The Faramount Times

The Faramount Times is considered a newspaper of record in the Federated Alliance. Founded in the late 1800s, the Times is the most read newspaper in the country, and it is well-respected for its objective reporting style. The Faramount Times is owned and operated by Free Pacifican Productions.

Presidential Race Increasingly Two Way

LIBERTY CITY - The televised debate held at the Liberty City University yesterday added to the increasingly two-way nature of the 2010 Free Pacifican presidential election.

The nationally televised debate, sponsored by the Public Media Service, featured the three main presidential candidates: Chancellor Chris Arctoris of the Nationalist Party, Blue House Chief of Staff Samantha McClellan of the Centrist Party, and Councillor Stephen Medelv of the Liberty Party. Over the course of two hours, the candidates discussed a number of issues, with a focus on domestic policy.

But the debate largely served to emphasize the increasingly two-way nature of the presidential race. The moderator granted each candidate an equal amount of time and Medelv certainly spoke at length about Liberty Party proposals. Chancellor Arctoris and Miss McClellan maintained the complete focus of most viewers, however, as the stark administration critic clashed with the Blue House insider.

Arctoris repeatedly attacked McClellan for supporting the “failed policies of a coat-riding administration,” particularly with regards to the Drone Revolt. McClellan shot back with accusations of “obstructionism and extreme bias” on the part of the Nationalist majority in the National Forum. This back and forth kept a great amount of viewer attention, according to a Free Pacific News Network focus group, while Medelv’s long-winded policy statements appeared to bore even the most interested viewers.

A post-debate poll performed by the Faramount Times reinforced this concept of a two-way election. The telephone survey of 1200 likely voters indicated a lack of faith in the competitiveness of the Liberty Party, with less than 20% of respondents answering “yes” when asked if the Liberty Party could win. It further displayed a general belief that Medelv lost the debate, with only 11% of respondents saying he won.

But perhaps most convincingly, the poll demonstrated a general lack of support for Medelv, when compared to Arctoris and McCllellan. While 37% of respondents supported the Nationalist Party nominee and 35% of endorsed the Centrist Party candidate, only 22% expressed interest in voting for the Liberty Party nominee. Representative Charles Clinton, Reform Party nominee, held the support an unsurprisingly paltry 6% of voters.

A spokesman for the Medelv campaign denied that the race had evolved from its typical three-way fashion to a two-way standoff. “The Liberty Party maintains the support of nearly a fourth of voters,” she said, “and everyone here remains convinced that the Councill will win this election.”

But most pundits, experts, and politicians disagreed. Even Clinton, when asked about the matter in an interview with FPNN’s Jill Ronin, admitted that the race was “a contest between Arctoris and McClellan.” “Medelv isn’t going to drop below twenty percent because that’s his party’s base number,” Clinton said, “and I’m not going to drop below 5% for the same reason.” “But when the top two candidates are polling fifteen percent to thirty percent higher than the rest, that usually means something, and in this case, its that those two candidates are the only ones that can realistically win.”

Even if that is the case, neither Clinton nor Medelv displayed any interest in endorsing another candidate, and a spokesperson for each campaign expressed a complete commitment to the cause. But with election day just a few weeks away, its becoming clear that the next President will either be a Nationalist or a Centrist.

Pax and Kandarinese Devastate Tassalvalta; Region Prepares for War

LIBERTY CITY - Most East Pacific nations raced to high alert today as Pax, Kandarinese, East Malyasian, and Free Pacifican space fleets squared off over the Tassalvalta region.

The Pax unsuccessfully invaded the neighboring state of Tassalvalta last year, citing a need for farmland, but failed to capture the sparsely populated nation. A massive Pax war fleet attacked the country again yesterday, without any warning, destroying the last remaining population center as tens of thousands of troops brutally cleared Tassalvalta of any resistance.

But in a surprise move, the previously neutral Kandarinese government ordered its galactic fleet to bombard the territory, thus preventing the Pax from reaping agricultural reward from the area. The Kandarinese effort proved successful, devastating the entire country, and also killing thousands of Pax soldiers. Neither the Kandarinese nor the Pax made any public comment on the matter.

The Free Pacifican, Rezelian, East Malyasian, Alleghenian, Vekaiyun, Dovakhanese, and Drakkengardian militaries raced to high alert in response to the Pax invasion and Kandarinese bombardment. Federated Alliance President Henrik Kroidrik called for “the nation to prepare for war,” activating all reserve forces and putting police departments on alert for nationalization, while the Rezelian military dispersed in preparation for a guerilla defense against the Pax.

But many doubted the ability of the Federated Alliance, or even the recently re-founded East Pacific Treaty Organization, to defend against the Pax in the case of an all-out war. Thousands flocked to airports across the Free Pacific States, hoping to escape the country before the breakout of any conflict, and grocery stores across the country were packed with civilians preparing for a cutoff of supplies. The Free Pacifican Diplomatic Service, in a surprise announcement, advised foreign missions to withdraw non-essential personnel, and President Kroidrik suspended trading at the Faramount Stock Exchange to prevent an economic panic.

Many other nations in the region took similar actions as war loomed.

Arctoris Dominates Polls as Pax Standoff Continues

LIBERTY CITY - Chancellor Chris Arctoris maintained a steady lead in presidential polling today as the Pax military standoff continued in orbit of the East Pacific.

The Pax dispatched a large attack fleet into invade Tassalvalta, a nation bordering the Pax Earth colony, last week. The fleet accomplished its mission to an extent, devastating the few Tassalvaltan population centers still in existence after the failed Pax invasion last year, but was prevented from conquering the territory when a Kandarinese fleet laid waste to the entirety of Tassalvalta. Free Pacifican, East Malyasian, Rezielian, Pax, and Kandarinese military forces remained at high alert since that time.

The crisis immediately benefitted Chancellor Arctoris, the Nationalist Nominee for President, who focused much of his campaign to date on the need for preparation in the case of a Pax attack. “I’ve been talking about the threat of the Pax for months,” he said at a speech in Liberty City yesterday, “now, I hope, people are ready to listen.”

The Free Pacifican population certainly appeared to be listening. Arctoris surged ahead in the polls this past week, garnering 51% support in a Faramount Times poll, compared to 31% support on the part of Centrist Party Nominee Samantha McClellan, and 15% support on the part of the Liberty Party candidate. Nationalist candidates for the National Forum surged ahead, as well, and most polling groups predicted a Nationalist majority in both Houses if the election were held today.

But even as pundits gave the election to the Nationalists, most experts argued that the election was far from decided. “Arctoris gained most of his points from the Liberty Party and Reform Party,” said Professor Soo-Hoo Yung of the reputed Shiro Academy, “and that’s because Centrist supporters have yet to lose faith in the party of Matthew Terrus.” But Yung did say that the crisis would decide the election. “If Kroidrik handles this well, McClellan will make a come back and win,” he said, “but if this goes badly, even if it isn’t Kroidrik’s fault, McClellan’s support will evaporate, and Arctoris will win in a landslide.”

The Liberty Party candidate, Councillor Stephen Medelv, disagreed vehemently with Yung. “These are soft numbers – the result of panic on the part of the population,” he said, “and things will even out again once the crisis is resolved.”

Of course, Medelv assumed that the crisis would be resolved, just like most commentators. But former President Matthew Terrus, in an exclusive interview with the Faramount Times, warned that “we don’t know that this is going to end well.” “We’ve come close to the brink before,” Terrus said, “but this is the closest we’ve gotten to awhile. And if war does happen, well, the presidential election is going to be the last thing on anyone’s mind.”

As a Pax war fleet continued to stand off with Free Pacifican forces, that certainly seemed the case.

Pax Hive Nodes Increase Activity

PAX EARTH TERRITORY - The Pax Hive Nodes on Earth increased activity today according to a source in the Free Pacifican government.

Pax Hive Nodes serve as the central processing units for the Pax Hive, a massive collective mind that controls every Pax Drone. The Pax rely upon the nodes for operation, installing nodes in most major Pax spacecraft and on all Pax colonies, and the Pax Earth territory holds several dozen. The Hive Nodes usually quadruple energy usage prior to a major Pax action and most intelligence agency carefully watch the Nodes for increased activity.

The Free Pacifican Intelligence Agency detected such an increase in energy usage today according to several high-level sources in the Free Pacifican government. The Federated Alliance immediately informed the members of the East Pacific Treaty Organization, according to those same sources, and also put its nuclear forces on high alert in preparation for a potential Pax assault. The Free Pacifican government refused to comment on the matter, however, and the Faramount Times was unable to gather credible information about the responses of other nations.

While the increased Hive Node activity certainly heightened regional tensions, most experts agreed that the development did not necessarily mean anything. “There is just no way to know what this means,” said Professor Sarah Fingle of Shiro Academy at Tilden University, “there is no doubt that something is about to happen but it could be anything from a sudden attack to a simple reworking of the Hive.” The last Free Pacifican Ambassador to Packilvania, Tom Gates, echoed that sentiment. “We just don’t know what’s coming,” he said, but he went onto say that “I can’t imagine we’ll like it.”

Free Pacifican Chancellor Chris Arctoris, the Nationalist Nominee for President and an outspoken advocate of hardline policies towards the Pax, said he already did not like the situation. “We all know that the Pax are preparing for an attack,” he told supporters in Zalebano City, “and yet we’re sitting here doing nothing. We should be taking action now to ensure our safety.” Blue House Chief of Staff and Centrist Party Nominee Samantha McClellan criticized Arctoris for his statements, saying that “national security matters should be left to the experts” and that “attacking the Pax is simply suicidal,” but a Faramount Times poll conducted this week indicated that an overwhelming majority of Free Pacificans preferred a harder policy towards the Pax.

As the debate continued, military forces across the East Pacific remained at high alert, and Free Pacifican as well as East Malyasian Space Forces stood off with a large Pax fleet.

Heavy Fighting Engulfs Rygard

ESTEROAK - The Armed Republic of Rygard put itself on the map last week, when it declared war on five nations, but those countries appeared committed to wiping Rygard right back off the map this week.

Rygard declared war on the Confederacy of Vulshain, the United Provinces of Southern Yugoslavia, the Holy Republic of Vekaiyu, the Star Empire of East Malyasia, and the Federated Alliance of Free Pacific States without much warning ten days ago. The leader of Rygard, Presidential Viceroy Archibald Rivers, publicly justified the war based on an alleged Vulshainian racial conspiracy to takeover the region.

Rivers backed up his war declaration with an immediate attack on Southern Yugoslavia, Vulshain, and the patrolling Free Pacifican third fleet. But he miscalculated grievously, according to most experts, and a coalition of Vulshainian, Southern Yugoslavian, East Malyasian, Free Pacifican, and Rezelian military units overwhelmed most of the Rygardian offensive force.

The anti-Rygardian coalition did not succeed without casualties. The Free Pacifican Third Fleet, considered the most experienced Free Pacifican military force, took heavy casualties during a battle with Rygardian naval forces. And Vulshainian forces took heavy casualties while invading Esteroak, where fighting continued today. The East Malyasian space fleet even took casualties from Rygardian laser batteries, though it succeeded in destroying the Rygardian nuclear arsenal in cooperation with Free Pacifican Space Forces.

But Rygard did not appear to be faring well in the conflict. Several Rygardian ships reportedly defected to Free Pacifican, Rezelian, and Vulshainian naval forces after the Battle of the Four Navies, as the ambush on the Free Pacifican Third Fleet was dubbed by the Rezelians, and coalition forces continued large-scale bombing operations against Rygard despite heavy resistance.

Regardless of the general tilt of the war, heavy fighting continued throughout the North-Western edge of the region today, with no end in sight.

Nationalists Sweep Free Pacifican Elections

LIBERTY CITY - The Federal Elections Administration formally concluded the 2010 federal campaign today, when it announced the results of a ferocious six month contest.

The Nationalist Party swept the polls while the Liberty Party and Centrist Party took serious hits across the country. The Nationalists secured 342 seats in the Federal Assembly, a near super majority, while the Liberties took only 113 seats and the Centrists took only 92 seats. The Nationalists captured 24 seats in the Federal Council, a clear plurality, compared to the Liberty Party’s 14 seats and the Centrist Party’s 11 seats. But Nationalist Presidential Nominee Chris Arctoris scored the biggest victory of the day, winning the presidency with 59% of the vote. Nationalists across the country rejoiced, especially those in state level races, who held high hopes for victory.

But the Reform Party appeared in a position to benefit most from the election. The Reform Party took two Federal Council seats, just enough to give the Nationalists a majority, and experts speculated about the possibility of a Nationalist-Reform coalition. “Our two parties agree on a number of economic issues,” said Reform Party Chairperson Charles Clinton, “and I certainly am willing to hear out Councilman Arctoris if he makes any kind of offer.” The Reform Party last held significant influence in 2002 and many Reform leaders hoped tonight to use this situation to regain power.

Reform Party successes aside, the Nationalists definitely won the night, and Mister Arctoris publicly celebrated the event. “People told me throughout this campaign that they wanted a change,” he said, “they told me that they were tired of an inactive administration, an ineffective foreign policy, and an impossible domestic agenda. They told me that they wanted new leadership – they told me that they wanted a new age of prosperity. Today, they turned words into action. Over the next four years, I will, too.”

The Nationalists definitely benefitted from general displeasure with the Centrist administration but most experts credited the Tassalvalta Crisis for the landslide Nationalist victory. “Arctoris focused his campaign on the Pax,” Professor Soo-Hoo Yung of the reputed Shiro Academy said, “and then a Pax war fleet jumped into system, bombarded an entire nation, and began a military stand-off that continues today. Arctoris benefitted immensely – he almost seemed to forecast the crisis.”

The Centrist Party Nominee, Blue House Chief of Staff Samantha McClellan, echoed that sentiment. “Arctoris can say all he wants about change,” she said in an interview last week, “but this election is about the Pax. Two months ago, Arctoris was a fear-monger, whose rants about the Pax elicited amusement from most experts. The Pax attack on Tassalvalta appears to justify his past rhetoric – but really, it doesn’t. Arctoris forecasted a Pax invasion of the entire region, not a largely unoccupied northern neighbor, and nothing about the current situation indicates that the Pax intend to invade soon.”

Arctoris strongly disagreed with that assertion today. “The Pax bombarded an entire nation,” he said, “then parked a war fleet a few hundred kilometers from the Federated Alliance Space Force. They’re gearing up for a war – we need to be as well.” The Federal Councilman promised during his acceptance speech to “immediately take action to ensure that the Free Pacific States can defend itself, now and in the future.”

“Besides which,” the newly appointed President-Elect said with a wink, “the Free Pacifican people clearly think I’m right – and that’s what matters.”

Nationalists Make Agreement with Reformists

LIBERTY CITY - The Nationalist Party secured control of the Federal Forum today, according to many sources, through a coalition with the Reform Party.

The Nationalists won a sizable Federal Assembly majority and took the presidency by a landslide during the 2010 elections. But the Nationalist Party secured only a plurality in the Federal Council, which threatened Nationalist aspirations for unified government.

Not all hope was lost: the Reform Party appeared to provide a path to Nationalist unification. The Reformists suffered a serious defeat in the election, losing federal, state, and local elections across the country. But just enough Reformist Council Members maintained office to allow the Nationalists to achieve a majority through a party coalition.

The Nationalist Party reportedly took advantage of that opportunity today by making a formal coalition agreement with the Reform Party. The Nationalists offered the Reformists a cabinet post, according to reliable sources, in return for Reformist support during Federal Forum elections. The Reformists immediately accepted, according to those same sources, and pledged to work closely with the Nationalists in the future.

Despite the important nature of the agreement, neither Party formally announced it today, and experts forecasted an official statement to come only after inauguration.

Arctoris Assumes Office, Calls for Defense Overhaul

LIBERTY CITY - President Christopher Arctoris called for a comprehensive overhaul of national defense policy today during his inaugural address.

The Nationalist Party Nominee, Arctoris won the presidency by a landslide last week, and led his party to a Federal Forum majority. He focused his campaign on the Pax, calling the Noi regime “unbalanced and extremely dangerous,” and gained massive support for this prophetic belief during the Tassalvalta Crisis. But Arctoris also benefited from general discontent with the ruling Centrist party, which accomplished next to nothing during the presidency of Henrik Kroidrik.

Arctoris definitely reached out to voters discontented with the Kroidrik administration during his inaugural address. He repeatedly promised to end “this era of inactivity” through “new diplomatic initiatives,” “a new strategy in Lyon,” and “a clear domestic policy.” The Nationalist Party member even invoked the name of President Matthew Terrus, who he called a “great diplomat,” as evidence for the need for “a more interventionist foreign policy.”

But the newly elected President focused on the Pax during the speech. “The Pax are the greatest threat this nation has seen since its foundation,” he said, “and there is an absolute need to take action to ensure a real defense against the Noi regime.” Arctoris called for a complete overhaul of defense policy to this end. “The last regime felt that the Federated Alliance might defeat a space-born foe with thousands of terrestrial weapons,” he said, “and refused to take proactive against against the Pax.” “But space ships win against aircraft carriers any day,” he continued, “and we must always be ready for preemptive action even if we refuse to take it.”

The Nationalist leader proceeded to unveil a comprehensive and controversial plan to overhaul the armed forces. He called for the construction of five new Battlestars in spite of a promise made by President Matthew Terrus to the government of 1 Infinite Loop not to copy the technology of the Battlestar Atlantis. He proposed the shrinking of the Army, Navy, and Air Force by a third to pay for the expansion of the Space Force, saying that “battlestars, not tanks, are the weapons of victory in a war against the Pax.” He asked the Federal Forum to reestablish the Secret Service, a covert government agency abolished during the Terrus administration that focused on unconventional warfare, to “ensure our defense even if our military forces are overwhelmed.” And he reached out to the government of the Elite Empire, saying that the East Pacific Treaty Organization Headquarters ought to be moved from Liberty City, so that “our allies can focus on helping us, not reorganizing the EPTO, if the Pax suddenly attack Liberty City.” Arctoris concluded with a suggestion to impose tariffs against the Pax to fund initiatives to reduce Free Pacifican economic reliance upon the Hive.

Centrists and Liberties alike opposed these plans. “You cannot just throw away a written agreement with a foreign government not to copy its technology,” former Blue House Chief of Staff Samantha McClellan said in reference to the proposal to build more Battlestars, “especially not if that foreign government is extremely friendly.” McCellan expressed skepticism about the positive effect of “shrinking most of the military for three years based on the hope that we can successfully construct five futuristic ships on time.” The Liberty Party Chairman, Councilor Stephen Medelv, joined McClellan in opposition to Arctoris. “The Secret Service constantly overstepped its legal bounds, repeatedly refused lawful orders, and flatly lied to Forum Oversight Committee members,” Medelv said, “and now we’re going to restore it? That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”

But the Nationalists held a majority in both houses of the Federal Forum as of today, when Arctoris took office, and the full support of the allied Reformists. “We’ll see opposition to these measures, I am certain,” Arctoris said in response to potential critics, “but the Nationalist Party, Reformist Party, and I remain committed to making the changes necessary to ensure our common defense, no matter the political cost.”

For her part, McClellan promised to “make that cost high.”

Arctoris Calls for EPTO Conference

LIBERTY CITY - President Christopher Arctoris today formally asked the Secretary General of the East Pacific Treaty Organization to convene a conference to discuss “issues of security and membership.”

The newly elected Free Pacifican leader called for an immediate meeting of representatives of the member-states to discuss several important issues. “The region today faces greater conflict, greater insecurity, and greater instability than at any point in the past five years,” he wrote in a letter to the Secretary General, “and the East Pacific Treaty Organization must meet to deliberate upon recent international developments.” The Nationalist Party Chair continued to request “the consideration of the membership request of the People’s Republic of Lazlow, which patiently awaited word on its application after the last summit only to hear that the matter was not resolved.”

Arctoris focused on those two matters in his letter to the EPTO Secretary General. But he surely intended today to address another issue at the summit: the location of the EPTO headquarters. The Nationalist candidate stated repeatedly during the campaign and after his election that the headquarters ought to be moved from Liberty City for security reasons. “The Federated Alliance will be the front line of any war with the Pax,” he argued during his inaugural address, “and placing the EPTO headquarters here is a monumental blunder as a result because it will surely be quickly destroyed, which in turn will hamper the cooperation of the member-states of the alliance in defending against the Pax.”

A spokesperson for the East Pacific Treaty Organization, a multinational military alliance created years ago mostly to defend against the Pax, refused to comment on the matter. But the spokesperson did admit that “generally speaking, whenever any member-state requests a conference, a conference is held.”

Pax Standoff Ends Without Explanation

EARTH ORBIT - The two month standoff between Pax and Free Pacifican space forces anticlimactically concluded today as Pax forces moved from Earth orbit to the Jovian hypergate.

A Pax Hive Ship, two Pax Behemoths, and a Pax Carrier arrived in the Sol System via the Jovian Hypergate in October. The fleet proceeded to bombard Tassalvalta, a mostly agrarian nation bordering the Pax Earth Territories, and then invaded the country. But a Kandarinese Fleet jumped into the fray at that point, using its weapons to devastate the entirety of Tassavalta, and then fleeing before the Pax were able to respond. The Pax appeared to prepare for full-out war at that point, powering up the Earth Hive Nodes, but then powered those nodes down yesterday without explanation. The Pax Empire then retreated its space fleet from Earth Orbit today, again without any public comment.

The Free Pacifican military stepped down at that point after months at high-alert. Space Force personnel expressed happiness at getting sixteen hours off duty per day after spending months working eighteen hours a day. Reservists and National Guardsmen were happier, finally returning to non-military life after spending weeks living like full-time soldiers, sailors, and airmen. And President Christopher Arctoris told reporters how happy he was to “actually see the sun” after spending almost the entire time in an underground bunker. A spokesperson for the Octagon estimated the cost of the two-month standoff to be in “the tens of billions,” although the spokesperson said exact numbers were not yet available.

But even as the military stood down, experts expressed confusion about what precipitated the end of the crisis. “The Pax were clearly preparing for a large-scale military operation after the Tassalvalta invasion failed,” said Professor Sarah Fingle of Shiro Academy at Tilden University, “and I cannot imagine why they’d just decide against it like this.” The Pax government provided no explanation of its action; it in fact continued to lack any public relations office as of yesterday.

Given that the crisis began with no explanation, though, it only seemed fitting that it ended the same way. The Faramount Stock Market boomed with the end of the alert.