CORUSCANT, CORUSCA SECTOR----
Vigilantism on the rise
*A few bars of music play, the short and memorable opening theme for a Republic News Network broadcast*
Male News Anchor: Good evening. I’m Tykus Ondray.
Female News Anchor: And I’m Veeta Rokan.
Ondray: Welcome to your Six O’clock news broadcast this Prime Day.
Ondray: An interesting story from the Capital this week, as Coruscant Security reports a rise in its citizens taking up arms against crime.
Rokan: These vigilantes have increased in number tenfold since the first days of the blockade and, despite the new peace treaty, there seems to be no reduction in their activities. Let’s go to our correspondent at Coruscant, Maysandre Tark, for the full story.
*The camera cuts from the studio broadcast over to a young, female reporter standing inside some sort of office. Beside her stands an older, stern looking man, clad in the Coruscant Security Officer’s Uniform. Beside him, another man, dressed in the Zakuulan Enforcer’s garb.*
Tark: Thank you, Veeta.
Tark: I’m here in the Sector Seven headquarters for Coruscant Security, one of the areas most heavily affected by rioting and looting during the blockade, and now one of the sectors with the highest recorded incidents of vigilantism across the Capital.
Tark: With me now is Captain Foress Mitchum, and he’s kindly agreed to take some time from his busy schedule to discuss the impact of these people’s actions. Captain, thank you. Could you tell our viewers a little bit more about what vigilantism is, and what it means?
Mitchum: Mmmh… Vigilantes are… usually people that mean well, overall. They will identify an area where, perhaps, they feel that the official law enforcement options available to them aren’t responding quickly enough. This could be due to… an overwhelm of incidents, understaffing…
Tark: An overwhelmed force. It’d be safe to say that this was the case during the blockade?
Mitchum: That’s right. It was a hard time. There were a lot of people to keep safe, including my officers, but hunger and desperation… Well, it causes people to make bad calls. Keeping order was a monumental task.
Tark: And this is when you first noticed an increase in these vigilantes?
Mitchum: Aye, that’s right… Our officers were so stretched, there were often incidents that had to be classed as ‘low priority’... and this meant no CSF response for days, sometimes longer.
Tark: So these people saw an area where the CSF didn’t have the manpower to respond, and they decided to help.
Mitchum: I expect that’s how it started, aye. Usually just someone passing in the street decides to perform a good deed. Others made it a regular thing. We’ve even had cases of a few organised groups, donning masks and silly names like some kind of---
Tark: Isn’t this a good thing? Surely having these people helping out in times of need, when the CSF can’t be there, is a blessing?
Mitchum: No, not at all. There’s a fair step between helping a neighbour in need, and thinking you can take the law into your own hands. My officers train for years. All of them understand how our justice system works, how to remain within the law, how to ensure that a suspect is handled correctly and offered a fair and impartial trial. Then there’s evidence. Proof. What you often find is that these… these vigilantes lose sight of that. They think that they have the right to decide what is just, and, often, they end up breaking just as many laws as they think they protect. At that point, it isn’t about justice anymore.
Tark: So… these people, they’re actually breaking the law?
Mitchum: That’s right. They can, and they will, be held accountable. As they say it, the pathways to the dark are always paved with the very best intentions.
Tark: Thank you, Captain.
*She turns to the camera.*
Tark: I went out into the streets today, to see what the public felt about all this.
*The camera cuts to a pair of young women, in their late teens or early twenties. They are looking just past the camera to the reporter as she asks them a few questions.*
Tark: Ladies, thank you for stopping. I was wondering if you knew anything about the vigilantes operating in the city sector? How do you feel about them?
Girl1: Oh… like Slickshot and the Aces? They’re alright… a little bit…
Girl2: A bit silly? It’s alright for the kids, I think. They do a lot of ‘helping old ladies across traffic lanes’.
Girl1: Maybe it’s a romantic idea… people see them, and they like the idea of them, even if they don’t really…
Girl2: What about the other guys?
Girl1: Oh, like that one with the--?
Girl2: Yeah, yeah, we saw one guy take out a robber, few months back. Swiped some food from the rationing queue. I mean, that’s not okay, but shooting him like that was pretty… harsh.
Tark: So, do you think that vigilantes are a good thing, or a bad thing?
Girl2: I’m not sure, actually. It sounds good but… Aren’t they kinda above like…
Girl1: Above the law?
Girl2: Yeah, that can’t be… Very good.
Tark: So you think they ought to stop?
Girl1: Yeah… Yeah?
Girl1: Yeah, they should stop. I mean, they mean well, but they can’t be doing all---
Girl2: What about that one that saved you, though?
Girl1: Oh! … Does he count?
Tark: Wait… You’re saying one of these vigilantes saved you from something?
Girl1: Yeah! You remember the day the looters had a go at the school over on 6-J? The one for kids orphaned during the war. Well, we were there, watching outside. Aery was on hold trying to get through to the CSF but it was a pretty bad day for them, day after the lines broke.
Girl2: It was pretty bad. You could hear the kids crying and… I just think everyone was afraid to do anything. One guy tried and they just…
Girl1: And then there he was. He just came right out of nowhere. I thought he was with the military at first, till we saw him up close. Managed to bind four men to some fencing before the rest took off.
Tark: Did they get away?
Girl2: Yeah, and it’s her fault.
Girl1: It wasn’t my fault!
Tark: What do you mean? What happened?
Girl2: One of them pushed her off the side as he was legging it. Just hefted her right over the barrier into the skylanes. The vigilante... whoever it was… just broke off chasing ‘em and leapt right over the bar after her. Thought she was dead. Thought they both were.
Girl1: I thought I was! And then he caught me! Just… Just swept me up into his arms!
Tark: Goodness! How did you survive the fall?
Girl1: Well, that was it! He fired some sort of line or something. I don’t really remember. I had my eyes squeezed shut and then… Well, I looked up, and he was just holding me like…
*The young woman demonstrates, embracing her friend with one arm, holding the other above her head.*
Girl1: And I just gazed up at him as we spun there, slowly…
Girl2: And she’s been daft about it ever since.
*She wriggles from her friend’s hold, giving her a playful nudge.*
Girl2: Still thinks he’s going to come and sweep her off her feet again!
Girl1: I hope so! He's... he's dreamy.
Girl2: How do you know, you never took his helmet off!
Girl1: But he was looking at me, and I was looking at him, and he was holding me so tightly...!
Tark: I… Well, that’s a fascinating story! Do you remember what name your rescuer went by?
Girl2: We never got his name. Like... not a real name, or a 'hero type' one. He was just... him. Just there, really.
*The camera cuts back to the reporter, stood beside the CSF Captain. He stares over at a screen just out of view, presumably watching the report. He doesn’t seem particularly pleased about it. His attention snaps back as the reporter speaks.*
Tark: Well, that’s all we’ve got time for today. The Captain has kindly agreed to let me return again in the future as I follow their battle against these law breakers, and hopefully giving all of you at home some insight into the delicate balance of justice in the Capital. That’s all from me, and back to the studio.
*The camera returns once more to the pair of news anchors in the studio.*
Ondray: Thank you, Maysandre. Well… That was certainly an interesting watch.
Rokan: Indeed! I look forward to seeing how things develop next time.
Ondray: Mmm… Over to Alderaan now, for our next item…