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News Stream, Monday, August 13, 2057

[Network Service Not Available]

LiveStream, 3:37 am, Thursday, August 9, 2057

A news anchor speaks over a video feed cut together from phone cameras.

“First a trickle and then a flood: insects spirits are pouring out of the Chicago Containment Zone.”

A NewsNet overlay identifies an Ares Defender IV ground-to-air rocket truck firing. Trails of white smoke rush into the air and lights erupt in the sky.

“This started only minutes ago. There’s been no time to reach out to UCAS military or other authorities. Not since the initial outbreak have we seen this much insect activity in Chicago. Never before has there been a mass excursion from the Containment Zone.”

Charred pieces of some massive creature rain onto an apartment rooftop, onlookers scattering for cover.

“There’s no indication of what may have caused this incident. We can only recommend that our viewers find shelter, stay indoors, as we continue to report…”

The narration continues, but adds little to the images of a UCAS helicopter on fire, falling from the sky, of thickening smoke lit by explosions, shadows cast from within by massive insectile shapes, and of people screaming in terror, woken from their sleep by the return of a nightmare.

News Stream, Wednesday, August 8, 2057

– Politics –

“This isn’t the end of our struggle, but the very beginning,” proclaimed President Kenneth Brackhaven in his inaugural address, speaking to a crowd that packed the West Lawn of the UCAS Capitol. The newly sworn-in president was explicit that he viewed many of the political figures attending as potential adversaries for his agenda, telling supporters “We have won a great victory, but our fight is not over. It will be fought in Congress, in the courts, and in your home towns.”

– Magic –

Dr. Lori Blackman, head of the Department of Thaumaturgy at the University of Washington, has confirmed reports of a significant astral disruption – a brief weakening of the barrier between our world and the astral plane – detected at research stations around the globe at the time of the bombing that killed great dragon Dunkelzahn and injured now-President Brackhaven. She was unable to specify whether the disruption played some part in the attack or was a consequence. “They didn’t have the technology to detect this sort of phenomenon when Feuerschwinge was killed in 2012, so we don’t have any experience to draw from. We’ve reached out to other great dragons, but haven’t had any success.”

– World –

Saeder-Krupp is celebrating the 100th successful mission for its Bereichswächter-II high-speed patrol drone on the Saeder-Krupp Trans-Afghan Highway. The only AAA corporate project in Afghanistan, the Trans-Afghan Highway represents a key piece of infrastructure for both transcontinental trade and relief efforts in Afghanistan. Saeder-Krupp launched the second-generation Bereichswächter-II in March in preparation for the start of the war season and has claimed a 20% reduction in successful attacks on the, largely automated, traffic along the Trans-Afghan Highway. A tracked, semi-autonomous drone, the Bereichswächter-II is used worldwide by military and security forces.

– Local: Seattle –

A downtown celebration held for the inauguration of President Kenneth Brackhaven was marred by violence as protestors clashed with Lone Star police. Subjects of the protest ranged from broad objections to President Brackhaven, accusations of his involvement with the deaths of his competitors Yeats and Dunkelzahn, to the presence of Humanis Policlub figures at the celebration. Governor Lindstrom downplayed the violence and praised Lone Star for maintaining the peace and avoiding disruption to the event.

– Local: Chicago –

Rumors that Lone Star will be replacing Knight Errant in providing supplemental security for the Containment Zone have gained credence with the appointment of Wilmer Fairday, the current VP of Military Affairs for Lone Star, as President Brackhaven’s Secretary of Defense. The president has a long relationship with Lone Star and, as the Defense Department oversees the UCAS Military deployment in Chicago, the new Defense Secretary may look to his former company to break the status quo in the Zone.

News Alert, 10:06 am, Saturday, August 4, 2057

Lone Star Seattle has identified Robert Richter of Puyallup, SASR as responsible for the bomb that killed the great dragon Dunkelzahn and injured President Brackhaven.

Lone Star investigators have determined that Mr. Richter was a member of the Princes, a Puyallup elf supremacist gang, and that Mr. Richter entered into a conspiracy with other members of the Princes to target Mr. Brackhaven, then a candidate for president. Mr. Richter, a trained chemist and suspected chem manufacturer, is believed to be responsible for the construction and deployment of the explosives used in the attack.

Lone Star raided Mr. Richter’s home early this morning during a meeting between him and other members of the conspiracy. In the resulting exchange of weapons fire, a cache of explosives in Mr. Richter’s home exploded, killing the gang members and injuring three Lone Star officers. Lone Star has indicated that while they will continue investigating whether all the conspirators have been uncovered, they believe that the primary parties responsible have been identified.

News Stream, Thursday, July 19, 2057

– UCAS –

Rioting and violence engulfed cities across the UCAS following the assassination of great dragon Dunkelzahn, independent candidate for president. Supporters of the slain dragon have taken to the streets demanding vengeance, while vigils, unity marches, and other peaceful gatherings have been targeted by anti-metahuman hate groups, killing hundreds across the country and sparking fears of a second Night of Rage. President Pritchard has declared martial law, encouraging supporters of Dunkelzahn to maintain the peace and promising to respect and protect peaceful gatherings, while warning that the UCAS military would react swiftly to any violence.

A funeral will be held Saturday for the great dragon Dunkelzahn at his estate on Lake Louise, Alberta. The ceremony is expected to be heavily attended by dignitaries, high-ranking executives, celebrities, dragons, and other luminaries. Nadja Daviar, the deceased dragon’s former translator, has organized grieving events open to the public throughout the UCAS, thanking “Dunkelzahn’s supporters for their thoughts and prayers,” but asking those without invitations to not attempt to join the Lake Louise service.

– Local: Seattle –

In a joint statement between Lone Star and the UCAS military, a curfew has been imposed across the Seattle Special Administrative Region starting at 9:00 pm tonight and continuing to 6:00 am. While the violence has been the most severe in the Redmond and Puyallup districts, the curfew applies to the entire Region, with resident megacorps announcing similar restrictions, including for the recently-opened public areas of the Renraku Arcology. Any non-authorized resident in any public area is subject to arrest and detention for violation of the curfew.

The Bear Doctor Society, a prominent Council Island charitable organization, has announced that they intend to continue providing emergency medical treatment in the Redmond and Puyallup Barrens throughout the night in violation of the curfew placed on the Sprawl. Their head shaman, Simmu Tannai, stated, “While we appreciate the efforts of the UCAS to maintain order, no one can seriously think that the Barrens will be at peace. There will be people on the street, and they will need our help, so that’s where we’re going to be.” Lone Star spokesman Talia Kingston, when asked for comment, reiterated earlier statements that all civilian relief efforts should be suspended overnight for their own safety.

– Technology –

Trouble outside your own front door? Ares Macrotechnology may have the answer. The Ares Greeter video doorbell already offers full-color and infrared video, high-quality audio, and Matrix connectivity to reach you wherever you are. Now, with the optional integrated flechette cannon, you’re no longer limited to just seeing who’s at your door, but can respond with full force no matter who comes calling. And with the Ares Summer Safety Sale, there’s never been a better time to buy.

News Stream, Sunday, July 15, 2057

– Politics –

Republican presidential candidate Anne Penchyk announced that political commentator Wade King would be joining her ticket as her vice-presidential candidate. Speaking at the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Ms. Penchyk praised Mr. King as a champion of the project to reinvigorate the UCAS, continuing her assumption of the campaign of the deceased General Franklin Yeats. Mr. King joined her in addressing the need to take on the general’s campaign, stating that “The fight to rebuild America cannot be lost after the death of one man, but must instead be made manifest as the destiny of the American people.” The pair have maintained the general’s platform of unification of the former United States, direct military action in Chicago against the insect spirit infestation, and the growth of the UCAS economy through state-sponsored infrastructure programs. [Watch the full speeches by Anne Penchyk and Wade King]

In the wake of the death of Republican presidential candidate General Franklin Yeats, the final debate of the UCAS presidential election, to be hosted Wednesday at the University of Washington, will include former vice-presidential candidate Anne Penchyk, now the Republican candidate for president. Polling since the death of General Yeats show disagreement in the support being maintained by the Republican ticket, with the congresswoman performing better in polls that describe her campaign as a continuation of that by the slain, widely-loved general. The great dragon Dunkelzahn has seemed to benefit the most from the realignment of the polls, with businessman Kenneth Brackhaven and former vice-president James Booth also gaining in support. [Watch our interview with political strategist Sharon Fleming]

– World –

The United Kingdom has renewed warnings against tourists visiting the Wild Lands after a couple from the UCAS disappeared while hiking in Scotland. Jim Morris and Steven Turner of Detroit were visiting the area on their honeymoon when they entered the awakened ecological area with a local tour guide, Fingal McNeal. The trio were reported missing from their hotel in Glasgow after two days, with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launching a search that had to be withdrawn when heavy rains drew each-uisge into the region. [Follow the ongoing story of the search for the missing hikers]

– Local: Seattle –

Mayor Gasston is being targeted with accusations that his administration is permitting Tir Tairngire agents to harass Redmond residents in their investigation of the robbery and vandalism of the Redmond home of a Tir citizen. Karl Brackhaven and other community leaders have expressed the concern that Tir investigators are using the incident to engage in a broad investigation of the Redmond and adjacent communities. Brackhaven suggests that the human-supremacy graffiti is cover for a planned robbery that included precipitating a blackout in Redmond downtown, rather than an attack of opportunity. Brackhaven has used similar claim with regards to other incidents of human-supremacist vandalism, and has done so again without providing support. [Read our report on metahuman-related violence in the Redmond Barrens]

Excerpt from the July 15, 2057 NewsNet show Press the Nation

Susan Ordonez: I’m here with Sharon Fleming, independent political analyst and outspoken supporter of the great dragon Dunkelzahn. Ms. Fleming, thank you for being here.

Sharon Fleming: Thank you for having me.

SO: Let's get right into it. According to the latest polls, it appears that, despite some considerable differences in their platforms, that Dunkelzahn may have benefited the most from the General’s passing. What do you attribute that to, that rather than Yeats’ voters coalescing around Anne Penchyk, the General’s former vice-presidential candidate, or another moderate like former vice-president James Booth, they've gone to a more controversial candidate?

SF: This isn’t a policy election. The controversy over the stolen election has the voter’s faith in government at an all-time low. That’s why you’re seeing two related things: a greater appeal for outsider candidates, who aren’t tainted by what many view as a suspect process, and a focus on personality and authenticity. With Dunkelzahn, as with General Yeats, and even with Kenneth Brackhaven, voters feel that what they’re being told is what the candidate actually believes, even if they don’t agree with all of it. That’s why you’re seeing Dunkelzahn and Mr. Brackhaven moving up in the polls, and that’s why Dunkelzahn is going to win the election. This is a TRID nation, and people know when you're being real with them.

SF: Very interesting. Let’s take a call… Caller, you’re on the air.

[Caller]: Big surprise that the dragon comes out ahead with the general dead. That snake is probably responsible for it…

SO: Now, the Lone Star investigation did show that the general died of natural causes.

[Caller]: That just means it was magic, which means dragon. That scaly ba… [disconnection]

SO: Let's move on to another caller.

News Alert, Sunday, July 1, 2057

– Breaking News –

General Franklin Yeats, Republican candidate for president, was found dead in a hotel outside Chicago early this morning. The general arrived in the area yesterday evening in advance of a rally promoting his promise to clear the city of insect spirits. While Lone Star has not released an official statement, sources within the Yeats campaign have revealed that the general appears to have died from natural causes.

News Stream, Sunday, June 24, 2057

– World –

Tensions continue to escalate on the border between Aztlan and Amazonia. Amazonian president Hualpa threatened retribution if Aztechnology forces don’t withdraw from the disputed Magdalena River Valley, stating “In the same period as our monitoring posts in the valley have been sabotaged, we’ve identified half a dozen Cuachicqueh agents active in the region. The river is home to dozens of endangered species, mundane and awakened, and we will protect them no matter the cost, even if I have to fly there and do it myself.” Both the Aztechnology corporation and Aztlan government denied the presence of their black-ops agents in Amazonia. [Watch the full statement by President Hualpa of Amazonia]

– Politics –

In the lead-up to this Thursday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University, the second of the emergency UCAS presidential election, the polls have a close three-way race at the top between Republican General Yeats, Archconservative Kenneth Brackhaven, and the independent Dunkelzahn. Former Technocrat Vice-President James Booth has been struggling due to most moderates preferring Yeats over Booth, with many voters concerned about Booth’s possible connection to the poll rigging that forced the resignation of the Steele administration. Democrat Arthur Vogel and New Centurian Rozilyn Hernandez have failed to find any significant first- or second-ballot support outside of a small group of core supporters. [Watch our highlights from the first debate]

– Sports –

Tacoma Timber Wolves coach Nayeli Motta remains confident about his team’s chances against the Pittsburgh Hellbenders in tonight’s Combat Cyclist League semi-final match. Despite their star fast-carrier Hotaru Ishikawa being sidelined following the loss of his left arm during last week’s quarter-final against the Carolina Scarlet Snakes, Motta was upbeat when speaking to the press. “Nobody can doubt Hot’s contributions this season, but we’ve got Africa [O'Sullivan] as our backup flag carrier, and we’ve got two of the best heavy bikers in the league running interference for him. Injuries are a part of this game, so we’re ready to play without anyone, even a player of his caliber.” [Reserve your live-stream of tonight’s match now]

– Tech –

Aeroquip has delivered the first shipment of its new “Redball Express” long-range resupply drone to the Confederated American States. The first mid-sized drone with tilt-wing technology, the unmanned vehicle can perform fuel-efficient runway-based launches from friendly territory while using near-vertical takes-offs and landings to deliver ammunition, electronics, and other light supplies into hostile territory. CAS special forces are expected to use the new drones to support their operations in Argentina. Aeroquip is taking pre-orders for the consumer release of the drone later this summer. [Order the Redball Express now directly from Aeroquip to be the first in your area to own one]

– Local: Seattle –

The Renraku Arcology will open, at least in part, this Saturday. While the top three hundred stories remain under construction, commercial, residential, and industrial zones in the lower thirty-three floors will be available, including the Arcology Ultramall, the largest indoor mall in the world. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9:00 am on the Sunset Promenade, an expansive bay-side walkway running the length of the arcology's thirty-third floor, with Renraku America CEO Sherman Huang and Seattle Governor Marilyn Schultz attending. The construction of the massive bay-front structure is expected to continue through 2059. [See the stores opening this Saturday in the Arcology Ultramall]

Local biotech company Ace Biologics has declared bankruptcy following the disappearance of their head researcher, Eddie Leuan, along with all records of their research. Based out of Bellevue, Ace Biologics provided research animals and animal-based laboratory services for preclinical and clinical pharmaceutical trials in the Seattle area. CEO Riley Damarion lamented the necessity of shuttering the business, but explained that the data theft had initiated contractual penalties with their clients, forcing the company’s liquidation. Lone Star has issued a global watch for Mr. Leuan, who is expected to attempt to sell the stolen research on the black market. [Watch Star Rigby interview business analyst Shiro Fujimoto about the difficulties startups face in Seattle]

Excerpt from the June 10, 2057 Presidential Debate

Moderator: Mr. Dunkelzahn, you’ve advocated for providing a SIN to every occupant of the UCAS. Is this really practical?

Great Dragon Dunkelzahn (Independent): It’s entirely possible. We already have most of the information we need. We have it in existing public and private databases. We just need to bother to bring it together and make this happen. We have the opportunity to lift tens of millions of citizens out of the shadows. It’s important we bring these people into the light and into equal participation in our society.

Moderator: Mr. Brackhaven, you’ve vocally opposed such measures. Would you care to respond?

Professor Rozilyn Hernandez (New Century): I’d also like to respond.

Moderator: And we’ll get to you soon, Ms. Hernandez.

Kenneth Brackhaven (Archconservative): These so-called minor efforts my opponent is talking about include fingerprinting, DNA analysis, and other identity checks. These represent much of the expense of a registration. The only population for which we already have this information is the criminal population. Which, though my opponent will likely deny this, is disproportionately non-human. Either his proposed program will cost more than he claims, or it is a thinly-veiled measure to register criminal supporters of his anti-human agenda.

Dunkelzahn: The UCAS ork and troll populations do have…

Hernandez: I was promised the opportunity to address this question.

Dunkelzahn: Mr. Brackhaven mentioned me and I should be allowed to respond.

Moderator: Please continue.

Dunkelzahn: The best way for us to keep people from turning to crime is for us to involve them in legitimate society. That means SIN registration. We need to break the cycle of poverty, of lack of education, and of criminality. We know this isn’t working anymore, and we can do better.

Brackhaven: Of course the dragon has nothing to fear. When he’s not pretending to be human, as he is now, he’s covered in impenetrable scales and can breath fire. But the American people know that there are dangerous elements out there. If the government is going to be spending money on these people, it should be going to police contractors, not some program to give voting rights to criminals.

General Franklin Yeats (Republican): These two have been going back and forth for some time. I’d like to get in on this.

Hernandez: I'd also…

Moderator: Go ahead, general.

Yeats: I think the American people are sick of this sort of division. I agree, I want these people registered. But I won’t let the government device who should be registered. I’ll do it by putting the American people back to work. I’ll let American businesses decide who can best contribute. And that’s what businesses will do when we hire them to rebuild our American infrastructure. My national infrastructure program will put Americans back to work. It will put our economy back on track. And it’s going to get Mr. Dunkelzahn’s people registered as well. How about that, folks?

News Stream, Sunday, June 10, 2057

– World –

Venice residents can breath easier thanks to the unanticipated and rapid restoration of the Venice canals, purging the toxic water and the polluted air that would rise from it, which have plagued the city for decades. Officials with the Republic of Serenissima are trumpeting the previously-unannounced purification as the result of an experimental new detoxification process. The canal renewal has drawn praise from scores of international and environmental leaders, with the Kontrollrat for the Saar-Lorraine-Luxembourg Special Administrative Zone expressing hope that the process could be adapted to the SOX’s own toxic waters. [Watch Serenissima Governor Elisea Buonopane announce the canal’s restoration]

– UCAS –

Sources within Knight Errant have revealed that the security corporation will be issuing the alertness aid dichlormatic prophyllane, more commonly known by its street name “Long Haul,” to its patrols attempting to clear Chicago, Illinois of insect spirits. The confidential sources indicate that the extended periods of time required to track the spirits back to their source and the limited staffing assigned to the project have necessitated this measure. Knight Errant declined to comment. [Join the conversation about the domestic use of combat drugs]

– Politics –

Anticipation builds for tonight’s presidential debate, the first for the emergency election called after the impeachment of President Thomas Steele. The debate will include environmentalist Arthur Vogel (Democrat), Professor Rozilyn Hernandez (New Century), former Vice-President James Booth (Technocrat), General Franklin Yeats (Republican), businessman Kenneth Brackhaven (Archconservative), and the dragon Dunkelzahn (Independent). The debate is to be focused on the topic of foreign policy, including trade relations among the North American states, growing tensions with Russia over the Soviet Reconstruction, and the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan. [Take our poll of who you think will win the debate]

– Local: Seattle –

In a continuing pattern of defacement, the Crying Wall in the Tacoma district has again been vandalized with anti-metahuman graffiti. The monument to those lost in the Night of Rage was spray-painted overnight with statements of metahuman hatred and Humanis Policlub iconography. Karl Brackhaven, head of the Seattle chapter of the Humanis Policlub, denied involvement of the organization or its members, suggesting that the segregationist club was being falsely implicated by paid metahuman instigators. [View our retrospective on the Night of Rage]

Lone Star reports twelve dead in the Redmond district of the Seattle Special Administrative Region in a suspected turf war between known members of the yakuza syndicate and a local street gang. Violence erupted late last night between the local gang, known as the Crimson Blazers, and the yakuza following a perceived intrusion into the street gang’s claimed territory. Department spokesperson Talia Kingston indicated that while no suspects are currently in custody, an investigation is ongoing. [Read more about the increasing violence from organized crime in Seattle]

Local Stuffer Shack employee Ron Reynolds has to take three busses to get from his home in the Redmond Barrens to the downtown location where he works, but even after being assaulted by a barrens street gang, Ron made it to his workplace on-time, only stopping at a health clinic after his shift was over. Once Stuffer Shack learned about Ron’s actions, they were quick to praise his dedication to the franchise, and even refunded him the money he’d paid the store for bandages and pain relievers. [Tell us your story of being recognized for your commitment to your employer]

Transcript: UCAS DoD Press Briefing, January 3, 2056

Major Martha McReynolds: Good morning, everyone. I hope everyone is having a good new year. In a moment we’ll be joined over satellite by Brigadier General Robert Meyers, commander, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, deployed to Chicago, Illinois. He’ll be making a brief statement regarding the current status of the Containment Zone, then take questions.

But before we get started, we'll quickly check our communications.

General Meyers, how do you hear us?

Brigadier General Robert Meyers: Martha, I hear you very well. How about me?

Major McReynolds: Sir, we hear you very well.

We understand you have some opening words for us. Please take it away.

General Meyers: Yes, thank you. Good morning, everyone.

The morning of August 22, attacks by unknown creatures erupted in the southern downtown of the city of Chicago. Based on indications that the creatures were transformed human beings and the geographic spread of the outbreak, an infectious disease, such as the Human Meta-Human Vampiric Virus was considered the likely cause and the 30th Armored Brigade was instructed to begin Operation Loop Control, a quarantine of the city.

It has since been determined that these creatures invaded our world from across astral space. These invaders modify human and insect bodies into combined forms resembling giant insects. These invaders are fundamental inimical to human life. Unlike HMHVV, effected humans are not transformed, but instead repurposed as raw material. Based on their appearance and their astral origin, these invaders have become known as ‘insect spirits.’

On October 1st, after more than a month of successful containment, the insect spirits entered a torpor, a state of reduced activity, nearly eliminating the armed conflict involved in maintaining the quarantine. Since then, we’ve had three months without major incident. The quarantine is secure.

I’ll now take questions. Virginia, go ahead.

Virginia Fuller (Washington Hill-Times): You’ve just confirmed numerous claims about the nature of the incident in Chicago that were made in files purported to have been leaked from the Containment Zone. Can you now confirm the legitimacy of those documents?

General Meyers: I’m familiar with those documents, but, no, we’re not going to attest to the accuracy of everything contained within.

Manny, go ahead.

Manuel Laforge (Chicago Sun-Times): So we’re dealing with inter-dimensional invaders, not a disease. Why, then, maintain the quarantine of Chicago? Why not let anyone still alive in there out?

General Meyers: The insect spirits modify human bodies. We can’t guarantee that anyone in the Containment Zone is free from their influence. Until we can, for the safety of everyone on the outside, they remain inside. The insect spirits are dormant. The airdrops provide supplies far in excess of what the small remaining human population needs. These people are being taken care of, and we’ll get them out as soon as we possible.

Ray, go ahead.

Raynaldo Chavarría (Aztlan Universal): But why then no communications into the Zone? Why is the Matrix still cut off?

General Meyers: There’s reason to believe that the insect spirits had help with their invasion, one or more insect shamans, shamans devoted to the insect spirits. Right now, those who helped bring the insect spirits to our world are cut off from spreading the techniques to others. The information quarantine is as essential as the physical quarantine to containing the invasion to Chicago.

Manuel Laforge: General, can you confirm that several large corporations have been allowed to maintain limited Matrix access?

General Meyers: We have a variety of mechanisms for collecting on-the-ground intelligence from people inside.

Manuel Laforge: I’ve been hearing about more significant outside communication being provided than that.

General Meyers: I’m not going to go into the details of our intelligence gathering.

And that’s been several questions from you. Let’s move to someone else. Alfie, go ahead.

Alfred Guyer (New York Times): The early explanations for the quarantine centered on VITAS, not an HMHVV variant. Given the transformed creatures you spoke of, why was VITAS ever on the table?

General Meyers: The insect spirits build their bodies in organic cocoons. Biological material recovered from those cocoons resembled the late-stage cellular breakdown seen in victims of VITAS. But this is now understood to be a side-effect of the insect spirit transformation process.

Chiyako, go ahead.

Chiyako Hirata (Yomiuri Shimbun): When will information on the insect spirits be released to UCAS allies, such as the Japanese Imperial State?

General Meyers: We have been and will continue to work with partner countries at the highest levels.