Howdy, haulers! Thanks for settling in for another installment of Clean Shot. My name’s Craig Burton and today’s show is almost over capacity — a Hull-D sized load of information coming your way! Ready to do this, Kari Ann?
That’s what I like to see, a big thumbs up! Our illustrious associate producer Kari Ann is calling the shots today while Skinny’s off getting some much needed R&R. Honestly, Skinny didn’t even want to take a vacation. New components make him weak in the knees, so I told him someone needed to run a new top-of-the-line power plant from Lightning Power Ltd. through the wringer and give me a review. Don’t let Skinny know, but after years of working with him, I think I finally discovered a way to get him to take some vacation — convince him it’s work.
Enough about Skinny. Let’s get this show going with a special TroubleZone.
We’ll start in Indra. This Xi’An system sees more than its fair share of Human haulers looking to trade with the Xi’An and Banu there. Well, over the past few months, an organized operation has been targeting Humans traveling through the system. Since the offenses occurred in Xi’An space, it’s hard to confirm the specific details, but from what I’ve heard, it sounds like a pretty straightforward grab job.
Pilots are lured to a location by a distress beacon and then swarmed by ships telling them to dump their cargo or come under attack. Those who listen and give up their goods without much of a fuss are free to go, their ships a bit lighter but their lives still intact.
There are no exact numbers on how often this has happened, but a UEE envoy to Indra has begun negotiating with the Xi’An council there to bring Human ships under the protection of authorized, independent Xi’An forces operating in the system. But take that for what it is — a solution left in the hands of some bureaucrat. Until this gets sorted, I’d be extra careful when heading into Indra. Personally, I wouldn’t go alone if I could help it, and as much as it goes against my good Samaritan streak, I definitely wouldn’t leave the normal shipping lanes for any distress beacons.
Moving on to Charon. It’s been over two years since civil war broke out on Charon III, and there’s still no end in sight. Numerous attempts by the UEE to bring the states of Dellin and Acheron to the negotiating table have failed. And now with the Vanduul War drawing most of the government’s focus, attention has been diverted away from the conflict.
Here to update us on the situation is Xavier Yu of Empire’s Overlooked, a Terra-based nonprofit. He has an interesting new plan to help the people of Charon III, and is in need of some altruistic haulers to execute it. Thanks for joining me today, Xavier.
Xavier Yu: Thank you, Craig, and thanks for drawing attention to a situation that has gotten far too little attention of late.
Happy to help in whatever way I can. Before we dig into the nitty gritty, give us a quick update on what’s happening on Charon III.
Xavier Yu: Quite simply, the situation grows more dire each day. On the ground, the civil war has not only crippled the planet’s economy, but also made it extremely dangerous to deliver aid. To make matters worse, it’s become increasingly difficult for us and other organizations to raise the money and supplies needed to help. That’s part of the reason we started searching for a new way to make a difference.
A few years back, when this ugly mess began, I remember the show receiving a ton of comms from folks asking how they could help. We referred a good many people to your organization. Any idea what changed?
Xavier Yu: To be honest, the UEE entering into a war of its own has been the biggest issue we’ve faced. Vanduul attacks have brought out the best in people all across this Empire, but they also diverted a lot of public and private resources away from this civil war.
Also, in a broader sense, crisis fatigue definitely has been a factor. When a tragedy of this scale first makes news there’s an initial burst of people motivated to help. But the longer a problem persists, the harder it becomes to maintain interest in it. At a certain point, it stops being headline news. People forget about it or wonder if their help is making a difference. Meanwhile, new causes, also worthy, take center stage.
What do you tell donors wondering why they should help a world tearing itself apart rather than one affected by, let’s say, an unexpected natural disaster or the war with the Vanduul?
Xavier Yu: I tell them that we must separate the politics from the public. The politics between Dellin and Acheron are destroying Charon III, but it’s the general public that is suffering. Since the UEE government has no legal jurisdiction to direct the planet’s politics, we must focus on empowering the people of Charon III so they can do it themselves. That begins by helping its people achieve some degree of economic stability.
Currently, the main industry on Charon III is war. This is particularly true in Dellin, where for many, working for the military or a company producing instruments of war is the only way to earn a living wage. Our new initiative looks to break that cycle by purchasing goods directly from the people of Charon III. If people can earn a living making furniture, clothing, jewelry or whatever else, then they won’t be forced to work for the war machine.
Over these past few months, we’ve put the infrastructure in place to execute this plan. Now we need dedicated haulers willing to brave the dangerous circumstances to pick up these products from Charon III.
Let’s get specific here, so all the haulers listening fully understand what they’re in for.
Xavier Yu: Simply, there’s no guarantee you won’t come under attack when entering or leaving the planet’s atmosphere.
That’s just horrible. Aren’t ships broadcasting a humanitarian signal protected under UEE law?
Xavier Yu: Technically, yes, but the UEE Navy no longer has the presence in system to ensure this protection. After war was declared against the Vanduul, a majority of the UEE fleet keeping an eye on the conflict was reassigned to the Vanduul front.
Once they left, both governments accused each other of using humanitarian shipments to import various munitions. Now, anything that enters the planet’s atmosphere is considered fair game by both sides. Luckily, we at Empire Overlooked have trusted sources on the ground that can direct our ships to landing zones considered safe at that moment.
Sounds like this isn’t exactly a job for everyone.
Xavier Yu: Definitely not. It takes a person with a certain set of skills and the right kind of ship to be able to handle this assignment.
Let’s just hold it right there. Kari Ann’s giving me the signal that it’s time for us to take a break. On the other side, Xavier Yu will dig into the specifics on what kind of pilots he’s looking for. Then I’ll pass along my thoughts on whether the performance of J-Span’s Cryo-Star cooler is worth the price.
All that and more when Clean Shot returns.