To: General Li Zhaolin, Ariel High Command, Union of Allied Planets
From: Victor Draken, Magistrate of Ataraxia
Re: Recent Discovery of Ataraxite
Dear General Li:
It is my pleasure to inform you of the recent discovery of a very rich vein of Ataraxite which will bring much income to the already wealthy and powerful Alliance . None could be more pleased than I when one of your scientists was able to overcome many adversities and locate this rich deposit on my humble and distant moon.
I regret that not all of my news is of such a cheerful mood. There are many small issues which have surfaced to cast a pall over the exuberance that this discovery would otherwise cause in me.
First of all, there is the location of this very rich deposit. It is, unfortunately, located near a remote region which is not legally within my jurisdiction. The town of Freefall is technically a free port of call and as such, I am legally limited in what I am allowed to do to ensure that the mining of the Ataraxite is conducted safely and without trouble. To be sure, the area of the mines is clearly within my jurisdiction but, with this free port operating outside of my guiding hand, certain rogue elements have taken the opportunity to try and interfere with the lawful operations of both myself and the Alliance .
Secondly, there is the issue of the mine itself, for which there have been concerns brought to light about their safety. I, myself, have a personal stake in this since it was the untimely death of my wife inside of one of these mines that alerted me to the seriousness of the concerns. (Thank you for the condolences that were sent over by your secretary, I had hoped to hear from you, but I am sure that you are very busy)
I attempted to investigate the concerns over the safety of the mines, but found that the local miners had become impossible to reason with, or even to safely approach. I sent out representatives to speak with them, but could not secure a peaceful meeting with their leader. I attempted to go to them myself at one point and found that the lawlessness of the Freefall port had spread out from that town to threaten my escorts, my shuttle and myself. All of which brings me to my third issue, which is that of the Alliance Commander with Task Group 7 in the area.
When I arrived in Freefall, I had concerns about what I could do with these lawless and backwards people, but upon seeing the arrival of an Alliance dropship, I felt my hopes rise. I felt sure that with the Alliance present and with my own considerable authority, all things would be straightened out quickly. I would be able to speak with the miners peacefully and perhaps show these folk how civilized people conduct themselves. At the very least, I felt confident that myself and my beloved daughter would be as safe here as on Ariel itself.
Alas, how wrong I was! The Commander refused to take my advice and heed my knowledge of the miners resorting to violence. I graciously offered the use of my own hired help to strengthen his numbers so that any wayward miscreants would quickly realize that a peaceful meeting was the only real solution. But, he refused me flatly. He marched off with his brave (but few) soldiers and foolishly (in my opinion) and succeeded in only encouraging the rebels elements to attack them. Had he listened to me, I think things would have gotten better, not worse. As I understand it, the Commander believes that he has done a good thing by defeating the ‘brown coats’, but what this young man fails to understand is that they were the workforce for the mines (which will now have to be replaced) and that I held contracts with all these miners who have now either been killed, driven off or are working for the Alliance directly (in violation of their lawful duties to me).
Furthermore, as things progressed, the Commander was forced to deploy forces outside of the port of Freefall which resulted in a rise of criminal activity and general confusion within the town. I refer to a daylight robbery in the town, I refer to myself being arrested by the local sheriff and brought to face ‘charges’ the were both ridiculous and insulting (which were of course dropped immediately), I refer to a general brawl involving the Commander, I refer to myself being kidnapped, robbed and shot, I refer to my personal shuttle being stolen and taken over by the ‘defeated’ brown coats, I refer to myself being kidnapped again (more on this later) and shot a second time, I refer to general mayhem in the town, where the sheriff and his deputy were stabbed and robbed, as was I.
All of these things could have been avoided if the Commander had listened to me and went out to negotiate with the ‘brown coats’ from a position of strength and calm.
To which I make the following suggestions:
First, in accordance with the policies of the Union of Allied Planets, place the town of Freefall clearly under my jurisdiction. This will allow the local population (through me) to govern themselves and enable peaceful cooperation with the Alliance .
Second, in accordance with the rule of law, all contracts with miners will be enforced and the Alliance will back up any action taken by the Magistrate of Ataraxia in this issue. As an act of compassion in this matter, I am willing to negotiate with the miners to allow them to ‘buy back’ their contracts at some future date. We were attempting to negotiate this very thing, when Alliance troopers opened fire on us and I was shot a second time.
Third, while the Alliance wields supreme authority within the known universe, it sets a bad precedent to have a Commander in the field overrule the decisions of a Magistrate without the situation being a present and direct threat to the security of the Union of Allied Planets. Since none of these issues come even close to such, any future activity on Ataraxia will have to meet with my approval. In return, I am willing to be lenient and interfere only in the most dire of circumstances. But the authority of my office (such as it is) must be respected by all who honor the rule of law.
I certainly exemplified this when spurious charges were made against me and I respected the authority of the sheriff of Freefall and submitted myself to his questions.
I close this letter with my best wishes for you and your family. Congratulations on the birth of your grandson. I wish you success on your run for a position on Parliament next spring and if I were able to vote, it would be for you.
You know that I have always supported your party and plan on increasing the size of my contribution as much as I am able.
Victor Magnus Draken, Magistrate of Ataraxia