<< BACK TO RS001 LOG From: Universe Today
To: Nikolaos Soloviev Delivered-To: Nikolaos Soloviev Received: from qec4.helio.earthsys.gov by qec.sv14417 with ESMTPS id 4D4A053AB9513878 for Received: from relay5.qec5.ganymede.earthsys.gov by qec4.helio.earthsys.gov Received: from relay2.qec6.rs001.l4.earthsys.gov by relay5.qec5.ganymede.earthsys.gov Received: from mta041.sendcast.net by relay7.local.rs001.l4.earthsys.gov Subject: Headlines: September 19-25, 2421 Date: 25 Sep 2421 00:01:39 +0000 Date-Local: 11 Apr 2419 03:25:39 +0000 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf8" HEADLINES FOR SEPTEMBER 19 - SEPTEMBER 25, 2421 [We received your request to discontinue the following segments: "Market Watch", "In Sport". Your content preferences have been updated.] ⦿ "I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT": EARTH SHIPS SMASHED AT MARS September 25 (UT): In a shockingly effective blitzkrieg attack, Belter ships, led by the captured Earth cruiser ENS Brooklyn, smashed the Earth Navy flotilla recently engaged in attempting to suppress the labor riots on Mars. A Universe Today ship in Mars orbit, equipped with military-surplus sensing gear, obtained visual and long-wave infrared imagery detailing the entirety of the short and decisive combat. Based on that imagery, retired wing general and military analyst Nathan Coopersmith, recently arrived in Mars orbit at the time of the battle, described the tactics of the attack as "absolutely textbook." "They came in at maximum thrust on a shortest-time vector from Ceres, and didn't even slow down before opening fire at maximum reload rate. We would have set up that attack exactly the same way," Coopersmith said. "That's absolutely critical, and very telling. That velocity advantage gave them the ability to launch their missiles far outside the range of the ships they were targeting, and they made those shots count. I don't know where they're getting their training, but one thing is absolutely clear: this was not just a bunch of wild rock hoppers. Maybe they were the ones who stole Brooklyn, but I'm not even sure of that. Whoever's crewing her now, though - they know exactly what they're doing." Those initial launches from the stolen ENS Brooklyn, leading the Belter ships, appear to have caught the Earth units in Mars orbit completely off guard, despite over twenty-four hours' warning of the incoming attack. Three ships - the cruiser ENS Pittsburgh, and the frigates San Juan and Caguas - were immediately destroyed. Based on imagery gathered by Universe Today during the attack, it appears no other ships were targeted in this initial assault, including ENS Chicago, flagship of flotilla commander Wing General Hall. "Again, that's absolutely textbook," Coopersmith said. "It's how you make the most of the advantage. Instead of spreading out your fire, you concentrate, go for knockouts you know you can get instead of shooting at everyone and hoping for luck. It's textbook, and it's smart - if you find yourself counting on luck to win a fight, you already made a mistake somewhere. But I'd been counting, and Brooklyn had used up all her shipkillers to get those knockouts. It was a good shot, but I didn't see what they thought they could do to follow it up." Following the initial attack, the Belter ships turned over and began hard deceleration burns which would end with entry into Mars orbit. The remaining four Earth Navy units brought up their engines and began to maneuver, apparently attempting to form up around ENS Chicago. For several minutes, no further attack occurred from either side. "The remaining Earth Navy ships were clearly preparing to sortie out and meet their attackers, and it looked like the Belters were trying to come in and slug it out in high orbit," Coopersmith said, asked to describe these events. "It didn't make sense, especially with how effective they'd already been - sure, they were out of missiles, but at close range they'd lose in a hurry and they had to know it. I couldn't imagine what else they might be doing, though." The purpose behind the Belters' actions became clear minutes later, as long-range radar aboard the orbiting Universe Today ship resolved several dozen small objects separating from the group of decelerating ships. Evidently released prior to the deceleration burn, these unidentified objects continued to accelerate in toward Mars orbit. The events which followed occurred so quickly that no one aboard Universe Today's ship in orbit was able to tell what had happened. Coopersmith and other analysts were later able to reconstruct the sequence of events based on imagery gathered during the attack. "When I saw the radar returns scatter and fade, I realized what they had to be," Coopersmith said. "Rocks. Small Belt objects, maybe a couple thousand tons each, rigged with engines and some kind of shaped charges to shatter them into fragments. We think they must have had some kind of targeting system, too, God knows how. They knew they didn't have enough missiles for every ship in Mars orbit, so they used what they did have, and it worked better than I could have imagined. I've never seen anything like it." Seconds after the unknown radar returns disappeared, ENS Chicago exploded, killing Wing General Hall and his entire command staff. The two frigates nearest the explosion collided in orbit, destroying ENS Phoenix and rendering ENS Ann Arbor unable to maneuver, and leaving the frigate ENS Appleton as the only remaining Earth Navy unit still functional. "I knew Steve Hall pretty well," Coopersmith said. "He was the kind of officer we used to call a killer. Bold, aggressive, hard-charging, always ready to bring the fight to the enemy. Officers like that tend to pick their subordinates for the same qualities, and clearly Steve had done that here. I don't see any other reason why Appleton would've kept going out. Maybe her captain thought the rock hoppers really were done, maybe he thought he'd surprise Brooklyn with a knockout and clean up the small fry after. I don't know, and of course we can't ask now. At least he got a few shots off." ENS Appleton, still building thrust toward escape velocity, succeeded in launching nine of her twelve shipkiller missiles at Brooklyn. However, the stolen Earth cruiser's point-defense weapons proved to be capably crewed, shooting down all of Appleton's weapons well outside their attack range. Less than a minute later, Appleton was hit and destroyed by another of the Belters' asteroid weapons. In the aftermath of the battle, the stolen Brooklyn and the other Belter ships entered orbit, accepted the surrender of ENS Ann Arbor, and instructed the Earth marines still on the surface of Mars to surrender at once. Liana de Buys of the Red Rock Guild echoed the instruction, adding that the Martian miners would accept these surrenders if given. "Your mission here has failed," de Buys said, in a general broadcast from a Mars NewsNet transmitter. "Your ships are destroyed or crippled. Your resupply, your reinforcements, your air support, are all gone, and you know you can't hold out forever. Surrender now! We will treat you as prisoners of war, and send you home as soon as we can. If you try to hold out instead, on your own head be it." At press time, most of the marine formations on Mars were confirmed to have surrendered and been taken into custody by their erstwhile enemies, with only a few holdouts at Endeavour Crater still fighting. It is thought that ENS Ann Arbor, the only surviving Earth ship at Mars, may serve after repairs to ferry home the surrendered marines. Governor Ritter could not be reached for comment, and Universe Today has unconfirmed reports that he may have been killed in the fighting, or captured and executed by Red Rock Guild miners. Universe Today will bring you further bulletins on these events as new information develops. ⦿ PUBLIC INFORMATION CLAIMS COLLUSION IN BATTLE OF MARS September 25 (UPI) - Shortly following the explosive news of the Battle of Mars, Earthgov's Office of Public Information claimed "credible evidence" suggesting that one or both of the Luna-Titan Alliance partners had "colluded with Belt-based criminals" in the attack on Earth's ships. "In recent days, Earth's deep-system intelligence platforms have observed highly suspicious movements on the part of ships known to engage in criminal trade with Titan," a spokesman for Public Information said in a press conference. "While we continue to develop and evaluate new information, we expect at this time to be able to report very soon that Titan, presumably in conspiracy with parties as yet unknown on Earth's moon, provided material aid in weapons and personnel to the Belter criminals who went on to commit their atrocities in Mars orbit. "Earth's government wishes to reassure the populace of the Solar System that these criminals will not escape justice for their terrible actions today. Our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom have come under attack in these deliberate and deadly acts. We will bring justice to the terrorists responsible, and we will make no distinction between them and those who aid and harbor them. Earth has stood down enemies before, and we will do so again this time." The spokesman did not ask for questions. ⦿ EARTHGOV DECRIES DESTRUCTION OF KEARSARGE BY TITAN September 19 (UPI) - Following the destruction of an Earth frigate in an attempt to intercept a Lunar passenger ferry four days ago, Earthgov's Public Information Office stated that the incident was an unprovoked attack by a new alliance actively attempting to instigate warfare with Earth. "ENS Kearsarge was engaged in an internal police action with regard to a single passenger aboard the Moon ferry Quetelet," a Public Information spokeswoman said. "Kearsarge's Captain Whitlow requested that Quetelet permit civilian police officers aboard Kearsarge aboard, so that they could arrest a citizen of Earth who was suspected, with probable cause, of engaging in treason and espionage against Earth. "Instead of assenting to this peaceable request, Quetelet attempted to flee the scene, necessitating a pursuit by Kearsarge in defense of Earth's security interests. Just prior to Kearsarge's successful overhaul and boarding of Quetelet, Titan's faster-than-light ship appeared and opened fire without warning on Kearsarge, destroying the ship and murdering our naval officers and crew before they had any chance to defend themselves or even attempt to surrender. "Earth's government cannot accept such treatment of her brave defenders. Earth's people will not allow it. The actions of Titan, and of the regime currently in power on Earths' moon, constitute a direct attack against the national security of Earth, and our longstanding policy in such cases has been to respond as firmly and assertively as our adversaries should choose to require of us." ⦿ LUNA FOREIGN MINISTRY DEPLORES EARTH ACTION AGAINST FERRY September 20 (UPI) - A spokesman for Luna's Foreign Ministry in a press conference today issued a strong statement regarding the recent interception of an Luna Passenger Lines ferry Quetelet by the Earth Navy frigate Kearsarge. "We are aware that Earth claims this unprovoked attack on an unarmed passenger vessel to have been an internal police matter, threatening none except her own wayward citizen," Li Yen-au said. "These claims fall short of reality in several respects. When the captain of our passenger ferry correctly declined to halt and be boarded, Kearsarge responded by opening fire with weapons designed to destroy other military ships. "It is only thanks to the timely intervention of our new treaty partner, Titan, that no innocents were killed as a result of this crime. We understand that Earth claims the destruction of Kearsarge to be itself an unprovoked attack on a vessel operating peacefully within the bounds of accepted interstellar custom. This, too, is a lie. "Kearsarge had already struck the ferry Quetelet with one missile and fired a second, clearly intending to make good on her earlier threats to destroy the unarmed ship, when the Titan ship And Yet It Moves arrived upon the scene. And Yet It Moves' captain, having been made aware of the situation by a report bravely transmitted by Quetelet's own Captain Crozer, judged that Kearsarge would not accept a demand to cease fire, and acted as she felt necessary to defend the innocent lives aboard Quetelet. "We of Luna wish now to express our deepest gratitude to our Titanian allies and friends for their swift and decisive action in defense of our citizens," Li said in concluding her remarks. "We wish also to advise any and all who would so attack us that they would be wise to consider carefully the fate of Kearsarge before embarking on such a rash course of action." ⦿ SILO SHIPS SEEN SHIFTING ORBITS IN "MAINTENANCE TASK" September 21 (UPI) - Following confirmed reports of Earth's "silo ships" adjusting their orbits, questions to Earthgov's Military Information Office were met with the response that the ships' movements are related to ongoing maintenance required to keep the giant vessels ready for action, and are not in any way associated with political events in the system. "This is an ordinary maintenance task that's performed from time to time," said Major Willem van Dort, in response to a UPI correspondent's question. "We have to make sure those ships are ready when we need them, and that includes their engines and navigational systems. Having them change orbits is just a way to make sure that they're fully functional and ready to defend Earth if they're needed." Asked whether he thought the ships might be needed to defend Earth in the near future, Major van Dort said that he had no further comment, and ended the call. The six "silo ships", each large enough to be distinctly visible in the night sky, are the backbone of Earth's deterrent forces, and thought to carry between two and four hundred nuclear warheads apiece. Retired wing general and military analyst Nathan Coopersmith, when asked about the ships' movements, agreed with Major Van Dort's comments about maintenance, and also noted that he does not recall the last time he heard of the ships being moved. ⦿ SPY HANGED FOR TREASON ON GANYMEDE September 23 (GNI) - Alexander Anders Seifert, a former worker in Earth's military shipyard on Ganymede, was publicly executed today for treason and espionage in the courtyard of the Ganymede Garrison's headquarters and administration building. "Alexander Seifert was convicted of passing crucial military secrets to known members of a Titan spy ring operating on Ganymede," said General William Tasker, after descending from the gallows. "While his Titan accomplices have for now escaped capture and military justice for their crimes, Seifert himself was not so fortunate, and he has now answered for having endangered the safety and security of Earth by his actions." Tasker, thought to be in charge of a secret naval project on Ganymede, went on to say, "Some may ask whether it is appropriate for a military tribunal to pass judgment on a civilian. To them I say: Look around. Look at what's happening in the system. Earth's enemies surround her on every side, and she must be defended at all costs. At a time like this, we soldiers must step to the fore, stand our posts, and do what must be done. If you find our actions distasteful, remember that the blame for them lies not with we ourselves, your sworn protectors, but rather with our enemies, internal and external, who force us to take such actions in defense of us all." While the law mandating capital punishment in cases of treason remains on Earth's books, Seifert's is the first such execution actually carried out in almost sixty-five years. The last, of the infamous "Tycho Seven", occurred in 2357, shortly after Luna's secession from Earth. ⦿ CARAVAN FORMING IN ARIVADA, HEADED FOR WYOMING CAMP September 23 (NAB) - In the wake of riots at the Wyoming New Prospects Facility, a caravan reportedly consisting of hundreds of individuals has begun to form in southern Arivada, with its members claiming they intend to "close down" the facility. "They're enslaving people in there," said one woman, who claimed to be a caravan member but otherwise declined to identify herself. "They say it's a chance at a new life, but it's really a - a prison, they're forcing them to work, starving them." Asked what they would do upon reaching the camp, the caravan member said, "We'll figure that out when we get there, I guess. But we've got lots of trucks." A spokeswoman for the Population Administration, reached shortly before press time, said only, "We are aware of the assembly in Arivada, and we are prepared to take necessary measures to ensure it does not interfere with the smooth running of the New Prospects Facility." ⦿ YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARS AND THE BELT In last week's update, we asked for our readers' opinions on the recent news of events on Mars and in the Asteroid Belt. Here's what you had to say. "I hope those Martian malcontents finally get what's coming to them. Ever since they started up with this pointless unrest, materials futures have been plummeting with no end in sight. People's retirements are on the line here! Can't they understand that?" - JAMES ST. JAMES, Investment Analyst, Lake Shore Drive "Are they even still human out in the Belt? I hear they can barely even have kids with normal people any more. In another generation or two, they'll be a different species, won't they? So why do they even care what happens anywhere else?" - PAMELA CHRISTIAN, Proud Mom of Four, Lenox Park "It's about time they took it to the rich [unprintable] who've been exploiting them! Those [unprintable] have had it too easy for too long. They don't like gettng a taste of the just consequences for what they've done? Well, [unprintable] them! They really won't like it when the same thing starts up here at home." - "X", [unprintable], Lakeview Towers "If it's true about how those miners and their families have been treated, I don't like it. Who would? But to think that violence will bring any kind of improvement - as much as I understand the impulse, a cursory reading of history shows that it's clearly misguided. Only civil engagement among all stakeholders equally can create lasting change." - [withheld by request], Government Major, Cornell University "Where does the Belt get off interfering with inner system affairs? They've made it very clear they don't want anything to do with us, except when it comes to marking up the raw materials we need to rebuild Earth's infrastructure. That's probably the only reason they're throwing in on the side of the miners who keep complaining about their contracts - they don't like the competition." - ANDREW CHO, Purchasing Manager, Casper "Honestly, at a time like this, Mars is nothing but a distraction from the real problem - this new alliance between the Moon and Titan. Their crazy rhetoric about the menace from Earth isn't new, but they've really heated it up lately, and I'm starting to worry that they'll use it as an excuse for some kind of sneak attack on our interests. We need to face them down now, instead of worrying about a bunch of rioting rock-grubbers who don't know a good deal when they see one." - [withheld by request], Loving Earth, Friendship Heights "The whole thing is madness. Look at history and you can see arrangements like this are never stable long-term, and the ill will they generate is a long-term liability that always outweighs the short-term profit. This was always coming, and as long as we keep trying to hold down Mars, it's only going to get uglier. We can't do anything about the past, but we can change the future, and it's time we treated fairly with them instead." - JOSEPH MUELLER, Freelance Historian, Roland Park Recovery Zone ⦿ QUOTE FOR THE WEEK "The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress." - Martin Luther King, Jr. To update your content preferences, message HELP to firstname.lastname@example.org.