Blackwood Gazette #245- Blackwood Gazette Under Investigation for Sedition After IIC; Ministry of Information Distribution to Oversee Publication

By Sir Alaric Wolstenholme McAndrew V, Crowndon Minister of Information Distribution

30/6/282- It is with heavy heart that I must report to faithful readers of the Gazette that the number one source for news in Crowndon and around the Triumvirate has been placed under investigation by the Crown. The investigation comes as the result of several seditious comments made while reporting on this year’s Industry and Innovation Conference.

The purpose of the investigation is to root out the source of the corruption which lead to claims of the Crown overstepping its bounds during certain presentations. We aim to decide whether the beliefs expressed were those of the entire Blackwood Gazette staff, or merely those of the individual reporting on the Conference. That such opinions were even printed, however, suggests that the Gazette’s Editor in Chief, Maurice Merchant, is complicit at best with those beliefs. At worst, he is the source. Which would be a shame. As such, we will also be looking into problematic statements published throughout Mister Merchant’s time as editor, and their weight will be considered in making our final decision.

Rest assured, dear readers, that I, Sir Alaric Wolstenholme McAndrew V, the Crowndon Minister of Information Distribution, will keep you informed of updates concerning the fates of Mister Merchant and his staff. I am pleased to say that one staff member, one Mister Chester Seaton, has been interviewed and cleared of any and all wrong doing and proven to be a Crowndon Man of the highest caliber and most noble character. He will continue to report on the state of Imperial affairs as much as one man is able.

Have a Good Day, Dear Crowndon. Our Best Times Are Still Ahead of Us.

Blackwood Gazette #245- Blackwood Gazette Under Investigation for Sedition After IIC; Ministry of Information Distribution to Oversee Publication

Blackwood Gazette #244-Ivan Klankenvroot Offers Small, Quickly Extinguished Ray of Hope During IIC Presentation

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology

16/6/282- If there was a presentation at the IIC that I expected might help shuffle off the draconian air of this year’s conference, it was Ivan Klankenvroot. He is, after all, a peer of Rigel Rinkenbach, second only to Rinkenbach in terms of theatricality and bombast. Ultimately, however, such was not the case.

Things started well enough. As the lights went down in the auditorium, a player piano began plinking away at Rautledge’s Deep Sea Aria. Klankenvroot himself descended from the rafters, seated within the subject of his presentation, a small gyrocopter. As it settled on the stage and Klankenvroot stepped out, the audience (mainly composed of tech enthusiasts and writers such as myself) gave him thunderous applause. Not necessarily because we were impressed with the machine, but because we were finally happy to be shown something that didn’t have guns on it for a change (although, if the group of uniformed Crowndonian officers seated in the front row were anything to go by, that could likely change. The officers did not applaud, by the way. They were very serious men, with very serious faces).

Klankenvroot bowed and accepted this adulation, told us that he was glad to be back under the auspices of his new, Nor Eastern patronage (a statement which elicited much grumbling from what I’m assuming were Crowndon natives), and went on to present his machine.

“I’m happy to announce that I have conceptualized, built and, most importantly, SAFELY tested the world’s first commercially viable gyrocopter for personal use, the Klanken-Copter. This small copter is made of light weight, yet triple ultra-strong materials that won’t break the bank (or the bones, should something unfortunate occur) of the average citizen. Imagine taking flight in your very own Klanken-Copter. With the power of flight, you can Break Free of the constraints of the streets and alleys of your cities and towns. Break Free of traffic jams caused by trudging horse drawn carriages, or overheated steam-autos. Break Free of the pressures of time as you fly straight as a crow to your destination with the Klanken-Copter. With the privilege of flight, all such obstacles will be rendered obsolete.

“My personal goal is to make the Klanken-Copter the preferred method of everyday travel throughout the Triumvirate, and beyond. The Klankenvroot Klanken-Copter. Break Free.”

The audience applauded the presentation. I applauded it too, despite having some reservations about the idea of your average dock worker taking off from a pub in a gyrocopter and ‘Breaking Free’ through an apartment window, but such worries were second to my relief. We’d finally been shown something exciting, something ambitious.

That excitement was quickly dashed, however, as the Crowndonian officers took to the stage, presented Klankenvroot with what I can only assume is an extradition order, placed him in cuffs, and led him off stage. I am told they also confiscated the Klanken-Copter (stupid name) prototype.

Outside the auditorium, my already battered hopes broke completely when I saw the crowd of people protesting Klankenvroot’s presentation. Many held up signs calling him a traitor; others called him a murderer, likely referencing the ill-fated and tragic Heisenberg project (a project that Klankenvroot ultimately had little to do with, other than coming up with the idea, but that’s enough for some people, I suppose.)

The crowd was dispersed when Monteddorian troops rolled in. Luckily, the crowd was made up of invertebrates who ran at the first sign of the Julianos sigil. Hell, I ran, and I wasn’t even involved with the mess.

I’m beginning to think I’ll have to write this year’s conference off as a total loss.

Blackwood Gazette #244-Ivan Klankenvroot Offers Small, Quickly Extinguished Ray of Hope During IIC Presentation

Blackwood Gazette #243- Industry and Innovation Conference Opens with Military Applications

By Ada Herschel, Science and Technology

14/6/282- In what is perhaps a sad reflection of our times, this year’s IIC opened not with an extravagant entrance by Rigel Rinkenbach, or the unveiling of some new intriguing consumer product, but with a presentation given by Crowndon’s head of Military R&D, Major Samuel Ford. Joining Major Ford was one Argathal Gladstone.

Several months ago, we reported that a military team had been sent to Mister Gladstone’s home upon his return to Crowndon. They discovered that he was working on a small aerial device, and the officer in charge remarked on its military applications.

Given the anecdotes about Gladstone’s incompetence and Crowndon’s notorious bullheadedness towards innovation, many, including myself, laughed this development off. But here we are, a few short months later, and the device sat before us on the stage, completely operational.

They had taken Gladstone’s flying ball and turned it into a partially autonomous aerial reconnaissance device. Boasting the smallest camera ever created (weighing at a mere five pounds), and an on-board wireless communications device (technology they said they’d appropriated from a top secret source), Major Ford boasted that the machine would be able to patrol an area of roughly four city blocks and alert nearby law enforcement of suspicious behavior.

The terminology used by the Major sent a shiver down my spine…city blocks, law enforcement…how exactly are they planning to use this device? My worst speculation was quickly confirmed.

“It is our plan to deploy nearly one hundred and fifty of the Gladstone A.R.A (Aerial Recon Apparatus, according to the two inch thick brochure we were given upon entering the auditorium) across the cities of Old Crowndon, Walsh, and Toring within the next six months. More will be added to the fleet and cities across the Empire over the next year. It is a part of a new initiative to use advanced technologies to better ensure the safety of the Crowndon citizen in the wake of the Summit attack last year.”

As horrific as this news was, my mind was equally concerned with several unanswered questions that we weren’t given the answer to. Questions like, how does the automation work, and how does it identify ‘suspicious’ behavior? We have only rumors and speculation at the moment (the most popular being that the automation is powered by technology reverse engineered from Rinkenbach R&D’s Clockwork Butler).

The presentation was followed by the requisite demo. I found myself praying for the sort of hiccup or malfunction that so often marks these occasions. Alas, the device worked perfectly, buzzing over the crowd, snapping a few pictures, and returning to stage. The pictures were developed and handed out as souvenirs as we left the auditorium.

It’s a memory I’ll cherish, I’m sure.

Blackwood Gazette #243- Industry and Innovation Conference Opens with Military Applications

Blackwood Gazette #242- Monteddor City Prepping For Industry and Innovation Conference

By Hunter O’Leary, Business

9/6/282-Monteddor’s capital is bracing itself this week for the next annual Industry and Innovation Conference, where companies across the Triumvirate come together to reveal their grand schemes for the next year.

This year’s IIC is proving to be the subject of much speculation. The Conference’s driving force and founding member for the last near decade, Rigel Rinkenbach, is not expected to show, due to his recent status as a fugitive and enemy of the state. Without Rinkenbach at the helm, many question whether the show will generate the same spark and excitement it has in years past.

The number of visitors coming into the city the last few days should assuage some of those fears, however. Hotels are booked solid across the capital and surrounding areas, and ticket sales are up 2% over last year. Is this uptake the result of this being the first IIC held in Monteddor? Or is it the result of morbid curiosity of people expecting a train wreck? Only time will tell.

Another indication of the size of this event comes in the form of the increased security presence in the area. Law enforcement officials are on nearly every street corner, assisting visitors and keeping a vigilant watch for any suspicious activity. Reports say that nearly thirty people have already been arrested or evicted from the city; most of these arrests involve spirits.

In addition to Monteddorian police, there are air pickets and military checkpoints along the roads throughout Ballantine territory leading from the ports along the northern coast and the borders along Govanna and Nor Easter. The newly formed alliance of ships belonging to Yolanda De Santana, Seylene Plamondon and Johanna McKilroy are said to be patrolling the skies to the south and over the Barrier Ocean, and it is believed they will have a presence over the skies of Monteddor when the conference begins.

The conference is scheduled to begin in earnest on the morning of the fourteenth, and continue through the evening of the sixteenth. Luminaries such as Michel Pertifour, Anaya Stollette, and even Ivan Klankenvroot are expected to attend.

Blackwood Gazette #242- Monteddor City Prepping For Industry and Innovation Conference

Blackwood Gazette #241-DeSantana/Plamondon Alliance Grows Stronger with Addition of Notorious Pirate Hunter

by Isairo Palantes, Monteddorian Correspondent

1/6/282-Several weeks ago, the Triumvirate stood in stunned silence as Blackwood magnate Yolanda Desantana joined her security forces with those of the Pirate Queen Seylene Plamondon, creating the largest private air fleet in the Triumvirate. Since then, the Empire has waited for news on how this alliance would play out.

As it turns out, they aren’t done recruiting. Reports from Crowndon and Monteddor both claim that Desantana and Plamondon have accepted a third major figure into their venture, the wayward pirate hunter and Crowndon fugitive, Captain Johanna McKilroy.

The addition of McKilroy stands to turn this already sticky situation into a powder keg. Given McKilroy’s history of taking down pirates, many of whom were close associates of Plamondon, many are wondering how long it takes before the two start tearing each other apart. There is also the question of McKilroy’s fugitive status in Crowndon, though given that Plamondon is one of the most wanted women in the world, McKilroy’s own warrants may be a moot point in the shadow of Desantana’s influence.

Not everyone believes the alliance will blow up in the faces of those involved. Marcel De La Croix, an expert in the finicky politics of pirates, mercenaries and other shady elements, claims this alliance could prove to be a force to be reckoned with, should it survive.

“Yolanda Desantana has proven to be a shrewd and pragmatic leader in recent years,” De La Croix told us. “With her as the core, I have no doubt she will ultimately be able to not only broker a truce between Pirate Queen and Pirate Huntress, but galvanize them in pursuit of some larger purpose, whatever that may be.”

In the meantime, the people of Monteddor have already taken to calling the alliance the Triumvirate of the Sky, and rumor has it that Desantana has her eye on further expansion. One possible candidate? Zan You-Delsha, who infamously abdicated her position as Princess of Quin Loh by throwing her crown into a volcano in order to form the Molten Crown mercenary group. The group consists of over three hundred ships, aerial and nautical, and has begun making a name for itself suppressing various uprisings in the Pyrossi islands during the last decade.

Blackwood Gazette #241-DeSantana/Plamondon Alliance Grows Stronger with Addition of Notorious Pirate Hunter