FTL Newsfeed 235

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Written by murmur the fallen; heavily revised by Rob Kelk and Mal Fnord; re-posted December 19, 2007
Note: The revision of this story was not authorized by murmur the fallen. - Rob Kelk

20 August 2012, 14:00 GMT
Operation Great Justice Headquarters

Yuki walked into the lounge and switched the radio to ISN.

Mikuru pouted. "I was listening to Cooking with Constantine..."

"We need to hear this news show," replied Yuki.

Of course, she was right.

"From ISN, this is FTL Newsfeed. A co-production of Radio Free Albemuth, ISN System Service and WFTL Crystal Kyoto. It's now August 20, 2012 at 1400 GMT. I'm Constance Gardner in Crystal Kyoto. In the wake of the tumultuous events surrounding the ratification of the Articles of Convention at SOS-Con, it's becoming clear that the thousands who have decided to live off Earth are becoming a society. And as this new orthodoxy becomes settled and grows, so too does the darker elements of our society. But as orthodoxy is itself made up of multiple strands of thought and philosophy, so too does this society. In this first part of a multipart series, we examine the multiple movements that have come to be called collectively Boskonia. We will return with John Simmons' report on just one of the many groups that comprise Boskonia after the news."

Kyon shook his head. "She has to be making this up. How can a news reporter uncover Boskonian groups? We're having trouble doing that, and it's our job."

"Someone was in the right place at the right time, maybe?" wondered Noah. "It happens. I'm willing to take whatever intelligence we can get."

"Agreed, as long as we keep in mind the source," added Itsuki. "Some sources are more reliable than others, and I don't think a news reporter is very reliable."

"The show is resuming," interrupted Yuki as Constance Gardner's voice came from the speakers once again.

"They are called various names, from black hats to reavers. Yet the name that has stuck is Boskones or Boskonia. This label comes from the writings of E.E. Smith, an early Twentieth-Century science-fiction writer. He describes an intergalactic cabal of dictators, war-mongers and criminals all seeking to enslave the galaxy. Yet these new Boskones are fractured, being seen as one group only from the outside. For an insider's viewpoint, we go to John Simmons with this report on the Sons of Turner."

"It's a town much like any other on Ganymede. Its dome glows brightly during the day, with the Jupiter-light only faintly visible behind it. And during the night, the dome goes dim, hiding the universe. The outlying farms grow vast crops, with sheep roaming on grassy hills. Some nights they turn the dome completely transparent, and watch the planet and the stars whirl above them as they sit on hand-woven picnic blankets, talking softly, enjoying their communion with nature. It's beautiful and inspiring. It's a romantic pastoral vision. Yet if you look at the town, you notice subtle signs of something wrong. A patched fence here, a wall with fresh paint over just one spot, a recently refilled hole. It is the sign of violence just done. And in the town's center, just over a small mound, is a plinth which reads: 'We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children.' These infamous fourteen words were coined by white supremacist leader David Lane and have become the foundational ideology of a growing population off-Earth. So it is in this town, the first of the Ganymede colonies to become Turnerized, the non-white population killed in a small genocide and their bodies launched carelessly into space.

The listeners' faces went pale. "Oh, gods, no," whispered Mikuru.

"Something about this doesn't add up," muttered Noah.

"Is that just your paranoia, old man?" asked Itsuki.

"If it is, youngster, then why haven't we heard anything about these bigots before now?"

Nobody had an answer to that.

Uncaring, the radio continued announcing the horrific discussion.

"This is Robert Woods. He's a tall man, his hair a wispy blonde that becomes lost underneath the white lights of the spaceship that is now his home. He was one of the men who participated in the Turnerization of that small Ganymede colony."

"It was a Wednesday, or Wotan's Day. War Day. That's when the signal came. The guns and mortars had been coming in for weeks beforehand. And before that, the signal."


"Yeah. The signal. It was telling us what was going wrong, how it was all going wrong again, what we could do to stop it. See, we -- in the beginning we didn't want it. Really. That's why we came out here in the first place, to get away from those people. That's why we became Farnhams, working our freehold, like it was back before they came. We thought that all that space, all that emptiness would keep them from us. But they followed us -- they set up right next door and started leeching off of our blood and sweat, like they always do, and they were doing it again. And that's when we started hearing the signal from 1488. That's when we became Sons of Turner."

"And that meant?"

"Well, when we answered back, we started getting materials -- books, like. Learning what it really meant to be Turners. Then came the weapons and the plans. Finally we were visited by Eric Cort, who brought the word personally from 1488. We got together, with our guns, spread out quietly and at 2:00 in the morning we went into those animals' dome and slaughtered them. We brought out their carcasses, made a big cleansing fire in the middle of their so-called town and sang. It was... it was beautiful."

Mikuru threw up.

Kyon took Mikuru's hand in his own. "We only have his word that this even happened."

"I know... but..." She started crying slowly.

Noah turned to Yoriko. "Have you heard anything about this?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. But I don't know everything about what happens on Ganymede."

The door opened to admit Haruhi. "You're listening to the news." It was a statement, not a question.

They continued taking in Robert Woods' ranting, desperately hoping he was making up everything he was saying.

"After, it was good for a while. We were self-sufficient, and even had some left over to give to the cause. But Cort started making more of the decisions away from our town council. He was the Voice of the Rock so people listened. He was officiating marriages, and urging the townspeople to get married earlier. He took a wife himself. Then another. Finally he declared himself Earl and dissolved the council, with the backing of 1488 and his friends, the ones he brought with him and the ones he made in the town. Anybody that didn't like it, didn't like him and his making all of the decisions and taking all the women, even some of the married ones, well they got exiled or worse. That's what happened to me. One day he decided that he wanted my Eileen. I hadn't moved all the way up to space, built a home with my own two hands, then fought to keep it away from the animals just to see anyone, even an Earl from the Rock itself, take away my wife. So I stood up to him, and so did a lot of others. Only... only they got the drop on us first before we could do more than bleat. They dragged us into the town center, just like we... well, and they shot Jeff right in the head and then they put the rest of us in a remote-controlled ship aimed at Earth orbit. After a bit we were picked up by Jossie rescue services. So here I am now. Homeless, wifeless..."

"We'll be back with more after a short break. This is FTL Newsfeed, and I'm Constance Gardner."

Once the station break began, Yoriko helped Mikuru to the station's infirmary. The remaining SOS-dan and Stellvia senior staff merely sat and looked at each other.

Noah was the first to speak. "If you'll excuse me, I have to hire someone to track down Woods."

"He's on his way here," replied Haruhi. "I want you to listen to what he has to say."

"He's either a sadistic liar or a mass murderer. Why should I listen to that son of a bitch?"

Haruhi looked at Noah as if he was an idiot child. "We need to know for sure, and he won't talk to anybody else. You're the only white male here."

"Oh, for the love of... Fine. But if he was telling the truth, then I'd better be the only male involved in what we do about this."

"Why?" asked Yuki.

"Because I want to make a point. How much damage will it do to the morale of these 'Turners' when they find out an all-female task force defeated some of them?"

Haruhi nodded. "That's a great ending to the story!"

Itsuki, Kyon, and Noah exchanged knowing glances. None of them expected this "story" to end with just one military operation.

The commercials ended, and everyone stopped talking.

"This is FTL Newsfeed. I'm Constance Gardner. We now return to our look at the Sons of Turner movement."

"None of this conflict was inevitable. However, it was predictable."

"Prof. Gary Vaughn is the head of Sociology at the University of Crystal Kyoto. He's written an article for Solaris Magazine entitled Helter Skelter: The Rising White Supremacist Movement in Space."

"The first big push into space when the wave came, came from the developed world. The United States and Canada. East Asia and Australia. Europe. We're still collating the data from the census, but the majority, somewhere between 68 to 83 percent, were white and from a middle-class background. It's been speculated that it was this demographic who had the access to the neccessary resources to use the wave to reach space, the education to plan accordingly, but not be so wealthy as that the prospect of a new life out here in space wouldn't be attractive."

Noah snorted.

Kyon stage-whispered, "You're not a typical spacer, Mr. Scott."

"It's all the weasel words he's using that --"

"Quiet!" ordered Haruhi.

"However, when the wave reached the developing world and people from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe began to come here they found that it was no longer the wide-open frontier. It was settled. There was an infrastructure waiting for them. And the builders of this infrastructure, the now-comfortably homogenous ethnic groups who have been gathering together found themselves to be once again confronted by the neccessity of living in a multi-ethnic environment. Now the first colonizers feel that their hard work is being parasitized by the newcomers, while the newcomers feel that they should be afforded the same opportunity to find their destinies as the first colonizers. It's the same old story. The same old song and dance."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, really. You can make a case that all we're doing now is recapitulating the conflicts of old Earth here and now. White Launch as opposed to White Flight. Nativism and the Sons of Turner. Redlining should start up soon if things go on like this. Like I said, not inevitable but predictable."

"How could someone like that find work at a Senshi-run university?"

Haruhi glared at Noah. "Don't make me say this again. Quiet!"

There was a different voice on the radio.

"The sad thing is, this massacre wasn't an isolated incident."

"Fatima Ngyuen is an intelligence agent with the Bailey Security Service, a security firm that deals with everything from personal security to police actions. She is the head of their Organized Atrocity Office. She is currently a consultant with the Boskone Study Group, an ad-hoc council set up to make recommendations at the next Convention."

"I've reports of three other colonies in the Jovian system in which atrocities like this have happened. And rumors of still more throughout the system."

"So the Sons of Turner aren't small."

"No, far from it. They are highly organized and rich in both personnel and material. Of the many white-supremacist groups out there, the Draka, the White Lensmen, the ABC, the Sons of Turner have come to the forefront in both ambition and ability to make their ambitions real."

"And how did they start?"

"We don't have an exact timeline, but we do know that they were started by followers of David Lane who came on the first push towards space. That means that they were followers of Lane's kooky Wotanism religion, with its hierarchy based on what they think of ancient Norse society. They started fairly small but they worked hard at it, inserting themselves in the growing criminal underground to gain money and resources, particularly in piracy and kidnapping for profit."

"Why do you think they're so popular?"

"They are very much a proselytizing group. Their propoganda campaigns are powerful and highly effective, taking advantage as it does with the plasticity of memory. Once people, ordinary, everyday people, are exposed to their propanda long enough, they come to believe it as the truth. They hear it from so many different areas, coming in at them all the time, that they forget who precisely the messenger is and just remember the message. They can't remember a time when they didn't believe as they did. Many of the groups who first came to colonize space did so for a variety of reasons, social, economic, what have you. Only after they were exposed to the Turner propaganda machine do they come to believe that it was due to racialized reasons."

"And this mastery of propaganda is the key to their success?"

"Partly. It also has to do with their methods. The Turners are very mindful of building infrastructure, both literally and ideologically, before they make any overtly violent moves. They target a community and start sending out their message. When someone responds, they slowly build up an organization from within that community. They send out plans and ideas to the newly Turnerized. Tactics for 'self-defense', drills and exercises for the upcoming battle. Inculcate a racialized military culture in them. Get them to get themselves worked up enough to go to the next step, which is planning on the total takeover of their community. It's only then that they send over material, weapons, bombs, et cetera, to that community for the final push. With just a relatively small investment of time, weapons, and people, the Sons of Turner get a huge return."

"I've heard that word mentioned in connection with the Turners. What is the Rock?"

"It's the central base of the Sons of Turner. Sometime a few years back, not sure when, the nascent Turners found and colonized Asteroid 1488. They turned into a mobile base of operations, where they could coordinate their system-wide movement. It's from there that all Jarls are trained and come from. It's where the transmissions ultimately originate from. 1488 is the heart of the Sons of Turner. And nobody knows where it is. Which is what makes them dangerous. They are able to have all the flexability, redundancy and compartmentalization of a covert cell system while at the same time having the focus, resources, and long-term strategic perspective of a traditional military."

"We'll return to this series tomorrow, when John looks at another side to the Boskones. He'll be interviewing Machine Elf, chief chemist for the rogue pharamacuetical manufacturers that call themselves Zwilniks. However, we'll be back after this short break with a review of Gogo Kabuki's new album. I'm Constance Gardner, and you're listening to FTL Newsfeed, from ISN."

Haruhi turned off the radio.

Kyon cleared his throat. "Have any of you heard anything that corrobrates anything that Ngyuen said?"

Everyone else shook their heads.

Noah grunted. "She's a Bailey, and she's on the Boskone Study Group. What do you think her accuracy rate is?"

"Put your prejudices aside, old man," interrupted Itsuki. "It doesn't matter who she works for; if there's any truth to what she said, we need to do something about it."

"She's basing her analysis on rumors," Kyon countered. "She said as much herself.

"And she's talking about zwilnicks as if they're a single group, and White Lensmen as if they're real," added Noah.

"So why couldn't White Lensmen be real?" Haruhi asked.

"Ms. Suzumiya, I've read all of the Lensman books, in the original English. The evil Lensmen called themselves Black, not White. And the color referred to their uniforms, not their skins -- both sides were meritocratic, and had no truck with racial discrimination. Sexual discrimination, yes; racial, no."

"But what if a group appropriated the name without understanding it?" asked Itsuki.

"In Fenspace?" countered Kyon. "The one thing any faction is most possessive of is their fandom. The Lensmen would never sit still for anyone calling themselves 'White Lensmen', according to what Noah's saying."

"Which means Ngyuen is spreading propaganda, whether she knows it or not." Itsuki nodded. "We have to do something about that."

"Fight lies with truth," announced Haruhi. "Kyon, get our press office to counter her propaganda. Yuki, find asteroid 1488 for me in case we need to bring Great Justice to them." She turned toward the door, then turned back to the group. "Noah, find out everything you can about Gary Vaughn, including whether he works for the University of Crystal Kyoto. Itsuki, do the same about Fatima Ngyuen and the Baileys. I've got a bad feeling about all this."

20 August 2012, 19:22 GMT
Kohran's laboratory

"...and that's the problem we have to solve," finished Noah.

"Problem?" Kohran looked puzzled. "What problem? You're trying to find an asteroid that may or may not exist, but regularly broadcasts radio messages if it does exist. Use signal strength triangulation to find it, or one of its repeater beacons. If you can't find their signal, probably someone's lying to you."

Yuki shook her head. "We do not know what frequency they use."

"That's a hint that they don't really exist, you know. But assuming they do, we're going to have to find that frequency. Do that for me and I'll have a dozen 'ears' listening on the right channel within a day."

Noah grinned, looking like a predator before pouncing. "'Operation Tango Shoes' can probably get that data tomorrow if it exists. Speaking of tomorrow, I want you to meet someone who's coming here before I see him..."

21 August 2012, 10:15 GMT
Operation Great Justice Headquarters

"Mr. Woods, I'm a very busy man. Why do you have to speak with me instead of Ms. Li?"

Robert Woods looked straight at Noah Scott. "I don't trust her kind to get things right. I need to know that you and Grand Justice heard what me and the boys have to say, and are going to do something about Cort and get us our wives and daughters back."

"'Her kind', Mr. Woods? If you have a problem with explosives technicians, then you shouldn't have come to an armed force for help. And it's 'Great Justice'; the commander-in-chief insists we always get the code name right."

"I got no problem with people who make bombs. We're both smart men; you know what I meant. Now, are you people going to do something, or do me and the boys have to go hire the Baileys to help us?"

"There's no need for that. I discussed this with the commander-in-chief yesterday after we listened to the newscast you were on. I've already received permission to liberate the women trapped in your residence dome. We sent a task force on the mission a few hours ago." He checked his watch. "They should be landing right about now. If you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

"Thank you, Mr. Scott."

"Don't thank me; it was the commander-in-chief's decision. Now get the hell off my station. And don't come back."


"You're not welcome here. The only reason you were allowed aboard to plead your case was that Commander-in-Chief Suzumiya insisted." Noah's inflection changed to show he was quoting. "I came out here in the first place to get away from people like you." His voice went steely. "The shuttle at docking tube 1 leaves for Kandor in fourteen minutes, where three Erisians are waiting to try you for mass murder based on your statement to the press yesterday."

"But... I..."

"Now, the Erisians might not sentence you to death; they'll only do that if you really are guilty of what you claimed you did. But if you're still on my station in fifteen minutes, or you insult my adopted daughter again because of her gender or the colour of her skin, I'll push you out the closest airlock without a spacesuit without further warning. If you hurry, you can make it to the shuttle with a minute to spare." He held the door open for Woods.

After he left, Noah stepped into the next room and spoke to the woman watching through the one-way glass. "He's not worth it, Mikuru."

"Yes, I know. But the women trapped in the habitat are."

"Assuming he was telling the truth. What's the board say?"

Mikuru looked at the lie-detector (a gift from the Professor, based on his "death ray" technology) built into the room's recorder. "It's inconclusive. But maybe it's not working properly. It says you weren't lying when you threatened to push him out an airlock."

"It's working properly. Damn. It's up to the women in 'Tango Shoes' to find out the truth, then."

21 August 2012, 10:15 GMT
"Operation Tango Shoes" Field HQ
The Epsilon Blade

"Status report, Ms. Fujisawa."

Yayoi turned to the mission commander. "Cruiser Boudica and troop carriers Joan of Arc and Granuaile all report that their weapons are operational and they are ready to proceed. Two squads of marines are at combat readiness aboard the Joan of Arc, three squads likewise aboard the Granuaile. The Pinafore is off Callisto, ready to receive casualties, and waiting for our call to come in. And the Epsilon Blade's turret is loaded with radio jammer rounds."

"Thank you." Winry Rockbell hit the button on the inter-ship link. "All combat units, prepare to move in!"

21 August 2012, 10:18 GMT
conference call
Operation Great Justice Headquarters, Stellvia
Operation Great Justice Field Headquarters, Ganymede

"He's lying."

Itsuki frowned at Mal's pronouncement. "I know we can't take Nuygen's estimates at face value, Colonel, but..."

"Not Nuygen. I said he's lying. Woods. There wasn't a massacre at Ganymede."

"How do you know that?" asked Kyon.

"Woods is both alive and not in jail, same with Cort."

"Explain, Colonel." Suzumiya's voice brooked no argument.

"Sure thing, Jefe." Mal sounded a little amused. "I don't have all day, so here's the short form: Ganymede isn't the Belt, there's a lot of connectivity between the domes here, mostly for safety purposes. It's actually helped keep things under control a little out here, keeps the pirates from raiding the outlying settlements if they know the militia's five minutes from anywhere, right? The moon's not as tightly wired as you guys back in cislunar, or even around Mars, but trust me; if a dome went dark all of a sudden, the Browncoats would know. And if they saw anything like what Woods described, they'd fall on the skinheads like the wrath of God.

"From what I've been able to dig up, the dome Gardner visited was put down two years ago, a Heinleinian stock model paid for and planted by the New Zion Foundation, a wholly-owned subset of the World Church of the Creator. Bill Baker, our man in the Serenity Valley sherrif's office, says they plugged into the safety grid as soon as the dome was pressurized and have been quiet ever since; minimal radio traffic and no incidents."

"Contact Commander Rockbell. Call off the attack. Now."

"No! Don't abort the attack!"

"What? Colonel, you said he was lying about the massacre."

"He was. He is." Mal said "But that doesn't mean it's all shit. The stuff Woods said about his boss Cort rings right compared to the history of supremecist groups dirtside. More to the point, the ISN went out there to shine a light on Boskone. If they weren't connected, they wouldn't have used those terms to describe them."

"What are they, then?"

"Part of a pipeline, most likely. Money, guns, drugs... maybe even slaves depending. We know Boskone has at least one hook in Little Jakarta and two in Shadow, but we can't find their connections at the spaceport. So..."

Yuki considered this. "You are hypothesizing an overland route."

"Exactly. They transship through the Turner dome and move stuff back and forth on the surface instead of risking the orbital traffic."

"Okay, so they might be Boskonian," Noah said, "we don't have any hard proof. We can't storm a dome just because we think they did something."

"Comrade, you authorized TANGO SHOES on the basis of a news program. Even if we didn't have that, well..." Even over 700,000,000 kilometers of open space, everybody in the Stellvia office could hear the evil grin in Mal's voice. "Mr. Woods was kind enough to swear out a complaint against Mr. Cort and his companions, and we would be amiss as upholders of law and justice if we didn't investigate, nicht war?"

Haruhi laughed. "I knew there was a reason I wanted you on my team, Colonel!" she said, grinning like the proverbial cat.

"And here I thought it was my macrame skills," Mal replied, bemused. "Ah well. Anyway, the attack. If you're worried about an ambush, tell Rockbell to hold off for 15 minutes. Lena and Ptichka will be overhead at that point and can provide fire support."

"Mikuru, send the order. Colonel, get in touch with our people in Serenity Valley and have them standing by as backup. Kyon, Noah, get our press release ready to go as soon as we've beaten these punks."

21 August 2012, 14:00 GMT
Crystal Kyoto

"From ISN, this is FTL Newsfeed. A co-production of Radio Free Albemuth, ISN System Service and WFTL Crystal Kyoto. It's now August 21, 2012 at 1400 GMT. I'm Constance Gardner in Crystal Kyoto. First, this program wishes to apologize for a major error of fact that we broadcast in this time slot yesterday..."