The anonymous Salvation commands much support in the galactic community, but a resistance movement has emerged to sabotage his efforts.
Vox Galactica featured a special report from freelance journalist Alexei Keel:
"In his self-proclaimed war against the Thargoids, Salvation recently scored a major victory by eliminating their forces from the Cornsar system. But the ongoing mystery around the identity of this 'man of science', as well as his controversial methods, have led to a backlash."
"To deliver vital components for his mysterious anti-xeno weapon, Salvation once again recruited independent pilots, directly messaging those who had performed tasks for him before. However, this time a counter-initiative was formed by those who did not trust his motivations. It was also supported by believers in non-aggression against the Thargoids, and others who feared that the weapon might endanger Cornsar's population."
"Their actions involved acquiring the components, which were disguised as basic medicines, but destroying rather than delivering them. Whether or not this partial blockade impacted the weapon's effectiveness remains unknown, but it acted as a substantial opposition to Salvation's scheme."
"Aegis is investigating the Cornsar incident, but with faith in that organisation at an all-time low, individual Commanders are now taking matters into their own hands. Time will tell if Salvation's ambition to replace Aegis is a noble goal, or if we are replacing the devil we know with a darker demon."
Negotiations between the Federation and self-styled dictator Yuri Grom are underway to determine the Delta Pavonis system's allegiance.
Political correspondent Conrad Sterling published an update for Vox Galactica:
"In recent years, Yuri Grom has developed a degree of mystique. He was one of the few leaders not to attend the Galactic Summit, and news from within his dominion was scarce. But now he is visibly relishing the opportunity to confront Federal representatives under the protection of diplomatic immunity."
"Initial exchanges were belligerent as both sides argued over who would be the most beneficial partner. This was to be expected since Delta Pavonis is one of the Federation's founding systems, and it would be a significant coup for EG Union to establish a presence so close to Sol."
"What was unexpected was the mutual respect that gradually developed between Yuri Grom and Ambassador Delphine Dumont. Her charming manner clearly appealed to the dictator, even bringing forth his thunderous laughter on occasion."
"A deal is now being discussed that would allow the Autocracy of Delta Pavonis to have trade and political ties with both parties while remaining independent. Perhaps the Federation has learned some lessons from the recent rebellion, and perhaps Yuri Grom's hatred of the superpower he once served is finally abating."
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
An initiative to gather data on potential tourist destinations has been launched by shipbuilding corporation Saud Kruger.
The luxury passenger ship manufacturer aims to identify new Earth-like planets that would be attractive to holidaymakers. These trips will be managed by its subsidiary, Astrogator Tours.
CEO Stanislav Kruger announced the campaign to the press:
"We are keen to acquire data on Earth-like worlds, to assess their suitability as destinations for future holidaymakers seeking the adventure of a lifetime. However, all exploration data is valuable and will earn generous payments."
"In addition, our marketing department is keen to receive images of eye-catching sights found within unpopulated systems containing Earth-like worlds, to spot the most potentially exciting additions to the Astrogator Tours catalogue."
Vistaenis Incorporated has agreed to organise the initiative on behalf of Saud Kruger. Contributing pilots are invited to deliver exploration data to Youll Port in the Vistaenis system. They can also submit their most compelling images by Thursday the 30th of September.
By Thursday the 28th of October, the most suitable locations will receive tourist beacons and credit the Commander for their submission where appropriate.
If successful, Saud Kruger's Dolphin, Orca and Beluga Liner ships will be reduced in price for one week from Friday the 1st of October, with the percentage dependent on the volume of data received. There will also be a discount on the luxury-class cabins used by these crafts to transport VIP passengers.
The anonymous 'man of science' Salvation has claimed responsibility for the Thargoids' unexplained departure from the Cornsar system.
Salvation had predicted their attack, but his claim was discounted by Aegis and other authorities. After a few days the Thargoid vessels fled abruptly, leaving behind wreckages across the system.
The following message was transmitted on public channels:
"This is Salvation. The Thargoid invasion of Cornsar has now been repulsed, thanks to prototype anti-xeno weaponry that I have been developing for some time. I have achieved what Aegis could not – an effective deterrent against the alien threat."
"Refinement of this weapon is at a critical stage, so I cannot reveal any details. I only regret that my warning was not heeded in time to save everyone on the two starports."
"This triumph was only possible thanks to those loyal pilots who answered my call. Rewards will shortly be available from the Bright Sentinel megaship in the Mbooni system."
Salvation's identity and capabilities remain unknown, but he has established a reputation as a rival to Aegis. He is also knowledgeable about Azimuth Biochemicals, a research company connected to the earliest recorded encounters with Guardian and Thargoid artefacts.
Lady Astrid Minerva-Duval, wife of Hadrian Augustus Duval, has confirmed that she is expecting a child in December.
The story was broken by the Paresa News Network:
"Lady Astrid was visibly overjoyed as she told us of her pregnancy, and of Hadrian's excitement at being a father. Her only complaint was that she's no longer allowed to fly support missions for Nova Imperium. Once a Commander, always a Commander!"
Mainstream media channels also commented on the news.
The Imperial Herald: "This has caused tangible ripples of unease in the Senate. Since neither Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval nor Princess Aisling Duval have heirs, Hadrian's claim to the throne will be strengthened if he alone ensures that the Duval bloodline continues."
Eye on Achenar: "Who cares about the spawn of Emperor Hengist's illegitimate grandson? The NMLA may have assassinated much of the Imperial Family, but this outcast boy is still a footnote in their noble history."
Vox Galactica: "Despite his unofficial status, Hadrian Duval has many silent supporters within the Empire. His isolationist stance appeals to nostalgic citizens, as does returning to the tradition of male Emperors. Should Hadrian have a son, he may feel empowered to seek his birthright more forcefully."
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
The Thargoid vessels attacking the Cornsar system have unexpectedly departed from the region.
For the last four days, independent pilots and local security forces have been in combat against the alien ships. Although some were destroyed in battle, the remainder have abruptly withdrawn back into hyperspace.
The starports Chadwick Port and Ito Market sustained heavy damage during the assault, leaving thousands dead and wounded. Evacuation efforts are still underway to rescue the survivors from both stations.
Marshal Noah Sharrow, the ruler of Cornsar, made this statement:
"We cannot say why the Thargoids have gone, only that we are grateful they have. I thank all the brave pilots who fought valiantly to defend our people."
Sightings of crashed Thargoid vessels on planetary bodies in the Cornsar system have been confirmed by Aegis observation teams. As yet there are no official explanations.
Delegations from the Federation and the dictator Yuri Grom are meeting to determine the Delta Pavonis system's future.
Both are on a diplomatic mission to convince its controlling faction to either swear allegiance to Yuri Grom or become a Federal member state. Delta Pavonis was one of the original signatories of the Federal Accord in 2242, but has recently been governed by an independent autocracy.
Yuri Grom himself is present, having arrived on the megaship Indomitable. Grom was once a respected admiral in the Federal Navy, before defecting with huge numbers of ships and followers. They established the independent EG Union, which he presides over as a military dictatorship.
The rival delegation is led by Ambassador Delphine Dumont of the Federal Diplomatic Corps. They were transported on the Freedom's Foundation megaship courtesy of Delta Pavonis Galactic Interstellar, which formerly controlled the system. The ambassador invited newsfeeds to witness her initial introduction to Yuri Grom, who seemed slightly taken aback by her warm greeting.
Grand Duke Simion Petrescu, ruler of the Autocracy of Delta Pavonis, told attending journalists:
"The conference will take place in Kessler City on Reagan's Legacy, where our distinguished guests will enjoy our famous hospitality. I look forward to learning more about their respective proposals."
This is the first time that the Federation has diplomatically engaged with Yuri Grom. Political observers noted that this tactful approach may be due to several Federal factions recently declaring independence.
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
The Cornsar system has been attacked by Thargoid forces, causing severe damage to two starports.
Direct assaults against Chadwick Port and Ito Market stations have resulted in over ten thousand casualties. Local reports state that Thargoid vessels have also appeared elsewhere throughout the system, placing millions more lives at risk.
The anonymous figure known as Salvation recently warned that Cornsar was in imminent danger of being invaded, having been alerted by his new xeno-detection network. Aegis could not verify Salvation's claim and saw no evidence of any Thargoid presence.
The system's ruler, Marshal Noah Sharrow of the Allied Cornsar Constitution Party, transmitted this message:
"This is a call to any pilots in the vicinity of Cornsar. We urgently need ships to defend our people from the Thargoids, and to rescue civilians trapped within Chadwick Port and Ito Market. This is a grave emergency!"
Aegis has released a brief statement:
"We can confirm there is a Thargoid presence in the Cornsar system. Unfortunately most of our operations and personnel remain suspended due to the public inquiry, so we cannot contribute to any anti-xeno efforts."
There has been no further communication from Salvation, despite his accurate prediction of the attack.
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
The Haithis Purple Dynamic Group has fought off the Kumo Council assault, securing the completion of Neomedical Industries' onionhead project.
The pharmaceutical corporation had received deliveries to Haithis to begin producing onionhead gamma strain for medicinal purposes. In response, the Kumo Crew syndicate attacked Neomedical's corporate partner but failed to achieve its objectives.
Neomedical Industries confirmed that investment in its project to mass-produce onionhead gamma strain has increased following the conflict's resolution. The news was eagerly received in many Alliance and independent systems, which have expressed interest in the new healthcare treatment.
Olwyn Kendrick, CEO of Neomedical Industries, told the media:
"We owe a huge debt to the galactic community for defending our operation. Large-scale manufacture of onionhead gamma strain can now commence. We will soon be able to improve the quality of life for millions of people."
The Haithis Purple Dynamic Group is offering rewards to its supporters from Crippen Port in the Haithis system.
The anonymous figure known as Salvation claims that Thargoid forces will shortly launch an assault in the Cornsar system.
The following message was received by all major newsfeeds:
"This is Salvation. Authorities in the Cornsar system must evacuate the local population immediately. I believe a Thargoid invasion of the system is imminent."
"I became aware of this danger while developing a new interstellar xeno-detection network, which will be far superior to Eagle Eye. Although the network is not fully complete, we cannot dismiss this report as a false reading. Cornsar must act now."
Carter Armstrong, a chief administrator with Aegis, delivered an official statement:
"Aegis cannot validate this claim. There is no indication of a Thargoid presence in the vicinity, and Cornsar is too far from their known territories to be a viable target. As most of our operations are suspended due to the public inquiry, we cannot dedicate any resources to investigate further."
There was also a response from Marshal Noah Sharrow, who governs the Cornsar system on behalf of the Allied Cornsar Constitution Party:
"We have no interest in the games of one-upmanship between Aegis and Salvation. Nor do we believe for a moment that the Thargoids would go out of their way to harass us."
A further seven Federal factions have severed ties with the superpower in protest against government monitoring of communications.
These latest secessions have been undertaken by minor factions that do not control any systems, including Unktock Free, United Posenoi League and Progressive Party of Inggale.
Political journalist Sofia Trevino reported for The Federal Times:
"Eight factions had previously declared independence from the Federation, and now an even greater number forms the third wave of rebellion. It's clear that their populations feel empowered to take a stand against losing their constitutional rights of privacy."
"Vice President Archer shrugged off this latest development, maintaining that 'the Proactive Detection Bureau performs a vital security role in these troubled times'. Since none of these latest factions currently govern a system, he may also believe that resistance to the PDB is on the wane."
"Although these events have only impacted a small part of Federal territory, they remain an embarrassment for President Hudson's administration. Shadow President Winters continues to implore Congress to repeal the Domestic Counter-Terrorism Act, but she has also taken political criticism since many feel her rhetoric inspired these factions to secede."
A day of mourning has been declared across the Empire to mark the first anniversary of the NMLA's Imperial starport bombings.
On Thursday the 10th of September 3306, Imperial stations in the Cemiess, Gabjaujis, LHS 4031 and Rabh systems were attacked without warning. Over sixty thousand people were killed and twice as many wounded by powerful explosives that delivered a caustic enzyme payload.
The Neo-Marlinist Liberation Army is an extremist paramilitary group that is dedicated to reforming Marlin Duval's original republican government. Prior to these bombings, it had only performed minor strikes with low casualties.
The NMLA's terror campaign grew to encompass all three superpowers with the Nine Martyrs attacks in March 3307. It also led to supporters of Marlinism fleeing from the Empire as refugees, eventually resettling in the Marlinist Colonies.
Princess Aisling Duval paid respects to the victims during a memorial ceremony at her palace on Emerald. She also spoke of her father Prince Harold Duval, who was assassinated by the NMLA shortly after the bombings.
Messages of condolence have been sent by President Zachary Hudson, Prime Minister Edmund Mahon, Imperator Hadrian Augustus Duval and First Minister Octavia Volkov. All vowed to continue contributing resources to ACT, which recently shut down many terrorist cells. Coupled with the loss of its political wing, the NMLA threat may finally be diminishing.
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
The Kumo Council has declared war on the Haithis Purple Dynamic Group for the latter's role in supporting Neomedical Industries.
The pharmaceutical corporation's recent campaign in the Haithis system enabled the mass production of onionhead gamma strain, scheduled to be available as a medicinal product from Alliance and independent markets. The drug is currently distributed in a handful of anarchy systems by the Kumo Crew syndicate.
As hostilities erupted in the Haithis system, Archon Delaine broadcast a message for Neomedical Industries:
"Did you truly believe you could steal from us and survive unscathed? Now your allies will pay for your greed with their blood."
In response, CEO Olwyn Kendrick broadcast a call for help:
"This terrifying attack by the galaxy's most vicious pirates may pressure investors to withdraw, causing the entire project to collapse. If so, the vital materials that pilots delivered will be wasted. To prevent this, we urgently require support for our corporate partners against these criminals."
The Haithis Purple Dynamic Group is offering rewards to pilots who help protect its ships against pirate assault. The Kumo Council has also offered to reimburse mercenaries who fight on their behalf.
*Pilots Federation ALERT*
The pharmaceutical megacorp has received sufficient materials to produce onionhead gamma strain as a medical treatment.
Pilots delivered shipments of H.E. suits, polymers and robotics to Crippen Port in the Haithis system. Payment for these deliveries is now available at the starport from the pharma giant's corporate partner, Haithis Purple Dynamic Group.
Bounty vouchers were also offered for all wanted ships, in expectation of pirate attacks coordinated by the Kumo Crew syndicate. Their megaship remains in the Haithis system, which has raised concerns about further retaliation from Archon Delaine.
An announcement was made by Olwyn Kendrick, CEO of Neomedical Industries:
"Thanks to the sterling contributions, it looks like we are on track to roll out the medically certified strain of onionhead to approximately 15% of all independent systems and Alliance systems for the 17th of September 3307. It will soon be viewed as a vital healthcare product for millions of people rather than a notorious narcotic."
There has been some criticism of the Alliance, especially from Federal and Imperial quarters, for allowing the popular psychedelic drug to be sold legally. However, the Assembly reiterated that most Alliance trading laws are enforced on a system by system basis, and that the deal is only there because of the firm assurances and underwriting made by Neomedical Industries.
Prime Minister Edmund Mahon has commented on the Aegis inquiry and his failed proposal to unify anti-xeno operations.
As part of an interview with The Alliance Tribune, he said:
"The greatest regret of my career is that I was unable to formalise the Sirius Treaty at the Galactic Summit. This would have revolutionised Aegis by providing the commitment and resources it deserves, sparing it the indignity of a public inquiry."
"The Nine Martyrs attacks prevented that historic occasion, of course, but the Sirius Treaty itself remains viable. I'd be happy to ratify it on behalf of the Alliance if we can convince the other signatories that defending humanity from the Thargoid threat should be our utmost priority."
Investigators continue to gather information regarding Aegis's operations. There have been further resignations of key staff, and financial records are being independently audited.
Dr Paul Baumann, chair of the board of inquiry, confirmed that charges of criminal negligence could be brought against key figures within Aegis given sufficient evidence. However, there is uncertainty as to which court would deal with legal proceedings for a tri-superpower organisation.