"Harmless prank" leads to massive battery shortage (UPDATED)
LONETREK - What began as a children's prank has blossomed into a minor crisis for a Caldari Steel Factory in the Anin system. The prank, initiated by two teenagers whose names have not been released by officials, has causes millions of ISK worth of damage and has left the station perilously low on Hydrogen Batteries, which it uses to power many of its non-essential functions.
The prank was meant to cause one of the teens' schoolmates to show up to classes the next day showing signs of inebriation and drug use. According to station officials, the teens opened a station access hatch during the station's designated "night" and planted a device that would turn a portion of the water into a highly potent antidepressant generally used to treat suicidal individuals. The teenagers, who found plans on GalNet and were inspired by a similar prank on a popular Gallente holoshow, planned for only the drinking water leading to their classmate's room to be affected.
However, due to their misunderstanding of the station's water management, the entire drinking supply was tainted. Within twenty-four hours, 95% of the station was drugged and experiencing a complete loss of inhibitions. As the few unaffected security officials and station personnel struggled to maintain control and discover the source of the problem, a variety of debauchery was happening throughout the station.
During the chaos, a group of chemists working for Caldari Steel broke into the station’s newly arrived Hydrogen Battery shipment. The chemists then used the majority of the batteries to construct a large number of hydrogen balloons and let them loose in the station’s two main central districts. The balloons, described by station energy manager Yasenya Mae as "very pretty" eventually leaked out their hydrogen before any could explode.
Despite the physical damage being minimal, the economic impact looks to be severe. "Those hydrogen batteries powered a lot of our non-essential systems," said Mae. "Life support, water recycling, and our factories... They’re all running. But our holoplayers, automatic doors, store signs, personal refrigeration, and the like all ran on the grid powered by those hydrogen batteries."
Due to the recent recession in the State, along with fears of terrorist attacks from the likes of the Brothers of Freedom, the station cannot merely order another shipment of batteries from its suppliers. "They’re already stretched thin," Mae explained. "The next time they would deliver them would be in two, three months at the quickest."
Though the situation isn’t an emergency, Mae said they don’t plan on waiting for that shipment. "We need those batteries. People are getting cranky, and cranky people don’t work well. I’ve had to eat dried rations for three days in a row, and I haven’t blow dried my hair since Monday! Frankly, it’s getting to be too much."
In order to relieve the station’s burden, the station’s financial managers have freed up a portion of the budget to purchase replacements from independent traders. Because of the urgent need for the batteries, they are being purchased at a rate of 587.51 ISK per unit. Mae says interested sellers need only carry the batteries to the station, orbiting Anin IX’s twelfth moon, and sell them through the normal market interface directly to her.
Currently, the station has not decided if it will press charges on the chemists or the teenagers. It’s expected that due to the circumstances, the chemists would not be convicted, while the teenagers are wards of the Caldari State creche program, and thus have no parents to hold accountable. The station is strongly considering banning the holoprogram that inspired the act from being viewed onboard.
Update: As of 01:00 on July 7th, all of the orders for the Hydrogen Batteries have been filled. Caldari Steel would like to thank all the individuals who hauled the batteries.