Probe Sale Leads to Arrest, Outcry

New New Orleans, Titan, Saturnine Confederacy -- 17 Apr. 2057:  Hydrocarbon refiner Gargus Abix Tessera has been taken into custody on charges of Improper Disposal of Government Property after the sale at auction of the exoplanetary research probe which crashed on zer property last month.  The Saturnine Confederate Authority refused to execute the warrent for zer arrest, forcing the Department of Public Safety to divert a police unit from Ganymede specifically to carry out the arrest.  The Confederacy is now attempting to block the Department's order to remand Mx. Tessera to Luna for trial, insisting that zie be tried in a Saturnine court.  The already strained relationship between the Confederacy and the Alliance centre is suffering additional strain from the confrontation, according to political observers.

In a press release transmitted systemwide this day, Confederate Authority Chairman Deuce Titslinger described the arrest as "an unforgivable intrusion by the authoritarian running-dogs of the UNCA into the rightful demesne of our independent polity" and promises that the Confederacy "will fight this illegal extradition of a Confederate citizen with every means at our disposal, opening with legal maneuvers and escalating as appropriate."  The use of the term UNCA, or United Nations Colonial Authority, is a direct challenge to the authority of the Stellar Alliance over the Confederacy, according to Dr. Phlanigan Arbutus, a professor of interplanetary law at Rubix University.

"The Constitution Accord describes the Stellar Alliance and the Saturnine Confederacy as 'equal partners within a united Solar System'; the previous Stellar Alliance Treaty, which was intended to prevent a second interplanetary war, was signed by the UNCA, the now-defunct Mars Development Council, and Federation of Asteroidal Polities.  With this statement, the Confederacy has completely discounted the authority of the Alliance within Saturnine territory by rhetorically demoting the Stellar DPS to an arm of the UNCA, a mere Terran political unit comprising an entity which is constitutionally the Confederacy's equal.  This whole situation is a mess; if Baikonur backs down and allows Tessera to be tried in a local court, they're conceding that Alliance law does not supersede Confederate Authority diktat.  I don't think it will come down to violence, but if neither the centre nor the Confederacy chooses to back down it's a distinct possibility.  All this over a simple little thing like a crashed space probe; it boggles the mind."

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