Saturday saw a massive struggle in the Outer Ring and Syndicate regions of space, as first the Band of Brothers struck several blows against starbases in Outer Ring, then as the D2 and NORAD alliances escorted a shipment of Serpentis boosters into the Orvolle system. Intercepted by a CONCORD Rapid Response Team (RRT) and several brave pilots from Orvolle, the two alliances decimated five CONCORD Special Ops battleships and three CONCORD Special Ops cruisers, as well as destroying their pod pilot escorts. Between the chaos, four Serpentis Obelisk freighters slipped into Orvolle and, through falsified transponders, managed to dock at the Federation Navy Assembly Plant. Once docked, several thousand marines stationed within the ships held the docking ports open, as a veritable parade of known and suspected drug smugglers docked and undocked with their cargo. With CONCORD in disarray after the attack, few were caught before they left the system.
The catastrophe is already being called by some Senators, “the worst blunder in years.” The Senate Subcommittee on Border Security and Customs cited insufficient intelligence and a lack of force as the most critical issues during the attack, saying that if CONCORD had had a few more hours to organize a response, the situation would be much different. Senator Adrienne, however, an outspoken opponent of pod pilot excesses, has placed the blame squarely on the pod pilot community. Speaking before the full Senate, she expressed her anger that anyone, including pod pilots, could let this happen. Escorting the freighters was an act of “barbarism” and “lawlessness,” she said, rivaling the Serpentis Corporation itself. Her transcript appears here, unedited, in part:
“Fellow Senators, this is just another example of the liberties these pod pilots take with our people. To them, life seems like a game. If you shoot one down, their clone wakes up half the universe away, spluttering and choking, but very much alive. Meanwhile, we're faced with a drug epidemic in half of the systems of Placid! These four freighters unloaded an estimated 18.75 million – yes, million – units of boosters and drugs to drug cartels operating throughout the Federation. Think of the children who will be affected by this! We've long known that the Serpentis Corporation has been behind much of the drug problem, but to see pod pilots, whom our population idolizes, overtly support them? This goes beyond insult. This is nothing less than an act of war against the Federation.”
Opinion seems split among Senators, as other speakers pointed out that many pod pilots greatly contribute to the security of the Federation, and that the actions of a few should not condemn the whole. Still, Senator Adrienne commands a sizable section of the Senate, and could prove a deciding factor in future negotiations between the parties.
CONCORD itself issued a declaration of piracy against the D2 and NORAD alliances, saying that their actions were effectively allying themselves with the Serpentis. Commissioner Kunken, commander of the RRT that fought against the pod pilots and the Serpentis, had no comment, but the Office of Pilot Relations promised to levy sanctions and fines against those who fought against CONCORD, as well as rewarding the pod pilots who stood with them against the Serpentis. “We honor the sacrifices those pilots made, and we know that in the future, more pilots will stand with us against tyranny and lawlessness in the frontier.”
Serpentis Corporation officials were unavailable for comment.