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Emperor Hengist Duval’s Funeral

03 SEP 3301

Emperor Hengist Duval’s Funeral

The funeral of Emperor Hengist Duval, the 15th Emperor in the Duval line, took place today amidst a crowd of millions on Capitol in the Achenar system.

Mourners from all over the Empire lined the streets of Capitol. All over the city, the streets were filled to bursting and in a sombre reflection of the wedding a month ago, the white dress uniforms of the Imperial Naval Infantry lined the streets.

In a last minute change to tradition, the funeral procession followed a longer route through the city so that as many of the assembled mourners as possible could witness the passing of their Emperor. The procession marched at a sedate pace and was led by selected members of the Imperial Guard carrying the Emperor.

In another break from tradition and despite her age, Florence Lavigny walked directly behind the coffin even though the marriage ceremony hadn’t been completed. This has raised eyebrows among some of the more conservative members of Imperial society.

Behind the lonely widow marched the immediate family and then the members of the Senate. Behind the most powerful senators came certain patrons, the most well-considered of their station with a direct connection to the Emperor. Next were the clients and citizens and, representing the full range of the Imperial population, these were followed by some of the Emperor’s favourite slaves – which by tradition were set free after the ceremony.

The procession stretched for almost 18 kilometres and took seven hours to complete its tour of the city. Soldiers along the route provided welcome refreshment for both the procession and the crowd. When the procession returned to the Hall of Martyrs, the senators followed inside for the private internment ceremony. Across the Empire, in households and public places, the Feast of Remembering began.

A sombre hush settled across the city for most of the day, but now that the Emperor has been laid to rest, the question everyone wants to know the answer to is – who will be the next Emperor?

Utopia: More Than a Cult?

03 SEP 3301

Utopia: More Than a Cult?

Spokespeople for Utopia have responded to recent accusations that dissidents in systems under their control are being roughly treated.

"I've been saddened by recent publications that describe the Utopia movement as a cult or oppressive theocracy," Utopia futurologist Dr Saeed McNamara said. "All societies have disruptive elements who threaten the stability of the whole, but I like to think we take a more humane approach to dealing with them than others.

“Rather than enslaving or oppressing disruptive elements, or shipping them off to penal colonies to break rocks for the rest of their lives, we introduce our problem citizens to revolutionary simulation technology designed to increase their empathy for their fellow men and women. Criminals and dissidents aren't evil – they've just become disconnected from society. We've proved time and again that seeing the world through the eyes of others, through technology, can be a healing experience."

Dr McNamara declined to elaborate further on the nature of Utopia's corrective sims, or to address rumours that those subjected to these treatments manifest radically altered personalities.

Commander Jendrassik

GalNet Focus on Democracy

03 SEP 3301

GalNet Focus on Democracy

This weekly roundup highlights some of the minor factions pursuing the dream of democratic freedom by holding elections (*).

Here are 10 of the 2,088 minor factions holding elections:

Baal Guardians of Tradition

Autrimpe Empire Party

Giabaing Emperor's Grace

Hirpinyi Law Party

Hirpinyi League

Sowathara Citizens' Forum

Inmutintien Advanced and Co

Gelong Jet Dynamic Holdings

Gelong Corp.

LHS 246 League

Elections occur when two minor factions of a similar political structure resolve a conflict over ownership and influence within a system.

* Data is correct at time of publishing.

The Hutton Mug

03 SEP 3301

The Hutton Mug

The words “I made it to Hutton Orbital” carry a certain amount of weight among pilots. As seasoned navigators know, the starport lies approximately 0.22 light years from the nearest star – a significant stretch by anyone’s standards – and it is not unusual for novice pilots, having failed to check the distance from Alpha Centauri to Hutton Orbital, to run out of fuel long before they reach the station.

Completing ‘The Hutton Run’, as the journey is sometimes called, is therefore a badge of honour among pilots, an achievement that distinguishes the amateur from the professional.

Now, a company called BlipMagnet has decided to capitalise on this phenomenon with the Hutton mug, a commemorative beaker bearing the legend (you guessed it) ‘I made it to Hutton Orbital'. The novelty item is available only at the starport, and the company no doubt hopes it will appeal to those who want to commemorate their epic journey.

BlipMagnet claims (presumably only half seriously) that the mug is made from “the salvaged frame shift drive plates of ships that ran out of fuel before reaching the station”. In fact, the company has issued an appeal for scrap materials with which to produce their next batch, and is offering anyone who delivers such materials their very own Hutton mug. Whether this will motivate those not normally inclined to undertake such punishing expeditions, or result in an epidemic of stranded pilots throughout the Alpha Centauri system, remains to be seen.