In answer to the request for comment from former CONCORD Commander Gispali Rhatal, Mr Rhatal has agreed to an exclusive interview to comment on the web of rumours surrounding his retirement. Caleb Kang reports on this interview, conducted this morning.
Caleb Kang: I am here with former CONCORD Commander Gispali Rhatal, a man who has been the focus of a lot of controversy lately. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Mr Rhatal.
Commander Rhatal: Thank you, Mr. Kang.
Kang: Now, there's been an open invitation for you to speak with us which previously had gone unanswered for some time. Why did you decide to sit down with us now?
Rhatal: I originally hoped that the matter would blow over and I really would have liked a peaceful retirement. However, CONCORD has continued to face undue criticism. I feel I need to speak out and clear up matters.
Kang: So it is that you feel some kind of duty?
Rhatal: In a way I guess. My time in CONCORD has been memorable and had it not been for my need to retire I would still be there because it is what I love doing.
Kang: I see. Could you please tell me what it was that you did for CONCORD?
Rhatal: I had a long and fulfilling career with CONCORD. I was recruited over thirty years ago, thirty two in fact, as a young man with stars in his eyes. Much of my early work was pretty standard. Patrolling, maintaining the peace, things like that. As I got older and my reflexes slowed, I was transferred to the low security region of space between the Amarr Empire and Khanid Kingdom.
Kang: Could you clarify for our readers what exactly it was that you did there?
Rhatal: Almost three years ago, I was assigned to co-ordinate logistical movements along the low security border between the Amarr Empire and the Khanid Kingdom at one of our small outposts. My department provided fitting and repair services for CONCORD supply ships and contractors, as well as those of the empire corporations as required.
Kang: I am sure that, like many of us, you have seen the recent plea from a Miss Vahlsina on the public access GalNet regarding her spouse, whom she states apparently worked under your command and your last post. Would you be able to confirm for us now that you had a Captain Bethol Jan Kozer working for you?
Rhatal: I have seen this transmission but am afraid the name does not ring a bell. You see I had many officers working under my command as such but not all of them were in direct and daily contact with me. Young captains especially came and went at a fairly high turnover as they were reassigned to different posts.
Kang: So you are saying she did not work under you?
Rhatal: No you misunderstand. I am only saying that, if she did work for me, I do not remember. I am an old man now. My memory is not as good as it once was.
Kang: Regarding that, CONCORD originally stated that you resigned from your post. Recently, they have changed their wording to say that you retired due to medical issues.
Rhatal: Yes the thought that it was a resignation was a clerical error. The original reason for my leaving CONCORD was a medical retirement.
Kang: What medical issues prompted your retirement?
Rhatal: I would prefer not to discuss that matter as it is a difficult subject for me.
Kang: By your own statements, you served in CONCORD for thirty two years. Though even now, you do not appear to be in poor health. Your service record, up to three years ago when the record ceased, was exemplary. No mention was ever made of health issues, nor was there any mention of their nature in the updated records CONCORD has recently released.
Rhatal: As I said, I prefer not to discuss my health. There would be no official mention in my service records about the nature of my illness. That will be in my service medical records and privileged information between me and my doctor. Can we please leave it at that? Kang: Very well. Back to Captain Kozer. What would you say to Ms. Vahlsina about her disappearance and CONCORD's refusal to release details to her?
Rhatal: That is standard CONCORD procedure. CONCORD releases no details until they have completed their investigations into the matter. They would not wish any errors to come out that would cause undue distress, nor would they wish to possibly taint the investigation. That Ms. Vahlsina has chosen to come public with this matter could lengthen and damage the investigation.
Kang: Part of her complaint has also been that she had lost contact with her partner for several months before receiving any notification of her being MIA. If CONCORD are investigating the matter it would seem they have been doing so for a long time.
Rhatal: You assume that she went missing when contact was lost? I really don’t know the nature of her work but if it was some extended assignment as Ms Vahlsina believes it to be then loss of contact with civilians would have been inevitable at some point. It does not mean she was missing at that time and that is just pure speculation. CONCORD official guidelines for declaring someone on assignment officially missing has a time frame of no longer than a week. In the absence of contrary information speculating that she went missing three months ago is baseless.
Kang: How so?
Rhatal: It is simple. Civilian transmission relays are nowhere near as powerful as the official lines of communication. And those lines cannot be used for purposes other than operational communication. She would not have been permitted to send personal messages on that line. That would be why she lost contact. Most likely her work moved her out of range of the lower band civilian network.
Kang: The civilian ship communications network is vast Mr Rhatal. Isn’t it unlikely that this is the case given CONCORD’s area of operations?
Rhatal: Well yes so you also can’t rule out interrupted by some special phenomena in deadspace. It happens frequently with deep space work. These are the things that CONCORD will have to investigate though and these are the answers that Ms Vahlsina seeks. As I said, she needs to be patient and I am both confident and hopeful that CONCORD discover what happened to her partner.
Kang: Thank you for you time Mr Rhatal. Do you have any final words?
Rhatal: Only that I hope my coming forward has set everyone's mind at ease. The only issues here are a variety of clerical errors, that even the most tenacious of organizations are prone to making. Everyone should simply trust CONCORD and leave things at that.