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Mass Effect/AEC- ANN News: Rainbow Stardust Band Leader Passed Away


Tweet of the Day: Being and Wordiness


Alliance News Entertainment Desk

January 9, 2197

Rainbow Stardust Bandleader Passed Away

By Joan Calder

MILGROM, BEKENSTIEN – Kaalo Durgis, founder of the band Rainbow Stardust, passed away yesterday afternoon in his home on Mannovai surrounded by family and friends. Credited as the creator of Retro-Synch Astral Funk, Kaalo,  known as the Conductor of the Astrotrain, led his eclectic band to multiple sold out tours across the galaxy. He broke several records, including longest uninterrupted performance (band members switched out but he remained on stage throughout) of 7.8 hours (standard), the top five most downloaded singles (Wagon Comet Trail, Heart Deeper, Feeling the Afterglow, Stranger than Terra, and  Slow Boil/Fast Burn), the longest consecutive string of sold out concerts (five days in Aremali’s Antivon Concert Hall with a sitting capacity of 500,000 for a total of 2.5 million live concert goers) and the highest grossing charity album, Healing Souls Heartstrings, which raised over 6.1 billion credits for post-war relief in the last nine years.

Kaalo’s band Rainbow Stardus roster has had over twenty musicians at anyone time trained in a mix of archaic, electronic, folk and classical influences from multiple cultures. He was the first to hire vorcha musicians which spiced the bands repertoire with hitherto never heard vorcha tribal bass beats. When Kaalo retired from music to resurrect the Anabalis Empire (one of the earliest civilizations in Surr’Kesh) poetry-songs three years ago he handed the reigns of Rainbow Stardust to  Shadik, son of Shardir, the first vorcha to work with Kaalo.

Kaalo was 43.


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TV Tropes Monday: N.G.O. Superpower


Tweet of the Day: The Stars Seem So Far Away


An N.G.O. Superpower is a private entity, be it a corporation, individual or terrorist organization that while it is not a nation state it has the power to rival one. They are the perfect villains (and sometime heroes) in James Bond style action movies, comic books and not a few video games.  They are a great source of greedy self-serving corporate drones, hordes of faceless goons, and maniacally super-villains bent of rearranging the cosmos.

But the political and historical implications of this trope. Throughout human history power has flowed from powerful individuals to governments and back again. Take the East India Company who was formed under royal charter to trade with the east indies only to come to rule India. It came at a time when the English crown reach was limited both in military power as well as finances, but by the time the company was dissolved, the British Empire was on its full swing and did not need companies such as these to lead its colonization efforts. The tendency is that when governments are weak, private actors rise in power. When governments gain strength then tend to reduce the reach of private actors. The same happened at the end of Japan’s Sengoku Jidai (The Warring States Period). The warlords that reestablished central government authority not only over feuding feudal lords but several N.G.Os like groups of warrior monks and others that threatened their power.

Another aspect of this trope is an essential truth about military power: it is wasted wealth. You can stab someone with a knife as well as a sword, but you can go back to craving your turkey with a knife while the sword goes back into the sheath. Military spending is a net loss, the tools of war rarely have civilian applications. You can make a tidy profit selling said tools, once you start fielding them, eventually the cost of having them will exceed whatever gains they might have provided.




WeWriMa- #8sunday/03-01-15: Lunch


Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Writing Warriors. This is another snippet from my current WiP, Lessons of War.  Last time Chief Inspector Mara Hayle met a liaison from Baron Montagu’s court which just arrived on the colony world of Gideon to “assist” with the investigation of the colonial governor (and the Baron’s brother). They decide to discuss the particulars of the case over lunch, but Antonio Saavedra has other ideas.

Antonio chose a small cafe two blocks down from the Metropolitan Police HQ. After ordering two coffees with sandwiches he got down to business.

“I’m glad you agreed to this. It will make things smoother,” he said.

“I don’t have much of a choice, now do I?” I said.

He took a long zip from his steaming cup of espresso, “No, you don’t and that is the point. The Baron sees it as both a personal attack as well as an attack on his authority. He and his forces are on their way  to Gideon even as we speak.”

Seems like things are heating up and Inspector Hayle is in a tighter spot that she realized. As always, please visit my fellow writers on the WeWRiWa blog chain by following the link above.

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Mass Effect/AEC- ANN News Legal Brief with Anthony McConnell



Tweet of the Day: I got to meet R.A. Salvatore!!!


ANN News Desk

From Alliance Legal Desk on the Citadel

January 5, 2197

ANN News Legal Brief for 01-05-97

by Antony McConnell

PRESIDIUM, CITADEL- The Union of Electronic Assemblers and Workers brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of their batarian, quarian and volus members against multiple electronics companies for illegal discrimination in their hiring and personnel management practices. The suit alleges that these companies conspired to cap the number of employees from these races to less than 10% of their employee pool, denied accommodations/facilities compatible with the biological/cultural/religious needs of said employees, passed said employees for promotions/froze salaries while demanding increase production and summary firings with little or no legal justifications in order to keep other employees from the same races in what one of the lawyers bringing the suit called, “Perpetual wage-slavery.”

A look at the court papers reveals a who’s who of electronics companies including Apex Omnitools, Ariake Technologies, Saronis Applications and Solar Electronics. Over 1,100 current and former employees of these companies filed the joint suit in multiple jurisdictions, including the Alliance and the Citadel. They are seeking over one trillion credits in lost wages, lost career advancement and emotional distress.

The trial against Jan’Eso vas Tremblin for the murders of Kha’dan Hark, a batarian businessman and his associates continues. Vas Tremblin refused a plea of temporary insanity and instead entered a plea of not guilty. In a related note, family members of those who died at the bombing of the Laranthos Institution are suing C-Sec for their failure to protect the school from the terrorist attack. A Presidium Court judge is set to rule on the merits of the lawsuit by January 9th.

The case of Jakurt McCollic has come up again for parole. McCollic is currently serving a twenty-five year prison sentence for embezzlement, theft, industrial espionage, and  conspiracy to commit treason for the sale of the manufacturing plans of the M-7 Lancer Assault Rifle to several non-Alliance manufacturers such as Ekloss Combine  (manufacturers of an ungraded copy under the monicker of the M-8 Avenger) which lead to the popularity of human style firearms across the Terminus Systems. Alliance prosecutors allege that McCollic also sold the plans of the UT-47 Kodiak assault shuttles to foreign powers, such as the Batarian Hegemony and Cerberus. Lawyers from McCollic defense team replied that his client was in jail four years before copies of the Kodiak appeared on the open market. Alliance investigators are still looking for the millions of credits McCollic stashed away before being brought to trial.

Report filed by ANN Legal Analyst Antony McConnell.


Note: It is with deep sadness that we mark the passing of Leonard Nimoy, actor, photographer, and pop icon. Known primarily for playing the role of Mr. Spock in the Star Trek franchise, his contributions will be sorely missed.


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Mass Effect/AEC: Chapter 21 (c.2)-Extraction




Tweet of the Day: Literary Architecture


Roof of the Interfax Communications Nexus, Chav, Landam System, Crescent  Nebula, January 4, 2197

I slip into the zone as the shuttle doors opened.

“Vega, lay down some covering fire,” I yelled over the comm.

The Marine squad fanned out around the shuttle. Time slowed down around me. The air thrummed with the sound of gunfire and ejected thermal clips. Cerberus troopers rocketed up to the ledge on thruster boots. The first shot ignited one in flames. The second shot hurled another back over the edge.

President Riley ran toward us, flanked by a squad of salarians.

“We are in commander,” said major Rentola.

“Everybody in, go, go go,” I said.

Everybody piled inside as the shuttle, with the colonial president sandwiched between two very tall salarian bodyguards.

“Buckle up ladies and gents, we have Cerberus fighters on an intercept course,” said Lieutenant Khan.

“Then you better shake them,” I said.

“This is a brick with booster sir, but I’ll try my best. Music on!” replied Khan.

I jumped into the co-pilot seat. Holo showed a pair of enemy fighters behind us. Smoke trails flew past us.

“Well, at least the jammers work,” said Khan.

The shuttle shook violently. The shuttle’s VI chimed in, “Kinetic Barriers at fifty percent.”

Then one of the fighters exploded, its wingman caught fire and rolled to the ground. The site of the Kurk‘s open shuttle bay filled the screen.

“Sorry we are late. Had to dodge a Cerberus cruiser on our way in,” radioed Ace.

“Brace yourselves,” said Khan.

The shuttle screeched to a halt. The door slid open and we exited as gracefully as our shaken joints allowed.

I turned to the President Riley “Are you alright sir?”

The President’s scrawny, long limb frame shook like a leaf in a hurricane, “I’m…I am alive commander. Whether I am alright or not will take some time.”

“Commander to the War Room, Commander to the War Room,” said the ship’s VI.

I walked into the War Room with the Major Rentola, Jame Vega and President Riley in tow. The main holo projected a gigantic image of captain Winthrop. I stood in perfect parade ground position. Everyone else in the war room matched my stand.

“Commander Thompson-Ramos I just saw a live news feed that showed one of my frigates attacking Cerberus forces in Chav. Do you care to explain how that happened?” asked Winthrop.

“We were assisting the extraction of allied troops from a combat zone,” I said.

Winthrop eyes squinted so hard, his eyes turned to horizontal slits, “And?”

“And we successfully extricated said force, sir,” I said.

“And did you forget to inform me about this operation, an operation that went directly against my standing orders not to engage the enemy?” he asked.

“No sir, I did not forget. The situation was too fluid to do a proper consultation. I took the  initiative before the window of opportunity closed, sir.”

“Is that your final answer, commander?” he asked. I nodded. “Then I’ll make sure to quote you in my report to the disciplinary board, commander.”

President Riley stepped up, “You will do no such thing, captain! This man saved my life and the life of the STG team sent to protect me. While you seat on your ass, four hundred and eighty million lives are under attack by Cerberus. My people, captain. I’ll make sure to quote you when I speak to the press.”

Winthrop’s stony visage crumbled, “Well…Mr. President, sir…we simply don’t have the resources to deal with Cerberus…at this time. But the Alliance is committed in liberating your world from their control.”

“And how many people will I have to bury before you get off your ass, captain? I think we are through here, captain,” Riley slammed a finger down on the off button.

“Thank you Mr. President, but to be honest, the captain was right. I took a risk and it payed off, but we don’t have the force to take Chav back, at least not yet. But we will,” I said.

“I suspected as much commander Thompson-Ramos. Now if you will excuse me I think I’ll find some place to lie down for awhile,” he said.

“No problem, sir,” I said. Major Rentola tossed me a a quick salute which I returned. I looked over at Navigator Johnson, “Talking of taking risks….”

Johnson blond brush mustache bristled, “We don’t leave anyone behind, sir, let alone our ship’s captain.”

I smiled, “Good to know.”


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TV Tropes Monday: Jurisdiction Friction


Tweet of the Day: Kill Your Rituals, Not Your Darlings


Jurisdiction Friction is one of the staples of crime dramas and government thrillers. The concept is simple, whenever two (or more) police forces, investigative services, or intelligence branches investigate the same (or related) case, each side will claim jurisdiction over the case, either forcing the other out or taking control of the case. In real life rules of jurisdiction are designed to avoid such clashes, although the do occur. This is the reason why in the U.S. (and in other countries) federal police forces form task forces with local police: the feds bring in the resources while the local have knowledge of the lay of the land.

For the author it serves one of two functions: it creates conflict between the good guys or allows the introduction of a bad guy with a badge. The first usually gets resolved when both sides understand they have more to gain from working together than working against each other. The second can either be a individual who abuses their power for petty personal reasons or an entire branch of government that is running a major conspiracy the protagonist must expose/destroy/survive.



WeWriWa: 02/22/05- Investigation



After taking a brief break last week followed by a very complicated week, I’m back with another snippet for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog chain. This is another sample from my current WiP, Lessons of War. When last we peeked into the story, Chief Detective Inspector Mara Hayle was investigating the murder of Gideon’s colonial governor and a world that pledged allegiance to House deHavilland over a decade ago.  But a call from from the Chief Constable’s office interrupted her investigation:

I loved Chief Constable Conway’s office. The large wrap around windows allowed for a glorious view of the cedar forest south of Hayden. Gideon was the only world outside of Earth where Cedrus libani flourished. I was so wrapped up with the view that it took me a second to noticed the dark hair man that sat in a chair in front of the Chief’s desk.

The Chief turned to greet me, “Inspector Hayle, I’m sorry to pull you out of your investigation but something has come up.”

I tucked a wayward strand of hair over my left ear, “I came as soon as a I could, sir”

“I like your to meet Antonio Saavedra, a member of Baron Montagu’s court and our new investigative liason,” said the Chief with a pained grimace.

Oh no.

Well that is all for now. I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit. You should visit and leave a comment on all the participating blogs on the blog chain list. I hope you  have a terrific weekend.



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