Concorde Takes a Dive

RING SHEPHERD - Residents of the Saturn Federation's capital were up in arms yesterday as word surfaced of the disastrous and costly failure of the Saturn Federation Authority's 'Project Concorde'.

Concorde, which involved the placement of sophisticated 'gunshot sensors,' capable of detecting the sound of gunfire, even when silenced, determining the calibre and model of the firearm, and alerting the necessary authorities, showed great potential, but sparked controversy due to its astronomical cost to taxpayers, as well as the intrusive nature of the sensors themselves.

"I assure you: The sensors remain passive unless gunfire is detected, and records only possible altercations," said SFA Commissioner David Fairfax when the project was unveiled.

CygnusSystems CEO Mike Hanssen was quick to voice the concern of the general public. "Police bugs in every corridor... I moved here from Mars to get away from that sort of thing! We won't stand for it!" Mr. Hanssen retracted his statement after the SFA offered Cygnus the estimated 2.9 billion credit contract to develop the sophisticated listening devices.

Despite initial success, sceptics were quick to point out that while general firearms offenses dropped 31 after the three Standard month trial period, and the number of average monthly gunshot victims were at a record low of twelve, the number of other violent criminal offenses had skyrocketed.

"It's as if all we've done is teach people how to kill the old fasioned way," said SFA Sgt. Yuri Kerensky, referring to the drastic increase in stabbings, stranglings, and other 'covert' killings. "At least people can hear a shootout up ahead. Innocent bystanders are wandering into gang wars without even realizing it, and being hit by throwing knives and poisoned darts!"

The surprise release of Cygnus' new line of photonic pistols last month marked what seems to be the final straw for Concorde. It is believed that this new miniturized 'blaster' technology - previously used only in space naval warfare - will quickly replace conventional ballistic arms, rendering the Concorde sensors obsolete.

"Defensive and offensive technologies have always been at war with each other," said Cygnus' Mr. Hanssen. "The only way to win in this war is to sell both." He then publicly offered to begin research on an advanced 'blaster-sensor' upgrade for Project Concorde. The SFA refused to comment at the time, and was assumed to have declined the second billion-credit contract.

While CygnusSystems' photonic pistols flood the markets of Ring Shepherd, Concorde monitoring and maintenence officers found themselves laid off or allocated to other duties, and sensors in the Old Quarter - often called the 'Dead Man's Zone' due to its uncontrollable crime rate - have fallen subject to vandalism and theft. Commisioner Fairfax yesterday declared Project Concorde a failure, and announced his resignation, effective next week. CygnusSystems' security director has been appointed as his replacement.