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 Three

Breaking News Day Three

Breaking News! #16
Computer Store Ransacked. Owner in hospital.

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

Good morning Adana!

Viewers, it’s been a busy night of crime in the halls and corridors of Adana. Of the numerous assaults and affrays, muggings and burglaries that have occurred overnight, the crime I want to focus on this morning is one that’s very close to my own heart.

I’m standing in the ransacked robot repair shop belonging to Cindy Sherman. You’ll recall that only yesterday I was speaking with Cindy about Robert, the abused robot, who she was endeavoring to repair.

In the early hours of this morning at least two assailants entered Cindy’s closed shop and, without warning, violently assaulted her and destroyed her business.

Here is what Cindy said when I spoke to her this morning in her hospital room where she is recovering from a severe concussion.

“It all happened so quick, Holly.”
“Can you identify your attackers at all?”
“I can’t Holly. I had my head down doing an intricate neural circuit repair job.”
“How did they get in?”
“The front door was locked. I guess they used a security neutralizer to suppress the alarm.”
“Is that a sophisticated piece of equipment?”
“Fairly, it’s not a common piece of hardware.”
“Did they say anything?”
“Um… well, Holly, before the lights went out they asked me where Robert was.”
“They were specifically looking for Robert?”
“That’s what they said. I told them he wasn’t here anymore and then the lights went out.”
“Cindy, you get some rest and get well soon.”
“Thanks Holly.”

There it is viewers. Following our exposé of an underground robot fighting syndicate, the only witness to the illegal activity, a severely damaged robot named Robert, is the target of brutal men who’ll not hesitate at assaulting a young woman to achieve their nefarious aims.

It is fortunate for Robert at least that I had, earlier in the afternoon, sequestered him somewhere safe while I decided on his disposition. It appears he yet has a part to play in this shocking story of organized crime.

To update some other stories from yesterday, I hope to have the identity of the body in the vats confirmed sometime this morning and I’ll give it to you as soon as it comes to hand.

There is good news about the unconscionable law suit initiated by K. Dollavera and I hope to have a statement from the esteemed Marketing Controller for ASGS sometime today, so stay tuned for that, it should be interesting.

Viewers, I had hoped to give you some positive news on the whereabouts or Ernhard Wis, the missing power plant worker, but so far no new information has come to light. Please, for the sake of his family, if you have any information regarding his whereabouts, contact Port Security or the Adana Observer office where your anonymity will be respected.

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
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Breaking News! #17
Kitali stealing zappers !

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

Viewers, as I walk the halls and corridors of Adana I’m reminded of something my Daddy used to say.

“Holly,” he’d say, “life is like a box of crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, Some have weird names, and they are all different colors, but you know what? They all have to live in the same box.”
When I was five years old I thought my Daddy was just trying to get me to tidy up my room, now I see the deeper truth in the homily from old Earth and realise it describes Adana perfectly. Port Authority statistics indicate we have citizens from over forty different worlds, at least twenty different species and a bewildering array of artificial intelligence devices living in this particular box of crayons.

One of the cutest crayons in the Adana box is the Kitali.

Port Security yesterday announced that Kitali, the little critters that live in the shadows, scurrying along air vents and keeping vermin under control, have been stealing zappers. A few days ago I spoke the expert on Kitali behavior, Felidae Panthera, and I have her on the line again.

“Felidae, thanks for joining me. As cute as they are, are Kitali dangerous?”
“Not at all, Holly. There are no recorded incidents of Kitali violence.”
“Not even a scratch?”
“Of course they defend themselves if attacked, cornered or played with, as we all do.”
“I understand. The head of Port Security has released the disturbing news that Kitali have been stealing weapons.”
“I think they are just collecting shiny objects, as they do.”
“So we need have no fears of them assembling an arsenal and staging a coup d’etat?”
“I do not believe the Kitali have political aspirations Holly.”
“You mentioned last time the Port Authority has concerns over a Kitali population explosion and the plans for a neutering program. Could the Kitali be arming themselves for self defence?”
“I’m not sure if the Kitali pay attention to Port Authority plans.”
“Or watch my program. Now Felidae, we know that the Kitali are cunning pilferers, they’ll snatch anything not tied down, and even then they can undo the knots. Is it possible that they are working for someone else?”
“That’s more difficult to answer, of course. Given what I know of their aloof demeanour, I’d be very surprised if they condescended to do the bidding of others.”
“What about in return for food or treats?”
“That’s possible, of course, but …”
“What if someone came across a juvenile Kitali, an abandoned baby, and raised it themselves. Would such a Kitali do their bidding?”
“That’s an interesting hypothetical situation, Holly. I can’t say if something like that is possible.”
“When I was a child on my home planet, a neighbour had a pet capuchin. She trained it to steal my dolls. She was a regular little Fagin.”
“How unfortunate.”
“How would one raise a juvenile Kitali, do we know much about them?”
“Not really, Holly. I know that there has never been a reported case of an abandoned Kitali baby.”
“Is it true that few studies of the Kitali have been carried out anywhere?”
“That’s true, Holly.”
“Perhaps it is time we paid more attention to them.”

There it is viewers, while their motives are unknown at this time, perhaps we should be watching our Kitali friends a little more closely. I’m hoping for a comment from Port Security soon but in the meantime, secure those weapons people, we don’t want any broken crayons.

Also, may I remind you we are desperately seeking news of Ernhard Wis, the missing power worker. If you have any news of his whereabouts, then please contact Port Security or the Adana Observer office where your anonymity will be respected.

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
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Breaking News! #18
Adana’s growing gambling addiction reaches new low!

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

I’m speaking with Mark D. Deck, CEO of Portbet, Adana’s licensed betting agency about the gambling industry on Adana and the breaking story about robot fighting syndicates.
Thanks for agreeing to speak with me today.
“My pleasure Holly. If I can add that the betting on you taking out this year’s Adana Celebrity of the Year Award has you five to two favorite.”
“I’m sorry, Mark, are you saying people bet on such things?”
“Holly, Adanans will bet on two Hing bugs crawling up a wall.”
“I see. So my notion that the robot fighting syndicate is all about gambling is not so far fetched?”
“Not at all. The unlicensed gambling that takes place on sporting and other events is of astronomical proportions. It’s rumored that illegal gambling outplays licensed gambling by five to one.”
“How many millions of credits a year is that?”
“Oh easily a million credits for each man woman and child on Adana.”
“How is such betting carried out?”
“Bookies attend an event, post odds, take bets, pay the winners and keep the rest.”
“Just like legal gambling.”
“Pretty much except they don’t pay taxes.”
“But how do the bookies avoid the Adana Taxation Department?”
“They channel their winnings through various legal activities to wash their funds.”
“So illegal gambling is inextricably linked to organized crime?”
“Absolutely. I’ve been requesting Port Security to focus their efforts on the problem for years.”
“Is that because it eats into your profits?”
“Of course, I don’t mind admitting it. Holly I’m one of the honest guys, but the big issue is that Adana is missing out on millions of credits in tax. Imagine the improvements in infrastructure that could be made; better recycling, cleaner water, fresher air, better food, extra hospital beds, more AI teachers for the schools. The benefits of cracking down on the illegals are obvious.”
“Why haven’t Port Security responded?”
“I can’t possibly say.”
“Speaking of Port Authority positions, what is the betting on the forthcoming Port Authority elections.”
“Well, incumbents, provided they haven’t botched things too badly always have the upper hand.”
“Then it is lucky that Head of Port Security doesn’t fall vacant this round of elections.”
“I can’t possibly comment.”
“How’s Bio Security?”
“Gogan Privet, head of Port Bio-Security, is doing very well. I believe the positive exposure he has gained from appearing on your program has put him out there for the public to see, and so far he’s well ahead in the betting.”
“Hars T. Owen is floundering. The water crisis a few months back and the bacteria outbreak still live in the memories of punters. His position may firm up closer to the election of course, but at the moment he looks a bit shallow.”
“Is it true that the betting can be more accurate predictors of election results than are public opinion polls.”
“Absolutely. We’ve successfully predicted the winners in every one of the last five term elections.”
“Amazing. Do you think the gambling problem will ever be solved?”
“I wouldn’t bet on it, Holly.”

There it is viewers, illegal gambling is inextricably linked to organised crime and as a result of Port Security inaction the problem is growing and Adana is missing out on much needed tax income.

“Oh, Holly, may I add another thing?”
“Yes, Mark?”
“While your betting strongly on taking out the Celebrity of the Year Award, there is another bet concerning you that has attracted much recent attraction.”
“And what’s that Mark?”
“At the moment it’s two to one against you surviving the next six weeks.’
“I don’t understand?”
“The punters don’t expect you to live beyond six weeks?”
“Why ever not?”
“I believe the thinking behind the betting is that someone of your investigative skill will inevitably upset someone in organised crime and they’ll take you out.”
“Are there many people betting on that?”
“So far there have been five hundred and thirty bets placed.”
“How many for me actually surviving?”
“None so far.”
“That’s very disturbing, Mark.”
“I can only imagine.”
“Well, I’ll take that bet.”
“How much?”
“I’ve only got ten credits on me.”
“Doesn’t show a lot of confidence Holly.”
“Well, I can always up the bet later, can’t I? Perhaps when the odds are more favourable?”
“Of course. You can check the current odds on spaceportnet at spn.portbet.org.”

Well viewers, there you have it. The gambling problem on Adana has hit a new low. Do you think I’ll survive? I do. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is.

Also, we are still seeking news of Ernhard Wis, the missing power worker and well known champion boxer. If you have any news of his whereabouts, then please contact Port Security or the Adana Observer office where your anonymity will be respected.

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
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Breaking News! #19
Body in the Vats identified

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

I have Gogan Privet, head of Port Bio-Security on the line with news on the identity of the body in the Bio-Sus protein vats.

“Hello Gogan. I understand there’s been a break through in the ident. of the body found in the Bio-Sus vats?”
“That’s correct, Holly. The Mendovian victim’s name is Montague Moss.”
“The green eyed monster from Mendovia?”
“I understand that was his …um ….nick name in the boxing fraternity.”
“Was Montague a citizen of Adana?”
“No he wasn’t. He comes from the core systems and had only been on Adana a month.”
“He was scheduled to fight Ernhard Wis. Do you think Ernhard’s disappearance has something to do with the murder?”
“I can’t possibly speculate, Holly. That’s a question for Port Security.”
“Be sure I’ll be asking it, Gogan. Anything else of interest such as cause of death?”
“Despite the state of the body my people discerned some neural damage indicative of the use of a zapper.”
“And he was then dismembered and dropped into the vats?”
“It appears so. With the identification of the body my involvement in the case has ended and Port Security has taken over the investigation.”
“Well thank you Gogan for your keeping the citizenry informed.”
“My pleasure. Oh, and Holly?”
“Yes Gogan?”
“I’ve put a hundred credits on you surviving.”
“Well, thanks for your confidence, Gogan. I appreciate it.”

There it is viewers, another disturbing connection between the disappearance of Ernhard Wis, the abused robot Robert and the existence of a vicious gambling syndicate operating right here on Adana.

So far Port Security has not responded to my requests for a statement.

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
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Breaking News! #20
Fedoran fart mystery raises stink in Security circles

Viewers will recall that following my expose of the cyanide gas deaths of two Amalgamated Spaceport Guild of Scavengers workers I was abducted and taken to a secret interview with the Fedoran workers who were being hunted by Port Security.

They claimed that due to their unique biochemistry the cyanide gas they expelled in their farts was harmless and they proved that by exposing me to a particularly unpleasant fart which, apart from making my eyes water, had no long lasting effects.

The Fedorans claimed they were being framed – ‘boxed’ in their words - by a third party for the deaths suggested that organized crime was attempting to take over the Guild’s monopoly of the scavenging industry.

I’ve attempted to gain further comment from Zweep Dollavera, Sentient Resources Controller of ASGS but he has not yet been forthcoming. In fact, the usually ebullient K. Dollavera has not responded to my requests for comment either.

Unsurprisingly, Port Security has also refused to comment. One wonders if the Head of Port Security would have a different approach to the media if this was an election year.

Like spacefarers, we journalists abhor a vacuum, so I’m speaking with Riz Gitto, retired head of Port Security and CEO of Adana’s newest private security firm about latest developments.

“Riz, thank you for agreeing to speak with me today. I understand you are very busy becoming the defacto security force on Adana.”
“My pleasure Holly, though, if I may disagree with your introduction, I have to say that my company is purely a private firm providing commercial security and I have no political agenda whatsoever.”
“But Riz, citizens of Adana cannot help but notice the proliferation of your uniformed security guards. They are just about everywhere. I spoke with a member of the Chamber of Commerce who said that so many people have left their jobs to work for you that you’ve created a labor shortage elsewhere in the Adana economy.”
“We have expanded certainly.”
“And my source in Port Authority Customs and Immigration told me that a large number, of security workers, in the hundreds he said, some of them ex-military, have migrated to Adana under work visas sponsored by your company.”
“Demand for our services has been extraordinary.”
“In your view is Adana less secure than in previous years when you were head of Port Security?”
“I can’t possibly comment on that Holly. Suffice to say that I am responding to an increase in demand for private security services.”
“I’ve heard citizens describe your employees as GAs, Gitto’s Army.”
“Perception is everything, Holly. I run a tight ship. My men are disciplined, courteous and we cooperate with the Chamber of Commerce, Port Security and the general citizenry at all times. I can understand how they could be perceived as an army, but nothing is further from the truth. My men and women are just doing a job. We are a commercial enterprise responding to a specific demand.”
“I understand from inside sources I’m unable to identify that Port Security is anxious about your expansion.”
“Holly, I can’t possibly comment on Port Security anxieties.”
“Involved as you are in security, what do you make of the Fedoran claims? Have you heard of an attempt by organized crime to take over the Guild of Scavengers, or any other business on Adana?”
“Of course my people hear things, Holly, but we are bound by ‘commercial confidence’ so I’m unable to comment.”
“What of illegal activities? Surely you have a responsibility to Adana to alert the authorities.”
“Indeed. I have opened a dialogue with Port Security and pass on any intelligence that relate to illegal activities.”
“Opened a dialogue with Port Security? My congratulations Riz, that’s more than I’ve achieved.”
“I understand that since your interview with Mark D. Deck of Portbet, a great deal of money has been bet on you not living beyond six weeks. I’d like to offer you the services of a Riz Gitto Security personal bodyguard.”
“I appreciate your concern, Riz, but I’m not concerned.”
“You should be, the betting has reached significant proportions.”
“Even so, I’m afraid journalistic ethics prevent me from taking up your offer.”
“Just know the offer is open if you decide to take it up.”
“Thanks, Riz.”
“My pleasure.”

There you have it viewers, the private security industry has benefited from the rise in crime on Adana resulting from the vicious crackdown on organized crime in the core systems.

One wonders what the authorities can do to stop the rising crime rate. As always, I look forward to any comment from Port Security.

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
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Breaking News ! #21
Adana citizens save young boy’s life!

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

I’m speaking to you from the Body Regeneration Unit at Adana General Hospital and we are in the prep room speaking with Hyrem Bosch and his legal adviser Marc Tullius. Viewers will recall from Breaking News #11 that Hyrem is the originator of the Celebrity Trading Card fad that has swept Adana and, unfortunately, drew the ire of K. Dollavera

“Hyrem, how are you feeling?”
“Pretty good Holly.”
“Hyrem I understand that the body regeneration process will take a month and during that time you’ll be in a medically induced coma.”
“The big sleep, they call it Holly.”
“During the big sleep the neural surgeons will be splicing your head onto the body that is at this moment being grown from your cells.”
“That’s right Holly. They started growing my body yesterday from a cell extracted from my spinal column. They have to start connecting me to the body straight away to guarantee the neural net is complete so that I’ll be fully functioning at the end of it.”
“Are you scared?”
“Not as scared as I was when I talked to you yesterday. I thought it was all over with the law suit and all.”
“Speaking of which, Marcus Tullius, you’ve taken on the cause of Hyrem pro bono I believe.”
“That’s correct Holly. I believe that everyone deserves legal support in times of trouble and Hyrem here was on the brink of termination with no one to assist him with his legal issues, particularly the K. Dollavera slander.”
“How is that sitting? Has K. Dollavera, a rich powerful man dropped his law suit against Hyrem, who is, we hardly need reminding, in such a sorry state?”
“No he hasn’t Holly. I won’t comment on it of course, as it is an ongoing subject of litigation.”
“But surely the fact that Hyrem is a minor, he is only twelve years old, should end the law suit?”
“I am able to comment on that Holly. K. Dollavera has applied to the court for a ruling under the Sentience Act of 2015 that stipulates that chronological age is not the sole determinant of culpability.”
“So, despite his age they are saying he is smart enough to stand trial.”
“That’s correct, Holly.”
“It’s difficult to argue Hyrem is not intelligent.”
“As you say, though I wouldn’t like to preempt the court’s ruling.”
“How do they make such a ruling?”
“They have accessed Hyrem’s medical records, specifically his cerebral profile, which they will use to determine his culpability. Their ruling which is expected in three weeks.”
“Hyrem will still be in his big sleep, a coma, at that point so when he awakes it could be to face a law suit that will throw him and his new body into the corridors.”
“Sadly yes.”
“Hyrem, how did you react when you learned that since yesterday’s interview thousands of citizens and visitors to Adana had donated so many credits to finance your body regeneration?”
“Very happy. Holly. I don’t feel alone any more.”

Well, there it is viewers. Thousands of citizens should be proud of their efforts and their compassion that has saved the life of this young man. However it looks as though the fight is not over. A cloud hangs over the future of Hyrem Bosch and that cloud has a name: K. Dollavera.

I wonder if K.Dollavera has as many friends on Adana as Hyrem.

I’d like to remind viewers that if they have any information regarding the whereabouts of Ernhard Wis, please contact Port Security or the Adana Observer office as soon as possible.

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
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