Budi's notes from the news:

May 2, 5004

Port Isabella releases transcript of shuttle entry:

"Critical systems offline! Lost altitude control! Going to try to bring it in manually. No! Fuzion core breached, going down! Pancreator help us all!"

Pilot of shuttle believed to be Don Hamish Rolas de Vera Cruz. Shuttle was quite likely military, reporting from Hira front. Hazat leadership refuses to comment, possible because those who knew what was going on are dead.

May 4, 5004

Local Orthodoxy condemning tragedy, blaming it partially on over-reliance on think-machine guidance of critical systems. Calling for widespread recall and retrofit of all ships to be manually controlled. An Engineer, on condition of anonymity, reports that that idea is "just stupid." Apparently even if there were the resources and technology to retrofit all extant ships, the number of calculations required would strand all but the simplest ships.

May 7, 5004

Search through rubble for survivors concluded. Workmen will continue to move rubble, but search parties of physiks are considered unnecessary at this point. Current confirmed death toll is 1287. Suspected death toll is nearly double that. Exact figures may never be known, as the explosion of fuzion cells and hard-burn rocket fuel at the impact point would have vaporized nearby guests. This has also made investigation of the accident problematic, as little remains of the ship but the charred and buckled hull. Conspiracy theorists suggest a deliberate sabotage and additional explosives, but Engineers and Charioteers consulted by this organization have opined that the damage is consistent with a run of terrible luck and a wide systems failure.

May 8, 5004

Justus Ascendant?

With the widespread loss of the Eduardo family and their center of power, this reporter wonders how long it can be before the Justus step up to their traditional role as leaders of the Hazat. The Castenda are little trusted, the Dulcinea are too few, and the Rolas are still under investigation for their role in the explosion. In the end, the decision may actually fall on the Estancia. Long underrated as a force in house politics, the "house of field-knights" has numbers that are now nearly a majority in the house, due to an egalitarian strain of thought during the Emperor Wars and the recent Kurgan invasion. While none of them have a title above Baron, their sheer numbers may soon come to bear on a house divided. Dame Obelia Xanthippe, a pupil of Duke Enrico Dulcinea, is the wife of a recently promoted knight, Don Ruiza Isfahan Estancia, and both of them are heroes of the Vera Cruz debacle a few years ago. Commenting on the issue, she said that "the Estancia were largely, I think, behind the Eduardos. After all, it was under their leadership that most of the current Estancia were admitted to the house. However, those men and women are almost entirely gone, now, and I'm not sure that sense of tradition will overwhelm house loyalty. What I mean is, the Estancia are going to be behind whomever they think is best for the house, which may not be the remaining Eduardos, even though we were all greatly saddened by their loss. That sense of tragedy isn't going to keep the Estancia from backing the strongest leaders, even if they aren't part of what remains of Eduardo."

May 10, 5004

Investigations and Memorials

Today house leaders have publically admitted that they have given up hope that any more survivors will be uncovered. The time of searching has ended, they say, and now is the time for mourning. At a large-scale conference in Port Isabella, a number of luminaries from the Hazat worlds were in addendance to express their grief. Many of the leaders of the Justus were present, as were several other house leaders, including Duke Enrico of the Dulcinea and, perhaps surprisingly, Duchess Elena of the Castenda. Security was tight, and the entire flight schedule for the bustling starport was put on hold for the afternoon, only a few military aircraft in place to prevent further catastrophe.

While the leaders were tight lipped about anything beyond the period of mourning, the aerial blockade attests to fears that this was a deliberate attack and may not be an isolated incident. We were able to get comment from a number of sources in the nobility. Don Tyrone Castenda was quick to point out that "if there was something beyond an accident, which we're all hoping is not the case, house retribution will be direct and it will be swift. The house has many possible foes, however, and we should not begin looking at all of our neighbors as possible culprits. Rest assured that the truth will come to light, and only then will direct and appropriate action be taken." Don Carlos Justus, a questing knight, noted that "the Emperor sends his personal condolences on this tragedy. He had many great friends amongst the Eduardo that will be sorely missed, and I suspect that should this matter be shown to be a direct attack on the house, Emperor Alexius will give it his foremost personal attention. Hopefully this matter will not strike a conflagration that spreads across the stars."

May 11, 5004

Whence the Globe?

St. Bernardo's Globe of Infinite Wonderment stood as the symbol of the house for centuries, yet now it is missing. Frater Miguel de Aragon, priest of the Eskatonic Order and expert on artifact lore, gave his opinion that "the Globe should not have been subject to the fires of this earth. Forged by ancient miracles and blessed by the Pancreator, the globe passed all the Church's tests for status as a relic. One of these gauges incorruptability by the fires of the earth, and, from what I've heard of the explosion, there would have at least been a remnant of the Globe, probably all of it. It is my opinion that unless it was specifically the destiny of the Globe to perish in this event, signalling the end of the Eduardo rule, it is very likely that the Globe was found, appropriated, and hidden by some opportunist in the search parties. This scoundrel, should he exist, is well advised to return the Globe to the light of the suns lest he risk the wrath of the Pancreator."

Yet if the Globe is not returned, what then? The legitimacy bestowed by the relic on the Eduardos was beyond question, and whoever takes the leadership position of the house will need some equivalent symbol of the Pancreator's grace. Will the young knights of the house go forth and try to find a prize as great, a relic or Ur artifact, to cement their family's position in the Hazat? Time will tell.