[10] April, 2185 CE – Cerberus Daily News

DC1938, a small garden world circling the
red supergiant SM2183 Rua, exploded today in a rare phenomenon called core fusion. The planet’s uranium core collapsed in on
itself, igniting a thermonuclear explosion large enough to rupture the planet into several
pieces. The shock wave and loss of atmosphere has
reportedly killed more than five billion native inhabitants. There is one known survivor: an infant rocketed
from the planet in an FTL escape pod picked up by the human cruiser MSV Kent. The inhabitants of the planet, previously
unknown to the galaxy, were a spacefaring race who used crystalline matrices for their
computing needs. The infant has been taken to medical facilities
in the local cluster, where he is breathing gases in a ratio similar to the atmosphere
of his home planet: 65% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and 15% krypton. GBC news correspondent Robin Lasky was released
today after court proceedings in the krogan republic of Ghurst. After a two-hour trial and forty minutes of
deliberation, Ruzad Drau Sorze deemed that Lasky’s reporting was no threat to the state. Lasky, who attended the trial intubated with
oxygen following a jailhouse assault, was in tears as her parents and producer hugged
her and wheeled her out. The ruzad’s decision was reportedly influenced
by a 180,000-credit “review fee” that GBC News paid to compensate the ruzad for his
time, a fee that was apparently unpaid by the prosecution. Peace activists demonstrated today at the
headquarters of Binary Helix, Guanghui Solutions, and Sonax Industries — the three companies
forming the backbone of the corporate army on Garvug. Demanding that the corporations lift their
siege of the planetary capital Dhazil, the protestors burned corporate logos in effigy
and called for a galactic boycott of all three companies’ products. Meanwhile, krogan have been reacting to the
war with amusement. “The corporations will win the war, no doubt”,
said Urdnot Galem, clan media director on Tuchanka. “But are they dumb enough to expect peace
ever again?” Earth’s 2185 baseball season opened today
with a faceoff between the Detroit Tigers and the Vladivostok Bears. The Russians brought a brutal A-game and punished
the Tigers 11-4. A grand slam in the second inning gave the
Bears an early lead and demoralized the Tigers. “We were making fundamental mistakes out there,
myself included”, said Tiger pitcher Dave Marlboro. “I threw every way I could, and they just
kept popping them off. We were not playing how we were in training
just three weeks ago”. The Bears go on to face the Baltimore Orioles
at Camden Yards next week, while the Tigers take on the Kyoto Katanas in a home game. Corporate forces on Garvug have won a major
victory tonight: Sonax infantry units surrounded the Clan Hailot ancestral fortress and pounded
it with rocket-propelled grenades, singularity projectors, and mass accelerator fire. In a bloody invasion that yielded twelve casualties,
troops stormed the doors and took the fortress, destroying krogan resistance and replacing
the clan flag with the Sonax Industries logo. There is no word yet if clan head Hailot Wrund
was inside the building during the attack. Elsewhere in the city, troops had to pick
their way through booby-trapped power stations, hospitals, and water purification facilities. “It’s not over yet”, said one young special
forces officer, who declined to be named. “They haven’t even begun to fight”. Volus comedienne Sura Non sparked the entertainment
feud of the week when her comments about the war on Garvug caught the ire of CitSpace Daily
opinionator Max Power. The scampy humorist said that conquering a
krogan and vorcha world “is like buying a beehive with a sign reading ‘Pre-Shaken’ and
saying, ‘But darling, it’s 20% off!'” Power slammed her, saying the krogan on Garvug
have been victims since the planet’s inception, and mocking their pain is tasteless. Non shot back: “If Power doesn’t understand
that I was mocking the corporate monkeys who made the decision to invade, I suggest he
start stretching and get a flashlight so he can try to find where his head is lodged”. Supporters of Non have taken up the fight,
mailing Power over 1,500 flashlights to date. Garvug’s state-run forces received another
blow today when newly arrived corporate armies retook the Garvug System’s comm buoys. After a tense two-hour battle, the state’s
finest retreated to FTL in order to avoid total destruction. Through the comm buoys, the corporatists can
direct communication to other planets that may wish to send reinforcements. Asked if they will censor the media, who have
been relying on FTL ships using the mass relay to escape the system, Sonax supreme commander
Lira Speight said, “Anything that gives away vital battlespace information or appears to
be a coded transmission will be stopped. Aside from that, we believe in working hand-in-hand
with the media to publicize what we anticipate to be a swift and relatively painless victory”. Counter to corporate military expectations,
the Hailot clan chieftain remains at large on Garvug. Though initially suspected to be among the
dead in the clan fortress, Hailot Wrund successfully retreated to the countryside. In a radio broadcast, he belittled the corporatist
invaders and exhorted his followers to fight them. “We are clan”, he roared. “They are merely co-workers. If we make their victory cost them enough,
they will leave”. Sonax supreme commander Lira Speight later
responded in a press conference “I would like to thank Mr Hailot for broadcasting from a
radio tower so that we know exactly where he is”, she mocked. “If he thinks he will outlast us by causing
financial and physical damage, he is unaware of the high value of his planet and the consortium’s
long-term strategic vision”. Conflicting stories tonight out of Garvug,
where corporate and state forces clashed over a radio tower. State army units claim a victory, saying Hailot
Wrund led an ambush that destroyed two armored personnel carriers and shot down a Mantis
gunship. Video exists only of the gunship, which is
clearly in flames and being urinated on by krogan forces. The corporate consortium battling for Garvug
say no planes were shot down, and that their bombs killed over a hundred krogan and vorcha
infantry near the CXN radio tower. This remains unconfirmed. At press time, the tower is known to be in
corporate hands and Hailot Wrund remains at large. Terminus Systems denizens are enraged tonight
as the Citadel Council finished a six-day series of war games simulating an invasion
of their space. Officially, the exercises were defensive in
nature, but six turian and three asari dreadnoughts rehearsed positioning and bombardment. “This is more than saber-rattling”, said Dick
Ackerman, prime minister of the colony world Arvuna. “This was an attack rehearsal. It was timed to coincide with the invasion
of Garvug. Terminus citizens are now on notice, and they
are being called on to declare their allegiance or be counted as cowards”. Council press secretary Irana Tinos reassured
the Systems that these exercises are the duty of any military, and that this event was planned
months before the incident on Garvug. The surprise hit suspense thriller “The Demon
and the Nightmare” opened at #1 this weekend, earning 1.78 billion at the box office. The mostly-true story of a pair of thresher
maws that nearly wiped out a salarian colony on the planet Dagnes uses an old-school, “never-show-the-monster”
approach that is a huge hit with fans. Slipping to second place is the girl-power
vampire buddy comedy “Bloody Mary,” which raked in just 955 million credits. In third, the krogan war comedy “Ruck Humpers,”
whose rude humor isn’t translating well to Cit-space audiences. Grossing just under 430 million over the last
three weeks, the widely-panned film is barely in the black. Earth’s most famous political family welcomed
a new member today as the wedding of Chao Hsu and Valerie LeBarre kicked off on Luna. A record two million spectators turned out
in Cape Canaveral to watch the bride and groom launch to the moon, where an exclusive guest
list of 1,500 witnessed the couple recite their own vows in iambic pentameter and exchange
tungsten carbide rings. LeBarre’s stunning ring is a flawless 16-carat
marquise-cut diamond flanked by rare emeralds, and is estimated to be worth just over three
million credits. The bride mixed traditions by changing from
a European white wedding gown into a red Chinese cheongsam for the reception, where the happy
couple danced to “Forever Eyes” by Shasta Miles. The spectacular evening’s finale saw the newlyweds
ride off to the honeymoon suite on a white horse brought to Luna just for the occasion. Thessia’s prestigious Erana University is
under fire tonight after suspending 17 students for holding a human-history-themed costume
party. The students say no ill will was intended,
but university officials believe otherwise. The office of the president released a statement,
saying “Video of the incident puts the lie to the claim that this was not a racist affair. With all the human historical figures to draw
from, these students chose to dress up as Adolf Hitler, Elizabeth Bathory, Caligula,
and Pol Pot. They ate a cake shaped like a suicide bomber. Human students were neither invited nor welcomed
at this party mocking their species”. More than 100 students did not show up to
class this morning to protest the suspension, while others are planning an asari-history-themed
party in retaliation. Corporate forces’ hunt for clan chieftain
Hailot Wrund on the planet Garvug enters a new phase tonight. Experts in fugitive recovery are arriving
from notorious places like Omega to hunt down the former head of state. Drones and search aircraft are scouring the
hills near Dhazil, and Binary Helix has imported two units of varren handlers in attempts to
literally catch the clan chief’s scent. The phones of soldiers, reporters, and civilians
alike are being confiscated so that if Hailot makes a call his cellular frequency can be
easily picked out to triangulate his location. “When he reaches out to touch someone, we’re
going to touch back”, promises Lieutenant Sheri Spindlemyer. “I don’t think anyone wants to be within crater
radius of him right now”. The controversial Earth court case of Ford
v. Huerta came to a close today with a 5-4 decision supporting the end of the President’s
term. Chief Justice Ling announced, “This is not
the first time human beings have technically died only to be brought back with proper medical
attention. That the window of resuscitation has lengthened
is no reason to support a partisan attack on the legitimacy of the President. The legal definition of death must be expanded
beyond brain death to include cellular death as well”. Following the decision, protesters erupted
into violence on the Washington, D.C., Mall and in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park. The crowds chanting “Down with the zombie!”
were quickly suppressed as riot police cleared the capitols with microwaves and stunners. More protests are reportedly planned for the
weekend. Late-night comedians are weighing in on Ford
v. Huerta, the court case that has enough cyborgs, presidents, and controversy to be
a Hollywood blockbuster in its own right. Cal DiCosimo said “We’re supposed to care
that the President was brain dead after his stroke? What I don’t get is that a room full of doctors
said he had brain activity before it”. Natasha Lyons targeted the Speaker of the
House, saying, “Her entire argument is that for the last year, she’s wanted to be Vice
President. I’m sorry, honey, you don’t get out of working
that easily”. And Manny Zupo gave his analysis: “For the
last year, we’ve had a zombie cyborg president. Why does the speaker want this to end? Every twelve-year-old can now go to class
and say ‘my president’s just as cool as the asari”. Mobs on Earth marched today to protest the
Systems Alliance’s decision to uphold President Huerta’s term. Over 1.5 million marched in Washington, D.C.,
2 million in Mexico City, and 750,000 in Ottawa, many of them wielding lit torches and pitchforks
as a retro political statement. Capitol police in D.C. took the bait, clashing
with protestors who threw torches into their ranks. Fifteen protestors and three police were injured. “It was rough today, but I’m not worried”,
said Sergeant Hathaway of the Capitol Police. “They seem like the kind of people who bring
pitchforks to a gunfight”. The Systems Alliance decision on Ford v. Huerta
has sparked dozens more protests today all over Earth’s United North American States. Incensed by the violence of the previous day,
groups sizes have doubled in major North American cities. Reaching four million in Mexico City and spreading
sister protests to Los Angeles, Toronto, and New York, the demonstrations were largely
violence-free. The notable exception was Washington, D.C.,
where mobs’ sheer numbers overwhelmed riot police. A video of citizens chasing police down Constitution
Avenue has garnered over 900 million hits in the first 12 hours on the extranet site
uploadednews.com. Earth’s politicians called for a stop to the
rioting in the United North American States even as some of them praised the rebellious
spirit of the protesters. Speaker of the House Lisa Ford toured the
morning talk show circuit to make it clear that although she rejects the Systems Alliance
decision, there seems little choice but to abide by it. “The people marching in the streets in my
name are welcome to do so”, she says, “but we must categorically reject the violence
that the Systems Alliance oppressors use”. Now that her day in court has come and gone,
Ford admitted that there seem to be no other options. The disruption of a Cerberus cell on planet
Bekenstein has revealed that the human-supremacist group communicates to operatives through steganographic
messages concealed in everyday extranet broadcasts. “We became aware of this when we found media
producers on operatives’ contact lists”, says Alliance counter-terror expert Meng Zhao. “It turns out they had key people hiding marching
orders in news stories. For example, one cell would strike if their
extranet filter tagged a science news article. Financiers sent money to cells based on the
numbers in altered box office reports. All an investigator would see if they confiscated
the computer is a glut of headlines and tabloid trash anyone could be reading”. Asked if Cerberus would discontinue this practice
when this secret was made public, Zhao said “It’s possible, but there are easy work-arounds. I suspect they’ll keep the method but change
the signals”. Corporate forces on the planet Garvug believe
they have killed opposition leader Hailot Wrund in a so-called decapitating strike. Special ops soldiers made a positive ID on
his convoy and followed it to a ranch house in the hills north of the city of Ikrit. They then painted the house with a laser designator
that helped a Raptor drone shoot a rapid-fire mass accelerator directly into the living
room. Now, only a flaming crater indicates where
the house once stood. DNA samples from the wreckage have been sent
back to Binary Helix laboratories in the city of Jundrag, where they will be analyzed and
compared to the information on Hailot’s medicard. Light heavyweight sensation Zarren “The Varren”
Casias scored an upset victory over light heavyweight champion Luis “Laser” Reyes in
mixed martial arts action last night. “Fight Night at Earth’s Pontiac Silverdome”
was delayed by hooligans in the stands, as human and turian fans threw drinks and chairs
at one another, and over 30 people were ejected. The five-round match only lasted two, with
Luis receiving cuts over both eyes early in the first round that may have hampered his
vision. Allowed to continue, a desperate clinch by
Reyes brought the match to the ground, where both fighters slipped in the blood and Casias
brought things to an end with a triangle choke. Casias is the second turian to win the light
heavyweight title, and his victory puts non-humans as title-holders for all nine weight classes. A video of several human C-SEC officers beating
a group of three salarians is garnering millions of extranet views. Two C-SEC officers stopped a salarian on the
Citadel for driving erratically and found two more salarians in the trunk of the aircar. Attempts to restrain the three led to a fight
in which the officers electro-shocked and beat the salarians. When two more C-SEC officers arrived as backup,
they continued the beating until the driver died of his injuries. It is not clear why the two salarians were
in the trunk. Although both had criminal records, their
only offense at the time was violating restraining harness laws. Further developments tonight in the case of
four human officers beating three salarians; our news team acquired police interviews that
reveal the two in the trunk were gang members hiding from a rival gang targeting them. The ward attorney will charge the four officers
with the use of excessive force. Meanwhile, the family and friends of Haruta
Sio, the salarian who was beaten to death, held a vigil in his honor. “He was with a bad crowd”, said his brother,
Jundub, “but he stayed clean. He was just giving a ride to some guys in
trouble. This shouldn’t have happened”. Hailot Wrund, leader of the former state-run
army of Garvug, released a video today mocking the corporate forces trying to capture him. “I’ll save you some time”, he said, “that
DNA you’re analyzing was some other hump”. The video is half an hour long and exhorts
the scattered state forces to engage the corporatists in a guerilla war. “They’ve moved into our house”, he said, “now
it’s time for them to pay the rent”. Sonax Industries supreme commander Lira Speight
responded: “Hailot Wrund is a head of state. He should learn that picking up a rifle doesn’t
make you a soldier, and talking into a video camera, even less so”. Late-night comedians have finally found some
humor in the situation on Garvug. Sura Non quipped, “Corp experts are saying
Hailot Wrund will be hiding where nobody’s around for kilometers, so they’re searching
theaters showing “Taze Patterson”. Next up, Unara T’Zeli, who says, “Hailot Wrund
is well-hidden. How well-hidden, you ask? While they were looking for him, they stumbled
across Aish Ashland’s missing talent.” And Cal DiCosimo took a political bent: “They
said they almost killed Hailot Wrund this week. He was so close to dead, Lisa Ford said, ‘Can
I have his job?'” Principal photography wrapped today on “Nekyia
Corridor”, the troubled space epic from Morgan Bierster that has officially reached the benchmark
of the most expensive simulstim ever made. Champagne flowed freely on the set for one
hour before technicians moved to strike the equipment and actors reported to the audio
room for overdubbing work. Bierster predicts a long post-production process. “We’ve got over 3,000 effects shots to simulstim,
but I am confident that they’ll come out at the quality a picture like this deserves”. Asked if more setbacks could sink the project
now, he responded, “Any delay now would have to be due to an act of God, and if He does
that to me, I’ll kick His holy ass”. Our top story tonight: terror on Taetrus. Vallum, the colony’s capital, was hit with
a blast that obliterated its downtown area and left a crater five kilometers wide. Shockwaves from the blast were powerful enough
to destroy buildings 11 kilometers away. Casualties are unknown but are expected to
be massive. The Radiatum, Taetrus’ parliamentary building,
was at the epicenter of the blast and is believed to be its primary target. No registered armed ships were in orbit or
in the sky above Vallum, leading authorities to believe the blast was caused by a ship
used as a weapon of tremendous force, aimed at the Radiatum and accelerated to near-FTL
speed. Fourteen separatist groups are claiming responsibility
at this time. The list of dead and missing on the planet
of Taetrus continues to grow. At the time of impact, the planet’s Primarch
was in the Signis, his executive building, now indistinguishable from the rest of the
rubble. His viceroy, chief of staff, and countless
workers are also dead — burned, or vaporized by the tremendous impact of the FTL vehicle. There is seemingly no end to the death and
destruction; besides the Signis and the Radiatum, three museums, four national monuments, and
the Esarus Mint have been destroyed, with many of their occupants killed. General Timus Aurelos toured the wreckage
site of the Vallum Blast today, giving the claw salute and attempting to lift the spirits
of the rescue workers within the so-called collapse line. “All turian space is praying for the people
of Taetrus tonight, for the lives that were lost, for the families that mourn, and for
the workers who toil here”, he declared. “I assure you that the cowards who did this
will have no safe harbor anywhere in the galaxy. They will be found, they will be killed, and
their twisted labors will come to nothing. They have not crushed a people; they have
united one far larger than they ever dreamed”. The rescue workers responded with chants of
“Taetrus! Taetrus!” and presented the general with a
Hierarchy flag taken from the rubble.

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