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ALAN NUEVO: Greetings. I’m Alan Nuevo and welcome to the Empire Report, an in-depth look at all the news the matters. With me as always is the ever-enchanting Beck Russum.
BECK RUSSUM: Now Alan, I understand that you may have a bit of a reason to celebrate tonight.
ALAN NUEVO: Alright. Who told? No keeping secrets when you work with investigative reporters, I guess.
BECK RUSSUM: Let me be the first to officially say congratulations, Alan, on finishing your long awaited book.
ALAN NUEVO: You’re embarrassing me now.
BECK RUSSUM: For those of you who don’t know, Alan has been working for the last few years on an autobiography and I, for one, can’t wait to read it.
ALAN NUEVO: Thank you. You’re very sweet.
BECK RUSSUM: We have an image of the cover I believe. Where There’s Smoke: My Life in the News. Great title. Where did it come from?
ALAN NUEVO: I talk about this in the book, but it’s based off something that my very first managing producer told me when I was just starting out. She told me, “Everyone knows the saying, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire,’ but the only reason they know that is because a good reporter is probably there too.”
BECK RUSSUM: She sounds like quite the character.
ALAN NUEVO: She really was. Now, before I really get going, today’s top stories. A man arrested for illegally tapping into a private data stream utilizing a Drake Interplanetary Herald is arguing that the data was in fact public property. Derek Tamras has filed a claim against the Empire saying that any energy signatures that an individual sends through public space has no expectation of privacy and that no individual should be able to lay claims to owning an EM pulse once transmitted. When asked to comment, a Department of Communication representative stated that the claim was without merit, and that people have the right to securely broadcast their data. The case is slated to be adjudicated sometime next year.
BECK RUSSUM: A new decision by the Mayors’ Council on Cascom will see that the inhabitants of the planet’s southern pole get some much needed rest, whether they like it or not. A new curfew is slated to go into effect this week to coincide with the start of their ‘White Solstice,’ a period that will see many cities bathed in around-the-clock sunlight. Studies have shown that the change in daylight hours has cost the planet billions in credits in lost productivity owing to insomnia and the resulting depression. The Mayors’ Council decided to take action this year and enforce mandatory curfews for residents of the polar regions. Protesters have taken to the streets over the decision, saying that the Council has overstepped its authority. The Council feels it’s well within its right to act over matters of public health. We’ll have more on this story as it develops.
ALAN NUEVO: I wish I had someone to make me go to bed on time! I could use the sleep.
BECK RUSSUM: Tell me about it! You think you’re going to just watch one episode of The Avenger, next thing you know your alarm’s telling you to wake up.
ALAN NUEVO: Love that show.
BECK RUSSUM: Great show.
ALAN NUEVO: Now, for tonight’s top story. The Hyperion Rally. A popular event for open canopy enthusiasts the Empire over, but one that has been racked with controversy. Now as the 137th event in the rally’s history draws to a close tomorrow, a staggering number of drug-related arrests have been reported. Locals and authorities alike are beginning to question if the rally may have run its course. To tell us more, we go now to a special report from Victoria Hutchins.
VICTORIA HUTCHINS: Shoel, a sleepy hamlet for 358 standard Earth days of the year, sees its population increase by thousands as enthusiasts from every corner of the Universe flock here to celebrate open canopy racecraft. For the past week, Shoel has been flooded by people to attend the 137th Hyperion Rally, but it’s not just the ships that are on display. Many come to experience the so called ‘free rider’ lifestyle that is often associated with piloting an open canopy craft. For every race or flying challenge that is scheduled, there are dozens of parties where attendees drink, dance, and in growing numbers, consume illegal narcotics.
With only one day left in the rally, this past week has seen a record-breaking spike in drug-related arrests and deaths. So far this year, thirty-seven people have died from overdoses, drug violence, or crashes resulting from inebriated drivers. Five more than last year’s amount. In an attempt to bolster security at the event, Special Agent-in-Charge Felicity Sorgan has been leading the Advocacy’s presence at the rally this year.
SAC FELICITY SORGAN: The rampant drug problem is part of a growing trend that we have seen at this event over the last few years. While most people are here just to have some good clean fun, it seems there are more and more attendees who see this rally as a chance to take an “outlaw vacation.”
VICTORIA HUTCHINS: Many residents of the town of Shoel are sick of the drugs and crimes the event brings with it and have begun petitioning for the Hyperion Rally to be permanently canceled. However, the local governing body and numerous local business owners disagree, citing the large amount of credits that the rally brings to the town.
I am standing in front of a local watering hole, Purgatory, where hundreds of free riders come to sample the bar’s famous anticuchos and for a taste of the frontier life that they see glamorized in spec tales of outlaws like No Way Home. Fifteen of the drug arrests this week were made at parties held here. While normally Purgatory serves the city’s sparse residents, its owner claims that almost half its profit for the year can come from this week alone.
And the locals are not the only ones with a vested interest in the Hyperion Rally continuing to operate. Over the years, numerous large corporations from Drake Interplanetary and Origin Jumpworks to Xi’An manufacturer AopoA have sponsored the event, all of them eager to appeal directly to potential customers. While all three of those companies have released statements condemning the drug use here, all have indicated their intent to support the 138th Hyperion Rally.
What do the so called free riders themselves think? John Huxley has attended the Hyperion Rally for the past ten years.
JOHN HUXLEY: Sure things have gotten a little out of hand, but to talk about canceling the rally’s just crazy. It’s an institution. This is a classic case of a few bad filters poisoning the air. No reason to scuttle the whole thing. People think that riding a Dragonfly or a Nox means partying hard, but that’s just wrong. It’s about being who you are, you know? I’ve made some of my best friends here. Even met two of my wives. The problem is there’s just too many credits floating around now. Used to be about the ride. Now it’s about the stuff.
VICTORIA HUTCHINS: It is estimated that the Hyperion Rally will make as much during this year’s event as the past five years combined. With that many credits to be made, it seems unlikely that the event is going anywhere soon. The event’s coordinators refused to comment specifically, but said the Hyperion Rally is about open canopy enthusiasts from across the Empire enjoying each other’s company, food and world-class entertainment, and having a good time. The arrests record and growing casualties tell a different story. Back to you, Alan.
ALAN NUEVO: Thanks, Victoria. Interesting group of people, these free riders. You ever think about getting yourself an open canopy ride?
BECK RUSSUM: I’ll take my ships with all the walls and ceilings I can, thank you.
ALAN NUEVO: I hear you, there. It’s time to take a quick break, but when we come back, could your mobiGlas be violating your insurance? Five common policy clauses most people don’t know about.
BECK RUSSUM: Plus, the latest on the wide ’verse of sports. Colt Legrande is still out on paternity leave, so covering for him this week will be none other than three-time Sataball Champion Marco Tistler, who will be taking a look at some of the recent backlash that has emerged after this year’s surprise Electronic Access Invitational upset.
ALAN NUEVO: All that and more when the Empire Report returns.