SMOFcon Politics List - April Political Roundup
Subject: [smof-politics] April Political Roundup
From: "Col. Mal Fnord, VVS" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 5/01/2012 12:01 AM
What ho, comrades! It's time for the April roundup of all the political movements in and around Fenspace.
The big news last month was, of course, the launch of the SS Grover's Corners from the good ol' US of A two weeks ago. By now I'm sure that everybody in Fenspace knows the basics of the launch so I'm not going to bother going over them here. The good news is that the Grover's Corners crew are happy, sane and decidedly staying out of the factional disputes, so don't nobody try to count coup on them, okay? They'll be parked at L3 for the moment, getting their bearings and the like. Hat tips to Buckaroo for throwing himself in front of the East Coast missile defenses, and to Noah for yeoman catherding in keeping the diplomatic envoys in line at Stellvia. I'm sure the Corners people appreciated not having to clean up after multiple NMD hits and a couple thousand rubberneckers.
That's the good news. The *bad* news is that Grover's Corners might be the last worldship we see for a while. Apparently, lifting an asteroid-sized mass not a hundred miles from the capital tends to *worry* the American defense establishment. Also, President Rudy was less than amused with the whole situation. Long story short, the crackdown's coming again. Between Grover's Corners and the election season, expect a whole new flood of anti-wave laws in the US in the next couple months.
Elsewhere in mundane Americana, we're seeing some interesting political maneuvers within the US military. It didn't make it into the March roundup, but on 31 March the US Navy took matters into their own hands and started their own wavetech space program. According to my buddies at the Undisclosed Location, the squiddies got fed up with the USAF-TSAB axis and gave an old Seawolf the full wave job. I don't know where they found enough fen to run the thing, but that's what they did. In any case, the USS Stingray has been "patrolling" in lunar orbit for the last month while the brass pours oil upon troubled Pentagon waters. I'm not going to suggest that anybody try and get the Stingray to, you know, defect while they're still in legal limbo. That would be Wrong. But it would also be Funny. So I won't suggest it. (Wink wink, nudge nudge, I'm lookin' at *you* Starfleet.)
Over in Europe, the situation is starting to ease up a little. Shockwaves from the Corners launch are radiating (naturally) so expect some more minor restrictions, mostly in launch mass limits and the like. I have to give the Eurodanes credit; they may not like to rain fire & brimstone like the US, but they sure play a mean game of nibbling to death by ducks. Other than a little more reflexive regulation, things are getting copacetic between us and Europe. The grapevine in Brussels has it that the EU is thinking of going into a trade agreement with the Senshi and maybe the Browncoats. I don't know how accurate that is, but if it's good, then good for them.
One problem area we're still dealing with is Russia. Our friends in bear country are whispering that Putin's out to make a power grab. Nobody's sure yet if that means he's going to "nationalize" wave research like the rest of the planet, or if he's actually going to try and build his own little fen empire. On top of that, my contacts at Star City are muttering dire things about the Vory taking an interest. We'll get back to that in a minute, but for now let's be on the lookout for sudden spikes in Russian migration, particularly to the smaller established factions.
(As an aside, I know a lot of us like to use Mr. Morden as a source for intel when it comes to Russian matters. I wouldn't. Morden gives good intel, but that comes with a price. In this case the price is - AFAICT - he's tight with FSB. When it comes to Putin, his word is not trustworthy. Remember this.)
Speaking of megalomaniacs who might cause trouble, the Chinese government put out yet another protest about the "abduction of Chinese nationals by the scofflaws and pirates infesting the solar system." If you're wondering what they've got their knickers in a twist about *this* time, the Republic and the Wizengamot smuggled out another couple hundred of their people (each!) from Shanghai on the 10th. The crackdown remains unabated, with rumors that the PLA will try to confiscate any wavetech that touches their soil. So be on your guard, and if you have engine trouble in Chinese airspace aim for Hiroshima or Ulan Bator.
Meanwhile, down in God's own country, things are going quite smoothly for us. The Lollipop Guild continue to watch out for our interests, as well as maintain their vice grip on the PM's balls. The Libs - egged on by the US - made a halfassed demand for handwavium restrictions after the Corners launch. This demand was very quietly withdrawn after the Guild made their presence known in Canberra. This bit of cheap comedy aside, life in Australia has been good for us and the mundanes.
That's the Earthside politics, now it's time for the Fenspace stuff.
Inter-faction spats were down by half last month, which sounds suspiciously like folks are trying to settle down and be good instead of pranking their neighbors. Or at least, the pranking isn't happening on an institutional level anymore, which is good enough for me.
Kandor City, the fastest-growing part of our little interplanetary empire, is showing signs of becoming a mature metropolis; they've actually hired city workers. I know, I'm as shocked & horrified as you, but our little town is growing up.
Martian politics are screwing up the terraforming project - again. Starfleet has registered yet another complaint to the MTP about their forced relocation once the Vastitas Borealis aquifers melt. Look, guys, I *know* that Utopia Planitia has deep symbolic meaning for you, but you signed on to the terraforming agreement like everybody else. Either learn to swim, or get ready to move in ten years.
Now, for a more troubling subject. I've been hearing more and more about attacks on mining outposts in the Belt. Thing is, I'm not hearing this from the usual sources. *None* of the big players in the outer system - the Browncoats, the Ninjas or the Pirates - are saying word one about these attacks. What little I've been able to piece together comes from disgruntled Nivenite rockrats who're willing to let a communist buy 'em drinks, and my brother cosmonauts in Star City.
Remember back up where I said there were dire mutterings about the Vory? This is the gist: apparently people from certain organizations associated with the Vory have been doing some headhunting among the old Rosaviakosmos ranks. They're offering trips into Fenspace for "certain favors," what kind of favors I haven't heard, but it doesn't take a genius to think there's something bad waiting in the wings.
So, is there a mob war (or worse, a mob takeover) about to happen in the outer system? I couldn't tell you, because the people who would *know* aren't saying anything. Not to me, not to anybody else on SMOFcon.
THIS IS NOT WISE, PEOPLE!
I know we've all got our disagreements, but goddammit! If something bad is happening in the Belt, then WE NEED TO KNOW! And the best way to do that is to SHARE our information! Keeping secrets on this kind of thing is beyond stupid, and it shames me that I even have to *say* this! So if you've got information about what's going on, spill it. I don't care if you think it'll make you look weak in front of your enemies, or in front of the mundanes, or in front of the girl/guy/whatever you're trying to impress; keeping intel secret is only going to set off a worse disaster later. And I swear on St. Yuri's bones, if you bastards withhold something that gets people killed you'd better pray to God for mercy, 'cause I won't have any. End of rant.
That's the political maneuvering roundup for April, 2012. Here's hoping we have a quiet and prosperous May.
--Not Nathan Fillion