Star System: AegisDate: 2502-03-22 Unknown group seizes pumping station, repulses attack, demands negotiations
Olit City, BLUEFALL â€“ As the tense stand off at the Socarta Pumping Station entered its third day, tensions are reaching new heights. On March 20, 2502, a previous unknown group calling itself the Sickle of Truth seized a critical pumping station just off of Olit Isle, in the process taking one hundred and fifty individuals hostage. Two days later, an attack by unknown forces on the platform took place, with the attackers repelled with heavy casualties. After the attack, the terrorist group reportedly executed ten individuals on the platform. However, they opened communications indicating that they seek to negotiate with the Christopher Hale, or one of his direct reports, â€świthout delayâ€ť. They also indicated that they intend to kill a hostage for each hour that passes until that demand is met.
Aegis Frontier Petroleum had financed the building of the Socarta Pumping Station in 2499. Considered one of the earliest successes of the Olit Incentive program, Olitâ€™s administrators held it up as an example of how foreign investment could improve the lives of common citizens on the isle. The platform supported the Socarta Oil farm, which was the highest producing in the Olit-Dâ€™Mar field in 2501. However, the farm and station became a source of controversy when the Clone Compensation Committee (CCC) filed suit in Bluefall courts, seeking seizure of Aegis Frontier Petroleum, New Arrival Insurance, and Arrivers Charters as compensation to former Borealin clones, who live now in Rigunmor territory. Despite Christopher Haleâ€™s suspension order, which required a cool down period, each company has continued to face different obstacles stemming from the suit. The Insurance Company was split into several pieces as a form of compensation to Vessey Traders, the individuals filing suit, and their Borealin owners. A separate case for Arriver Charters was filed in a Mary Belle court. Up until now, this company has drawn the most interest, not the least of reasons, because of the CFN attack on the hotel where the lawyers for Arrivers were staying. Unlike Arrivers, Aegis Frontier has no holdings outside of Bluefall. Therefore, Aegis Frontier Petroleum fell only under Bluefall jurisdiction. Every other Stellar Nation on Aegis refused the case. After this, Aegis Frontier Petroleum sites and vessels have been subjected to various public protest and harrassment tactics since the suspension. Up until now, though, the protests have been very public, and rather amateurish.
â€śIt has been a nightmare,â€ť says Lorne Tuvelov, CEO of Aegis Frontier Petroleum. â€śThese protests strike us as a form of blackmail. They are attempting to take by intimidation what a court will not give them.â€ť Tuvelov, for his part, has now relegated himself to the Rigunmor Island of Rhulesport. Private sources indicate that he is afraid for his life.
The seizure of the Socarta Pumping Station is believed to be a culmination of these incidents. Fortunately, for many, most of the pumping stations crew was on shoreleave, so that they could be involved in Remembrance ceremonies and celebrations. It was also the lack of a crew that probably allowed for seizure of the platform by terrorists.
Early attempts at negotiations proved futile, as the terrorists simply refused all forms of communication. The Regency, sent ships to sea, in order to isolate the platform. However, with only police boats, the Regency choose to maintain a loose parameter of 15 kilometers around the platform. It is believed that the Regency contacted the Nariac and Visions of Divinity about possible reinforcements. Neither side seems to have deployed any forces in the area..
Approximately thirty-eight hours after the attack, unknown assailants, ignoring the hails of the Regency fleet attacked the platform. The terrorists seemed to use several Ronin 900 25MM Sabot Cannons to defend themselves. In the process they sank six of the attackers boats. The attackers retreated, but only after salvaging or obliterating the wreckage. A small Regency fleet gave chase to the attackers. However, the attackers somehow disappeared. TVN has received exclusive imagery from Nariac satilites in orbit over the Stricken islands that suggests that they came from a renegade settlement on South Stricken. However, Regency sources suggest that the bulk of the fleet came from a nearby-uncharted island. No one from the Nariac Domain was available for comment. However, several Regency officials, unwilling to go on the record, noted that the domain has had considerable trouble with those settlements. There have been hints that Thuldan agents have been present in the settlements. No official evidence of this has been presented to anyone anywhere. There are rumors that the Nariac are looking for an excuse to bring these settlements to heel.
Today, however has provided the most startiling revelations to date. TVN has uncovered documents filed with Vessey regulators that suggests that the platform was sold three months ago to a private Thuldan consortium. This move, if true, opens up quite a number of possibilities as to who attacked the platform. There are only two known groups that have Aegis Frontiers in their sights. The first, CCC has showed no capacity for military operations up until this point. Meanwhile, CFN has not conducted any operations on Bluefall until this point, and has seemed to direct its wrath towards Arriver Charters. Meantime, Aegis Frontiers is not known to be on the list of any other terrorist organization. Still, Aegis Frontiers legal problems aside, it seems somewhat shocking that a Borealin company would sell out to a Thuldan interest. Lorne Tuvelov did note that such a sale was legal under Bluefall, Borealis and Rigunmor law. Lorne also indicated that the company was more than â€śamplyâ€ť compensated for the sale. However, Lorne refused to disclose the exact details of the sale, and also indicated that he was unaware of the nature of the buyer, although he believed the individual to be non-Thuldan.
What the Thuldan interest is in a Pumping Station would be subject to some debate. Ambassador Stott has recently suggested that the many individual Thuldan should invest more â€śin the infrastructure of Aegisâ€ť. It is still with some surprise though that Thuldan interests have bought a pumping station. The Thuldan have, (to date) shown little interest in Petroleum extraction or refinement. Indeed, it is not entirely certain that the Thuldan are even involved in the acquision, as attempts to contact the new owners have so far been unsuccessful.
Currently, a much larger Regency task force, from Regency Island, is expected to arrive within three hours and take up positions arround the station. The belief is that this force includes more tactical firepower, which will be able to storm the rig, should negociations fail. In addition, Austrin-Ontsis, Orion, Borealis and Concord have made available several small ships to the Regency for deployment as they see fit. Although no one is certain, it is also believed that a Rigunmor contingent is on its way as well. However, the Regency has made clear that it will not accept any mercenaries, and it will not provide any reward for operations conducted by its allies.
The Regency believes that a Thuldan fleet is on its way, although its exact composition is unclear. It is also possible that Ambassador Stott has contacted the Nariac in order to deal with the platform. Given the recent strains between Pentad allies though, it seems unlikely that Nariac would be in a listening mood. Attempts to contact the Thuldan Ambassador have proven unsuccessful.
For now, the tense standoff continues. The Regency has already indicated that no representatives of the government would be involved in face-to-face negotiations with terrorists. While the surrounding fleet seems to be tightening the noose, due to the stations position, they cannot prevent the terrorists from making a run to Dâ€™Mar Isle for safety should they choose to try. Dâ€™Mar is owned by Visions of Divinity Inc, who is widely suspected of having extended connections with the Coreeno Crime family. Visions of Divinity have made no comment during the current crisis, but it is widely believed that they would not take kindly to any thing penetrating their territorial waters. Whether the Regency or anyone else would persue the terrorists if they succeeded in landing on Dâ€™mar is not known.
November 11, 2010 - dblade