Stories of the bloody and mysterious events on Border Orbit Space Station 0G76885 and its subsequent abandonment have spread across the ‘Verse to reach even the remote Border Moons. Official Cortex reports speak of a shadowy terrorist bomb plot carried out with the collusion of known criminal elements, but the grim Rimside rumor that this destruction was actually a vicious, long-range Reaver attack has sent a collective shudder down the spines of the residents of Freefall. Known to spaceship crews as “ZeroGee,” this space station was an important refueling stop along the transport route from Ataraxia to Persephone and was well outside the usual range of Reaver activity. If this violence was the work of a large and ambitious Reaver raiding party, Ataraxia would be in the Reavers’ direct path as they return to their usual hunting grounds. Reavers or no Reavers, however, with ZeroGee temporarily inoperative, transport ships leaving Ataraxia will need to take on additional fuel before lifting off. Offworld shipping and local fuel prices have both risen as a result, but there are also rumors that a new high-speed cargo cruiser link will soon be running directly out of Freefall to Persephone.
For supporters of the Alliance, the most ominous news of all is the Federal decision to withdraw the Alliance Cruiser Vargo from patrol service in the quadrant. The Alliance’s official position on ZeroGee is that the station was damaged not by so-called “Reavers” at all, but by a terrorist bomb attack that triggered a panic onboard that led to abandonment of the station and subsequent looting by illegal salvage operators. In order to ease anti-Alliance tensions, therefore, the controversial Vargo has been recalled and a policy of “Border-Based Management” is being instituted. Henceforth, the Alliance presence on Ataraxia will be supported by the Orbital Planetary Defense Platform (OPDeP) Basilisk. Among residents of the Border Moons in the quadrant, this move is generally perceived to be yet another example of the Alliance’s “cut and run” attitude towards protection of settlers from the unpredictable threat of Reaver attack.
Despite these drawbacks, the mining trade on Ataraxia continues to boom. Dexeldyne, along with many other smaller extraction operations, continue to hold title to their mines and work their claims. As local wealth increases, the Alliance is anxious to see a recovering Ataraxia begin to take responsibility for its own affairs under the Border-Based Management initiative. The Federal outpost at Freefall has been tasked with organizing local elections for municipal offices with an eye towards reestablishing the old trade tariffs and tax collection once carried out under the authority of the Magistrate of Ataraxia. These funds will be used to finance a new Magistracy and rebuild an effective Ataraxian Defense Force. The Alliance is particularly eager that the next Magistrate be a successful Border Moon businessperson with a strong working knowledge of local conditions; to that end, it has been decided that the title and privileges of Magistrate of Ataraxia itself will be sold to the highest bidder at the annual Freefall trade auction.
With the promise of more jobs, more money, a greater need for mercenaries to protect mines from Reavers and bandits, and the high-stakes game of reestablishing government on Ataraxia, settlers from all over the Rim are flocking to Freefall to try and strike it rich. There will be lots of action this year, along with more opportunities for beginning players to jump into the game right away and make some cashy money. With the pending restoration of the Magistracy, there will be a new area in play on the field that is outside of the jurisdiction of both the Feds and the Freefall sheriff.