The Bleak Lands - In a private sermon attended by numerous loyalist Amarrians, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Slaves (SPCS) has unveiled “Port Sanctuary”. The purpose-built facility is to allow the humane preparation of Minmatar slaves and Gallente Initiates before they begin new lives in the Amarr Empire.
Occupants of Port Sanctuary are expected to be there for three to four weeks undergoing training and conditioning before slaves are sold to approved humane Holders and "Initiates" are allocated to new mentors to continue their training. Its builders hail it as a triumph in the humane treatment of slaves. The third facility to be built by SPCS, it was put together through the close work of Gaius Vermillion, Archbishop, Lord Murkon, Praetoria Shipyards and some 14,000 slaves. In all it took nearly four months to construct from start to finish.
Archbishop, a member of PIE Inc. and the director of the SPCS explained the purpose of the organization; “The SPCS was founded three years ago. Its purpose was to follow the decrees of the Emperor that slaves be treated in a humane manner. Hence our name ‘Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Slaves.’ We discovered that taking people directly into the Empire wasn't healthy. They suffered in the long Bestower rides, especially with inhumane slavers focused on profit. Instead we created the port system to provide a place where they could stop off, get medical exams, food, rest, and religious services; as kind of a ‘primer’ to Amarr life. It’s been very successful.”
One of the main functions of the facility is that it will be where Gallente Initiates begin their programme to find enlightenment. "All Gallente Initiates go through screening and sign a Contract of Enlightenment before being brought to the port station” explains Archbishop.
“The Gallente Initiate program was started as a way to help the Gallente Federations' rejected people. When you travel to the Crystal Boulevard, the Federation stations, you see the shiny face they put on to the [...] cluster. But delve deeper, a block off the avenue, and you see the despair, drugs, prostitution, XXX stores; it’s sad.
So the Initiates program was designed as a way to help bring Gallente who want to turn their life around into an environment where this is possible. Some day an Initiate could join CVA [Curatores Veritatis Alliance], run an Amarr station, do all sorts of things, it will be hard work but like the Ammatar the Initiates have much potential and opportunity.”
The SPCS is of course dedicated to ensuring the humane treatment of slaves, and the issue of the Vitoc method of slave control was raised. "Officially we don't support the use of Vitoc en-masse. But we do realize it is a valuable "aid" to help the Minmatar focus on the task at hand. When a Minmatar is focused on violence and escape they're not fulfilling their duties to God and the Empire. But with Vitoc’s help, they know they are dependent on the Empire. They thus can focus on the important work and ignore those fleeting thoughts of escape and terror" explained Archbishop.
“Do we Vitoc all our slaves? No. Do we Vitoc some? On a limited basis where necessary.”
Given the assurances in place to ensure that all slaves sold from this facility go to masters who will treat them humanely, the question as to where the slaves were acquired was raised. Archbishop explained the situation; “Well despite the claims of the terrorists we don’t just back up to Minmatar planets and raid the nursery. We buy slaves from various providers inside the Republic and we also have breeding programmes.”
On the legality of this, he continued: “I have my slaves delivered to the border. Talk to the Minmatar about their security issues. The SPCS conducts legal operations inside Amarrian sovereign space. We don't ask where our slave providers originally get their livestock. We can’t control where they come from. But I will say if one is not ethical or humane it’s definitely in the slaves’ best interest to be sold to the SPCS.”
In closing Archbishop declared that “The Amarrian Empire was founded on a faith in God and service to its fellow man. The SPCS seeks to carry on in that honourable tradition bringing those less fortunate by birth to the glory of God and the light of His word.”
The ceremony itself was a short affair, attended by the SPCS, PIE Inc, CVA, Vigilia Valeria, Delictum 23216 and other Amarr loyalists. The famous Golden Fleet maneuvered to the facility and took up orbit around the main tower. As they did, Archbishop commemorated its opening with sermon and a token of Amarrian Wheat being interred at the facility to symbolize the first seeds that bring forth a great harvest. Then the first Bestower docked with the facility and the first 4,000 Gallente Initiates were taken to begin their programme and finally all the witnesses were invited back for a reception in the Amarr system.
Apart from an attack from hostile forces before the ceremony, the entire event concluded without incident. The attack itself consisted of Ushra’Khan and Mixed Metaphor pilots trying to ambush members of PIE Inc. en-route to the facility. A mixed squadron of approximately eight vessels attacked the loyalists, they were outnumbered almost three to one, and they found themselves destroyed and routed by the Amarrian fleet who suffered no losses.
Andreus Ixiris was one of the pilots involved in the attack. Ixiris belongs to the Federation paramilitary group Mixed Metaphor which focuses on safeguarding the ideals of democracy, freedom and individual liberty throughout the cluster.
When asked why they attacked the convoy, he elaborated; “I attacked the PIE convoy along with my friends in the Ushra'Khan, despite the overwhelming odds against us, because a statement has to be made. I have taken a stand. It is bad enough that slavery exists within the Amarr Empire. I cannot tolerate the thought of the Amarr canvassing poor souls in Gallente space for their twisted abuses as well.”
When asked if this signaled the start of a similar campaign that led to Ushra’Khan destroying the previous SPCS facility, he answered; “Sir, I'm afraid that is something I cannot comment on. Classified information, you understand...I do hope that such a campaign will take place. The SPCS when taken out of context appears altruistic, but in the context of the bigger picture, namely slavery, it's really only a slightly less degrading and demeaning experience for the victims. It should be opposed in any form, and that is why the Ushra'Khan and I took to the skies today, to fight and die protesting against it.”
With such intense objections to Port Sanctuary, it is clear that its continued safety could be in jeopardy. Rodj Blake, executor of PIE Inc. clearly put forth his views; “I have no doubt that there are those who would try, but having seen for myself the defences of this magnificent facility I am confident that it can withstand the most brutal attacks. We saw tonight a new chapter for both the SPCS and the wretched souls who inhabit the Federation. There are those who seek to prevent the SPCS from carrying out its work, but tonight their efforts were in vain, just as they will be in the future. The terrorists will not be allowed to stop the SPCS from preventing cruelty to slaves.”
With the reactions of both sides seen here, it is clear that this event has sparked controversy and fanned the flames of the continuing slavery debate. Should those who object to the project decide to return with stronger forces in time, there will likely be more than simply metaphorical flames to come as well.