Francesca Wolfe of the Wallglass Investigations Agency provides an inside view of the Jokers' Deck gambling circle. "Gunnarson's intel was correct. The latest host is multi-billionaire investor Lexi October, the lady who rescued Supratech from bankruptcy. We're in one of October Consortium's disused warehouse complexes, which looks derelict on the outside but is a fabulous glittering palace within. I don't actually know what planet I'm on, since all the servants – including me with my fake ID – were transported here in total secrecy. Jokers' Deck is exactly what you'd expect of a luxury casino for the super-rich. Exquisite food, sumptuous clothes, and dozens of games from deadlock poker to Giant Verrix racing. Wagers are made using billion-credit chips, precious gemstones and even land deeds to an entire continent. And that's not counting the VIP rooms that I can't get into. I've served exotic drinks to several famous faces, such as Duchess Rouncival and Scorpio DeVorrow. I've seen Senator Leatrix talking earnestly to Ambassador Rochester about a princess they both know. Arch-Corsairs Trask and Volantyne from the Kumo Council are here, taking on Zachary Rackham at the roue mortelle tables. And there's no mistaking the voice of Alliance megastar Xiona whenever she wins big. Oh, and who should walk in just now but... wait, I can hear an alarm. Looks like a security alert. Damn it, have they detected me? I should – " The message was published by Erik Gunnarson, who added this coda: "I've heard nothing more from Wolfe since receiving this, and she didn't check in at a scheduled rendezvous point. I've decided to share her report as a warning to Jokers' Deck. If anything happens to her, just remember we know who you are."
10 AUG 3305
The Alliance Festival of Culture enters its third week with a massive music festival in the Phekda system drawing thousands of attendees. Organisers are calling the event 'the greatest gig in the galaxy'. Corinne Macintyre, cultural correspondent for The Alliance Tribune, reported: "The programme is certainly diverse, encompassing everything from megastars like Spectacular Nemesis and Jade Graceland to up-and-comers such as The Lasting Hold. Meanwhile, for those whose knowledge of contemporary music stops with Mahler, the Topaz Philharmonic is one of several orchestras performing this week. But the big news is that legendary singer-songwriter Xiona is coming out of retirement for a special one-off performance. The Alliance Festival of Culture will continue for a further four weeks.