Discovery Freelancer 4.93: Horizons
No longer pressured by the threat of Gallic invasion, Liberty grapples with an expansive military that has returned home but not yet been released from service. As this excellent weapon slowly languishes and rusts, Rheinland suffers an Imperial coup and the Liberty underworld continues its relentless and insidious expansion. Insurrectionists, pirates and drug cartels continue to gnaw at the fabric of society, much to the alarm of political and military leaders within the Republic. As a part of a major "law and order" initiative, the Navy has begun amassing the Concord fleet in the Texas system, purportedly as a training exercise. The implications of the show of force along the border are not lost on the newly installed Imperial government of Rheinland, who seized power on a promise to curtail Liberty's corporate interests throughout their House.
In addition to this, the end of the Gallic War has had other, more profound implications for Liberty's political outlook and ambitions. For almost a decade, military minds have dominated the highest echelons of the government. The primary objective of ensuring Liberty's military supremacy against a hostile Gallia had been placed above all else. With the war now concluded, corporate interests have once more reasserted their influence. Leveraging considerable financial assets towards lobbying and influence campaigns, the Big Three have sought to introduce greater domestic corporate deregulation, and a return to a focus on hegemony through soft power projection.
In this, they have succeeded in prying open the Alaska system for Libertonian corporate exploitation, with the long term ambition of exploiting the vast and untapped resources of the Omicrons. Despite this, Ageira and DSE's move into the Alaska System has caused conflict within the Liberty Navy and Security Force, who chafe at the introduction of civilians into the previously secured region. It is seen as no coincidence that the arrival of corporate interests has also heralded the appearance of pirates such as the Lane Hackers. In an attempt to mitigate the damage, the LSF has scrambled to impose improved, stringent border checks at the Alaska Jump Gate with the ongoing construction of Chadwick Station.
On the other side of the Republic's borders, the Alberta system is being consumed by a large dark matter storm. Ageira hastily evacuated personnel and equipment out of the system, before sealing the Alberta Gate in Ontario. The Rogues and Hackers have taken the chaos in Alberta and the mothballing of Severn outpost, now defunct with the closure of the gate, as an opportunity for personal profit. Freeport 14 however has opted to take the unadvised option of attempting to weather the storm, locking down their station as much as possible to prove it against what is coming.
News from the developing situation in Rheinland has provoked a number of concerned responses from the Liberty government. There is a general sense of unease among the merchants of Liberty as the southerly state has descended into civil war. There are calls to support either side, one to back the status quo and the other to impose the will of Liberty onto Rheinland.
The Xeno menace, once considered by a number of politicians to be a group unworthy of much concern, has seen its ranks swell over recent years. The group has become bolder with their political statements and much more aggressive in their activities. Some academics have suggested that the increased number of Xenos are a direct result of Liberty Police action, however experts continue to dispute this.
Rochester Base has seen its commerce decline due to the ongoing Corsair and Unioner conflict. The impasse is seen as a primary cause for the strangulation of Artifact and contraband smuggling from the Independent Worlds. This has resulted in many Junkers leaving for more profitable endeavours elsewhere, as personal earnings plummet. Xeno interception of Cardamine shipments have further eroded Rochester's income. Prominent Junkers have expressed concern about the station's ability to fend off the increasingly persistent Xenos if trade does not recover soon.
Following rising unrest in Liberty, the pirates affiliated with the Liberty Rogues have seen their numbers bloat with raw recruits using cheap equipment. Although many of these new recruits do not survive the Hell Week, a baptism by fire many rogues enjoy putting their recruits through, those that do survive enjoy the fattening of their wallets from the various illegal good markets. With growing frequency the Liberty Rogues have been hired by Junkers to specifically target Xenos, the pirates have had no end of such work, and the best among them score in excess of a dozen consecutive kills.
Following increased tensions within the Federal Republic of Rheinland, a majority of its military rebelled and declared themselves for the Imperialists within the Bundestag. Monarchist and Federalist forces continue to encounter and engage across the Rheinland systems, leading to widespread disruption and strife among the civilian population in the developing conflict. The Imperialists have rejected the Federalist's economic policy of kowtowing to Liberty, which in their eyes saw the people and wealth of Rheinland exploited. The Imperials therefore moved to seized control over the crucial population centres of the former republic. The Imperialists then nationalized Synthfoods' holdings on Planet Stuttgart, a move that was long forecast, one sure to agitate the company's Libertonian shareholders. The Federalists, on the other hand, have opened their doors to Bundshush radicals, and court Libertonian aid in its struggle, as the rightfully elected government of Rheinland and a guarantor of Libertonian investment.
The Unioners have, in the whole affair, sided with the Monarchists. The Imperials are split on how to react to the continued Unioner support, given previous interactions, and the situation is even more precarious as conversations of an amnesty deal have been placed upon the table for their continued assistance against the Federalist forces.
Daumann Heavy Constructions, Kruger Minerals and the former Republican Shipping have all sided with the Imperials. Republican Shipping even rebranding itself to Imperial shipping. The Imperials' ability to overthrow the Federalists was aided by their support, and is allowing the Imperials to project force and garner economic support from the Kingdom of Bretonia and the Reformed Empire of Kusari. ALG on the other hand had maintained its neutrality for some time, but support for the Federalists among their directors is hard to ignore.
The Gas Miners Guild have initiated peace talks with both sides of the conflict, under the understanding that should any Rheinland vessels enter the sections of the Sigmas that GMG claim as their own, they will be obliterated. The easement of hostilities in the Sigma region so far holds, but only time will tell if the understanding will grow into a lasting peace or if Rheinland ambitions gaze towards the gas clouds once again.
With assistance from the MND, the Federal government escaped New Berlin before it was seized by Imperial forces. Retreating to Planet Weimar in the Thuringia system, the government continues to fight in exile, having taken control over Munich. Scoring an early victory against Imperial forces in Frankfurt, has enabled it to aggressively contest the system.
The Federal government decriminalized the Bundschuh movement, a controversial move prior to the outbreak of the civil war, and in doing so has secured the movement's ongoing support and logistical network across Rheinland, where it may still be intact. The more battle-minded of the Bundshush have seen themselves ally with their former enemies in holding back the Imperial tide, the aid in the conflict has lent itself well to increasing the movement's influence within the government in exile. Members of the movement have even become prominent names in the resistance against the Imperials.
Hessian forces have gazed upon Rheinland's internal struggles and taken the moment to seize the advantage in the chaos. Pulling away from the deep Omegas, the Hessians poured into Cologne and dominated the local Bounty Hunters and the guild station, Tholey. The situation in Cologne is growing precarious : while the Hessians seek no aggression with the Federalist forces for now, opting to hammer the Imperialists from two sides, the presence of the pirate group in the system may provoke a response from the Gallic Confederation. Only time will tell who will ultimately benefit from these developments.
Still in the midst of dealing with the refugee crisis from the Glassing of Leeds, Bretonia finds itself needing to deal with displaced populations currently on planet New London and Cambridge, in an effort to ease the burden of the mounting tensions among the refugees. Bretonia has subsequently invaded Gran Canaria, and recently reoccupied Planet Harris at great sacrifice to a military bloated by years of military spending.
Exeter, formerly Gran Canaria, is the focus for the refugee resettlement effort. With the target total of 1.5 billion refugees urgently needed to be settled somewhere, desperate efforts to secure the system and build infrastructure are in motion, albeit with considerable resistance. The reclamation of Harris may provide Bretonia with another option for settlement of refugees - providing the terraforming effort can be finalized- though war debts with Liberty may make the reclamation of Planet Harris multipurpose. Whatever the case, refugee issues are set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Nottingham, formerly Sprague, was once a research site for the University of Cambridge. However, since even before the loss of Leeds, the Bretonian government has attempted rapid development of the planet to house refugees and build industry. Nottingham's archaeological significance has wholly been sacrificed because of the war and the professors of the University of Cambridge have lamented the loss of a potential source of knowledge. The plight of the refugees has taken precedence over any possible scientific gain for now.
Planet Harris, re-acquired from the Crayter Republic, is another location raised as potential housing for refugees. Although the specifics of the condition of Harris need to be reassessed to determine suitability, the reach to reclaim the planet poses logistical concerns with the situation in Leeds. The planet may also help meet another pressing issue for the house : resolving debts with an increasingly protective Liberty.
Leeds, once a bastion of the Bretonian industrial might, is now a ruin of its former self. Bretonia, without being able to reach all its corners like it once could, has seen the system slip into unlawful wilderness and poses another threat on the trade artery to Kusari. In the void caused by the Gallic retreat, Bretonia has attempted to re-establish claim over the system. They are however faced with threats from local pirates to the remnants of the former Gallic Kingdom.
Currently under construction, the Portsmouth shipyard in Cambridge is cited to be the replacement of Southampton. The station is the focus of the Armed Forces, eager to quickly reestablish some semblance of their ability to reinforce their fleets and demonstrate their recovery to the entire sector.
The Bretonian Armed Forces are poised to be engaged again on multiple fronts. The MacDuff in Tau-31 remains in an extended position with Grimsby being moved from Darlington to Leeds to cover the supply line. Both fleets apply pressure on the Enclave through partial encirclement, although it is unlikely either will be able to push into Aquitaine itself. The Ark Royal is in position to enter Exeter if needed to react to threats as they come, and Essex covers New London and Dublin to the best of her abilities. Lastly, the Battleship Norfolk sits in Cambridge overlooking the construction of Portsmouth.
The Mollys have in the past months been preparing for a gambit to force Bretonia to rethink their stance on Dublin. Currently the Battlecruiser Blackrock is the vehicle of Armed Forces power projection into the system, and the Mollys see it as an obstacle in their goal to remove BMM from Graves. The group is poised to strike at BAF to make its will heard.
Although the Gaians have been ardent protectors for the environment, a new shade of Gaian has recently emerged due to a swelling of the ranks caused by the Gallic War. One with a particular zealotry and hatred embedded into them with the destruction of the Planet Leeds, and the defiling of Gaia by the Enclave. The movement has never seen so much support and anti-enclave rhetoric, so much so that the Bretonian government is lost as to whether they should be covertly supporting Gaian actions against the Enclave, or suppressed before they become a larger problem.
With the conclusion of the Gallic war, and the new order established within Gallia, the three nations within the House wasted little time in starting their power struggles over one another. The Council having secured victory in a swift and somewhat less bloodied fashion than many expected resulted in much pent up anger and hatred directed at the Duchy.
The Duchy is increasingly becoming associated with the former kingdom as the focus of Gallia has turned inwards, to the point that some speak of outright persecution at the hands of the Republique. Many Duchy officials have been seen to be arbitrarily accosted by officials and more often than not are detained on suspicion of being Enclave spies before being released due to a lack of evidence. The Duchy has, as an unofficial response, done the same to their Republican counterparts. But they have taken it a step further with an unrelenting inquisition into the corruption of various Republican figures, most of the time amounting to nothing more than attempts at character assassinations.
The third power has not been idle while the other two are at each other's throats. The Minarchy in true fashion of its owners were able to swiftly seep their fingers into every pie of their new domain, and the lack of attention or care from their counterparts has enabled them to bear down more aggressively upon the population. Corruption and bias are becoming more and more common within the Minarchy territory, and the Gallic courts of the South seem to be easily swayed by the Minarchy's influence.
Planet Vienne has become a local point of interest in Gallia as the Minarchy invited Planetform into the Dauphine system to begin surveys of the planet. It was met with a mixed reaction, many of the Minarchy officials see benefits of influence and trade in expanding the Gallic market for foreigners, however the Gallic juggernaut, EFL, have publicly stated their opposition and concern in hiring an outside corporation for such a task.
Cologne has recently become a point of contention within the never-ending bickering of the Republique and Duchy. While neither side ultimately wants to be involved in another war in Sirius, the economic situation demanded action. The Confederacy has committed itself in the Rheinland system to re-establish order and protect the trade route between the two houses. The reaction to such an aggressive military move is yet to be fully played out.
The Gallic Brigands have seen an upswing in their activity in Gallia. The pirates have seen great opportunity to enrich themselves in the post-war Gallia, so much so that the Confederacy has difficulty maintaining a sufficiently strong Gendarmerie to counter their operations. This is not down to the Brigands getting the best of the Gendarmes in engagements, more than the Gendarmes turning to crime and joining them. Currently the Brigands are operating with a large degree of liberty due to the corrupt and undermanned Gendarmerie, unable to contest the group.
The Maquis have had a somewhat strange mix of fortune since the end of the war. While the Maquisards still do not comprise sufficient numbers to pose a grievous threat, they are frequently aided and abetted by sympathizers within the Republique who have been funding the organisation, and even going as far as giving them targets of opportunity. While the Maquis continue the fight against the Monarchists of Gallia in mostly smaller craft, a few rumours have suggested old Council cruisers now being in the hands of the organisation.
Following the recent military embarrassments the Kusari Navy has suffered, the resolve of the military has only hardened. Furiously drilled and disciplined, the average Kusari sailor has become the most trained pilot across all House militaries. Although the fresh pilots are still untested in battle, the renewed confidence in the military capabilities of the Kusari Navy is felt throughout the Shogunate and government. With growing instability in Gallia, civil war in Rheinland and even Liberty facing a threat from within, Kusari planners are uneasy, but prepare themselves for the next great theatre of war. With hefty contracts being handed out to the Keiretsu for further ship building, and the renewal of fortress construction across Kusari's border, the reformed state is poised to act.
Samura has conducted a number of experiments on Tomioka amid the ongoing conflict; with the use of specially engineered fish, the company hopes to create a new ecosystem for nice, fat and tasty fish. The results thus far have varied, with one of the released groups becoming hyper-aggressive and preying on neighboring fish. The Blood Dragons have continued to make gains in the South against Samura security forces, the limited deployment of the Kusari Naval operations team on the surface has made the fighting more difficult.
Since the reformation of Kusari, Kishiro lost its place as the most favoured keiretsu. Enjoying a brief window, the company managed to seed itself into many places of influence to ensure it had a better way to combat the reach of Samura. Since then, Samura has wrestled back its position of having many government officials in its pocket. Both corporations are now attempting to leverage their positions to become the exclusive supplier of H-fuel to Gallia.
Looking into the Taus, Kusari has been eager to reassert itself as a force to be reckoned with, and to enforce its interest in the region. Naval patrols have noticeably been more adventurous than they were before and the occasional capital ship deployment has suggested that the Navy might be considering another military operation.
Hogosha have been rumoured to be venturing deeper into Lorraine, prospecting for new business opportunities. The local police forces have been able to apprehend a number of Kusari individuals whom they identified as members of the syndicate but couldn't corroborate their assessment. Members of the secretive Unione Corse are also rumoured to be taking the actions of the Hogosha as attempts to move in on their territory, with reports suggesting both sides engaging in light skirmishes.
The Blood Dragons have been making steady progress on Tomika against Samura. The arrival of the Kusari Naval Forces initially slowed progress but through successful supply runs and allied assistance, the Dragons are able to continue their push for more planetary control. The Blood Dragons have also increased their raider presence in Tottori ; with infrequent attempts by Samura to challenge the Dragons away from their stations, the ronin enjoy significant freedom of movement in the system.
Golden Chrysanthemums have seen an influx of members following the fall of the Kusari Republic, and the reformation of the Empire. Where once it seemed as though their struggle might have bore fruit, the reinstatement of the Emperor has seen the continuation of Kusari's inequalities. The GC sees widespread support across New Tokyo and its colonies, from low-level activists to fully fledged Chrysanthemums ; this support has in turn triggered a sharp increase in the cardamine trade. Recently, elements of the GC movement have also been acting in the interests of the Outcasts by moving deeper into the Sigmas to target Cryer.
Having recently assailled Planet Tangiers, and crippled the Alvin Katz, the Corsair forces have dealt a decisive blow to Coalition presence in the Southern Omegas. However, in their effort, the Battleship Fez also suffered extensively, and was forced to return to Crete. The Battleship Athos is rumored to be retreating from Dublin to be deployed to finish off what the Fez started; the Barcelona has also started operations to drain fresh food and water supplies from the GMG on Kurile.
Reacting to deployments of Bretonia moving back into the Taus, the Outcast Dons ordered the redeployment of the Basilica to shadow the movement of the Macduff, and maintain the integrity of the Cardamine Highway. Additionally, after losing their only station in the Sigma region some time ago, the Dons have also opted to deploy a smaller battle-group into the region with the focus on harrying Cryer and perhaps finally destroying the hated Atka Research station.
In the midst of fending off Outcast patrols, scouts from extended reconnaissance parties have come into contact with a number of hostile vessels using adapted Nomad technology. While attempts have been made to gather more information on the source of these hostile vessels, most units who travel into the Barrier Rim are intercepted by Cartel enforcers and forced to fall back. The increase in hostile activity is also felt in Omicron Epsilon, where larger Nomad vessels have been spotted in the edges of the system. Order patrols have so far avoided engaging the larger Nomads until heavier reinforcements arrive.
Independent Miners Guild
The end of the Gallic War caused heavy turmoil and a shift in the Independent Miners Guild. With the loss of both the Bretonia and Liberty markets, they are forced to recover their losses wherever they can. In the Taus, harassed by the Outcasts and other local unlawfuls, and having to deal with Kusari and Gallia who both use IMG's current position to haggle better prices, the Guild keeps trudging in the day by day operations, hoping for better days. In the Omegas, even with heavy vigilance from Rheinland, their continued business with the Hessians and ALG is their only saving grace in the midst of frequent Corsair raiding.
Gas Miners Guild
The Gas Miners Guild have been put into a precarious situation. The integration of Kishiro's technologies has required less miners to be present in the clouds for the equal output, while at the same time, Honshu has become an increasingly attractive place of residence and employment for Gas Miner youth. However the older generation of miners still maintain their independence despite their increasing closeness to Kishiro; their zeal has been further fueled by recent incursions and political moves within the Sigmas by the neighbouring houses.
Seeing the Corsairs bloody themselves against the Coalition, and the Red Hessians move into Rheinland, the Core recalls forces from the Omegas to redeploy them into Omicron Delta where it wishes to establish itself as the prime system authority. There are rumours circulating that the Core has been selling its adapted weaponry to unknown parties and is the cause of the current influx of strange weapons into the markets across Sirius. This is currently just rumour and speculation, and no proof has yet surfaced.
Following the end of the Gallic war, Liberty has reached out to the Crayter Republic and offered a hand to further develop bonds between the two states. The exact form of assistance being offered is unknown, but it has been suggested that the neighboring republic is a suitable buffer against potential future Gallic advances on Liberty.
Recently achieving a Pyrrhic victory against the Corsairs in Omega-47, the Coalition reels from the loss of assisting Red Hessian forces in the region. Now needing to defend the central Omegas from the Corsairs and protect its western flank from the Bretonia Armed Forces, the Coalition is in an unprecedented situation with a greatly precarious future.