The purpose of this document
The purpose of this document is to give an overview to the capsuleer community about what things look like in one of the many volunteer refugee bases in the cluster. International communications and official news seem to have broken down, and in the confusion it is difficult to gain information. While what I have is only a very tiny piece of the puzzle, it seems that tiny pieces is now all we have, so I will attempt to share mine.
Before I begin, I will apologize that the information here is so poor, hastily put together, narrow and at places not much better than rumors.
And again I extend my thanks to all who have flown with us these past months. Fate walk with you all.
Do you remember that evening’s shade?
Your skin so pale, were you afraid?
We spoke no more, we did not fight.
You were gone with the dying light.
(“Before the Tears fell”, trad, Sb.)
SoERR base Invaders Must Die continues to be deployed in Skarkon. Beacons and gathering bases on orbit have been deployed but keep on being shot down. The refugee base On the Way Home is stationed in Gelfiven and services mainly Skarkon evacuees.
Incoming evacuation traffic has slowed down and is now mostly civilian, with military and capsuleer efforts concentrated in keeping dropship landing zones, stations, gates and orbits clear. We are receiving occasional refugee boats from elsewhere both to to Gelfiven and directly to Pator. Base runs at full capacity with minimal facilities provided.
Reports from ground and from operations in the region are difficult to piece together to form a coherent picture. Lack of information is a major hurdle.
For the first time in its existence, I am sorry to report On the Way Home at max capacity and struggling. We are processing people in and out as fast as possible and still can provide only very basic accommodations to all in our care.
It helps that here, unlike our typical situation, a lot of the people do have a place to go, some kin off the taken system or at least tribal charity if nothing else, so we are not starting most of them from zero. Yet, there are a lot of unregistered people and people in local registries now destroyed, without a claim to their name, and we are currently processing out slower than in.
Materials-wise, we are well off enough. We have enough frozen food and clean water to last us for a year or more of this. Hab units are the scarcest resource but dockside has been kind enough to lend a hand with settling people in.
(Please do not offer help if you do not have a concrete offer as to how. As is typical in a crisis, we are also out of capacity to co-ordinate such and to teach new people on the fly. If you can donate, we take supplies - food, water, textiles, smartfab units, antibiotics, and for once we are not out of Vitoc, at least - but the best help now would be as many parallel small refugee camps as possible.)
Reports from Skarkon
Reports from the system itself are conflicted. We can confirm with certainty that the SoERR station itself has been left alone and since the main capsuleer evac operation it has not even had a werpost on it. The Parliament station and gates are heavily guarded by werposts, with new ones going up as old ones are destroyed, hampering movement in an out considerably.
Triglavian vessels in space seem to care little about what a vessel is before deciding on whether to shoot it. Unarmed transport traffic by neutral parties gets shot with as great a likelihood as a combat contingent, which makes heavier ship movement difficult without heavy escort and limits evacuation capacity.
Reports from individual ground bases on inhabited planets are conflicting. Small mining colonies on asteroids and moons have mostly been evacuated successfully and without incident. That said, we also have reports of destroyed ones, without evidence of the culprit.
Planet II orbit is mostly clear of hostile vessels, but any beacons set up on orbit are destroyed. We do not have current coverage enough to confirm by who exactly, but whoever it is, the destruction of orbital infrastructure impedes heavily with clear contact with ground and means that my operations have a very sporadic picture of what goes on on the ground as whole.
What I can tell you is that most lift-off points of our own and, based on comms chatter, those of others, have been left alone both by all forces currently on ground. There has been a lot of posturing and relationships are certainly tense, but when push comes to shove, the respect for tribal civilian life more often that not prevails.
Nevertheless, two situations are particularly worrying.
Firstly, reports of Triglavian forces overtaking civilian settlements have come in on multiple occasions. Based on pieced together reports, it seems that there are locations where Triglavian entities take to ground to set up their own structures and operations. In those areas they do not hesitate to destroy whatever comes into their way if it does not move out from under them fast enough, and do it with wanton, careless show of overwhelming force. Where mostly unaugmented human forces have been reported as attempting to delay this, they have been promptly destroyed. (We are not in contact with any of the warclone communities as is.)
Lift-off points in direct contact with us, however, have seen only sparse assumed hostile movement. One of these incidents involves a ground convoy of civilian refugee traffic’s path cut by (assumed) triglavian forces. Instead of following the lift-off officer’s instructions to not attempt to reach the lift-off but to swerve southwards and attempt to clear the triglavian movement, the civilian convoy decided to make a dash towards the base. Unfortunately, no one survived the contact. The triglavian forces stopped short of the lift-off itself and seemed to lose interest, but to be prudent this point was abandoned soon after.
Second, while the majority of evacuation operations seem to proceed without various agents bothering each other beyond harsh words and inane threats, there are still reports of heavy human-to-human conflicts outside of these operations. Another drop-off/pick-up location we were in contact with reported being threatened and either control of the point or supplies demanded by two separate forces, one claiming to represent the Krusual tribe and another claiming to be backed up warclones. How much these claimed affiliations by militia without insignia carries weight I have no idea, but at least it speaks of a belief by the locals that said groups are influential and would believably do these things. (My compliments to ground commander Aubaris & crew for handling this situation without casualties.)
At the moment, the main problem we face is that solar systems are, to use a technical term, big, and even on a relatively “small” population planet such as Skarkon II, there is a lot of people, they are under not normal circumstances standing in an orderly line at a dropship pickup point, and once they are off the planet they still need to be housed, fed, comforted and settled.
The operation is huge. I’ve done refugee work for two decades, and I have never seen anything like this. And yet, to think, the Republic got off easy, compared, and we are used to this kind of work, too. It must be worse in other places.
Official word on situation on ground, the triglavians, and what to expect in the “liminalities”, is sparse enough to be in practice non-existent. I do not know what would be the worst explanation: that communications between communities are so broken down not just us but everyone has lost ability to piece it together, that there is no one left that could communicate clearly, or that there is information but it is not being shared.
Lack of information and outright misinformation in general is a major hurdle. It leads to rumor mills, completely wrong tactical decisions, unnecessary delays, inter-tribal tensions that has lead to shots fired, and in general makes co-operation between the various organizations working in the region very hard. I cannot hold with any of the “information quarantines” imposed and I certainly do not hold with how the political atmosphere was still being stirred up and threats made against other operators when the system had already been fallen and the question who owns it exactly should have been a moot point long ago.
Stuff’s ■■■■■■. Planets are big. Some official information would be nice.