Every race season has those stunners. The shuttles that capture our attention. This year was no exception.

The S.T.S. Independence is part of Starling Labs, Tanner, Victory Class Landers. In development and refining for years now, Starling Labs continues to push the envelope on design and performance. Crafting a veritable masterpiece of mechanical art.

Even after suffering minor injury to the shuttle during the qualification run, and having to take a hit on their engines due to the time crunch, the Independence carried on and shattered records.

Piloted by a previous years place holder, Savannah Dewalt, the 28 year old pilot has aligned with Starling Labs since 2219, which saw her flying their Victory class lander, coming in third place in the 2219 races. The remainder of the S.T.S. Independence crew is shrouded in mystery.

I had the privilege of sitting down in a one-on-one interview with the heir to the Starling manufacturing empire, Harcort Starling, and it is abundantly clear that this project is one he is personally passionate about. Mr. Starling said, “The Independence essentially won that race and set a new Tanner Races all-time record with one arm, or one leg tied behind her back.”

While not shrinking back like a shy violet with his own company’s incredible achievement, Mr. Starling was quick to praise the efforts of the competitors, namely Sana and Rasil Shamon. They put on quite the show in their qualifying race in the Warp Shuttle Category, but due to a damaged landing gear early on in the actual race, missed out on placing in the competition this year. But stay tuned as we’re sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of these aspiring racers!

Mr. Starling said, “…the Shamons did a stunning job. They should be applauded for their efforts. The Tanner Races are better for the efforts of brave, independent teams like theirs.”

The creation of a prototype-design by Starling Labs, featuring Ship Number One, with the stunning display of performance in the 2222 Tanner races

When asked if the groundbreaking shuttle line was being developed for the general public, or yet another United Earth contract, Mr. Starling said, “The Victory class lander is a proprietary design and belongs to the Starling Corporation… The Independence is also the first newly designated vessel with a Tanner registry… Ship number one.”

While the conversation began with statistics and shooting the breeze about the races, it didn’t take long before I realized I was stumbling into something of far greater importance. This is an interesting twist in the ever evolving landscape, as the vessel is designated and dedicated to, and for, the protection of Tanner and surrounding areas. The first of its kind.

According to sources, and corroborated by Mr. Starling, U.E. ships and crews are spread thin this far out in the region while tackling critically important work elsewhere. Tanner Security, last year, became an official colonial militia under the umbrella of U.E., but Mr. Starling sees a larger picture. He states, “This is about where we go from here for the sake of human beings establishing their lives and livelihoods everywhere.” Speaking further of the Independence, Mr. Starling says, “while she continues to be redesigned and improved upon, work continues here at Starling Labs Tanner. In the meantime, the STS Independence is being dedicated to the protection of Tanner and the surrounding communities.”

The outer colonies have always been plagued with those who prey on the vulnerable. We have plenty of articles spanning back decades documenting the atrocities. What Mr. Starling has proposed, is revolutionary. A true gift. We can’t wait to read the next chapter in the love story of the S.T.S. Independence and the colony of Tanner.