ENDOR, MODDELL SECTOR -- Sentients across The Avance Coalition observed a holonet broadcast today from the Hall of Houses on Endor as Leaders and Seconds from each of the Avancian Houses affirmed their support for High Lord Horthon Gorthy, who succeeded High Lord Venix Soyak as First Seat several days ago. Soyak named Gorthy his successor in a private message to Avance's leadership last week, and publicly announced the succession to citizens a few days ago.
Soyak's message was brief and cited personal reasons for his retirement before naming Gorthy as his successor. "It should not come as a surprise that I'm putting forth Horthon Gorthy as my replacement," Soyak said.
Soyak, who served as First Seat for Avance's six years, was Grand Admiral of The Wraiths before leading a group of veteran mercenaries to retire from that organization in Year 6 to form The Avance Coalition in the Outer Rim's Moddell Sector. In his tenure as First Seat, Soyak presided over the Coalition's expansion to encompass 13 sectors and over 900 billion citizens.
In a separate statement, Gorthy thanked Soyak for his dedicated service, reaffirmed Avance's commitment to neutrality, and signaled his readiness to lead the Coalition through the challenges of a dynamic and ever-changing galaxy. "I will make it my mandate to ensure that Avance has the direction and drive to lead these changes," Gorthy said. Gorthy also named Arklari Clise, High Lord of House Vigihan, to serve as his Second Seat.
Gorthy served as Avance's first Consul of Finance and later served as Second Seat after Kyle Rainer's retirement from that position.
Responses from around the Coalition have been both positive and optimistic. Lord Gideon Bodnari, Second of House Vigihan and former Consul for Diplomatic Affairs, observed that the succession was perhaps inevitable. "In many ways, this is a coming-of-age for Avance," he said. "We've faced the growing pains of a new government, economic crunches, territorial conflicts with pirates, and even internal betrayal. We've weathered each of those crises and come through them stronger, but the real test of a stable government is its ability to achieve a smooth transition when one leader succeeds another.
"The Avance Coalition really can't be considered a new government anymore," Bodnari said, "so while Venix will be remembered as the First Seat of the young and burgeoning Avance, Horthon will be able to build on his legacy as the First Seat of the mature and fully realized Avance. From a personal standpoint, Venix Soyak has been everything I could hope for in a leader, but Avance herself hasn't peaked yet -- the best is still to come."
[Avance News Network logo is displayed for a second, before being replaced by a shot of studio with ANN special correspondent James Gardener sitting behind a desk. In the background a view of Soyak plaza is seen with many a sentient being walking about their business. In the top right corner appears an image displaying the logos of the Avance Coalition and The Wraiths.]
Greetings, I'm James Gardener and you're watching Avance News Network's Special "Avance Diplomacy".
Past week brought once again the relationship between The Avance Coalition (TAC) and The Wraiths (TW) under scrutiny and review in the Hall of Houses as an undisclosed diplomatic party refused to sign a Non-Aggression Pact with the Coalition. One of the reasons for that was apparently the absence of the Wraiths in the list of Avance Nationalized or Affiliated factions.
We've contacted Hortator Ralgarrch, Leader of The Wraiths, for a comment or a statement, which he was able to provide.
[An image with the logos in the top right corner is replaced by a holo image of Ralgarrch. As he begins to speak the image fills the screen and subtitles are displayed translating the Shyriiwook, the Wookiee language, into Basic.]
"The Wraiths do not sign Non-Aggression Pacts or any similar political agreements! We do not consider it to be a violation of any NAP with Avance if someone were to attack the Wraiths, nor for us to attack others. This is the Wraiths position. We will decide who we attack, we will decide who we defend and we will make these decisions based on the reality of the situation rather than whatever words someone chose to stick a signature under. We are not deluding ourselves, we have repeatedly displayed an understanding of our positions influence on Avance and vice versa. We will take that position into account when we make our decisions."
[Suddenly the image is replaced by static, most likely the connection has been broken by the leader of the Wraiths himself. Ralgarrch's holo image is returned to the top right corner for a brief moment before being replaced by logos of TAC and TW. The studio shot is widened and sitting at James Gardeners left is another human male.]
James Gardener (JG): I have asked Peth Krill, an Avance writer and commentator on politics, economics and history to join us tonight and help us analyze the situation and the nature of our governments relationship with The Wraiths Mercenaries. Welcome to our studio, Peth!
[As Peth Krill is being introduced an image in top right corner is replaced by a cover of the "Dreadnaught Diplomacy", a political thriller written by Mr. Krill, which ranks #3 on the Avance Bestsellers List. The image is later once again replaced by logos of TAC and TW.]
Peth Krill (PK): Thank you, James! I think that you're jumping in right in the heart of the issue and bring up a very good point.
The Wraiths are indeed a group of... *he pauses* Well there's no other way to say it - they are a group of mercenaries unlike say, The Jensaarai or the Avance Security Forces. And The Wraiths are not afraid to call themselves mercenaries despite the negative connotation that term has received in the last decade or so.
That brings me to another point - perhaps we should start with a short history overview.
JG: By all means, James. I see in my notes that The Wraiths are one of the oldest Mercenary groups.
PK: In fact they are the oldest one. Some mercenary groups like to trace their history and background to ancient traditions spanning millennia, but the fact is at some point in history they've either disbanded, transformed, or re-formed, you name it.
Wraiths' first successful operation known to public was a raid lead by Tibo Doinds against the Galactic Empire after the latter subjugated the Mon Calamari species (1 CGT).
That raid brought much fame and acclaim to the Wraiths, but did not go unanswered by the Empire, who have tracked down Tibo a year later and have arrested and imprisoned him in an undisclosed location. His fate is unknown to this day.
At this point Navik Ikron rises to the position of leadership and heralds a new era for The Wraiths.
JG: Let's skip forward a few years, James. I know you can talk about history for hours...
PK: You're right of course, but in this case however history is of vital importance for the issue at hand.
So please indulge me for a few more minutes...
Under Navik's leadership The Wraiths rose to hitherto unimaginable heights, they've accumulated vast fleets, settled planets in various Outer Rim sectors in the Galactic South Western Quadrant.
This Golden Era continued even after Navik left The Wraiths for a while supposedly on a secret mission (or perhaps a spiritual walkabout, as I postulate in my new book, out soon™) into Unknown Regions and Venix Soyak took over the leadership.
Around 4 CGT Venix brought in another mercenary group into the fold - Sabaoth Squadron, which has provided The Wraiths with the unique starships for which they are known today.
Around that time The Wraiths were also contracted to end the menace of the Sanyassan Marauders in the Zuma Sector, which they did with their by now legendary efficiency. But during that operation Venix noticed how in this region of space a vacuum that was created by dissolution of the Old Republic was becoming filled by instability, corruption, power struggles. He consulted with fellow Wraiths and retired with a group of them to create The Avance Coalition. There's more to it of course, but let's just leave it at that.
JG: So in effect one could say the Wraiths are the Avance Coalition?
PK: That is complicated. Five, four years ago I might have said yes. In fact I know a few Wraiths who still maintain exactly that attitude. And there's no hiding of the fact that many a former Wraith is todays Avance Statesman and Stateswoman.
Yet it is also a fact that the Wraiths are and always were a *private* military organization, which for the last decade or so remained *private* property of the Soyak-Ikron House. The Wraiths did not transform into The Avance Coalition, they did not dissolve to create it and were not reformed at a later point in time to become once again independent - The Wraiths stayed true to what they were.
They did however assist Avance on many occasions as a partner - trained the first generation of Avance Security Forces officers for example, but they've done it not as parent organization or a nationalized corporation.
It was after long deliberations on both sides, that the Wraiths agreed to sign a contract that would place them on Avance Coalitions retainer on a semi-permanent basis. Neither side took that that contract lightly then, nor do they do so now.
And that is as much part of the Avance history, as it is part of the Wraiths' history.
JG: OK, we cannot technically say that Wraiths are Avance Coalition. But many Wraiths as you yourself pointed out are todays Avance Politicians. Are todays Wraiths just another Avance Department or Council?
PK: No! And there's nothing technical about it. The Wraiths are and always were independent. However members of The Wraiths are free to become Avance citizens, they are not automatically granted a working citizenship, as members of Alpha Medical or Rendili StarDrive, for example. There are exactly two active Wraiths in the The Avance Government of today - Hortator Ralgarrch is an Advisor to the Hall and Tribunus Maior Varro Kaar is a Co-Consul of Civil Affairs - yet they are where they are, because they're Avance Citizens and members of Avance Noble Houses, not because they are Wraiths.
JG: How about accountability? Is Soyak-Ikron House and by proxy Avance Coalition responsible for each and every TW action? Will Avance be drawn into a conflict if The Wraiths are hired for a job, and a "receiving side" decides to retaliate.
PK: That's the crux of the matter and quite possibly the real reason why the NAP was not signed.
But allow me to answer your question with mine: Is Rendili StarDrive responsible for every shot made by any particular Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser?
The Wraiths are mercenaries and people often describe a mercenary as a ruthless thug for hire, tough and brutal, with more muscle than common sense; that's certainly how many mercenaries come over on the Holonet and it's very likely that such people are present even among the Wraiths.
However in just over a decade of existence being a Wraiths has gained a status that was far above that of a typical, perhaps somewhat stereotypical mercenary. Behind that tough and brutal shell, there is often enough a kind, caring person, sharing same ideals as those who have established the utopia of Avance, and imbued with the type of honour that would prevent their misuse by a wannabe-tyrant or -dictator. They do not fight for money, they fight for what they believe in and... get paid for it - because that is their way of attaining those ideals and financing that goal.
The Wraiths have made the war their business, but they will not... and I'm talking hypothetically here... accept a contract from Eidola to attack... let's say Tenloss... just because the former party does not like the latter.
As I've said - The Wraiths have standards to uphold, and their honour, their code of conduct will prevent them from descending to the level of the-wannabe-respectable-pirates or of seemingly-lawful-crime-syndicates.
So if The Wraiths accept a contract it means that in doing so they uphold their ideals, which as I've said a minute ago are the same ideals Avance upholds in its territory. Knowing Ralgarrch, his reputation and his actions, which certainly speak for themselves, I think we can take his word very seriously, when he says, that he weighs carefully any possible outcome before accepting a contract. He may be short-tempered and grumpy, show me a Wookiee that isn't, *he smiles* but he is also very wise.
And if there's any retaliation against Avance personnel or citizens, well that could mean one of several things:
a) the other side is incapable of distinguishing between the weapon, the person that fired it, the person that hired the person firing it, and the friend of a person that fired the weapon, or
b) the other side does not care to make such a distinction and are just a loose cannon willfully harming anyone they deem "involved", or
c) it could be an honest mistake - wrong place, wrong time.
There are of course many variation in between, many shades of grey.
JG: I'm still looking for a succinct way of describing this relationship... So, Peth, would it be right to say that The Wraiths and The Avance Coalition share the ideology, but not the means of obtaining their similar, dare I even say shared, goals?
PK: I think it's safe to say that. But let's see excerpts of a footage that was only recently declassified. In a moment you will see and hear Hortator Ralgarrch describe the purpose and the future of The Wraiths during one of the closed sessions in the Hall of Houses, back in 7CGT, when the very same issue was raised... not for the first, nor for the last time it seems...
Ralgarrch: We may not be interested in the Galactic Civil War but if someone wants to hire the Wraiths to fight for something we believe in - free money doing something fun. The Wraiths are the only effective force in the galaxy that won’t be tied up fighting over large forces. We'll be there to spoil the fun of the smugglers and criminals who will inevitably creep up during the Civil War, just as they did during the Clone Wars. We may not abide by any law, beyond those we chose, but like the Jedi of Old Republic, we abide by our own morality in the strife to make the galaxy a better place as far as we can.
PK: So I think your statement was quite correct. And while the Coalition limits itself with upholding their ideals only within its own territory, The Wraiths have always reserved a right to do the right thing at the right time and in the right place. Yet they're not religious fanatics, who are on a holy crusade to convert anyone to their view.
JG: Well, Peth, our time is coming to an end, and as you've said this issue has come up before and will likely come up again. Our purpose here was not to solve it for the Avance Diplomats - we're just providing some additional background information to our audience.
While preparing this broadcast I was able to contact High Lord Navik Ikron, head of the Soyak-Ikron House. Unfortunately he had time only for one short statement:
NI: The Avance Coalition does not impose business practices upon non-partner entities. Companies such as The Wraiths and Centurion Arms have practiced business within the parameters of Avancian law for some time without incident. They are not bound by any of Avance diplomatic policies due to their status of non-partner entities.
JG: That was it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Peth!
PK: My pleasure!
JG: Next on is Business News: A Mass Recall has been issued on several famous Avancian products. What is the reason behind this? And how will this affect TAC?
After that ANN Sports is going to review the first matches of the new shockball season and celebrate the first victories of both Avancian teams.
And finally keep an eye out for new interview series "The Defense of Avance" coming out soon™!
This was James Gardener and Avance News Network's Special "Avance Diplomacy"!
Today, the Hall of Houses press office released a statement explaining the recent addition to the citizenship application rules. The addition requires an applicant to receive special permission from a member of the hall of houses to apply for citizenship, if their application has been rejected three times before. The member of the Hall of Houses who reviews the application must find that there has been a change in the applicant’s life to warrant another application. The press office gave a change of allegiance as a suitable change in lifestyle to warrant an application to be voted on. The exact details of the change can be found in the citizenship application center Here.
ANN caught up with High Lord Horthon Gorthy for comment on the recent change. "we initiated this change because the hall of houses wanted to ensure that there was not a constant stream of applicants who simply, try, try, and try again without any change to their situation. Citizenship to the Coalition is a special thing that is indeed a privilege not a right. In proposing this amendment, House Vighihan is helping ensure that the prosperity of the coalition is protected, along with its longstanding neutrality which is central to its mission as a beacon of light within the galaxy. I for one am proud to say that House Soyak-Ikron voted in favour of this amendment”
The motion was tabled by House Vighihan on Oct 28th and seconded by House Valeo on the same date. Discussion was left open until Nov 4th when the voting was opened until Nov 18th with four houses voting for it, and three houses abstaining. The motion passed.
Xanyarr of the clan Chyakk, was appointed by the Hall to word the amendment, to ensure that it was legally correct and was not in violation of our constitution, the wording was approved by the chairman of the Hall. On Nov 20th the amendment came into effect.
Lord Arklari Clise was also reached for comment on the origin of the idea for his motion, "The Hall of Houses wishes to ensure that citizenship requests are genuine, not simply an article of political positioning from foreign empires. When individuals return after their citizenship request has been denied, and they change nothing, our answer does not change. We try not to have "moods" to our judgement, though we are fallable beings. Through this change, we hope to ensure that neither our time, nor the applicants' time is wasted."
This is Aurora Drayson, reporting for Avance News Network from the Hall of Houses on Endor's Sanctuary Moon.
As we have reported in our previous broadcasts earlier this week a memo from the Office of High Lord Gorthy, Second Seat of the Avance Coalition, has been leaked to various holonet discussion boards. This memo detailed the appointment of not one, but two new Consuls of Civil Affairs - Eff and Varro Kaar - after a former Consul Zyst Gornuk asked for an unspecified extension of his personal leave.
This appointment was officially confirmed just a few moments ago when both new Consuls attended a short press conference in the Hall of Houses own Press Briefing Room. Both Consuls have briefly introduced themselves and talked about their military service background and careers as Personnel Trainers in the Avance Academy.
Eff Kaar is a Taral (a force sensitive initiate) of the Jensaarai. She is also, as our attentive audience may know, sister of Sorel Kaar, former CEO of Czerka Corporation and Hortator of the Wraiths.
Varro Kaar is a Tribunus Militum of the Wraiths and is a member of an extended Kaar honor family - "kindred spirits serving the galaxy" as he himself put it. He was the first non Kel Dorian to join the Kaar-clan.
After the brief introduction Consuls have informed the reporters that they will be sharing the burden of the office equally and are already hard at work with the Coalitions Central Command streamlining the Academy-Experience for both Trainers and Trainees. They are also planning to continue to work closely with recruiters of various Avance Corporations as well as watch over the development of the Encyclopedia Avancia.
Concluding the press conference Consuls have apologized for having no time for Q and A and asked everybody to forward to them any suggestions on how to make the Civil Affairs Department better for everybody. Varro Kaar said with a smile, that he was quite sure that some sentient beings in our audiences will have a good input, with so many of them having gone through Academy. He added that he is looking forward to getting to know everyone and promised to stay in contact as he and Eff are figuring things out.
On the way out of Press Briefing Room I was able to ask Consuls about their reaction when they were approached about the position. Varro Kaar said, that he was flattered and wasn't really expecting it, but was nonetheless excited to be able to help out. He added looking at Eff, that he was glad she will be helping as this would have been a little overwhelming otherwise. Eff Kaar smiled and said that she felt honored by the nomination and will do her very best to ensure that recruits will come out highly skilled, bearing a large smile, proving their new loyalty to the Coalition. She glanced at Varro and added that she was also immensely grateful for Varro's patience, wisdom and strength. Eff Kaar concluded boldly that she trusts that new Consuls will make everybody proud of being a citizen of the Avance Coalition."
This was Aurora Drayson reporting for Avance News Network from the Hall of Houses on Endor’s Sanctuary Moon.