Arcurio, Caldari Prime – As the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Caldari Prime was marked across the Caldari State yesterday, Storm Wind Strikeforce CEO Uken Nitsinen announced that his mercenary corporation would give staggered leave for almost all of its employees and contractors.
Mercenaries and administrative staff within Storm Wind Strikeforce are permitted fifteen days of leave with which to pay respects at the Operation Highlander Monument in the city of Arcurio on Caldari Prime. Mordu's Legion confirmed it is prepared to accept those mercenaries visiting the Caldari Prime demilitarized zone on the condition that they attend in a non-combat clone.
When asked for details, Nitsinen explained, "We cannot have our entire corporation leave all at once; we still have contracts to fulfill. However, as Operation Highlander is an important part of our heritage, allowing as many as possible the time necessary to pay their respects, however belated. Those still on the field and unable to disembark their current duties will be compensated generously."
Storm Wind Strikeforce is withholding specifics regarding the leave-schedule for security reasons. However, military experts and some within the Strikeforce ranks have expressed derision toward the move.
Employing over 160,000 direct staff alone, the scope of the operation has been called "utopian" and "naive" by analysts in the private military contracting industry. Many of Storm Wind Strikforce's mercenary contingent are taking advantage of the time off. However, some contractors and direct employees within Storm Wind Strikeforce have announced a refusal to accept the offering, instead opting to "sell back" the time credited them.
In an anonymous interview one mercenary said, "Fifteen days without pay would bankrupt me. The cost of biomass has skyrocketed ever since they started outsourcing privateers; they just die so much. It's fine if you lose a couple of clones, but if you get into a prolonged battle where you die a lot you have to pay the difference out of pocket. It isn't worth it."
Economists explained that the increase in the cost of biomass is a response to independent mercenaries leaving Molden Heath for greener pastures. In search of work, many freelancers have returned to former employment with contracting agencies within the empires. Destitute, they still cling to brazen, often suicidal tactics that prove impractical against the highly organized and trained forces within the core worlds. Often carrying the burden of many deaths, the availability of biomass provided by local markets dwindles, and the cost increases. The increased cost consequently affects all mercenaries.
Despite division among its forces, Storm Wind Strikeforce management remains committed to its offer, and has stated that it will honor the buyback of offered time at base price.