Quarantine Continues on Tennen VI; SAK Releases Initial Findings
Tennen – The Caldari Business Tribunal continues to enforce a quarantine around Tennen VI as Hyasyoda officials and experts from the School of Applied Knowledge investigate the disease which has ravaged the planet's crops over the last several weeks. Food prices on the planet itself have skyrocketed as wholesalers and distributors increased prices to encourage conservation, and some of the most perishable items have already disappeared from store shelves.
Lines outside the groceries of the planet's largest city, Muurskiota, were stretching for several hundred meters before doors opened yesterday morning, as residents lined up to restock their cupboards. Though planetary administrators say there is no danger of an actual food shortage, many locals are taking no chances. “My grocery bill has gone up almost fourfold in the last three weeks,” said Rinna Piyrko, one of the hopeful shoppers. “With the food processing plant shut down, my husband and I haven't been paid in two weeks. They are telling us not to hoard, but who can afford to wait if the quarantine continues for another month?”
Potential food shortages aren't the only problem residents are dealing with; the quarantine has ended all non-essential travel to or from the planet in order to safeguard offworld food sources. “I put in for a transfer to Kimotoro six months before this all started,” said mechanic Jaskaa Tatimala. “I've been waiting to move into the core systems for eight years, and I was finally up for an opening at a mining facility in Niyabainen, but the quarantine's screwed me over. I just got word last week that they'd had to take someone else to fill the position. How long am I going to have to wait for the next opportunity like that? Another decade? Come on.”
Captain Roki Tarpas, commander of the Corporate Police Force detachment tasked with maintaining order on and around the planet during the crisis, told us that so far there have been no serious threats to public safety. “I'm happy to report that despite the stress that planetary residents are no doubt under, we've had relatively few incidents of trouble on the surface. The only notable problem was last Wednesday's attack on a maglev cargo train by criminals intent on stealing food to sell on the black market, but it was easily repelled by CPF marines and all 34 perpetrators were killed or captured with no losses.” She declined to comment on reports that the planetary administration had been evacuated last week, saying that such matters were out of her jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Hyasyoda crop scientists and researchers from the School of Applied Knowledge continue to analyze the blight and believe they are only a week or so away from developing an antiviral agent to counteract the disease. “So far, our team has determined that there are two separate strains of the virus spreading on the planet. The Tennen-A strain appears to have been the originator. From what we can tell it manifested in several completely geographically distinct areas at once, acting on key gene sequences unique to a small number of hybrids,” said Dr. Eitar Hayona, the horticultural epidemiologist in charge of the SAK's team on the planet. “The Tennen-B strain appears to be a mutation, originating in the eastern part of the planet's smaller continent, and is at least five times more virulent than the A strain. In the lab, it shows the potential to spread to almost any grains and even some other loosely related plants. Containing the A strain was a relatively simple task, but the B strain is proving far more resistant.”
Insiders at Hyasyoda Corporation headquarters in Suroken say the corporation's legal department is already drafting charges to file with the Tribunal, anticipating that CPF forensic scientists will be able to determine the source of the blight in short order. However, according to Dr. Hayona, if it is in fact engineered, that may not be as easy as one might think. “There's literally dozens of entities who could have pulled this off, both inside and outside the State,” she said. “Every single one of them would be very careful to hide their tracks, especially when the Tennen-B strain looks to have gotten out of hand. It could take months, even years of research to narrow down the list of suspects.”