Friday, January 28, 2011

Redshift Chronicles News Brief # 9: Reprimands and Repercussions

Stardate: Senday, 050-130 ABY/Fringe Info Network (FIN)--Merantis Bureau
Subsector: Shannekam

"All the news that's fit to transmit."

Tarsan Ambassador Visits Constabulary Headquarters

Ambassador Eleonora Heraud arrived earlier today on board the diplomatic transport, Tangletree Envoy, escorted by the mercenary assault frigate Alderaan's Vengeance (aka "Aldi-Vee").  Instead of heading to the opening ceremonies of the Star Cluster's diplomatic summit, the ambassador went to the Merantis Constabulary's Headquarters to meet with Chief of Constables Pendric Nelprin. 

(The photo above shows Ambassador Heraud, in the white gown, along with her personal assistant and bodyguards; discussing matters with Chief of Constables Nelpin, in the brown and blue uniform).

While the details of the meeting are unknown, an anonymous source within the Constabulary said the Ambassador made a formal request to have Kal Jorek extradited to Tarsus.  The basis of this request is Bongolaan's declaration of trade war against Tarsus, so Jorek can be tried for espionage.  However, Merantis, nor any of the other planets in the star cluster, are involved in the "Bantha-Gabaki Trade War" and such a request is usually passed up to the Merantan Judiciary for consideration. 

The captured smuggler may not be the only source of legal friction between Tarsus and Merantis.  Shortly after their meeting, Chief of Constables Nelprin, shown in the photo above, issued the following directive to the Constabulary of Merantis--

Effective immediately:  All Tarsan investigators, official and private; to include law enforcement officers, intelligence agents and bounty hunters, will have a Merantan constable escort with them at all times when conducting operations within the Merantis System.

Ambassador Heraud also met with her two surviving investigators. On this, our source could only say he overheard " emotional lecture"--all of it in the ambassador's distinct voice. In light of these events, it appears as if the Tarsans violated some undisclosed, legal protocol.  When our source was asked if the two surviving investigators were still conducting their operation on Merantis, all he could say was "they've been reassigned."

Bounties Posted

Earlier today, the Ministry of Justice posted bounties on the two beings suspected of killing the Tarsan investigator, Nance Windu.  The details of the bounties are as follows:

Tonda Gunka

Species: Aqualishian
Homeworld: Bongolaan
Known Associates: Frizz
Bounty: 5,000 CR
Classification: Planetary, Government
Application Conditions: Alive
Bonus: (See bounties on known associates)
Detrerment: No serious injuries
Crimes: Murder
Originator: Ministry of Justice of the Commonwealth of Merantis
Receiver: Any Ministry of Justice representative or law enforcement officer


Species: Shistavanen
Homeworld: Bongolaan
Known Associates: Tonda Gunka
Bounty: 5,000 CR
Classification: Planetary, Government
Application Conditions: Alive
Bonus: (See bounties on known associates)
Detrerment: No serious injuries
Crimes: Murder
Originator: Ministry of Justice of the Commonwealth of Merantis
Receiver: Any Ministry of Justice representative or law enforcement officer

Entertainment News

On to a lighter subject...

In just over a week, Shiri Blen's hit single Twi'lek Dream, reached #1 in the Shennekam Subsector's Top 40 Chart.  Word has it, that despite systematic jamming, Shiri's fans still manage to download the song from the Fel Empire's holonet.

This weekend, Miss Blen teamed up with the Tarsan garage band, the Goo Goo Droids.  Last night they played several collaborative songs at Spazhouse Cafe & Bistro on Tarsus; to include South Star, which Miss Blen dedicated to those who rescued her during the Bongolaanian New Year's Coup:

(Inspired by the song Southside by Moby and Gwen Stefani)

And now some words from our sponsors:

(Inspired by Teenage Dream, by Katy Perry)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Redshift Chronicles News Brief # 8: Merantan Rogues' Gallery

Stardate: Sixday, 049-130 ABY/Fringe Info Network (FIN)--Merantis Bureau

Subsector: Shannekam

"All the news that's fit to transmit."

Smuggling Ring Busted on Merantis

The suspect captured in yesterday's shootout in the warehouse district has been identified as Kal Jorek of Bongolaan, pictured above in a cell at the Stedmonton Constabulary Headquarters.  No warrants, or bounties have been posted on Jorek, however MIS (Merantan Intelligence Service) is trying to determine if he is a BIB (Bongolaanian Intelligence Bureau) agent. 

The photo below shows Jorek cornered by a MIS agent and armed landspeeder during yesterday's shootout:

The Tarsan investigator killed in the firefight has been identified as Nance Windu, pictured below in an archival photo, undergoing training on the planet Ossus:

Windu spent several years at the Jedi Temple on Ossus, now besieged by Imperial forces, but it is unclear whether or not he graduated.  Since there is no known next-of-kin, the news of Windu's death was transmitted earlier today via subspace radio to his trainer, Jedi Master Gandu, reported to be on Ossus.  Whether Imperial forces allow the signal to go through remains to be seen.

Two members of the smuggling gang are suspected of killing Windu and remain at large.  They are considered armed and dangerous:

Tonda Gunka

Species:  Aqualishian
Wanted for:  Murder
Bounty:  To Be Determined (TBD)


Species:  Shistavanen
Wanted for:  Murder
Bounty: TBD

The bodies of the remaining gang members, have been identified as:


The Snivvian was wounded in the initial gunbattle with the Tarsan investigators and later tracked down and killed by two officers from the Stedmonton Constabulary.

Adaziak and Diergul

Both Weequay gang members were killed by the Tarsan investigators; seen in the above archival photo, providing security for a Bongolaanian brothel, two years ago.

Daho Yudo

This Aqualishian was killed by the Tarsan investigators; seen in the above archival photo, as an enforcer for one of the gabaki plantations on Bongolaan, 2 years ago.
The warehouse hideout was searched and the following material was seized: 

1,800 kilograms of Bongolaanian gabaki
1 military-grade computer
1 military-grade subspace radio

MIS and the Stedmonton Constabulary are currently working with the Bureau of Ships and Services (BoSS) to determine whether this smuggling gang operated its own starship or sub-contracted others.

(Image from Wookiepedia)

Editorial Notes on BoSS, from Wookiepedia:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Redshift Chronicles News Brief #7: Heat of the Fire

Stardate: Fiday, 048-130 ABY/Fringe Info Network (FIN)--Merantis Bureau

Subsector: Shannekam

"All the news that's fit to transmit."

Breaking News:  Shootout in Stedmonton

A firefight erupted this evening in Stedmonton's warehouse district between a band of smugglers and a joint task force, consisting of members from a Tarsan diplomatic security team, the Stedmonton Constabulary and the Merantan Intelligence Service (MIS).  The photo above shows the smuggling gang attempting to leave their warehouse hideout.

Four smugglers and a member of the Tarsan diplomatic security team were killed in the shootout.  One smuggler, rumored to be the ringleader, was captured by the Stedmonton Constabulary, while two surviving gang members remain at large. 

Bystanders also report hearing an explosion during the gun battle, some claiming a thermal detonator had gone off, although none of the warehouse buildings suffered any structural damage.  There is, however, an unconfirmed report that one of the Tarsan investigators was admitted to Stedmonton General Hospital suffering from multiple lacerations--possibly due to shrapnel.

In the photo below, two Tarsan investigators, (top center and lower right corner), confront the smugglers. 

The "Tarsan Trio" were originally assigned to investigate the Constellation Tower Fire, that gutted the offices of TAg Market (see Redshift Chronicles News Brief #6).  It is unclear at this time if the smuggling gang is connected with the fire, or if the Tarsans were investigating another matter of planetary security.  Tarsus is involved in a trade war with Bongolaan, while the Tarsan ambassador, Eleonora Heraud, is due to arrive within the next couple of days to attend the Star Cluster's diplomatic summit meeting.

Below, the Shannekam Subsector Map shows the relative location of the three planets mentioned in this news brief:  Tarsus, circled in green; Merantis, circled in yellow; and Bongolaan circled in red.  Bongolaan and Tatooine were incorporated into the Fel Empire on New Year's Day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Grue Cafe Episode 3: Skype Falls, Everyone Dies

The "Grue Crew" is back! 

Actually, they've been back for three months, but somehow I missed their third episode before they went into Holiday hiatus.  New episodes should be forthcoming, so my New Year's Resolution will be to be more timely in my posting.

Anyway, back in October 2010, my sister "Rox of Spazhouse" and her co-host Kim were joined by Dom from Germany.  Despite technical difficulties with Skype, the trio managed to touch on the following topics: 

Dragoncon, role-playing games (RPGs) and the differences between German and American video games.

I listened to the podcast last week and I'm afraid I can't remember what the significance of the smoking pink flamingo is. 

Maybe it's Dragoncon thing.

But instead of wondering, feel free to listen in.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Redshift Chronicles News Brief # 6: Where There's Smoke...

Stardate: Sixday, 042-130 ABY/Fringe Info Network (FIN)--Tarsus Bureau

Subsector: Shannekam

"All the news that's fit to transmit."

Fire Erupts in Planetary Capital's Skyscraper

Yesterday, a fire broke out in Stedmonton's Constellation Tower, on the planet Merantis.  The fire completely gutted the office of TAg Market (Tarsus Agricultural Market), while adjacent businesses suffered only minor damage.  Arson is suspected, but not  yet confirmed.  When asked if this was the work of Bongolaanian agents, a spokesbeing from MIS (Merantan Intelligence Service), merely said they were "looking into it." 

The new Tarsan Ambassador, Eleonora Heraud, is scheduled to attend a diplomatic conference on Merantis within the next six days.  CODA's (Commission of Diplomatic Affairs) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) calls for the deployment of a Diplomatic Security Team (DST), prior to the arrival of any ambassadorial staff.  When asked if any Tarsan DST, will be involved in the Constellation Tower's fire investigation, a spokesbeing from CODA merely said, "no comment."

Science and Technology News

Three days ago, FIN ran a story about the Tarsan Defense Forces' postponed MARVIN (Mobile Android Recovery Vehicle Improved Negotiator) Program.  Only one prototype has been assigned to the Tarsan 3rd Lift Infantry Regiment and the order of additional MARVIN droids from Sirius Cybernetics Corporation has been cancelled.  No reason was specified for terminating the contract.

Earlier today the above image was transmitted to FIN's office on Tarsus.  When a local reporter showed an anonymous source within the Tarsan Defense Force this image, the individual merely shrugged and said not to worry, "we have the technology, we can rebuild him."  No explanation for the apparent malfunction was given.

Entertainment News

Shiri Blen's latest hit song Twi'lek Dream reached number one within the Merantis Star Cluster and is rapidly climbing the subsector's Top 40 Chart.  It is unknown at this time if the Fel Empire, which is notoriously hostile to foreign transmissions, will block the holovid signal within it's borders.

In the meantime, Ms. Blen is scheduled to conduct an encore performance this weekend at Spazhouse Cafe & Bistro in Newland.  Her upcoming venue will include some of her earlier hits like Something's Going On.

(Inspired by I Know There's Something Going On, sung by Frida).

Editorial Note:

The top photo is from the Parque Central Complex fire, which occurred on 17 Oct 2004, in Caracas, Venezuela. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book Review: Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams

(Original cover art)

I read this book--sheez--about 2 decades ago.  From what I remember, it was a cool story about a smuggler running illicit goods across a politically fractured and dystopian America. 

There are 27 reviews of this book, originally written in 1986, on  Of which, 17 of us gave the book a 5-star rating, while another 8 gave it 4 stars.  One of the 5-star reviewers considered this novel one of the original books defining the cyberpunk subgenre of science ficition;  the others being William Gibson's Neuromancer and Bruce Sterling's The Artificial Kid.

However, one of the 2-star raters disagrees with this assessment and considered Hardwired a mere imitation of cyberpunk.  The other 2-star rater felt the story was not for her.

Okay, despite the overwhelming praise for Hardwired, why am I writing a book review now about a story I read over 20 years ago?

Yesterday I read the following post on the Romance Magicians blog: 

Chris' aside comment about the growing popularity of writing in present tense caught my attention.  Hardwired was the first, and so far, only book I've read that's written in this style.

And as soon as I read Walter Jon Williams' novel, I fell in love with present tense prose and have tried to emulate it in my own work ever since.  The appeal of present tense makes the reader feel like he's reading a story as it is unfolding, rather than reading about something that has already happened.

For additional information on Hardwired and Walter Jon Williams, check out the following links--

Hardwired synopsis according to Wikipedia:

Wikipedia entry on the author:

Walter Jon Williams blog and website:

And check out the new cover art:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Image: From The Seattle Times, New Year's fireworks display at the Seattle Space Needle.