StarWatch: Hidden Gems

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Time to set your sights on the stars and let me, Callie C, shine a light on everything you need to know about today’s hottest socialites and celebrities. Turns out they’re just like the rest of us, only attired in more fetching threads. Welcome to StarWatch!

Let’s begin with the hot topic currently setting spectrum aflame. Boyce Baudin is back! But don’t you dare call him “Babyface” anymore. The beloved comedic actor with the cherubic visage disappeared from the public eye for months, canceling several spectrum appearances without warning. Rumors swirled that the notoriously hard partying prankster might’ve finally allowed his cravings to control him. Now we know, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. But many of Boyce’s longtime fans are less than pleased with the real reason for his self-imposed sabbatical…

Turns out that Baudin couldn’t deny the call of the Calliope. The actor felt his signature look was keeping him from landing the leading roles he truly desired, so he became the latest celeb to get the BiotiCorp reboot. Bye bye rosy red cheeks and round chin; hello chiseled cheekbones and devastating jawline. I believe the desired outcome was “ruggedly handsome,” but to my eyes it’s more “rough around the edges.”

Initial reactions to Baudin’s new appearance on spectrum were savage. Some of Baudin’s most dedicated devotees spun wild theories to explain the change, including one group convinced he’s going to yell “Triggerfish!” at any moment. From what I’m hearing, the star may be wishing that the new look had been a prank. Sources close to the bygone babyface claim he’s despondent about the public’s reaction and has been debating restoring his classic countenance. Let this be a lesson to all those stars considering similar procedures; sometimes perfection has a price.

Now, let’s go to a “say it ain’t so” scenario. There’s a new headline crashing its way out of Oso that kid-vid heartthrob Sindre Alby has been arrested for an unprovoked attack on a civilian ship. Representatives for the former star insist that Alby’s intentions were honorable and that the incident is nothing more than an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Alby rose to fame for his role as the mysterious yet sensitive stock clerk in Open for Business, one of my fav vids growing up and still my go-to drunk rewatch. Of course, we all remember when, at the height of the show’s popularity, Alby quit the show and acting entirely to go fight for animal rights across the Empire. Be still my beating teen heart!

He’s been at it for a while now, making vids and leading protests to raise awareness, but I guess this time he might have taken the fight too far.

Sources say the handsome heartbreaker had taken up with a watchdog group dedicated to staking out the Oso system and scanning ships to ensure Osoians aren’t being smuggled out. When Alby became convinced a vessel travelling well off the system’s normal shipping lanes was smuggling the protected creatures, he reported it to the local authorities. Though he was explicitly told not to engage, Alby got nervous when the ship’s quantum drive began to spool and decided to blow their main thrusters to bits. When the authorities finally arrived at the scene and boarded, guess what they found? Nothing illegal! Not a single cute Osoian! Nothing! They arrested Alby and the rest of the activists on the spot for attacking a civilian vessel.

Sure, Alby didn’t follow proper procedures, and the family aboard the ship suffered some injuries, but no one died. The former actor has promised to replace the damaged ship and pay all medical costs, but he’s still facing serious charges. Are you kidding? If you ask me, the ‘verse needs more valiant individuals like Alby who are dedicated to the greater good.

Fans of the former star have already started a “Free Alby” campaign to advocate for his release. I’ve pledged my support and so should you, so Alby can go free… and maybe star in the Open for Business reboot.

Enough with all this serious stuff. It’s time to have some fun!

It takes only one look at me to see that fashion is a passion. I’m not afraid to admit that the longest and most important relationship in my life is with a pair of Venti Penrose suede pumps. For me, it’s an expression of individuality and a way to stand out from the crowd.

That’s why, when I’m not scooping scandals, I’m scouring spectrum for all the hottest trends. To help me assess the latest looks, I’m joined again by my fab friend and fashionista, Nisco Hobbins.

Nisco Hobbins: Thank you, Calcee. I love being here almost, almost as much as I love OpalSky’s new line.

Stop it. Didn’t you call last year’s fall look, “chintzy casual clothes for those too rich to shop at Casaba?”

Nisco Hobbins: In my defense, I’m not paid to pull punches. My job is to form fashion opinions based on my gut reaction and years of experience. Expressing honest, cutting comments is what got my butt a spot on this show, you know.

And won your way into my heart… which I’m now reconsidering.

Nisco Hobbins: How dare you?

I just don’t understand how adding stuff like a subtle paw print pattern to the same boring and basic clothes suddenly converted you?

Nisco Hobbins: What? I can’t change my mind?

Only if you back it up by wearing OpalSky’s new line the next time you’re on the show.

Nisco Hobbins: Done and done.

Before I reconsider ever asking Nisco back on the show, let’s talk about what I think is the hottest new trend… gems, gems, and more gems.

Nisco Hobbins: Are you talking about those new Laren’zo designed dresses?

So amazing, aren’t they?

Nisco Hobbins: I almost don’t even know what to think.

This boldly beautiful new look from Republic of One features gems sewn into the seams around the peekaboo panels. It provides this mesmerizing sparkle and an eye-catching pop of color that is incredible.

Nisco Hobbins: It’s ostentatious. It’s shocking. And I love every damn thing about it.

The fashion house is even pitching these dresses as a potential heirloom quality asset. So, if you like keeping a little physical wealth around, a dress encrusted with gems isn’t a bad option.

Nisco Hobbins: So true, ‘cause from what I heard, these handcrafted pieces are mondo expensivo. I’m already debating which organ to sell so I can afford one.

You heard about what they had to do to make their first run, right?

Nisco Hobbins: No, what?

Republic hired a bunch of independent miners to hunt down exactly the stones they needed.

Nisco Hobbins: Big thanks to all those out there making this ‘verse a more beautiful place! You did your part for the greater good.

Now, all I need is someone to send me one to wear on the show. Wink, wink.

Nisco Hobbins: Winking doesn’t work that way.

Guess we’ll see.

Nisco Hobbins: Honey, trust me, Laren’zo is not watching this show.

Stop crushing my spirit, or I’ll have Ravi mute your mic.

Nisco Hobbins: Love you, Laren’zo! Your new line embraces the entire Republic aesthetic while also giving it an intriguing new spin. Just like what OpalSky did.

What’s going on here? Are you getting paid by the plug?

Nisco Hobbins: Can I be honest?

That’s a loaded question.

Nisco Hobbins: I hate OpalSky’s new line. I just wanted to have a little fun. Please don’t make me wear their clothes on your show.

Oh! You are so bad! We might have some Opal lying around here that I should make you wear for the second half of this segment.

Nisco Hobbins: You wouldn’t.

Better keep your eyes here, watchers. There’s more StarWatch coming up after this quick break.


Portfolio: Casse Aerospace

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.3.

While Casse Aerospace bears the name of an engineering legend, the company itself has faded from memory for all but the most dedicated ship enthusiasts. Or at least that was the case for over a century until Anvil Aerospace resurrected one of Casse’s designs and alongside it, interest in the man himself and the ships he built.

An Edleson Design Institute Hall of Fame inductee in 2902, Leonard Casse has earned a place in the annals of history as one of the top spacecraft visionaries of the Messer Era. While the general populace may wind up considering his creation of the Hurricane fighter the most enduring part of his legacy, his effect on the industry overall is not limited to that one design. Cited by ship design luminaries such as J. Harris Arnold, Silas Koerner, and Jules Parliegh as a prime source of inspiration, Casse’s influence can be seen in many spacecraft being flown today. From the humble RSI Aurora to the mighty Anvil Hornet, several of the Empire’s most popular vehicles can trace their lineage to Casse’s unique vision.

Taking Off

Hired fresh out of university, Casse began his career as a junior aerospace engineer for RSI in 2587, securing himself a position on the Starbright transport team. This simple and functional ship, often referred to as the Aurora’s spiritual predecessor, had been redesigned for the 2590 model year release and was about to go into full production. Assigned to review the machining specs for the ventral hull piece before the manufacturing run began, Casse noticed that the updated nozzle placement, while adding fuel efficiency, was going to cause potentially dangerous additional stresses to the ship’s frame. He promptly reported his findings to the Starbright’s lead designer, only to be told that the effect was negligible and that he should trust the more experienced members of the team.

Unsatisfied with that result, Casse took his report directly to the head of the company, CEO Thessaly Vanowen. Impressed with the young engineer, Vanowen ordered a separate independent team to audit the Starbright’s testing results. Two weeks later, the project was completely halted for a total rework of the internal struts. The 2590 Starbright would now be released as the 2591, with Casse promoted to a full engineer on the team.

His rise after that was rapid. In 2595 Casse was named lead designer for the 2600 Starbright. RSI saw the new century as the perfect time to relaunch the Starbright and was hoping that Casse would be the ideal candidate to revitalize the aging ship line. He did not disappoint. Rebuilt from the ground up, the 2600 Starbright was praised for its innovative entry system and all-new custom IFCS that integrated flawlessly with the ship’s thrusters for unmatched responsiveness. What was previously thought of as “just another transport” became elevated to “a flying experience that everyone should have the pleasure of enjoying.” Even today, centuries later, collectors still covet the 2600 Starbright for their personal fleets. Perhaps what makes it so valued though, even beyond its quality, is that it would be the only ship Casse designed for RSI.

A New Way to Fly

As soon as the assembly line began rolling out the ship he had labored on for close to four years, Casse announced at the beginning of 2599 that he would be leaving to start his own company. According to later biographers, Casse described his time at RSI as a constant struggle. From that first instance when his suggestions were passed over due to his junior status, he felt that good design was too often sacrificed in order to placate a hierarchical organization trying to justify its own worth. “As soon as you have a ship manufacturing company where almost half the people who work there have nothing to do with manufacturing ships, you’re going to have problems,” he would state in a later interview. He swore that the company he was building, Casse Aerospace, would be different. He would only hire a small team of people whom he could trust to do quality work at the standards he demanded, and then he would leave them to do it. Everyone’s opinion would have equal weight, with all final decisions left to himself. It was unorthodox for ship manufacturing, but under the strong vision and guidance of Casse, the flat organization style worked.

It was 2604 when Casse Aerospace released its first ship, the limited-run Cosmo Sloop. A leisure craft with a focus on ease of use, the hull premiered the open circle signet and curved wings that Casse would use on all his future designs. The reviews of this cutting-edge craft were universally positive, but unfortunately the timing of the ship’s release would prove to be its undoing.

The Second Tevarin War had begun the year prior and with enemy forces pushing their way through Humanity’s defenses, the personal leisure craft market bottomed out. With all their fortunes riding on sales of the Cosmo, Casse Aerospace found themselves struggling to keep their fledgling company afloat and decided that the best course of action was to join the war effort.

Calm Before the Storm

The Tevarin fleet had undergone significant tech upgrades during their exodus, and the UEE Naval forces were having a difficult time overcoming the new phalanx shields. In 2605, Navy officials called upon the Empire’s ship manufacturers for a solution. Though he had never worked on a combat ship before, Casse knew that the credits such a lucrative contract would bring could save his company, and so he set about designing the solution to Humanity’s current problems.

Analyzing battle footage of Naval forces engaging the Tevarin led Casse to the conclusion that trying to overwhelm the Phalanx shields was a losing proposition. The bulk of damage that the Navy was able to inflict occurred when a Tevarin was caught off guard. The goal of his design would be to increase the frequency with which those opportunities would occur and maximize the damage inflicted during them. To help his ship achieve this goal, he borrowed a page from the enemy’s playbook. If the Tevarin were operating in teams of two, one pilot and one shield operator, his ship could also be manned by a team, a pilot and a turret gunner. The design he submitted to the Navy stood in sharp contrast to those submitted by industry leaders like Aegis, and it surprised many when the Navy granted a contract to the unusual contender. Casse Aerospace immediately began work on what would become the Hurricane.

Launched late in 2607, the Casse Hurricane suffered some setbacks during the testing phase. Though pilots liked the power-to-weight ratio and the extra punch its quad-turret offered, the high degree of coordination needed between the pilot and gunner had a very steep learning curve. Because of this, the Hurricane didn’t enter active combat until 2609. While they were used to devastating effect in a few instrumental actions, the war ended shortly after their deployment in 2610.

Trying to capitalize on the success of the Hurricane, Casse Aerospace used the goodwill they had garnered to win a contract designing a long-range patrol ship suited to guard the growing Xi’an front. However, before that ship could be finished, Leonard Casse tragically passed away in 2615 after being involved in a deadly in-atmosphere collision. Reeling from the loss of their founder and leader, Casse Aerospace attempted to finish the project, but without Casse’s personal involvement, military officials lost confidence and pulled the plug.

Surviving off continuing Hurricane sales, Casse Aerospace attempted to return to their roots and release an updated Cosmo but again, without Casse behind the project, it was not a commercial success. Things were looking dire for the company, and when the Navy announced the Hurricane would be retired from active duty, it signaled the end. The market was soon flush with surplus Hurricanes and any remaining new sales dried up. With little options remaining, the board sold the company to an investment firm. From there it passed hands several times before falling into receivership and becoming nothing more than a footnote of history for the next century.

The Next Generation

When J. Harris Arnold was in school, he was obsessed with the works of Leonard Casse. To him, the mostly forgotten engineer represented everything he loved about ship design. When he eventually started his own ship manufacturing company, Arnold drew heavy inspiration from Casse’s business model and ships for his own designs, utilizing such signature elements as the curved wings and open circle signet. The similarities were such that Arnold and his fledgling company, Anvil Aerospace, was sued by the holding firm who had bought the rights to Casse’s designs. Arnold decided to settle the case by purchasing all of Casse Aerospace’s portfolio himself. Now the owner of Casse’s legacy, Arnold sought an opportunity to put the company’s original designs to use, but one didn’t present itself for close to seventy years.

The UEE was suffering as Vanduul attacks in Caliban grew in frequency in a manner similar to the ones that led to the fall of Virgil and Tiber. Eager to turn their efforts around, the Navy brass were looking for a new ship that would enable their pilots to cut engagement times down. Their theory was that the faster a Vanduul fighter could be taken out, the less opportunity it would have to cause Human casualties. Anvil provided the solution in the form of a resurrected Hurricane. The updated design still bore all the hallmarks of Casse’s original, but with the addition of Anvil’s proven conflict expertise. The result was a game changer for the war effort, and in 2878 a new generation of Navy pilots began to use the Hurricane to devastating effect.

Today, Casse and the company he built have finally taken their proper place in history books, thanks to the efforts of Arnold and others who sought to keep their memory alive. While he may have only designed three ships in his lifetime, Leonard Casse’s contributions extend well beyond what he left behind in the shipyard, as he has inspired countless numbers to see the universe a little bit differently. The plaque honoring him in the Edleson Design Institute Hall of Fame cites a fitting Casse quotation, “Good design solves a problem, bad design creates new ones.”


Galactic Guide: Kallis System

This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.2.

A Star Is Born

A whirling mass of potential, the recently discovered Kallis system has excited scientists and researchers the Empire over by offering them a rare opportunity: to witness the formation of a stellar system first hand.

Kallis was first visited in 2921 through its jump point connection with Oso, and initial ICC scans of the system revealed a G-class main sequence star anchoring nine protoplanets in various stages of development. Officially, the system’s discovery is credited to OB Station Chimera, the main research facility in Oso, but many still persist that it should be rightly attributed to former PFC Gabby Rifon.

Part of the Army security force detailed under the Fair Chance Act to protect Oso II from poachers, smugglers, and other trespassers, Rifon served as a long-range scan technician tasked with sweeping the system for errant ships. According to later interviews, Gabby was often “bored as hell” looking for ships hours at a time. Instead she would shrug off her duties and adjust the scan station to search for spatial anomalies. It was during one such unauthorized session that Gabby excitedly noted faint indications of a jump point. Informing her commanding officer of the discovery brought to light the fact that Gabby had been “wasting” hours during her shift. A week before the first ship would traverse the Oso-Kallis jump point, Gabby was dishonorably discharged for improper use of Army resources.

A Second Chance

Almost immediately, it was clear that Kallis (meaning “beloved” in a Martian dialect) was a system to be cherished. Once again, Humanity was getting a chance to witness the birth of a solar system firsthand, and scientists around the Empire pledged to not let the opportunity be squandered as it had been in Gurzil.

When Gurzil, a system still in its accretion phase, was discovered in 2539, scientific access was cut short due to security concerns. Upon the arrival of Xi’an ships in 2542, Gurzil was drafted into the UPE’s recently created Perry Line and set aside to protect Humanity’s borders. For the next several centuries, the system was off-limits to everyone but military forces.

Upon the dissolution of the Perry Line, the scientific community hoped that Gurzil would fall under the protection of the Fair Chance Act. However, various industries lobbied that centuries of military intervention had already damaged the system past its original scientific value and that it would better serve the credit-strapped Empire harvested of its valuable resources. In the end, the Senate voted against applying the Fair Chance Act to Gurzil and decided to allow both research and restricted mining in the system.

The scientific community was strongly motivated to make Kallis a different story.

A Front Row Seat

Within a month of the first scan report from Kallis being released, a bill was introduced on the Senate floor to place the system under the protection of the Fair Chance Act and, this time around, thanks to the pristine status of the system as well as a much more favorable Transitionalist-controlled chamber, the vote passed. The system at once became off-limits to commercial development and general traffic. From that point on, Kallis would be a sanctuary for research and discovery.

Under the guidance of a joint Army and Imperial Science and Technology Foundation governing body, the past two decades have already greatly expanded our knowledge and understanding of the universe around us. Undoubtedly, this is just the start of a trend that will continue for decades to come as research continues in Kallis around the clock and new generations of scientists eagerly await their turn to study nature’s mysteries first hand.

Kallis I

A loose fusion of recently merged planetary embryos, this small developing protoplanet has an aggressively eccentric orbit that has many researchers speculating whether it will break apart before it can establish itself.

Kallis Belt Alpha

As the gravity wakes from the nearby forming worlds tug at this dense orbiting collection of planetesimal, frequent collisions can cause chaotic motion and hazardous travel conditions anywhere nearby.

Kallis II & III

These two rocky terrestrial worlds are currently sharing an orbit, but it is estimated that one of the worlds will eventually pull in enough mass from the surrounding asteroid belts to “win the race” and subsume its sibling.

Kallis Belt Beta

A swirling mass of asteroids and dust grains, this belt is composed of materials with high melting points. Although there is enough mass here to compose three to five planets, orbital resonance with the surrounding worlds has prevented this from happening yet.

Kallis IV, V, VI

These three terrestrial worlds hold special interest for researchers as they have the greatest chance for the potential to one day support life. Kallis IV in particular has a striking resemblance to what many believe Earth must have looked like in its infancy. With active volcanoes possibly forming an atmosphere, researchers are looking into creating monitoring methods capable of lasting the lifetimes it will take to see it form. While Kallis V may not currently have any potential for developing an atmosphere, the swirl of debris orbiting its rocky surface indicates that it may soon have a series of moons to call its own. The least developed of the three, Kallis VI has a surface entirely composed of molten rock, giving it a planetary glow.

OB Station Gryphon

Located near the Kallis-Oso jump point, OB Station Gryphon was sealed late in 2922 and has served as the main operational hub for the entire system ever since. In order to preserve the living experiment that is Kallis and its protoplanets, construction throughout the rest of the system has been extremely limited. While there are small observation posts and scan satellites positioned throughout the system, if you are looking to refuel or restock, Gryphon is your only choice. All deliveries to the system are also routed through the station to ensure that the strict Fair Chance Act protocols are followed.

Despites the system’s focus on serious scholastic pursuits, it has begun to gain notoriety for the unique community that has developed over the years. Between the Army personnel stationed here to guard the system and the young grad students conducting research, the median age of the system’s small population is well under thirty. It is no wonder that the habitation decks can get a bit raucous as researchers (looking to blow off steam after days spent alone in remote obervational outposts) and soldiers (with extra energy after long shifts spent patrolling for trespassers) meet for drinks and heated debates. Toss into the mix a growing number of philosophers and spiritualists who have come seeking deeper truths about the universe’s origins, and you can see why OB Station Gryphon is a destination that’s not quite like anywhere else in the Empire.

Kallis VII & VIII

Located out beyond Kallis’ frost line, the system’s two giants formed from volatile icy compounds and captured hydrogen and helium. Kallis VII has drawn its fair share of exoclimatologists interested in studying its burgeoning storm systems, while Kallis VIII has proven exciting for those seeking to construct a more complete model regarding dynamics and chemistry in ice giant atmospheres.

Kallis IX

A small planetesimal in distant orbit around the sun, Kallis IX has the distinction of being the only celestial body in the system whose surface has been marred by orbital mining lasers, thanks to a joint UEE project with mining conglomerate Shubin Interstellar’s research department seeking to better understand this dwarf planet’s role in the system’s formation.


All ships arriving in-system are expected to first stop at OB Station Gryphon to officially register. Traveling anywhere without having acquired the proper clearance is a sure way to draw the ire of the Army pilots on patrol here.


“I learned a ton during my two years in Kallis. Unfortunately, I forgot most of it thanks to my two years visiting Gryphon.”

– Dr. Wahid Allimon, Professor of Geology, University of Rhetor, 2945

“Even though my mom didn’t get the credit she deserved for discovering the system, there is some small consolation in that they named that station after her. Sure, if you ask they’ll say it’s named for one of those lion-bird things, but come on, it’s pretty clear that the scientists in charge were sticking it to those Army guys when they chose the name.”

– Alice Thomas, daughter of Gabby Rifon, 2943


Congress Now: Crusader Cares

Crusader Cares

UEE Congress [398]


2949-03-19 SET

Session AutoScript

Proofed and Admitted — Assistant Archivist Burg (#748392BDF)

2949-03-19_13:36 – Session Resumes

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): The Senate Committee on the Interior is back in session. Everyone, quiet down please.

< gavel bang >

Joining us now is Crusader Industries CEO, Kelly Caplan, who I’m told has prepared a statement. You may proceed.

KELLY CAPLAN: Thank you, Senator Isher. And thanks to the entire committee for inviting me to discuss the successful measures Crusader has taken to ensure the safety and security of those entering its sovereign space.

There’s no denying that simultaneously overseeing the operations of an entire planet, its three moons, and a massive aerospace corporation is a monumental task. Since my first appearance before this committee, Crusader Industries have completed an exhaustive review of our security protocols, procedures, and personnel. Anyone found responsible or complicit in the reporting of inaccurate crime stats has been dismissed or reassigned. This includes our former head of security, who has since been replaced with Dabir Steinfeld, the highly decorated former Advocacy section chief of Terra. We’re confident that this decisive action has cleared the bad actors from our organization and has returned respectability and responsibility to Crusader’s security services.

Additionally, we’ve increased security spending and introduced the “Crusader Cares” initiative, which has substantially expanded the number of active private security contractors partnered with us. These measures, combined with more robust deep space scanning operations, have improved our data collection process and shed further light on the safety of Crusader’s sovereign space. The crime stats I submit to you today demonstrate the positive effect these initiatives have had.

Considering the extensive progress made over the last fifteen months, I would humbly ask you to make Crusader’s future appearances before this committee voluntary instead of mandatory. I believe that we have demonstrated a dedication to changing our corporate culture and an ability to quickly address and correct previous issues. I believe the changes mentioned above, and my extensive cooperation with this committee, warrant the normalization of Crusader’s oversight status to the standards currently applied to the other corporate-owned planets in the Stanton system.

Thank you again for having me here today and considering my request. I’m now prepared to answer any questions you may have about Crusader’s most recent security report.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): Thank you, Ms. Caplan. I’m scanning the report now and the crime stats appear to be quite thorough.

KELLY CAPLAN: Thank you, Senator Isher.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): That said, I do wish they had been delivered to us prior to this hearing, so I could have given them more than a cursory glance before asking you about them.

KELLY CAPLAN: I accept responsibility for that, Senator. In an effort to provide the committee with the most up-to-date data, I requested that yesterday’s numbers be included in this report. Updating it took longer than expected.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): Since we have limited time today, I will stop wasting it and open the floor to questions. Senator Harren, you may proceed.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Thank you, Chairperson Isher. And thank you Ms. Caplan for once again gracing us with your presence. Most people in your position would simply send their head of security to face questions from this committee. I consider your appearance today, and in all the previous hearings, as emblematic of Crusader’s commitment to rectifying these issues.

KELLY CAPLAN: Thank you, Senator Harren. You don’t remain a CEO for 43 years by avoiding your responsibilities.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Now, regarding the recent report, it says here that crime around Crusader occurs at a rate comparable to the other planets in the Stanton system. Am I reading that right?

KELLY CAPLAN: Yes, Senator, you are. Headlines proclaiming that “crime is on the rise” are a bit misleading. We’ve updated and refined our data collection protocols to more accurately track what’s occurring. I believe, as well as many experts, that the increase in reported incidents merely reflects an increase in reporting and not an actual increase in crime rate.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): So you’re telling me that after fifteen months of intense scrutiny by the committee, Crusader has improved its data collection process to show that its protecting its planet as well as most other governing bodies?

KELLY CAPLAN: The comparison made in the report specifically refers to the other planets in Stanton. Basically, despite all the noise on spectrum over the last year, Crusader is statistically no more dangerous than any other world in the system.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): It’s quite clear to me that Ms. Caplan has aptly steered Crusader through this unfortunate incident and installed new policies to ensure it won’t happen again. With that in mind, I believe that continued oversight by this committee, including these mandatory hearing, is unnecessary from here forward.

That’s why I’m requesting that this committee vote to normalize the oversight of Crusader to bring it back in line with the other planets in the system.

SENATOR OCTAVIA BEATE (U – Asura – Ferron Sys): I second the motion.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Chairperson Isher, can we proceed with a vote on this issue?

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Wait a minute. Voting to relinquish that oversight before thoroughly questioning Ms. Caplan today is absurd.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Senator Albervar, this is Ms. Caplan’s fourth appearance before this committee within the last 15 months. She’s answered every question asked of her, no matter how hostile, and supplied extensive documentation tracking Crusader’s progress. To continue looking over her shoulder feels like a waste of the government’s time and resources.

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): And you came to that conclusion based on the report distributed to us only moments ago?

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Ms. Caplan, do you stand by the numbers presented today?

KELLY CAPLAN: I can personally attest to the accuracy of those numbers, as can the two independent analytics agencies hired to verify them.

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Need I remind this committee that Crusader is here because it was caught falsifying crime statistics? To blindly accept the report given to us moments before this session would be a grave dereliction of duty.

For years, Crusader systematically and knowingly lied about the dangers of entering its sovereign space. These inflated safety rankings allowed it to attract more tourists and keep security spending low.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): And I would like to remind you that the company has accepted full responsibility for its actions, paid all fines levied against it, and significantly increased spending on its security forces and private contractors. Aren’t these the outcomes this committee set out to achieve?

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Only if the numbers given to us are accurate. If you recall, my proposal to send UEE assessors to independently gather data was rejected by this committee last year.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Yes, because it would’ve been a complete waste of taxpayer credits when Crusader is already providing us all the raw data.

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Again, trusting the data supplied to us by a company that admitted to falsifying information is absolutely insane. It’s not oversight, it’s acquiescence. As is allowing these corporations to masquerade as government bodies in exchange for money.

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): Look, Senator, I understand that being seen on the spectrum standing up to a large corporation like Crusader is politically advantageous to you, but that’s no reas—

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Excuse me, sir. How dare you suggest—

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): < gavel bang > That’s enough you two. Senator Harren’s motion to return to the normal oversight of Crusader will be voted on at the conclusion of today’s session.

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Thank you, Chairperson Isher.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): Senator Harren, do you have any further questions for Ms. Caplan?

SENATOR CLAY HARREN (U – Kampos – Ellis Sys): I do not.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): Very well. Does anyone else have questions for Mrs. Caplan? Senator Albervar, you may proceed.

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): Thank you, Chairperson Isher. Ms. Caplan, what can you tell me about Jumptown?

< muffled speaking >

KELLY CAPLAN: I’m sorry Senator, could you repeat the question?

SENATOR KELOS ALBERVAR (T – Terra – Terra Sys): This report appears to claim that Crusader has become better at tracking crime within its sovereign space. Yet, my staff on Sol were able to uncover repeated criminal activity at a location known colloquially as Jumptown on the Crusader-controlled moon of Yela.

My question is, are you familiar with the location, and why has nothing been done about the criminal activity there?

KELLY CAPLAN: < muffled speaking > Chairperson Isher, I’d like to request a five minute recess to use the facilities. Could I also get a refill on my water? As you can see, I’ve drank all of it already.

SENATOR YANN ISHER (C – Angeli – Croshaw Sys): < gavel bang > Granted. Everyone, consider this a tight five. Once we’re back, we’ll proceed with Senator Albervar’s questions.



Marine One

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.2.

The Star Marine Community

Unless you’ve been living on the edge of the frontier, there’s no doubt that you’re at least familiar with Star Marine. InterDimension Software’s red-hot ground combat simulation game has been tearing up sim pods across the empire. Since its release, countless appearances have made James Romanov the go-to face of the ‘realism in gaming’ debate, while technical mastermind James Vandyke has been declared the ‘Next Gaming God’ by Hitbox magazine. While the release has had its fair share of detractors, with complaints ranging from ethical questions about whether it’s appropriate to let players assume the role of outlaws in the Walzer Massacre to a recent spate of illegal hacks, the game has still managed to garner an impressively loyal community who’ve embraced Star Marine, flaws and all.

The group as a whole is hard to strictly quantify: there is no stereotypical Star Marine fan. Players, who refer to themselves as “Starheads,” range from UEE veterans lured by the incredible attention to detail to successful politicians and even to the Empire’s elite — businessman Silas Koerner keeps a sim pod in his office for regular Star Marine breaks. It seems that fans of all ages, genders, and species have found something that speaks to them in the historically-grounded battles and shoot-outs the game portrays.

Starhead Central

The heart of Star Marine community discussion takes place at a dedicated spectrum hub known as MARINE ONE. The core of the hub is a news and broadcast arena which collates every conceivable piece of Star Marine news for the waiting public. From plans for future updates to previews of new game assets in the process of creation and even outright gossip about the game’s developers, MARINE ONE has become the one-stop spectrum spot for all things Star Marine. Hundreds of thousands of Star Marine players can also be found casting their gameplay at any given time, with the most popular being traded around the Empire. Big name streamers like GoodTimeDuke and MARSHMALLOW run casts that have become appointment viewing, attracting sponsors and dedicated fanatics of their own.

Then, there’s the Forge. Managed by a team of die-hard ultrafans, this Marine One forum is a wild, ever-expanding gyre of discussion, speculation, argument, incomprehensible in-jokes, and more. Generally good-natured despite the kilometer-a-minute movement of the conversations, the group is known to fixate on the smallest aspects of the Star Marine experience in a big way. From generating lengthy backstories for each of the game’s corpses to forming what can only be described as an unlikely cult around a cola dispenser prop created for the game, the one word that best summarizes the group is passionate.

Art is also popular form of expression. Star Marine fans have turned their talents to everything from traditional pen-and-ink sketches (an ongoing comic titled Jaeger is the best known) to the creation of mods or minigames that celebrate the smallest details of the Star Marine world. Countless talented artists carefully pose in-game ‘feel shots’ to create their own, increasingly elaborate scenes. In some cases, dozens of players might work together for hours posing not only their characters in particular positions but also rearranging set pieces, props, and lights to improve a composition.

That said, Star Marine players are never afraid to go toe-to-toe with the development team at InterDimension, occasionally engaging developers in debates and often protesting the appearance of bugs and (most especially) perceived inaccuracies in the battlefield simulation. One notable initiative saw players from locations around the UEE shipping empty battery cartridges to InterDimension’s head office as protest for what they saw as an inaccurate feel following a weapons pass.

First time visitors are advised to interact with the community via the marked ‘Landing Craft’ welcome area. While the community is extremely accepting, it is also known for the fact that regular users speak something of an alien language. Recently-created hub accounts should also be on the lookout for grifters who will sometimes attempt to trick new Marines into giving away their weapons, armor, and REC.

Electronic Access Invitational

With the widespread appeal of competitive Star Marine matches, it was only a matter of time before the game went pro and joined the Electronic Access Invitational, one of the largest sim competitions operating in the Empire. The EAI brought together leading players from around the ’verse to compete in the inaugural Star Marine competition in 2946. While the event had always been popular among sim-enthusiasts, the event’s organizers considerably underestimated the public’s reaction to the introduction of Star Marine. Administrators at the EAI were flooded with fans who complained that their favorite players weren’t invited. The event, held at the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo, proved that even EAI’s best laid plans could fall short as record-breaking crowds showed up to watch the matchups. Lines formed outside the venue the night before the event, forcing them to hastily organize a thousand more seats to cover the overflow.

InterDimension even got into the act by supporting this and other tournaments; Romanov famously awarded his Lynx rover to the first player who was able to beat him in a live competition. Based on the dynamic turnout, it’s a natural assumption that Star Marine will return to the competition next year and if today’s fans are any indication, they’ll show up in droves to support it.


Galactic Guide: Hadur System (Hui sen Yā’mon)

This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.1.

After centuries of cold war and tense diplomacy with the Xi’an empire, there are few places where interspecies relations have thawed more than in the Yā’mon system. This former no man’s land has, in recent times, transformed into a symbol of cooperation and new hope for all who desire lasting peace between our species.

Humanity’s first view of the system came from Teesa Morrison’s flight footage as she traversed the Baker-Yā’mon jump point in 2531. What started as an exuberant accounting of her initial findings of a main sequence class F star, anchoring four planets, turned into sheer panic when she ran into a Xi’an military unit escorting a mining team to the belt. Familiar with the Xi’an from the press coverage of the Pallas incident the year prior, Morrison and her crew fled immediately. The Xi’an military ships followed closely behind, but did not open fire. Morrison later remarked that she believed the Xi’an were tracking them to try to learn where the Human ship had come from. While her crew debated the risk of giving away the location of a Human jump to potential enemies, in the end they decided to return to Baker to report their encounter as soon as possible.

Within a day of receiving the report, a Naval fleet moved into position to guard the jump point, but it was another fifteen days before the first Xi’an scout emerged into Human space. It is likely that war would have broken out then and there if not for the presence of numerous members of the press who had come to cover the situation after Morrison’s footage leaked to the news orgs. With the entire UPE watching, the Navy favored caution, and the Xi’an ship was allowed to leave.

Over the next several years, there were several cautious expeditions into the system from Baker. While there were still occasional run-ins with the Xi’an, it was clear that they had no permanent settlements in the system and it was surmised that they had only recently discovered it themselves. Due to the seemingly plentiful bounty of unclaimed resources, a few daring individuals and corporations rushed to begin mining the belt, but the prospect of civilians flying freely alongside alien ships was deemed a disaster waiting to happen.

In 2542, UPE High Naval Commander Jianna Perry proposed that all Xi’an-connected systems be placed under Navy control to provide a buffer to protect the rest of the UPE if and when their alien neighbors decided to attack. After much deliberation, the Tribunal approved the plan and the Perry Line was born. The system Morrison had discovered was renamed Hadur to bring it in line with the military’s gods of war designations for border systems (following the pattern started with Horus’s name). Corporations who had begun investing in the system were incensed and a drawn-out legal battle for reparations would plague the UPE until Ivar Messer took power and dismissed the suit.

A Fresh Start

For the century and a half that followed, all traffic in Hadur comprised a melange of military patrols, spy satellites, scan drones and mine layers as both sides sought to defend their respective empires along the Perry Line. Even though tensions continued to grow over the years as the Messers used xenophobic-fueled fear as a means of control, war never came. Finally in 2789, Senator Akari was able to strike a peace treaty with the ruler of the Xi’an, Emperor Kr.ē.

In the negotiations that followed after the Messer Regime’s eventual collapse, it was decided that the Perry Line systems would be evenly divided. Control of Hadur (then renmaed Yā’mon) was slated to be given to the Xi’an and on July 5th, 2793, the pact was signed, making that designation official.

Though peace had been declared, many believed that both sides viewed the truce as tenuous at best. As such, the Xi’an slated Yā’mon as a prison system where lawbreakers were forced to work hard labor in mines until their debts to society were paid. Yā’mon was not unique in this. Similar strategies were seen in all the Xi’an transitional systems: Indra housed a major shipping hub, Pallas was used for research, and Virtus was given to a crime syndicate. If war ever actually occurred, all four would suffer only minimal Xi’an casualties.

Then in 2942, in a surprise announcement after decades of the system seeing only minimal Human trade and traffic, ArcCorp revealed that they had procured a contract with the Xi’an government to assist in the terraforming of Yā’mon II and Yā’mon III. In the agreement, ArcCorp would be responsible for providing resources to the massive project, while the Xi’an would be overseeing operations of the technically complicated process. The decision has caused some to wonder why the Xi’an are relying on Human resources for the project instead of bringing in supplies from Ayr’Ka or Pallas. Though there has yet been no official answer, in the years since striking the deal, millions of tons of raw materials have been delivered through Baker, along with a significant and growing Human workforce. It is also not yet clear what usage for which the Xi’an will designate the worlds, as per their custom once the terraforming is complete. The rumor is that it will be a factory system, since ArcCorp has experience with that owing to their own planet being modeled on the Xi’an style.

The last few years have marked a boom time for Yā’mon. A myriad of stations have been built as a steady stream of transport ships enter and exit the system every day. From the recent large investment in infrastructure, to the expansive contract with ArcCorp, to even the introduction of a Human division in the famed Xi’an Koa e Ko’ia endurance race being held in Yā’mon, it seems that Emperor Kr.ē and his people are more and more looking at Humanity as a true ally.

Kuā’li (Yā’mon I)

A complex on the dark side of this tidally locked, rocky planet was rumored to house a max security labor camp, where the permanent night was said to have a placating effect on Xi’an interred here. It is believed that many of these prisoners have now been drafted to assist in some of the more dangerous tasks needed for the terraforming process.

Yethlūl y.ath’o (Yā’mon II) & Yethlūl s.yen’o (Yā’mon III)

Both terrestrial planets are currently undergoing terraforming through a joint effort by the Xi’an government and ArcCorp. While there is still some time before the planets will be habitable, there has been significant progress and just recently, the burgeoning atmosphere of Yā’mon III was flooded by a violet hued gas giving it a memorable appearance. The project has been deemed by those in the terraforming industry as an extremely complicated venture, and many financial analysts surmise that this close relationship with the Xi’an will give ArcCorp an advantage in the field for years to come.

Like other former Perry Line systems, an interesting blend of cultures has begun to develop on the stations in planetary orbit, where Human and Xi’an have started heavily interacting. Many race enthusiasts are expected to make the journey out to the main ArcCorp station above Yā’mon II to watch the upcoming Koa e Ko’ia as the pilots will be flying a difficult course that includes the tumultuous still-forming atmosphere.

Yā’mon Belt Alpha

Mined by forced labor for decades, it has recently begun to be mined in commercial quantities as more and more resources are needed for the ongoing terraforming projects.

Yām’ping (Yā’mon IV)

Since this most distant planet has few resources, it was set aside by the Xi’an to house many of the vice stations that offer services and distractions to the workforce here.


Since there is heavy Human traffic in the system, it is important for visitors to remember that Xi’an law governs Yā’mon. Minor infractions in UEE space, like tagging with graffiti, can often carry a heavier punishment here. Make sure to familiarize yourself before making the jump, to avoid awkward misunderstandings.


“We cannot expect to keep our homes safe if we leave the front door wide open. We must secure and protect the border or we shall wake up to find that the Xi’an have already made themselves welcome.”

– High Naval Commander Jianna Perry, Address to UPE Tribunal, 2542

“Though many people of our Empire may feel that the resources in Yā’mon should be claimed by us rather than given to the Xi’an, I contend that if they ever wish for Humanity to find a peaceful way to exist in this universe they should promptly begin to get over it.”

– Ambassador Coen, private comm to Imperator Toi, 2792


DataCache: Life Insurance Policy


To: scire_facias
From: Guvnoir
Subject: Sec Sweep


I’m in desperate need of your expertise.

Since we last crossed paths, I’ve been laying low. Was even earning an honest day’s wage until an old connect tracked me down in Stanton. They offered me a security gig at a secluded “trading” outpost on Yela and the pay was too sweet to pass up. Since the outpost was remotely operated, they wanted me on site to make sure everyone behaved themselves. I knew from rep that they’d become serious players from the days when we’d been running together, but the straight life wasn’t exactly the most comfortable, so against my better judgement I took the gig.

Everything went smoothly until an uptick in activity brought extra scrutiny to the place. Soon bounty hunters and other damn do-gooders started sitting on the place, looking to earn a few creds or make a name for themselves. All the action made it clear that the spot wasn’t much of a secret anymore. Of course, right around this time, I noticed the trading console they used for all their transactions was acting a bit strange. Sometimes it didn’t display the correct available inventory and other times it didn’t work at all. I tried a deep dive into the code to see what was wrong and discovered a backdoor. A skillfully placed one too. Even I missed it on my first sweep.

I haven’t slept since I discovered it. My employer is demanding a full report soon, but considering their reputation for very imaginative punishments, I’m not telling them a damn thing except that their system is locked up tight. I’ve closed the breach but am still frantically pouring over the code convinced I’ve missed more. No hacker this knowledgeable leaves themselves only one way in.

I need fresh eyes on this. Strange as this may sound, you’re the only one with the right skillset that I trust. If you can’t sniff out any further issues with the system, then I’ll finally feel confident that it’s secure.

I can pay. Can’t offer you much but it’s enough to make it worth your while. Plus, while you’re poking around, I’m sure you can gather some info on the facility that an enlightened individual like yourself can put to good use.

What do you say to helping an old acquaintance?



To: Guvnoir
From: scire_facias
Re: Sec Sweep

u shoulda stayed retired.

whatever few piddling creds u can ofr and details on 1 damn facility arent worth my effort. plenty of other work on the table.

happy to dish out some advice though – get the hell out of there while u can



To: scire_facias
From: Guvnoir
Re: Sec Sweep

Oh, I already considered disappearing, but I can’t spend the rest of my life on the run. I’ve worked for some brutes before, but this group has reach. I can’t live like that. I already have trouble sleeping.

My only option is to secure this system, play it cool for a bit, and then find a way to leave on good terms. The straight and narrow may pay piss poor but the chances of slowly being tortured to death are relatively slim in comparison.

I get your point about info on one facility not being enough for you. Would details on my employer’s larger network of WiDoW facilities do the trick?

Jumptown is only one of many such spots they’ve got spread across numerous systems. Before accepting the job, I snooped around to gauge the size of their operation. It was bigger than even I expected.

Anyways, I’ve been compiling a dossier on their network as a bargaining chip in case something went wrong. Never expected to have to use it so soon. It’s a lot of leg work, and nothing you couldn’t do yourself, but there’s enough here to make it a valuable get for their rivals.

That sweet enough for you?



To: Guvnoir
From: scire_facias
Re: Sec Sweep

send the file and access details and ill clean up the mess u made.



To: scire_facias
From: Guvnoir
Re: Sec Sweep

I knew we were friends for a reason!

Let me know when your clean up work is done so I can claim everything’s locked up tight. Once I’ve got some cover, I can begin to plan my exit strategy.


< attachment: LifeInsurancePolicy.ssp >


To: Guvnoir
From: scire_facias
Re: Sec Sweep


u were right u missed a few. tht was 1 crafty bastard accessing the system. ur employer has some powerful well funded enemies. good luck with phz 2. ull need it.



To: 671OitnO554401
From: scire_facias
Subject: audit

told u ur security was shit. ive hacked vending machines that put up more resistance.

to make matters worse, only 1 administrator realized they’d been hacked. he removed 1 of the backdoors and ws smart enough to know there were more. id give him a gold star except he was so scared to report the problem that he went behind ur back looking for help. u r so lucky he came to me.

as ull see in my report, his opening ofr was complete access to his system. minor prodding got him to turn over info on ur wider network of facilities. the cost of buying back his dossier from me is included in my report.

if this isnt proof that u need me keeping ur systems secure then i dont know what is.


< attachment: ubscrewdwoutme.ssp >


Portfolio: Koa e Ko’ia

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.1.

Exhausted yet intensely focused pilots speed their ships towards a checkpoint. Once there, their flight logs receive the coordinates for the next destination. The pilots check their scans and pick a route before blasting off into the blackness of space. For the Xi’an pilots who step up to the challenge of the Koa e Ko’ia, this is their life for the next 200-250 hours.

The Koa e Ko’ia is an epic endurance race that’s wildly popular among the Xi’an. Although the race has been contested in various systems across the Xi’an Empire for centuries, it only recently came to Human attention when competitors appeared in the former Perry Line system of Hadur. One day, in 2881, previously open sectors of the system were suddenly off limits, and remained that way for the next week and a half (Standard Time). Famed Terra Gazette travel journalist Jan Sharrock happened to be in-system at that time. After being diverted off her intended course, she landed at a nearby space station to find groups of Xi’an gathered around wallscreens in rapt attention. She had to find out why.

Sharrock wrote, “I’d gone up to a shop owner to buy a Surluk, but he was more interested in the serene images of Xi’an pilots and their ships than serving me a drink. When I asked what he was watching, he mumbled a Xi’an word I was unfamiliar with, but which roughly translates to ‘holy, distance race’.”

Sharrock spent the following days on the space station. She learned everything she could about the Koa e Ko’ia, interviewed observers, and witnessed an incredible finish that had three racers speeding toward one last checkpoint as time expired. The subsequent articles produced from Sharrock’s writings generated great interest from xenophiles and ship enthusiasts who were intrigued by the extreme length of the race. Her travelogues lead to a sharp spike in Human visitors to the Hadur system, fueled by their interest in learning more about the Koa e Ko’ia.

Despite not hosting the sporting endurance event since 2881, Hadur is still seen by Humanity as the home of the race. Canny Xi’an vendors play into this perception by keeping their store shelves stocked with Koa e Ko’ia trinkets. MISC, who has a special lend-lease agreement with the Xi’an, has persistently advocated bringing the race back to Hadur to capitalize on Human interest. Following years of debate, the Xi’an government decided to return the race to Hadur in 2947 and even established a special division specifically for Humans to compete in.

The Spiritual Sport

The basics of the Koa e Ko’ia are easy to understand. Though lengthy, the race is contained to one system. A number of Xi’an-controlled systems are certified to host the race, but the only one Humanity has access to is Hadur.

Before each race, various checkpoints and destinations are chosen by a governing body within the Xi’an government. Participants do not know the specifics of the course until the race begins. Once under way, racers receive the coordinates of the first checkpoint. Only when that checkpoint is reached do they receive the coordinates for the next one, and so on. The racer who reaches the most checkpoints at the end of the set period, which can vary anywhere between 200-250 standard Earth hours, is named the winner. If two or more ships pass the same number of checkpoints, it triggers tie-breaker conditions too lengthy and detailed to succinctly describe here.

When racers receive the coordinates for the next checkpoint they are also provided with the location of waystations located between the two. Pilots must coordinate with their crews about when and where to meet to rest, repair, and refuel. This communication is key and more complicated than most expect, since teams must plan with enough flexibility to allow the crew time to reach the proper waystation and prepare for the racer’s landing. Unprepared pit crews have been the downfall of more than one racer over the race’s history.

At its heart, the Koa e Ko’ia is an endurance test for both a ship and its pilot. The race’s extraordinary length tests the concentration and fortitude of the pilots. As ectotherms, the Xi’an can lower their metabolism while inactive to reduce their need for sustenance. Yet, doing so while achieving rapid focus in high-stress situations requires intense training and carries a toll both mentally and physically. Xi’an racers train to overcome these roadblocks, and if done successfully, the lowered metabolism, combined with intense concentration, leads to a euphoric state that has been described as deeply spiritual. Winners of the Koa e Ko’ia are believed to have transcended into an advanced spiritual state to achieve their victory and are treated as cultural celebrities thereafter.

The race also tests the speed, agility, and reliability of the participating ships by incorporating unique features of each system in which it takes place. For Hadur, this included a number of checkpoints hidden within the system’s asteroid belt that require careful and precise navigation to reach, and one located on the sunward side of the tidally-locked Hadur I, testing the ship’s ability to handle extreme temperatures.

The race must also include both space and atmospheric flight. According to race experts, this is where Hadur’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia course is unique. Its atmospheric flight occurs somewhere over Hadur II and Hadur III, which are both being terraformed. The uncertain atmospheric conditions make picking an entry point extremely important, as flying into a high-density pocket not only increases drag on the ship but could even damage it.

The Human Factor

Following decades of increased Human interest, the Xi’an decided to allow other species to participate in Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. The process to implement this change took even longer, as the race’s extensive rule book had to be modified to accommodate the many differences between species. According to Daniel Gordon, who hopes to qualify with his Mustang Beta, “the race’s real endurance test is getting through the rule book.”

Until race officials understand how the Human body reacts to the stresses of the race, independent medical examiners will be assigned to each Human team to track the pilot’s vital signs. If the medical examiners determine the pilot’s health or safety is in danger, they will have the authority to force them to stop at the nearest waystation for further evaluation and could even remove them from the race.

After years of advocating for the race’s return to Hadur, MISC will be one of the major sponsors of the system’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia. MISC spokesperson Federica Zabel believes the race will be another step towards improved Human and Xi’an relations. “The Koa e Ko’ia represents the perfect opportunity to bring the Xi’an and UEE Empires closer together,” Zabel said at the press conference announcing the race. “We believe our shared love of pushing finely-crafted and tuned spaceships to the extreme can be a gateway for both species to better understand each other.”

It’s also bound to bring MISC a surge of publicity. According to reports, MISC has spent years training and funding teams exclusively for this race. One of those pilots, Brian Blitz, claims that certain aspects of the MISC Razor were even designed with the Koa e Ko’ia in mind. “The more I’ve trained for the race, the more a lot of these design choices just make sense. From the layout of the cockpit to the ease of being able to swap out components, I fully believe the design of this ship already gives me a leg up.”

MISC appears determined to ensure that a Razor places first in the Human division of Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. Whether or not MISC gets the outcome it wants, of course, is yet to be determined. Regardless of the winner, if the race proves to be a success, there are rumors the Xi’an would consider making Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia a regular event. That outcome would be a victory for race fans across the galaxy.


Portfolio: Esperia

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 4.12.

There’s an old saying that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” That has never been more true than with Esperia. The company produces fully-functional recreations of both historic and alien ships, and most recently, historic alien ships. Esperia’s ability to seamlessly blend modern function and luxury with classic and long-lost ship designs makes it utterly unique in the aerospace marketplace.

Interestingly enough, Esperia’s founding in 2873 was about history, not commerce. The company only became a major player in the aerospace industry thanks to a bit of luck, a big controversy, and the tireless drive of its two founders: Jovi and Theo Ingstrom. The Esperia story is truly about these brothers who hated, loved, and pushed each other to do what no one else dared.

Sibling Rivalry

The Ingstrom brothers were born and raised in Quasi, Terra. Their parents owned and operated a vast luxury hotel that catered to the tourists that visited this picturesque, mountainside city. As a kid, older brother Jovi was fascinated by the strange alien ruins just outside Quasi and would spend hours exploring them. Meanwhile, Theo hung out in the hotel’s hangar. There, he ogled the rare and expensive ships that came and went with the guests.

According to hotel staff at the time, while Jovi and Theo were a pleasure to be around individually, they became a terror when together; the brothers constantly antagonizing or daring each other to do reckless things. Edwin Kelce, author of Resurrecting Icons (the definitive biography on the brothers), suggests that the most notable incident occurred when they were teenagers, in 2866. Jovi dared Theo to stand on the railing of one of the hotel’s third story observation decks. Once his brother finally was perched on top, Jovi bumped the railing. Somehow Theo survived the fall, suffering only a broken arm.

Despite this rambunctiousness, their father detected a strong entrepreneurial instinct in Jovi and wanted him to learn the family business. Jovi refused and instead attended the University of Jalan to study xenoarchaeology. The following year, Theo began attending the University of Rhetor to learn aerospace engineering. Theo proved to be a gifted and motivated student. Jovi was expelled his sophomore year.

Following his expulsion, Jovi worked at the family hotel for a few months. He quickly tired of his parents’ constant scrutiny and wanted to return to his studies. His parents agreed to financially support him under the condition that he attend the University of Rhetor with his brother. Reportedly, his parents, both alumni, played the legacy card and made a sizable donation to the institution to ensure his application would be accepted.

Jovi moved in with Theo the next semester. The arrangement annoyed both brothers. Theo felt that his parents had burdened him with the additional responsibility of keeping his brother in line, while Jovi resented his younger brother looking over his shoulder. Then, in 2872, the two took a trip to the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo (IAE) that would not only change their relationship, but also their futures.

Digital Archaeology

For years, Theo had been trying to get his hands on a Gailforce-model ship, known among engineering enthusiasts because it never made it to market after cost overruns drove its manufacturer out of business. While touring the show floor, Theo found a broken shell of a Gailforce for sale. Yet despite his efforts, he couldn’t talk down the private collector’s exorbitant purchase price. For the rest of the day, Theo rambled incessantly about the ship until Jovi decided to take matters into his own hands. Before anyone attributes Jovi’s actions as altruism, Resurrecting Icons claims that Jovi’s actual motivation was “to make Theo shut up.” He tracked down the collector that evening in the hotel bar and after a night of drinks, was able to talk down the price. Not only that, he managed to get a set of the ship’s original blueprints thrown in as well.

Theo used the blueprints to repair the ship, but ran into a snag when data corruption rendered a number of the pages unreadable. Jovi researched where they could obtain copies of the corrupted pages and was shocked to discover that blueprints were often harder to find than the ships themselves. The fact that the Gailforce’s blueprints had virtually vanished after only a few decades stunned Jovi.

After watching Theo repair and restore the Gailforce, he understood that ship blueprints were an essential part of aerospace history and was surprised that no one had thought to compile any kind of archive of these documents. Jovi saw an opportunity to combine his natural business acumen with his passion for history.

In 2873, Jovi dropped out of school, liquidated his trust fund, and started Esperia with the help of Theo. The company was named after a small-scale ship manufacturer, renowned in collector circles, that was tragically wiped out when the Orion System fell to the Vanduul. Esperia’s initial goal was to collect and preserve ship blueprints so more wouldn’t be lost to the sands of time.

Jovi and Theo began to buy as many ship blueprints as possible. Then they charged a recurring fee for access to these records, so collectors could restore their precious ships to the original specs. Jovi scoured the universe, paying good money for any blueprint he could find. It wasn’t long before Esperia had accumulated an impressive database, and had made a name for itself among collectors as a go-to source.

But the subscription model wasn’t lucrative and Esperia struggled to turn a profit. After Theo graduated from university, he began to buy and sell old ships he’d restored from Esperia blueprints. Jovi heavily advertised these restorations to show what was possible with their service. It wasn’t long before Theo’s reputation as a talented restorer drew more interest than the blueprints. One morning Victor Hurston was patiently waiting for them outside their small office in Kutaram, Terra. What he proposed would permanently alter the company’s course.

The Imitation Game

Victor Hurston was best known as a playboy with a penchant for exotic ships. Even so, what he proposed to the Ingstrom brothers was nothing short of shocking. Victor had come into possession of a Vanduul Glaive and asked if Esperia could get it up and running. Though they lacked blueprints and any knowledge of the Vanduul language, the Esperia team somehow got it working. A few months later, Victor Hurston unveiled the Glaive to a shocked audience at the 2877 IAE, the crowd reaching fever pitch when he climbed into the cockpit and took off. Afterwards, Victor personally thanked Esperia for their hard work on getting the ship flight ready.

Overnight, the name Esperia spread across the Empire. Many marveled at how this small restoration company had mastered Vanduul technology, while others cursed them for turning the enemy’s weapon of war into a rich kid’s toy. Theo recoiled from the controversy. Jovi embraced it, using it to advance their image and start building a brand.

Then the UEE Navy was at Esperia’s door. Government engineers had never quite figured out how to make captured Vanduul ships function properly, certainly not to the level that Victor Hurston had demonstrated, so they hired Esperia as consultants. After Theo and his team proved their worth, the government approached Esperia with an even more ambitious project — building replica Vanduul ships to be used in Navy training exercises. Esperia needed to quickly expand their operations to fulfill the government contract. Jovi worked tirelessly to make this happen and it paid off. Esperia has been on the Navy’s payroll ever since.

After expanding their operations to fulfill their government contract, Esperia finally had the facilities to produce quality replicas for the private sector too. Before long, several near-extinct spacecraft were to be found flying the Empire once again in the form of Esperia reproductions. Wealthy clients flocked for the chance to fly these limited-run collector ships.

Recently, Esperia’s special relationship with the UEE government allowed them access to the Kabal System to catalog and assess the ancient Tevarin ships found there. They have since brought to market the Prowler, the famed Tevarin boarding craft, which has been painstakingly constructed to recreate the spirit of the original ship while updating it with contemporary features and comforts. The Prowler joins replicas of the Vanduul Glaive and Blade that the company recently sold to the public under a new business plan pushed by current CEO Charlotte Hussion.

Esperia has come a long way since Jovi and Theo started it as an archive for vanishing ship blueprints. Still, the company’s dedication to preserving the past stays alive and well and continues to influence the future. Each year, eight students at the University of Rhetor receive the Ingstrom Fellowship for their work in the field of xenoarchaeology.

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Advocacy Archive: As Good As Dunn

As Good As Dunn


2948-12-14_19:07 SET

Sir –

Just wanted to give you an update. The op’s good to go. I’ll set up on an overlook above the Dunn Scrapyard and will watch it for a few hours before paying them a visit. I’ll use an Argo SRV to tow in a busted 325a. Both have clean regtags so there shouldn’t be any reason for them not to process it. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to verify my confidential informant’s claims about this place being a front for organized crime.

I’ll be on comms if you need me.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-15_06:22 SET

Keep me posted. We need a big win on this in order to maintain the investigation on Dunn. If the op doesn’t uncover anything, the Haubert case is heating up and might require your attention.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-15_22:09 SET

Sir –

Today didn’t quite go as planned. I’m drafting the full incident report, but I still think there’s enough suspicious activity to warrant further investigation. You’ll have all the details in the report, but the big takeaways are below:

The scrapyard refused to take the 325a, claiming they didn’t have the capacity to process it. When I pointed out that there was space in the scrapyard, the story changed to the problem being a mechanical issue with their compactor. I sang them a sob story about needing creds fast, even offered to take just below market value for it. They still rejected my offer and did everything in their power to have me leave the premises as fast as possible.

Several other peculiarities presented themselves during the day, which add to the theory that the scrapyard is a front. While there I clocked 20 employees, most without safety gear. Some just sitting around looking bored. Others were involved in a rowdy Trigger game happening in one of the hangars. The shop definitely didn’t look or feel like the bustling business it is on paper, which was substantiated by my surveillance.

I logged all activity that occurred at the scrapyard today and it was significantly lower than expected. Exact numbers will be attached, along with a detailed explanation about why they’re red flags. I think we may be on to something big here.

I’ll be back in the office tomorrow. Let me know when you’re free.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2948-12-16_07:13 SET

Refusing to scrap a ship isn’t a crime. While the behavior you’ve outlined is indeed suspicious, there’s not enough evidence to back up your CI’s claims. With our current caseload, I cannot justify any additional hours being spent on this.

Come by tomorrow at 15:00 for a debrief. Before then, familiarize yourself with the attached Haubert case file.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

Attachment: CaseFile_NH81315E.tbf

2948-12-16_08:40 SET

Understood. See you then.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-01-24_23:03 SET


Last month, although my attention was focused on the Haubert sting, something still wasn’t sitting right with the Dunn case. To be clear, I dedicated my work hours to resolving the Haubert investigation, but I kept an eye on the scrapyard off the clock, meticulously noting everyone coming and going. I poured over the scrapyard’s public records and tax filings three times.

Thankfully, I finally managed to make contact with local law enforcement. Turns out a former detective had opened a case on Dunn last year. They received a tip about potential contraband moving through the business, but once word of the investigation was made official, there was pressure from higher-up to shut it down. All files related to the case were transferred and vanished. The detective had backups of some of the case files before they got wiped and sent them along.

The files document Dunn using a long list of fake SRV regtags to inflate their profits. It’s proof they’re scrapping way more ships on paper than in reality to launder millions of creds. I got curious and ran a few of these fake SRV regtags through the system. Each of these fake ships “towed” wrecks to the same few scrapyards, which includes Dunn and even one on Castor. I compared the fiscal reports for each of these companies and found them be almost identical. It has to be a system-wide money laundering operation for one of Corel’s major players.

The report and all related documents will be ready for your review tomorrow morning.

Julie Nadir
Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-25_06:36 SET

Find me when you get in. I need you to debrief me on everything, including exactly how you obtained these files. The legitimacy of the entire case hinges on it.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-26_13:22 SET

Nadir, where are you?

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

2949-1-29_04:37 SET

SA Julie Nadir was found dead in her apartment last night of a single gunshot to the head. This was a professional execution.

To give you a clearer context, SA Nadir recently revealed to me that she caught a big break related to an old investigation of the Dunn scrapyard. As you’ll see in the attached comms, SA Nadir continued to pursue her investigation in an unofficial capacity, during off hours, and not under my direction. Upon hearing this, I arranged SA Nadir to debrief me immediately. After several days passed where she was unaccounted for, I paid a visit to her apartment. That’s when I discovered SA Nadir’s body.

Her home terminal was still on, with all her findings on the Dunn investigation sitting on screen. I’ve gone through the files, and Nadir’s ultimate conclusion was that the scrapyards tied to Dunn through fake SRV regtags are a front for the Benini clan. Taking down these shops would be a significant blow to their ops throughout the system. While this might explain why she was targeted, it doesn’t explain why the Benini clan would just leave her terminal and case work untouched.

Which got me thinking, who would serve SA Nadir this case on a platter?

It’s too clean. Too convenient. I can’t back this up yet, but in my opinion, I think a new syndicate might be making a move into the system. Getting rid of the Benini clan’s cash flow would be a huge win for the Advocacy, but would equally benefit a criminal rival looking to carve out space for themselves in the underworld.

I’ve attached the case file, which includes all comms between myself and SA Nadir related to the case. I’d recommend reading SA Nadir’s report first. The case is laid out beautifully. The Advocacy lost a good investigator today.

Lakoda Iwata
Supervisory Special Agent
Office of the Advocacy
New Junction, Lo, Corel

Attachment: CaseFile_WI57421S.tbf