ACTION NEWS: Privateer Leader Vanishes

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

Hello, I’m Jim Chancellite. The top news story for today is the unexplained disappearance of the commander of the Privateer Bands from the very heart of their battle fleet. Representatives of the Galactic Senate have been called in to investigate, and official action is expected at any moment. Meanwhile, confusion reigns supreme in the Capricorn War sector of the Echo Cluster.

Coming to us with a live report from the Privateer flagship “Henry Martyn” is Ace Reporter Pat Patterson. What can you tell us, Pat?

PP: Hello, Jim; not much, I’m afraid. There’s a great deal of confusion here on the flagship; it seems that both Don Ruez and his daughter and aide-de-camp Roulette have vanished without a trace. The reports we have are fragmentary, but we have an unconfirmed witness report that says they simply vanished during a council of war in the main conference chamber. We’re told only that the investigation is ongoing, but apart from that, we have no details.
JC: No details? Nothing at all?
PP: The control of information is very tight on this one, Jim. We’ve been told that us even asking certain questions on this ship can get us confined for the duration of the investigation.
JC: Who is telling you this? I mean to say, who’s in charge?
PP: Well, the ship’s business and the coordination of the fleet are continuing as usual, thus far without interruption. But the leadership of the Bands is monolithic; in the continued absence of both the leader and his aide-de-camp, there’s simply nobody at the top to give orders.
JC: I see. Is there any indication as to what may happen from here?
PP: If the power vacuum remains for any length of time, we’re likely to see an internal power struggle followed by the rapid rise of one of the many lieutenant commanders from the Privateer ranks. This would follow traditional forms and methods — a tradition, I might add, with a long history within the bands themselves.
JC: And what effect would this have on the progress of the War?
PP: There, things become tricky. In the past, if a commander was removed during the War, the Senate would eliminate the entire faction he represented from contention. However, with the recent ratification of the so-called “Mercenary Act”, Galactic law clearly states that a replacement commander can — and, in fact, must — be appointed to the position.
JC: But if there’s an internal power struggle within the Bands themselves–
PP: Historically, the Senate has always respected the internal politics of each of the contending races. In this instance, however, the new law may have some influence on the internal choice itself.
JC: How so?
PP: It’s complex, and from what I can gather, nobody really knows for certain. The traditional guiding method is that the new leader will be the most skilled, most experienced commander available, but there are different methods of judging. In the past, only Privateering skill was measured, but with the new laws, it’s quite possible that outside experience will also be allowed to help determine the choice. Whether it will, and how much, are up for debate.
JC: I see. And what if Don Ruez should return?
PP: Precedent is mixed there, but from what I can gather it mostly comes down to the practical. If he returns in time, it’s possible that he’ll be able to retain control. However, once a new leader assumes power, this would suddenly be a far greater challenge for him.
JC: Well, we’ll be relying on you to keep us updated. You’re staying on the ship?
PP: For as long as we can, Jim. Things could get messy.
JC: Oh. Be careful, Pat.
PP: Thanks, Jim; we will.

That was Ace Reporter Pat Patterson coming to us live from the Privateer flagship, the “Henry Martyn”. We’re expecting an official update from the Galactic Senate at any moment, so stay tuned…

…and, this just in: The Galactic Senate has just announced that all action the Capricorn War sector has been temporarily suspended pending official inquiries. We are told to expect an official statement from a Senate spokesman.

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

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