Shooting on Nimbus

“This latest attack will not stand, we will locate and prosecute the people responsible for the attack to the fullest extent of the law.” — Admiral Lance Thomas

On the 18th security officers collected several assailants at Finnegan’s Tavern on Nimbus Station. One of first splicers was attacked by an unknown number of assailants during the evening of the 18th. Security responded but not before the injured officer was shot in the stomach at close range by a phaser blast. The site is frequented by many of the military personnel on the station and is run by Captain Lee Finnegan.

Solas Tempus has not released details of the incident nor the name of the person attacked, only that he was retired and worked in the hospital. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the unnamed victim was one of the team which helped in the recovery efforts of Admiral Lance Thomas after his return from capture. Given recent events, we reached out to Admiral Thomas for comment.

We have always taken the security of our officers, crew, and civilian residents seriously. It it deeply troubling when a man who did not wish to come here, who was forced here by the Splice phenomena that pervades this system, turned his life to service of the people who welcomed him among them is attacked without provocation. It is even further troubling to know this person was retired and had devoted his remaining years to the medical profession, healing the sick and wounded. Such a person should, at the very least, not have to concern himself with being shot and potentially killed by attackers after surviving numerous military campaigns bravely both in his native universe and here in ours.

It is truly inspiring to see someone who is so devoted to the service of others. Retiring from military service only to go into the medical profession. Especially when this man could have rested on his laurels and no more would have been expected of him. Such a person deserves our respect and gratitude.

This latest attack will not stand, we will locate and prosecute the people responsible for the attack to the fullest extent of the law.

Admiral Lance Thomas

When asked for further details on the attack Admiral Thomas reiterated that he could not comment further on an ongoing investigation, being handled internally by the Solas Tempus security forces rather than civilian agencies.

Within hours of our speaking with Admiral Thomas an unnamed source at Serenity Station indicated to reporters that an increase in the number of patrols was being organized. In addition, another source at the Umbral Shipyards indicated that many of their support craft which had yet to be assigned were in the process of being refit with more advanced sensor arrays. A second source at the shipyards confirmed this and also confirms that orders have been issued to upgrade the sensor arrays of existing vessels, fighters, shuttles, and all other starship and auxiliary craft in the region. It is unclear the reasons for such upgrades or orders, though it could indicate that the organization is actively searching for something which requires new hardware capabilities.

Is the surge in activity in the system related to the recent attack? The timing seems to indicate that it could be, but Solas Tempus denies that new ordered have been given, insisting that any upgrades taking place are part of the normally scheduled routine maintenance. If it is related, one has to wonder what Solas Tempus is searching for.

Drem Confusco Missing in Action

Captain Drem Confoscho has been officially reported as missing. At this time anyone with information on her potential whereabouts is asked to come forward and contact Solas Tempus immediately or the office for the Department of Protection and Investigation immediately.

The wife of the former head of Solas Tempus has been declared missing in action. While little is known about the circumstances of her disappearance, Captain Drem Confoscho has been officially reported as missing. At this time anyone with information on her potential whereabouts is asked to come forward and contact Solas Tempus immediately or the office for the Department of Protection and Investigation immediately. While Admiral Lance Thomas has not been available for comment the head of Solas Tempus, Admiral Sal D’Amico was available for comment earlier today.

We are very concerned about the recent disappearance of one of our own. Captain Confoscho was a cherished member of our organization and we ask that anyone with any information please come forward either through my office or the DPI. She was last seen at 3:50am local time on route to Trocara in the Markab System approximately 57 light years from here. There was no distress call, at 3:22am we received the last automated telemetry from her vessel, the Ghost Quartz. Next telemetry from an unmanned sensor station operated by Starfleet Command picked up the vessel near the edge of its sensor range, the station tracks the vessel until it disappears from sensors at exactly 3:50am local time while still within sensor range.

Admiral Sal D’Amico

Further details have not been provided to the press, though records indicate this was a routine trip to Trocara where her and Admiral Thomas share a home. The registered flight plan lists the trip as personal, further, records indicate Captain Confusco was granted a weeks leave shortly before departing.

Rumors have circulated for months that there was tension between Admiral Thomas and Captain Confusco following his capture and rescue where he was believed to be dead. It is not known at this time if Admiral Thomas was aware of the trip to Trocara or not but the Solas Tempus public relations office has confirmed that he is assisting with the investigation.

Bombing of Nimbus

Anyone tuning into the Serenity Concord news broadcasts would find the familiar, detached expression of news anchor John Boyega would be staring back at them. He cleared his throat, and began to speak.

“Several weeks ago, as many of you know, an Andorian male identified as Koss Th’sherheth entered a hospital on Nimbus station while Commander Mike-037 was visiting an injured Solus Tempus Marine, and bombed the building. Aside from causing massive amounts of structural damage to the hospital and nearby buildings with the blast itself, he took the lives of 100 civilians and hospital workers, as well as severely injuring 20- including the target of the bombing: Commander 037. 30 more civilians were left with minor injuries. Everyone else was unharmed.

“Protests have sprung up against the excessive use of force against the media by ST security forces during the crisis,” Boyega’s words were supported with video of Tobi Angelos straight up yoinking all the media equipment out of the reporter’s hands while the hospital burned in the backround. “However, as no damage was done to the equipment or reporters, none of the outlets involved have pressed charges. Our own Serenity Concord Broadcasting Company claiming that ‘Solus Tempus security was merely trying to keep everyone at a safe distance from ground zero’. The public disagrees.”

The footage changed to video of security forces being obstructed on patrol by a group of protesters. There was no audio, due to the amount of obscenities shouted at the two poor patrolmen. They looked afraid for their safety, hands tightly gripping their phasers as more security arrived to try and disperse the crowd.

“The bomber’s apartment was searched, and it was revealed he left a note behind for Solus Tempus and the Concord at large. For security reasons, we’ve not been permitted to release the exact words on the note, but long story short… Koss Th’sherheth claimed that ST has long discriminated against non-humans of all kinds. He didn’t provide any proof, only accusations. He also accused the organization of becoming a fascist state with the increasing size of the military and the seemingly total control of Fleet Admiral Lance Thomas and Fleet Admiral Sal D’Amico. He claimed to be part of an Onyx supported ring of anti-human terrorists aiming to help bring about the demise of Solus Tempus.

This has sparked more outrage, as it seems the recent attempts to guarantee the safety of civilians have only brought more danger, closer to home.”

Introducing Force Recon

“This already causes some issues for most, as the Spartan-II’s have already been proven to be unreliable and sketchy at best.” A flat out lie, but Mr. Boyega’s job was just to read the words on the screen. He couldn’t have cared less about this himself. “The fact that Solus Tempus continues to increase their military presence is also frightening to many, and protests have begun to try and bring about some sort of limitation on the organization’s growing armies.”

After a very generic, local news type intro with some synth riffs and aggressive brass that was just grating to any ears listening, the actual reporting began. A man behind a desk in a suit, holding a PADD began to read from a teleprompter behind the camera.

“Hello everyone, and welcome to the most trusted source of news within the Serenity Concord. I’m John Boyega, and boy do we have some things to go over today.” The screen changed from his face to footage of the Solus Tempus Marine Corps during a training exercise.

“Just a month ago, the Command Staff of Solus Tempus announced they’d be opening a special forces division of their Marines. They’ve named it Marine Force Recon, and already the news has kicked up dust among the general population in Schatten system. It’s stated purpose is to be the first line of offense between Solus Tempus and anyone who would attempt to attack them, and it’s being led by Spartan-II’s Mike-037 and Alicia-052.”

The screen now showed two pictures, one with Mike standing in his armor without the helmet, and a second with Alicia fully enclosed in her armor.

“This already causes some issues for most, as the Spartan-II’s have already been proven to be unreliable and sketchy at best.” A flat out lie, but Mr. Boyega’s job was just to read the words on the screen. He couldn’t have cared less about this himself. “The fact that Solus Tempus continues to increase their military presence is also frightening to many, and protests have begun to try and bring about some sort of limitation on the organization’s growing armies.”

Now they showed clips from the protesters being interviewed. Boyega sipped his coffee and relaxed, he didn’t have to do anything now. Not until the cameras panned back at least. The first protester was a young woman, around her early twenties it looked like.

“We can’t just let them shoot anyone who disagrees with them! The Serenity Concord was formed to promote peace, and Solus Tempus putting some warcrime machines in charge of a bunch of trigger-happy, brainwashed teenagers is not peaceful. What are they gonna do? Conquer the whole galaxy?”

The other clips were some variation of this, and there were mentions of Leo and the Epoch acting as the mobile headquarters of the special forces. The camera panned back to Boyega.

“That’s currently all the information we have on Force Recon, as the Spartans refuse to release any information- even the names of the men and women they’ve recruited have been hidden behind number codes. Whatever they’re doing, it’s probably no good. And now, on a lighter note: space squirrels.”

Military Use of AI Sparks Controversy

This controversy has brought several deep philosophical questions to light, one of the most potent of which is the idea about programming. If an AI is programmed to do a job, do they really have a choice to do anything else?

While generally considered by many to be the most permissive and equal culture for artificial intelligence in the galaxy, the Serenity Concord has come under fire recently from the Icarus League, an AI rights advocacy group based out of Nimbus Station. The passage of the Artificial Life Form Rights and Enforcement Act in 2384 has been promoted by the group as a “good start” toward truly equal rights between AI and biological life. The organization has recently began protesting how the Concord and in particular Solas Tempus make use of AI. In particular the group accuses Solas Tempus of forcing AI’s into militarized roles and as subservient to biological leadership. Recently the Icarus League has found an unlikely ally in a gender equality organization (Equality Alliance) primarily based out of the United Federation of Planets which fights for intervention in other cultures which show a clear gender bias in either enacting or executing laws.

The Icarus League has lodged a formal protest for what they claim is “an unfair militarization of AI programs”. The practice began with the advent of Multinodal Core and the Mark I Android Body. With the ability for an AI program to transfer safely to and from an android body, Solas Tempus has begun placing the Multinodal Core technology in new vessels giving ships as “Master Systems AI”. This AI program is responsible for not only running ships systems but may be called upon to complete missions in their entirety should the crew become incapacitated or killed. Such an AI is usually also a member of the command crew of the ship, most often 1st or 2nd officer.

The formal protest also notes that very few of the AI programs are granted true command positions, relegated to secondary positions such as “Operations Officer” or “Executive Officer” making them still subservient to biological masters. The League claims this is not only unfair but a violation of the 2384 rights act passed by the Concord. They have demanded the Solas Tempus release some proof that they are not exploiting AI programs and put a stop to the practice at once.

The Equality Alliance has lodged its own, separate, formal protest against Solas Tempus itself stating that the group has unfairly targeted female AI programs for placing as executive roles on new starships. Since the AI programs are predominantly identified as feminine the Equality Alliance has accused Solas Tempus and the Concord of “setting gender rights back at least two hundred years with short-sighted decisions based on ancient biases”.

We were able to reach Sal D’Amico for his comments on accusations of forcing AI programs to join the military.

Due to the passage of the AI rights act of 2384, the Concord has seen a major increase in the number of AI entity that have petitioned to become citizens of the Concord. It should be noted that no AI entity has been turned away in their request. Such entities are afforded the same rights as any other group, though many were created in military settings of other races, governments, and even companies. These entities wish to put those skills to use and a great many have applied to join Solas Tempus. Again no AI entity has been turned away from doing this. The program of giving a specialized role to AI programs wishing to serve in our space force as a “Master Systems AI” is not forced, positions are offered and very often asked for by AI programs. No AI has been forced or coerced into a position as a Master Systems AI and no AI has been denied an android body which has requested one.

Fleet Admiral Sal D’Amico of Solas Tempus

Admiral D’Amico is correct, there has been a definite surge in applicants to the Concord and to Solas Tempus of AI programs of various types since the AI rights act as passed two years ago. Many of these entities were in hiding for fear of being forced into servitude again. Even with these facts, the Admiral’s statement has fallen on deaf ears for both the League and Alliance. While Solas Tempus refuses to comment on the accusations of gender bias within its ranks, the Concord representative for the Schatten System Murrika was available for comment.

We are grateful for the passionate press for equal rights for all life. Recently we have been accused of the unconscionable practice of forcing an AI program to be feminine and serve at the behest of biological masculine people. This is quite simply not true, we value the sanctity of all life of all kinds and of all genders. We do not, nor will we ever, force a particular gender identity onto a sentient entity of any kind. Such actions would be illegal under the law, should any person or group have proof of such accusations, I challenge them to bring such proof to my doorstep or to our courts!

Senator Murrika, Representative for the Schatten Star System

Our own survey of recent AI additions to the Concord and to Solas Tempus itself has seen that there is, in fact, an abundance of feminine AI entities from the XIA’s being created to AI programs which have moved to the Concord. We were able to speak to one of the very first prototypes of the XIA’s, Camila Xia.

You asked me if I was ever forced to do anything. I wasn’t, I have a job though. A lot of people have jobs and for most humans and other biological life they are left alone to figure that out on their own. I was programmed to do my job, I enjoy my job. I provide information to the person I’m assigned to. Sometimes that means I make notes on meetings, record events, do deep-dives into a particular research topic, or collect information. Most of the time what it means is that I study important topics and use my processing power to make connections that may or may not be difficult for many biological people to make in a short amount of time. I’m kind of an expert at whatever I need to be an expert on.

No one here has ever forced me to be a girl or join the military or anything else. I’m really upset that people think that just because I chose to be a girl means I was forced. Or just because I chose work for Solas Tempus, I was forced. It’s completely absurd and insulting.

Lt. Commander Camila Xia of Solas Tempus

This controversy has brought several deep philosophical questions to light, one of the most potent of which is the idea about programming. If an AI is programmed to do a job, do they really have a choice to do anything else? This is a much deeper question and gets into the nature of choice. Advocates for AI rights say that it may not be true choice. Admiral D’Amico had a final comment on this issue when we spoke.

Most adults remember a time when they had to decide to keep doing what their parents wanted them to do or stop and make their own way. Some choose to go into a family business or follow a religion because it was what they were raised on, it is what they know. Others choose to break away and follow their own path. There are an infinite array of choices in between those extremes. How is that different from programming? We don’t like the word. No one likes to think of themselves as programmed but we are. Programmed with cultural beliefs, behaviors, rules, and so much more. All of our learned behavior are programs.

Fleet Admiral Sal D’Amico of Solas Tempus

Certainly there are a lot of questions to ask. Questions that are as difficult to understand as they are to answer. As with any controversy based on such questions, it is clear that there isn’t going to be a resolution anytime soon. Solas Tempus is committed to its continued use of AI programs on its vessels throughout the controversy. In fact a recent policy shift within the organization has created a military review board to determine proper ranks befitting the skills and positions of AI programs which have not previously been afforded ranks within the organization. Sources within Solas Tempus indicate this has been on the table for the last two years while they worked out exactly how to proceed. Moving forward the organization has committed to providing ranks and options to those AI programs which have previously not been explicitly provided with such.

While initially this new policy was to be overseen by the (mostly) biological leadership, the Icarus League has taken broad credit for pushing Solas Tempus into having a review process that involves AI programs. While the policy will not be entirely enacted by AI, Solas Tempus has agreed that there will be equal AI and biological representation. Officials declined to name names of who would be overseeing this process or who would participate.

Several advanced programmers and experts in the field of AI have also noted during the controversy on gender that most AI development uses adaptive neural networking to “grow” a consciousness out of base directives. Cited most often is the QUINN Type AI, whose framework has become the centerpiece of modern AI development. While there is some disagreement on the details it is widely considered that the AI personality, gender, and even sexuality are developed in an organic way. The AI neural network responds best with a very small set of directives and adding a gender and its facets to ensure the production of a feminine (or masculine) gender would be difficult, though not impossible. From our own research the current state of the art in AI growth state an AI personality begins to develop first as the neural network becomes more complex, in theory the gender of an AI develops at that time before an AI network becomes self aware or even conscious for the first time.

The details of how an AI neural network grows into a fully sentient, living, being are unclear. Perhaps as research moves forward more answers to these philosophical questions will be forthcoming.

Fleet Admiral Thomas Returns

As of this moment the hospital will only state that Admiral Thomas is being cared for and is stable but still listed as critical but expected to pull through. No other information is available on his condition or the circumstances which lead him to be classified as deceased.

On December 21st, 2385 Fleet Admiral Lance Thomas was admitted to the military hospital at Nimbus Station under the care of his personal physician Doctor Nevyn. Details are scant at best with military officials having declined to make any comments thus far on the apparent rescue and recovery of the Admiral, thought dead over a year ago. The operational details are scarce, but we do know that the rather new STMC recently dispatched a unit along with several other vessels on a classified mission. Further we also know that acting Fleet Admiral D’Amico left suddenly at around the same time.

As of this moment the hospital will only state that Admiral Thomas is being cared for and is stable but still listed as critical but expected to pull through. No other information is available on his condition or the circumstances which lead him to be classified as deceased. Many are confused by this sudden change in status and how the Concord could get things so wrong. Some may recall that when he was declared death his wife, Drem Confoscho, took leave from her command of the Drakon following some troubling murders on the vessel. Since then the woman has been rarely seen though her command was restored.

Was there a Coalition?

According to unofficial sources a distress call was received by numerous receivers just prior to resources throughout the sector being activated. A number of reports have also come in that a civilian component was present, several cargo, transport, and merchant vessels somehow also responded to this distress call including the famed recluse Marcus Trent head of Excalibur Inc. The coalition force reported included Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Avali, Concord, and Civilian elements but details are sketchy as to exactly why such a large force was deployed or how they all came together in the first place. A coalition of this nature has not been seen since the Dominion War over 10 years ago. One interesting note to make is that the infamous Tal Ravis also is rumored to be part of the assault team, though requests for comment from Mr. Ravis himself or his commanding officer have gone unanswered. Mr. Ravis is known to have been involved in rescue efforts previously and to have been a prominent figure in several battles within the Schatten System itself, once brought up on charges for his misuse of a powerful experimental weapon during one such battle. Even though he was under investigation and facing imminent charges at the time, Mr. Ravis participating in the daring rescue of Admiral Thomas and was cleared of all charges. It appears that Admiral Thomas owes Tal Ravis again, as one anonymous sources states that he lead the team who actually performed the rescue.

Finally we are reasonably certain that a group of four arrivals from an alternate timeline joined Ravis in the team to rescue Admiral Thomas. Tina Lockwood, Jedidah Shafir, Qing Shan, and Eugen Strauss were sighted by multiple sources disembarking with Ravis and his usual team. These four have the distinction of being the only known splices to have occurred outside the Schatten System, they appeared at Starbase Tranquility in the Markab System. Little is publicly known about the quartet other than they are exceptionally skilled operators.

Possible New Weapon?

Other reports have come in that Solas Tempus used an as-yet completely classified vessel which has yet to be publicly known. The vessel itself was said to be the largest vessel ever constructed. A triangular shape the ship was said to have provided cover during the battle and her arrival turning the tides. Additional reports also say that Solas Tempus captured an enemy space station of some kind, supposedly spherical in shape with incredible weaponry. Neither of these reports have been confirmed at this time and requests for comments of Solas Tempus also gone unanswered.

Eyes in the Barracks

The bravest, finest, best equiped. Solas Tempus Marines are elite of Solas Tempus forces. Today we invite you to join with us for day of their training. Read about whole day in barracks, learn about experiences you might get, see what those who decide to pursue this carreer endure.

Today one of our reporters was invited to observe day from a training of Solas Tempus Marines. They receive invitation for whole day and clearance to take footage, obviously with restriction that ST has to see material before it will get aired to make sure no classified information get released.

Morning / Breakfast (0600)

Day of training starts early at 0600, recruits are waking up and suiting up into their uniforms then forming line inside their bunk barracks. Their drill instructor commences inspection of their uniforms and service phaser rifles.

After that they leave forming up at parade ground for announcements. They learn that we are here and are to provide us with any assistance we require. They are also informed that we are allowed to record training. After that recruits go to mess hall for breakfast.

One of drill sergeant stopped us and told that this meal will be special showing us apparently a flashbang grenade used to non-lethally subdue hostile forces. We observe as he sneaks up to mess hall door and few minutes into breakfast throws it in yelling about attack. Recruits that are here already for few weeks without thinking reach to their equipment, some flip tables to create barricades, they are shortly followed by more recent ones…

Apart from one.

His battle-buddy tried to pull him behind cover before its too late but poor recruit was noticed standing in the open by DI. We overheard one of other recruits saying

“Oh god, no”

Recruit from the Same Unit

As Sergeant approached recruit he started yelling at him, and telling him that he would be dead if this would be real attack. In end he asked recruit for his unit then announced that, quoting

“[Since] this unit has such stupid dead rookies they need to now clean whole mess hall. Later expect even more fun!”

Drill Sergeant Kerry Adamns

While unit started cleaning rest of marine trainines went to their respective training areas, we followed one one them.

Morning / After Breakfast

Unit we followed arrived at range where they were issued power packs to their rifles. Taking positions they loaded them in and at command started firing at holographic targets. Taking their time they aimed down the sights scoring hits. After that they moved to obstacle course. This too went mainly calm as recruits moved under, over and across obstacles. After that recruits got some time off. We got informed that they will be going on a walk around country side soon, and that if we want we can go with them or go to other team, we decided to take walk with the recruits. 

During that march i heard one of funnier exchanges between drill sergeant and recruit:

“Recruit Kowalski, I didn’t saw you at camouflage training yesterday!”
“Thank you sir drill sergeant! I appreciate your compliment!”

Recruit Kawalski and Drill Sergeant Kerry Adams. We must congratulate Recruit Kowalski for his outstanding performance during training in camouflage

Noon

Recruits walked out of base in column and started walking down the road, each one carrying whole kit weighing 50 pounds (this is kit without their Exoskeleton, this team didn’t reach point in training to use them yet). One of sergeant approached us carrying even larger backpack, which for recruits was majority of their gear, imagine our surprise when he showed us that his backpack, which was two times size of recruits one, was filled with pillows. He told us to stay silent about it.

During exercise we saw him approaching multiple recruits asking to swap bags with them, we weren’t surprised that they were refusing, although our cameraman could barely hold laugh at whole situation, so did I to be honest. Finally one of recruites decided to swap, his face was pure shock when his 30 pound backpack got suddenly replaced by maybe 5 pound bag of pillows. He quickly regained his composure and continued on like nothing happened. One of other recruits told us later that some instructors love to pull antics at recruits, we could see that few more times.This walk took majority of day with only break for MREs as team was scheduled to arrive after last meal.Instructor asked if we want to stay for night to see how barracks operate at that time, seeing it as good occasion we obviously agreed. I decided to stay with troopers in barracks while rest of crew went to more comfortable accomodations at DI quarters.

In middle of night I felt slight poke.

Middle of Night

When I woke up I saw teams DI showing me to be silent and pointing to “firewatch” who was asleep.

This occurrence requires some backstory, in old age when firearms were propelled by powder and most common type of explosive was TNT (a very unstable material) Firewatch was officer that was on guard to wake up sleeping soldiers in case of fire, in early 2000 that function became more symbolic, or as some called it “torture”.

Firewatch currently Is sentry that guards barracks from unauthorized personnel (i.e recruits from other teams). This firewatch as I mentioned was asleep.

Next thing I saw I will probably never forget, it was just so out of this world. Drill Sergeant in full camo fatigues and face paint dropped on ground and started crawling under bunks toward firewatch desk, I saw some soldiers on his path waking up, but they swiftly turned to observers, no one even thought to warn poor bastard that stood guard. As the Sergeant approached the recruit he pulled out phaser and put it to his back screaming some gibbering in bad Klingon. It is no wonder to anyone that watch woke up reaching to his service rifle that DI swiftly took.

This recruit probably didn’t had next day easy as his whole unit was so called “smoked”, that is disciplined through intense training (I heard he received “Ridges” as nickname although I wasn’t able to confirm that).

Next day we gave all material we had to ST intelligence to inspect and after receiving green light, we send it to you right here.

Orbital Deployment Exercise

What you’re about to see is really something special. Each trainee must complete some of the most extreme combat and insertion maneuvers we can put them through, so when they are out in the field they can go through whatever is needed and complete their objectives. I don’t personally know of any training programs which do this as a standard training program either.

Recently Vice Admiral Emily Artis allowed reporters from the Soteria News Service to tag along with the latest group of trainees which are nearing graduation from the Solas Tempus Academy and become members of the young but illustrious new group, the Solas Tempus Marine Corps. Our reporter met with their commanding officer to tell him about what this was all about.

What you’re about to see is really something special. Each trainee must complete some of the most extreme combat and insertion maneuvers we can put them through, so when they are out in the field they can go through whatever is needed and complete their objectives. I don’t personally know of any training programs which do this as a standard training program either. The trainees are taken up to around 250 km, with an orbital velocity of right around 180,000 kps. Our drop point is randomly chosen at liftoff to prevent anyone from knowing what they’re going to jump into. Once we’re in the window for the drop point, the trainees are deployed. They must safely deploy from the vehicle and arrive within the target landing zone within a set time from. So what you’re about to see is their final exam of sorts, these people have been training for a long time to do this, all building to execute this drop.

Captain Reginald Armando

Captain Armando is quite proud of his people, he talked further about how the trainees are trained in order to accomplish this. The Orbital Deployment Exercise is just one small part of the overall examination process.

The team loaded up at Serenity Station in a Type 6 Shuttle, giving each other a hard time about who might fail and making jokes about who might throw up in their armor. The armor is of particular interest, as Solas Tempus bagan developing advanced exoskeletons before the incorporation of the Serenity Concord, what the marines are wearing is termed as Class 1Z Advanced Cybernetic Exoskeleton, developed specifically for use by the marines. We spoke to one of the trainees about the armor and what it allowed them to do.

Oh, the 1Z? Yeah, it’s pretty amazing technology, it’s like it lets you do what your mind sets out to do. It’s some powerful stuff, we’re all pretty good soldiers, well trained, and there’s always limits. The body can only handle so much, with the 1Z though it’s like a perfect kind of partner. The 1Z helps you do what’s got to be done.

Trainee Brett Evans

Mr. Evans, soon to be Ensign Evans, went on to talk about how the armor was an extension of who he was, just a hunk of alloys and technology until someone like him straps in. Many of his fellow trainees felt the same way, like they were pretty good but the armor let their body do what needs to be done, beyond what others can do. Of course, the Captain had a slightly different take on things.

The 1Z? Yeah it’s impressive hardware, and these kids really like it. There’s a lot to like about it. They aren’t wrong when they talk about the fact that it becomes an extension of the wearer though, we picked these people for a reason though. Each one of them makes the 1Z look like a toaster in comparison to the possibilities. These kids have the best training without even touching that armor before they even qualify to look at it.

Captain Reginald Armando

Captain Armando went on to talk about the training that each person goes through, in fact one of the qualifying tests is about armorless-operations where for their finals the trainees will go head to head with seasoned veterans who know all the tricks and tools of the trade. The program is really impressive.

The Jump

Once the shuttle lifted off, the trainees were made aware of their drop coordinates and the joking stopped. That’s when the Captain issued orders for the trainees to prepare to drop and each one secured and checked the armor, plugging the drop coordinates into the armor’s on board computer and securing their helmets. The rear hatch opened and the trainees gave the thumbs up, when the shuttle was over the right orbital window, they got the green light and jumped out, two at a time, right out of the protective force field and over Soteria in hard vacuum.

The Captain as well as the Vice Admiral and myself watched from the shuttle cockpit as the trainees descended and hit the atmosphere, according to the Vice Admiral that was the moment where a lot of the pass and fail grades would be decided, being able to go from hard vacuum to atmospheric reentry in a suit of armor is not an easy thing. All the trainees made it to the ground in the end, though their grades are still being decided. On the ground, the group was in good spirits, some expressed wanting to hop back up to orbit and do it again. They would get their chance, this wasn’t the only orbital drop they’d have to do in order to become marines. All of them were eager to get onto the next phase of the process.

Homicide on the Drakon, Captain on Leave

On January 1st, 2385, Drem Confoscho took leave from her duties after the incident involving her newlywed husband, Fleet Admiral Lance Thomas. She was rarely seen in public within the past month and most expect she’s been staying home, although nobody answers the door.

A month after her leave, on February 11th, at 1200 hour’s, a splice was reported on the USS Drakon in the transporter room. Michaela Graeson, a close friend of Drem Confoscho. Graeson was on break in the transporter room talking to Captain Confuscho and the Second in Command of the Solerian security when she was shot nine times in the chest before being chased down by Drem Confoscho herself. Unfortunately, Graeson passed away as she was going into surgery. Security camera footage has not been released due, officials with Solas Tempus Security cites privacy concerns.

The suspect has since now been detained and is under heavy surveillance until further notice. More news will be given out as the situation unfolds.

A Most Unusual Distress Call

We’ve got a ship in trouble, doesn’t matter if we’ve never heard of it. All the questions can get asked later, for now we mean to find them and rescue them – whoever they are. Once the crew is safe, then I have some questions for them. Until then, it’s about making sure that we answer the voice from the darkness asking for help. No one gets left behind on my watch.

At 2300 hours on December 26th, 2385 reporters from the Soteria News Service received an unusual signal via the lower spectrum of the subspace local communications band. The signal is a repeating sequence spelling out coordinates and asking for assistance. The ship’s identification is encoded in the signal but the ship is not found in any database.

The ship identifies itself as the STV Arden Trinity, it identifies itself as registry number TOV-199257-D. The distress call itself has only a simple repeating digital message; repeatedly declaring the vessel to have suffered a catastrophic failure and requesting immediate assistance. There is no voice component to the message and reporters, upon receiving the signal, immediately attempted to raise the vessel on the same and tertiary subspace channels to no avail. The incident was reported to Solas Tempus and the Concord. Solas Tempus reported that no vessel has that designated under that name nor with that registry number, yet they have reported that they are attempting to pinpoint the location the signal has originated from so that they can dispatch rescue vessels. Apparently the coordinates given the message are for an area of deep space and there is too much space to cover, long range probes detect no vessel at those coordinates. Probes have been launched to search nearby areas of space, trying to locate the origin of the signal.

When asked for her comments on this unknown signal and if Solas Tempus had any issues responding to such an unusual signal; Vice Admiral Vermilion of the Search and Rescue division of Solas Tempus responded:

“We’ve got a ship in trouble, doesn’t matter if we’ve never heard of it. All the questions can get asked later, for now we mean to find them and rescue them – whoever they are. Once the crew is safe, then I have some questions for them. Until then, it’s about making sure that we answer the voice from the darkness asking for help. No one gets left behind on my watch.”

Vice Admiral Minute Vermilion, Rescue Services

Further investigation has revealed that the type and method of distress call are also not in use by any known race. Our investigation is ongoing to discover as much as possible and it has been requested that a reported be allowed to travel with the rescue team once dispatched.

Update: As of 0500 hours this morning, December 27th 2385, it is confirmed that the subspace signal originated in a different area of space, STR feels that they are close to pinpointing a location to send rescue vessels to.

This is the start of an extended story line that will become an event at some point. All players who with to participate are requested to respond in the forum thread. All characters approved for Blazing Umbra are welcome to participate in any capacity they wish.