New United: Tragedy in the Skies
TRAGEDY IN THE SKIES
By. Arthur Kenna
Traffic is a way of life in the bustling trade port of New Junction on Lo in the Corel system. Located near the Banu Protectorate, the city sees thousands of ships pass in and around its atmosphere on any given day. As commerce was woven into the fabric of the town, the traffic lanes that demarcate ascent and descent paths into the port have been in place since the town’s founding. Historically, there had never been a serious problem.
They can no longer make such a claim.
Shortly before sunrise, the residents of New Junction were ripped from their slumber by a rain of fire and debris when a pair of transport ships collided and crashed to the surface below. While local planning boards and Imperial zoning officials carefully position traffic lanes away from residential areas to minimize potential damage should a tragedy such as this occur, this incident highlighted a possible oversight in their planning.
Ghara Halloway, the early morning attendant at the local TDD, witnessed the whole thing.
“I figured they’d seen each other, you know?” She recounted, still trembling. “There was that moment when I realized that, for whatever reason, they hadn’t seen each other, I felt this pit in my stomach. I didn’t even know what to do.”
As Vesta, a Retaliator-class ship retrofitted for cargo transport, was ascending off the surface, the pilot, identified from landing logs as Errol Daniels of Croshaw, realized that he was about to collide with an inbound Freelancer, still unidentified as of press time. He executed evasive maneuvers. Unfortunately the Freelancer attempted the same. Their attempts to evade took them both out of the traffic lane where they collided. Their trajectory sent them toward the F-Block just south of downtown New Junction, where they crashed into the Walden Towers housing development.
First responders quickly descended on the crash site to find the structures engulfed in flames. Residents had already begun flooding out of the towers, many covered in soot and ash. As fire technicians went into the building, they were joined by other locals who raced from the surrounding residences to aid in the evacuation.
“What happened today was awful. One of the worst days I’ve seen in my thirty-four years,” said Dan Corvi, a lieutenant of the NJFD. “But, it was incredible to see a community pull together to help avert further loss of life.”
The fires burned for over three hours, severely damaging the central support system of the Walden. Rescue efforts on the higher floors had to be called off until the fire could be brought under control. Remote scanners had to be deployed to continue the search for survivors.
Representatives from the Governors Council arrived to oversee the rescue efforts.
“Of course we are totally committed to offering any support and assistance we can,” Dexter Fowley of the New Junction Governors Council declared in an impromptu press conference. “I’ve already received word from Bresson and even Tanis that they will send whatever help is available to help the families, so I’d like to thank them.”
Fowley went on to address the greater concern.
“It seems that the horrible events of today have exposed a lack of protocol that needs to be addressed. Quite simply, a system for all pilots, both commercial and non, to address flight protocol within traffic lanes and a standardized form of emergency evasion techniques. After I’m no longer needed here, I plan to gather the other Governors and send a message to the Senate asking for the necessary means to devise such a system. We have been content with our system in the past; today has shown us that we need to demand more, so these lives will not have been lost in vain.”