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A place to put national factbooks, embassy exchanges, and other information regarding the nations of the world. [In character]
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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:37 am

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Rise of Mars: An Empire in the Making - Senate passes SB-7501.3



Solarian Reaches - It has been a busy week in the Senate Chamber as officials in the Martian capital of Laconia debated many major bills. One that has particularly been of major interest to international observers, and domestic critics, is SB-7501.3. The bill, also known as the 'Solarian Defense Charter' is a complementary form of legislation to a group of bills recently passed by the Senate that has helped create Mars' initiative to reinforce its position in the Reaches. These bills include the 'Solarian Security Act', the 'Homeland Act', and the '2177 Military Review and Reorganisation Act'.

Together, the legislation has shown a shift in Martian foreign policy towards greater interventionism and what some have argued as imperialism. The Homeland Act, being the oldest of the recent laws, is perhaps the most controversial as it outlined major divides between the nation's complex law code. Mars has a Civil Law, Foreign Law, Commercial Law, and a Martial Law code that has long been a staple of the nation's governance. Prior to the Colonial War (2153-2170), the barrier between many of these statutes was blurred allowing greater freedom. Foreigners and Corporations especially benefitted greatly from overlapping legislation.

In the Post-Colonial War world, however, as the Martian Assembly (A party in the Senate) fell out of public favour towards the mid-decade and the Martian Camera became more popular and gained power, it seemed such luxuries in the lax law codes was in danger. The Homeland Act removed protections from Foreigners such as exemption from judicial proceedings (Prior to this, expulsion and banishment was the typical punishment), and taxes for those living in the nation for more than five years, and reasserted Martian citizen privileges. The nation's Martial Code, which applies to Maritime law and military personnel beyond defined boundaries of Martian systems in what's called 'black water' zones saw a greater amount of power.

The 'Homeland Act' reinforced the 'Martian Terrorism and Maritime Law Directive' by enabling a 'no pardon/mercy' policy towards pirates, slavers, and terrorists operating in Martian space, regardless of national origin. This was a major blow to the Assembly's lobbying for fair trials that were previously guaranteed under the original Civil Law code. Instead, the legislation gave the military full authority to execute searches, seizures, and even 'executive' action on hostile or perceived hostile elements. This process has already been seen thanks to Admiral Granger's 'Delta Campaign', where the Martian second fleet has engaged in fierce anti-pirate operations in a conflict resembling a small war in its casualties.

Granger was recognised for dismantling the Alarian Coalition, a large network of mercenaries and pirates in the Delta Quadrant. According to state documents from the nation's principal military station, Hawking, 3500 detainments had been performed, 117 pirate vessels had been either destroyed or put out of commission, and 2700 pirates had been killed including several dozen Martian marines and naval personnel. For his service, the Empress awarded Granger the 'Martian Medal of Leadership' - despite controversies over Granger's heavy-handed detainment practises and what many have described as extra-judicial concentration camps that became home to said detainees during investigations of pirate activity.

Another development in the nation's domestic policies was its treatment towards the colonial sectors. By law, colonists are considered subjects of the Empress, not the Senate, as the two have a division of powers on such matters. This 'Imperial Authority' has given the Empress substantial power to enforce her wishes on the nation's colonies, and how these regions are subsequently governed. This is why Royal Assent is required for new colonies, or even military and security deployments to such regions. Originally, the Martian Senate's role was limited to the Republic of Mars only, with the Secretariat being the nation's main body for representing Mars' protectorates, dominions, colonies, and other states that are a part of the Conglomerate.

Following the Colonial War, and major allegations against a number of officials in the Secretariat of supporting colonial separatists, the assembly lost a considerable amount of power and the Senate strengthened in its own authority. Martial law that had been declared in a number of regions was simply never rescinded, and this gave the Senate plenty of authority to affect the outcome of local elections which helped stack the Secretariat following its dissolution during the war. However, despite this new concentration of power for the Senate, it was still limited by the Imperial Authority clause over Martian colonies specifically.

Empress Agatha's ascension to the throne in 2172 proved to be a major boon to the Senate's already burgeoning political powerhouse. The Empress didn't share many of the same isolationist, and non-interventionist policies of her predecessors and instead became more active in the nation's political landscape even if not initially obvious. Her Majesty's role can't be clearly defined since it has long been practice that the Crown does not make any official statements or obligations in public that could be construed as otherwise favouring specific policies or parties. Yet, her role has been integral to the nation's major shift, since her consent is required for every form of legislation, and her passing of major economic and commercial reforms has especially seen a major boost in corporate lobbying and expansionism across the Conglomerate.

All of these factors have helped the Senate skirt its way around Imperial Authority with the Crown's silence on such matters having made a deafening impact on these regions - which had long been protected from the Senate's increasingly aggressive militarism. And now, with the Senate having passed the 'Solarian Defense Charter', it has become more startling clear the Martian intentions for the Reaches, and how they view themselves in such a position.

The Deltan third fleet was combined with the Martian Home Fleet, creating a Solarian Defense Force [SDF] that will enforce Martian maritime law on regions around the Reaches. The move is likely going to draw major protests from other Solar states, and concerns have been lobbied quite loudly (See: Senator Sarges (MA) removed from the chamber after disruption; Fist fight) against the bill. The SDF has put together a force of almost five-hundred warships, with two expansion plans in the works with Hawking.

Hawking's commander, Grand Admiral Charles Quay, commented on the recent legislation as the dawn of a 'Martian Era' citing a number of recent reports about the nation's major industrial expansions and military refits. It is undeniable that the nation is seeing its largest economic expansion since the Neon Era (See: Martian Thassalocracy: Colonial Hegemon and Economic Supremacy). Yet, despite these advancements, the Assembly, in particular, has continued to criticise the Camera's legislative actions arguing that such economic policies have also greatly damaged relations with the nation's colonies.

The overall rise of Martian Nationalism, and the nation's entry into international astropolitics has allowed the nation to become bolder in its endeavours. The SDF will be given budget priority for the next fiscal year, with a potential expansion of £200 billion. Much of this will be directed to the navy's three new ship designs rolling out of dry-dock, and the nation's Solarian Defense Network that has been under construction around the Reaches for the last few months. Finally, the last legislation that'll be debated and is currently in the cycle may see Martian forces on the Lanthe route.

Concerns with recent developments around an economic station in the Gamma Quadrant and the warlike rhetoric between two otherwise unknown states has prompted concern among the Senate. The Lanthe Route is a major economic corridor that runs into the Reaches, and some are concerned that a conflict between these two states could come to the Reaches, a move that'd no doubt draw the military ire of Mars. Whether or not the Senate approves of an expedition, however, is debated, and likely won't be known for certain for at least a few months.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:16 am

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Hawking: What is the Veiled Fortress



Hawking - It's a name that Martians have heard for decades, and synonymous with Mars' military prowess, yet the exact details of this elusive place have remained something enshrouded in mystery. Every time the military hits national headlines, there's always some sporadic mention of Hawking, but what is this place? Where is it? These questions were explored when Martian Times was given rare access to Hawking this week to cover the 'brain' of Mars' military.

Hawking, perhaps unsurprisingly, is named after the late Earth astronomer and astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking. His namesake is quite relevant to the 'veiled fortress' because Hawking isn't just a single place like a station, but an entire complex network of fortifications, outposts, docks, and other installations built around a blackhole. That's right, Mars' central command surrounds a blackhole. The exact location of Hawking is a closely guarded secret, but its choice of location was not by mere chance.

Hawking began construction in 2075, over a century ago, in an active nebula. The benefits of this gave the facilities a prime defensive advantage thanks to the extremely high levels of radiation and heated plasma that still exists among the nebular clouds surrounding this region. The Hawking Recall procedure aboard some Martian ships is the only way to travel to this place safely, otherwise ships risk losing navigation and becoming heavily damaged in the intense nebular weather surrounding Hawking.

In fact, the first expedition into Hawking prior to its construction did not go well. Explorer and hopeful corporate exec, Don Schrader and his crew of forty souls took the MCS Atlas into the nebula in 2067. To this day, their fate is unknown, and the ship was never recovered. It is believed that the ship lost navigation, and unable to effectively escape the region was likely damaged beyond what would be considered livable conditions for its crew. Even with ship radiators and heatsinks, the radiation and heat from the nebula can prove difficult to manage for ships, compromising potentially integral systems and essentially cooking the crew inside.

Further expeditions didn't fare as well either. One voyage, the MCN Arc, was also lost after entering the zone in 2070. It's two-hundred and forty-three crew members have remained unaccounted for. Another voyage just seven months later by the crew of the SRV Lockheed was forced to cut their expedition short after losing navigation and communication just a few AU into the zone. Luckily for the ship, they managed to escape but not before the vessel had sustained heavy damage. Forty crew members died in a number of heat, radiation, and combustion-related deaths. The entire ship's engineering team died fighting a number of fires in the vessel's reactor chambers and pools.

Pool-2 was compromised as a result, and a cascading explosion blew a plane-sized hole in the side of the ship and covered much of the interior reactor chamber in radioactive debris. Those inside the room were likely instantly incinerated or ejected during the blast. Once the vessel had made it out of the nebula and finally returned home, another twenty-eight crew members died from radiation-related illnesses. The incident sparked a number of internal investigations, and the Senate passed a directive that prohibited travel to the region without government authorisation.

Yet, despite these setbacks, government funding of expeditions continued, except now precautions were being made. In a daring attempt to get into the nebula, Seneca Industries secured government funding and authorisation to build and launch their SRV Dauntless. The Dauntless was a rebuilt carrier from the ground up with extremely thick radiation shielding, and a number of redundant heat dispersing technologies like radiator panels and heatsink launchers. Likewise, the ship featured a multi-layered airlock system with a triple hole to protect the crew, who were situated in the very centre of the craft. Seneca spent several years building satellites and probes to help map the outside of the nebula and allow the Dauntless some method of navigation.

In 2073, the Dauntless entered Hawking's nebula. The ship was fitted with an experimental beacon system called the 'Warp Recall Fixture' or WARF. The hope was that the device could be put in place, assuming the vessel survived the journey, and allow Martian ships outside to initiate a 'recall', effectively allowing them to bypass the nebula and appear inside of Hawking's zone. Three days after entering the nebula, the Dauntless reached the centre where they discovered a large blackhole and planetary remnants. The WARF was put into place and the Dauntless made its return trip.

When the vessel had finally reemerged after almost a week, the achievement was hailed a success. Yet, despite all of Seneca's advancements in building the Dauntless, the ship had suffered major hull damage with a number of ruptures. Thankfully, the crew sections in the centre had remained untouched, but any longer in the plasma zone would have likely seen it join the other ships that had tried to cross. The MCN Riviera made the first recall to the WARF, proving that the region was now accessible.

From there, Hawking was slowly constructed over the next few decades. The WARF was upgraded three times, and a number of gates were constructed to help further assist transit of naval forces. The region became the seat and symbol of military power for the Martians. Hawking's research stations have long been the cutting edge of technology, as it was believed that the country's many warminds and AI technology were first researched there.

Today, Hawking remains an integral part of Mars' defence, and the Hawking Network allows the MAF to manage everything from deep space installations to state-of-the-art communication arrays. It houses the nation's frontline defences for disease research, stores strategic weaponry, and serves as a recall point for retreating naval forces. Overall, the veiled fortress still remains just as mysterious as it always was. It's location is such a closely guarded secret that the government initiated a purge through Royal Decree of any data relating to its location that corporations such as Seneca may have recorded, and leaking any classified data on the site is considered a Capital Offence, warranting the death penalty.
Last edited by Kyrusia on Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Domestic newswire; moved to F&NI. Reason edited rather than break post flow with Mod message.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:51 pm

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Colonial Wars: Remembering the MCS Aurora and Helting Station

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Astrid - It's difficult to imagine that, for all of its industry and sprawling settlements today, Astrid was more of a barren and rocky planet dominated by orbitals. The first colonists in the late 2070s had just begun to make themselves at home, they had come from Mars, several thousand lightyears away near the end of the Great Migration. Among one of the first prospective colonies for the Martians, Astrid was a beacon of hope for something greater.

By 2150, despite the economic downturn the nation had been facing for the last couple of years, Astrid's most prominent orbital, Helting Station, was still very much thriving. The station served as an important port and the last stop before an endless frontier. Helting attracted millions of visitors every year, and the station underwent two expansions to accommodate a growing populace. Helting's success, however, was not common across the rest of the then Republic's territories.

The Harlow Crisis had begun in late autumn of 2150, when, after the Black Wednesday Crash, the Harlow Group -- a major corporate body that was tasked in building new colonies -- began packing up shop and leaving a number of these colonies for more lucrative regions to survive the ordeal. Such colonies was that of Rta (Pronounced Er-taw), a relatively small frontier settlement in the Delta Quadrant. Thousands were left out of work when Harlow abandoned the settlement causing a food crisis, and sky-rocketing prices. The settlement quickly descended into anarchy, with Rta's security struggling to maintain order.

The Harlow Crisis would last late into 2153, as the government and the group entered into negotiations to handle the situation. Meanwhile, the Martian Assembly was also pushing for investigations into the group's trade practices, and whether these had negatively impacted its colonial settlements. The negotiations were rocky, and as the situation in Martian colonies continued to worsen, tensions flared. Public opinion was hostile towards the Assembly, Mars' ruling party at the time, feeling the government was not doing enough to help.

Finally, the Secretariat, the representative body of the territories entered into further negotiations with the Martian Senate, and for a number of months, while progress was slow, the two sides were making headway. The Rta Massacre in mid-2153 complicated the matter. Due to the disorder, Rta's government called on Mars to help, and the Martians obliged by sending the 34th MEU and 2nd Rangers to the settlement to enforce curfews and keep things in order.

During a major demonstration, a soldier was wounded as the units faced growing crowds in Rta's Palisade Square. Soldiers open fired on the crowd in the confusion, killing and wounding dozens. The crowds were dispersed thanks to security reinforcements, but the damage had been done. What started as food riots and calls for change because of the massive unemployment had started a different sort of fire. The Colonial Assembly was formed following the incident, composed of a number of major public figures from the territories, who, with the Secretariat, joined in on the negotiations.

At the same time, the Rta Coalition, or RtaC had formed, calling for colonial independence. At first, the group wasn't taken very seriously by the Martian government, the response was to be expected, and negotiations were continuing as planned. The event itself had combined a number of groups and sentiments that coalesced into RtaC, but the sentiments had long been a theme prior. Intelligence by the Martian Government had already been collected on many of the groups operating within the territories up to four years prior, at the time, however, they were deemed a non-existent threat of fringe-ideologies.

The Rta Massacre became a lightning rod for the group, who used it to quickly and effectively add to their ranks. By 2154, RtaC had swelled into the thousands. That same year, life for Astrid and much of the nation would change. A number of guerillas had managed to hijack a spaceliner, the MCS Aurora during a routine transit. The Aurora was a large four-deck spaceliner made by Voyager Industries, designed for mid-range travel between star systems.

Despite the ship's security measures, a large group had managed to overpower the vessel and set their sights on Helting Station. Helting had been resented by many, especially the colonists for its sustainability during the economic crisis. Helting was also still being managed by Harlow, and while the station had shifted to a civilian elected government, many of its municipal projects and funding came from Harlow subsidies. It's location also benefited the station, and by extension, its citizens, thanks to continued trade. The oddball had a target on its back.

On June 4th, 2154 -- the MCS Aurora, despite repeated attempts by Helting to contact the ship, slammed into the station. The impact jolted the station, and damaged the structures inner spire, which held the settlement's major facilities like environmental regulation and its fusion reactor. A series of cascading failures, detonations, and further structural damage littered the space around the accident with debris. At first, it was perceived as an accident until RtaC took responsibility for the attack.

An almost unimaginable five-thousand people died in what became known as the 'Aurora Incident'. The quiet, serene and greenish skies of Astrid today would have been filled with flaming orange streaks by the thousands above, and loud cracks as debris from Helting burned up in the atmosphere. The impact had shunted the station so much off course, that Astrid's gravity would eventually pull it and the Aurora down. The attack had flipped public opinion on the colonies.

Demonstrations were held across Mars, and negotiations began to quickly break down as the public demanded revenge. To further complicate matters, a number of members in the Secretariat were expelled and arrested by authorities in 2155 for having ties with RtaC, three of which that were believed to have direct ties to the Aurora Incident. To the Martians back home, the colonies were no longer Martian, but enemies. The Senate passed the 'Aurora Bill', declaring martial law across over forty sectors in Delta, Alpha, and Beta -- and mobilised for war.

The Colonial Wars raged from 2055-2170, and the nation underwent a major transformation politically, economically, and socially as a result. The Assembly fell out of favour in late 2155 with its coalition composed of the Directorate and Sinistra parties having fallen out. Both parties had switched sides and began supporting a growing new party known as the Camera [Latin for Chamber]. That same year, the Assembly lost a number of major magistrate and local elections, and the new coalition deemed the Triumvirate had gained the majority in the Senate.

The public had vilified the Assembly for its role in the events leading up to the start of the Colonial Wars. Inaction, slow negotiations, and failure to act on intel that may have prevented the Aurora Incident solidified their incompetence in the public mind. The Camera, on the other hand, advocated for strength and striking back against the colonies for the attack. With the Directorate being mainly composed of corporate interests, and the Sinsitra of the military's, the new government coalition vowed to do just that.

For the next several years, Mars waged a space and ground conflict in multiple regions against a large guerilla insurgency. One by one, sectors were pacified as the Martians brought out 'total war' against the colonists. By 2165, only the Delta sectors had remained in RtaC hands, and a number of major Martian offensives quickly routed them. Rta's sector was now in the sights of Admiral Granger, the Deltan Devil, as he had become known. The conflict waged on Rta for several more months before the Martians, now with the actual city in sight, resigned themselves to one final act of vengeance.

In a solemn nod to the Aurora Incident, the Martians launched a twenty-kiloton warhead against the city of Rta on June 4th, 2170. The missile had been delivered by Granger days earlier and was loaded aboard the MCN Apollo. Rta was destroyed in the blast, killing anywhere between fifty-thousand to seventy-thousand people on detonation, with several more thousand from radiation and blast related injuries. The war had come to an end, but fort he Martians, it seemed as thought it would never end. The Aurora Accords were signed by the colonies a month later, officially ending the conflict, and bringing Mars' territories back under their control.

The War Department estimates that the Colonial Wars had amassed roughly 345,000 casualties, and displaced nearly two million people. Many colonies never recovered from the conflict, and some regions still remain under martial law to this day. The socio-political impact on Martian society hasn't gone away. A stark divide between the colonists and the Martians remains, ensuring a mutual distrust remains between the two. On Astrid, which now has actual terrestrial settlements, the signs of the Aurora Incident are non-existent.

The Martians launched a massive clean-up operation of the Helting and Aurora crash site. Today there stands a single, lonely obelisk amid thousands of square stones, each bearing a name of those aboard the station and spaceliner. The obelisk reads, ''Do not mourn me, for I am not lost. Even now, I am with my country.''

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Postby Lady Scylla » Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:43 am

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Chancellor Van Allen 'Expansion or Decline'; Senate to vote on SB-7507.5



Laconia, Federal Republic of Mars, Martian Conglomerate - Chancellor Van Allen addressed the Senate in a passionate speech reflecting on his years as the nation's executive, and advocating for the Camera's new legislative priority: SB-7505.5 - 'Martian Initiative'. In his rousing speech, Van Allen highlighted Mars' recent achievements and its rise from an isolationist state to a galactic maritime power. However, as he noted, such prestige was not without its costs. The Martian government has been haemorrhaging money with its controversial Solarian Defence Plan, and the modernisation of its armed forces. In the last few months, a number of bills swept through the Senate over infrastructure spending and commerce, as well.

The Treasury Department has estimated that the total amount the government will spend on the modernisation of the MAF alone will be to the tune of £5.7 trillion by 2180. Accompany that with a £700 billion infrastructure plan the government pushed through this year, the nation is looking to exceed its budget by 120% according to some estimates for the next three years. Despite this, investor confidence with the nation's federal reserve authority has remained high, with bonds still maintaining a positive rate despite the budget concerns.

Major economists have noted though that this confidence will not remain, especially when 2180 does roll around as the Martian Pound stares at potential devaluing unless something is done. In light of this, the Senate pushed through the 'Martian Initiative' which will be voted on in the next cycle. Van Allen, who is a prominent advocate for the legislation addressed the Senate over the matters in his speech. Essentially, the plan illustrates a number of economic and commercial reforms. With infrastructure spending being an investment that the government won't get returns on for a number of years, the Senate is pushing for incentives like subsidies and tax-breaks to help corporations take advantage of the economic reforms.

This will allow businesses to move into upgraded sectors and be exempt from specific corporate taxes for a set number of years, allowing them to reap the full potential of the renewed infrastructure plans. The government then will gradually reintroduce the lost taxes, and corporations will pay a stipend for a number of years after, bu which point, the government hopes, the economy will have grown significantly. Commercial tariffs will also be reduced, allowing corporations to gain access to foreign markets more easily and thus expand faster.

On top of this, the government is looking to re-enable the 'Corporate Colonisation Act', something the nation's many megacorps have long lobbied for. If the initiative passes, Mars' colonial territories are looking to expand once again, creating a new wave of migration and recreating the competitive market for royal contracts that had existed during the first wave of colonialism by the Martians in the 2070s. The Initiative has drawn protests from the Assembly Party, who complained that this may recreate the atmosphere that led to the Colonial Wars. The Camera has played down these concerns though, citing that corporate protections of colonies will not be affected by the legislation, and ultimately, is the Empress' prerogative.

The Martian Government is hoping the bill may double, or even triple the growing empire's economy over the next decade, with Van Allen pointedly saying that Martian expansion would mean survival of the Conglomerate. ''It is a matter of Expansion or Decline,'' the Chancellor said in the Senate. If the legislation passes this cycle, it will need to go before the Empress for approval, especially since anything to deal with colonies is Her Majesty's domain that the Senate can not otherwise interefere with.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:11 pm

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SB-7507.5 deadlocks as discussions in the Senate breakdown



Laconia, Federal Republic of Mars, Martian Conglomerate - For the first time in nearly twenty years, the Triumvirate Bloc failed to push through the controversial legislation that would renew Martian colonial efforts. The bloc contains three of the five senatorial factions, which have historically voted alongside each other in an assured majority. SB-7505 had already undergone five revisions before the vote, and a sixth revision proposed by the nationalist faction called the Camera put its allied factions at odds.

The revision called the Halen Clause, because it was proposed by Senator Erwin Halen, suggested corporations, that had been granted a royal charter to establish colonies, could call upon the Martian Armed Forces (MAF) for security and other matters including putting down rebellion. The government's military faction, the Sinistra, which is a part of the Triumvirate bloc, greatly opposed the revision. The clause would undermine the Crown's authority over the military, and essentially turn the national forces into a corporate army.

Suddenly, without a majority, the bloc was forced to try and reach one with the remaining factions but failed to do so. SB-7507 is now a dead bill, having reached its maximum votes allotted. A new bill can be introduced but must wait another cycle before it can enter the rotation. In the meantime, the fallout from the failure has yet to be seen, though it is expected the Sinistra will loudly protest another submission if it attempts to include the same revision.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:57 am

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Senate avoids deadlock vote as Sinistra threatens to break with bloc



Laconia, Federal Republic of Mars, Martian Conglomerate - Chancellor Van Allen declared an emergency meeting in the Curia, the Senate Building, in the wake of the disastrous vote over SB-7507. The Senate's pentarchic committees were obligated to meet as a result. The Sinistra renewed its concerns over SB-7507 in a heated debate with the other factions with Sinistra Senator Avran Delacey accusing the Directorate (Corporate faction) of attempting to undermine Martian institutions.

Van Allen tabled SB-7507 once again, much to the protest of the Sinistra, but was outvoted by its bloc, permitting it to go to the floor anyway in a special vote. Normally, under Martian Law, the limit of revisions a bill can have prevents the government from wasting time on otherwise dead legislation, but Van Allen's move to use the Chancellor's emergency power to push the vote anyway is unprecedented. More heated debates occurred after the vote, and a Senator, who has yet to be named, was forcibly removed by the Sergeant-At-Arms after a fist-fight broke out on the Curia floor.

With the Triumvirate bloc's three factions (Camera, Directorate, and the Sinistra) at odds over the legislation, it became clear what the bloc's majority along with Van Allen planned to do. A vote was finally called on the bill, with the Directorate choosing to abstain. The move was surprising as it would ensure the Camera and Sinistra voted opposite of the other, and with the other two factions often abstaining themselves, it'd deadlock. A deadlock in the Senate allows the Chancellor to then favour one side or the other as a tie-breaker.

Their plan failed. Perhaps in the greatest act of defiance in the Senate thus far came from the last two factions, the Signoria which represents the Aristocracy, and the Assembly which represents the Colonies. Rather than abstain, both factions took advantage of the discord and voted in favour with the Sinistra, giving a majority 'No' vote that prevented a tie-breaker and finally sunk the bill permanently. The unexpected move by the latter factions drew wide condemnation from the Camera and Directorate, resulting in a number of brawls and screaming matches.

The Camera's chairman, Senator Oslo Wes, accused the Sinistra of conspiring to break established convention over government majority by secretly plotting to overturn the vote with the other factions. The Sinsitra's chairwoman, Admiral Angelina Hernandez, fired back threatening to break with the bloc indefinitely if the three-faction coalition couldn't reach an agreement without what she called ''barbarism''. The rocky relationship the military now has with the bloc's corporate and nationalist wings could threaten the coalition's overall stability and ability to pass legislation, especially if the Sinistra begins performing what's called ''rebellion votes'' that ensures nothing passes.

At the same time, the Signoria and Assembly's willingness to take advantage of the chaos by siding with the Sinistra could mean a new government coalition if the Triumvirate Bloc falls apart. Meanwhile, Chancellor Van Allen was forced to end the emergency session without a compromise. Critics were quick to attack Van Allen for what they described as a Chancellor who was ''old'' and no longer ''capable of controlling the government.'' The vote also threatens Van Allen's chancellorship, as a majority of the Senate can remove him, a position that is generally served for life. By failing to push the vote and control the discussion, his own bloc may blame him as a result.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:43 pm

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Nalar's ''Riv Yatewa'' surrenders to Martian occupied forces



Martian Military Zone of Nalar, Beta Quadrant - Commander Var Duwe surrendered to Martian Commander and Military Governor Fredrick Briggs yesterday aboard the MCN General Johan V. Richter. The surprising capitulation has brought about the end of the Nalar Insurgency which has lasted for a number of years now. Following the Conglomerate's invasion of the Nalarian League in 2170, many military commanders and former government officials went into hiding at the end of the ''Seven Day War''.

One such official was Major Var Duwe who successfully organised an insurgent resistance in the West Mountains on Nalar. Duwe's ''Riv Yatewa'', Our Freedom in Nalar, quickly spread throughout Nalar centres and mounted an expansive guerilla campaign against Martian occupying forces. Duwe's successful raids such as the Rthasa Power Station Attack earned him the moniker ''The Nalar Devil'' -- that attack alone thwarted Martian military initiatives in the Fal Shar Valley for several months.

In recent years, as Martian deployments increased, and strategies changed -- rumours had begun to circulate that Duwe, who was now 50, was in failing health. The Riv Yatewa were losing numbers faster than they could replenish, and the public's will to fight Martian forces had waned in the years since. Duwe was wounded and nearly captured last month by a Martian attack on Mavara, a major stronghold of the Riv Yatewa. Despite this, Martian military commanders expected Duwe to keep fighting as it was not the first time he had been wounded.

In a rare radio address to Duwe's supporters, the Commander urged the Riv Yatewa to lay down their arms saying that they were now the ''relic of an old era''. Duwe then made contact with Martian Command offering a truce and negotiations provided the Martian would honour said truce. Com. Briggs did so, and the two leaders and their entourages met aboard a Martian cruiser, the MCN General Johan V. Richter. Duwe officially surrendered to the Martians after an agreement had been reached.

The agreement itself which was signed and witnessed by a Martian state officer, thus making it a binding treaty, called for the Riv Yatewa to wholly disband and turn in their weapons to Martian forces. In exchange for clemency of the fighters of the group, Duwe and his officers would be arrested. Normally under Martian law, Duwe would be charged with terrorism and executed, however, Briggs decided to charge Duwe and his officers with an archaic Martian law as freemen. The law in question was an old Assembly Act from 2051, nearly two centuries ago: ''It is the duty and good conscience of all to defend their homeland, whether in vain or not. While still amounting to a crime of the state against Mars, such noble undertakings by the conquered are to be respected, and they shall be put to death with honour.''

The law itself labels such accused as 'Freemen', and Briggs chose to enforce such following Duwe's arrest. As a result, Duwe and the officers of the former Riv Yatewa will be executed on Nalar by firing squad with the Nalar public present and given an official ceremonial discharge from service and military funerals honouring both Martian and Nalar customs. In exchange for this, Briggs has agreed to not charge any other Riv Yatewa members, and will permit the public to build a statue to the rebel leaders in their honour.

The move is as big of a diplomatic one as it is a public order one, as it allows the Nalar to have some closure. Nalar was invaded by the Martians because of its proximity to the Martian colonies in the region, the Conglomerate has not denied that the invasion was an act of aggression on their part. However, the nation has retained many of its initial promises following the invasion such as integrating the Nalar and spending billions to repair damaged infrastructure. Nalar lives have greatly improved since the war, a major driving force behind the slow decline in the public to resist occupation. Martian technology and culture has become a mainstay for them.

Following Duwe's arrest, Commander Briggs signed the end to Martian occupation, officially ending the military zone. This was the final agreement made between the two leaders. Under Martian Law, which even Duwe had remarked in his writings as ''endearing'', democracy and autonomy are a major hallmark of integrated territories. The Nalar League will be allowed to persist, and elections for the League's parliament will be held next month. An ambassador to the Conglomerate's assembly will also be dispatched. The Nalar will move from martial law to civil law finally, and be considered citizens of Mars.

Briggs, writing to the Martian Times had this to say, ''It is the undeniable truth that we are conquerors of such unique and diverse lands. The Martian Era is upon us, and the galaxy can feel it, but there is more to power than what can be achieved solely by guns and ships. This is a lesson that the Senate has yet to learn, but one many of my colleagues know well. Commander Duwe was an adversary of Martian order, but the cause for his struggle was one close to his heart. Martians most of all can understand this. And in the late Commander's final hours, he did not seek retribution or spit at my feet, we greeted each other like colleagues with different masters. We both know the cost of war. It is a bond that serves no nation. Duwe's surrender brings about the end of an era, but he will never be forgotten. There are many great and intelligent military leaders out there, but so few that are honourable, courageous, and worthy of respect.''

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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:59 am

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AI Rights: Demonstration draws thousands in Fujita District
Protesters have taken to the streets in the Capital to draw attention to inadequate social programs for AI veterans.


Laconia, Mars -- Of the many boroughs or 'districts' as they are known in the nation's capital, Fujita is regarded as the poorest despite holding the majority of the megapolis' population. An estimated twelve million live in Fujita alone. And since yesterday, this district has been abuzz with activity and chanting by tens of thousands of protestors led by the AI Rights Movement over what many feel are inadequate social programs aimed at helping AI veterans of Martian wars.

The Conglomerate is considered among the international community, and even in Sol, as an oddity for what many consider over-extensive rights for artificial intelligence. Despite being a supposed hallmark for equality in this regard, the country is still lacking in major programs that truly benefit AI as well as they do for the organic. Notably, AI suicides have been remarkably high, with a 5% increase over the last year alone, greatly outpacing that of organic suicides.

The Gears and Tears Project released statistics on the AI veteran homeless estimating that there are roughly 450,000 in Fujita alone and a total of 1.2 million in Laconia's metropolitan area. In fact, 1 in every 3 homeless is likely to be AI according to Gears and Tears. Banned modifications akin to drug-use such as spiking are also prevalent among homeless AI veterans. With an increase of 23% in incidents of death or severe injury having been reported at technological clinics this past year.

One protestor, Gary Oldhome of Fujita and himself a veteran was seen carrying a sign that read ''Save our Brothers''. Gary is human but told the Martian Times that he was outraged with the government's inability to act on such a crucial issue. ''I fought with these guys. We spent all of this time and money creating AI that could empathise like humans, and yet we treat them like they're objects still. It's just not right. If I'm entitled to care, they should be too,'' Oldhome said.

Fujita's Mayor, Ray Gordon also came out to speak during the march. Gordon has been a long time advocate of AI rights, and celebrated by both humans and AI alike for his contribution in fighting for equality. The last major conflict that featured extensive deployment of AI soldiers was the Nalar Campaign where an estimated 250,000 served alongside human soldiers. Many of which returned home unable to receive adequate care for PTSD and other issues.

Gordon sat down with us to talk about the issue at hand. So we asked him what his thoughts were on the whole thing.

''It's an important issue. We have to keep having these fights over and over. Two centuries ago, people discriminated based on race. Then it was cyborgs vs organics. Now it's AI. People seem to forget the 2070s when there were people bombing cyborg clinics and the violence. They were different. So we hate them. And it's no different now. When we started creating AI at the turn of the century, there were a lot of ethical questions. The nation passed extensive AI laws to protect them. Yet the stigma there remains. We didn't want unfeeling soldiers on the front fighting for Mars. We wanted machines that could think, could feel and could rationalise conflict. We thought it 'humane'. And now we're not wanting to deal with the consequence of that, we treat them just as bad as our human veterans. They've served their purpose, now trash them. And life just doesn't work like that. They don't just magically go away,'' Gordon said.

The protests thus far have remained peaceful, although Laconia has pre-emptively deployed police in case of trouble. And while there have been a few arrests, the overall crowd has been lawful according to the city.

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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:30 am

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ALERT: Major Disruptions
String of breaches have been detected on Martian cyberspace -- Advise

This is an Emergency Broadcast from the Conglomerate's central AI network 'Athena'.



ATTENTION - Civil Defense and Athena detected a number of major cyber-attacks on Martian infrastructure. Of those affected, the Transit Authority has been compromised and isolated. Citizens are advised to avoid attempting to engage Highway Control Services on Martian freeways and instead seek other modes of transportation. Athena has determined that public transportation with the exception of major subway and spaceliner connections have remained unaffected by this outage.

Android Dynamics has also reported a number of breaches on their own networks although any damage is currently unclear. AD states that android units have not been affected.

Telecommunications are currently out in certain districts and are being worked on. It is unclear if these outages are related to the cyber-attacks.

An evacuation has been ordered of Martian Orbital 'Daedalus' after an unexpected power failure. Athena and the Department for Nuclear Energy are continuing to monitor the situation.

At 2:30am MST, Athena detected a series of intrusions on a number of networks. Civil Defence and Athena quickly countered and isolated the damage to major Martian infrastructure but outages have remained. Cyber-trawlers have been deployed on these networks to determine the source of these intrusions. It is advised that citizens linking to Martian cyberspace enable Level 3 encryption and avoid affected sectors. So far, no injuries have been reported by this outage. Expect updates.

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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:10 am

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ALERT: Martian Cyberattack Update
Disruption currently limited to capital. Transit Authority still suffering outages.

This is an Emergency Broadcast from the Conglomerate's central AI network 'Athena'.



At 0230 Martian Standard-Time, Athena detected intrusions on major Martian networks. These intrusions targetted financial, infrastructure, and emergency services. At 0231 Martian Standard-Time, quarantine of infected sectors had been put into place. At 0250 Martian Standard-Time, Mandatory Level 3 encryption of all data connections rated significant and above was put into place. Major outages were reported by city officials and Martian public. Damage was limited to Martian capital of Laconia.

An assessment of breaches suggests a multi-point breach of major Martian networks in an attempt to disrupt crucial public services. Outages have remained local as of 0850 Martian Standard-Time. Citizens are advised to increase encryption to a minimum of Level 3 and expect delays as systems are brought back online. For citizen safety, ShardNet Identification Services have been brought offline and rolling disconnects will commence shortly. The use of hardwiring to devices that use ShardNet or affected services is strictly advised against. It is currently unclear if this attack is capable of affecting persons' cyber-implants.

Affected Services of this Cyberattack include:

ShardNet Identification Services
Transit Authority Identification Services
Transit Authority Remote Artificial Intelligence Service
Transit Authority Railway Services
Transit Authority Spaceliner Services
Transit Authority Financial Services
Android Dynamics Patch Services
Android Dynamics R&D Services
Martian First Financial Services
National Martian Fiscal and Lending Services
Cybernet Communication and Transfer Services
Martian Social Media Services
Martian Fusion Regulatory Assistance Services
Martian Department of Energy
Martian Department of Nuclear Energy
Martian Commercial Transitional Authority
Martian Healthcare and Emergency Response Services
Laconia Water and Waste Services
Laconia Department of Energy
Laconia Traffic Artificial Intelligence Services

This list may be updated

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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:21 am

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Black Thursday Cyberattack Cripples Capital
A coordinated cyberattack has crippled the nationa's capital of Laconia with no end in sight. Injuries and fatalities reported.



Laconia, Mars - After the government lifted the 'Emergency Press Blackout Order' following Thursday's cyber attack, reports have begun flooding into media outlets over the scope of the widespread damage that the nation's capital has suffered. Despite initial concerns by government officials, the attack was localised only to the nation's capital with the rest of the Conglomerate remaining unaffected. The attack started early Thursday morning from ''multiple points'' according to the nation's Civil Defense Cyberwarfare Division.

Even though the nation's warmind, Athena, detected and quickly responded to the attack within less than a minute, the damage had already been dealt against major services in Laconia. The capital was thrown into chaos as the nation's Transit Authority shut down, causing accidents and major congestion on highways and intersections throughout the city of forty million. At the same time, emergency services were brought offline or greatly impacted by the attack, causing major outages and delays in response time.

Throughout the day, the city was hit with rolling blackouts as officials attempted to handle infections on the city's power grids. Hospitals and utilities suffered outages creating a bottleneck for care. Martian General in the downtown Bay District was packed with injured as nurses and doctors frantically worked in the dark. Those needing intensive care had to be airlifted to facilities with still functioning ICU and Triage centres. Telecommunications for large portions of the public were also out creating panic.

While numbers are still coming in, the Department of Health has said they've documented nearly 4,700 injuries so far and several hundred fatalities related to the attack. There's been no clear sign of who is responsible for Thursday's cyber attack, but officials have called it the worst in Martian history. Laconia's Governor, Alexander Gray, said that such an attack should be nearly impossible given the nation's layered failsafes and cyber-security measures. ''Whoever is responsible is very familiar with Martian cyber-security, and this attack has likely been performed by a state actor given its sophistication and the resources needed to carry it out,'' Gray said.

In response to the attack, Gray ordered the deployment of the State Guard to the streets of Laconia to maintain order and assist the public. The Senate has also declared a national emergency and will be deploying military forces into Sol until the situation is resolved as a precaution. ''Until the source of this attack can be determined, Mars' national sovereignty and security must be maintained,'' Chancellor Van Allen said in a press release.

Only one other place fell to the cyber attack that was not inside the capital. Daedalus, a Martian orbital which houses nearly three thousand people, suffered a catastrophic failure of its fusion reactor forcing an emergency shutdown. Officials from the orbital said that the reactor's regulators which are used to maintain the counter-pressure and fuel for the reactor had spiked. According to officials familiar with the reactor, Martian fusion reactors require a delicate balance between reaction and counter-reaction pressures that are typically closely monitored. ''Fusion reactors don't explode like fission reactors, they are safer to run, but they can still cause a disaster if overloaded,'' said Chief Engineer Myer Gertrude.

The resulting power surge to the reactor's regulators risked an implosion and the reactor initiated an emergency shutdown. ''It did what it was meant to do, and we're very thankful for that,'' Gertrude said. That shutdown, however, caused blackouts across the station and forced an evacuation. ''Daedalus has back-ups in case of such an event, but because we weren't sure if there had been any damage to the reactor, we decided to evacuate the public as a precaution,'' Gertrude went on to say. Overall, the evacuation has been considered a success and a Martian tug, the MCN Archangel, has been tasked with escorting the station out of orbit until its safety can be guaranteed. Nuclear officials said that a breach of the reactor's containment wouldn't have caused major fallout for Mars below, but could expose nearby spacecraft or those aboard the station to High-Energy Neutron Bombardment (HENB) and extremely high temperatures. ''You're dealing with a small, contained star, basically,'' Gertrude told MT.

Overall, the full list of services affected by what's been dubbed as 'Black Thursday' are as followed:

Commerce: Banking and Financial Systems

Communications: Institutional Coordination, Government Services, Security, Emergency Response, and Law Enforcement.

Goods and Services: Manufacturing and Distribution

Transportation: Traffic Signal Systems, Fuel Delivery, Public Transport, Traffic AI, Rail Freight, and Airports.

Infrastructure: Medical Facilities, Water Supply, Sanitation, and Energy

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Lady Scylla
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Postby Lady Scylla » Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:40 am

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Black Thursday Casualties: 7,500 injured, 1,200 killed
A coordinated cyberattack has crippled the nation's capital of Laconia. Authorities rushing to restore vital services.


Laconia, Mars - The Black Thursday Cyberattack has passed into its second day as emergency officials rush to deal with the flood of injured and attempt to bring vital systems back online. A central committee has been created by Governor Gray to handle the disaster as the first State Guard deploy to Laconia's streets. Looting and unrest have skyrocketed in the wake of the attack as the public panic reaches a fever point. According to city officials, Transit Authority has seen the restoration of some systems but is still running at sub-optimal capacity. The Department of Health has counted 8,700 total casualties so far in the wake of the attack, with scores of those dead. In a surprising move, the Senate is looking for international assistance to handle the rising number of injured and help restore systems.

Laconia's skies have been filled with air-traffic as State Guard helicopters and shuttles airlift citizens needing emergency care from across the city. Most hospitals are still suffering from the crippling attack, with operational triage centres well over capacity. Many have been forced to set up tents in hospital parking lots and perform life-saving treatment without adequate access to hospital equipment. The scene at Martian General, one such hospital with a massive 'tent farm', resembles that of a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel. Bloody rags and bandages sit in piles waiting to be burned by military servicemen and medical staff are seen sleeping out in the open amid gruelling 20 hour shifts. Every hospital in the city has declared a ''Code 1'' -- meaning they're overcapacity and lacking resources amid a disaster.

Code 1 declarations are typically rare, and most often seen at hospitals near natural disasters or warzones, but it means Martian medical systems have reached their breaking point.

Governor Gray authorised the formation of the Laconia Relief and Disaster Management Commission which has been staffed by officials from the military, public office, and private sectors from across the Conglomerate. ''We've put together the country's greatest minds to deal with this,'' Gray said. The commission is composed of an administrative committee numbering around a thousand experts with delegated committees springing up. First responders have divided Laconia up into Emergency Response Zones to assist in keeping track and managing each sector, these zones also overlap with the committee's attempts to reboot vital systems.

According to Civil Defense, antivirals and security partitions are being sent across networks and analyses are still underway to determine the exact nature of the attack. The main concern for both Civil Defense and the Department of Health is corporeal cybernetic infections or CCI. With heavy augmentation and cyber-implants, citizens are at as much risk of computer viruses as they are of regular organic diseases. ''A computer virus on a person's cyber-brain can kill them just as easily as the plague,'' Civil Defense's director, Nakamura stated.

And while antiviral releases for citizens are precautionary for the most widely known potential causes for this infection, without a full report on the attack's role and source, it may be days to weeks before Civil Defense manages to create an effective 'vaccine'. Director Nakamura assured the public that she and her agency are working as hard and fast as they can and reminding the public to be vigilant. ''Don't hardwire to anything, and if something seems strange about specific blocks on the net, do not risk it. You can become infected and not know it,'' she stated.

As State Guard forces arrive on the streets of Laconia in their IFVs and trucks, the streets are filled with paper, broken glass, and overturned cars. Rioting in some sections of the city have paralysed city services as mass panic grips Laconia's populace. State Guard have been forced to use tear gas and barricades to control problematic sectors of the city. At the same time, the domestic military force has been going door to door performing search and rescue operations. Military craft remained unaffected by the attack, and emergency response services have had to rely on the State Gaurd's vehicles for airlifting or makeshift ambulances.

The Senate has appealed for international aid, particularly from Solarian nations to assist in the wake of the Black Thursday attack. It's a stark change of pace by an administration that has long been abrasive to foreign governments, but officials have put public safety above political concerns for the time being. ''This disaster has strengthened Martian resolve, but also undermined this nation's notion of invincibility. This attack has caused great harm to the public, and we are looking for aid from Martian nations, and nations in Sol to assist us in investigating and dealing with this disaster. There comes a time when pride must be set aside for the good of the public. Now is that time. Whoever is responsible for this egregious attack will be brought to justice, and we will recover,'' Chancellor Van Allen stated.

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Postby Menelmacar » Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:36 am

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<Anwatercánis> Good evening, and welcome back to Nightside here on ISN, where we make the news! I'm your host, Anwatercánis nos Finarfin, and tonight we have a very special guest. I'm sure you all remember Spirean pop idol Siyu Tahii, who reconciled with her estranged mentor right here on this set six years ago. Welcome back, Siyu, it's an absolute delight to have you back here with us--


*the broadcast abruptly cuts away from the pre-recorded interview to a BREAKING NEWS graphic, then to Anwatercánis apparently being recorded live.*


<Anwatercánis> I'm afraid we must interrupt our programming for this breaking news; the interview with Siyu will be posted in full to our HoloPlay channel and carried in full after this report.

The communications blackout in the Martian Conglomerate has lifted, and the scattered reports we have been bringing you all day are now confirmed. A devastating cyberterror attack has struck the capital of our neighbors on Carnil, the Martian Conglomerate. Over twelve hundred are dead and going on eight thousand injured in what is already confirmed to be the worst terror attack on Carnil since the Quickbronze nanoplague that decimated the southern polar regions then known as Vascilia, and the death tolls are still coming in. It is not currently believed that any Menelmacari nationals are in Laconia tonight but the Prefecture of State is still looking into that possibility.

The city of Laconia is almost completely shut down as nearly every automated service in the capital has been crippled by the strike, and the Martians' defensive AI, Athena, has been overwhelmed in her efforts to respond, but has reportedly largely contained the damage to the capital region. Nonetheless, at least forty million people are affected. We can confirm that communications, water, sanitation, electrical generation and distribution, healthcare and law enforcement networks, emergency services, and traffic control are all crippled in and around Laconia tonight. It is known that many of these systems are discrete from one another and thus this attack necessitated massive and careful coordination. We also know that at least one Conglomerate orbital habitat, Daedalus Station, is without power, and efforts are underway to prevent damage to the station and its reactors resulting from an uncontrolled shutdown. At the moment, due to the scale and coordination of the attack, Conglomerate authorities currently believe a state actor is responsible; we have no word yet as to our own government's theories.

I'm being told now that Haryon Maglor nos Fëanor is conducting a press conference on this matter momentarily. Therefore we go live to Fëanor Palace for the prince's remarks.


*the broadcast cuts to Prince Maglor, standing at a podium with the sigil of the Prefecture of Compassionate Relief displayed on the wall behind him.*


<Maglor> Good evening. I will be brief tonight; there is a great deal of work to do and lives depend on alacrity, so there will be limited time for questions. You are all well versed in what has happened in Laconia. I've just come from a meeting of cabinet, and I can say this without ambiguity: the Ascendancy of Menelmacar stands shoulder to shoulder with the Martian Conglomerate tonight. We deplore and condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms, and will do everything we can to help bring justice to those that have slaughtered thousands of civilians in Laconia, and left the fate of millions more in very real doubt.

As Prefect of Compassionate Relief the duty falls to me to coordinate our immediate response. To this end we are, even now as I speak, mobilizing twenty hospital ships and five heavy freighters loaded with emergency supplies. Furthermore I have authorized five mobile neutronium-annihilation reactors; one to Daedalus Station and four to Laconia, and the deployment of a Black Arrow system to Laconia to aid in coordination of law enforcement, emergency services, and traffic control. These systems will, of course, as always be operated by Menelmacari personnel only, and will remain on station until the Conglomerate's systems are back online. Engineers will also be sent to aid in restoring Conglomerate systems. The military is also willing to dispatch troops to aid in peacekeeping operations, but has not deployed for this purpose as yet. Of course all of these responses are contingent on their acceptance by the Conglomerate, but I am confident that will be forthcoming shortly. I'll now take questions.... ah, you, blue robes, third row.

<Reporter 1> Denethor nos Fingolfin, Tercáno Vinyatírionya. There have been reports that the Conglomerate is deploying additional military assets to Sol. Would such an action be in breach of the strategic arms treaty between our nations, and what will the Ascendancy's response be in that case?

<Maglor> Good question, Denethor. That did come up in our meeting. Under the circumstances the Ascendancy is well aware that the Conglomerate is at a moment of weakness and fear. Though Carnil is and always has been one of the most heavily defended planets in the entire galaxy, second perhaps only to Arda herself, the Conglomerate has never been a nation willing to depend on others for its protection. Lady Serendis over at the Prefecture of War is watching the matter closely; the treaty remains in full force. If the Conglomerate requests temporary dispensation to place a reasonable quantity of additional forces in Sol for the duration of this crisis, above the limits normally set by the arms treaty, I suspect the Ascendancy will grant it. Young lady, red hair, second row from the back.

<Reporter 2> Lendanis nos Fordraug, Pelóri Politics channel on HoloPlay. Many of my subscribers would no doubt like to know, the Conglomerate has always been suspicious and hostile towards Menelmacar to date. Why are we going to such lengths to help them?

<Maglor> That's absolutely a fair concern. Lendanis, the Ascendancy holds no hostility or ill will towards the Conglomerate. If we did, we could have and would have acted on it before now. The hostility with which the Conglomerate acts is based on political theater for the consumption of domestic audiences, nothing more; we are sure their intelligence analysts are not so foolish as to think actual hostilities would end anything but catastrophically for them. In short, they are not a threat, especially now. It is true, of course, that there is no assurance of benevolence to the Conglomerate that we could not falsify. But this crisis nonetheless presents an opportunity for us to offer them a hand in friendship, and an opportunity for them to perhaps realize that good relations with their neighbors are preferable to paranoia and isolation. To the Conglomerate I say this: if this is what the Ascendancy offers to those who fancy us their enemies, imagine what we will do for our true friends.

That's all the time I have for now. Further questions can be directed to my office. Thank you all, and goodnight.
Lady Sirithil nos Fëanor
Elentári of the Eternal Ascendancy of Menelmacar
High Queen and Lady-Protector of Elvenkind

"The elves will do what is right, not what is on paper." ~Sunset
"We can't go around supporting The Good Of All Things. People might mistake us for Menelmacar." ~Education Minister Lobon of Kn-Yan
"Do you realize you're trying to sell resources to Menelmafuckingcar? Their resource base is larger than Melkor's ego." ~Advisor Julius Razak, Foot-to-Ass Section, Scolopendra
"I started on NS at a time when elf genocides were daily occurrences from week old nations wanting to get ortilleried by Menelmacar." ~Resurgent Dream

Political Compass:
Economic Left/Right: 8.75 Social Lib/Auth: 2.05

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Postby Lady Scylla » Fri Jun 28, 2019 9:33 am

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Black Thursday Crisis: First CCI Case Confirmed
First case of Corporeal Cybernetic Infection has been confirmed health officials say after an unresponsive man was found in his vehicle



Laconia, Mars - As Martian officials wage war against time, the first confirmed case of a CCI has been reported by the DoH, upping the stakes to resolve the crisis. Menelmacar have also offered aid to the Conglomerate, which the Senate was hasty to accept, and negotiations for a suspension of the strategic arms treaty are reportedly underway.

Military corpsmen responded to an emergency in the Fujita District of an unconscious man locked in his vehicle. After freeing him, the rescue team reportedly airlifted him to an aid station set up in the district's downtown library. The man, currently unidentified, remained unresponsive as he underwent a medical analysis. According to health officials, there was nothing wrong medically speaking, but the man's cyber-brain showed severe signs of corruption, similar to that of the Black Thursday attack. This makes the first case of a CCI having been confirmed by officials and understandably has the government worried.

What is a CCI?

A Corporeal Cybernetic Infection is an umbrella term for any form of cyber-viral infection that is transmitted to a person's cybernetic implants or cyberbrain from a digital source such as computer hardware, software, the internet, or other devices. Under most circumstances, implants possess firewalls and security, including encryption, to protect the user from harm. Routine updates and patches are always necessary to keep up with viral threats one may encounter online.

Because people spend most of their lives connected to various networks or hardwiring themselves into devices such as their cars via cranial plugs, the risk of CCIs are always there and cybersecurity have long been extremely pro-active in protecting consumers from harm or even death. However, CCIs have managed to cause real harm in the past, particularly new viral software that have yet to be vaccinated against. One such incident was the Lockout Epidemic in May of 2171 when 281 people fell victim to a CCI that simulated 'locked-in syndrome', making the afflicted persons unable to move or communicate until they paid a ransom.

No-one was seriously injured in the incident, and the CCI responsible, dubbed CV1N5, was later vaccinated against with a series of patches that removed a vulnerability in ocular update software. Nevertheless, the incident left those, who all recovered, shaken by the ordeal with several filing lawsuits against Ocular Implant United for failing to be transparent and allowing fatal flaws in their design software to remain unaddressed. That lawsuit was won by the plaintiffs, and OIC was forced to pay £514 billion in damages.

Can CCIs be fatal?

CCIs can be just as vital as major biological infections if not treated promptly. The market for Martian augmentation has since exploded, and major implants include devices used to either enhance or replace vital organs and biological processes entirely. Most people move around in lightweight carbon synthetic skeletons and muscle tissue that comprises prosthetic bodies. All of which requires a vast network of computerised nerves and processing to handle complex movements.

If a CCI disrupts these systems, it can cause cascading organ failure or injury. In worst cases, CCIs can even cause death, particularly if the disruption occurs during an otherwise safe but risky activity like driving or while working. CCIs that attack the cyberbrain can be especially fatal, as damage to a person's shard can be irreversible and result in brain death or a form of cyber-necrosis where held digital data degenerates rapidly. Cyber-dementia is a common result of cyberbrain afflicted CCIs.

What are the signs of a CCI?

Symptoms of a CCI can vary, and many CCIs can remain dormant for long periods of time before activating. Any abnormal behaviour with implants or sudden problems such as dizziness, vision changes, ocular feed disruptions, hyper-reality corruption, severe headaches, fever, shivering, tremours, seizures, auditory processing errors, speech problems, confusion, erratic behaviour, and lethargy should be reasons for concern.

What should I do if I suspect I have a CCI?

Immediately disconnect from any hardwire connection and, if possible, disconnect from all networks. Seek help immediately or call 777 to reach emergency technological services. Technical Clinics can be found from your emergency directory under assistance. If you cannot access this data, you can look it up in a phonebook or have someone assist you. Make sure to tell medical technicians what you were doing at the time you noticed something was wrong, and provide as much detail about your symptoms as you can. Do not under any circumstance hardwire to anyone else, other devices.

What do I do if someone I know might be infected with a CCI?

As above, immediately disconnect them from any hardwiring. Do not attempt to connect with the individual or mess with their shard ports on the back of their neck. Rush them to a clinic as fast as possible and provide as much information as you can including symptoms they may have been exhibiting prior to the incident.

What is the prognosis of a CCI?

While CCIs should always be taken seriously, most CCIs are easily and quickly dealt with. People come into contact with CCIs daily and are never exposed to harm thanks to cybersecurity. CCIs like ransomware, while terrifying, normally do not cause any lasting physical harm to the individual, since the purpose is for extortion. And many CCIs are like this, they fall into a class of CCIs known as Benign Transmissible Cyberviruses or BTC. They're not designed to cause harm but annoy, phish, or extort individuals for money.

Malignant Transmissible Cyberviruses, while dangerous and potentially fatal, are generally rarer. Long term effects of MTC infections varies with cyber-dementia and cybersclerosis being two major concerns for health officials. Cybersclerosis alone is reported in 150 cases a year and results in the gradual decay of mental and physical faculties over several months to years. That CCI alone crosses the digital-organic barrier by causing hardening of nerve tissue and destruction of braincells. There is no cure for cybersclerosis.

Other MTCs are treatable provided the infected person seeks medical assistance immediately. Lasting damage can vary depending on the implants affected which may be removed or replaced to restore some or all of the lost functionality. Some examples of longterm problems from MTCs is nerve pain, memory problems, tachycardia or brachycardia, cancers, and bioware malfunctions. Therapy can be extremely helpful for many of these cases.

How can I protect myself from CCIs?

Never accept datalinks from unrecognised or unencrypted sources.
Always ensure your bioware is up to date with the latest patches and vaccine profile.
Avoid using shard devices from untrustworthy sources.
Do not hardwire to unknown devices, people, or devices showing signs of problems.
Always make sure you are running the appropriate encryption level.
Avoid drugware.

While Civil Defense and the DoH has yet to release a report on this particular CCI case and its nature, it's important to remember these things and stay vigilant.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sat Jun 29, 2019 2:52 am

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Black Thursday Crisis: Dozens Fall Ill
Two dozen more cases of Corporeal Cybernetic Infections have been reported by the Department of Health


Laconia, Mars - As health officials continue to warn the public about the dangers of the cyberattack that has gripped Laconia, the nation's capital, more cases of CCIs have been reported. Unrest in parts of the city have continued despite State Guard deployments, and the military has begun shipping in water for residents. Civil Defense and the Department of Health have yet to make any significant breakthroughs, but Director Nakamura stated that she has found some leads worth pursuing.

Two dozen new cases of CCIs have been reported, raising fears among the public and government officials that an epidemic may be forming in the midst of the crisis. The latest reports indicated people suffering convulsions or being unresponsive while another was left in critical condition from an apparent heart attack. Despite the range of symptoms, doctors are confident that the same cybervirus is responsible for the cases, and not entirely related to the Black Thursday cybervirus.

This cybervirus dubbed 'CV3R7' exists within the initial cyberattack on Laconia's infrastructure and likely was a sleeper packaged into the family of worms and trojans used to bring down vital systems of the city. CV3R7 is related to the MTC family of infections, making it especially dangerous, and officials have no doubt that it was intentionally placed on certain systems to cause infections to citizens. As sources for CV3R7 are identified, the government is pulling them offline, but other devices such as those available in people's cars are unaffected by these measures and thus should not be plugged into.

Civil Defense has stated that a vaccine is in the works but will take time as they try to isolate the cybervirus and create a package of antiviral software. The variety of symptoms has made it difficult to pinpoint sources, these symptoms being caused because people have had different implants attacked by this cybervirus and its related programs. ''We've identified at least fifteen related cyberviruses to CV3R7 designed for specific implants or to bypass specific service protections,'' a DoH spokesman said.

Civil Defense is warning though that while initial antivirals may counter many of these CV3R7-family programs, there may be more variants out there that could be unaffected by the patches. ''It's essentially an arms-race against time and these programs. Each new one we discover has to be added to the vaccine, and there could be dozens more,'' Nakamura stated.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:25 am

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Yamamoto Hotel Massacre: What we know
As the Black Thursday Crisis slides into its fourth day of chaos, a hostage situation in the Bay District went awry involving androids.


Laconia, Mars - Guests at the Yamamoto Hotel, a prestigious venue in downtown Laconia's Bay District, have been left shaken following a failed rescue attempt by Martian authorities after a number of androids took hostage and killed patrons. Civil Defense and the Martian Armed Forces said they had responded to an alert of a hostage crisis at the hotel late last night. According to hotel staff, the hotel's service androids were acting erratically prior to the incident.

Martian androids are perhaps some of the most sophisticated artificial intelligence units designed. In the Conglomerate, they're afforded the same protections under the law as any other citizen and are classified as 'sapient species' by the government. Until the Android Civil Rights Act, androids were designed and treated as property. Advocates and organisations in 2083 managed to successfully argue giving androids citizenship and passing the civil rights act that guaranteed their protection.

The Yamamoto Massacre, however, has raised a new concern for government officials in light of the cyberattack. Civil Defense stated that it is too early to tell if the androids had been affected by a cybervirus, or if there was another underlying motive at play. The Massacre itself played out throughout the night as law enforcement and military officials tried to negotiate with the androids who had taken a number of hostages throughout the hotel.

According to one source familiar with the operation, the androids failed to respond to any attempts to negotiate with the exception of one that was potentially identified as the ringleader. The android in question was not a worker at the hotel and hasn't shown up on any databases leaving their identity a mystery. Civil Defense labeled this individual 'Subject Zero' as a result, and did manage to get a response from this android alone. According to Civil Defense officials, 'Subject Zero' would only repeat a message when contacted -- ''Watch what we can do.'' Despite the ominous cryptic message, officials tried for four hours to get any sort of negotiation going.

Finally, the order was given by the MAF to storm the building. A number of TACSEC teams breached the premise in an attempt to free the hostages. At first, the operation seemed to be going to plan, but officials say they encountered resistance not long after they breached. The result was a suicide attack. Androids began killing hostages and then themselves and there were a number of skirmishes with TACSEC inside the building.

TACSEC stated that the ordeal was gruesome, and Martian Times' correspondent Lisa Arnhem reported seeing body bags and parts of bodies in bags. 73 hostages were killed and 25 androids destroyed in the incident with two TACSEC wounded. Android Dynamics has been proactive in stating that they are very sorry for the incident but assuring the public that their units are perfectly safe and the cause was unlikely to be related to the cyberattack from Thursday. Despite this, public panic caused Android Dynamics' stocks to fall early this morning, and law enforcement says they have started receiving more reports from the public about 'suspicious' behaviour from androids -- nearly all of these reports were found to be benign and attributed to public fear.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:52 am

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Black Thursday Crisis: Updates
Some city services have been brough back online, Android Dynamics takes major stock hit after Yamamato revelation, Streategic Arms Treaty amended, Public anger


Laconia, Mars - Four days since the nation's worst cyberattack in its history, city services such as telecommunications have finally been restored. The emergency commission tasked with handling the disaster stated that infected sectors of services had been isolated or cleared of the cybervirus. Other services may take longer to repair according to a memo released by the commission, in the memo they outlined a number of equipment such as transformers and computer systems that were irreparably damaged and would need to be replaced.

Communication services were the first to be brought back online, with transportation following though outages may persist. City officials said they are currently focusing on infrastructure, where most of the physical damage has been done, in order to restore power and other utilities to the public. The military has had to truck in water and hospitals have had to commandeer public spaces like libraries or golf courses to set up first aid centres.

A new revelation from the bizarre massacre at the Yamamoto Hotel has seen Android Dynamics' stocks plunge. According to investigators from Civil Defense, the androids party to that attack had undergone extensive analysis by the agency's cyber warfare division and found a cybervirus that was related to the former CV3R7. The Department of Health has continued to issue warnings to the public about the dangers of using computer systems at this time. An internal memo has also reclassified the (group of) cybervirus used in the attack as the 'Laconophage' family, identifying over 135 individual but related cyberviruses using an entirely new ID format with the host being listed as L0.

The revelation that L0 had infected the androids prior to the attack has caused public outrage towards Android Dynamics who initially tried to deny its systems were in any danger. The public is also frustrated with the government for what many see as slow and ineffective action to the disaster. Even as the public reels from the attack, the State Guard has begun constructing walls and checkpoints in the city's numerous districts to the dismay of its residents. ''We can't access our ShardNet for ID to get through the checkpoints, and any chance there might be trouble they close it off completely and start arresting people. It's like being prisoners in your own city,'' one woman who wished to remain unnamed said.

Another resident, Briar Garland told the Martian Times that the checkpoints and cordoning made little sense. ''Shops with food and such are across the wall from where we live, and many of us can't get through. To make it worse, the water them thassa (slang for Martian troops) are bringin in, they keep it at specific locations out of reach and make daily deliveries to these neighbourhoods instead,'' Briar said. City officials haven't denied centralising water distribution with Governor Gray stating that the State Guard had been instructed to set up 'Command HQs' where resources for the public were to be stored, and them timely distributed.

Anger and frustration hasn't stopped with the government either. An Android Dynamics store was set alight late last night forcing an evacuation of adjacent buildings as the blaze burned out of control. It took fire and rescue nearly forty minutes to respond to the blaze thanks to the 'parking lot' the city has become. With Transit Authority down, and State Guard stopping traffic, most residents have left their cars and the riots days earlier has left debris across the roads making transportation for emergency services a nightmare. ''It's like riding into a warzone. There's overturned cars, furniture and debris, paper, and god knows what else all over the road,'' Fire Captain Marshal Flanders said of Station 501. As a result, the city fire service has begun relying on tilt-rotors and helicopters with buckets to deliver water but this has its own problems. ''We can fly water in, but it's hard to get at flames deep inside a structure, and all that weight coming down on an already weakened structure can cause it to collapse,'' Flanders commented.

Law Enforcement has also had their hands full. A police station in Fujita, the century-old Precinct 93 was set on fire though no-one was hurt. The building had been vacated by law enforcement for a converted gym to create a headquarters for their specific sector in the district. Alerts of robberies, looting, arson, and now attacks on androids have been just a few of the incidents authorities have had to respond to. An android was found beaten to death in an alleyway, which has been alarming for AI residents.

As the government investigates who is responsible for the attack, the Menelmacar agreed to an amending of the Strategic Arms Treaty that limits Martian forces in the system of Sol. The amendment will allow the MCN to deploy a dozen more warships to be stationed in Martian orbit until the crisis is resolved. Van Allen called it a great act of understanding and mercy from the Menelmacar. The Martian government has also agreed to Menelmacar peacekeepers to assist State Guard in the city.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:51 am

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Black Thursday Crisis: Updates II - Source Identified
City services returning to normalcy as human-android violence increases.


Laconia, Mars - A week on from the worst cyberattack in the nation's history and city services in the nation's capital are finally coming back on. Transit Authority was restored late last night opening up the city's highways and railways once again. However, despite the good news, human-android violence has increased. Law enforcement and State Guard said they'd responded to an influx of calls following attacks on both groups as the city's tension reaches a fever pitch.

Civil Defense has finally made a major breakthrough in the cyberattack. Civil Defense's Cyberwarfare Division stated in a report to the Emergency Commission that the attack was carried out by creating a 'human botnet'. Civil Defense estimated that around 4.3 million people in the city were infected prior to the Black Thursday attack by the Laconophage cybervirus. This cybervirus opened up channels and failed to raise any alarms on security systems of a breach. The result was a spectacularly well-coordinated cyberattack that overwhelmed systems and pushed through further trojan infections that then crippled Laconia's cyber-infrastructure.

Having managed to infect so many people with a cybervirus capable of flying under the radar gave it access to any system they plugged into. Civil Defense ran an analysis on the Laconophage's security certifications, making a startling discovery that it had been listed 'trusted' by manufacturers. This would suggest that the cybervirus may have been on infected implants prior to being installed. The investigation continues into determining which manufacturers may be affected. Civil Defense's Central Security along with TACSEC have begun raids on a number of large manufacturers in the city. As a result, most implant manufacturers saw their stocks drop.

The report, having been leaked to the press, has generated anger among the public. Massive demonstrations have taken place in Laconia demanding justice for the cyberattack and calling on the government to take action or resign. The situation has become problematic for the Senate who has endured a month of trench-warfare in politics. The government's pentarchic factions have begun to show signs of splitting, threatening the Camera's majority coalition. As anger shifts towards the government and the situation drags on, internal feuds between senators has become harder to keep out of the public eye.

Yesterday, following the report's release, the Secretariat has challenged the Triumvirate Coalition, particularly the Camera's role in the events and what Secretariat chair Li Zhou described as ''stagnancy and stupidity''. Growing calls for Chancellor Van Allen to step down have also begun in the Senate between the Secretariat and the Sinistra - the latter being apart of the majority coalition. It would seem that the coalition, and by extension the government won't survive the ordeal giving way to major elections as a result. It's the first time in over three decades that the Camera's popularity has sunk. Under Martian law, if approval ratings decline below 30% then an election of the government must be forced. The Camera's approval rating is hanging by a thread at only 32%.

Government elections are rare in the Martian government, which is generally considered stable. The last government election was in 2153 when the Secretariat lost majority amid a series of scandals at the start of the Colonial Wars. Government elections differ from typical elections. The process uses the crown's authority to dissolve the entirety of the Senate and force snap-elections. This process typically undergoes a series of negotiations between major parties, but can have major ramifications on government structure and policy.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:07 am

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Black Thursday Crisis: Millions Hit Streets
Millions have taken to the streets in the wake of a tense morning of government raids on implant manufacturers.


Laconia, Mars - Laconia's streets have filled with the public calling out the government and implant manufacturers after Civil Defense conducted a number of raids. The massive operation by authorities led to startling findings over just how the Laconophage cybervirus hit the city. Preliminary analyses have found troves of data related to the process of cybernetic manufacturing, including the unveiling of a three month long Civil Defense operation that was investigating a potential terrorist organisation prior to the attack.

Civil Defense's bombshell hit just an hour ago when it uncovered that three of the nation's largest manufacturers for cybernetics had been infiltrated by a radical group known only as the 'Regency'. The findings indicate that Regency's operatives managed to infect bioware implants during the programming phase which would not have undergone government regulation at that stage. This meant that the corporations were responsible for checking their own products, and failed to do so. The infected bioware was then tested and certified, before being sold to the public.

Civil Defense estimates that the number of individuals with the infected bioware could be much higher than the initial 4.3 million figure. Operation Adder, an intelligence gathering initiative launched by Civil Defense to investigate the Regency, had taken Civil Defense to these manufacturers. Civil Defense had estimated that the group had been operating in these locations for at least 6 months prior to Civil Defense's intel operation. The agency noted that they lacked any executive ability, having been limited by the Senate in strictly an advisory role on the matter, and though Civil Defense had repeatedly warned about the group's existence and a major gap in government oversight, the Senate ignored it.

The Regulation Gap

In Civil Defense's Operation Adder report, the agency outlined that there was a major gap in regulations. The process from getting resources to implants to installing them was outlined in the report in phases:

PHASE 1 Resources -> PHASE 2 Manufacturing -> PHASE 3 Programming -> PHASE 4 Testing -> PHASE 5 Certification -> PHASE 6 Sale -> PHASE 7 Installment

Civil Defense pointed out that the government didn't get involved in the matter insofar as regulating the products until the certification phase. This meant that manufacturing practises, programming, and the testing phase were all conducted by the company, and it was the company's duty to provide information to the Department of Commerce that fulfilled their requirements. But the DoC never investigated these results, and simply approved certifications.

This fatal gap in oversight allowed the Regency to get involved in the process where they were able to install trojan programs that would lie dormant on implants as it went through the rest of the phases. When the bioware hit the certification phase, the most important shield to protect consumers, that approval deemed the implant and everything in that implant safe. The Laconophage trojan was thus certified as a safe program. So when users plugged into networks or services after installing one of these infected bioware implants, the security had the Laconophage on its list of trusted software and thus didn't flag it. All the Regency had to do was wait. The Laconophage would have managed to use people as a sort of botnet to spread, and then create back-channels that gave the group access. On Black Thursday, the instructions were sent out, activating the trojan and crippling the city's infrastructure.

Civil Defense noted that regulatory laws did exist on the earlier phases of production for such products, but these were repealed on behalf of the Directorate, one of the parties making up the Camera's coalition. The Directorate composes of senators who have ties or directly own corporations, with some being tied to the three manufacturing firms that produced these bioware products. The Senate had voted to repeal the legislation in an effort to save corporations money, opening the door for faulty products.

According to the Adder Report, Civil Defense discovered that so-called trashware, software or pieces of software/programs that were never removed or no longer served a purpose because of redesigns were left in bioware implants. These bits of fragmented code could cause errors and even failures of the implant that could harm or kill the user. Civil Defense suspects that the recent deaths associated with the cybervirus may have been a cascade of problems with the implants between the cybervirus and these bits of code which would not have been certified had regulations remained.

Camera Under Siege

Millions have taken to the streets demanding the Senate resign. State Guard and law enforcement have attempted to block crowds, but several walled checkpoints were quickly breached by protestors as they threw rocks and fired fireworks at authorities. Tear gas was deployed against the crowds and a number of arrests have been made but the authorities are spread too thin to handle the situation. In the Fujita District, District Hall was stormed by crowds who fought with law enforcement inside. Protestors were repelled twice before finally taking the building.

In response, other factions in the Senate have called for the Camera and Directorate to resign. The pressure is now mounting on the government over its options. The Camera called for a snap meeting of the executive council which has caused concern.




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URGENT: SECURITY ALERT
THIS IS AN EMERGENCY BROADCAST FROM CIVIL DEFENSE


By order of Her Majesty, Empress Agatha IV, Civil Defense has been instructed to provide the following information:

Attention to all citizens. Citizens are advised to shelter in place. At 1200 MST, Executive Council of the Senate convened under request by the Camera to circumvent imperial authority. This unlawful request was to take charge of military forces rightfully under Her Majesty's control in an attempt to quell unrest in Laconia. At 1215 MST, Her Majesty exercised her royal prerogative in dissolving the Senate. In direct violation of Martian law, the Camera has refused to disband and called up their political arm, the Camerata, who have attempted to storm the Imperial Palace. A stand-off has begun at the Senate Chamberhall between Camerata and military forces.

At 1230, Her Majesty placed Laconia under Martial Law and is deploying MCN forces to Laconia. For public safety, citizens must shelter in place and not interfere.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:34 am

Civil Defense Update 1245

Alert: Shelter In Place
State Guard has been recalled by General Kernan amid request by HM.


Civil Defense Update 1247

Alert: Shelter In Place
Law Enforcement has been ordered by the military to stand down amid growing crowds. Checkpoints have been abandoned and left open as crowds converge on Republic Avenue and head towards the Chamberhall.


Civil Defense Update 1255

Alert: Shelter In Place
Camerata has engaged military forces in Republic Square around Chamberhall. Wounded reported.


Civil Defense Update 1300

Alert: Shelter In Place
Fire reported in Chamberhall as power and utilities are cut to the building. Camerata have been forced into the building and are firing from windows. Lethal force has been authorised by Her Majesty.


Civil Defense Update 1330

Alert: Shelter In Place
Military have set up barricades to halt crowds. Fire is spreading on upper floor of the Chamberhall. Military are moving in field artillery.


Civil Defense Update 1347

Alert: Shelter In Place
Field guns have been used on the structure. Camerata have attempted to fire into the crowds. Fire has engulfed all of the top floor. Wounded civilians reported.


Civil Defense Update 1409

Alert: Shelter In Place
Chamberhall roof has partially collapsed from blaze. Smoke is billowing from the seventh floor. Camerata have stopped firing after several salvos from the military's fieldguns.


Civil Defense Update 1437

Alert: Shelter In Place
Blaze has engulfed the top four floors. Former senators from the Secretariat, Sinistra, and Signoria factions have demanded the Camera surrender. No response.


Civil Defense Update 1517

Alert: Shelter In Place
Top floor has collapsed. Debris spotted falling from Chamberhall. Miltiary contuining to attempt to contact the Camera


Civil Defense Update 1603

Alert: Shelter In Place
White sheets seen flying from windows of Chamberhall. Fire has reached the middle floors. Face of the structure is coming down.


Civil Defense Update 1615

Alert: Shelter In Place
Camerata and Camera Senators are leaving building with hands up. Military is moving in with cheering crowds behind them. Senators in custody.


Civil Defense Update 1630

Alert: Shelter In Place
Senators and Camerata have been taken into trucks and escorted by military away. Chamberhall is completely engulfed. Military attempting to disperse public.


Civil Defense Update 1645

Alert: Press Blackout Lifted
No Further Updates At This Time.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:14 pm

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Chaos In Laconia After Black Thursday Crisis
Federal troops fired on the Chamberhall after the Camera failed to dissolve.



Laconia, Mars - A press blackout was issued midday allowing Civil Defense to post alerts as the situation in Laconia boiled over. Following Civil Defense's findings, the public took to the streets calling for the government to step down and overran police barricades. As the situation worsened, the Camera called the Executive Council of the Senate into session, where an attempt was made to take charge of military forces and use them against the growing demonstrations that were flooding city streets. General Kernan refused the Senate's orders and the Crown was notified of the unlawful act.

Forcing the Empress' hand, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Martian armed forces, HM Agatha IV signed a Crown Act dissolving the Senate. The first time in thirty years that the government was dissolved. While not a concerning move as government dissolution is generally a lawful act -- the Camera failed to disband. In a further act of defiance, the Camera called on its political arm, the Camerata and attempted to storm the Empress' Palace who was not on the premises at the time.

Palace security managed to repel the attempt and the military was called into action. According to Civil Defense, the rest of the Senate had disbanded without issue and gone home. The Camera took refuge in the Chamberhall and refused to leave, barricading the doors. The resulting stand-off was worsened by public crowds, which while problematic, remained behind military barricades. The Camerata later took refuge in the Chamberhall with the Camera's senators and began to open fire on military personnel.

The resulting exchange wounded nearly a dozen civilians, though none were seriously injured. General Kernan deployed two field guns on Unity Avenue and began to fire into the Chamberhall. A fire had started prior to the engagement and was quickly spreading along the top floors. It's unclear how the fire started, but the blaze and the incoming artillery fire was ramping up the pressure on the Camera. After four hours, the Camera and Camerata finally surrendered, flying white sheets from the windows and coming out of the building where they were promptly taken into custody by military forces.

Civil Defense has refused to comment where they were being taken but did state that the ordeal was now over. The last two hours was the military trying to disperse crowds as onlookers watched the Senate Chamberhall collapse in a ferocious blaze that had engulfed the entire structure. Former senators of the remaining factions applauded the military action and the resolution to the crisis, though many have noted that it'll be sometime before normalcy will be restored.

Interm Government Chair, Magistrate Alexandra Sierra gave a statement following the ordeal: ''Law prevailed today in keeping order. The nation is still reeling from a major crisis, and at its time of need, those that the public had entrusted their livelihoods to tried to take advantage of the situation for their own greed. Her Majesty has officially disbanded and barred the Camera from ever holding public office again for these violations and looks forward to welcoming a new Chancellor in the coming weeks.''

While unclear what charges Camera senators may face, treason may likely be one, which is a guaranteed death penalty. It'll also be the first time in Martian history anyone has received such a charge. Regardless, such cases will result in legal battles for months to come. For now, the remaining factions have a week to negotiate and try to form a new coalition before elections are held. Once a government has been established, a new Chancellor will be elected. The first agenda for the new government will likely be the Regency, and how to deal with this unknown threat, as well as going after the Directorate and corporations that helped cause the Black Thursday Crisis.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:58 am

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New Government Forms
A new government coalition forms to take hold of the Senate in the wake of the Black Thursday Crisis



Laconia, Mars - The streets are littered with trash and debris as a large clean-up operation is underway. Laconia has seen some of its worst rioting and upheaval in decades, but the Martian State seems unwilling to lie down and quit. In perhaps the biggest turn-around of the century, the three remaining government parties agreed to form a new coalition promising the public major reforms and dismantling three decades of Camera policies. Having lost the Chamberhall, the Senate has chosen to meet in the National Forum, an older legislative building that hasn't seen use for over 150 years when Laconia was still just a city-state.

There the newly formed Republican Coalition, composed of senators from the aristocratic Signoria, the democratic Secretariat, and the militarist Sinistra, voted for a new Chancellor. At 420-30, Senator Lady Karwen Docartaigh of the Signoria became the new Chancellor of the Conglomerate. The government now faces an uphill battle of regaining public trust and approval, and experts say that while the Black Thursday Crisis has damaged this trust, it has also given them the best opportunity to regain it.

According to political analyst Fredric Tarn, the Senate is likely going to make a show of the coming trials for the Camera senators and their Camerata political arm. Investigating the Regency will be another major boon to the government's popularity, especially as the nation works to repair flaws in its cyber infrastructure. Overall, the fall of the Camera signals the end of Martian authoritarian nationalism and perhaps a rise for greater government transparency and democratic leadership.

Chancellor Docartaigh's speech following the election promised a brighter future for the nation. The 30 year old Chancellor outlined a diplomatic strategy that'd involve repairing relations with Martian neighbours and bringing an end to the country's aggressive posturing. ''Mars is no longer that isolated city-state, or struggling republic from over a century ago. It's a galactic nation with dominions and colonies, and yet despite all this, we've yet to make meaningful connections where it matters most. Mars has always sought to do things alone and its own way, but what we need most are allies that have our best interests at heart. The Republic must survive,'' Docartaigh said.

Docartaigh also promised retribution against the Camera, ''For thirty years, this party [The Camera] has strangled the Martian citizenry, a grave and unforgivable act by itself. Martians aren't like other nations, our citizenry, our citizenship and being a part of Mars are what sets us apart. Any betrayal of that cannot go unpunished. And the Camera, in our dire time of need sought just that. We will pursue these people no matter what corner of the galaxy they try to hide in, and we will bring the full weight of the law to bear upon them,'' the Chancellor stated.

Docartaigh also announced that her first act will be pushing through an initiative to restore the Civil Defense's executive and investigative powers which were gutted under the Camera administration. ''The cyberattack that hit this country a week ago could have been prevented. Greedy practises, lack of oversight and the destruction of our failsafes prevented authorities from acting on vital information that could have saved us lives. Civil Defense will be restored to its former glory as an agency of the people, so that we may never have to fear of such an attack again. And we will find out more about this 'Regency', and they will answer for what they've done. No-one walks free with Martian blood on their hands,'' she added.

Chancellor Docartaigh promised to lift the Martial Law declaration after a week, giving the State Guard under General Kernan time to re-establish order and clean up the streets. She vowed not to use the force the Camera had committed to, and stated that the checkpoints would come down immediately. The Chancellor's speech was met with loud applause by the Senators as she left the stage. The coming weeks will be a test for the new government, and if it prevails, it may reign for decades to come.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:18 pm

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Elections Bring Change to Conglomerate
Government elections come to a close as the nation moves forward following the Black Thursday Crisis

Laconia, Mars -- Martian Senatorial elections have come to a close following the upheaval wrought upon the country during the Black Thursday Crisis. Temporary Chancellor Docartaigh handed over the reins to the newly elected Prime Minister Suzume Cora, who will oversee the new government body known as the Martian Forum.

Under the new 2177 Government Act, the Forum has inherited governing authority of all previous bureaucratic positions and powers of the Senate, Secretariat, and sub-assemblies by approval of the Empress. The new 'Suzume Administration' will have a number of major decisions in the coming weeks as the dust settles. Notably, Civil Defense and Military Intelligence have both started pushing for legislation authorising enforcement actions against the previous Van Allen administration and Camerata senators that have not been apprehended yet.

Furthermore, the Forum faces major legislative hurdles with the rising national debt, a slowing economy, refugees and the rise in human/android related violence. The Enforcement Act proposed by Suzume Cora during the election would suggest a greater crackdown on the violence following the crisis, and talks of refugee settlements around the country, both have which have drawn ire or applause among the assembly and public. Mars' Solarian Defense Plan has also been a highly controversial topic in the government, though it would seem the PM is unwilling to completely scrap the program.

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Postby Lady Scylla » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:01 am

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© Martian Conglomerate 2177 // © Kong Marslander 2177
Read Article in GalStan // Leer Artika en Lang Marslander


Veterans Aid Bill Debated in Forum
Seven years after the end of the Colonial Wars, the new administration debates a veterans aid programme.
Laconia, Mars (Laako, Mars) -- The Colonial Wars came to a close in 2170, ushering in an unstable but final peace after decades of conflict in the Martian frontier. Between the millions of refugees displaced by the fighting, economic upheaval in some territories, and the inability to adequately address veterans who returned from the war -- the Conglomerate has faced an unsettling legacy in its apparent victory.

The Colonial Wars covered a series of conflicts between the Martian military (Mainlanders) and a number of its extrasolar colonies around the galaxy (Coalition) from 2153 until 2170. The economic recession of the late 2140s caused a massive market contraction in colonial settlements dominated by corporate administrations who were now facing vast amounts of debt and skyrocketing maintenance costs for corporate colonies. In 2149 and 2150, colonial unemployment reached a twenty-year high as these corporations were forced to downsize or pack up and leave altogether.

The result was a power vacuum in many colonies who were now left to manage themselves without any means of support. Public order quickly broke down, and a large assembly of colonies petitioned the Secretariat in mid-2150 for help. The Secretariat convened with the Senate and negotiations began to try and find a solution to the problem. While negotiations continued to deadlock for several months, the situation worsened in colonies. Finally, a terrorist attack by a group calling themselves the Rta Coalition sparked war.

The Coalition's popularity spread throughout the colonies like a virus as frustrated locals took up arms against Martian rule. The terrorist attack carried out by the group at the start had turned mainland opinion against them, and the Senate declared a state of war the following year. Overall, the Colonial Wars were conducted in three phases. The Delta Campaign lasted the entirety of 2153-2170, whereas the War of the Princes lasted from 2164-2167 and the Nalar War lasted from 2163-2170.

The MCN was deployed around the galaxy to tackle growing rebellion sentiment and the Coalition who had assumed administrative authority in a number of sectors. The war came to a close after Rta, the last major stronghold of the Coalition, was destroyed in a tactical nuclear strike -- the only use of a Martian nuclear weapon in war. In total, 47,500 Martian casualties resulted from the conflict with 102,300 for the Colonies. An estimated 700,000 veterans and wounded returned from war to an entirely different nation.

The Van Allen Administration had taken power and the public became unsympathetic to veterans, especially those of foreign origin. Medical care for veterans following the war was also inadequate and suicides skyrocketed. Veterans had left for war with organic bodies and come back with prosthetics or augmentations needing therapy and care to deal with reintegrating into society but had no such support. Once more, the Van Allen Administration had reneged on a number of policies from the last administration which cut veteran pay by a sizeable amount as part of a major austerity programme.

Little money, no healthcare, PTSD, and a hostile public fed into suicides, homelessness, and crime-rates by troops returning home. The 2174 terrorist bombing of the Martian General Hospital in Laconia by SSgt. Bertrand Arnold, a three-tour veteran of the Colonial Wars, greatly increased resentment from the public. Arnold had been wounded during the war on his last tour and lost a large portion of his face and an arm, which had to be replaced. A series of shootings and violence throughout 2170-2175 only further highlighted the need for some sort of program to tackle veteran issues, but the Van Allen Administration refused citing costs.

The new bill on the Forum floor and the first test for the new administration is the Veteran's Aid Programme which would re-allocate resources and funding to a new department that'd handle healthcare and reintegration of veterans from the Colonial Wars and other conflicts into society. The proposed bill would free up £140 billion a year for the first three years until the 2180 budget where an expected increase to £300 billion would be negotiated.

The proposed Department of Veterans would be overseen by military and civilian officials and create extensive job and housing programmes as well as health insurance plans for troops. The money would come from a number of sources, notably the mothballing of the Martian dreadnought program which was initially extended under the previous administration, and from the Social Welfare Act and the Office of Housing and Urban Development. A proposed clause that's negotiable is also asking the Crown for an additional £3.7 billion to cover prosthetic and augmentation medical costs of applicants who had received them from 2170-2173 and £1.2 billion for those who had received them from 2173-2177.

Prime Minister Suzume Cora is one of the main backers of the new bill, and her party will be facing an uphill battle with the more conservative branches of the government with many seeing it as not only a test of her resolve but ability to reach compromise and effectively govern.

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Lady Scylla
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Lady Scylla » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:54 am

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© Martian Conglomerate 2177 // © Kong Marslander 2177
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Veterans Aid Bill Passes
Prime Minister Suzume Cora and her Martian Party secure support for VAB guaranteeing funding
Laconia, Mars (Laako, Mars) -- In a groundbreaking first for the new government, PM Suzume Cora managed to sway Forum conservatives in a diplomatic and polypartisan push to support the Veterans Aid Bill bringing an end, to what many see, as goverment mismanagement and mistreatment of veterans from past Martian conflicts. A number of Colonial Wars vets were permitted access to the Forum where they could present their testimony to the government over medical care and the struggles facing returning troops from combat.

Finally, after three hours of deliberation between the upper and lower chambers (Ministry and Assembly, respectively), a final vote was called. The result was 315-135. Speaker Gary Weslan who oversaw the proceedings called the vote to a crowd of cheering veterans, many of whom broke down into tears at the news. The PM is expected to sign the bill later today, where it'll then be sent off for royal assent by the Empress. Her Majesty has stated that she is willing to donate in excess of the requested amount from her estate -- £7 billion in total. Crown Minister and spokesperson Rickard Delant stated that, '' Her Majesty has applauded the measure, notably for the Prime Minister's capability and expertise in statecraft to bring a government together after a crisis. Her Majesty wishes all soldiers of the Conglomerate good tidings, and a better future not just for them but for Mars.''

After the bill is given Her Majesty's Royal Seal, it'll become law within the next thirty days. Candidates for the leadership of the newly formed Department of Veterans have already been compiled, and the Ministry is expected to vote on a number of positions including holding a set of hearings for the candidates next week. Until then, the DoV has been temporarily tasked under the Department of Health and the Ministry of Health. Further legislation will be required to establish a number of major programmes, but the Prime Minister is hopeful, calling it an '' important first step.''

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