Responding to public interest in Princess Aisling Duval’s fiancé, Federal Ambassador Jordan Rochester, political journalist Cassia Carvalho has compiled a profile for The Imperial Herald:
“Jordan Rochester is now a household name throughout the Empire, though few were aware of him prior to his engagement to Princess Duval. But in the Federation, the Rochesters have been associated with success for over two hundred years.”
“The Rochester name can be traced back to self-made tycoon Apollo Rochester, who was the biggest landowner on Biggs Colony in the Altair system. Each generation since has strived for fame and wealth, and the expression ‘as rich as a Rochester’ has become common parlance.”
“The family matriarch is Isolde Rochester. She is a member of Congress, an influential figure in the Liberal Party and a staunch supporter of Shadow President Felicia Winters. Isolde raised five children, including Jordan, and it was her accomplishments that inspired her son to enter politics.”
“Jordan’s siblings chose different paths. The eldest, Jupiter Rochester, is an executive with Core Dynamics, with a personal fortune in the billions. Fifteen years ago he had his own celebrity marriage, to actor Tomas Turai. They now have two teenage children, daughter Kali and son Kalen.”
“Jordan’s sisters, Juno and Jocasta, have impressive Navy careers, holding the ranks of Vice Admiral and Post Captain respectively. Only Jordan’s younger brother, Jonah, has no title. He is believed to be the black sheep of the family.”
“Despite being just 34, Jordan has already made his mark. He has overseen several high-level negotiations on behalf of the Federal Diplomatic Corps and is now a trusted envoy, noted for his charm and tact.”
“His future will be interesting, to say the least. How will he balance being both a Federal statesman and an Imperial consort? And what are the wider ramifications of the Rochester dynasty aligning with the House of Duval? Even more so than his predecessors, Jordan Rochester has already ensured that history will remember his family’s name.”
Many key figures have contested Pranav Antal’s suggestion that humanity could lose the conflict against the Thargoids.
Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters commented:
“It’s surprising to hear such a dystopian prediction from the leader of Utopia! I know Antal’s heart is in the right place when he talks about preparing for the far future, but our focus should be on the present. The Thargoid threat has prompted an unprecedented level of inter-power cooperation, and this positive approach is what we must concentrate on.”
Admiral Aden Tanner made a statement on behalf of Aegis:
“Let me make this clear: our enemy may be powerful, but they are far from achieving victory. With our AX weaponry and new megaships, Aegis is leading an effective resistance against Thargoid forces.”
Further refutation came from Li Yong-Rui, CEO of the Sirius Corporation:
“With all due respect to Antal, his peculiar vision of humanity surviving as a mass of digital ghosts cannot be taken seriously. It’s not as if civilisation is on the edge of collapse – for most of us it remains business as usual. Our survival instincts and ingenuity will keep our societies functioning for a long time to come.”
The Federation has announced that the Bulwark Project has reached a successful conclusion. Scores of pilots supported the campaign by delivering commodities to Jahn Dock. These will be used to research the possibility of an automated Federal defence force.
As the campaign drew to a close, Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters released a statement:
“My sincere gratitude goes to those who supported this campaign. But I want to remind you that we’re still some way from a fully automated defence force. The Bulwark Project’s initial remit is simply to establish the economic and military feasibility of such an enterprise.”
Meanwhile, opponents have continued to voice concerns that it could lead to the development of artificial intelligence, which is outlawed throughout the galaxy.
Pilots who contributed to the initiative can now collect their rewards from Jahn Dock in the Momoirent system.
The Federation has launched an initiative to develop autonomous military hardware with which to fight the Thargoids.
Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters shed further light on the initiative, which has been christened the Bulwark Project:
"As the Thargoids' aggression escalates, it's essential that we find ways to minimise casualties while continuing to protect ourselves. Aegis is doing commendable work, but it needn't be our only line of defence."
Imperial commentators have criticised the initiative, however, drawing attention to long-standing conventions against the development of artificial intelligence. Shadow President Winters was quick to dismiss such concerns, saying:
"The purpose of the Bulwark Project is to investigate alternative defence strategies, not to develop machine intelligence."
The operation has received financial support from the Momoirent Central and Co, which has placed an open order for various commodities for use in the campaign.
The campaign begins on the 15th of February 3304 and will run for one week. If the final target is met earlier than planned, the campaign will end immediately.
Following disturbing reports of attacks on Federal ships in the Pleiades Nebula, the partisan rancour that often characterises Federal Congress has faded into the background as both Republican and Liberal members of congress rally around President Zachary Hudson. Rumours that the attacks were perpetrated by the Thargoids abound, prompting calls for increased military spending.
Emerging in the wake of the no-confidence vote that resulted in the expulsion of former Federal president Jasmina Halsey, the bellicose Hudson administration was seen by many as emblematic of the Federation's uncertain path into the 34th century. But the possibility of an alien incursion is rapidly smoothing over the political sore points.
Shadow President Felicia Winters has been careful to neither endorse nor condemn Hudson’s militaristic rhetoric. Meanwhile, both the Republican and Liberal parties have remained silent on the post-presidential career of Jasmina Halsey, whose advocacy for galactic peace contrasts sharply with the hawkish leader who ordered planetary bombardments against onionhead growers in the Kappa Fornacis system. In the political press, attention has focused on the fact that Halsey has become a close confidante of Alliance Prime Minister Edmund Mahon – another moderate voice on the intergalactic stage.
At a rally on Mars in the Sol system, Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters has addressed the escalating tension between the Federation and the Empire.
While careful not to criticise Federal President Zachary Hudson, Winters made her position on the ongoing Federal-Imperial conflict clear. Addressing citizens who had gathered to support her, the shadow president said:
"I may disagree with Edmund Mahon on a number of issues, but I share his views on the current political climate."
"Both the Federation and the Empire have access to tremendous military power, and a war between our two societies could have a disastrous impact on the galaxy. We must turn away from acrimony, and move towards mutual understanding and cooperation. It is not too late to change course."
Winters's words were warmly received by the assembled crowds.
Following the release of former Federal president Jasmina Halsey from the Clearwater Clinic, commentators from around the galaxy are asking the same question: What's next for Halsey?
According to political analyst Emilio Blythe: "If Halsey were to return to politics, it could spell trouble for Shadow President Felicia Winters. Winters's leadership of the Liberal Party has been questioned over the last few months, and Halsey could conceivably retake control of the party."
Meanwhile, members of the religious cult known as The Hands of the Architects are holding onto the hope that Halsey will take on the mantle of prophet, and lead them to 'communion with the Architects'.
Attempts to contact the former president have been rebuffed by her staff.
At a recent event at the Mars Business Society, Federal Shadow President Felicia Winters responded to a question concerning the hospitalisation of former Federal president Jasmina Halsey:
"It was clear from the outset that she'd experienced a traumatic event, and that it impacted her psychologically as well as physically. I hope she receives the treatment she needs."
When asked about Halsey's alleged mystical experiences, Winters replied:
"Frankly, I find the question distasteful. She has undergone a harrowing experience – an experience that would have affected even the strongest of us – and drawing attention to her so-called 'visions' is counterproductive to restoring her mental health."
The Powerplay weekly report summarises recent activity in Federal, Imperial, Alliance and independent spheres of influence.
Under the pretence of tightening security, President Zachary Hudson's fleets were deployed to the Ravas system where they established a forward operating base. The movement of the Federal ships led to a supply shortage in 26 Ophiuchi, threatening the combat readiness of the fleet stationed there. Only a continued show of Federal might will be enough to ensure law and order prevail.
Shadow President Felicia Winters focused her Federal aid campaigns on the Kali system, in an attempt to demonstrate how Liberal values will bring a better life to all. Kali has been controlled by the Alliance-aligned Green Party of Kali for some time, but Blue Netcoms LTD – a Federal corporation – is likely to gain influence with the increased Federal presence.
Shield of Justice logistics failed to allocate sufficient resources to systems throughout Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval's domain, resulting in a loss of control in HIP 47328 and HR 4720. If the Shield of Justice cannot adequately garrison the Emperor's systems, Cook and HIP 10694 will follow suit.
Princess Aisling Duval's backers acquired controlling stakes in media networks throughout the Conii system this week, and a repeat of last week's successes is now being attempted in Ekono and Kurichime.
Using her economic connections and vast wealth, Senator Zemina Torval's brokers collected deeds to purchase both land and infrastructure in Jamuxa and Belgitan, allowing her to acquire a controlling interest in both systems.
Senator Denton Patreus despatched his fleets to Ehi, an anarchic system controlled by the Ehi Silver Rats. Though resistance to the Imperial presence was crushed, budgetary considerations forced Imperial fleets to withdraw.
Agents of Prime Minister Edmund Mahon undertook diplomatic missions in BPM 89444, 7 Zeta-2 Lyrae and Alkaid, and successfully forged trade agreements with these systems. Alliance representatives have a busy week ahead of them, with negotiations underway in a total of nine systems. If all nine were to join the Alliance trade network, Prime Minister Mahon would have ties with 106 systems.
Violent insurrections in HIP 103138, He Xian Gu, HIP 90190 and Bakabienil compelled system defence forces to mobilize in an attempt to clean up the corrupt influences seeking to take control. Security forces successfully repulsed the Kumo Crew in the latter three systems, while resistance in HIP 103138 proved too weak. Resistance fighters have paid the inevitable price in blood, and their families have been sold into slavery.
Sirius CEO Li Yong-Rui leveraged connections with Sirius Corp. to secure investment from the population of Artume. Vast funds were allocated to buy up a controlling interest in the system. Unfortunately, an eleventh-hour financial review revealed the system to be unprofitable, and the acquisition was terminated on Thursday morning.
Utopian enforcers were unable to liberate the people of 63 G. Capricorni and Kelie from misguided bureaucrats resisting the truth of Utopia. Undeterred, Utopian negotiators have sent out feelers for new opportunities to share the vision of Utopia.
The Powerplay weekly report summarises the recent activities of the Federation, Empire, Alliance and Independent spheres of influence.
Federal fleets, under the direction of President Zachary Hudson, focused primarily on protecting Federal border systems this week. The coming week brings promise of conflict, as Federal military contractors seek to establish a permanent presence in 26 Ophiuchi and Orishvati.
Though Ch'iang Fei ultimately rejected Shadow President Winters' efforts to secure support for the Liberal party, citizens in LTT 5964 were much more receptive. Djanharu, HIP 50489 and LHS 2205 are currently the focal points of comprehensive Federal aid campaigns.
With the exception of Princess Aisling Duval's territory, the political climate in the Empire remained relatively stable this week. The citizens of Aluriates, Erisha, HIP 116710 and Karakasis withdrew their formal support from the People's Princess, reducing the number of systems under her sway to 56.
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval's staff investigated a number of systems this week, ultimately settling on Hyades Sector IC-K b9-4 and Kherthaje as the subject of the coming week's anti-criminal efforts. The Shield of Justice is already active in both systems.
Since there were no acquisitions on the table this week, Senator Zemina Torval's agents focused their efforts on establishing good relations in HIP 88178 and Mantunt. Having had some success, Senator Torval's brokers are now looking to purchase assets in both systems.
Senator Denton Patreus' forces were largely tied up protecting the new Majestic-Class Interdictor under construction in Mundjiga. Patreus' fleets have since been dispatched to Ts'ai Shai, and are expected to remain active there for a week.
Alliance diplomats clocked up thousands of light years this week, diligently pursuing trade ties with seven key systems. New trade relationships were established with Akheilos, Aranbarahun, FAUST 3566 and Gendalla. Prime Minister Edmund Mahon is pursuing trade partnerships in 3 Upsilon Ophiuchi, Bingui, Gitse, Kaal, LFT 820, Marralteki, Mongatha, Ross 860 and Tricorii. Should diplomatic efforts in all nine systems prove fruitful, the Alliance trade network will boast a total of 99 commercial hubs.
Utopian agitators prevailed in violent protests in the HIP 10584 system, and a Utopian embassy has subsequently been established there. Simguru Pranav Antal's supporters are currently active in Allowa, Antanyamai, HIP 6943 and Maia. Should these systems join Utopia, Antal's influence will extend to a total of 55 key systems.
The Kumo Crew's insurrections in 7 Zeta-2 Lyrae, Dhanchu and HIP 103138 were suppressed, but authorities in the San Guan system were brought under the control of Pirate Lord Archon Delaine. The Kumo Crew has now shifted its efforts to Latugara and Ross 151.
Sirius Gov CEO Li Yong-Rui leveraged his connections with Sirius Corp to encourage spending and investment in Babaradhbh and Chang O. Corporate vessels have been dispatched to begin buying up private and government assets in an attempt to establish a permanent Sirius Gov presence.