The Canonn and Varati Blue Public have gone to war for control of Kagan Vision.
Regular readers will know that following the Canonn’s recent takeover of COL 285 SECTOR IX-T D3-43, the new government’s attention was aimed fairly and squarely at Varati Blue Public’s stewardship of the major surface port in the system: Kagan Vision.
For months now, there have been rumours of impropriety between the board of VBP and successive governments of the system – most recently Labour of Varati and the anarchist Varati Ring. People have been asking how it’s possible that a ‘bunch of self-serving corporate bloodsuckers’ (as one local put it) have been able to hold on to the port for so long without being politically active.
One of the main pledges by the Canonn during their recent successful campaign was to investigate this – and it appears they have been. In fact, tensions have very quickly reached boiling point between the Canonn and the VBP board, with a civil war now under way, after the Canonn’s Prof D Luffy challenged them directly to answer questions about these so-called ‘dodgy deals’.
Because of the seriousness of the situation, I have been authorised to issue transcripts of communications between the Canonn office, Varati Blue Public, Labour of Varati and the Varati Ring – hopefully it’ll help explain why these combat zones have appeared all over the place.
From: Prof D Luffy (Canonn) To: Philip Reynolds (VBP), Simmons Hamilton (LoV), Ursula Le Clarke (VR) Subject: Pull the other one, it's got bells on Good afternoon esteemed faction leader representatives, I'm contacting you all today regarding some rather 'interesting' financial transactions that we've found in the IX-T D3-43 government accounts, following a due-diligence audit after we gained control of local affairs. On the 16th January 3302, a time when the Varati Ring (that'd be you, Ursula) were running the show, 3 separate payments of 500m credits each were received from a business called 'Jewel of the Frontier' into the government accounts. We cross-referenced these transactions against the official accounts and we found that they are accounted for as 'Tourism Licenses'. And then again just 4 weeks ago, we see the same again when LoV were in control - again for these Tourism Licenses. That's some 3bn credits paid to the last two governments in IX-T D3-43 over the course of the last 4 months! Just think about that for a moment: Tourism Licenses. Tourism - in IX-T D3-43!? Come on! The *only* location of note in IX-T D3-43 is Kagan Vision, and that's a trade hub that exports raw materials from the local pristine ring systems, and imports the commodities required by the rest of the populace in order to survive! Nobody goes there to see the sights - I mean, sure it's in a nice location there on the edge of that giant crater, but it's a dustbowl - just like all the others. So, our scepticism already piqued, we took a closer look at this company - and, well, to say it's a 'shell' doesn't really do it justice. It was registered by Higgs Maxwell Associates, the same Varati-based law firm who we understand also handle all of the Blue Public's legal affairs (Philip? Care to comment?). We also find that the sole director of this company is the *wife* of the CFO of VBP! The final nail in the coffin is that in the days after these gigantic payments into the government account, we then find a trickle of smaller, but still substantial, payments going out to government representatives - including both of you, Simmons and Ursula. These are accounted for as a 'performance bonus' in each case - for tens of millions of credits. You must have been performing very well! Oh... there is another thing. We requisitioned the bank records for Jewel of the Frontier, as we were interested to know how a company with no actual employees was able to raise 3bn credits. We weren't surprised to learn that all this money only passed through the account. It was deposited, shortly before the transfers, from another account. I'm sure we all know whose don't we? Yes - Varati Blue Public. So listen - the case is obvious and damning: Varati Blue Public have been paying 'sweeteners' to successive governments of COL 285 SECTOR IX-T D3-43 in order to remain in control of Kagan Vision, collecting the docking fees, trade levies, ship insurance premium taxes, retail unit rates, sales taxes and fates knows what else. We have the evidence to prove it, and we will now be removing VBP from control - because you've not earned that right, you've bribed your way to it. I'm very keen to hear what you all have to say for yourselves - there's a chance you might all be able to avoid being shipped to the nearest prison outpost if you come clean. Regards, Prof D Luffy
First response, from Ursula Le Clarke, of the Varati Ring:
From: Ursula Le Clarke (Varati Ring) To: Prof D Luffy (Canonn) Subject: Re: Pull the other one, it's got bells on Aren't we all the clever little science geeks - bet you're all feeling very happy with yourselves right? Well guess who's still living in a Type 6 and doesn't give a crap? You guessed it: me. Seriously, Luffy: We're bloody *anarchists*, 'law' is a four letter words to us you pillock! For what it's worth, you're absolutely bloody right: I took the money, along with many of my fellow anarchists, and we have absolutely no shame in that. It's a perk of power, and you're fool if you think otherwise. Even Communists get greedy - so I'm not apologising for being a human being - you could learn a thing or to from me on that score, trust me. Good luck finding any of it though - we anarchists are hopeless at holding on to anything: why do you think I'm still flying around in this poxy Type 6!? So, by all means hunt me down, throw me in jail if you can. Right now it'd be better than this feet & fart-stinking tin-can I'm flying around in. I couldn't care less - I'll just run with the 'I don't recognise your laws' defence that we always use. Regards, Ursula Ps. If your inevitable war against Philip Reynolds' lot lasts longer than 10 minutes then you're shooting wrong - they're a bunch of pen-pushers.
Predictably, D Luffy received this response from Simmons Hamilton, the well-known scourge of the computer systems.
From: Iain M. Johnson (Lov) On behalf of Simmons Hamilton (LoV) To: Prof D Luffy (Canonn) Subject: Re: Pull the other one, it's got bells on Good afternoon Prof Luffy, Although I am still on holiday following our recent election defeat, I thought I'd better respond on Simmons' behalf because there's literally no chance of you getting anything intelligible out of him, not least because he's lost all access to his mailbox following an unlikely accident with a bag of Varatian marshmallows. I agree, the evidence you have is pretty irrefutable - so I will not refute it. I personally had no knowledge of any of this, and I dare say that Simmons didn't either. He has a knack of forgetting entire discussions the moment he leaves the room - so I'm going to work on the basis that he's done the same here. Clearly - he's been an utter prat, but the fact is, in a court of law, we'd just plead not guilty on grounds of diminished responsibility (let's face it, Simmons can't even be held responsible for the clothes he wears). It's got him off of awkward charges before, and I'm sure it will again. That said, I'll do my best to recover the money and return it to the government coffers. I'm going back to my gin and room service now. Regards, Iain M. Johnson Aide to Senator Simmons Hamilton
Soon after this message was received, I’m told the government received a payment from Simmons’ account to the tune of 57m credits. 3m is still unaccounted for, but it is believed that Johnson probably took that for himself. Prof Luffy was happy with that.
And finally, we have the response from VBP themselves:
From: Philip Reynolds (VBP) To: Prof D Luffy (Canonn) Subject: Re: Pull the other one, it's got bells on Greetings Prof Luffy, Please read this statement from the Board of Directors, with which I have been compelled to respond to you: 'The Board of Varati Blue Public refuses to comment on allegations of wrongdoing that may or may not have taken place since, as a Corporate body, it is well-known that none of our left hands knows what our right hands are doing, either now, or ever. Hypothetically, it is entirely possible that somebody within our organisation has sought to bribe local officials in order to maintain our control of Kagan Vision, either with or without the full knowledge of the board. It certainly sounds like the kind of thing an organisation like ours would do - however, as a board who hold collective responsibility for the actions of VBP, we certainly do not believe we know anything about this. We have resolved to plan a meeting at which we will examine whether we should settle this via an internal review, which may or may not reach a conclusion at some point in the future - we feel it is the only right and proper process open to us and we hope we'll be given an opportunity to do this. In the meantime, should the Canonn wish to try and unseat us from control of Kagan Vision, they are more than welcome to try. Thanks to our long and profitable stewardship of the station, we have been able to invest considerable money in a fleet of warships which we will be happy to deploy at a moment's notice. VBP Board of Directors' Regards, Philip Reynolds ps. That was written by Timor, the legal director. I voted against this response and I warned them right from the start that we shouldn't do it, Prof Luffy, but they didn't listen. Please be gentle on us. If you could give me a nod before you start the war it'd be greatly appreciated - I'd like to get my wife and kids out if possible. pps. I made sure we shipped loads of Palladium for your Lab-building effort, by the way - I'm really looking forward to paying a visit when it arrives. Hopefully? Please? ppps. If you publish this message, I'd appreciate it if you deleted these post-scripts - might make my position on the board somewhat 'awkward'.
So, Prof Luffy and his team were absolutely bang-on with their suspicions about VBP bribing the other factions; and he believes that they’ve all been at it in Varati too. It seems that the heads of the factions might have been siphoning vast quantities of cash from people and local businesses and handing it to each other in backroom deals for years.
And as you can see from the last response – there’s only one way we’re going to remove VBP from Kagan Vision – and that’s by fighting this war.
So get your trigger fingers trained and get over to COL 285 SECTOR IX-T D3-43 right away! The Canonn needs you!