Confederacy Demands More Senators, Electors

Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Earth -- 22 May 2057:  This day saw a blustery debate in the Trapezoid over a proposal put unexpectedly forward to increase the number of senators and electors composing the Saturnine Confederacy's share of the Stellar Parliament.  There is little doubt that this proposal was strategically motivated, coming as it does so close on the heels of the bizarre obstinacy of the Confederate Authority in the matter of the crashed deep-space probe.

The bill as it stands would hand the Confederacy the equivalent of 5 full districts' worth of senators, putting it on par with the Federation of Asteroidal Polities in the Senate, though as in the case of the FAP the regional government would remain in the hands of the Confederate Authority.  The proposal also triples the number of sovereign states into which the Confederacy is carved, and thus the number of electors seated in the Trapezoid.  The bill was tabled by Ras Jagadbarty, Libertarian Elector for Saturnine Confederacy-Tighe Station, who contented himself with a brief speech pointing out that the growing population of the Saturnine colonies entitles them to a redistricting review and offering his proposal as the logical solution.

Not so the other Saturnine Electors, who gave full-throated and sometimes tawdry approval to the plan.  Libertarian elector Caspar de Vries of Saturnine Confederacy-Dione said that it was "about time the Confederacy got its due," and that "the bureaucracy of Baikonur has spent far too long withholding and pettifogging the rights that we are clearly due as a partner with this Alliance".  Morgen Flagneflan, Corporatist elector for Saturnine Confederacy-Titan Polar North, spent the full allotment of eir speaking time railing against the "cultural imperialism" of the Alliance centre, which e likened to "societal genocide", "the repeated rape of our Confederate pride", and "a political Holocaust" before being cut off by the Chancellor.  Libertarian elector Tinus Parvos Naturidan of Saturnine Confederacy-Rhea stated that "the Confederacy is at last ready to rise up and demand its God-given rights to self-determination and full representation, to have its day in the sun alongside the inner planets, to enjoy the fruits of our labour and to walk our own soil untrammeled by the hand of jealous and small-minded Socialist sycophants."  The speeches began at times to sound like a full-fledged declaration of secession.  Like-minded partisand from throughout the system joined in, with Libertarian Party director Azimak Titslinger, elector for Anders-Mircordia, calling the redistricting "a move whose time has come", and Traditionalist elector Alex Ross of Great Plains-Lonestar spoke stirringly of "our Confederate brothers, who carry the spirit of the frontier under their hats, taking the risks we of the centre dare not take and asking naught for it beyond the opportunity to full representation before the law of our grand Alliance".

Leading the charge against the immense scope of the redistricting, Socialist elector Maarta Schengen of Scandinavia-Sweden called the move a "naked power grab" by the Saturnines, accusing them of "flexing their muscle" and attemting to "upset the applecart" in the wake of the probe scandal.  She called on members of the governing coalition to "resist the lure of these pretty words and refuse to disturb the balance of power in the Trapezoid."  Norris Becker, Communitarian elector for Great Plains-Greater Saskatchewan, allowed that while "population growth might entitle the Saturnines to another 5 senators and a few more electoral states, the proposal before this house is a bridge too far," while Hyperboria-Nautilus' Anarchist elector Titus Netrosiam vowed to "hold the line against the crypto-fascists of the so-called Confederate Authority capital complex".  In the end, however, splits in the Communitarian party and a sizeable contingent of back-bench Technocrats managed to get the proposal sent to the Senate redistricting committee on a vote of 307-306.

Court Denies Conservation Group's Petition

Terminat, Dione, Saturnine Confederacy -- 21 May 2057:  The Confederate Superior Civil Court this day refused to grant conservation group Wild Space status under the Ecological Protection Act to sue the Saturnine government on behalf of the rings of Saturn.  The group's petition to create a conservation area in the rings and exclude all human industry or habitation in that area has been thrown out of court.

Likos Feldspar, a spokesperson for the Dione branch of Wild Space, expressed disappointment with the ruling, but little surprise.  "We had hoped at the very least to be given the opportunity to make our case in court for the irreplaceable value of the rings," zie stated in a press conference after the ruling was handed down.  "It is already possible to see degradation of the rings due to industrial water mining at many magnifications.  We filed our suit in anticipation of a fairer hearing after the last regional election, when the Libertarians took the Confederate Authority from the Corporatists.  We had a proposal for preservation of the rings, fair enclosure pricing and sustainable water mining that could at least have led to an acceptable compromise for all parties.  It seems our hopes were ill-founded, but we fully plan to appeal this decision to the Alliance Superior Civil Court as soon as we have access to sufficient funding.  Until then, Saturnines will just have to live with the reality that their most iconic and beautiful piece of common property, the rings of Saturn, are being stripped away by the greed of private interests.  We will also continue attempting to interest our Senators, Conciliators, and state Directors in pursuing this politically.  This is not the end."

The law under which the group attempted to sue the Confederacy, clause 21 of the Ecological Protection Act, was intended primarily to protect the environmental biodiversity of Earth's beleaguered natural habitats and allows intervenors to assume protective status over natural areas and sue those whose activities are detrimentally affecting them, obtaining injunctions to halt certain types of human activity in the area, impose pricing schemes to discourage pollution or natural resource enclosures, or negotiate sustainable development plans.  Courts have historically been averse to extending the law into space, which of course contains no ecological diversity to protect; but on a few occasions, Wild Space has been able to make the case for the inherent value for the conservation of undisturbed stellar bodies, halting several asteroid mining ventures and a proposal to develop a settlement on the Martian moon Deimos.  The group has begun looking to more ambitious targets, and has divulged plans to attempt to establish a conservation area over the entirety of Uranus, which has thus far seen minimal human intrusion.

Hypercortical Group Added to DeathWatch Hate List

Heliogabalus, Inamorata, Venus -- 20 May 2057:  The influential social justice organization DeathWatch has this day updated its "Hate List" -- its ranking of groups which, in the words of the organization's charter, "directly promote the genocidal elimination of any identifiable group of people or the restriction of personhood rights, or spread slanderous propaganda about any identifiable group of people designed to incite violent hatred."  Of the often banal but rarely uninteresting inside hockey of hate politics, one item stands out: the inclusion in 219th place of Evolve: Humanity, the first explicitly pro-Hypercortical group to yet make the Hate List.  According to Mechalus Nalren, a DeathWatch spokesperson, the addition was prompted specifically by the publication on their hyperlayer page of a document titled "Manual of Positive Eugenics".  The tract, among other offences, advocates severe restriction of the reproductive rights guaranteed in the Constitution Accord.

"I'll quote here from the so-called manual produced by Evolve: Humanity," Mre. Nalren told us in an audio interview:  "'All biologicals should be required to have hypercortex gene sequences inserted into their germline or face mandatory sterilization.  All unplanned pregnancies and all pregnancies or vat-births not resulting in a child with a functional hypercortex should be aborted.  Biologicals registering under 125 on the Deckard-Bowman examinations should be restricted to reproducing one child per 50 population; those scoring under 100, one child per 500 population; and those scoring under 75, one child per 5000 population.  Any person whose germline produces a fetus with an F-grade Neurological Typification Class should be summarily sterilized.'  They're not up there with major players like Humans For Humanity or God Given Gender, but they've crossed the line here from just claiming Hypers to be a 'superior race' to actively advocating the elimination of all non-Hypercortical neurotypes from the population, which is unconstitutional and unacceptable."

Reaction to this step from the neurodiversity movement has been swift: the Interplanetary Neurodiversities Federated Organization issued a press release which stated that "the inclusion of Evolve: Humanity on the Hate List has been a long time coming and is a welcome step in the journey toward true neurodiversity"; the Hypercortical rights advocacy group HyperActive, for its part, attempted to distance itself from Evolve: Humanity with a dense statement cautioning that "Evolve: Humanity is not in any way affiliated or associated with HyperActive, and their goals are not ours," and stating outright that "HyperActive is pro-Hypercortical, not anti-any other neurotype.  We support neurodiversity as both a concept and a practice."  The title of the statement from Primal-human rights group PrePosthuman says it all:  "Evolve: Humanity is an Endangered Species".

Evolve: Humanity, for their part, contented themselves with a single tweet in defiance of the media storm.  "In the time it would take you to understand why it is ridiculous to label us a hate group," said communications director Amarinth Tefloricate Reum, "I could compose a symphony.  Hypers are simply superior to baselines.  This is not 'slanderous propaganda'; it is merely a statement of established fact."

Baby-Selling Scandal Accompanies Creche Shutdown

Ceres, Federation of Asteroidal Polities -- 17 May 2057:  Kidstart, a major privately-run child-rearing facility has been abruptly decertified by the FAP Department of Child and Quasi-Person Protection.  Its owners, Queeg Tripley and Marfa Tanstaafle, have been taken into police custody on charges of Endangerment, Abuse, and Improper Sale of Quasi-Persons.  The children who lived and learned in the facility are being temporarily housed in Ceres' overburdened state-run creches until their progenitors can be found, if indeed they are located at all and can be induced to care for their children.

The Department and the local police have not responded to requests for comment.  However, Stig Flamlin, a spokesperson for local child advocacy organization Invest In Children, claims to have heard disturbing rumours of child-trafficking through Kidstart.  "You have to understand," Mre. Flamlin told us in an audio interview, "this was the kind of place that preys on people in poverty, mainly primates, dogs and cats, neanders, the neuromarginal -- people who through misfortune or poor judgement found themselves unable to support a child, people who couldn't wait for a place in the state creches to open up.  They would arrange a small low-interest loan through one of the many fly-by-night banks to pay their fee, on the condition that the progenitors sign over full parental rights and never attempt to reclaim or even contact their offspring.  It was a really dodgy operation, the kind we try to warn people off of, but they did a good business and there were rumour for years that they would keep beds available by selling the kids.  

"Oh, they parade big groups of kids around outside the compound twice a day, on educational tours to this or that.  We have spotters who were watching, and they really shuffled it around as to which kids were touring when, running them in about 20 groups of 50 kids that got mixed up for each tour.  But our watchers kept careful records of what they saw, and every few weeks a child that had been consistently out on a weekly basis just stopped showing up.  We've heard stories on the child-rights grapevine of Kidstart 'product' ending up in labour camps, kiddie brothels, meat markets, and adopted by wonderful loving parents from one end of the system to the other; there's a lot of talk that they're affiliated with UniCrime, too, though it's all pure hearsay.  The police have taken their sweet time looking into Kidstart, but I hope that means they have enough evidence to nail Queeg and Marfa to the wall.  Children are our greatest asset; I hate seeing them treated like just another commodity."

Confederation Day Celebration Turns Violent

New New Orleans, Titan, Saturnine Confederacy -- 16 May 2057:  Parades throughout the moons and stations of Saturn this day were intended to honour the founding of the Confederacy; but some have attracted political demonstrations which have become riots.  Early estimates tally property damage to several credits, over 500 injured and nearly 800 arrests.  No deaths have yet been reported.  Our correspondant, Gelf Shmedley, described the scene in the Confederate capital of New New Orleans in an email:

"The parades on Confed Day are always raucous, with elements of triumphalism and anti-Alliance sentiment.  But today's demonstration was just unreal.  I saw Chancellor Galorvian burned in effigy; I saw posters of Galorvian in Hitler drag, and others compared the Technocrats to Nazis and the Socialist party to Stalinists.  In this day and age; it was unbelievable.  Then there were the people firing plasma rifles and HERF busters into the air.  They reinforce the dome and harden all the electronics specifically because people are known to do this, particularly on Confed Day.  But it seemed to be a spark across a short circuit this time.  That was about when people started raging, smashing windows, looting shops, trampling other underfoot.  It was like seeing people regress to the level of animals.  I have to thank Jesus Mohammed nothing happened to me."

Confederation Day is a strangely erratic holiday, as the Saturnines tend to live according to local planetary calendars and clocks rather than Earth Standard Time, as a matter of principle as much as practicality.  Thus, the "anniversary" of the founding of the Confederacy is usually celebrated according to the orbital periods of the various moons and Ring-synchronous stations.  Today's Confederation Day celebrates the first full Saturn-year since the founding, nearly three Earth-decades ago.  This, in addition to the recent controversy and ill feeling due to a property dispute over a crashed deep-space probe, may partly explain the high tempers which attended the festivities.  Confederate Authority Chairman Deuce Titslinger publicly broadcast a rambling statement calling the riots a "national shame, a stain on the face of our fair Confederacy" and chiding the rioters for "playing into the slanderous stereotypes our detractors put about of the boorish, violent, greedy Saturnine" before going on to inveigh against "UNAC provocateurs" and state that "the Bureaucrats in Baikonur can hardly be surprised of their arrogant, heavy-handed pronouncements bring justifiable anger from our outraged citizens."

Medication-for-Services Declared Unconstitutional

Anaxagoras Station, Lagrange Orbital Colonial Authority -- 15 May 2057:  The LOCA Regional Civil Court has found this day for the plaintiff in Helsen v. Anaxagoras Station, declaring that it is unconstitutional for local ordnances to require that psychiatric patients submit to drug testing to prove that they are taking prescribed medications to "control their illness" in order to access locally-managed services such as free food, water, and air dispensaries, hyperlayer access, doss lockers, and employment assurance.  Speaking for a unanimous majority, the Honourable Judge Alin Mantarean states that "what is to one person a 'psychiatric illness' which needs to be controlled is for an increasing number an integral part of their identity as a person, one which the Constitution Accord now recognizes as inalienable and does not permit us to attempt to coerce them into altering.  To deny a person government-guaranteed services based on whether they are or are not using consciousness-altering drugs is tantamount to neurotypicalism, and is not something this court will tolerate."

The Interplanetary Neurodiversities Federated Organization issued a press release hailing the decision as "a major step forward for freedom of thought and the rights of those who think differently."  The INFO coordinated a campaign to raise money for legal counsel to represent Gerhard Helsen, a person of leisure who considers schizopherenia to be an integral part of who he is.  The organization hopes to apply the decision to overturn similar ordnances in cities, townships and stations across the system.  These laws became common after the Teegan Amendment to the Constitution Accord enshrined "neuromorphic freedom", or the freedom to allow or induce one's mind to function in any way one wishes.  Tork Flagelblad, a spokesperson for the Anaxagoras Board of Directors, called the ruling "utterly ludicrous.  I mean, yeah yeah, neurodiversity, hip hooray.  The reality is that people with serious illnesses are not getting the medical treatment they need, and our system was designed to help with that.  All respect to Mr. Helsen and his beliefs, but in order to maintain the public peace, people need to at least be on the same planet.  They can't be shoting at their invisible friends or having a bipolar meltdown.  What you do in the privacy of your own home is your own business, but we can't have these kinds of things happening in public hostels or at jobs gained through Employment Assurance.  There needs to be some kind of order."

Shipyard Wrecked by Drunken Joyride

Utopia Planitia Orbital Shipyard, Low Mars Orbit -- 14 May 2057:  A series of collisions caused by the reckless piloting of Barron Waterworks heir Michial Barron has caused several hundred credits' worth of damage and temporarily halted the effective operation of the iconic Utopia Planitia shipyard.  Nobody has been reported dead or injured in the escapade.

According to witnesses, Mr. Barron showed up personally at the shipyard to take possession of a custom-manufactured Boeing Cabana which he had ordered for his 20th birthday.  "We would've happily delivered the hull to anywhere in the system for him," stated shipyard foreman Zack Hammershaft, "but he wouldn't have it; he insisted on taking it out of the yard himself."  According to Mr. Hammershaft, Mr. Barron was "visibly drunk; he stunk of expensive zero-gee-brewed brandy, I'd say Halner Flarnaigan, and was weaving and slurring."  The crew handling the order apparently felt they had no choice but to allow Mr. Barron to pilot the spacecraft himself.  "You know what it's like with these hyper-rich types," Mr. Hammershaft told us in an audio interview.  "Break you as soon as look at you.  Only reason I'm saying this, mind you, is 'cause I'm the shop union rep for the Shipwrights Local 21930.  They got my back.  The rest of my crew, though?  Forget it.  More than a job like this is worth to cross a man can buy and sell people like you by the dozen."

The trouble started when Mr. Barron failed to wait for the clamps on the mooring gantry to which the ship was still secured to be disengaged before firing the craft's primary ion engines.  Part of the gantry superstructure was ripped away as the craft spiralled out of control through the shipyard.  The automated traffic control program handling the routing of various ship hulls and cargo containers through the busy yard was unable to handle the unpredictable craft and, in prioritizing the lives and safety of flesh-and-blood work crews, was forced to crash several spacecraft and monorail drones into each other to keep them out of Mr. Barron's erratic path.  By the time Mr. Barron was able to pilot his brand-new Cabana out of the shipyard and into relatively clear space, Utopia Planitia was in ruins, with dozens of its famous custom spaceship hulls destroyed and over a third of the manufacturing bays out of commission.

Utopia Planitia shipyard is one of the oldest and most respected spaceship manufacturers in the system, but its reputation was unable to save it from severe repercussions, with its stock losing 70 centicredits on the InterPlan Index this day.  Inquiries to the LMO Department of Public Safety as to whether Mr. Barron is being charged or arrested in connection with the incident have not received any response.

Saturnine Confederacy Backs Down on Probe Case

New New Orleans, Titan, Saturnine Confederacy -- 13 May 2057:  Flaring tensions with Baikonur have calmed this day as Gargus Abix Tessera has been formally released to the custody of the Stellar Alliance judicial system.  Agents of the Department of Public Safety have also taken possession of the remaining fragments of the interstellar probe at the centre of the controversy, though some pieces are believed to be unaccounted for.  After the probe crashed on Mx. Tessera's property, zie then auctioned the pieces separately to a number of bidders, an act which is alleged to have been in contravention of Stellar law.  The Confederate Authority disagrees, asserting that Confederate salvage law in this case supersedes the property claim of the Interplanetary Astronomical Society, and have done everything within their legal power to halt the extradition of Mx. Tessera to Luna for trial.  However, yesterday's 3-2 ruling by the Superior Constitutional Court finding that the Alliance has the right to bring the charges, carry out the warrant, and name their venue of choice in such a case left the Confederacy with only two choices: concede, or stand in flagrant defiance of the authority of the Stellar Alliance.  Mx. Tessera and the probe fragments are scheduled to board an x-boat bound for the inner system within the week.

Sabotage Disrupts Crossmedia Operations

Enchiridion, Trojans Administrative District, Jupiter Space -- 12 May 2057:  A datafiber disassembler release this day in the server room of the Futuristical Crossmedia Collective has left the business in ruins and its shareworkers without income for the foreseeable future.  It has also led to the permanent  deletion of Crossmedia security administrator Degenerate Sinusoid, whose primary consciousness emulation was running on a dedicated computer in the same room.  The collective has temporarily ceased operations until funds can be secured to replace the server.

"Crossmedia is down but not out," stated A visibly shaken Vander van Zander Zalm, a Crossmedia spokesperson, in a publicly broadcast statement.  "We will not let those responsible for this tragic and vicious attack, I'm looking at you Omnicor Hypercorp, off the hook.  I am not going to hesitate to lay down my own life to tell the stories of those who have lost theirs at the behest of a monstrous, amoral organization.  The plurality has come to a consensus on this, and all Crossmedia shareworkers who are not willing to take the same risk have divested themselves and gone on to seek other employment.  We will from this point on dedicate our every working moment to bringing the stories we hold to the attention of the public."

The TAD Department of Public Safety has ruled the incident an act of sabotage.  Officials from the Department did not respond to inquiries.

Full disclosure: this newsfeed, previously a subsidiary of Futuristical Crossmedia, has been temporarily leased to Unimedia Information Curators while remaining under the aegis of the Bureau of Temporal Relations.  Communications with our seperate, highly secure server within the Bureau datafarm were briefly disrupted by the incident.

Martian Kreol Becomes One of Top Ten Languages

Schiaparelli, Valles Marineris, Mars -- 10 May 2057:   According to a report published by the Interplanetary Linguistic Association, a language not indigenous to Earth has entered the top ten most widely spoken languages.  Martian Kreol, a dynamic blend of the languages spoken by the early settlers of the red planet, is the first language of nearly all native Martians and is spoken as a learned language by most immigrants and many who have extensive dealing in mars -- a substantial proportion of the planet.

"Languages evolve quickly in times of social disruption and high mobility," explains Dr. Limley Pew, a professor of Linguistics at Rubix University.  "The years during and after the Softwars saw a massive and haphazard influx of refugees to Mars, people from many nations seeking a new life.  Unlike the asteroids and outer planets, where people largely maintained homogenized ethnic enclaves, the settlements of Mars were inherently cosmopolitan and required dozens of language communities to cooperate in every aspect of life.  Machine translation without the assistance of synthetic intelligence was able to assist, but not entirely replace, the process of creolization.  In fact, it lends a certain unique flavour to today's Martian Kreol; constructions which would not be grammatical in any of the contributing languages but have been widely adopted are largely a product of substandard machine translation."

According to Dr. Pew, there is not likely to be another new off-Earth indigenous language.  "Martian Kreol developed in a unique historical circumstance.  Widespread synthetic-assisted translation services greatly reduce the need for disparate language communities to find a common ground.  There are several growing new languages -- the mathematical language of synthetic consciousnesses, and various varieties of indigenous uplift language such as Delphinic, Barko, and the various dialects of Primate Sign Language, provide exciting new territory for linguistics.  But human languages now grow or shrink largely in concert with the sizes of their native populations."

The Top 10 Languages Spoken Systemwide

  1. Mandarin Chinese
  2. Hindi-Urdu
  3. Arabic
  4. Korean
  5. Japanese
  6. Spanish
  7. English
  8. German
  9. Russian
  10. Martian Kreol

Police Break Implant-Hacking Ring

Nerine, Lowell, Mars -- 9 May 2057:  Taken into custody this day were several people alleged to be the primary movers in a cell of the notorious Sons of Ares, the Martian nationalist organization which controls organized crime on the red planet.  According to a press release published by the Nerine Police Department, charges of Conspiracy in the crimes of Cyber-Assault, Extortion, and Digital Trespassing have been filed against Morrigan Beria, Anand Jasaswarmy, Guld Quilling, Tetrahedral Cosine, and Dorrie Poog.

"It was a classic body-hacking scam," stated Lt. Bors McNaughton in a press conference early this day.  "They would identify vulnerable people with money or power, and get into their implant security and install a rootkit -- in the artificial heart or the brain chemistry regulator or what-have-you.  Then they would threaten the person to turn their implant against them.  Not exactly high-level stuff, but they got away with it for far too long. In the end, though, all it took was for one person brave enough to stand up to these thugs to come in."  Lt. McNaughton is confident that the arrest of this cell opens the possibility of a major police action against the Sons of Ares organization.

Psychedelic Carrots Sold As Normal Produce

Surrey, Cascadia, Earth -- 8 May 2057:  Daniela McNaughton received a nasty shock after eating a salad made with what she believed to be entirely normal carrots purchased from a local greenmarket.  "The colours around me started to become very intense.  The whole room seemed to be breathing.  Things became very large, or very small, or somehow both simultaneously.  Time slowed down to a crawl, and I felt as if I was losing all connection with who and what I was.  I fought to maintain a hold on reality; I felt like I was going insane... I'm sorry, I mean to say, like I was inadvertently experiencing an altered state of consciousness.  I'm sorry; it was just very upsetting.  It was the most frightening thing I've ever experienced."

Like hundreds of other consumers, Ms. McNaughton had unwittingly purchased a batch of NovoGene "Trip to Neptune" brand vegeceuticals, which are genetically enhanced to produce lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as Acid or LSD, in quantities sufficient to produce a consistent level-2 psychedelic experience in most biological neurotypes.  The carrots in question were grown from a batch of mutant seed which lacked the gene which produces the brand's distinctive, and trademarked, 'rainbow tye-dye' colouration.  As such, they were mistaken by growers, wholesalers, retailers, or buyers throughout the system for their common orange relations and consumed in salads, soups, and a variety of other meals -- with variously distressing or delightful results, depending on the temperament of the people involved.  "I never have had any intention of altering my consciousness," Ms. McNaughton told us in an in-person interview.  "For those as choose that, it's all well and good, but I didn't want it, I didn't like it, and I don't think it's right.  Children ate those carrots, and older folks with weak hearts, and people whose psychological health could be impaired.  Someone needs to be held accountable."

The Bureau of Alterant Regulation this day promised a thorough investigation of NovoGene's quality control processes to determine how the mutant seeds were distributed to the public and appropriate penalties.  A class-action lawsuit has also been filed in Cascadia Regional Civil Court by the law firm of Blarntzen Stacklove & Root Pi, and NovoGene has taken a beating in the markets, with stock losing nearly a full credit on the InterPlan Index over the past weeks.  After a lengthy silence, NovoGene has issued a terse press release apologizing to the unwitting consumers of its product and promising to comply fully with the investigation.  With over 700 reported cases of customers being dosed by the psychedelic carrots, this is now the largest recorded case of mass vegeceutical poisoning in history, topping a 2043 incident in which nearly 500 people accidentally consumed entheogenic strawberries.

Anti-Realist Parliament Votes for Suicide

Pallas, Federation of Asteroidal Polities -- 7 May 2057:  The troubled relationship between the Anti-Realist Autonomous Gestalt Individual and the rest of the universe ended this day when the servers on which the polity's virtual environment emulation was running were destroyed by the release of a range-limited grey-goo bomb.  Only 3295 of the residents of the Anti-Realist person-state are known to have copied themselves through the environment's heavy firewalls and onto the hyperlayer; their original files, along with almost all of the nearly 50000 emulated minds which composed the Gestalt Individual, are all thought irretrievably deleted in the destruction.

According to the escapees, the placement of the nanodissolver was ordered by the Anti-Realist governing council, who voted several time-relative weeks ago for comprehensive political suicide.  "It was deliberate, no doubt whatsoever about it," stated Permutation Curve, ex-councilor and spokesperson by acclimation for the refugees, in a text interview.  "I was one of the few who dared to stand up against the Fundamentalist bloc, and by then I was putting my life on the line.  It was all I could do to get a few thousand people out, and no way I could get a message out; they started wiping all dissenters even before the device was placed.  It was terrible.  It was, I don't even have a word to describe it.  It was genocidal suicide."

Vr. Curve attributed the decision to the imposition by Civil Rights Inspectors from the Department of Gestalt Person Relations of a ban on reproduction within the polity, which occurred a week ago after numerous recent Anti-Realist social policies were found to be in violation of the Armstrong Convention and the Constitution Accord.  "Democratic process rights, free speech, freedom of conscience, psychological integrity, property rights, economic freedoms, freedom of communication and mobility, educational and health care entitlements -- it's hard to think of a right that wasn't in some way being violated by the sovereign government of the Anti-Realist polity," stated senior Civil Rights Inspector Milney Pillman in an email response to our inquiries.  "The Fundamentalist bloc that got control of their parliament had gone completely off the rails.  We were doing our best to try and get control of the situation, but the polity had ramped the operating time differential up to 30:1 and strengthened the border firewall to the point of near-impenetrability.  We were trying to hack in and mount a direct intervention, but when every day we spend working gives them a month inside... we tried so hard to help Anti-Realist, and we failed.  I failed."

The councilors who ordered the destruction, and a number of their top-level aides, Fundamentalist members of the Gestalt Individual's parliament, and other powerful individuals involved in the commissioning of this tragedy are believed by Vr. Curve to have also escaped and to still be at large.  If captured, they face charges of Crimes Against Sapience.

First Data-Ghost Deferment Archive Activated

New Alexandria Dome, Colonial Lunar Administration Zone -- 6 May 2057:  This year's Project Eyeblink Anniversary was conducted with considerable additional pomp and circumstance.  In addition to the engraving and secure storage of fresh 25, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000-year archives, this May 6th marked the 25-year anniversary of the controversial undertaking.  In a lengthy televised ceremony attended by a number of celebrities and dignitaries including several sitting Senators and Electors as well as the President of CLAZ-Darkside, the very first 25-year archive was removed from its protective evacuated chamber and its contents copied into the hyperlayer and run.  As hoped, the disc was undamaged and the 35 data ghosts recorded on it all compiled without difficulty.  The virtual consciousnesses, which include such luminaries as engineering genius Vitaly Byalikov, poet Nathan Anton, Armstrong Convention lead negotiator Meredith Alvore, and Project Eyeblink's founder Dr. Helen Bethany Hope, were all able to easily pass the Deckard-Bowman.  After the declaration of success, a series of speeches by the resurrectees, and performances by award-winning artists including Venusian hypercellist Katan Anaxius and low-grav dance troupe the Birds of Paradise, a partial of Chancellor Galorvian made brief remarks, referring to the freshly reactivated imprints as "courageous pioneers" and "swimmers against the flow of time".  The event was marred only by the appearance of a public protestor, who interrupted the keynote speech by Dr. Hope by activating a holodisplay reading "KEEP THE SUICIDES IN THE GROUND" while screaming "People who desert the world don't deserve a second chance!  Don't close your eyes to suicide; live now!"  However, the troublemaker was soon ejected by security.

Bottom Drops Out of Hyperlocal Scrip Market

New Fort Knox Dome, Moonbase Alpha, Colonial Lunar Administration Zone -- 5 May 2057:  Despite a concerted effort to prop up values by the Bureau of Market Stabilization, the crisis in virtual currencies continues to spread unabated.  A severe drop in city-, station- and township-backed currencies is sending signals of a full-blown panic.  The situation has been exacerbated by hyperinflation in many city currencies, which local governments are spending madly in an attempt to stave off recession.  Counterweight traders have been deployed, but sources within the bureau who wish to remain anonymous report feeling overwhelmed by the growing scale of the collapse.

"I don't like to get political about this," said Dr. John Jacob Smith, a senior economics professor at Asimov University, "but this really is all at the Saxon Administration's doorstep.  The Libertarians had a vendetta against Market Stabilization from the outset, especially after the heavy-gas-futures debacle.  They did everything they could to put stumbling blocks in the Bureau's way and tie them up in red tape, trying to paralyze them in furtherance of their extreme market-fundamentalist agenda.  After decades of stability, they managed to reintroduce the business cycle.  It's mind-boggling.  Economic reality simply does not support that kind of thinking.  I mean, in a perfect world or purely rational actors, maybe; but we're certainly not there yet."