ARGO READY FOR LAUNCH
Professor Chuang was tonight putting the finishing touches to the new ion ship ARGO. Space Fleet Controller Dare was cautiously optimistic about the project.
"We have had no success with any Pluto probes to date, so let's hope this mission tells us more."
Meanwhile, at the Formby launchsite, the shuttle Hawke is being prepared for launch at midnight. It will carry Argo's remaining crew - Prof. Jocelyn Peabody, Capt. "Flamer" Spry and Lt. Hugo Guest, grandson of retired SF chief Sir Hubert Guest. They will go first to the new space station UN3 for a briefing from SF Supremo Dare.
It is well known that the new SpaceFleet Controller has been worried about the lack of any success with attempts to map the surface of Pluto. He is determined to make the Solar System secure, and this remains the one area we have no knowledge of.
The Inner Planets
We have a small embassy re-established on Mercury, and are on good enough terms with the Mercurians for there to be no problem there. Venus is under charge of the BiPartite Commission, and of course Earth and Mars are secure.
The Outer Planets
Jupiter appears to have no life of any sort, and to be remarkably inhospitable. Saturn is, of course, in its state of civil war, with no apparent end in sight, and now it has spilled out over onto Neptune. This leaves only Pluto, but we have no knowledge of the Pluto/Charon system at all.
Report from Mekonta
In their three monthly report on the Venus situation, the bi-partite commission notes that the situation in Mekonta seems calm, although somewhat tense. Governor Sondar has appointed several more District Leaders to deal with the administration of outlying areas in the north.
Demilitarisation has continued over the area, although there undoubtedly exists a large number of concealed weapons. All major units, however, and, in particular, all space going vehicles, have been secured at the UN base 10km west of the city.
The Atlantine movement to emigrate from Venus forever to settle on Mars has gathered considerable impetus, and has only been held back by the lack of transport. Many villages are bringing the issue to a head, however, by refusing to sow crops for the coming year. The Earth and Mars Governments have been in urgent discussions over the matter. Mars is more than ready to welcome the incomers.
The situation with the Therons is more confused, however. There are two opposing factions in the country: one wishing to go back to their old way of life, and the other thinking that this would be premature, and that the country needs to build up its defenses as its greatest priority. President Sokal is, at the moment, hoding the balance between the two factions.
New Martian ferry in use!
The Captain Dennon, named after the SpaceFleet hero who held out on Mars for three months after the collapse on Earth, has just entered service on the migrant run between Earth and Mars.
Why rebuild your home on earth, when you can build a new one on Mars??
Fares on the Martian ferries have now fallen below 5000 Novads per passenger. Now you can afford to migrate!
Temporary accommodation available.
We will house all comers for up to three months while you find your feet. Offer applies to families as well!
All offers subject to health and financial status.
MARS POPULATION PASSES 4M.
The Mars Census Bureau reported that the population of the planet had now passed 4M, and was expected to reach 5M before the end of the decade. The first uncovered city is planned on the equator, and may be named after Capt. Bryant, SF hero of the Red Moon and of the Treen Occupation.
Captain Bryant of SpaceFleet
Captain Bryant first rose to public attention during the Red Moon crisis in 1999. At that time, he was captain of the ferry "Maryland", and went down to the surface of the planet with Col. Dare to check that there was no-one left. He received head injuries during the Red Moon storms that put him in hospital for some months to convalesce.
On Black Sunday he was in transit from Earth to Mars, and on landing, helped prepare the defenses of the Red Planet. Such defenses as were set up, even given the extra time the colonists had, were completely ineffective against the Mekon's robots. As a member of SpaceFleet Bryant was taken off to the notorious Aden prison camp. He did what he could in the Underground, but that, in those circumstances, didn't amount to much.
The return of the Cryptos Expeditionary party, and the return from cryosuspension of the members of the original Venus Expedition did wonders for morale at Aden. On their arrival a riot broke out, partly instigated by Bryant. However, he was then singled out by the Mekon and the Treen guards for execution pour encourager les autres.
Named after Captain Bryant, this city is to be based on the equator, where the climate is more moderate, and will be the first city not to be enclosed. One of the very few good things to come of the Occupation was the work done by the Mekon in rendering Mars more habitable. Atmospheric pressure is now much higher, and although suits are still needed for more than a few minutes excursion, and each home will still have to be airtight, it is hoped that the openness of the city will allow it to grow at its own pace.