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Old July 14 2009, 10:36 PM   #1
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Location: Neither Here Nor There
The Reaper and the Red Menace

This piece was written for Ad Astra's Headlines Challenge. Captain Scanlon is one of Captain Sutek's protégés.

Natellan Space News Service
Stardate 49026.2 (10 January 2372 Terran Common Era)
3 Jilan 25467 Old Natellan Imperial Date

by NSNS Staff Writer Romal Jerith

TANROVA, NATELLUS - After a reign of terror lasting nearly twenty-five years, Black Sky is no more. The kings of the organized crime underworld have finally been dethroned by the unrelenting pursuit of provincial and planetary law enforcement. Tanrova was once considered the most dangerous planetary capital in the sector. With the election of Prime Minister Syrat Magray in 25465 (2370), the crackdown on racketeering and other high crimes began in earnest. Black Sky was the biggest and toughest target to take down.

Their main compound in the rocky Vedra Hills overlooking Natellus' capital was raided today by a joint task force of several government agencies including Capital Provincial Police, Natellan Militia, and the Natellan Investigations Bureau. Nearly all of the organized crime syndicate's higher-ups were taken into custody, including Rune Sarenden, wanted in the deaths of several underground rivals; Talvet Lowen, Black Sky's weapons master; and Garan Fal, overseer of Black Sky's extra-planetary operations. The raid ended a two-year-long investigation; however, the syndicate's head man, Barress "the Hammer" Hudrain, managed to flee the compound just ahead of the authorities, taking to the skies in his personal cruiser, the Kirana.

Natellan Militia forces gave chase. But the Kirana was made to outrun any craft the Militia could quickly launch, and as she entered orbit over Natellus, her lead could not be overcome. That was until assistance was called for.

Almost on cue, the United Federation of Planets Starship USS Currituck made her presence known. Immediately, the Kirana opened fire and ran hard for deep space. The Currituck followed, pounding the much smaller ship with a hail of phaser blasts. Undeterred from her course for Natellus' moon, the Kirana began tossing ovredium charges in her wake, mining explosives used to punch holes in the most stubborn asteroids. The starship detonated them before they came too close and continued on Kirana's tail.

Hudrain, despite being outmatched, was buying time. Three Spectre-class raiders emerged from the moon's dark side to give aid. But, upon seeing the Currituck bearing down on their boss, they turned around and ran. The Federation vessel locked onto the Kirana with a tractor beam and transported her occupants out. Once in custody, Hudrain reportedly said to security personnel, "I hope getting me will be worth the cost." The Kirana's warp core had been rigged to breach. The Currituck released the vessel and warped away, leaving the Kirana to explode. Once the Currituck was back in orbit over Natellus, Hudrain, along with his valet and bodyguard, were turned over to Natellan authorities.

Deran Janus, Executive Director of the NIB, announced at a press briefing that the raid had rounded up "45 suspects from the entire strata of Black Sky, numerous weapons, vehicles and vessels, approximately 72 million credits in hidden vaults and off-planet accounts, and contraband pharmaceuticals, distilled spirits, and smuggled goods worth approximately 23 million credits." The value of real estate seized is unknown. The Director also thanked the captain and crew of the Currituck and Starfleet Command for their aid in capturing Hudrain. The vessel's presence over Natellus may have been at the request of the Ministries of State or Defense, but neither has issued confirmation.

The Currituck has a reputation as a pirate hunter and exterminator of other miscreants. In 25459 (2365), it was rumored she was responsible for disrupting pirate activity in the Pomal Sector, including wiping out a ring actively preying on shipping between Hanlis Beta and the Rojeel system. In 25461 (2367), ships working for the Opolian Syndic began disappearing until the syndicate itself was taken out in devastating attacks on their headquarters and various hideouts. In 25463 (2369), Hokh and Makh, Ferengi brothers leading a gun-running gang out of Meserlek III, immediately surrendered to the Currituck as soon as the Federation vessel came within sensor range.

The Akira-class vessel's battle-scarred history has earned her many unsavory nicknames, but her most famous one is "the Red Menace", as at times her shields may be purposely keyed to paint the hull in a reddish light when hit. The surgical exactitude of her attacks, backed up by a refusal to give up no matter the fight, is a hallmark of her commanding officer, Capt. Lori Scanlon. Mere mention of her name or her presence in some sector is enough to send even the boldest criminal into hiding. An angel of death backed by metric tons of Starfleet hardware, Capt. Scanlon is often called "the Reaper". Being so effective at her job has brought fame as well as enmity. She treats those seeking reward for her death with even more ferocity than the ones she is sent to hunt down. An attacking ship will be sliced to almost literal ribbons above being blown out of the stars outright.

Speculation has risen around the Currituck's next target, citing the resurgence of several other criminal groups in the sector in conjunction with Black Sky's recent increase in activity. A spokesperson from Starfleet Command would only say that "wherever and whenever there is trouble, we'll be there."

In the meantime, what's left of the remaining organized crime syndicates on Natellus are scrambling to fill the void left by Black Sky's demise. Informants have revealed that the standing bounty on the Currituck and/or her captain has risen from four million credits to six million. Capt. Scanlon was unavailable for comment.
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Old July 14 2009, 11:05 PM   #2
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Re: The Reaper and the Red Menace

As I said over at Ad Astra-I look forward to reading of Captain Lori's exploits.
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Old July 14 2009, 11:22 PM   #3
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Re: The Reaper and the Red Menace

Great stuff.

I want more.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

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