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“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
This epigram has been around for centuries, but it still rings true today. Despite the technological advances that have fueled Humanity’s expansion into the stars, a person swiping their mobi on a Moscow street corner right now isn’t much different to someone standing there hundreds of years earlier. Both are bones and blood, sinew and sweat.
Certain inalienable truths can’t be denied. Join me, Parker Terrell, on this journey to uncover the Plain Truth.
Our starting epigram relates to more than just people. It also applies to the UEE Government. Leaders and laws may change, but it remains the same – crippled by corruption that’s rotten it to the core.
Look no further than the Oso system for proof. Oso II is teeming with unusual and unique lifeforms that the UEE swore to protect from human intervention under the Fair Chance Act. The government even spent billions of our taxpayer credits to build an outpost, Observation Base Chimera, and staff it with an Army contingent to watch over the precious planet.
So that should be it, right? Planet safe and alien lifeforms able to develop without outside interference… Well, we all remember what happened next, don’t we?
Of course not, so let me tell you. Rumors of rampant corruption at OB Chimera circulated for years before the Senate finally opened an investigation. They discovered that the Army had staffed the station with disgraced personnel unqualified to manage a Kel-To. Some were even arrested after taking bribes to allow smugglers and other unscrupulous sorts access to Oso II.
High Command addressed the scandal by appointing a qualified workforce, implementing new policies, and hiring civilian auditors. They proudly proclaimed that these fixes would change things for the better…
Today’s guest is a longtime friend of the show, acclaimed author, and frequent contributor to true news across the Empire, Laurence Jito. His latest article for the Individualist revisits the OB Chimera scandal and exposes just how little has actually changed.
Parker Terrell (PT): Welcome back.
Laurence Jito (LJ): Always a pleasure, Parker. What’s occurring at OB Chimera is not just a travesty, it’s a damning illustration of how dysfunctional the UEE government truly is.
PT: Let me start by thanking you for revisiting this issue. Honestly, I hadn’t thought much about OB Chimera since the original scandal. With so many other issues threatening the Empire, this one disappeared from my radar.
LJ: Hard to blame you. This government has clearly been using the chaos with the Vanduul to distract from all manner of public betrayal. OB Chimera is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, did you know they defunded the civilian auditors? That was never announced. They were simply struck from the Army’s budget during a closed-door meeting and it was never once questioned by the Senate.
PT: Let’s take a step back and inform the audience about what you discovered about OB Chimera’s current operation. So, the scandal hits, High Command scrambles to address the issues, and then what?
LJ: Things got better. The Army re-staffed the station and by all accounts seemed to be marginally competent. The number of ships attempting to access Oso II dropped significantly. Several of my contacts said it was almost impossible to visit the planet for a while. Then everything changed.
PT: Now for the billion-credit question: What happened?
LJ: War with the Vanduul. When Admiral Bishop decided to settle the score for Vega, the military’s priorities were completely upended and domestic concerns kicked out of the airlock. It wasn’t long before OB Chimera was once again a dumping ground for Army personnel unfit to serve anywhere else.
PT: As I said earlier, this wasn’t on my radar anymore. How did you get drawn back into investigating it?
LJ: Almost by accident, actually. I was working a story about a growing turf war between two criminal syndicates when I heard something I just couldn’t let go. Supposedly, the dispute escalated after one of the syndicates raided a rival outpost and stole a bunch of stuff smuggled off Oso II.
It was a small detail in a much larger story, but it got me thinking. I reached out to a few sources and discovered that it was well known in smuggling circles that Oso II is open for business again.
PT: I noticed there aren’t any comments from government officials in your story…
LJ: Yeah, ‘cause no one had the spine go on record about it.
PT: Really? Not even to deny the allegations or provide the cursory ‘no comment’?
LJ: Their tactic is radio silence across the board. I’m telling you, the government doesn’t want us to know that their grand plan failed, which I actually get on some level. One official even tried to steamroll me into killing the story so word wouldn’t get out that it’s now so easy to access Oso II.
PT: That’s the thing, people. Anyone who’s spent time covering the government, or any institution for that matter, can see how intensely complicated these systems are. They need people to work together in order for the system to work at all. So while High Command’s reaction to the Oso II scandal was the right move, they stumbled in the delivery.
LJ: More like crashed and burned.
PT: My point is, people are okay with things not working. We’re a lot more resilient and forgiving than the UEE believes, as long shortcomings are in pursuit of the right thing. The problem is this pathological inability for the Administration to admit failure. The UEE seem to think that they always have to operate from a position of righteousness otherwise their power is threatened. And a government that’s willing to put the truth second to power is a dangerous one.
LJ: In my humble opinion, it’s in the best interest of the Empire to scrap the entire government and start from scratch.
PT: Okay, Laurence…
LJ: I mean, how can anyone trust this government to manage the Empire’s affairs when they can’t even properly manage a single damn space station?
We’ll have more from the always entertaining Laurence Jito after this quick commercial break.
Plus, we speak to renowned astrophysicist, Mitsuhide Baumer, about his radical theory on what really happened to the Oretani jump point.
Don’t go anywhere. There’s more Plain Truth coming your way.