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From: Universe Today Special Report <specialreport@universe.today>
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Subject: Special Report: Rioting on Mars; Earth Responds
Date: 23 Sep 2421 20:07:18 +0000
Date-Local: 23 Sep 2421 20:07:18 +0000
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf8"

MARS, September 23 (Ongoing) - Over the last several hours, after a
breakdown in talks aimed at ending the now over four-month-old
general miners' strike, rioting has broken out in several locations
including the Martian Trust administration offices at Endeavour
Crater. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Earth Navy cruisers in
orbit have responded by landing marine assault shuttles, with
rioters said to be actively fighting military forces and casualties
estimated in the hundreds.

A large protest at Martian Trust headquarters, planned for today by
Red Rock and several smaller mining guilds to place additional
pressure for concessions on the Trust, was underway at the time the
fighting broke out. Though it is uncertain exactly what sparked the
fighting, Mars Newsnet has reported that the Trust's security
personnel began firing into the crowd of protesters. One eyewitness
claims that this attack took place in response to several
protesters preparing to throw firebombs at the Trust's headquarters
building, which is now reported to be aflame.

Other riots appear to have begun in response to the outbreak of
violence at Endeavour Crater. Fighting has been reported between
Mars Trust personnel and striking miners at several mine sites in
Hellas Planitia and Argyre Planitia, with targeted bombing attacks
reported against at least two of the rare earths extraction sites
at Tharsis Montes. The latter has been a particular point of
contention between miners and the Martian Trust, with Trust
spokespersons repeatedly dismissing Red Cross and Planet Society
reports of dangerously high levels of heavy metal contamination in
family living quarters at these sites.

Governor Reinhard Ritter, reached by radio at a secure location,
had the following comment: "On behalf of the Martian Trust, and of
myself, I regret that the intransigence of the mining guilds has
caused such a terrible loss of life, with more deaths certainly to
come. Had they been willing to come to the negotiating table in
good faith at any time in the past eighteen weeks, all of this
could have been avoided. But events have now taken on a momentum of
their own, beyond the reach of peaceful resolution."

Representatives of the Red Rock Guild, generally considered to
represent the striking guilds as a whole, could not be reached for
comment by press time. A Universe Today ship in Martian orbit
reported what appeared to be an impact or explosion followed by
venting of atmosphere from Ada Dome, where Red Rock Guild has its
headquarters. Although Mars Newsnet has been unable to confirm
claims of Earth Navy forces engaging in orbital bombardment of
civilian targets on Mars, the Ada Dome incident is one of several
apparent impact events at locations of mining guild headquarters or
other potential strongholds for striking miners.

Just before press time, Universe Today observed four of what
appeared to be Earth Navy landing craft approaching Victoria
Crater, where Mars Newsnet has its headquarters. Shortly after,
Mars Newsnet abruptly ceased to transmit. Three minutes later, the
following joint statement was received by radio from Earthgov and
Martian Trust representatives at the Trust's headquarters in
Chicago:

"We of Earth's Extraplanetary Affairs Office join with our
colleagues in the Martian Trust to deplore, in the strongest
possible terms, the criminal violence now taking place on
Mars. Despite all efforts in recent months to improve working
conditions for our resource extraction personnel, it has become
clear today that the ingratitude of Earth's client workers and the
Trust's protectees knows no reasonable limit.

"We value our clients and protectees, and wish to see no harm come
to any of them. However, in the face of such widespread and
unwarranted violence against Earth and Mars Trust personnel and
property, we cannot stand idle.

"We hereby warn the rioters and those who actively or passively
support them: Cease your criminal violence at once, lay down arms,
and surrender your persons and positions to the Earth forces now
present to ensure your protection. If you do so, you will not be
harmed.

"However, if you remain defiant in the face of such an opportunity
for a peaceful resolution of this crisis, be aware that our
commanders on the scene have been authorized to use any and all
necessary measures to ensure your cooperation.

"We of Earth's government and the Martian Trust wish no harm upon
anyone on Mars, miners and administration personnel alike. But do
not mistake our good nature for weakness. We will not tolerate any
further violence or sabotage by Martian miners, and we beseech you
to lay down your arms while the opportunity exists. You have one
hour from the time of this message's transmission to do so. After
that time, we will not answer for the consequences to your persons,
combatant or otherwise."

At press time, Earth's ultimatum had just over thirty minutes left
to run, discounting the approximately fourteen-minute transmission
time from Earth. No response was forthcoming from Red Rock Guild or
any other spokespersons for the miners' guilds, and no ebb in the
fighting was reported or could be observed.

Universe Today will provide further bulletins as these developing
events warrant.