have the scores from the Pyramid championships, plus a report from Pat Patterson, live from Sochi. Stay with us.

(theme music)
Jim: (aside to makeup artist, barely audible) For this we pay South six figures? “Your guess is as good as mine”?! What a twit.

(fade to commercial)

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