Mikala's Missives

A modest manifest of missives to keep readers up to date on works in progress, coming soon releases and where to get my books as well as some free stories when I get time to post them.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Breaking News! Day One

Breaking News! #1
Riot suppressed at Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers.

Eye witness report by the Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

The office of the ASGS were picketed this morning by representatives of the Fedoran Friendship Society protesting against the Guild’s restrictive and discriminatory employment practices.

A spokesperson of the group says that the Guild’s “…outrageous policy of not employing Fedorans must stop!” I spoke to Jaspy Ficus amid the chanting protesters. “Today it’s the Fedorans who are refused employment opportunities,” he said. “Tomorrow it could be you.”

The small band of protesters was quickly dispersed by Guild employees brandishing sonic whips. I spoke to Zweep Dollevera, Sentient Resources Controller, ASGS and asked him the basis for his clearly discriminatory practices.

“Holly, discrimination is a harsh word with very negative emotional connotations. Our decision not to employ Fedorans has been based on a clear and rational assessment of the occupational health and safety risks posed to our existing employees, customers as well as the general public.”

I pressed the imposing member of the Dollevera ‘brothers’, who, as a ‘family’, have been the victims of such discrimination in the past, to elaborate.

“This is not about us, Holly. It’s about our duty of care. We have recently lost two employees due to a situation involving a Fedoran and I don’t want to lose anymore.”

He was referring to the deaths of two assembly line workers last week in what has been called an industrial accident and is currently under investigation by the authorities.

When pressed further the usually taciturn and controlled executive directed his anger on your dedicated reporter. “Look, Holly, I don’t appreciate what you’re doing. You know as well as I do that we went out on a limb to employ a Fedoran in the first place. After last week no one can doubt the problems they pose.”

I asked whether the problems concerned the Fedoran’s personal hygiene.

“Listen Holly, we accommodated the fact that they breathe methane, okay? We did that without a problem and we provided the appropriate breathing equipment. But no one told us and it’s not anywhere in the Species Environmental Risk Assessment Protocols, and I know because I read the damn things before I employed him, that they farted cyanide gas!”

I attempted to contact the small Fedoran Community for comment however a prerecorded intranet message indicated that due to extreme embarrassment there will be no comment at this time.

This is Holly Barberossa observing for the Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
Paid Advertisement:
For the best bar & grill this side of the Haze, go to the Haze Bar & Grill, Level 3, Eastside. Intranet: th 8639260
©2007 Holly Barberossa

Breaking News! #2
Zondiran runs amok on level 6.
Eye witness report by the Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

A brave bystander neutralized a dangerous Zondiran who’d moments earlier had demolished a Port Security team on the level 6 catwalk.

The area is in chaos as Port Security tries to regain control of the scene. I spoke to a visitor to Adana from one of the outer systems Tino Yosiph who was assaulted by the disturbed Zondiran.
“I heard Adana was a rough place but I never thought I’d be in the middle of something like this.”
“Can you tell me what happened?”
“Like everyone else I was heading down to the Scavenger Guild sale when this guy just barrelled past me like a randy miner after a Nil-Raja. After that I didn’t see much, I was on the deck, ya know? I saw someone go over the edge then this big guy just laid into him. Best bit of fist work I’ve seen since the heavyweight bout of ’08. It was double f, you know what I mean?”

The civic minded bystander who showed Port Security how to pacify a belligerent was unavailable for comment. Neither was Commander Kala Decolteir, head of Port Security who has to date been reluctant to comment on Adana’s rising crime rate.

This is Holly Barberossa observing for the Adana Observer.

The Adama Observer, for all your news.
Paid Advertisement:
Important Announcement: Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers showroom on Warehouse Level 7 has just upgraded security for your shopping comfort. ASGS: we’re here to serve.
Advertisement authorized by K. Dollavera, Marketing Controller, ASGS.

©2007 Holly Barberossa

Breaking News! #3
Anti-Fedoran riot outside Fedoran community residence.

Eye witness report by the Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

I’m standing outside the Fedoran community residence. I will not disclose the location as anti-Fedoran hatred has flared its ugly head here in Adana, long considered to be the paragon of multi-species communities.

ASGS representative, Zweep Dollavera has been roundly condemned by Port Authorities for releasing details of an industrial accident on their production line last week which involved a Fedoran worker and has sparked these ugly scenes.

As you can see the angry anti-Fedoran protestors have gathered outside the residence dressed in pressure suits and breathing apparatus to avoid exposure to deadly cyanide gas. So far Port Security, no doubt having a busy day, have not yet responded to numerous calls for assistance from frightened residents.

I have not had time to get protective gear myself but have risked exposure to bring you this breaking news.

I’m speaking to Pothos Ambergue, a long time neighbor to the Fedorans. “Pothos, can you tell me what it’s been like living so close to Fedorans given what you have learned about them today.”
“They are lovely people. They moved in just a few months ago but they are very respectful and quiet neighbors.”
“So you have not experienced any ill effects from exposure to their alleged emissions?”
“Not at all. In fact the day they moved in, the grandmother, lovely lady she is, knocked on my door and borrowed a can of baked beans. She went out of her way to tell me that they stopped them farting.”
“Did you think that was a strange thing for her to say?”
“Well, no, come to think of it. Maybe I should have, now that you mention it.”

I’m on the line now to Gogan Privet, head of Port Bio-Security about the Fedoran fart issue.
“Well Holly. It seems your investigation has revealed something important about Fedoran physiology that has not been previously known to science.”
“I have? Well, thank you Gogon. What exactly has my investigation revealed?”
“I suspect that within the Fedoran gut enzymes contained in baked beans act as a catalyst to break down the precursors necessary in the production of the cyanide gas and thus rendering the Fedoran farts harmless.”
“Gogon, I have to ask this, was Port Bio-Security aware of this problem?”
“Absolutely not, Holly. I believe the Fedorans have kept this aspect of their physiology a secret to prevent unnecessary fear in the communities in which they find themselves. Rest assured that I have this moment instigated a Bio-Security investigation into the fart mitigation capabilities of baked beans.”
“Thank you Gogon for responding so readily to my requests for an interview.”
“My pleasure Holly.”

I’m now speaking to Jaspy Ficus who is leading the anti-Fedoran protest. “Jasper, weren’t you protesting on behalf of the Fedorans this morning at the ASGS offices?”
“That was before you revealed the truth, Holly. How were we to know the Fedorans are a danger to everyone in Adana?”
“Does the revelation that baked beans are the solution give you any heart that this situation can be resolved peacefully?”
“Not at all, Holly. This is just another Port Authority blunder and we’ll be marching on them later this afternoon. This level of incompetence is unacceptable in this day and age.”

So, there you have it. Ugly scenes of species disharmony outside the Fedoran residence. I’ll report again as the situation develops, wait …I’ve just heard that K. Dollavera, Marketing Controller, ASGS, has just made an announcement that the Guild of Scavengers will donate a thousand kilo consignment of premium baked beans to the Fedoran community to assist them in this time of need. K. Dollavera said he, “… hoped this act of generosity will defuse an explosive situation. ASGS we’re here to …”

This is Holly Barberossa observing for the Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
For live vision of Holly Barberossa’s report go to The Adana Observer on the spaceportnet at spn.TSG.org
Paid Advertisement:
Premium Baked Beans: the savior of Adana available now at Beth’s Groceries on Level 7 Intranet: bg 3508274
©2007 Holly Barberossa

Breaking News! #4
Reporter faces death during secret meeting with fugitive Fedoran.

Eye witness report by The Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

I’m speaking to you now from loading dock 34B. I have been led here blindfolded after a secret meeting with fugitive Fedoran, Arquot Goinis, former employee of Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers.

Earlier today I was invited to the secret meeting with the diminutive Fedoran by a friend who refused to be identified on the condition that the meeting be recorded rather than broadcast live as Arquot feared being tracked and apprehended by Port Security. There is an all points bulletin out calling for his immediate arrest, for a crime, he says, he did not commit.

Here is an unedited recording of my brief encounter with Arquot, who you will recall, wears breathing apparatus as he requires a methane mixture to live. He is speaking through an automated translator fixed to his helmet and I apologize for the substandard quality of the audio.

“Arquot, did you kill those men with your fart?”
“My smellies do not kill.”
“It is alleged that your farts contain deadly cyanide gas.”
“No, my smellies do not kill.”
“If that is true, then why have you fled from the authorities?”
“I not understand fled.”
“Why have you run away?”
“They lie. Cyanide not harmful.”
“Is there cyanide in your farts?”
“Only good cyanide.”
“What do you mean, ‘good cyanide’?”
“Not hurt you. I show you.”
“No Arquot, no!”
“Just let me catch my breath for a moment. Arquot that brought tears to my eyes.”
“See, you not dead.”
“Have you had your beans today?”
“No, I wanted to show you good cyanide no kill.”
“Well, it doesn’t kill, exactly but it could certainly incapacitate someone for a few minutes.”
“Me, how you say, boxed.”
“Framed? By who?”
“Me not say, me not want bad cyanide in my beans.”

The interview was ended at that point. This sealed container, filled with a Fedoran fart, was given to me to pass onto Port Bio-Security for analysis. I have Gogan Privet, head of Port Bio-Security on the line.

“Gogon, is there was such a thing as ‘good cyanide’.”
“I’m glad you asked me that question, Holly. In fact cyanide is a common product of biological systems. Cyanide compounds can be found in apple seeds, apricot pits, passion vines, soil bacteria and species of invertebrate organisms produce cyanide compounds usually bound to sugar compounds in the form of cyanogenic glycosides. May I add that cyanide is used in many mining applications supported by Adana as cyanide solutions bond easily with metal ores allowing their easy extraction.”
“I see. You’ve heard Arquot’s claim. Is it possible that the cyanide in his fart is not toxic?”
“I’d have to have it analysed, Holly, but from your own brave experience I’d say it is probably harmless, well, semi harmless at least.”
“So his claim that he has been framed is possible?”
“Holly, I’d have to leave that to Port Security to decide.”
“Thanks for your time, Gogon.”
“Always a pleasure Holly.”

Zweep Dollavera of ASGS has not yet responded to my request for comment on the possibility of a deadly criminal attack aimed at the ASGS plant possibly linked to recent underworld activity uncovered by this reporter.

This is Holly Barberossa reporting for the Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
For vision of Holly Barberossa’s other reports go to The Adana Observer at spn.TAO.org
Paid Advertisement:
For more information on Cyanide: Friend of the mining industry, go to the Adana Chamber of Commerce site at spn.ACOC.org
©2007 Holly Barberossa

Breaking News! #5
MAMA deplores Nila’s blow job booth : demand authorities ban immoral business.

Eye witness report by The Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

I’m standing here at Nila’s blow job booth, one of Adana’s better known tourist attractions, which, in the opinion of many I have canvassed, adds a touch of spice to the otherwise banal and pragmatic culture of Spaceport Adana. Behind me Nil Raja carry on their ancient craft providing a much needed, and might I say much appreciated, service to miners and space farers who, recently relieved of their onerous and dangerous off planet duties, sate their physical needs before entering mainstream life in civilised Adana.

I’m speaking to Neve Rinmygob, President of the Movement for the Adana Moralist Agenda, or MAMA for short, who is asking both citizens and visitors alike to sign a petition to ban the booths which have become so much a fixture of this corner of level 7.

“Neve, may I ask how many signatures you have gathered so far?”
“Thirteen, so far Holly.”
“That’s the membership list of MAMA, is it not?”
“We have to start somewhere, Holly.”
“Of course. What has been the reaction of passerby’s so far?”
“This is an awareness raising exercise, Holly. Mars wasn’t built in a day, you know.”
“Is it true you have been threatened by patrons of Nila’s blow job booth?”
“Which is exactly what I’m saying, Holly. The presence of such a … such a … “
“Abomination was the word I was looking for. Just its presence lowers the moral standards of people who witness it so that violence towards people such as ourselves is increased.”
“Surely the presence of people such as yourselves, with your insulting banners and such, incites the violence rather than Nila’s. I understand from Port Security statistics this section of level 7 is underrepresented in crime figures. One security officer even told me that in his opinion its presence here actually decreases crime across the whole level.”
“Holly, you surprise me. By that logic every level of Adana should have such a place.”
“Neve, I believe the Chamber of Commerce is looking at such a proposal at the next chamber meeting … Neve? Neve? Ah, someone? Can I have some medical assistance here?”

It seems the possibility of an expansion in Nila’s business activities has brought on a heart attack for our moral activist.

Behind me, within that cluster of bystanders, you see the heroic actions of one of the Nil Raja who is attempting mouth to mouth resuscitation. That cheer seems to indicate success. Yes, I see Neve’s eyes opening. She appears a little disoriented, finding it hard to focus on anything, she’s smiling at the Nil Raja … her eyes clearing and at last she sees the face of her savior … wait … there she goes again!

This is Holly Barberossa, observing for The Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
For vision of Holly Barberossa’s other reports go to The Adana Observer at spn.TAO.org
Paid Advertisement:
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Breaking News! #6
Dramatic rescue on level 25!

Eye witness report by The Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

At 1400hrs this afternoon Spaceport Emergency Services received a Triple ‘0’ emergency signal and homing in on the beacon located an elderly citizen who had trespassed in Level 25 Life Support industrial zone.

Behind me you can see the SES team dismantling an narrow air-conditioning vent in order to release the octogenarian trapped inside.

I’m speaking to Commander Tet Solenin, SES Shift Leader who was first on the scene.
“Commander Solenin, is this a common occurrence?”
“I’m afraid it is Holly. At least once a month an old timer like this goes ‘eldorado’ and gets himself in a tight spot he can’t get out of.”
“Eldorado? Can you explain to my viewers what that is exactly?”
“Certainly Holly, there is a persistent and completely unsubstantiated rumor that somewhere on Adana is a great treasure hoard, the takings of the Kitali. I reiterate, Holly, there is no evidence for such a thing and I think it’s a sad state of affairs that the old timers get carried away with this delusion. They are usually fueled by liquor and their escapades often end in tears.”
“Where do these eldorado myths originate?”
“Old Scavengers mostly. It’s a real shame Holly, as half the time we don’t find the old timers in time. They die alone as this gentleman would have had he not been able to call for help.”
“Thanks for your time, Commander.”
“My pleasure, Holly.”

There you have it viewers. Eldorado does not exist … or does it? Have you ever wondered what our Kitali friends do with our baubles that they so cunningly purloin? Well I have, and I decided to go to an expert on Kitali behavior. I have Felidae Panthera on the line.

“Felidae, thanks for speaking to me at such short notice.”
“No problems, Holly. I enjoy your show immensely.”
“Thank you, now what can you tell us about the Kitalii?”
“Gosh, where do I start?”
“Given what’s going on behind me, is there any truth in this eldorado story?”
“I can’t really say, Holly. None has ever been found … yet it is surprising that most of what they take is never found.”
“Felidae, why do they steal?”
“Steal is a pejorative term, Holly. It suggests the Kitali know it is wrong to take what doesn’t belong to them. I prefer the term, collect.”
“Are they sentient?”
“That’s a good question, Holly. So little is known about their physiology or intelligence.”
“Yesterday one was cunning enough to snatch a compact out of my bag and I’m sure it was closed at the time.”
“They are quick and with their opposable thumbs they have great dexterity and can open all sorts of things.”
“Are they a danger?”
“They’re not vicious, neither are they friendly. Aloof is a good description of their demeanor.”
“Are there many of them?”“Estimates vary but there is a substantial population on Adana. There is a move to start a capture and release program to neuter the males to ensure against a population explosion.”
“No wonder they’re a bit skittish.”
“Holly, they hunt a wide variety of vermin and are very useful to us for that reason and with their big ears and long hind limps and that graceful loping gait I think they are really quite cute.”
“Do you have one as a pet?”
“Oh Holly, I wish. Kitali rarely bestow their affections on humans. It would make my day if one befriended me.”
“Thank you Felidae, I hear some action behind me, I think our treasure hunter has been released.”

The medvac team are about to load the old timer onto the ambucart. I’ll try to get a comment.
“Sir, sir, may I have a word.”
“Are you Holly?”
“Yes I am. What’s your name, sir?”
“Horri Jenks, J.E.N.K.S. I watch you all the time. Great show.”
“Thanks, Horri. Now tell me. What happened to you?”
“I feel a bit foolish, now that I’ve had time to think about it. I saw a Kitali lift a shifting spanner and I followed him. He led me a merry chase and when he got into the vent I followed. It was bigger at the end I climbed in, of course, but by the time I realized it narrowed down it was too late to go back. I was wedged tighter than a … well you know what I mean.”
“So how did you manage to make the triple ‘0’ call in that narrow vent?”
“I didn’t.”
“You didn’t?”
“No, the little fella came back when I got stuck and lifted the communicator right out of my shirt pocket.”
“So you didn’t call triple ‘0’?”
“Nope. The little fella played with the keys and ten minutes later the SES arrived.’
“Horri, are you telling me the Kitali saved your life?”
“Well, it could have been dumb luck … I suppose ….”

This is Holly Barberossa, observing for The Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
For vision of Holly Barberossa’s other reports go to The Adana Observer at spn.TAO.org
Paid Advertisement:
Lose something valuable? Then the Lost Property Division in the Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers showroom on Warehouse Level 7, may be the answer you’re looking for. ASGS: we’re here to serve.
Go to the Lost Property page of spn.ASGS.org and you may find what you’re looking for.
Advertisement authorized by K. Dollavera, Marketing Controller, ASGS.

Breaking News! #7
Crime wave breaks over Port Security!

Eye witness report by The Adana Observer’s award winning reporter, Holly Barberossa.

Alarming reports of increased criminal activity on and about Adana Spaceport have leaked out of the Port Authority. An unnamed high level source has revealed to me that piracy activity in the outer rim has spilled over to the major space lanes and criminal elements have breached Port Security’s screening protocols and actually entered Adana.

Once again I have been unsuccessful in obtaining a comment from Commander Decolteir, head of Port Security. A spokesman reiterated the standard line that Port Security is doing its duty though this reporter is not alone in noticing a heightened degree of criminal activity over the last few weeks.

I’m speaking with Riz Gitto, retired head of Port Security and CEO of Adana’s newest private security firm. We are standing outside Security Headquarters where a small band of vocal protesters, led by Jasper Ficus, have gathered to demand better policing and I apologize for the quality of the audio.

“Riz, what’s your expert take on the crime situation here on Adana.”
“Well, Holly, first I want to say that I have the greatest of confidence in Kala Decolteir and her ability to deal with the security of Adana. It’s a difficult job and she deserves the support of every Adana citizen and visitor.”
“Is crime on the increase here on Adana?”
“I believe it is.”
“What’s behind it, Riz?”
“It’s a case of rats deserting a burning ship, Holly. The Alliance security forces have cracked down on space piracy and their focus on cleaning up the central systems has caused a ripple effect passing through the galaxy. As a result the rats have escaped the heat and come out here to the outlying systems.”
“What sort of criminal elements are we talking about here?”
“Across the board really: petty crims, illegal drugs dealers, slavers, enforcers, contract killers, smugglers, pirates and remnants of organized crime syndicates looking for local business opportunities to wash their credits. We can also expect bounty hunters who are tracking down some of these criminals. They themselves pose security issues for us as they seldom respect local ordinances.”
“So, interesting times ahead?”
“You could say that Holy.”
“And what of the revelation that our own security screening protocols has more holes than a colander?”
“Many of these undesirables have access to quality forged identity papers and many do not actually have criminal records.”
“My source said that it wasn’t a case of the barbarians being at the gates, in fact, they are just walking through and are already inside with us.”
“Holly, since civilization began there has always been criminal elements, yet civilization persists. To maintain control, we need to be vigilant and resolute.”
“Thanks for your time Riz.”
“My pleasure Holly.”

Zweep Dollervera has also declined to be interviewed regarding the startling allegations of the former Fedoran worker who has made the as yet unsubstantiated claim of being framed for the deaths of two other ASGS workers. Surprisingly, K. Dollavera, Marketing Controller of ASGS contacted me and requested the following interview.

“Thank you for inviting me, er, K.”
“My pleasure Holly. I watched your broadcast earlier today and wished to address some of the damaging issues you raised.”
“Which issues specifically, K?”
“The Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers is a highly ethical and transparent organization. We are here to serve …”
“K, may I remind you that this is not an advertisement for ASGS. I can give you the intranet number for our sales department.”
“Holly, your reports have been wildly inaccurate and I wish to redress some of the more glaring errors.”
“Your welcome to K. Now, allegations of a turf war between ASGS and organized crime have been made by an individual who believes he was framed by the perpetrators of violent gas attack on your production line. Is it true that certain criminal elements are trying to muscle in on your scavenging monopoly and have resorted to violence to further their aims?”
“Those allegations are completely untrue, Holly, and I advise you not to spread them with such a flagrant disregard for … for …”
“Yes K? A disregard for what?”
“The truth, Holly.”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out, K. That’s why I ask questions. I can’t help the answers people give me and, speaking of answers, what exactly was the cause of the deaths of the two workers on your production line? If the cyanide gas didn’t come from your Fedoran worker, where did it come from?”
“That accident is still under investigation and your reports earlier this morning and wild allegations are not assisting.”
“Did ASGS frame the Fedoran?”
“Of course not! Holly that’s a terrible accusation to make. I …”
“I just asked a question, K. Is this the first attack on ASGS?”
“It’s not clear that this was an attack, Holly.”
“So you have a lot of cyanide gas mushrooming over your production workers do you K?”
“Of course not ….”
“So, if it wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t a Fedoran fart, then what else could it be, if not an attack from an organized crime syndicate?”
“Holly, you’re making a mistake. Until the findings of the accident investigation team are released you can’t be jumping to conclusions and spreading unsubstantiated rumors. All that’s important right now is that ASGS is open for business and we’re…”
“I know K, I know. You’re here to serve.”

This is Holly Barberossa, observing for The Adana Observer.

The Adana Observer, for all your news.
For vision of Holly Barberossa’s other reports go to The Adana Observer at spn.TAO.org
Paid Advertisement:
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