September 17th 2013
By. Anna Folsen
Parker Terrell, controversial reporter for the New United NewsOrg and self-proclaimed “Voice of the People,” was found earlier this week in a cheap hauler hotel in Corel System after disappearing almost three months ago.
To even begin to try to comprehend the strangeness permeating this incident, we must go back to the beginning.
Mr. Terrell had recently become quite a fixture on the Spectrum. During an appearance on SSN/CAtv’s long-running debate show Showdown, he insinuated that the destruction of Ellis XI was actually a UEE test of a planet-killing weapon.
Debate exploded throughout the UEE, detractors proclaiming the incredible capriciousness of a reporter who would launch wild accusations without the slightest evidence. Meanwhile, his supporters rushed to his defense, claiming that the UEE has had a history mired in duplicity and corruption.
Both sides of the attention only seemed to encourage Terrell. He created an atmosphere of anti-UEE paranoia through his column as well as in his public appearances.
On 2943-06-30 SET, Emma Moses, Terrell’s editor at the New United, filed a missing persons report with the Prime Police Department claiming that Parker Terrell had not reported to work for the previous few days. Even more suspicious (according to the report), he had missed a panel at an industry conference where he was scheduled to speak.
Detective Nathan Cobb (PPD) was assigned Terrell’s case.
“The circumstances around Mr. Terrell’s disappearance are strange, to say the least,” said Detective Cobb in an interview three days after taking the case. “And we’re looking into all possibilities, but I’m afraid I can’t comment further on an ongoing investigation.”
The disappearance briefly sent ripples through the public, validating the notion – for some – that his conspiracy theories might actually be correct. As the months passed, some of his misguided followers even started throwing around the word “martyr”. This reporter can suggest a few more, with “coward” and “sensationalist” topping the list.
Fortunately, the furor did not last long, and the spotlight and public discourse turned to more impactful events. At the same time, any leads to Terrell’s whereabouts also tapered out, leaving Cobb chasing a ghost.
As Cobb expanded his investigation under provisional Advocacy powers, he turned to the public to help aid in the search. Unfortunately, sifting through the mountain of tips proved to be a Herculean task in itself.
Finally, on 2943.08.10, Cobb caught a break. Terrell’s Aurora, missing all along, was found outside Jele City on Vann. Hidden in a row of old factories, the persistently cold environment made it difficult to determine how long it had been abandoned there.
Cobb and his team were unable to extract any new information or leads from the ship, so it wasn’t long before the hunt stalled out again.
Chatter along the Spectrum seemed to echo Terrell’s conspiratorial spirit, blaming government death squads or even connecting him to the Spy Scandal. The public seemed to think that Terrell was never coming back.
The question of what happened to Parker Terrell was on its way to remaining unanswered forever. A puzzle unsolved.
Then, in possibly the most unspectacular way anyone could have anticipated, Parker Terrell was spotted.
Cobb received the tip from an unnamed Civilian who recognized Terrell as he was being forcibly extricated from the Cred ‘N Crash Hotel by the owner.
“Two weeks, he didn’t pay,” Hader Oshaw, the hotel owner, said via comm. “I said, hey man, you settle tomorrow. Tomorrow came and nada, so he’s out.”
It was a matter of days before Cobb finally got his hands on Terrell, caught trying to bribe his way aboard a cargo transport. Terrell was taken into custody, given a medical review and questioned. The reporter appeared to be unharmed when he was released later that day. Terra Gazette sources who wished to remain anonymous indicated that the Advocacy has not opened an investigation into Terrell’s disappearance and, in fact, has charged him and the New United with filing a false report.
Ms. Moses, Terrell’s editor, released a brief statement through the New United’s legal team. “First of all, we are relieved and grateful that Mr. Terrell was found safe and are conducting our own internal investigation into the nature of his unauthorized leave of absence and the circumstances that necessitated such drastic measures on his part.”
Though the case may be officially closed, questions remain: what caused this combative reporter to disappear? More importantly, why?
While the “Voice of the People” has remained quiet since his release, if one thing is to be believed about Parker Terrell, he won’t stay quiet for long.