[Written by Dominik Kladek, Journalist & Reporter]
It was early in the morning when multiple glowing spheres were seen above Aega Roth in Turkey. They were thought to be meteors, but when all of them crashed into a federal building that was occupied by the Rothellan president, his advisors, and a Derikan ambassador with a firefight ensuing, it was quickly figured out these were no meteors. During the firefight, which lasted nearly a quarter hour, a glowing tube was seen above one of the holes in the roof, lifting up about 19 figures. It quickly disappeared, and several Rothellan military spacecraft sped past Aega Roth.
When a news craft followed the ships, they were firing at seemingly nothing until a medium-sized aircraft appeared out of nowhere, presumably having turned off a cloaking device. This aircraft then flew into a Derikan capital ship, where it stayed for 15 minutes until flying out, then cloaking again. During these 10 seconds, a body was seen falling from under the craft.
This body has not been identified yet, and the attackers have not yet been named, nor has any terrorist group claimed responsibility. A Rothellan military Admiral, who has been fired for treason, claims it was a security group called Belltower, but his suspicions have not yet been confirmed.
[Written by Nikolas Zipra, Journalist]
Cybernetic Arm Prosthesis - Augmented Limb Replacement
In cross-section, cyber-limbs are composed of muscles made from electroactive polymer bunches arranged around artificial bones that are, in turn, formed from dense superplastics or lightweight metal alloy foams. Fluid shock-absorbing joint mechanisms complete the mimicry of human form, and to give the limbs a more "realistic" sense, they are typically coated with a nano-scale artificial epidermis that resembles flesh.
Inside the limbs, microcomputer units interface directly with biochips implanted in the organic parts of the augmentee's body, translating nerve impulses from the brain directly into action and motion. Far more advanced then the crude constructs of the past, these human augmentations allow us to become better, faster, stronger.
[Written by Nikolas Zipra, Journalist]
A Traditional Form
The contemporary four-tier system reflects the flexibility of the Triad criminal enterprise, with a mixture of numeral designators and/or traditional honorifics assigned to given roles. At the very lowest level are the probationary members, often drawn from youth gangs. These so-called Blue Lanterns become a rank-and-file '49' after an initiation ceremony. Above them are key administrators and enforcers; the White Paper Fan ('415'), the Red Pole ('426'), and Straw Sandal ('432'). At command level comes the Vanguard, Deputy Mountain Master and Incense Master (each a '438'); and finally the Mountain Master, also known as the Dragon Head ('489').
The Backstreet War
To this day, details remain sketchy, but it appears that the untimely passing of a 'Mountain Master' of the Four Dragons ignited a storm of accusation among many key Triads; what began as dissent spilled onto the streets as gangs engaged in violent conflict. The 'war' escalated to such levels that military police were called in to curb the threat; and by the time the smoke cleared, a new hierarchy had ascended to take the place of the old, led by newly empowered groups like the Red Arrow Brotherhood, LMF, and the Luminous Path.
[Written by Jerry Thompson, Journalist]
Yesterday, on February 7th, a terrorist attack was carried out by an unidentified person in the Ragnarok Mall in Sedra City. While the Sedran Colonial Guard was patrolling, they spotted a smuggling operation in which a stasis refrigerant was given to a person. While the supplier was apprehended, the buyer was chased into a nearby city access tunnel while other units were on standby in the city. After a skirmish in the tunnel, the terrorist left the tunnel and entered the Ragnarok Mall. While attempting to activate the bioweapon, the pursuing Colonial officer shot the terrorist with his pistol. When he tried to arrest him, however, he jumped out of a window and activated the bioweapon. 231 citizens were hospitalized after showing signs of infection, as well as a few Colonial Guards.
[Written by Cindy Martinez, Journalist & Editor]
The Rockport Incident
On August 21, 2230, the city of Rockport on Multer Island was struck by a meteor, the size of which was massive. It prompted the National Guard and local police to evacuate the island after a large fire broke out. Mysteriously, a green gas was seen emanating from the crater by many. After evacuation efforts led the citizens to Nacona, a riot broke out over it. Detainees claimed that it was "unjust that they were forced away from their homes". Several citizens were killed during the riot, and the leader of the nation of Rothella claimed that the shooting was unjust, and that other means could have been used to take down the gunmen. This issue was debated on live television, and some argue that Arcadia's leader, Jerome Harrell, won the debate.
In an event the government claims is unrelated, an explosion rang out in the Stonehill Mountains on the Avalonian-Muan archipelago that night. By the time authorities arrived, a body was found in the area by local residents and hikers. Several told reporters that they were threatened by the police, who they claim said that if the story got out, they would be arrested. It was also reported that there were dark figures running around with green stuff flowing off of their person. Could this be linked to the Rockport Incident?
The next day, a spacecraft was shot down by Arcadian military forces while fleeing the explosion in the Stonehill Mountains. Footage of this has not been released, however, leading people to believe it was unjustified. No one survived the crash. Citizens were not able to fly in these areas either. As a result, the nations of Rothella and Derika have provided assistance in this time of crisis, even going so far as to help with the quarantine procedures in Rockport. What is the Arcadian government hiding from us?
On the stormy day of August 23rd, most of the refugees from Rockport had been redirected across the city of Nacona towards the Manassas Spaceport. What was unknown to the employees and military at the time was that a man had infiltrated the employee only area of the main terminal. He was seen walking across the runway and leaving packages in the landing gear bays of the civilian transports lined up on the runway; these were later found out to be bombs.
One of these bombs was given to a Derikan soldier, based on camera evidence. He was told it was payment for helping Arcadia. It is unknown why the soldier believed this. When it is assumed that the intruder ran out of bombs, he boarded a transport, still wearing the stolen backpack and uniform. He walked to the cockpit of the transport, which was under the callsign 7 Echo 2, and shot the pilot.
Derikan soldiers stormed the ship. Footage has not been obtained from the ship, but it is assumed that the suspect killed a soldier with augmentations. This has given pro-humanists another reason to fight against the distribution of augmentations. After the murder, the suspect ran along the tarmac to an airport shuttle, holding an employee hostage. He was cleared to leave because of the hostage. They were let off immediately after leaving the airport, and the shuttle was taken through the city.
Soon, it crashed into an office building after the uplink to RoadWare was disabled. The suspect fled into the building, taking cover inside and exchanging gunfire and explosive devices with the soldiers. Information gathered says that multiple soldiers were injured after inspecting a package thrown by the suspect. Arguably, this was an unintelligent move [haha Derika]. The suspect continued to flee up the stairs.
By this time, the street had been cordoned off. When the suspect reached the next floor, a Derikan robot breached the wall, firing at the man. However, he had some form of augmented armor, so he was protected. Witness reports say that the bot was ruined by the suspect when he threw an Electro-Magnetic Pulse grenade at it. Other reports say that the man was taken down by Rothellan snipers when he attempted to scale the building. Rothellan and Derikan forced moved in on the downed suspect, cuffing him and forcing him into a SWAT van after they injected him with something. This begs the question: what are police doing to criminals and possibly innocent people, and how could this affect you?
Nearly 1 hour after the arrest of the person, who is now deemed as a terrorist, Manassas Spaceport was ready to release the spacecraft to go to the relocation bunker. A wrench was thrown into the plans, however, when mutiple transports exploded soon after taking off. 1500 citizens and all soldiers and flight employees were incinerated. The Derikan ship that had received the "package of money" also went up in flames, killing all but 1. He has been placed into medical care. Could he have been involved in this scheme? We hope to soon find out.
The terrorist died the next day in the hospital. It was confirmed he had been supplied with illegal augmentations and was identified as Grant Tanaka. Surprisingly, he had no criminal record. However, this could mean bad reputation for the augmentation industry. President Jerome Harrell gave a speech on all topics a few days later. He then conversed with the leaders of other nations soon after, as well as the World Assembly. Authorities hope to soon crack down on causes of events like this to prevent them from happening again.
Operation: ICEMAKER is the name given to a joint police-military operation on Multer Island that seeked the end goal of providing care and evacuation to trapped citizens and the repair of the island [ooc - of course it wasnt that but you dont want the actual op getting publicized..]. Some conspiracy theorists, such as the internet personality Lazarus, claim that it was a military operation alone and that terrorists had bombed the island. This is confirmed to be untrue by the Arcadian government, and they state it was simply a well-placed meteor strike. However, could the government be hiding something from us?
AMG Hog Review:
[Review by Kyle Soutar, Writer; Photography by Zoe Huisman, Photographer]
As drivers move more and more toward other forms of transport - personal choppers, hydrogen skiffs and hyperlight gliders - it's nice to see that AMG Transport Dynamics is still keeping things down and dirty with the 2215 edition of the sporty Hog. This long-popular civilian take on the military stalwart features some pretty significant enhancements and upgrades for the '15 model year.
"Off-world" environments have lead to an upsurge in demand for capable off-road recreational vehicles, and AMG seems to have targeted the niche perfectly with its slightly tamed version of the classic Jarhead transport.
The single biggest improvement over the last revision (2209) is the massive increase per wheel in horsepower/kilowattage. As with every other iteration of the Hog, each wheel has an independent drive by wire electric engine, with power generated by a forward-housed low-profile hydrogen I/C plant. The hydrogen fuel is burned at very high temperature with a synthetic carbon/silicon catalyst to achieve even better fuel consumption.
Like the last version, the new Hog features a Graf/Hauptman solar/saline actuator, and will happily convert up to 12 liters of fresh, brackish or salt water into hydrogen on the fly. Detritus is compacted on board. Efficiency has been increased dramatically however, and we were able to get a range of 200 kilometers from the overnight condensation catchments.
Civilian Hog with chrome plating
Computer systems are as ever, flawless. It is almost impossible to achieve unexpected spin from any wheel under any condition. AMG Transport Dynamics claims that in simulation, each wheel can be on a different surface extreme – ice, water, oil, gravel – and still achieve perfect distribution of power. Of course, we were more than happy to put that simulation to the test at our Kentucky proving ground and we're happy to report that the Hog performed almost supernaturally well.
One of our staff drivers did however note a tendency for the Hog to lift when thrown into difficult turns, and although wheels will adjust when they're not in contact, it is possible to flip the beast, although to be fair – predictably.
It's perfectly safe to do that thanks to excellent structural rigidity. Cushioned harnesses keep passengers tightly embraced in the cockpit, and multiple gas-inflated restraints and magnetic field cushioning gives this year's Hog the highest passenger safety rating of any current recreational passenger vehicle.
Hard, Smooth Ride
Tires, significantly for this year, have moved away from previous inert-gas pocket inflation, with equally burst-proof single unit nanotube skeletons. They provide the buoyancy and ride of gas-pocket tires, but are almost indestructible. As a matter of fact, they have a far higher Moh's scale rating than the carbon-steel rims they cushion. Purists will claim that nanotubes have a more jarring, vibrating ride, but Michelin-Vance claims the new skeletons should actually provide a more luxuriant and comfortable experience on plastic or mineral based highways, and far greater comfort off-road. The relatively massive tires are a joint project between Michelin-Vance and AMG, so expect to see this tech appear on other marquees. Of course, the nanotube tires mean that the spare is even more irrelevant and decorative than ever before.
The cabin has come in for a complete overhaul and is available in three trim levels. For those seeking the sparse, military style of the original Hog, there's a brushed steel, riveted and carbon-fiber dash. On the other end of the aesthetic spectrum is a burled walnut and nickel-silver trim, with particularly rich, realistic wood effect for a jarringly elegant juxtaposition with the vehicle's exterior. Falling somewhere between the two is a seamless black and silver finish, which is somewhat subdued compared to the other two. All three trim levels show excellent attention to detail, with beautifully addressed switchgear, upholstery and finish. All three come with a waterproof leather-substitute for easy clean up.
Exterior colors are available to order in any hue, although the canary-yellow corporate default scheme is as popular as ever.
Entertainment is improved too. The acoustic dampening field means that road and engine noise are canceled completely, and the brilliant holographic audio system (something you definitely won't find in the military version) provides literally perfect music or audio entertainment and can be networked to your home play list, or simply connect to SiriusHub and access anything you like. Voice controls are of course standard, although the addition of passenger control means that your companion can access his or her own music selection with zero interference – audio field clarity is that precise. A vocal repeater allows conversations to continue uninterrupted.
As ever, the Hog's biggest failing is luggage capacity. Barely big enough for a first aid kit, cubbyholes and panels abound, but the only way to carry luggage for a weekend trip is to jam it behind the seats or trim your Hog with the optional luggage rack. That kit replaces the largely superfluous spare, and it makes a much more sensible option. To be fair, the vehicle was always intended as more of a daytripper than a grand tour, but much more than a pair of sunglasses and a hub-comm, and you'll be jammed in there pretty tight.
Civilian Hog with light blue underglow and reflective blue-purple paintjob
Dynamically, the Hog is even more pleasing this year, and the aesthetic enhancements only add to its odd mixture of luxury and utility, though this is an update, not a revolution. Drivers expecting the kind of overhaul AMG demonstrated with last year's sublime relaunch of the Capri will be disappointed, but for weekend warriors seeking a hipper way to bounce through the countryside, the '15 Hog is the only way to travel.
The standard model starts at a hefty 86,000 Palatials. A manual-transmission version stickers at 81,000 Palatials, while the Limited edition wood-trimmed Classic Edition with winch, tow and luggage rack tops out at 91,000 Palatials. We will update with the results of our long-term test in the fall.