This is Planets Magazine Action News, coming to you live with a special report: The Capricorn War — Conflict in Echo Cluster!
Good evening; I’m Jim Chancellite. Our top story today is from Skaro Prime, where we’re covering the barratry trial of Captain Lincoln F. Sternn for his part in the “Cloud Nine” – “Mary Celeste” disaster. We’re going live to Ace Reporter Pat Patterson, just outside the courthouse. Are you there, Pat?
PP: We’re here, Jim.
JC: What can you tell us?
PP: This has been one of the fastest pre-trials in modern history, Jim. The defense wants it to move forward, and the prosecution is very eager, even optimistic.
JC: Does the prosecution seem to have cause for their optimism?
PP: It looks pretty grim for Captain Sternn, Jim. They’ve been at it half an hour already and they’re still reading the list of charges. We’re told that his alleged confederate, a man named Hanover Pfist, was piloting the “Mary Celeste” under the pseudonym “Joe K. Sonyou”; he’s apparently turning State’s Evidence and testifying against Sternn in exchange for a reduced sentence.
JC: And the primary charge…
PP: Well, they arranged it so the passengers could all escape, so the destruction of the ships is the main thing. Since the crews were made up entirely of replicants, even that’s just “Destruction of Public Property” — plus the associated counts of “Creating a Navigational Hazard”, “Aggravated Pollution”, and “Littering”. So it looks like the primary charge is one of “Barratry in the First Degree”, which carries the death penalty. Several of the subordinate charges, including “Unlicensed Piracy”, also carry the death penalty, and—
JC: Excuse me, Pat; I’m going to have to interrupt you. We’ve just had a breaking news bulletin. There has been a battle of some sort in Cyborg space, and at least nine — but as many as fifteen — vessels representing two or more of the warring factions have been reported destroyed. The Fascist Empire has just released an official statement:
“Citizens of the Echo Cluster: Rejoice! The evil machines of Cyborg War Base 26 have been stripped of their covering darkness and bathed in the light of a million suns for all the universe to see! A glorious conquest awaits us!
“We bring freedom from the Cyborg tyranny and liberation for its citizens. Even now, Klingon troopers are collecting and securing supplies for the aid and succour of the inevitable civilian casualties, and our assault troopers are paving the way for a speedy and efficient transition in order to end the riots and civil war that inevitably follow behind Cyborg rule.
“Our goals must triumph, and triumph gloriously! People of the Echo Cluster, your liberation comes swiftly! Children all across the galaxy can look forward to a brighter future!”
PP: “A brighter future”, eh? Bright as ten million suns?
JC: That’ll do, Pat. *ahem* Reports are coming in on additional battles across the cluster, from skirmishes to planetary assaults. Additionally, we have a confirmed report of a combat detonation, a ship named the “Hope and A Prayer”, near another wave of destruction.
We’ll be bringing you continued updates as the information comes in tonight, but for now, that’s the way it is, today, the seventy-first of Shazzbot in the third year of the reign of Emperor Emork. Long may he reign! In the mean while, stay tuned for tonight’s show, the animated classic: “Heavy Metal”!
PP: But what about the trial?
JC: We’ll get back to that… [fades]