01 OCT

Professor Ishmael Palin Responds to Proposal

Last week, The Voice of Varati published a message from the Canonn Interstellar Research Group, an independent scientific body, inviting Professor Ishmael Palin to join their organisation. Professor Palin recently made headlines when his Federation-backed programme to research the so-called anomalous extraterrestrial objects (or AEOs) was abruptly terminated. When asked for a response to the message, Professor Palin made his feelings clear:

"I admire the enthusiasm of the Canonn Interstellar Research Group, but I sense that our respective philosophies concerning the anomalous extraterrestrial objects are somewhat at odds with each other. So while I am flattered by their invitation, I feel I must decline."

Since the AEOs were first discovered, there has been considerable conjecture concerning their origin and purpose, but Professor Palin once again refused to participate in the speculation:

"The objects are certainly mysterious, and I can understand the impulse to speculate, but the fact is that we don't yet know anything definite about them. That is what our research was designed to address."

02 OCT

A Week in Powerplay

Edmund Mahon's policies have allowed the Alliance to achieve new levels of prosperity this week. With optimism and trading profits reaching new highs, it's never been better to be a part of the Alliance. Following the prosperity of the past week, two influential systems pledged their support to the Alliance, and the Council of Admirals reported successfully thwarting numerous incursions seeking to spoil the Alliance's blossoming golden age.

Arissa Lavigny-Duval's administration stabilized last week, but once again there is turbulence in her domain. As a result, four systems have begun to question whether Arissa's administration meets their needs. Some have questioned whether the difficulties plaguing Senator Lavigny-Duval's administration in recent weeks stem from her preoccupation with the closed session of the Imperial Senate, where the question of Emperor Hengist's successor is being decided.

Zachary Hudson's approval rating fell slightly this week, but overall the President maintained his standing in relation to other major powers. Heavy undermining took place throughout the President's territory, but overall the Federation fleets under Hudson's command weathered the storm well. The fly in the ointment this week came in the form of a complaint lodged by the Katurru system.

Felicia Winters endured setbacks in her attempt to forge diplomatic agreements during the past two weeks, but she also deflected serious opposition to her rule with aggressive community outreach and aid to systems in need. Her command capital reserves are not as deep as in recent weeks, but funding is available for media teams to spread liberal values to at least one system this week.

Li Yong-Rui was disappointed, as deals that would have incorporated additional systems into the Sirius portfolio fell through. Sirius's investors remain optimistic about the corporation's future performance, as deals with wealthy systems lie on the horizon. With the ongoing study of Sothis Crystalline Gold, Sirius stocks are soaring.

Following the negative press surrounding the potential involvement of one of the Aisling's patrons in the Emperor's assassination, two systems pulled support a week ago, followed by four additional systems this week. The People's Princess now looks forward to the events of the coming week, and the decision of the senate on the matter of the Imperial succession.

Zemina Torval made great strides, as her enterprise expanded its influence into three valuable systems. With this news, the elderly senator has demonstrated her frailty is a figment of her detractors' imaginations. With a vast command capital reserve, Senator Torval is in a strong position to offer several systems the opportunity to become preferred trading partners this week.

Denton Patreus fought to stabilize his territory this week, following recent conflicts with Emperor's Dawn. The cost of the conflicts, combined with regular undermining in the Senator's territory, led to the loss of one key system, although three others that had been in turmoil were retained. The senator now looks to recoup some of the strength that was spent, and to take positive steps leading to a stronger future.

Pranav Antal authorized Utopians to send humanitarian aid to the Munshin system to support the displaced Pegasi Sector citizens. Polevnic's finest commanders sallied forth, crossing hundreds of light years to deliver much-needed medical supplies. The emphasis placed on this mercy mission came at the cost of further advancement of Utopian ideals in surrounding systems.

Archon Delaine and his ruthless crew met with success this week as they brought the resistance force of HIP 106072 to its knees. Those who resisted paid the inevitable price in blood, their families sold into slavery. The expansion of the Kumo Crew comes as a blow to those who have fought for months to end the tyranny of the pirate lord. Analysts now suspect the harassment of refugee ships served as a distraction that allowed the Kumo Crew to conquer this remote world.

Scandal Rocks Chancellor Anders Blaine

Little has been heard from Princess Aisling Duval since it was revealed that one of her key advisors, Patron Damon Clarke, was connected to Emperor's Dawn. She has reportedly cooperated with both the Senate and IISS investigations into the allegations, and has vehemently denied any prior knowledge of the link.

That changed this morning with the shattering announcement of her own investigation's findings. In a statement, Princess Aisling revealed that some of Chancellor Anders Blaine's past advisors were connected to the same members of Emperor's Dawn as Patron Damon Clarke. She also highlighted that while Patron Clarke's connection to Emperor's Dawn was historic, those within the Chancellor's team were more recent.

She concluded by listing the names of those implicated. Princess Aisling Duval has not yet released evidence of the connections.

Chancellor Anders Blaine denied all knowledge of any connection, and refused to comment further.

Preparation for 'Bacon Protests' Anniversary Underway

Today, a spokesperson for the Bacon Cats, a cooperative of independent pilots, addressed plans to host a spectacular celebration to mark the upcoming anniversary of the so-called 'Bacon Protests'. The spokesperson, Julissa Silver, released the following statement:

"It's true that we're planning something special. We invite everyone to come together, in a spirit of celebration, to commemorate the repeal of the ill-thought-out and short-lived prohibition laws here in the Carnoeck system. There will be many historic exhibits and displays, but most importantly there will be free bacon and libations for all visitors."

Import demands in Carnoeck have hit new highs in recent weeks, and demand for goods continues to rise while locals speculate about the nature of the celebrations. One shuttle pilot was quoted as saying: "Beer and liquor are flying out of depots faster than pilots can bring them in! It's going to be one heck of a party."

Members of the Bacon Cats have said that the celebrations will be positive and respectful, but some news outlets have raised concerns about the event, predicting astronomical policing costs, and speculating that it could attract pirates and other unwanted elements to the Carnoeck system.

Commander Andius Solon

03 OCT

Emperor's Dawn: What does it stand for?

Since news of Emperor's Dawn first emerged, there has been extensive speculation about the group's agenda. That the organisation wants to destabilise the Imperial power base seems highly likely, given that it was almost certainly responsible for the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval, but the specifics of its ambitions have remained unclear.

Propaganda material disseminated by Emperor's Dawn has been thoroughly examined, but the generalities it contains, and the vague promises of returning Imperial society to 'traditional values', have done little to illuminate the group's philosophy. Some commentators have suggested that the organisation may be deliberately avoiding making an explicit statement for fear of discouraging potential recruits. After all, if you are intentionally vague about what you stand for, people may assume you stand for the same things they do.

All this has changed, however, with the recovery of an internal Emperor's Dawn statement, released by an individual claiming to be a former member of the organisation. The following text is taken verbatim from the document:

"The Empire has become irrevocably decadent, and stands at a vast remove from the noble ideals that birthed it. In anticipation of its inevitable collapse, we, Emperor's Dawn, Heralds of the New Imperial Age, have compiled the following edicts, to be delivered to the Empire at an appropriate time. We demand that Emperor's Dawn be free to determine the appointment of a new Emperor, that the corrupt and amoral Imperial Senate be immediately disbanded, and that the equivocation and leniency that has neutered the Imperial military be stamped out, to be replaced with a philosophy of total martial conviction."

The identity of the individual who provided the information is not known, but it is understood that Imperial security experts believe the material to be genuine. The office of Senator Denton Patreus responded to the release of the document with a brief statement:

"This information does not change the Senator's position regarding Emperor's Dawn. It is an enemy of the Empire, and it will be destroyed."

04 OCT

Pioneer Returns from the Depths

On the 5th of January 3301, an explorer by the name of Commander Kommodore set off to visit Sagittarius A* in his Eagle-class starship – the first known attempt to reach the core in such a vessel.

Nothing more was heard from this intrepid explorer until this week, some ten months later, when his trusty Eagle finally returned to a friendly starport. The Commander was said to have a made a rough landing due to the time that had elapsed since he last experienced docking procedures.

During his ten-month mission, believed to be one of the longest on record, the explorer catalogued information on almost 3,900 star systems, and was awarded a staggering 123 million credits from Universal Cartographics for the data he amassed.

Core Dynamics, manufacturers of the Eagle Mk II, has expressed an interest in having Commander Kommodore's ship permanently berthed for posterity, and to show just how durable this little ship is.

Commander Erimus

Chancellor Anders Blaine Issues Statement

In the early hours of this morning, agents of the Imperial Guard and IISS arrested several members of Chancellor Anders Blaine's staff. He later released a statement:

"It deeply pains me that members of my staff have brought such shame to my name and office. I regret to admit that Princess Aisling Duval's accusations are true, and that members of my staff have been instrumental, albeit without my knowledge, in conducting a campaign of slander against the Princess.

"I take full responsibility for the actions of those in my employ, and offer my full and unconditional apologies to Princess Aisling."

It is difficult to predict how this development will affect the succession vote. On the one hand, the Chancellor's link to Emperor's Dawn will inevitably damage his standing, despite his apparent ignorance of the connection. On the other, his contrition may go some way toward salvaging his reputation.

05 OCT

Fuel Rats Complete 2,000th Rescue

In the 38 days since the Fuel Rats' last made headlines, the group has rescued a further 1,000 ships, bringing the total number of Commanders saved from a frustrating insurance experience to 2,000.

Financial experts have speculated that this service could have saved the Galactic economy as much as 1 billion credits in insurance buyback premiums, not counting the value of lost cargo, exploration data, and bounty vouchers.

In a statement, the Fuel Rats extended special congratulations to Commander KitsuneThe Fluff and Commander Radlock for each achieving 100 individual rescues, with Commander KitsuneThe Fluff being the first to achieve this distinction. Commander Radlok was also singled out for praise after completing 100 rescues in just 45 days.

On behalf of the galaxy at large, we thank you for your service, Commanders. The dedication you have shown in saving your fellow spacefarers from misfortune is to be applauded.

Commander Ceska Zbrojovka

Radio Sidewinder News

Imperial Succession Vote in Senate Today

Today is the last day of deliberation for the Senate over the question of who will become the next Emperor. By law, the Senate must announce the new Emperor by a clear majority decision tomorrow. Meanwhile, many are asking how a group like Emperor's Dawn could establish so many high-level contacts, and keep such a widespread extremist organisation secret for so long. It is clear that the new Emperor, whoever it may be, will be faced with challenges from the moment he or she assumes the throne.

Chancellor Blaine was considered the strongest candidate for the throne, particularly given the deadlock between Princess Aisling Duval and Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval. But the recent revelation of his indirect connection to Emperor's Dawn leaves the two women as the most convincing contenders. The Princess's chances were dealt a blow by the revelation of her own connections to Emperor's Dawn. With Senator Lavigny-Duval receiving public support from Senators Patreus and Torval, some believe she has an advantage. Overall, however, the two are too closely matched to be able to confidently call a winner.

06 OCT

Senate Declares Arissa Lavigny-Duval Emperor

Standing on the steps of the Senate building, Chancellor Anders Blaine announced the Senate's decision on the succession. In a historic selection, and as a result of a clear majority vote, Arissa Lavigny-Duval will be the next ruler of the Empire. She will be the first female leader of the Empire since Marlin Duval founded the original colony on Achenar in the 23rd Century, although she will carry the title 'Emperor' rather than 'Empress'. Such an appointment would have been impossible prior to the reign of Hengist Duval due to an ancient decree that all Imperial rulers be male, but a ruling passed by the late Emperor early in his reign did away with this generations-old tradition.

The news has been almost universally celebrated, and even Princess Aisling Duval offered her support for the appointment. The celebrations are likely to continue until the coronation ceremony in a week's time.

Not everyone agrees with the Senate's decision, however. In a statement, Emperor's Dawn declared the selection of Arissa Lavigny-Duval "a desecration of the traditions of the Empire". The organisation has vowed not to allow the ceremony to happen.

Remembering the Victims of the Cerberus Plague

The Cerberus Plague was one of the most devastating outbreaks to blight the galaxy for generations, devastating dozens of systems and affecting countless worlds. Official figures place the death toll at over 100,000.

As of today, however, the disease is officially considered extinct. Carl Simmons, the specialist who led research into a cure, has confirmed that no new outbreaks of the plague have been reported since early August, and that the disease can therefore be considered eradicated.

This announcement follows months of work from medical teams across the galaxy, who – with the support of many independent pilots – have laboured tirelessly to deliver the Cerberus antidote to those affected by the plague.

To mark this event, and in remembrance of those who lost their lives to the Cerberus Plague, officials at Hart Station have commissioned a special memorial. Governor Albrecht, administrator of Hart Station, unveiled the monument with the following words:

"It is my solemn duty to dedicate this memorial to the many men, women and children whose lives were claimed by the Cerberus Plague. Their light may be gone from the galaxy, but they will live on in our hearts."

08 OCT

The Master Chefs - Truth or Hoax?

An anonymous message has been delivered to a number of news feeds claiming that clandestine genetic experiments are being carried out in Noti system. The message, which was delivered in the early hours of the morning, asserts that an unnamed organisation has secretly created a new strain of slave labour. The full contents of the message are as follows:

"I don't know what they're called – they hide behind various dummy companies – but I know what they're doing. They target people that match a specific genetic template, and kidnap them when they're just kids. Then they subject them to the most punishing, dehumanising training imaginable. By the end of it, the subject is barely even human. Their compassion and empathy have been completely hammered out of them. All that's left is the desire to cook. They call these creations...the Master Chefs."

Is the message legitimate, or is it just an imaginative hoax? We leave you to decide.

Federal Times Reporter Lends Weight to 'Master Chef' Story

Earlier today, an anonymous message was delivered to a number of news feeds claiming that secret genetic experiments were being conducted in the Noti system. Many commentators dismissed the message as a hoax, but now it seems the claims may have a basis in reality. Marc Garfield, a reporter for the Federal Times, has allegedly seen the so-called 'master chefs' first hand, and the encounter clearly made an impression:

"There's a secret training facility at Weber Gateway – I managed to sneak in through an air vent. In one room I saw a bunch of slaves chopping vegetables, blindfolded, while a deafening alarm went off. If the slaves dropped below a certain rate of efficiency or precision, they were given an electric shock. In another room they were navigating an assault course while making a soufflé. At least I think it was a soufflé – I'm not an expert. I've never seen anything like it."

Garfield is a respected journalist, and his testimony lends considerable credibility to the 'master chef' story. The journalist also claims that the appeal from the Revolutionary Noti Value Party for Aganippe Rush has been coordinated by the organisation that created the master chefs, and he has suggested that the appeal may be part of an initiative to bring the gourmet slaves to market as a tradable commodity.

The Bacon City Hangover

Last week, the starport of Bacon City played host to the inaugural Bacon Protests anniversary celebrations, which commemorated the repeal of the meat ban that affected citizens of the Carnoeck system in 3288. Revellers from across the galaxy descended on Bacon City to join in the fun, and hundreds of independent pilots ferried animal meat and narcotics to the starport to fuel the festivities.

The event was not without problems, however, as the steady stream of traders and party goers attracted pirates and other disruptive elements to Bacon City. At one point, the starport was blockaded by an animal-rights group, who ordered ships carrying animal meat to jettison their cargo at gunpoint.

A spokesperson for United Carnoeck for Equality, the event's sponsors, released the following announcement:

"For the most part the celebrations have been a huge success, but an event like this is bound to attract a few unsavoury elements. Fortunately we anticipated such an eventuality, and set aside some money for the post-party cleanup. So if you're a bounty hunter and you want to help clear the spaceways around Bacon City, get yourself to the Carnoeck system! We'll make it worth your while."

More Emperor's Dawn Bases Found

Two weeks ago, the Imperial Internal Security Service issued a request for exploration data as part of its ongoing effort to locate bases belonging to the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn. The request resulted in a raft of fresh astrological data, which has since been subjected to rigorous analysis by the IISS. This in turn has produced a list of star systems that the IISS believes contain Emperor's Dawn bases: Namarii, Tabaldak, LTT 874, Shambhala and Svari.

Some commentators have expressed surprise at the Empire's decision to release the information, given its importance to the Imperial campaign, but Senator Denton Patreus, who is leading the fight against Emperor's Dawn, has no reservations:

"Surprise is not a significant factor at this stage of the campaign. Let the insurgents prepare for our arrival. They cannot hope to withstand the full might of the Empire. We will crush them."

Having already eradicated an Emperor's Dawn cell in Maausk, it is assumed that the Empire will soon launch military campaigns against the remaining insurgent bases.

09 OCT

Increased Security on Capitol

With Emperor's Dawn threatening to sabotage the Imperial coronation ceremony, and the Emperor's assassination still casting a pall over the city, security for the ceremony has been drastically increased. Naval infantry, local police and Imperial Guard units are already patrolling the streets of Capitol and conducting security checks. One Navy contact revealed that this was likely to be one of the largest deployments of Naval troops in decades.

The population has responded positively to the increased security measures, with many locals claiming they would accept any level of protection to prevent another occurrence like the murder of the Emperor.

The security extends beyond Capitol's surface, and in contrast to the Emperor's funeral, only invited guests or those with the appropriate permits will be allowed to enter the Achenar system. This has upset some offworld citizens who wanted to witness the procession first hand, but like the people of Capitol they have demonstrated understanding.

A Week in Powerplay

Edmund Mahon remains optimistic despite the projections of some economic analysts, citing the fact that the Alliance still boasts the most profitable economy of any power. Despite the pessimistic reports, influential systems are still flocking to the Alliance, with two more joining in the past week. The coming weeks will validate the opinion of either the Prime Minister or the critical analysts.

Arissa Lavigny-Duval experienced a momentous week in several ways, particularly her recent confirmation as the next Emperor. Only the threats of Emperor's Dawn appear to stand in her way now. The past week saw the closing of the embassy with the Sirius Corporation at Sietae. Relations between the Sirius Corp. and the Empire remain friendly. Four additional key systems subscribed to the protection of the Shield of Justice in the past week.

Felicia Winters's approval rating has surpassed that of President Hudson for the first time in over a month. With a marked dip in opposition figures, Shadow President Winters was able to build up a command capital reserve that will serve her forces well in the coming week.

Zachary Hudson's approval rating fell again this week as the Katurru system formally rejected the protection of Federation fleets. President Hudson's fleets more than compensated for the loss of Katurru by establishing bases of operation in three additional systems. The advent of the Close Quarters Combat Championship remains a wild card for the President - his public endorsement of CQC as a recruitment tool for the Federation Navy may lead to a rise in approval in the near future.

Li Yong-Rui has put SiriusGov on track for steady growth. This week has seen the assets of one additional control system brought into the Sirius portfolio. Many investors would hope for more rapid growth and quick profits, but many shareholders recognize the value of a steady future of tempered growth. Li Yong-Rui appears most interested in the latter.

Aisling Duval dealt with the results of the Senate's decision on the Imperial succession with grace, offering her support to the pronouncement, and popular opinion of the People's Princess appears to be on the rebound.

Zemina Torval brought two profitable systems into her enterprise during the past week, ensuring yet another week with a high command capital reserve. Trade routes in Senator Torval's territory reportedly rival those of the Alliance. Things continue to look good for the wizened senator.

Denton Patreus returned to Eotienses this week after a month in Achenar for the closed session of the Senate. His fleets appear to have recovered from recent weeks of conflict with Emperor's Dawn just as new Emperor's Dawn bases have been discovered in five systems. In anticipation of the coming engagements, fortification projects in the Senator's systems are currently in full swing.

Archon Delaine and the Kumo Crew claimed another system, the second week of expansion in a row. Analysts of the war effort in the Pegasi Sector have questioned the effectiveness of the Imperial expeditionary fleets and the voluntary forces that have opposed the Kumo Crew. Criminal activity has been spotted, spurring insurrections this week in two influential Federal systems and one Imperial system.

Pranav Antal now governs an impressive 43 control systems. The achievement is even more remarkable when one considers that mere months ago the vision of Utopia was shared by a mere handful of systems. Many doubted whether Antal's vision for the future would gain any traction, but he has proven beyond all doubt that the ideals of Utopia are more enticing than originally believed.

Olympus Corp Thanks the Fuel Rats

Commander F-Zlim was on the home stretch of a six-month galactic tour when a CO2 leak knocked him out. When he woke to the blare of alarms, his ship, the 'Korblah', was out of fuel. Using long-range comms, F-Zlim notified fellow Commanders at the exploration arm of the Olympus Corp. that he had exactly two minutes and 48 seconds of air remaining. Using the last of the ship's backup battery, he transmitted his final location via the captain's log module, and then he called the Fuel Rats.

"I had 50 seconds of oxygen left when the first refuel drone arrived," said Commander F-Zlim. "It was the most exhilarating and frightening experience in the six months of my journey. The Fuel Rats saved me and I am eternally grateful."

In recognition of for their valiant service, the Olympus Corporation has chosen to award the first-ever Korblah Medal to Commanders Orphius and Lokda Babybel of the Fuel Rats.

Commander Soundwave

11 OCT

Who is Funding Emperor's Dawn?

As the war between the Empire and Emperor's Dawn continues, an increasing number of political commentators are asking the question: where does the organisation get its money?

Since the military campaign began, the Empire has expended substantial resources fighting the insurgents, but for the most part Emperor's Dawn has managed to match the strength of the Imperial offensives, and this ability to resist the Empire suggests that the organisation has access to significant levels of funding. Several weeks ago it was revealed that Emperor's Dawn had at one time received backing from D and C Shipping, Inc., an organisation belonging to the Imperial patron and industrialist Damon Clarke, but the connection between the two organisations is believed to have been severed some time ago.

Verifiable details are scarce, but an anonymous source within the Empire has shared suspicions that Emperor's Dawn could have a benefactor in the corporate world. If this is true, it raises the question of what kind of company would support an organisation like Emperor's Dawn, and what it might hope to gain from such an association.

The IISS was approached for comment, but it replied only by saying it was "pursuing all available leads".

12 OCT

Prime Minister Mahon Holds Influence over 1,000 Systems

The office of Edmund Mahon has announced the signing of the Prime Minister's one thousandth trade agreement. This is a momentous achievement for the Prime Minister and his supporters, and a testament to the hard work and dedication of independent pilots throughout the Alliance. The achievement is impressive given the Prime Minister's relatively small number of supporters. It is also important to remember that Mahon's space doesn't have the reach of the combined borders of the Federation, and has far less than the Empire. It is evidence that the Alliance should be counted among the galaxy's major powers, and a pointed reminder that it intends to maintain its autonomy.

Commander NOIR1787

Alioth Guardian | Interstellar Press

Emperor's Dawn Connected to Universal Cartographics Security Breach

Exploration activity has been brought to a near standstill after a data-encrypting firmware bug threatened to compromise recently acquired astronomical data. A spokesperson for Universal Cartographics released the following statement:

"Commanders started noting discrepancies between the exploration records stored in their ship systems and their own personal records. When we investigated, we found that one of our contractors has purposely altered a recent firmware update that was applied to all discovery and surface scanners. We also found that the contractor had a connection to Emperor's Dawn. An arrest warrant has been issued, and our staff worked through the weekend to recover the encrypted data and replace the compromised firmware."

It has been speculated that the sabotage was designed to hamstring the IISS's efforts to locate Emperor's Dawn bases using exploration data.

Commander Fionn Mac Cumhaill

13 OCT

Elegance in Simplicity

Gutamaya Shipyards' latest vessel, the Imperial Eagle, is now available for purchase for any pilot holding the appropriate rank in the Imperial Navy, and positive consumer feedback is already flooding in.

Commander Corrigendum, operating in the Prism system, said: "The Imperial Eagle is a blast to fly. It handles beautifully and has looks to match. I was able to stick on the tail of an Imperial Courier during combat exercises. It's a great addition to the Gutamaya portfolio." Commander Stateira 'Starcloak' Eleshenar added: "I love my Eagle, so I was curious to see if Gutamaya could improve on Core Dynamics' classic design. Now I've taken it out a few times, I'm happy to say it retains all the sublime responsiveness of the Eagle, and packs a harder punch in combat."

When asked about the secret of Gutamaya Shipyards' success, lead engineer Ines Allende responded: "Elegance in simplicity. We kept the core design that made the Eagle Mk II great and simply tinkered with a few key elements."

Commander Stateira "Starcloak" Eleshenar

Jameson Memorial Review | Interstellar Press

Canonn Interstellar Research Group Announces Breakthrough

After months of research, scientists working for the Canonn Interstellar Research Group observed a change in the transmissions emanating from the so-called 'unknown artefacts', also known as 'anomalous extraterrestrial objects' (or AEOs). Now the organisation believes it has decoded at least part of these strange transmissions. Startlingly, the messages appear to contain schematic diagrams of the ships being used to study the objects.

The breakthrough came when Commander Mike Juliett Kilo was inspired to channel a pre-recorded AEO signal into an antique scanner display system he happened to be transporting. "I was prepared to see an alien face or Thargoid warship," he said. "I certainly didn't expect to see a Vulture, especially as I was flying one at the time! It sent shivers down my spine."

As the number of AEOs encountered in the Aries Dark region increases, the debate over the objects continues.

15 OCT

The War against Emperor's Dawn Continues

Following the Empire's recent discovery of five additional Emperor's Dawn bases, Senator Denton Patreus has despatched military fleets to three of the systems occupied by the insurgents: Namarii, Tabaldak and LTT 874. The Senator has also authorised a number of Empire-aligned factions to reward pilots who join the fight against Emperor's Dawn. The insurgents, meanwhile, have responded in kind, promising to reward pilots who help repel the Imperials.

Some news feeds have speculated that the Senator's actions are designed not only to maintain the pressure on Emperor's Dawn, but also to minimise the chances of the insurgents disrupting Arissa Lavigny-Duval's forthcoming coronation.

The outcome of the battle is by no means certain, but one thing is for sure – the wider conflict between the Empire and Emperor's Dawn is far from over.

Sirius Corporation Announces New Programme

Earlier this year, the Sirius Corporation expanded into the systems of HIP 8396, Almagest, Sothis, Ceos, and Robigo. At the time, a number of economists predicted that these systems would witness dramatic change after being brought under Sirius Corp. control, but in fact the affected systems have remained much the same, with citizens reporting little difference to their everyday lives.

It seems, however, that the Sirius Corporation might simply have been biding its time. In a statement released today, Li Yong-Rui, the CEO of the Sirius Corp., announced ambitious plans to revitalise his company's new holdings:

"Over the coming weeks, the Sirius Corporation will subsidize a number of initiatives designed to revive the social and economic health of our new territories. These initiatives, which will rely heavily on support from independent contractors and pilots, will reinvigorate the economies of the affected systems, and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity for our compatriots."

Roberta Unwin, an economist who regularly contributes to the Money Matters news feed, commented on the announcement:

"Wealthy organisations often expand into new areas without any immediate plans in mind. Sometimes it's because they think the area will become profitable – other times it's done to undercut a rival. It's called speculative expansion. It's actually rather common, although it usually takes place on a much smaller scale."

It appears the Sirius Corp. is eager to get started. The first of its initiatives is due to begin today, with the company appealing to independent pilots to deliver osmium to the HIP 8396 system, and promising to reward participants generously.

Gifts for the New Emperor

On Sunday, Arissa Lavigny-Duval will be crowned Emperor. Preparations for the coronation are almost complete, and the population of Capitol is eagerly awaiting the inauguration of the Empire's first female ruler. To mark this prestigious occasion, the future Emperor has invited galactic citizens to bring her gifts in exchange for certain incentives. In a statement, Lavigny-Duval said:

"It has long been a tradition for Imperial citizens to bestow gifts upon their new ruler. For the first time, and in keeping with the inclusive philosophy I intend to cultivate, I am extending this invitation to all galactic citizens. Anyone who wishes to do so may deliver coronation gifts, in the form of slaves, to Achenar."

The request for slaves is likely to invoke the ire of anti-slavery groups, but the Empire has underscored the fact that all slaves – not only Imperial slaves – will be accepted. This means that any non-Imperial slaves brought to Achenar will be reclassified as Imperial slaves, which will almost certainly improve their quality of life.

Pilots who respond to the request will be offered discounts on Imperial ships, as well as being granted access to vessels that would ordinarily require a rank in the Imperial Navy. The permit restrictions on Achenar have also been temporarily lifted to allow pilots to deliver gifts to the future Emperor.

Carnoeck System Clean up Nearly Over

Last week, United Carnoeck for Equality issued a public appeal for help in clearing the Carnoeck system of pirates and other disruptive elements. The agitators had congregated in the Carnoeck system in the wake of the Bacon Protests anniversary celebrations, and were harassing traders and revellers travelling to and from Bacon City.

The response to the appeal was overwhelmingly positive, with hundreds of combat pilots taking to their ships and heading for the Carnoeck system. The resulting conflict lasted for several days and raged throughout Carnoeck, and ultimately succeeded in routing the disruptive elements. United Carnoeck for Equality will soon be issuing rewards to pilots who helped to clear the spaceways of agitators.

Appeal for Aganippe Rush Comes to an End

The Revolutionary Noti Value Party, a group based in the Noti system, recently issued an open contract for Aganippe Rush, a rare commodity found only in the Aganippe system. Although the faction chose not to publicise the reason for the request, the response was positive, with hundreds of independent pilots making the journey to Aganippe to gather quantities of the unusual commodity. Authorities at Weber Gateway, were the deliveries were taken, even had to take on additional staff to deal with the influx of trade ships.

A spokesperson for the Revolutionary Noti Value Party released a brief statement:

"We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to this initiative. Aganippe Rush is not a widely available commodity, and we appreciate the lengths pilots went to in order to deliver it to us at Weber Gateway."

The Revolutionary Noti Value Party was asked to elaborate on the reason for its request, but the organisation declined to respond.

16 OCT

A Week in Powerplay

Edmund Mahon has proven last week's naysaying economists wrong. The economic juggernaut that is the Alliance of Independent Systems now exerts influence over more than 1,000 systems – a tremendous milestone for the fledgling superpower, which only recently celebrated 70 years of existence.

Arissa Lavigny-Duval's days have been largely consumed by preparations for her coronation ceremony, but she has also made time to direct the efforts of the Shield of Justice. The Emperor-to-be oversaw massive fortifications during the past week, with 50 systems secured against little opposition. Everything appears to be in order for the coronation ceremony this weekend.

Zachary Hudson amassed an enormous command capital stockpile in the previous week, alongside an increase in approval rating. Federal Navy recruitment levels are also at an all-time high, with many attributing the increased interest in the Navy to the CQC Championships.

Felicia Winters and the liberal arm of the Federation have stockpiled sufficient resources to establish bases in a handful of systems, which will serve as staging points for future aid programs. Mangwe became one such base of operation during the past week.

In the past week, Aisling Duval's supporters convinced the population of an influential system to support the people's princess, and her public-relations machine now appears primed to persuade additional systems to join Aisling's cause.

Li Yong-Rui recently announced an initiative to bolster the economy of the distant colony of HIP 8396. This program comes at an odd time for Sirius, as profits fell during the past week, resulting in strained business relations with two systems.

Denton Patreus has at last established a small cushion of command capital with which to exert additional influence over systems bordering his territory. The elimination of Emperor's Dawn remains among the Senator's top priorities, and as his fleets deploy, fortifications are underway to guard against further expansion of the insurgent organization.

Zemina Torval's enterprises suffered some setbacks this week, resulting in turmoil for one popular trade system. Given the Senator's recent track record, economic analysts are not overly concerned about trade in her systems, and expect this to be a minor hiccup.

Pranav Antal continued Utopia's quiet march through civilized space with the addition of the Xi Wang Mu system. Antal now has a modest command capital reserve with which to expand the vision of Utopia.

Archon Delaine's attempts to exploit additional systems were denied this week, as system defence forces repelled Kumo Crew-backed insurrectionists. The spider of the Pegasi Sector is already spinning webs to ensnare additional systems. It remains to be seen whether the renewed offensive against Emperor's Dawn will weaken the Imperial resistance to the Pirate Lord.

Commander Corrigendum

Technical Trouble in the Warkushanui System

Reports coming in from the Warkushanui system indicate that a number of starports in the region are currently experiencing technical issues. According to Sam Norris, a technician at Coats Hub, the system's inhabitants are dealing with a range of problems:

"We've had power outages, intermittent problems with our communications, and issues with the docking systems, but I've reason to believe that things are worse at Gurragchaa Gateway. I haven't been able to establish a stable comms link with them for a while, though, so I don't know exactly what the situation is."

Norris was asked what he thought might be causing the problems:

"Beats the hell out of me. The generators are fine and I haven't identified any infrastructure issues, so we'll need to run some tests before we can be sure."

The issues in Warkushanui are not believed to be affecting station services at this time.

18 OCT

Arissa Lavigny-Duval Crowned Emperor

Today, dawn broke above an expectant Capitol as Imperial citizens awaited the coronation of the first female Emperor (the Imperial Senate having determined that 'Emperor' should be used for both male and female rulers). It looked like the entire population had come to witness the procession of Arissa Lavigny-Duval through the city to the Imperial Palace.

The crowd's excitement was palpable, but it was undercut by uncertainty over whether the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn would succeed in disrupting the coronation ceremony, as they claimed they would. There have been rumours that Emperor-to-be Arissa refused to travel in a closed speeder, despite concerns for her safety, and she looked every part the Emperor as the procession made its way sedately through the city.

The military and security presence was visible throughout the city, with Naval Infantry in full dress uniform lining the streets. A full company of Imperial Guard marched alongside the Senator's vehicle, their stark black uniforms contrasting with the crisp whites of the Naval Infantry.

The procession arrived at the palace at exactly midday, where the senators and Imperial family waited. The brief ceremony was transmitted live throughout the Empire, and screened at key locations in the city so the crowds could watch. The multitude roared their appreciation to the sky as Emperor-to-be Arissa Lavigny-Duval completed her vows of office.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval offered a few words for her people:

"This is a day I cannot compare to any other. The trust my fellow senators have shown in me makes me all the more determined to overcome the challenges we will surely face in the coming weeks and months. For too long we have suffered from uncertainty in the wake of the Emperor's death.

"I had the great fortune to talk with the late Emperor in his final days, and to learn how he planned to strengthen the Empire in these times of change. In the coming weeks, I will announce the formation of my government and my plans to tackle the threats facing the Empire.

"But for now I will enjoy this moment and express my gratitude to the Empire and everyone, from slave to senator, for this opportunity to serve."

19 OCT

Pilots Call for Starship Lighting Inquiry

More than 220,000 pilots have signed a petition calling for an inquiry into the lack of anti-collision lights on starships and emergency lighting on system-authority ships. Jenson Zanetti, chairman of the Pilots Federation Safety Board, stated:

"At some point in their careers, most pilots will be struck by an authority or private vessel they did not see, which can be disastrous for both parties. If our proposals are implemented, we predict a massive decrease in the number of fatal collisions in and around space stations."

The petition calls for all system-authority vessels to be fitted with lighting equipment to help pilots identify these important craft, and for anti-collision lights to be fitted to all starships. The petition concludes by stating that the lights only need to be used within a station's no-fire zone, and when the ship's main lights are active.

Commander Devenish, Alliance News Network

21 OCT

The Emperor Denounces Emperor's Dawn

To date, the Empire's campaign against the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn has fallen largely under the jurisdiction of Senator Denton Patreus, but now that the question of the succession has been answered, the Empire is in a position to give Emperor's Dawn its full attention. Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval has issued a frank statement in which she denounces Emperor's Dawn as "an enemy of the Empire", and promises to give Senator Patreus her full support:

"Emperor's Dawn has gone to great lengths to present itself as being aligned with the Empire's values and ideals, but make no mistake – this organisation is an enemy of the Empire. Senator Patreus has demonstrated sound judgement in his management of the campaign, and I have every faith in his ability to remove this threat to our civilisation. The operation to destroy Emperor's Dawn will continue under his guidance."

The statement constitutes the Emperor's first decree as ruler of the Empire, and reflects a clear commitment to Imperial security.

22 OCT

Technical Issues in Warkushanui Intensify

Recent reports from the Warkushanui system suggest that the technical issues affecting the region are worsening. According to the Federal Times, which spoke with station personnel at Gurragchaa Gateway, starports throughout the system are experiencing a range of inexplicable mechanical problems. A technician at Gurragchaa Gateway said:

"We've got malfunctions and breakdowns cropping up all over the starport, so we're in fire-fighting mode at the moment, but no obvious cause has presented itself yet."

As the technical problems in Warkushanui intensify, some commentators have drawn attention to the fact that the number of anomalous extraterrestrial objects (or AEOs) discovered in the system has recently increased. The Federal Times asked staff at Gurragchaa Gateway if there could be a connection between the mysterious objects and the breakdowns, but was told only that "all available lines of enquiry were being explored".

If these problems persist, it seems likely that station services in Warkushanui will soon be affected.

From Dreams to Reality

For the past few months, a development group founded by the Explorer's Association has been working on plans to build a starport in the Pleiades Nebula. Now, it appears the plans are about to become reality. A spokesperson from the Explorer's Association made the following statement:

"A starport in the Pleiades Nebula would be of tremendous value to pilots, serving as a reliable resupply point and sanctuary in the depths of space. But breaking into deep space is always costly, not to mention potentially dangerous. Fortunately we have received generous support from the Brewer Corporation, Pacap Limited and Universal Cartographics, and are now in a position to begin construction. The first phase of the project involves collecting the necessary materials to create the starport superstructure, and to this end we are willing to offer generous premiums to pilots delivering metals to Neville Horizons, our base of operations. I encourage all those with an interest in exploration to join this exciting project, and contribute to the next phase of humankind's expansion."

One of the pilots involved in the programme was quoted as saying:

"Hopefully, getting a station farther out into uninhabited space will be the first step towards human expansion out into the wider reaches of the galaxy."

Pilots who wish to contribute to the campaign should deliver metals to Neville Horizons in the Kaushpoos system.

Sirius Corporation Takes Aim at Pirates

Reports are coming in of pirate activity in the Robigo system, a seldom-visited region of space that was recently brought under the control of the Sirius Corporation. Fortunately for the people of Robigo Mines, the system's only outpost, the Sirius Corporation has a history of taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who threaten its holdings. In fact, the company has already issued bounties on the pirates, offering generous rewards to anyone who helps clear them from the area. In a statement, Li Yong-Rui, the CEO of the Sirius Corp, said:

"The Sirius Corporation has a legal right to protect its assets, and a moral obligation to defend its people. The outpost of Robigo Mines is Sirius Corporation property, and we will not allow it to come to harm. To this end, I have set aside a substantial fund to reward pilots who help to eliminate the pirates operating in the Robigo system."

Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval Expresses Gratitude

Last week, Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval invited galactic citizens to deliver gifts in honour of her forthcoming coronation. The response was enthusiastic, resulting in hundreds of pilots flocking to the Achenar system to deliver slaves to Dawes Hub. In a statement, the Emperor expressed her gratitude to those who responded to the request:

"I am delighted with the reaction to my appeal. The fact that pilots affiliated with the Federation and Alliance responded to my request fills me with hope for a future of peaceful exchange and cooperation."

Pilots who took part in the event were offered discounts on Imperial ships, as well as being granted access to vessels that would ordinarily require a rank in the Imperial Navy.

23 OCT

A Week in Powerplay

Edmund Mahon presided over the finalization of an agreement that resulted in another regionally significant system joining the Alliance. The Prime Minister also praised defensive efforts that kept Alliance territory safe this week. A significant command capital reserve will make additional trade agreements possible during the coming week, further augmenting the Alliance's booming economy.

Arissa Lavigny-Duval was crowned Emperor this week, settling extensive debate over the succession crisis. Since her coronation, the Emperor has busied herself with the management of her vast territory. Two influential systems have pledged their support to the new Emperor in exchange for the enforcement of law and order.

Zachary Hudson's fleets did not secure any additional territory this week, but fortification of the Federation's core worlds ensured that the President will have plenty of opportunity to focus his efforts outward in the near future. In the meantime, the CQC Championship continues to swell the ranks of the Federal Navy.

Felicia Winters has carried on as she has for many weeks now. Undermining of the Shadow President's authority was roughly half that of recent weeks, allowing regular defensive efforts to be focused elsewhere. Should these trends continue, it is likely that Shadow President Winters will be able to expand her aid programs at a greater rate.

Aisling Duval has kept a low profile in recent days, but her followers have been zealous as ever, which led to HIP 114709 pledging its support to Aisling. The public relations machine of people's princess has received additional funding, and is now preparing for multiple media blitzes.

Li Yong-Rui was able to navigate Sirius Gov out of last week's financial straits, finalizing two major business deals that led to the acquisition of two systems. He was also able to amass sufficient reserves to open negotiations with several more systems this week. Sirius stocks are soaring.

Denton Patreus has been embroiled in all-out war with the forces of Emperor's Dawn this week, which has consumed most of his energies, although he did find the time and resources to expand his influence to the Ditae system. With the full support of the Emperor against Emperor's Dawn, it is anticipated that the tide will soon turn against the insurrectionists.

Zemina Torval recovered from last week's financial turmoil with grace and fortitude. Three systems have been added to the senator's list of preferred trading partners, and she now looks forward to establishing even more relationships in the near future.

Pranav Antal succeeded in bringing another system, HIP 108110, into the Utopian fold this week. Utopian enclaves are now present in 45 systems. The peaceful society remains a beacon of hope in times of chaos.

Archon Delaine has amassed a command capital supply greater than he's had in months. With these resources, the Pirate Lord has unleashed an unprecedented wave of blackmail and bribery in systems all around his domain. It is feared that these efforts will lead to several more systems falling to the Pirate Lord in the near future.

Commander Corrigendum

Technical Trouble in 49 Arietis

Amid news that the technical issues plaguing the Warkushanui system have worsened, reports are coming in that starports in the system of 49 Arietis are experiencing similar problems. According to Blake Fry, a commercial freight pilot who regularly traverses the 49 Arietis system, the starport of Gaiman Dock has been hit with a plethora of issues in recent hours, including power outages and system failures. Speaking to the Federal Times, Fry said:

"I don't know exactly what's going on, but they've got problems popping up all over the place. Energy, infrastructure – everything's on the fritz. They're in a world of pain over there."

When asked if he had any theories on what was happening at Gaiman Dock, Fry was unequivocal:

"Hey, I read the news. I'm not stupid. First they take those alien pods there, and then there's a complete technical breakdown. Didn't they say those AEO things damaged machinery? Join the dots, man!"

The issues in 49 Arietis are not believed to be affecting station services at this time.

26 OCT

Fresh Incentive from Emperor's Dawn

The war between the Empire and the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn has taken a decisive turn, as the Empire dealt critical blows to the insurrectionists' forces in the Namarii, Tabaldak and LTT 874 systems this week. In response, Emperor's Dawn has issued a statement indicating that it intends to dramatically increase the amounts it is offering to privateers:

"The Empire thinks that those who fight on its side do so because they share its ideals. We believe they fight because they are well paid. Fortunately, the Imperials are not the only ones who can purchase victory. From this point on, we will give any pilots who fight for our cause double the amount originally offered. Let us see how much people really believe in 'Imperial values'."

This development is likely to rekindle debate over how the insurgent organisation is funded, given its apparent ability to access significant reserves.

Fight Club Rocks Athena

At approximately 21:00 on Saturday the 18th October 3301, a slew of heavily armed Cobras began congregating outside Powell Terminal in the Athena system for an all-on-all bloodbath. Millions of credits' worth of insurance claims were issued as the Commanders of the XYZ Fight Club kicked off the 'Cobra Crunch'.

One of the most epic battles of the tournament was the fight between Koldnitz and FlappyHamWallet (both very experienced commanders), who lit up the skies around the Coriolis starport with their lasers and missiles. Much whooping and cheering was heard over comms chatter for over four hours, after which many congratulatory messages were directed to Commander Estalath, who appeared to be the victor.

Station security has confirmed that several thousand credits' worth of fines were issued, but there was no significant damage done to the station. One station worker reported: "This old girl can withstand a few out-of-control Cobras crashing into her." Meanwhile, system authorities were reportedly unhappy about Athena hosting a second XYZ Fight Club event, saying: "we thought they'd host one event and then move on".

Commander Amphetamine Rush

Commemorative Space Race

To commemorate 'Star Wars', the classic audiovisual entertainment series of the 20th and 21st century, the Buckyball Racing Club, sponsored by Leesti Azure Milk, presents the first part of a new galactic race, the Kessel Run.

The race runs from the 31st of October 3301, 00:00 GMT, to the 15th of November 3301, 23:59 GMT. It will begin at George Lucas station in Leesti and end in the Jabbah system, a few hundred light years outside the bubble. Between start and finish, participants must dock at every station and outpost named 'Kessel' in any order they desire.

There will be three racing classes: Regulation Solo Sidewinder, Regulation Solo Cobra Mk III, and the Open Unlimited Spec class.

Commander Stern Winter

Federation Scientist Initiates Independent Research Programme

Ishmael Palin, the Federation scientist tasked with studying the anomalous extraterrestrial objects discovered earlier this year, has announced his decision to resume his research. This development follows the termination of an earlier, Federation-backed research programme led by Professor Palin.

The decision to restart the programme constitutes a defiant move on the part of Professor Palin, who declined to make a public statement at the time of the original project's cancellation. The new research effort will be based at Christian Dock in the Nganji System, close to the region of space where the objects were discovered.

Professor Palin made the following statement:

"I have no wish to speculate on Governor Quaid's reasons for cancelling the original research programme, but I will say that these objects signify a potentially momentous scientific discovery, and I am extremely pleased to be able to continue my research. As a scientist I feel it is my duty to subject these fascinating objects to comprehensive analysis, and to share the results of that analysis with the galactic community. Hopefully, now that Governor Deacon has allowed us to establish a research base at Christian Dock, my team and I can continue with our work, free from interference."

28 OCT

Empire Wins Decisive Victory

For the past two weeks, the Empire has been battling the insurgent organisation Emperor's Dawn in the Namarii, Tabaldak and LTT 874 systems. This morning, the Empire confirmed that the campaign had been a resounding success, resulting in the total destruction of all three Emperor's Dawn bases. Senator Denton Patreus, who has been leading the campaign against the insurrectionists, issued a defiant statement:

"Today we have delivered a decisive blow to our enemies, shattering their forces and leaving them scattered and defenceless. For all their bluster, these dissidents have been shown themselves to be nothing more than petty brigands, lacking in unity and moral conviction, and unable to withstand the might of our combined military forces. Their bases have been destroyed, their fleets routed. Emperor's Dawn is no longer a threat."

But General Anthony Corvus, the veteran responsible for coordinating the Empire's military operations, adopted a more cautious tone:

"This is a significant victory, certainly, but the war is not over. Cell organisations such as Emperor's Dawn can be surprisingly resilient, and it would be a mistake to discount them, even at this stage. Once I have seen the very last of their fighters destroyed, I will consider them vanquished. But that day has not yet come."

Construction of New Starport Begins

Work has now begun on a new Ocellus starport in the Kaushpoos system. The project began with a request from the Explorers' Association, which issued an appeal for metals for use in the station superstructure. The response to the request was overwhelmingly positive, and work on the starport is now underway. A spokesperson for the Explorers' Association released a brief statement:

"We're delighted with the response, and are hugely excited about starting work on the starport. With a little luck, there will soon be a brand new, state-of-the art outpost in the Pleiades Nebula."

The Explorers' Association is expected to announce the next phase of the project soon.

Station Services Suspended at Gurragchaa Gateway

Following recent news of technical issues in the Warkushanui system, officials at Gurragchaa Gateway have announced that all station services, bar refuelling and rearming, have been suspended. A member of the starport's technical team released a brief statement:

"Due to ongoing technical issues, we are currently unable to offer access to the commodities market, shipyard and outfitting services, and other frontline facilities. We are still trying to determine the cause of the problem, and will notify the public as soon as services are reinstated. Your patience and understanding are appreciated."

Shortly after this statement was released, a Federal source issued an official travel warning advising pilots to avoid the starport entirely.

29 OCT

Garrison Supplies Found in Criminal Hands

Numerous civil wars have been fought between criminal groups and system governments throughout Imperial space over the past month, and corrupt governments and cartels have been overthrown in many instances. Investigations into the conflicts have uncovered disturbing connections, as many confiscated weapons and munitions bear serial numbers of garrison supplies stockpiled in the Guathiti system.

Evidence currently points to growing corruption in the Delta Doradus region. Disturbing correlations can be drawn between this lawless activity and the Kumo Crew's influence in systems they seek to overthrow. Imperial investigators have been despatched.

Commander Corrigendum

Nascent Starport Targeted by Pirates

Last week, the Explorers' Association announced plans to construct a starport in the Pleiades Nebula, and issued an appeal for resources. The response to the request was positive and work on the station superstructure is now underway. With the project poised to enter its second phase, the Explorers' Association has issued another request, this time for assistance of a more practical kind:

"We were delighted with the response to our appeal, and are thrilled that our dream of building an Ocellus starport in the Pleiades Nebula is finally becoming a reality. Projects of this sort are bound to attract opportunists, however, and unfortunately ours is no exception. Pirates have begun congregating in the Kaushpoos system, preying on the traders and contractors travelling to and from the construction site. Fortunately, we anticipated such an eventuality, and set aside a cash reserve specifically for the reimbursement of bounty hunters. Experienced combat pilots are invited to come to the Kaushpoos system and help deal with these troublemakers. We are also in need of palladium for the next phase of the construction, so those who prefer trade to combat can also contribute to this exciting project."

Pilots who want to participate in the operation are encouraged to travel to the Kaushpoos system.

Jeffress's Second Treasure Hunt

Last month, the reclusive philanthropist Alfred Jeffress made headlines with his galaxy-wide treasure hunt, and now it seems the eccentric billionaire is at it again. Having promised that the first event would not be the last of its kind, Jeffress has announced a second treasure hunt, and once again he is offering a share of his vast personal fortune to the winner.

According to a statement from Jeffress, the event will follow much the same format as the first. A mystery object has been placed somewhere in space, and the first person to find and deliver it to a specified location will win the competition. As before, Jeffress has released a riddle that he claims will lead participants to the mystery object:

"A dissatisfied scholar keeps a visionary in his grasp as he makes his deal."

With such a generous prize on offer, the event is sure to capture the imagination of the galactic community.

CIRG Researcher Addresses Artefact Developments

The Voice of Varati recently interviewed the lead researcher at the Canonn Interstellar Research Group, Commander RedWizzard:

"We know that the UA's Morse-transmission behaviour is evolving. It's almost as if somebody is pushing buttons to trigger different behaviours. It's very strange.

"We've also observed that they're spreading at an alarming rate over a huge volume of space. We learned a while ago that UAs seem to align themselves towards Merope in the Pleiades, and there is evidence that the systems containing UAs form a 'shell' around Merope at distances between 135 and 150 light years. Current estimates place the potential number of UAs in this region at thousands – possibly even tens of thousands."

"This undeniable explosion in numbers is worrying, and we don't yet know its significance. But rest assured that we're working hard, and we hope to have some conclusions soon."

RedWizzard also commented on the return of Professor Ishmael Palin to active UA research:

"It's great to see him back in the game, and we wish him the best of luck. We also hope he might have some insight into this 'shell' phenomenon. Why this pattern? Why so many UAs? And where are they coming from?"

"Our research is open to all, including Professor Palin. We hope he will reciprocate our openness."

Commander Lord Zoltan

Technical Issues in 64 Arietis

The starport of Weyn Dock in the 64 Arietis system has become the latest to be affected by mysterious technical issues, following a rash of inexplicable breakdowns and malfunctions at starports throughout the Warkushanui system. According to Laura Bishop, technical supervisor at Weyn Dock, the starport has experienced a range of problems over the past 24 hours:

"First we had some power outages, now we've got widespread system failures. We haven't been able to determine the cause but we're investigating at the moment, so when we know more, you'll know more."

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