Chapter 69 Addendum: In The News
Jacks Dome Opens On Carnage
(Pericles, Pericles Enclave, 2516/321, 15:32 HST, hpw.PMT.med/tx/cfmp7697) There has been a small war going on in Pericles for the last four days, in secret. Today, it ended. Officials are moving in to count bodies and allocate responsibility, and the press is finally allowed to investigate.
For most of the last week, Pericles residents have treated the the force dome over Jumping Jacks, Inc., as any other commuting nuissance. After all, the cause was publicly identified as an industrial accident that had to be contained. The force dome went down today at 12:18 HST, to be briefly replaced by another one after Jumping Jacks mercenaries, deputized by the Pericles Security Ministry, moved in to finish off a prolinged and massive gunfight that Jumping Jacks fought and won on its own premises in the portside district.
There are casualties on both sides, but numbers are not yet available. It is clear from distance photos that heavy artillery was sometimes used.
There is no firm information on the identity of the attackers. Unmarked armed vehicles and figures in unmarked combat armor are clearly visible in distance photos and the few closeups from press cameras allowed on the scene. Margot Burchfield, espionage consultant to the Monitor-Tribune, points out that the force dome went up over Jumping Jacks shortly after the beginning of the Ipsylvania/Gorslavia conflict, and speculates that Jumping Jacks was supplying arms or troops to one side and was therefore attacked by the other. If so, it would be a gross violation of the Articles of War and could lead to the deposing of the government involved.
Jumping Jacks is a high-tech security service and specialty arms dealer, operated and largely owned by Cantrel filius Cantorus. Cantrel, though a resident of Pericles, is a citizen of the Jack station-state, Delta Chrysaor A, and is founder and Commandant of the Jack Patrol, a safety force for that nation but, at one time, also its military government. Cantrel has so far refused contact with the press.
Mayor Crowell called the incident an "alarming security breach" and demanded a full investigation by Security Minister Abbatti. "Once again," he said, "we see that this administration takes no interest in the wellfare of the city that is its home. I suppose we are lucky not to have had battles in the Forum again, like in the twenty-second century."
Minister Abbatti pointed out that "clearly, neither party wanted the violence to spread beyond the Jumping Jacks grounds, since each erected a force dome when in control of the battlefield." He added, "At no time was the planetary government or the population of Pericles itself an intended target." He promised a full investigation and said that "any links to Gorslavia, Ipsylvania, or any other sovereignty, Hellenic or otherwise, will be vigorously pursued."
For background on this incident, click here:
For background on Commandant Cantrel, click here:
For background on Jumping Jacks, click here:
For background on the Ipsylvania/Gorslavia conflict, click here:
[ Gorslavia, Ipsylvania Register for Conflict: article from PMT 2516/310 ]
[ History of the Gor/Ip Dispute: article from Pericles CivNet 2516/314 ]
Terran Space News
A well-dressed female announcer sits in front of a desk. Behind her is a stylized globe of Hellene and a still picture of Jumping Jacks, viewed from above, smudged with smoke and flame, a-buzz with various vehicles and scurrying figures.
The announcer says, "From Hellene, news of a battle in Pericles itself, which has been going on in secret for the past four days. An attack force of unknown assailants threw a force dome over the facilities of a security service called Jumping Jacks in the Pericles spaceport area."
The image changes to a TV feed of Periclean air traffic buzzing past the force dome.
"After four days, Jumping Jacks won the battle and was able to bring down the force dome and bring in the planetary police."
The image changes to a ground scene at Jumping Jacks, showing heavily armed and armored folk in Jumping Jacks and Periclean SWAT uniforms rounding up disarmed folk in grey uniforms and bits of white armor.
"On the scene is our Hellene correspondent, Jeff D'Aubaine."
The scene shifts only slightly, to include a young-looking man in formal wear, with a Serious Expression on. "Parvati," he says, "there are a lot of questions here, but very few answers: Who attacked Jumping Jacks, and why? Was this an act of violent sabotage? How many died on each side? Are the attackers hired guns for a third party? Is Jumping Jacks a hired gun for another third party? Why did the Pericles government say nothing for four days when they clearly knew or suspected foul play inside the force dome? Who originated the cover story? Are the men and women who fought and died here just pawns in the Gorslavia/Ipsylvania conflict?"
"Abbatti, the Hellene Minister of Security, has begun to address these questions."
Cut to a closeup of Security Minister Abbatti, saying, "We will, of course, make a full investigation into this attack. Any links to Gorslavia, Ipsylvania, or any other sovereignty, Hellenic or otherwise, will be vigorously pursued."
Cut back to the anchor. She says, "When consulted, Paul Deussenberg, UCLA professor of modern military history, had this to say."
Cut to a chrome-finished Sim sitting in a study, looking casual. "Jumping Jacks has an excellent reputation in its industry. I suspect that, this time, they've been working for something with an unexpectedly bad enemy. We may never know exactly who is behind the attack. The attackers, the ones in the gray uniforms--"
Cut to another view of people in gray uniforms being rounded up.
"--are high-level mercenaries, I would guess, and very likely do not know who their employer is. This attack was unusually bold, but such proxy warfare is moderately common on Hellene."
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.