This is a Planets Magazine Action News Update, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!
Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite. Early this morning, several Firecloud Class Cruisers were involved in a multiple-chunnel incident which drew not only those ships but all those in their respective convoys into a dangerous position well out beyond the edge of known space. On location with the details is veteran reporter Olen Hyvin-Kilma. Olen? What can you tell us?
OHK: Good evening, Jim. At twenty-one minutes past midnight, the Cyborg Firecloud ship “Invasion Gate” initiated its daily chunnel sequence on what was supposed to be a routine transfer. By a strange coincidence, nine other Fireclouds also began their countdown, all using identical — yet apparently randomized — chunnel network access codes. When the chunnels opened, what has been described as a “Cascading Chunnel Event” drew all ten convoys into the network and dropped them, as one captain described it, “Where no one… has gone… before.” Planets Magazine Action News has obtained this exclusive recording from an emergency broadcast of one Federation ship’s log.
[recording] Stardate 3199.2 — USS Bohemian, shakedown cruise. Captain James T. Shatt… commanding.
What was to be a… routine… launch ceremony was interrupted by what we’re told was a… “Cascading Chunnel Event”. One quarter of the battle fleet… was pulled into the vortex… and ended up out… here — past the far edge of the entire star… cluster. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve come out… in the middle… of an enemy mine field, and… directly… in the path… of a deadly ion storm. Our ship is… drifting… with no fuel reserves… and a crew of… untrained novices… right out… of the academy. Damage reports… are still… coming in.
OHK: The information we have on Captain Shatt is that he had been removed from his former command on grounds of incompetence. Testimony from one former commander states that, in a crisis, “…the man just couldn’t act!”
JC: Olen, I’m sorry to interrupt… What do we know about the condition of the other ships?
OHK: Yes, Jim; I was getting to that. There seem to be twenty-five ships of all different types here, and we’re told that only one has suffered slight damage. Fuel and survival supplies are being provided by long-range rescue services, and plans have been made for what is being termed an “emergency redeployment”.
JC: Have we heard anything about what might have caused this… this “Cascade” in the first place?
OHK: Neither the Federation nor the Cyborg has released a formal statement on the incident, but one highly-placed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, mentioned that an unnamed ship’s captain “…did make a small mistake to chunnel some more ships where they… should [not] be.” Other informed sources have been speculating on the chances of an accidental computer glitch.
JC: That would be quite a glitch, Olen.
OHK: Yes, yes it would be, Jim. I didn’t entirely understand the explanation that was put forward; it was something about “unintended resonance in a string of primes”. But he went on to propose that this was a repetition of the very glitch that led to the unintended destruction of multiple industrial ships several months ago.
JC: Oh! Is there suspicion of sabotage, then?
OHK: Strangely, none of our sources believe that there’s any chance that this was anything other than what it appears — a more or less random act, possibly compounded by human error.
JC: I see. That is interesting. Well, thanks, Olen; keep us posted.
OHK: I’ll be here all night, Jim.
In other news, we have received reports that the ongoing shipbuilder’s union strike has suffered some setbacks as unlicensed shipfitters crossed picket lines this morning. Citing concerns over poor safety regulations, nonstandard wages, and especially over the low quality of the product that they say is being produced, union representatives have halted production throughout the Echo Cluster on everything except what they call “Priority builds”. Hans “Feet” Charnov, director of the ECSU, released this statement:
“Thing is, we’re craftsmen, right? Dese unlicensed, untrained, unticketed scab laborers — I mean, fuhgeddaboudit! You gotta take pride in what you’re doing, y’ knowwhadImean? I mean, summa dese scabs, they’ll work on anything, say nothing of quality. Now, our union’s workers want to build something what’ll last, something we can tell our grandkids about, ya know? Not this so-called “wartime construction” garbage. I mean, fuhgeddaboutdit!”
Union representatives have confirmed that negotiations are still ongoing with the various Capricorn War leaders in order to permit limited necessary warship construction. Representatives of the Galactic Senate have again stated that they remain reluctant to intervene during this, the sixtieth month of the strike.
And that’s the way it is, today, Thorsday the 39th, in the third year of Emperor Emork the Lizard King. Long may he reign!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.
Could the Colonial long range radar departement provide a tactical picture of the unlucky fleet and the ion storm? Was a female alien on board of Captain J.T.’s command ship when the accident happend?
Reports are still coming in.
As for pictures and precise intel: There’s a vague shadowy line between journalism and espionage. I like to keep things simple, so I avoid copying literal pictures. Also, any facts that accidentally make it into these “news” reports are going to be highly colored and unreliable — rather like your own local news in that, I think, except that I don’t earn my salary from a government or a massive global supercorporation.
If you want, though, you can picture in your mind an image (possibly photoshopped) of Zapp Brannigan pinned to the bullseye of a vast cosmic target. Add in some cyborgs, deadly spacemines and a fast, powerful ion storm…
…but that’s a sensationalized interpretation of what’s really out there. After all, nobody would read the news if it was boring, now would they? :o)