Sector Alpha, Ring One, Low Earth Orbital Zone -- 27 Mar. 2057: The Bureau of Information Retrieval has released a detailed report on the damages that occurred during the recent Carrington-level ion storm which caused severe disruptions to communication and other services on the 6th and 7th of March. According to the Bureau's press release, reported damage to property throughout the system totaled about 50 credits and the economy lost a further 1200 credits in lost business activity. 742 injuries and 396 deaths have been directly attributed to the storm, which is the most severe on record since the Great Blowout of 2017.
"The Great Blowout was one of the most serious natural disasters in living memory," writes historian Dr. Vik Pimkasian of Roddenberry University on his blog Let's Get Historical. "We were heavily dependent on electrical technology, including a growing amount of integrated circuitry, but almost none of it was manufactured with sufficient EM shielding to withstand the event. The burgeoning orbital tourism and industrial complex was somewhat better prepared, but not sufficiently to weather a carrington-level event unscathed. For the first time, over 90% of the Earth's power grid was simultaneously blacked out. Vehicles crashed as their guidance systems were destroyed. Patients in hospitals died by the hundreds as automated care and telemedicine systems went offline. Our civilization was devastated, and very nearly did not recover."
The Alliance's manufacturing code requires electronics, especially those that might be utilized in potentially life-critical systems, to be hardened to withstand Carrington-level ionic storm activity. According to Bureau spokesperson Alden Thibeault, the relatively low amount of damage and serious injury can be attributed to the effectiveness of inexpensive EM hardening techniques like integrated faraday cages. "There's still a certain amount of skimping that goes on in manufacturing in regard to EM coatings," stated Ms. Thibeault in a text-message interview. "Some people will cut any corner they can to save a few nanocredits. But the bureau of consumer protection comes down pretty hard on it when they do find it, and for the most part it's not even worth while to take it out of the workflow." Ms. Thibeault said that the majority of deaths and injuries occurred due to the failure of private vehicle guidance systems or body augmentation implants manufactured with inadequate EM shielding. The most devastating incidents, however, include the destruction of a number of severely substandard data blocks, 'virtual slums' which housed a total of 5017 active emulated consciousnesses. "157 synthetics and data ghosts have been irretrievably corrupted, and another 516 suffered excisions which will cripple them for the rest of their existence, including 229 which were reduced to below sapient status. The people who manufactured and ran those servers ought to be ashamed; and in any case, they'll soon be receiving visits from InterPol on charges of criminal negligence."