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This Day in History: The Walzer Massacre

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Brought to you by Pips. Experience 'Life Untapped'

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January 10, 2935 SET

Despite its discovery over five centuries ago, the Nexus System has maintained a reputation for being untamed territory, a distinction that has persisted to this day. The two most notable events to occur in the system this century not only have criminal connotations but are also connected.

The first incident was Kellar’s Run in 2931. Dean Kellar’s multi-system tussle with UEE law enforcement famously ended in the Nexus System. What had started as a simple dogfight had spiraled across multiple systems and involved dozens of ships of criminals, police and even civilians. The government’s inability to contain the incident brought into focus just how little control the Empire had over the Nexus System. Within months, the UEE Senate approved a measure to bring law and order back to the system.

One of the UEE’s first orders of business was reclaiming Nexus III. Across the naturally habitable planet, outlaw factions had moved into facilities abandoned by the Hathor Group. When the UEE assault began, feuding outlaw crews put their differences aside to defend their planet. The Horizon Crew became the de facto ringleaders and led this patchwork defense force in a spirited fight. Eventually, they were overmatched by the UEE military. Outlaws that didn’t flee were either captured or killed resisting.

The criminal diaspora spread to the dark corners of the Nexus System or slipped into one of the neighboring unclaimed systems. The Horizon Crew attempted to set up operations elsewhere but were rebuffed by larger syndicates controlling those sectors of space. That left them with only one acceptable option: fight to reclaim their turf in Nexus. Three years after Kellar’s run, on January 10, 2935, Nexus’s second notable event of the 30th century occurred: the Horizon Crew perpetrated the infamous Walzer Massacre.

Operation (OP) Station Demien was built in the 25th century to be an operations hub, transfer point and temporary housing location for government workers trying to terraform the smog planet of Nexus II. After the experimental terraforming techniques failed, the UEE eventually sold the entire system to the Hathor Group, which then used the station as a security outpost. Beginning in 2672, when the Hathor Group abandoned the system, various squatters and outlaw packs rotated through the station for the next few centuries. After the UEE pushed into the system, OP Station Demien became one of the first ‘secure’ stations in the extended police action. The station housed supplies and military families waiting for an official residence on Lago (Nexus IV). Yet, the station’s remote location and soft security made it an ideal target for the Horizon Crew’s ruthless plan.

January 10, 2935, started like any other day for those aboard OP Station Demien. Security personnel conducted their routine patrols around the station, but (based on security accounts), everything was quiet. Haulers offloaded supplies and stayed to enjoy a hot meal outside of their ship. Station staff restocked vending machines and reshuffled cargo containers for pick up. Little did they know, a stealth dropship silently drew nearer.

Meanwhile, in the temporary housing habs, the family of Advocacy Agent Emily Walzer received good news. A permanent residence on Lago had been secured for them, and a military transport on a supply run would bring them in the following day. Francis Walzer and his three children had been waiting at OP Station Demien for days. Though they knew the system was still dangerous, sweetheart land deals on Lago offered to government officials and their families were too good to pass up. Now that their lot had been secured, the family could all be together for the first time since Agent Emily Walzer transferred to Lago the previous year.

Following the call with his wife, Francis Walzer sent his son, Arjun, to grab a few bottles of Pips while he read to twins Joyce and Joanne. Arjun rushed out of the hab, as if going faster also accelerated time. Though only fourteen, Arjun wanted to join the Advocacy like his mother. Friends and family described him as observant and endless inquisitive, so the fact that he was the first civilian aboard the station to notice that things weren’t quite right seems fitting. At some point in his journey to the Pips machine, he became aware that the hallways were eerily quiet and that select security doors had been closed and elevators deactivated. Not long after, Arjun spotted the now-famous bloody handprint.

Ten minutes earlier, the station’s security officers had stepped away from their posts for a shift change. It was during that vulnerable window that a small squad of well-armed outlaws took the security team by surprise. Security footage showed that the speed and precision of the attack was such that none of the security officers even had a chance to raise their weapon.

With the station’s security apparatus under their control, additional Horizon Crew ships landed. Assault teams spread across the station, systematically moving from room to room and killing anyone they encountered. Many victims were found executed, a single shot in the back of the head, never knowing what hit them.

Supposedly, the Horizon Crew’s plan was to secretly take over OP Station Demien, fortify and secure it and then use it at a new center for their operations in the Nexus System. Essential to the plan’s success was ensuring that word of their assault didn’t leave the station. It would afford them the time to entrench and notify others that the station was now under their control. It almost happened too, if it hadn’t been for Arjun Walzer and that bloody handprint.

Over 20 different retellings of the Walzer massacre have appeared on the spectrum since this fateful day. Each one uses the iconic image of the bloody handprint that reportedly begins Arjun’s comm to his mother. Incredibly, Arjun stayed on the comm with his mother for nearly 50 minutes. With her guidance, he documented the horrors the Horizon Crew inflicted on the station and evaded the assailants. Arjun’s brave efforts continued until an outlaw noticed an unknown signal coming from the station and decided to hunt it down. Although the final moments of that fateful comm are known only by those who have seen it, there is one word consistently used to describe it: devastating.

Sadly, Arjun’s tragic demise was far from unique, as no one on OP Station Demien during the assault would survive it. Yet, thanks to Arjun’s bravery, local law enforcement officials received word of the assault and launched their counterattack before the Horizon Crew could fully enact their security plan for the entire station. A local militia was first on the scene but had little warning of what awaited them. Within moments of exiting their ships, most militia members found themselves caught in a kill zone. The outlaws’ strategically advantageous position proved to be too much for inexperienced local law enforcement to overcome, making it apparent that the UEE Marines were needed.

The Marine assault to retake OP Station Demien lasted six hours. The battle-hardened Horizon Crew fought for every last inch of space and surface. With nowhere else to go, the Crew knew their plan would either work or be their ultimate demise. Thanks to the Marines, it proved to be the latter. After three years of perceived progress against outlaw elements in the Nexus System, the Walzer Massacre, as it came to be called, was a stark reminder that there was much work still to be done.

Despite its impact on the UEE at the time, the Walzer Massacre is now only the second most famous thing associated with OP Station Demien. Today, it’s better known as a location in the popular video game Star Marine and the recent vid Star Marine 2: BloodLock. This distinction isn’t without controversy, as some believe InterDimension Software intentionally chose to base their game level on the station to stir controversy and receive free publicity for the title.

Regardless of its portrayal in popular culture, OP Station Demien still stands as a symbol of the battle to tame the Nexus System, and the events of January 10th, 2935, will remain an important chapter in the history of the system.

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