Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sol Bulletin #20

The following is excerpted from issue #20 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #20 was released twenty two days after the Crucible fired.

Persephone Arrested On Independent Cruiser
The Alliance is reporting that the rogue operative known as Persephone has been arrested on Alpha, an independent cruiser that took part in Operation Sword as part of the so-called Terminus Fleet. "The Alliance received intelligence that Persephone was aboard Alpha," reported Alliance spokesman Commander Chris Larson. "At approximately 2300 hours Sol Standard Time, Alpha was sequestered by a wolf pack of Alliance frigates. A team of N7-rated marines boarded Alpha and successfully captured Persephone." Persephone - who Larson said Alliance officials had identified as Kasumi Goto, a high-tech thief with known Cerberus ties - was apparently renting quarters from one of Alpha's many part-owners.

Goto's arrest has led to a new focus on the complex status of Alpha and other Terminus ships in the delicate power-sharing arrangement in Sol. The Terminus Fleet is not represented in the Inter-species Summit, though it does have representatives with various military high commands. Larger Terminus ships like the Alpha have in certain cases begun to operate more as space stations than as vessels, receiving large amounts of incoming traffic and serving as lawless centers of black-market trade. The Summit has been unable to agree on a multilateral approach to these independent ships, while the various military commands have thus far been unwilling to commit to unilateral actions.

The captain of Alpha, the Salarian Kido Sayn, was allowed to address the Inter-species Summit to protest Goto's arrest. "The Alliance soldiers who attacked Alpha are criminals and they should be treated as such. The Alliance forced their way on board by threatening to kill anyone who resisted - or blow us out of space if we fired on their shuttles. It was an act of piracy against an independent ship, and it will not stand. The ships of the Terminus Fleet will not stand for this kind of treatment again."

Lieutenant James Vega, the N7 operative who led the team that arrested Goto, went before the Summit to defend his team's actions. He said they received intelligence regarding Goto's identity and location, and had to act immediately to prevent Goto from escaping as she did on Luna. He provided the Summit with the intelligence provided to the Alliance, including surveillance footage and com records that seem to tie Goto to the Persephone recording. When questioned, Lt. Vega declined to identify the source of the intelligence, citing operational security.

The Summit did not provide a joint comment on the affair. Matriarch Lidanya said that while she is glad Goto has been caught, she regretted the Alliance's heavy-handed approach. The Conclave of the Quarian Fleet issued a statement supporting the right of a captain to decide who is permitted aboard hir ship.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sol Bulletin #19

The following is excerpted from issue #19 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #19 was released twenty one days after the Crucible fired.
Arcturus Command Reports First Ships Through Arcturus-2 Relay

A number of ships from all fleets jumped out of system today to reinforce Arcturus Command. The mobilization occurred following news that a task force had successfully traveled through the Arcturus-2 Relay to the Exodus Cluster.

"Admiral Quwil has accomplished his mission admirably," said Admiral Hackett on behalf of the Inter-species Summit. "The first ships left Arcturus 12 hours ahead of schedule. Those ships are jumping directly into the Utopia system, where they will hopefully make contact with Eden Prime." Hackett noted that, while the ships that left Arcturus come from all fleets in the Sol system, Systems Alliance vessels comprise a majority, in order to ease contact with the oft-attacked human colony.

The news was welcome across the Sol system, as representatives of the Summit warned that a shortage of food for levo-amino sentients was imminent. Lt. Kahlee Sanders of the Systems Alliance is part of a team tasked by the Summit with maximizing the efficient use of the food supply; she said in a press conference that the Sol system's food supply will last weeks, not months. "It's hard to give an exact number, especially with all the chaos on Earth," she said. "But our best guess is that we're looking at five to ten weeks before extreme rationing becomes necessary."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sol Bulletin #18

The following is excerpted from issue #18 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #18 was released twenty days after the Crucible fired.

Sol Bulletin Speaks To Major Kaidan Alenko
With the quarantine lifted on the Arcturus Flotilla, all Flotilla ships have rejoined their regular fleets, including the Flotilla's famous flagship, the SSV Normandy. Normandy's current commanding officer, and the commander of the entire Arcturus Flotilla, is Major Kaidan Alenko of the Alliance Marine Corps.

Major Alenko very kindly agreed to speak to the Sol Bulletin about the mission to Arcturus.

SOL BULLETIN: Thank you for speaking with me, Major.

KAIDAN ALENKO: It's my pleasure.

SB: Can you describe how you felt when you heard that the Joyous had rammed the Manila?

KA: Wow, you don't waste time, do you? (long pause) It was pretty devastating, yeah. One minute, you think everything's fine, the next... And we had no idea what had happened. It seemed like it couldn't be real. I've lost soldiers under my command before, lost friends even, but this was something else.

SB: How did you carry on?

KA: Well, that's the job, isn't it? That's what we train for. I guess the training took over. I ordered all ships to break off the activation procedure and maintain station. It was automatic.

SB: How did you first learn about the footage from Joyous' blackbox?

KA: Samantha Traynor, Normandy's com officer, decrypted the flight recorder with... using the ship's computer. So she was the first one to see it, and then she showed it to me privately. It's confusing on first viewing - the angle's not good and the... the perpetrator isn't especially coherent. But we were both thinking the same thing.

SB: Indoctrination.

KA: Yeah.

SB: What did you do?

KA: I decided to share the information with the rest of the Flotilla. I informed the captains and asked them to inform their crews.

SB: Really?

KA: Sure. We were days away from activation and the loss of Manila and Joyous set the work back considerably. I couldn't have people looking over their shoulders wondering what had happened.

SB: You weren't worried about a panic?

KA: Of course I was, but I was mostly afraid there would be a panic if people thought there officers weren't telling them everything.

SB: Given that position, what do you make of the decision to quarantine the Flotilla on your return?

KA: It was a different situation. I only had to worry about a team of military professionals with a job to do. I'm glad the Summit eventually decided to make the information public, but they were right to be careful about how they did it.

SB: I see. Then let me ask you, what do you make of the mystery surrounding Commander Shepard's fate?

KA: The commander is missing in action. If you're insinuating...

SB: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to insinuate. Let me be direct. Were you ordered not to tell anyone what happened to Commander Shepard?

KA: (long pause) No.

SB: Do you know what happened to the Commander?

KA: Look, the fight on the Citadel was chaotic, I couldn't...

SB: The Citadel? (pause) So are you saying Commander Shepard was on the Citadel?

KA: No comment.

SB: Where was the Commander when you last...

KA: Thank you for your time.

SB: No, Major, thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sol Bulletin #17

The following is excerpted from issue #17 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #17 was released nineteen days after the Crucible fired.

Persephone Evades Arrest On Luna Despite Alliance Mobilization
Today saw a massive mobilization of Alliance marines on Luna. Residents reported seeing dozens of soldiers in both Aldrin City and Serenity in full tactical gear. A source in Alliance High Command, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the troops were deployed in an attempt to arrest the mysterious Persephone behind the broadcast from Earth several days ago. In that broadcast, Persephone disputed the Alliance's claims about Miranda Lawson and alleged that a conspiracy existed within the Alliance to obfuscate the fate of Commander Jenna Shepard.

Alliance High Command admitted that the troops were part of an effort to capture Persephone, and that the operation failed. Asked why so many troops were deployed, spokesman Lt. Daniel Lucas said that Persephone is a high priority for High Command. "As an associate of Lawson, Persephone may be a member of Cerberus, and is almost certainly Indoctrinated."

Lucas had no comment on Persephone's accusations regarding Lawson and Commander Shepard. He also declined to comment on how so many troops failed to capture one individual.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sol Bulletin #16

The following is excerpted from issue #16 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #16 was released eighteen days after the Crucible fired.

Mob Attacks Quarian Relief Team in UNAS
A Quarian relief worker is in critical condition today after a mob assaulted his team in New York City. The attack occurred as the combined Geth and Quarian team was working to repair water infrastructure in the district of Brooklyn. A crowd formed, apparently under the impression that the relief workers had come to distribute food. When the team began working on the water main, a rumor spread that the team was polluting the drinking water with an Indoctrination agent of some kind.

"I don't know what they were doing with the water," said Harvey Kingsley, a Brooklyn resident who denied taking part in the attack. "Maybe nothing, maybe not. But they shouldn't be working on our water anyway. It should be humans. What if we get an alien disease or something?" (The odds of Quarians carrying a disease that would infect humans are infinitesimal.) Kingsley said he did not support the attack, but he also didn't want aliens in Brooklyn.

The crowd started throwing stones and rubble and one Quarian was struck with an improvised club, breaching his suit. The team was unarmed, and took shelter in a derelict building until an Alliance biotic detail assisting with rubble-clearing operations in the area arrived on the scene. They used biotic shockwaves to disperse the crowd, causing several minor injuries in the process, and escorted the Quarians out of the area.

Admiral Zorah of the Migrant Fleet took the lead in appealing for unity in the Inter-species Summit. "This is a difficult time for everyone. This was a terrible thing, and obviously we need to do more to protect our recovery teams and to reach out about our mission, but we're still committed to helping Earth."

However, President Lisa Ford of the United North American States objected to the deployment of more fleet troops to UNAS territory and criticized the Alliance biotics. "People are afraid. They've been through a lot. More alien and Alliance soldiers on the streets will only scare them. We need to reach them with patience, understanding, and help, not biotic shockwaves and threats to 'rip them apart.'"

Migrant fleet officials announced that the injured Quarian was in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. The Geth with the team suffered no injuries and declined to leave New York City with the Quarians, pledging to continue supporting the relief effort.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sol Bulletin #15

The following is excerpted from issue #15 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #15 was released seventeen days after the Crucible fired.

Arcturus Flotilla Rejoins Fleet; More Ships Sent to Arcturus
Today the Arcturus Flotilla was officially cleared to rejoin the other fleets in the Sol system. "We've spoken with every sentient in the Flotilla," said Admiral Hackett on behalf of the Inter-species Summit.

"Indoctrination isn't very well understood, but nobody showed any of the usual signs - no agitation, no mood swings, no hallucinations, no changes of behavior. We don't believe there were any Indoctrinated individuals left in the Flotilla, so we released the ships back to their usual fleets. The lack of Indoctrination suggests that going through the Relays isn't what caused Indoctrination aboard the frigate Joyous, so we're continuing with plans to activate more Relays and establish contact with the rest of the galaxy."

A large fleet of ships, mostly Alliance, Asari and Salarian, jumped through the Charon Relay, under the command of Admiral Quwil of the Salarian fleet. This is intended to be a semi-permanent force and has been dubbed Arcturus Command. Their first priority will be to activate the Arcturus 2 Relay - a Primary Relay that could reestablish contact with the Exodus Cluster.

Upon jumping through, Arcturus Command deployed a com buoy near the Arcturus Relay. The first message transmitted - "Arcturus Command reporting in. All ships safe, proceeding with mission" - may be the first FTL transmission since the Crucible fired.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sol Bulletin #14

The following is excerpted from issue #14 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #14 was released sixteen days after the Crucible fired.  

"Persephone" Contests Alliance's Story on Miranda Lawson
Today a broadcast was made from a remote location on Earth on a frequency that's widely used for civilian ship-to-ship communication. The powerful audio-only broadcast featured an electronically disguised voice that made several allegations about the Alliance's arrest of Miranda Lawson, the woman who was arrested alongside Sol Bulletin reporter Khalisah al-Jilani several days ago.

 The broadcast opened with the cryptic pronouncement, "This is Persephone." "Persephone" then laid out their accusations against the Alliance. First, they claimed that Miranda Lawson played a heroic role in Operation Hammer, and was briefly being considered for a Star of Terra after the battle - making her Indoctrination seem highly unlikely. Second, they said that Lawson once worked for Cerberus, but left almost a year ago and has been actively hunted by Cerberus agents since. Third, they said that Lawson left Cerberus after taking part in Commander Shepard's attack on the Collectors, which was infamously sponsored by Cerberus.

These assertions, taken together, paint a very different picture of Lawson than the one presented by the Alliance. Persephone's final claim is the capstone: that Lawson was meeting with al-Jilani because she knew "where Shepard is" and wanted to publicize the information.

Alliance High Command has denied that Lawson was ever considered for decoration after the Battle of Earth, pointing out that only active-service military personnel are eligible for the Star of Terra. They denied all knowledge of Lawson having left Cerberus or served alongside Commander Shepard, and they dismissed as "ridiculous" the idea that they would try to prevent Lawson from publicizing information about Commander Shepard. "We want to know what happened to her too," said spokesman Lieutenant Daniel Lucas.

The Sol Bulletin can now reveal that we received a communications via Extranet moments before the broadcast started that purported to be from Persephone. The message revealed details of al-Jilani's correspondence with Lawson that were found by Sol Bulletin staff in her personal email after her arrest, details which were not shared with the public or authorities. Whoever Persephone is, they do have a legitimate connection with Lawson.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sol Bulletin #13

The following is excerpted from issue #13 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #13 was released fifteen days after the Crucible fired. 

Renewed Focus on Disposal of Reaper Remains
Today saw frantic activity in near-Sol space, where the majority of ship-to-ship combat between the Reaper forces and the fleets comprising Operation Sword took place during the Battle of Earth. Following the discovery of at least one Indoctrinated person in the Arcturus Flotilla, disposing of Reaper wreckage has become the first priority for the fleets inhabiting the Sol system.

"The truth is there's a lot we don't know about Indoctrination. It is possible that even a dead Reaper can Indoctrinate," said Garrus Vakarian. Vakarian was formerly in charge of organizing Citadel search-and-rescue, an effort that was hastily abandoned after concern arose that rescue workers might be affected by Reaper tech on the station. Now, Vakarian has been put in charge of an ad hoc task force that is gathering and destroying Reaper wreckage in near-Earth orbit.

"It's pretty simple, really. We send out remotely controlled drones that latch onto Reaper fragments and accelerate them onto a trajectory that will take them onto Sol. Time consuming and dangerous, given what we're dealing with, but easy enough in principle."

Vakarian acknowledged that the problem of Reaper remains in space pales in comparison with the issue of wreckage on Earth. "We still aren't sure how to tackle that one. As far as we can tell every Reaper in Sol pretty much fell to pieces when the Crucible fired. The decision was made over my pay grade to at least deal with the easier part of the equation first, while we formulate a plan. The best advice I can give everyone on Earth is, stay away from Reaper tech."

Major Kaidan Alenko, commander of the Arcturus Flotilla, made a brief public broadcast from the command and control center onboard the SSV Normandy today, the first time any ships from the Flotilla have communicated on a public channel. He assured the sentients of Sol that no signs of Indoctrination have been found anywhere on the Flotilla and he's confident that all Flotilla ships will rejoin their respective fleets shortly. He praised the excellent work of every ship under his command, and expressed his deep admiration and regret for the crews of Joyous and Manila, the two ships destroyed by an Indoctrinated agent in the Arcturus system.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sol Bulletin #12

The following is excerpted from issue #12 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #12 was released fourteen days after the Crucible fired. 

Chaos Erupts Across Earth In Wake of Indoctrination News
Panic erupted today in cities across Earth in the wake of renewed fears about Indoctrination. In London, there was a riot at an Alliance-run aid center. In New York City, a team of Quarian engineers was trapped inside a building by an angry crowd and had to be extracted by Alliance marines. Several cities, including Sydney, Shanghai and Cape Town, experienced widespread rioting which shattered police forces were unable to contain. Less severe protests and violent incidents occurred across the globe, as well.

Many observers blame the sudden outbreak of violence on renewed fears about Indoctrination. Following the devastation of the Arcturus Flotilla by a potentially-Indoctrinated Asari, tensions have been running high through out Sol. "People are nervous," said General Corinthus, a Turian officer deployed with troops to assist police forces in the European Union. "We saw a sharp increase in disturbances and calls two days ago. They atmosphere changed as well - you could feel it on the streets. The victory celebration was over."

However, Corinthus and others feel that the real trigger for the intense violence in many of Earth's cities was the arrest of Miranda Lawson on Luna, who the Alliance claims may be Indoctrinated. Much of the violence seems to have involved disputes over food, water, and other essential supplies. A Sol Bulletin reporter on the streets of Shanghai heard many variations of "I need to take care of my family" among looters in the downtown area, where a great deal of relief aid from the fleet was being stored.

Numerous marines from the Alliance fleet - as well as a number from the Asari and Turian fleets - are being redeployed to Earth to join the existing missions that are assisting terrestrial authorities. At the same time, however, the Inter-species Summit ordered a temporary halt in the transfer of food stores to Earth. "Food - especially food for levo-amino sentients - is one of our most precious resources," said Admiral Zhora on behalf of the Summit. "We want to do everything we can for our friends on Earth, but we can't keep sending food until the current situation is resolved and we know it will not be stolen or hoarded."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sol Bulletin #11

The following is excerpted from issue #11 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #11 was released thirteen days after the Crucible fired. 

Sol Bulletin Journalist Arrested On Luna
Sol Bulletin reporter Khalisah al-Jilani was arrested today on Luna while pursuing the ongoing investigation of Commander Shepard. al-Jilani was taken into custody by Alliance marines while meeting with a source for an interview. The source, a woman named Miranda Lawson, was also taken into custody.

Alliance High Command claimed in a statement that Lawson is a member of Cerberus and may be Indoctrinated. They claim that they have reason to believe al-Jilani and Lawson were conspiring to undermine Alliance security in the Sol system. They said the evidence they have against al-Jilani and Lawson is classified and cannot be publicly released.

As of press time, the Sol Bulletin had not been permitted to speak with either al-Jilani or Lawson. We did speak to Satina Garang, owner of Moon Rocks, the cafe in Aldrin Base where al-Jilani and Lawson were arrested. "They didn't stick out or anything," she said. "Just two women having a business lunch. Although I recognized Miss al-Jilani, of course. The soldiers just came from everywhere all at once. I remember I poked my head into the kitchen for just a second, and when I turned around there were probably a dozen soldiers surrounding them, pointing guns and everything."

"They didn't fight, just put their hands up and went along with the soldiers, but Miss al-Jilani didn't let up shouting at them even while she was walking along. 'You can't do this, I'm a law-abiding journalist, I have every right to be here...' I heard her keep talking til they were out of sight."

The editors and staff of the Sol Bulletin stands behind Miss al-Jilani and will continue to make every effort to have her freed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sol Bulletin #10

The following is excerpted from issue #10 of the Sol Bulletin, an ad hoc news sheet distributed electronically among survivors of the Battle of Earth in the chaotic period following the firing of the Crucible. Issue #10 was released twelve days after the Crucible fired.

Betrayal Devastated Arcturus Flotilla; Was Indoctrination To Blame?
The Arcturus Flotilla remains outside the Oort cloud today, and is not responding to comms from civilian ships. After a marathon session, the Inter-species Summit finally commented on the Flotilla's status. President Lisa Ford of the UNAS, Urdnot Wrex of the Krogan forces, Matriarch Lidanya of the Asari fleet, and Admiral Hackett of the Systems Alliance appeared together in a broadcast made to the entire Sol system, each reading from the same prepared statement.

"Major Kaidan Alenko of the System Alliance broadcast his report on the outcome of the mission to Arcturus to Alliance High Command upon reentering the Sol system," President Ford said. "As previously agreed, that report was immediately shared with every Earth government and with each military high command in the Sol system. Major Alenko reported full success in restoring the Arcturus Relay. However, his report also noted the tragic loss of the Asari frigate Joyous and the Alliance cruiser Manila, and included several deeply troubling details surrounding the incident."

"Approximately thirty six hours after the Flotilla left Sol, Joyous made an unusual broadcast on an open channel." Urdnot Wrex continued. "The message was unintelligible, and Joyous stopped responding to communications. Alenko - I mean, Major Kaidan Alenko - placed the Flotilla on alert. Manila was near Joyous and moved closer to investigate. Joyous accelerated suddenly and moved to ram Manila, which was unable to avoid a collision. The impact destroyed both ships."

"Search-and-rescue operations were attempted, but no survivors were found," read Matriarch Lidanya. "However, Asari ships do contain flight recorders designed to survive even the ship's destruction. Joyous' recorder was discovered and its data included in Major Alenko's report. It includes security video footage of a commando assigned to the Joyous assaulting the command deck and killing the crew. The communications officer tried to signal the fleet for help, but was killed before she could complete the transmission. The assailant then sealed the command deck, took control of the helm, and, noticing Manila's approach, moved to ram the other ship."

"Based on the behavior of the assailant, and certain statements she made that were captured by the flight recorder," concluded Admiral Hackett, "it's possible that she was acting under the influence of Indoctrination. In light of this, the only known case of Indoctrination since the Reapers were destroyed, the Flotilla is being isolated so that its members can be screened to the best of our ability. Initial interviews are already underway. I'm afraid we have no information on how this particular individual might have become affected."

"On behalf of the Summit, please allow me to say to every sentient in Sol: stay calm. Obviously the possibility of Indoctrination outlasting the Reapers is deeply troubling. We are proactively making preparations to account for any number of scenarios. We will get to the bottom of this. And we will protect you."