News Service

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 132-1116

Emperor Strephon Aella Alkhalikoi was assassinated at 1517 hours local time, 132-1116, in the Grand Reception Hall of the Imperial Palace above Capital/Core. In the ensuing firefight, the Empress Iolanthe and the Grand Princess Iphegenia were also killed, along with the Aslan Yerlyaruiwo ambassador, twelve Imperial Guards, and a number of bystanders.

In the following minutes, Archduke Dulinor of Ilelish appeared before the cameras of the Reception Hall, claimed the crown of the Emperor by the right of assassination, and scattered holocrystals documenting his claim to the surviving crowd. He ascended the steps of the dais and sat on the iridium Throne briefly before leaving in the company of his bodyguard.

System Control Central reported tracking the Archduke's cruiser leaving the Capital system minutes later. Fleet elements are reported in pursuit.

Capital has been placed under martial law. Off-planet transportation has been suspended temporarily. Naval headquarters has issued a statement that the situation is stable and under control. Rioting is reported in the city.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 133-1116

The Imperial Palace above Capital has been sealed by Naval Security troops. Dulinor is rumored to remain concealed in the palace with a company of bodyguards. It remains unclear whether Dulinor fled the Capital system yesterday aboard his cruiser, or if he remains in the Palace. Occasional plasma flashes have been reported along the Grand Concourse.

Imperial officers at the scene refused comment.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 134-1116

Captain Sir Gerals Spirlandin, commanding the Honor Company of the 2nd Imperial Marine regiment, denied reports that Duke Varian, Strephon's nephew and heir apparent to the Iridium Throne, was killed in skirmishes within the Imperial Palace yesterday.

Spirlandin, 32, of Ibaru/Zarushagar, said, "The situation is under control, but identities of persons in the Palace remain unconfirmed."

News Service personnel have not yet been allowed inside the Palace.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 135-1116

Preparations for Emperor Strephon's funeral tomorrow continued without incident. Empress Iolanthe will be buried at the same time. Grand Princess Iphegenia will be buried Thirday.

The Admiralty confirmed today that the Imperial Palace has been cleared of disloyal elements. The apartments accorded Dulinor in the Palace have been retaken, with no sign of the Archduke.

The body of Prince Varian, until today heir apparent to the Iridium Throne, was recovered from the Imperial Palace this afternoon, and now lies in state alongside the Emperor in the central Hall of Nobles beneath the Moot Spire. Varian's funeral is scheduled for Thirday.

Crowds of mourners continue to file through the Hall of Nobles. Responding to the press of crowds, last minute arrangements have been made to keep the hall open through the night.

The Office of the Mint has suspended production of the cr1 coin pending coronation of the next Emperor. A generic sunburst design has been adopted as a temporary replacement.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 136-1116

Emperor Strephon and Empress Iolanthe were buried today with full state honors. The procession from the Hall of Nobles to the Alkhalikhoi section of the Imperial Park in the shadow of the Palace moved slowly and without incident.

Prince Lucan, Varian's younger brother, and now heir apparent to the throne, appeared briefly at grave side, leaving under heavy security immediately after the ceremony.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 137-1116

Following simple burial ceremonies for Grand Princess Iphegenia and Prince Varian, the Office of the Emperor today announced that Prince Lucan had formally ascended the Iridium Throne in private ceremonies in the Imperial Palace.

Shortly thereafter, Duke Simalr of Ushra, speaking for the Moot, charged that private ascension ceremonies are invalid, adding that any assumption of the powers of the Imperium requires the consent of the Moot.

Emperor Lucan, communicating through his seneschal, exercised the Imperial power to dissolve the Moot for one year. Duke Simalr of Ushra, speaking for the Moot, denied the legitimacy of Lucan's action in a strongly worded reply which was released simultaneously to the news services.

A meeting of the Moot later in the day failed to achieve a quorum. Duke Simalr is reported under house arrest.

Vland/Vland (0307 A967A9A-F) 202-1116

Emperor Strephon was assassinated by Archduke Dulinor of Ilelish 132-1116. The Central Authority issued a simple statement early today regretting the Emperor's death, but calling on all citizens to remain calm and remember his passing with dignity.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 200-1116

Unrest among the populace continues following the assassination of Strephon and the questionable rise to power of Emperor Lucan. Fanned by opponents such as Duke Simalr of Ushra, the flames of unrest have sparked rioting in major population centers and intense quarreling among members of the Moot.

Police and Imperial Guard troops have kept these isolated outbreaks under control, but their frequency and intensity are on the rise.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 217-1116

In the shadows of the Imperial Palace, a particularly violent clash between police and rioters has rocked the capital. For nearly three hours the skirmishes continued, as demonstrating citizens forced their way toward the palace against strict orders of the authorities.

Nonlethal means were finally used to disperse the crowd, but not until forty citizens and at least three riot policemen were killed.

A spokesman for Emperor Lucan has stated that the Emperor, though aware of the problem, was not concerned and did not at any time leave the palace for his own safety.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 245-1116

The Archduke's official state visit to Capital ended abruptly with his surprise return to Dlan and his immediate call for a full-media press conference on the steps of the palace for later in the day.

After appearing wearing an elaborately fashioned crown, the Archduke began his statement with a list of wrongs and abuses perpetrated by Emperor Strephon. He concluded with the startling statement: "The Emperor is dead! I have dedicated my life to the people of the Imperium. I claim the Iridium Throne by right of assassination, and shall rule this Imperium as Emperor Dulinor."

The stunned public then listened as the Emperor called for a complete mobilization to seize all of the Imperium for his sacred cause. He made a public and official request to Admiral Hutara, his brother, for the Ilelish Fleet to side with him in his sacred struggle to gain his rightfully secured place on the throne.

The Emperor Dulinor retired to his chamber without answering questions. A subsequent statement detailing the new Emperor's trip to Capital and the assassination of Strephon on the Iridium Throne itself. The statement concluded with an account of Dulinor's ascension of the Throne to the well- wishing cheers of millions of Capital's citizenry, followed by a selection of patriotic video cassettes.

Celebrations have been organized on Dlan and throughout the sector as the populace is encouraged to honor the beginning of new age for the Imperium and Ilelish sector.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 248-1116

Sector Admiral Hutara and his fleet officers made an official announcement that the Ilelish Fleet has declared for Dulinor. In a brief but ancient ceremony, Hutara offered his dagger to Dulinor, who solemnly accepted, and then briefly embraced his brother.

Amdani/Daibei (2034 A727A88-E) 265-1116

Heightened high-level conferences and military activity in the area have done nothing to quell rumors that Core sector is in civil unrest. Statements from the nobility have been universally, "No comment."

As of this date, all naval personnel have been put on special alert, all shore leaves have been canceled, and a complete media blackout of naval exercises has been imposed. The Admiralty has no comment.

Amdani/Daibei (2034 A727A88-E) 309-1116

Official announcement of Emperor Strephon's assassination has reached the sector. The nobility has also released a statement encouraging the populace to have faith in the systematic and peaceful shift of power to Strephon's heir, Duke Varian.

Subsequent messages from Core sector have indicated that Varian was killed in combat in and around the palace area. Prince Lucan is apparently the new Emperor of the Imperium.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 310-1116

Lucan announced that unrest in Core sector has been dealt with successfully. All citizens are encouraged to have faith in the new Emperor, despite unsubstantiated rival claims to the throne.

Emperor Lucan also announced that the Core Fleet is on the move towards Dlan to hunt down the criminal Dulinor. His actions warrant death, and he will certainly be brought to justice.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 313-1116

In an unexpected move, much of the Imperial Rim Fleet has been concentrated and many reservists have been placed on alert. No substantial explanation has been forthcoming.

General Yoshtiru of the Terran Home Guard has called for a high level command conference of the commanders of all troops stationed on Terra.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 322-1116

Military installations in Asia, Africa, and North America have been closed to civilians. All active duty personnel worldwide have been recalled from leave or furlough.

An unofficial source stated that large shipments of materials have been arriving at these closed installations. The exact nature of the shipments is unknown, and no official Home Guard spokesman will comment on the issue.

Regina/Regina (0310 A788899-A) 330-1116

The ducal household announced that Duke Norris of Regina will travel to Rhylanor to meet with representatives from several key worlds in the Spinward Marches and Deneb sectors. The conference is scheduled to cover "economic matters", a general term used when the agenda has not been made public. The exact nature of the meeting has not been disclosed.

In related matters, a rumor that the Duke has recently received a private communication from Emperor Strephon has not been confirmed by official sources.

Regina/Regina (0310 A788899-A) 340-1116

The ducal household announced that Duke Norris was elevated to the rank of Archduke of the Domain of Deneb by the hand of Emperor Strephon on 091-1116 in recognition of his activities in the late Fifth Frontier War.

The Duke plans a trip to Capital to personally accept the Emperor's blessing.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 036-1117

Emperor Strephon has been assassinated in the Imperial Palace by Archduke Dulinor of Ilelish on 132-1116. In a prepared statement, a spokesman for the Terran government has appealed for calm and for all citizens to mourn the loss of the Emperor.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 037-1117

In an almost immediate response to the announcement of Strephon's assassination, rioting and rebellion have broken out in key population centers around the world. Thought to be Solomani sponsored, this tremendous unrest has affected almost the entire population and has tied up all transportation and industry on Terra.

Clashes between the occupation army and the rebels has been particularly fierce in India, where riot police have been unable to stop to stop rioters from looting Vilani-owned homes and businesses. In India alone there have been over a hundred people killed.

Curfews and restrictions on activities have been announced by the military governor for many population centers. Violators will have to deal with strict penalties, as the rights of the citizenry have been temporarily suspended in the face of this current crisis.

Regina/Regina (0310 A788899-A) 067-1117

The Emperor Strephon was assassinated on 132-1116. His assassin, the Archduke Dulinor of Ilelish, fled the scene.

The fighting during and after the assassination plot also took the lives of Empress Isolde, Grand Princess Iphegenia, and Prince Varian. Prince Lucan has ascended the Iridium Throne as the new Emperor.

Duke Norris is en route to the Rhylanor Conference and was unavailable for comment. The ducal household expressed its deepest sympathy and has dispatched a special ceremonial convoy to Capital to pay last respects to Strephon and homage to Lucan.

Home/Aldebaran (1009 A86699A-E) 117-1117

The Committee for Information has announced the assassination of Emperor Strephon. His assassin, Archduke Dulinor, has fled, probably to his base of support in his home sector.

Home/Aldebaran (1009 A86699A-E) 120-1117

Subsequent reports from the Imperium, reporting considerable unrest and multiple claims to the throne, have met with considerable favor among officials here today. Quotes vary, but most sources consulted uniformly agree that what's bad for the Imperium is almost certainly good for the Solomani movement.

Administrator Howard stated: "Our brothers who are still under the yokes of Imperial rule are calling out to us now. It is our obligation, indeed our moral imperative, to contact them and lend them support in this moment of opportunity, and bring us one step closer to the ultimate victory of the Solomani destiny."

Rumors that large portions of the fleet have been placed on alert and are on the move have not been officially confirmed.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 125-1117

The Archduke of Antares has refused to commit his sector fleet against Dulinor, despite direct orders from Lucan. (His excuse was to protect his domain from Vargr invaders in the Lishun sector.). Rumors that the archduke has been negotiating with worlds outside the Imperium were neither confirmed nor denied by the Emperor's representative.

Travellers are warned that the Antares sector is a possible danger spot for the future.

Kaasu/Corridor (1209 AA7A9CD-G) 134-1117

Border ships along the coreward frontier have reported a marked increase in Vargr raiding activity. Three border worlds and several dozen ships have had incidents with corsairs in the sector in the last month.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 150-1117

In a press release statement from the Naval Office on Terra, the Admiralty announced that three distinct Solomani fleets have crossed the border into the sector. The fleet is taking a defensive stance in response to this threat. It is certain that a state of war will be declared between the Third Imperium and the Solomani Confederation when this news reaches Capital.

The first fleet has jumped from Krypton through Kidashi and is battling Imperial forces in the Albadawi subsector. A second, more powerful, fleet is laying siege to Iilike in the Dingir subsector. The final invasion fleet has occupied Scandia, Tawfik, and Melchior in the Arcturus subsector. The Solomani Rim Fleet is reportedly on the move to counter these unprovoked advances by the Solomani.

Though the threat of war is imminent along the Solomani frontier, people are encouraged to put their trust in the superior Imperial fleets which are already doing battle with the aggressors.

In an attached statement, a state of martial law was invoked on the entire planet of Terra. Military authority under General Yoshtiru will be in effect until this current crisis is past.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 155-1117

Emperor Lucan is at the head of the Core Fleet doing battle with the rebel squadrons of the outlaw Dulinor. Widespread fighting has been reported throughout the Dagudashaag sector, but no large, decisive battles have been fought to date.

Imperial forces have inflicted heavy losses on the rebel fleets.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 158-1117

After a brief battle and siege, Ember has fallen to the Solomani fleet which operated through the Arcturus subsector. The Imperial forces there have retreated to reinforce both Prometheus and Terra against the advancing Solomani.

Elsewhere in the sector, Solomani forces have been held in a large action at Munilgan, but their ships have begun to advance into the Gashidda system.

Terra/Solomani Rim (0207 A867A69-F) 165-1117

The combined Solomani fleet has overrun fleets from the Albadawi and Dingir subsectors. Elements of both fleets are engaged in a large outer system battle at Dingir itself.

Popular support for Solomani reclamation of the sector is becoming apparent in several systems. Increased incidence of rioting, protesting, and sabotage plague the war effort on Terra and other worlds.

Muan Gwi/Vega (0107 A456A86-F) 168-1117

Solomani forces have bypassed Prometheus and have laid siege to Terra. Imperial space forces could not hold out against the Solomani drive and have retreated coreward toward the Vegan Autonomous District. The Vegans have sworn allegiance and support to the Emperor, and their ships are lining up with those of the imperium to stop the Solomani.

The Admiralty assures that with the Vegans as allies, the Solomani have no chance of reaching farther into the sector. A corridor to Core will be maintained.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 174-1117

The Emperor's staff issued a statement that Vargr fleets, mostly independent but all acting in similar fashion, have overrun much of Lishun sector. The Lishun Fleet is engaged in a deep penetration battle throughout the sector and is attempting to liberate or hold worlds against the Vargr hordes.

Attempts by the Vargr to make similar moves against worlds in Antares sector have been for the most part thwarted by effective use of the fleet there by the Archduke of Antares.

Muan Gwi/Vega (0107 A456A86-F) 180-1117

The Admiralty announced a great naval victory for Imperial ships in the Dingir system. After a prolonged outer system battle which lasted for over two weeks, Solomani forces have been routed out of the system.

A reinforcing fleet of both Imperial and Vegan ships is reportedly on the way to strengthen the Dingir garrison and help secure the vital communications route on which it lies.

In an accompanying statement, it was announced that a messenger ship had successfully eluded the Solomani blockade around Terra. According to the messenger ship, a landing attempt was thwarted more than a week ago, but losses on both sides were terribly high.

General Yoshtiru has apparently died in a bombing campaign across central Asia.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 184-1117

The Emperor's Vengeance Fleet has performed excellently in the Zarushagar sector. When forced into a set battle in the Khipge system, the rebel fleets were reportedly absolutely defeated.

Though the rebel ships are reportedly still on the loose in the sector, the Emperor is reportedly on the advance toward Ilelish and his quarry, Dulinor.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 187-1117

The office of Fleet Admiral Hutara released an official statement today. In it the Admiral announced that rebel forces in the Zarushagar sector have been successfully thwarted by a calculated campaign of military and commerce raiding by the glorious Loyal Fleet.

The campaign to retake Capital and the Iridium Throne for the true Emperor is in full swing.

Emperor Dulinor praised Admiral Hutara's success in a public announcement from his palace. He also announced plans to move his seat of power to Capital once it has been taken, but said Dlan and Ilelish sector would remain the center of the popular support and culture in the new empire.

Muan Gwi/Vega (0107 A456A86-F) 193-1117

Renewed fighting between Imperial and Solomani forces is reported in both Zaggisi and Lagash. The Solomani fleets have apparently been heavily reinforced from the Confederation interior – so much so that unofficial sources admit the Imperial fleet is stretched very thin trying to cover all possible attacks from the numerous Solomani battle formations.

Usdiki/Gushemege (2224 A8889AB-E) 204-1117

The Emperor Strephon stepped onto the balcony of his vacation palace here and was greeted by a thunderous response which cut short his prepared remarks.

"Strephon Lives!"

Statements by Strephon's aides indicated that Dulinor's assassination attack killed a double who routinely filled in for Strephon at routine functions. Strephon himself was safely and secretly en route to the Imperial Depot in Core sector. When news of the assassination attempt reached Strephon, he proceeded to Gushemege and the relative safety of the vacation palace.

Strephon's closing remarks called for the Imperium to rally to his banner and bring the rebellion to an end.

Depot/Corridor (1511 A686354-F) 221-1117

The naval command of the Corridor Fleet announced the arrival of Emperor Lucan's Transfer Order.

To help save the Imperium from the rebel Dulinor, the announcement said, Corridor Fleet is to transfer to Zarushagar sector within a month.

Local authorities expressed confidence that sufficient assets would remain in Corridor sector to defend the region against Vargr raids.

Hindahl/Old Expanses (1422 A754A86-B) 224-1117

Sector naval headquarters announced the transfer of the Old Expanses Fleet to Zarushagar for operations against the usurper, Dulinor. The brief announcement from headquarters indicated that all the first line fleets would be transferred within 60 days.

"The defense of the sector lies in the capable hands of our reserve squadrons," Sector Admiral Hinchcliffe said at the press conference which revealed the arrival of the Transfer Order from Emperor Lucan.

Regina/Regina (0310 A788899-A) 225-1117

Archduke Norris returned to Regina unexpectedly and called an emergency news conference. He brought the dismal news that Vargr raiders have invaded the Corridor sector and effectively cut the Marches off from the rest of the Imperium. As Archduke of the Domain of Deneb, Norris stated that he remains loyal to the Imperium. He has assumed control of his Domain in its name until the present crisis has passed.

Muan Gwi/Vega (0107 A456A86-F) 242-1117

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Solomani forces have gained a foothold on the surface of Terra. They have reportedly landed a significant ground forces on the Australian continent and are beginning the systematic destruction of Imperial resistance elsewhere.

The same unnamed source from within the Admiralty suggested that the Solomani are meeting with widespread support from the population of Terra, and the future of the Home Guard there is bleak.

Depot/Corridor (1511 A686354-F) 242-1117

The assembled Corridor Fleet departed on its voyage to Zarushagar sector today, leaving defense of the sector to a scattering of reserve squadrons.

Extensive plans for continued border patrols and preemptive operations "virtually guarantee" the security of the sector, according to a highly placed naval official.

The Transfer order reached Corridor on 221-1117. Corridor Fleet, vastly over strength for the territory it patrolled, was staffed by personnel from throughout the Imperium.

Its mission, one it had performed for centuries, was to protect the passage through Corridor of Imperial commerce and communications.

Although abandoning the mission was difficult, the strength of an Imperial order and the crisis facing the Imperium made the Fleet's crews anxious to comply.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 252-1117

In a surprise announcement, it has been reported that the Daibei Fleet has been activated and is on the move out of its home sector.

Its forces will be put to use fighting either the rebels or the Solomani, but their exact destination is unknown. Reaction from the local nobility will certainly be negative.

Antares/Antares (2421 A686ABF-C) 257-1117

The Archduke of Antares renounced his oath of loyalty to the Emperor. In his words, the ascension to the throne by young Lucan was, at best, questionable, and since the true heir to the throne is in dispute, the Archduke is assuming control of his domain in the name of Emperor Strephon until an acceptable solution is reached.

The Archduke detailed the pact he had signed with the Julian Protectorate, incorporating the worlds of Antares and Empty Quarter sectors with the worlds of Mendan and Amdukan sectors.

The Archduke also announced he would use the forces at his disposal to make this secession succeed. Considering both the Archduke's isolationist policies of the last several months and the other pressing issues in the Imperium, it is doubtful that any move will be made soon to force Antares back into the Imperial fold.

Muan Gwi/Vega (0107 A456A86-F) 268-1117

Reports from the Sol sector indicate that heavy fighting continues on Terra, despite efforts by local governments to maintain order.

Imperial troops in Europe and North America have been placed on war status.

Travellers from the region report sizeable defections from Imperial troop units by racial Solomani declaring for the Confederation.

Admiralty spokespersons refused to confirm or deny the reports.

Regina/Regina (0310 A788899-A) 271-1117

Archduke Norris has placed Imperial forces within the Domain of Deneb at condition 3 – standby alert.

Fleet reserves are being assembled and orientation training begins immediately.

Trance Kelopt, a defense analyst retained by the Traveller News Service, recently evaluated the situation: "Norris's Naval Intelligence background makes him extremely sensitive to recent developments, and he naturally wants to take preventive measures. Although the fleet reserve mobilization sites have not been announced, I still expect that there will be three major concentrations.

"First, forces must muster at Regina (and I mean within, say, ten parsecs of Regina) to protect the Archduke's capital and react to a possible Zhodani thrust.

"Second, forces will assemble at Mora as a reaction force against Aslan movements. The entire rimward flank of the Domain is vulnerable to Aslan ihatei fleets, and they are extremely difficult to stop once they get moving.

"Third, there has to be a fleet mobilization around the Depot in Deneb sector. Vargr raiders dart back and forth across the border even in the best of times, and at any sign of weakness, we can expect major Vargr raids.

"The region which includes the Border Worlds and the Darrian Confederation is reasonably secure. If Norris has to ignore any part of the Domain, that's probably the place to slight.

"Finally, and not mentioned in the official press releases, I believe that Norris will be forced to create a central reaction fleet that can race from trouble spot to trouble spot putting out fires."

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 280-1117

The Ninth Sept of Capital, 400 kilometers northwest of the Imperial Palace, was swept by fire and looting in the wake of continued rioting and civil disorder.

Imperial enforcers, backed by marines and jump troops, have retaken the major communications facilities and government centers.

Imperial military affairs announcements and reactions implied that the Ninth Sept Rising was directly instigated by Dulinor and his followers.

More recent reports make it clear that the insurgents were dissatisfied because government subsistence payments had been curtailed.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 288-1117

Dulinor is now travelling to the New Palace following the recent victory of the Loyal Fleet over Lucan's forces in Dagudashaag sector.

"I leave the fleet in capable hands," Dulinor said as he addressed an assembly which included officers from every ship in the fleet. "My brother knows my every wish."

The present location of the Loyal Fleet is unknown.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 297-1117

The Vengeance Fleet has intercepted and destroyed the screening elements of Dulinor's so-called Loyal Fleet, forcing it to withdraw, and paving the way for continued penetrations into rebel territory by Imperial forces.

The Vengeance Fleet suffered only minor losses in the engagement. It will press its penetration toward Dlan after a period of refit at the Imperial Depot in Dagudashaag sector.

Imaparlu/Gushemege (1616 B885AA9-E) 301-1117

The Efont of Imaparlu, exercising his authority as Supreme Civil Leader of the planet, announced his unswerving allegiance to Strephon and to the Imperium.

The move took supporters of both Dulinor and Lucan by surprise as pre-dawn round-ups by the police moved known agitators to holding camps.

The general population, accustomed to direct leadership by the Efont, appeared to accept and support his decision.

Depot/Corridor (1511 A686354-F) 318-1117

Reports of a strong Vargr raid on Khukish last week were dismissed by naval authorities at Depot as exaggerated.

"We constantly receive reports of Vargr raids, and they always turn out to be isolated incidents of little importance. The Vargr would never dare a major operation into this sector," according to Commander Lynx Breneri of the Naval Information Office.

Khukish/Corridor (1606 A77A989-F) 320-1117

Khukish Naval Command announced the withdrawal of the Khukish 984th Naval Reserve Squadron from border patrol duty.

"After last week, it is clear that the 984th is more urgently needed in defense of the home system," according to Admiral Dwayne Fomish of the System Tactical Developments Command on Khukish.

Several neighboring systems are considering similar moves.

When the local coordination officer for the Imperial Navy protested the withdrawal, he was placed under house arrest. It is reported that the officer fled the Khukish system later in the day.

Amdani/Daibei (2014 A727A88-E) 341-1117

Imperial forces retreating ahead of the advancing Solomani Fleet made a stand this week at Landumash and Amdani, and fought the Solomani to a stand- still. A naval spokesperson expressed a feeling of confidence that the invaders would be forced from Daibei sector by the end of the year.

Hindahl/Old Expanses (1422 A754A86-B) 350-1117

In the face of continued Solomani fleet actions, a rise in Solomani political activity in the sector, and a lack of defenses for the region, a coalition of Dukes within the Old Expanses announced the voluntary incorporation of the sector into the Solomani Confederation.

A spokesperson indicated that the Confederation had made certain guarantees to the region, and that no immediate changes in local government were contemplated.

Nulinad/Empty Quarter 012-1118

Until now engaged in sporadic fighting in the rimward reaches of Antares, large squadrons of the Antares Fleet, with the attached 104th Reserve Fleet and several squadrons of the 226th Fleet, clashed with ships of Lucan's Imperium in the Nulinad system.

This major clash has for the first time pitted massed enemy ships against the proud fleets of Antares, testing the league's commitment to independence.

Nulinad/Empty Quarter 013-1118

Caught off-guard in a classic refueling ambush, portions of Lucan's fleet were engaged and destroyed. At least seven large warships were destroyed, and no Antares ship received critical damage.

The remainder of Lucan's fleet has dispersed and jumped out of system. An unofficial source suggested that they must be intending to retreat out of the area in the face of superior ship strength, possibly toward Zukhisi or Dini.

The fleet base on Nulinad's moon, though never engaged during this battle, is now being hardened against future assaults by the corps of engineers.

Capital/Core 019-1118

Large numbers of Dulinor's ships have broken through into Dagudashaag and Core sectors, apparently with the intention of disrupting interworld trade routes.

The Admiralty released a communiqué in which it discussed plans to mobilize more reserve units and pull several mainline ships out of the front to deal with this new problem. The communiqué also assures that the penetrating ships have minimal ground attack capabilities.

All transport craft of any kind are encouraged to travel in organized, protected convoys whenever possible.

Zukhisi/Empty Quarter 020-1118

Fresh from its defeat at Nulinad, Lucan's forces appeared in the Zukhisi system today. The starport was immediately bombarded and the system defense craft available were quickly forced to retire to the outer system.

Zukhisi/Empty Quarter 022-1118

Relief forces which jumped into the system yesterday performed admirably against Lucan's forces today.

Another three major warships were destroyed, and another critically damaged. However, fighter squadrons from the Antares Fleet and system defense took several losses, as well.

The damaged ship, the cruiser Leonaffle, was boarded and seized. The prize crew has been instructed to return through the sector for possible repair of the ship and its return to duty in the service of Archduke Brzk.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 022-1118

The Emperor Dulinor has dismissed the reappearance of Strephon as the work of an imposter:

"The man who routinely impersonated Strephon is now playing the part of his life."

"Who would believe that a mere actor would have the audacity to think that we would believe he is the Emperor."

"Now his claims insult the memory of our Strephon."

"I loved our former Emperor; I was forced to kill him for reasons of state and the greatest good of the greatest number.

"For this imposter to claim that he is Strephon is an insult to all of us!"

In later comments, Emperor Dulinor denied that he has ever used a double to substitute at routine court functions.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 043-1118

Emperor Lucan has rejected the possibility that Strephon still lives.

"We know that Strephon sometimes used a robot to impersonate himself at routine functions. And we know one of them is now missing.

"Sources tell me that this thing that claims to be Strephon is, in reality, a robot. Heaven help us when his batteries run down!"

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 051-1118

A garbled xboat courier message, apparently damaged in transit, indicates that Vargr raiders have, through an act of barbarism, destroyed the outpost at Chunwi in Corridor sector.

Vargr corsairs in the Chunwi system attacked and seized the merchant liner Hyukt Moi with 78 persons aboard, demanding ship repair privileges, plus fuel and weaponry from the outpost.

When refused, the Vargr commander went wild, set course for the Hyukt Moi, and sent the liner plunging into the outpost itself.

Exact figures on casualties and damage are unknown. Apparently the Vargr attempted to disrupt xboat passage through the area, which does threaten communications with the Spinward Marches.

Capital/Core (0508 A586A98-F) 063-1118

Fleet Command has issued sector-by-sector requisitions to reinforce the Vengeance Fleet in a campaign against Dulinor.

"We face severe curtailment in ship strength," said an unnamed spokes- person, "unless we can restructure our priorities, getting good ships out of the backwater areas and into the front lines." When questioned about reports saying Dulinor's fleets are somewhat better organized and prepared for battle, the spokesperson declined comment.

Vland/Vland (0307 A967A9A-F) 074-1118

The latest recorded tirade by Oekhsos, the violently charismatic Vargr leader, arrived by special packet from beyond the Imperial border today.

In addition to the standard anti-Imperial ranting and raving, the video included a sequence showing a human mission to assassinate Oekhsos.

The clip details the mission's progress through the Knouksarrgh Ong complex on Lair, and culminates in a violent attack on Oekhsos himself.

In the climax, the human attackers are destroyed, and Oekhsos is unharmed and laughing uproariously.

Although on-screen evidence indicates the mission was Vilani in origin, local officials denied that the assassination plot had any official sanction.

Belumar/Empty Quarter 077-1118

Regrouped after its defeat at the Battle of Nulinad earlier this year, the forces of Lucan have converged for a coordinated attack against the fleet way stations at Belumar.

A liaison robot for the Admiralty suggested that Belumar's secret location must have been leaked to Lucan's agents, otherwise its out-of-the-way location would have protected it from such a well-planned assault.

Terra/Sol 081-1118

Jeffery Long, formerly a reporter for the Phoenix Sun News organization, surfaced today from SolSec, following his internment by Imperial authorities nearly six years ago.

Long claims that his work dealing with so-called hyperspace sickness drew him into a ring of high-tech Imperial research and, ultimately, to an Imperial jail cell, as well.

"My findings will be published soon, I promise you," stated Long, as he was reunited with his family in Buenos Aires.

Belumar/Empty Quarter 088-1118

A relief force consisting of the 36th and 84th Fleets, with attached reserve squadrons, arrived today to engage Lucan's forces here.

Lucan's fleet retreated with minor casualties, leaving behind the ground forces it had landed more than a week before.

With assistance from close orbital bombardment, Belumarese defenders easily overcame the abandoned ground forces, who surrendered en masse before planet dawn.

Though driven off, the loss of the way station facilities at Belumar to Lucan's fleet will be a serious setback to the league's ability to effectively defend its independence.

Depot/Corridor (1511 A686354-F) 092-1118

"Continued rumors that Vargr corsairs are massing against facilities in Depot are not only annoying but are doing much to undermine the very real job of maintaining effective border patrols," says Commander Lynx Breneri of the Naval Information Office today.

He also added that the notion of Vargr acting in any sort of large concerted effort is "ludicrous."

Terra/Sol 093-1118

SolSec released today a communiqué stating that Jeffery Long, recently freed from Imperial prison, has been murdered.

"The hotel room where Mr. Long and his family were staying on their vacation in Osaka was all but destroyed by a bomb. There were no survivors."

Though several staff members of the hotel are under investigation, no charges are expected to be filed against them.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that Imperial intelligence agents carried out this vicious crime against true humaniti – the technology of the bomb and its professional placement are very suspicious," stated an anonymous source in the local district attorney's office.

Depot/Corridor (1511 A686354-F) 102-1118

A force of Vargr warships, estimated to be over 500 vessels strong, has entered the system today and begun its systematic hunt of merchant vessels.

The three squadrons of the 255th Fleet left in the system were sent out against the Vargr, but were dispersed and destroyed by the encroaching Vargr.

Evacuations from Depot itself had been announced, and then later canceled as the Vargr noose tightened around the planet.

"With the Vargr animals in control of the approaches to Depot we have little choice but to maintain our control over the surface and await the imminent arrival of a relief force," assured Baron hault Grivven. The Naval Information Office has been in turmoil and unavailable for comment.

Gushamad/Delphi 103-1118

A defecting noble and his family drew Margaret face-to-face with Lucan's powerful fleets, only to prove to the world the righteousness of her cause.

Margaret, under advice of her high command, accepted a written plea for assistance from John, Marquis of Palanthir, a world in Old Expanses sector. A single squadron was dispatched months ago to rendezvous with the escaping Marquis and his family and provide them safe escort to Anaxias.

On their return voyage, a hundred ship squadron of reservists under Lucan's control caught up to the defector and battle lines were drawn.

In mid-battle, however, several of the reservist ships broke ranks and began firing on their former compatriots. More ships switched sides and drove the few loyal ships away. A total of 35 ships have joined the original 12 escorts and the support of Margaret.

Capital/Core (0509 A586A98-F) 114-1118

Military atrocities on the part of Imperial forces were categorically denied by a fleet spokesman today.

"The destruction of cities on three worlds in the Gushemege sector has been investigated and has been attributed to enemy activity in the area. Several cities in that area were subjected to nuclear and chemical attack from orbiting ships during military clean up operations. Though the cause of the catastrophe is still in question, the fact that a million plus individuals have been killed in 'an unfortunate act of war.'"

Kurae/Zarushagar 116-1118

Today saw the conclusion of the largest fleet action to date between Lucan's Vengeance Fleet and Dulinor's Ilelish Fleet, centered around the three worlds of the outer Kurae system.

The week long see-saw conflict has left both sides severely weakened. The Vengeance Fleet claims to have inflicted over 100 losses on Dulinor. Ilelish Fleet boasts a similar number of enemy ships destroyed.

In one incident of interest, patrols of both sides approaching an outer- system planet fought it out to the last two ships. Both ships, heavily damaged and unable to use their ship-to-ship weapons, managed to come into contact and commence boarding actions, leaving only 15 Ilelish crewmen alive on the wrecked hulks proclaiming their own victory.

Both fleets have jumped out of the system to regroup.

Salvage ships from a dozen nearby worlds have arrived to begin picking through the wreckage, careful to evade the few fighters left to secure the area against looting.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 123-1118

Emperor Dulinor today accepted pledges of allegiance and support from the fringe world in the Gushemege sector.

"Seeing the vast superiority of our fleets in action, and the truth that Lucan is as much an imposter as the so-called Strephon, fully 23 worlds have recently aligned with our cause. Their ships added to ours are gradually grinding the enemy away, and soon the ultimate end of resistance to my rule will be at hand."

Terra/Sol 123-1118

From notes gathered from the wreckage of the hotel room where Jeffery Long and his family were murdered earlier this year, his publisher has produced and released a draft of his works entitled The Hyperspace Web.

In it, Long's notes suggest that he was jailed by Imperial authorities when his investigative work into the problems and mysteries of hyperspace sickness was becoming uncomfortable to naval researchers.

It states that the popularized research into the sickness was getting dangerously close to research facilities the Imperial Navy had working on breaking the jump-6 barrier.

Catania/Solomani Rim 125-1118

The Battle of Catania has come to an end between forces of Lucan's Imperium and the Solomani.

In the action 20 warships were destroyed on each side. The three-day battle was characterized by quick raids against enemy ships shrouded in the system's unique dust cloud formations.

Both sides are proclaiming victory in the battle, although both have evacuated the system in search of reinforcements and repairs.

Lode/Zarushagar 128-1118

A large portion of the 2nd and 4th Fleets was ambushed today as the fleets put in for frontier refueling at the large gas giant Muendor.

Enemy ships, apparently hidden in their lairs for days or even weeks, came out of hiding and attacking when many of the refueling ships were at their most vulnerable.

Dulinor's ships had apparently acted on a hunch, lying in wait in the extensive asteroid belt and Muendor's ice ring for the right moment to strike.

Effective command by Fleet Admiral Nigel Rudel brought the high guard to bear against the assault, inflicting several critical blows with concentrated missile attacks against the larger vessels.

Further thrusts by the rebels, however, did manage to get through to damage four vessels, one so badly that it had to be scuttled a few hours later.

Despite this, Admiral Rudel will almost certainly be decorated for his valiant defense in an unpredictable situation.

Dlan/Ilelish 137-1118

Fearful of his alliance slipping in the border worlds between Cyril and Usdiki, where the false Strephon is gaining wide acceptance and the seal of legitimacy, Dulinor has for the past several months authorized reserve fleets to sortie into the area in a show of strength.

Local worlds undecided or loyal to the false Strephon have bucked under these displays, sometimes fighting back with local squadrons.

A war of attrition has begun in the area which is pitting out-of-date ships against each other in the absence of larger, state-sponsored, state-of-the-art fleets.

Dlan/Ilelish 143-1118

Several ships of the 40th Reserve Fleet have been fatally ambushed by system defense boats in the to-date neutral Shupin system.

In a communiqué from that planet's High Kyefik the "huttmyen of the 17 tribes unite behind the true Emperor Strephon and accept his protection in the face of continued war among the holy stars."

An ambassadorial party from Dulinor on Shupin was asked to depart with all haste before local custom forced the Kyefik to behead them all.

The Shupin incident emphasizes the willingness of worlds, especially less sophisticated ones, to flock to the banner of the false Strephon, despite his tenuous claim to the throne.

Capital/Core 149-1118

Security troops today seized the family lands and assets of Duke Anthony of Guintaria, hustling the Duke and his family off to maximum-security facilities in the palace.

Unofficial sources say the Duke is being accused of high treason, having divulged troop and fleet movement information to agents of Dulinor.

In his position in the advisory commission to the admiralty, Anthony has had regular access to highly sensitive information, and if these rumors are true, the effect on the fleets in Zarushagar could be devastating.

Khandi/Dagudashaag 150-1118

An extensive pacification campaign against unprotected industrial worlds in the sector has been dealt several blows in the last week.

Lucan's policy to replace hostile nobles and governments with military governors where possible is putting his ground forces to the test.

Landings against seven worlds – Shankida, Dashi, Ispumer, Medurma, Dipa, Ekhugush, and Nimluin – have placed the rest of the fleet in a serious shortage of marines.

"The pacification of these worlds is paramount to the successful completion of the fleet's mission and the eventual return of the sector to rightful Imperial administration," said a spokesman in answer to negative reports from the worlds themselves.

It is reported that several divisions of marines which landed on Ekhugush haven't actually gotten off their island landing sites in the face of worldwide resistance to their presence.

On Nimluin, the most distant world invaded, the first military governor was assassinated days after his arrival. A shaky state of martial law imposed on the planet is being maintained only in the three larger cities where Lucan's troops are garrisoned.

The rest of the planet is mounting an effort to coordinate a war against the garrison, which some in the command structure fear will force a costly and embarrassing evacuation of the planet.

Banasdan/Solomani Rim 159-1118

Several Solomani squadrons have been tracked and confronted by a large combined fleet of Lucan's Imperium.

Elements of the Diaspora Fleet, supported by the 22nd Fleet and 22nd Reserve Fleet, plus a number of Vegan ships attached at the squadron level, were involved in the action.

The Solomani were caught unprepared and were effectively surrounded.

Their dispersal spelled their destruction. In all, 44 Solomani ships were destroyed and three captured.

Unfortunately, a courier vessel with several Hiver diplomats and observers on the scene was destroyed in the battle. There were no survivors.

The Naval Intelligence Office, operating out of the flagship Beatrice, stated that "despite proper identification and markings, all commonly used by both Solomani and Imperial vessels, the courier ship was wantonly attacked and destroyed by a vastly superior Solomani vessel.

"We protest this action and apologize on behalf of the Solomani to the Hiver Federation at large."

Terra/Sol 164-1118

Commerce raiding by renegade Imperial vessels continues to hamper efforts to rebuild the defenses of Terra and other vital war endeavors.

Temporary Governor General Sequieros has stated that "Solomani plans to deal with the problem have thus far failed" and that "proper administration of the war on the front lines would have prevented this problem."

In response to that statement, the Defense Department suggested that it is nearly impossible to stop commerce raiding altogether in times of war.

Capital/Core 166-1118

In a sudden and rare move, the Palace announced a public execution, that of accused traitor Duke Anthony.

The execution took place in the security block, and minimal coverage was allowed. Lucan then ordered the absolute destruction of Anthony's family estate and lands, carried out by the palace guards later in the day with plasma weapons fire.

The duke's family has been deported and shamed, allowed to travel to a second family home which is located in Ilelish sector.

Inside sources claim that Lucan went into his rage when the panel he appointed personally was about to find the defendant not guilty.

Ushra/Core 168-1118

The captured rebel vessel Delorian, escorted after being seized while commerce raiding in the coreward portion of the sector, was in starport for refueling and refitting when its captive crew staged a recapture of the ship.

The prize crew was overcome by the captives still held on the ships during docking procedures at the starport.

The ship's escort vessel, the Warren, was also taken by captives held on that ship.

How the two events were so well coordinated is unknown – all of the prisoners were given thorough routine examinations prior to incarceration, according to a Naval spokesperson.

Its weapons largely repaired by the prize crew, the rebel crew extorted provisions and fuel from the starport workers; then both vessels moved away from the world and out of the system with multiple hostages.

Narquel/Diaspora 175-1118

Black Ralph, the privateer who claims allegiance to Strephon himself, has made his greatest raid yet, gaining two valuable cargoes and two new ships.

The popular hero is actually gaining momentum in the area in support for Strephon after two months of raiding which have taken him through three subsectors.

Originally a captain in the 66th Fleet, Black Ralph fled the ranks with his single ship three months ago.

This latest raid on shipping caught the merchant ships Ravenna and Rosetta with only two fighters for escort. Their cargoes were weapons and supplies intended for the Vengeance Fleet.

Presently Black Ralph has a total of five ships and perhaps 300 loyal followers.

Infrapolis/Antares 177-1118

Archduke Brzk's fleets have gained another major victory over Lucan's ships in this subsector over the last two weeks.

Choosing mainly single ship operations, Lucan's squadrons were finally found in larger groups gathering for a thrust into the sector.

Before they could all assemble, many of the formations were engaged and again dispersed over the course of the campaign.

More than 30 enemy ships were destroyed in the operation – most of them in the Infrapolis system itself.

Capital/Core 180-1118

It was reported today that Admiral Count Markron Morone will be placed on charges for misconduct once her squadron comes out of action along the Zarushagar frontier.

It is alleged that the Admiral placed her squadron in jeopardy by disobeying direct orders and attacking the elements of the rebel 102nd Fleet. The fleet was led by her personal enemy, Admiral Roberta Sword, with intentions of taking the world IImii.

In 1113, Sword humiliated Count Morone by winning the hand of her husband. Having remarried, the two make their home on Iimii, and Count Morone obviously had in mind some sort of personal revenge by abusing her position as admiral of an Imperial fleet.

Phaln/Gushemege 181-111

Strephon, head of his own fleet, has made his first advances into Dulinor's domain with ships assembled from squadron elements which were retained in service with Lucan.

The several-hundred-ship-strong fleet is bound for worlds which are seeking assistance against Dulinor and are willing to accept the fact that Strephon is still alive and is emperor.

At a battle in the Phaln system, two of Dulinor's squadrons exchanged shots with Strephon's ships, causing minor damage on both sides.

Whatever the outcome, this incident marks the beginning of a new scenario with a new contender for control of the Imperium.

Tephany/Lishun 186-1118

The newly established Vargr governor has issued warrants for the arrest of thousands of nobles and agitators to the new regime.

Gtweng, who is in charge of the Vargr on Tephany (as best as can be ascertained), is a former world emperor deposed 30 years ago in Meshan sector. He has a reputation for being ruthless and violent, although he has no particular hatred for humans.

In the absence of a sector fleet, the Vargr have run rampant, pillaging the coreward half of the sector.

Vargr cooperation in this takeover has been almost nonexistent, as might be expected from Vargr.

Local reservist ships and system defense boats are still putting up resistance in the rimward areas, but the Vargr advance seems to have been halted by their own bickering – not by any concerted human effort to stop them.

Warinir/Daibei 197-1118

An emergency meeting was held today between Duke Craig and the Moot of High Lords to discuss the demands from Emperor Lucan.

In a prepared statement, the Duke's press secretary said, "An unnaturally great strain is being placed on the sector to provide ships for fleets in distant wars. It is not the duty of loyal sectors to strip themselves bare in order to support Lucan, when other more pressing matters threaten our own borders."

"The Duke, with the blessing of the Moot, has appealed to the Emperor to lessen the ship quota at this time."

Durima/Corridor 199-1118

Local elements of the 58th and 56th Reserve Fleets today smashed disorganized Vargr corsairs.

The Vargr refueling and supply bases on a gas giant moon in the outer system were also located and destroyed, according to the Defense Coordination Office on Durima.

"Unfortunately, a marine raid on the Vargr base prior to the bombardment failed to locate or procure valuable cargoes believed to have been stored there at one time."

Examination of the wreckage indicates that the complex could accommodate no more than five Vargr ships at one time, and conditions were primitive.

Dlan/Ilelish 200-1118

The so-called Strephon's lack of front-line fighting craft has forced him to resort to extensive commerce raiding on the frontier between his core of worlds and Dulinor's.

The slower, less sophisticated warships he has managed to lay a hold of are generally a poor match for front-line vessels; however, they can do considerable damage to unprotected cargo ships.

The merchant community is crying out to Dulinor for assistance, but with nearly every available ship fighting in Zarushagar there is little hope that Dulinor's help will come soon.

Dachnis/Old Expanses 202-1118

In a surprise attack on Solomani fleets in the Dachnis system, Lucan's Old Expanses Fleet engaged and destroyed a considerable number of enemy ships.

In all, some 70 major Solomani warships were destroyed, and considerable ground forces were captured or cut off from their fleet. Imperial losses totaled less than 20 ships.

"With so much of their strength lost, the Solomani must retreat toward the rim and their homes," said Admiral Gytanyo for the fleet.

"Dispersed and weakened, the Solomani cannot hope to hold off our ships, which can now move in to begin retaking worlds lost to the Solomani last year."

Backman/Diaspora 210-1118

Privateer Black Ralph has successfully raided the orbital Imperial Naval Base at Backman, with support of rebels who had infiltrated the facility.

The privateer's ships emerged from hyperspace dangerously close to the gravity well of Backman, deep within Imperial patrol perimeters.

This bold stroke allowed him time to disable many of the base's facilities, seize three additional merchant ships docked there, and effectively limit the Imperial Navy's ability to deal with him later.

Capital/Core 210-1118

Word has reached Core concerning the world of Alekvadin/Core. According to reports, the world has been sacked by deep penetration raiders from Dulinor's fleets.

The great riches of the ancient Vadin civilization, from the spired towers of Twunchel to the endless art treasures of the period, have all been seized by the piratical rebels, members of the 166th Fleet.

The estimated worth of the treasures is in excess of MCr50,000.

The raiders have escaped without a trace, and the dearth of ships in the area suggests that the capture of the raiders is quite unlikely.

Libert/Diaspora 211-1118

Support for the Solomani cause and invasion in the Solomani Rim and rimward Diaspora sectors is apparently widespread, despite assurances from the nobility that this is not the case.

Efforts on many worlds are being hampered by Solomani security elements, largely with public support.

Pervasive unrest is apparent, and a large number of troops are being pulled out of the front lines in order to secure some rear areas.

Particular trouble spots seem to be in Mudge, Easter, Frey, and St. Denis, where uprisings have seen considerable destruction of life and property.

Dachnis/Old Expanses 212-1118

Today, a counterattack by Solomani raiders destroyed five patrol vessels of the Old Expanses Fleet.

The Admiralty had no comment, but unofficial sources claim the attack was very well planned and executed on the part of the Solomani.

They also denied that SolSec has penetrated the fleet at very high levels.

Warinir/Daibei 214-1118

Emissaries from Lucan arrived to begin a series of meetings with the Duke regarding the appeal of ship allocations from Daibei sector.

After several hours of negotiations, which have been described by inside sources as "heated", the parties emerged with a universal "no comment." It is clear that the appeal has not yet reached the Emperor's ears, but has instead been intercepted and is being handled by more immediate diplomats on his behalf.

Warinir/Daibei 217-1118

After two days of negotiations with the Imperial emissaries, talks have completely broken down. The ambassadors have been given seven days to leave Warinir.

In a video interview, the Duke said, "It is unlikely that we will be sending massive numbers of our own ships into the hinterlands any time soon.

"We shall instead be looking out for our own interests, despite Lucan's trepidation over fleet strengths."

Warinir/Daibei 223-1118

Government offices are buzzing with activity, but they are reluctant to comment on what has become known as the Orvon Incident.

Three patrol ships from the Daibei Fleet, apparently on routine maneuvers, were approached and fired upon by a squadron from the 239th Fleet, en route to the Solomani front.

With sketchy facts, the naval Information Office is declining any comment on the incident, stating only that it must be some sort of terrible mistake.

The Orvon Incident is already being portrayed in the press as a symptom of impending confrontation between the Imperium and Daibei sector.

Anaxias/Delphi 243-1118

Fleets loyal to Lucan carried their war directly to Margaret's stronghold of worlds, spearheading on a frontage three parsecs across into the area of Aarze and Keum in Massilia sector.

The 117th Fleet has done well to hold its own against the invaders, managing to blunt their assault and turn some enemy squadrons back toward their bases.

Further penetration from Lucan's Imperium is unlikely, as reservist fleets have now come to bear. Nonetheless, the fighting is expected to continue in the region for many months to come.

Liasdi/Zarushagar 258-1118

A report from fleet headquarters announced, "The brave warriors of the 166th Fleet have apparently all been lost in commerce raiding near Capital itself. Their short-term raiding on the enemy was no doubt fierce, and their long-term effect on enemy trade and commerce will greatly aid the war effort."

Due to arrive back in Zarushagar sector more than a month ago, members of the fleet have been written off as casualties.

Amdani/Daibei 260-1118

Division among naval officers of the Daibei Fleet over matters of future deployment erupted today in conflict.

A squadron, ostensibly under the command of Admiral Byron, broke ranks during training maneuvers and headed for frontier refueling.

The rebellion was lead by Captain Kristian James, citing loyalty to the Imperium as his motive.

The squadron made good on its promises, refueled in an orderly fashion, and jumped out of the system as a puzzled squadron of Daibei loyalists, unwilling to fire on its own, continued its training maneuvers.

Warinir/Daibei 289-1118

The Emperor's final denial of an appeal to retain ship strength in Daibei sector has sparked extreme sector patriotism and anti-Imperium sentiment.

"The Treaty of Ftahalr guarantees us the right to maintain reasonable ship strengths," pointed out Lord Guinth, advisor to the Duke. The Duke has prepared a written response to Lucan, the essence of which has been made available to the press.

The Independent Federation of Daibei is officially formed as of this day, to incorporate worlds and subsectors of the sector and additional territories in the Reaver's Deep sector.

A pro-Imperial faction in the Moot of High Lords has been isolated and subjected to house arrest until the period of transition is completed.

The Duke has assumed personal control over the new Federation until a more systematic government can be established.

Rallies organized by the Duke's household have begun and are expected to dominate the Three Cities for the next several days.

Narya/Daibei 299-1118

The 111th and 176th Fleets, previously attached to the Daibei Fleet, arrived collectively here today to hold the system for Imperial control. Narya has traditionally been a stronghold of Lucan's support in the rimward regions of the sector.

Gaining popular support, ground troops have been landed, and defensive measures are being undertaken to fight off the inevitable retaliation from rebel worlds which have aligned themselves with the new independent Federation of Daibei.

Narya/Daibei 312-1118

The lights of Daibei are lit up this day with close orbital fighting between forces loyal to Lucan and the recently arrived Daibei Fleet squadrons.

A thorn in the side of the new federation, this battle is seen as a test of that union's strength and will to survive.

Initial reports say that overwhelming strength is breaking down the system's defenses, and that ships loyal to Lucan are unable to continue the battle and have retreated out of the system. However, it is doubtful that the Daibei Fleet carries sufficient ground-attack elements to take the planet without a lengthy siege and bombardment.

Disi/Zarushagar 332-1118

Vowing that vengeance will be had against the Daibei rebels, Lucan's Fleet – consisting mostly of the 259th, 6th, and 240th Reserve Fleets diverted from service against Dulinor – has finally reached and engaged its enemy.

Daibei ships in the system put up a tenacious fight but were eventually forced to withdraw in the face of superior numbers.

"Its not that we couldn't match them in quality of ships," said Ensign Louis Hutura, an officer on a patrol vessel. "Their equipment is substandard and out of date, but there's just so much of it!"

Medurma/Dagudashaag 344-1118

The Admiralty today announced major gains against Dulinor's deep penetration raiders operating in both Core and Dagudashaag sectors.

To date, merchant vessels totaling more than two million tons have been destroyed in the dangerous trade corridor between Medurma and the rimward edge of Lishun sector.

Major portions of the enemy fleet are apparently turning back because of concerted drives against their supply and coordination bases over the last three months.

In the face of crippling losses in major engagements against the Vengeance Fleet earlier this year, most of the commerce raiders are expected to sortie back toward their own lines.

Phaln/Gushemege 360-1118

The Second Battle of Phaln has finally ended in a decisive victory for the forces of Strephon.

Three of Lucan's fleets engaged an undetermined number of rebellious ships in the system beginning on 328-1118. The struggle for the system has taken more than a month since the first engagements.

The battle was one characterized by smaller squadron actions rather than being a set piece contest.

In the end, attrition forced Lucan's fleets to withdraw, after having lost nearly 100 vessels to the fanatical forces of Strephon.

Reports on Strephon's losses are unavailable but are suspected to be less than half those of Lucan's fleets.

Tephany/Lishun (2719 A6B19DF-A) 003-1119

The Vargr Gtweng has proclaimed himself emperor of Tephany after a bloody coup which decimated the military government of the planet. An armed contingent of loyal guardsmen, distinguished by their black capes and robes, penetrated every section of the capital city by night, making select assassinations and takeovers of communications/media centers.

With the smoke of the street battles till in the air, Gtweng announced his intention to reunite this world and three other nearby worlds into a self- sufficient enclave. Gtweng cited as his reasons for the coup the lack of coordination of Vargr activities in the sector, the unreliability of commerce in the region, and the threat of independent raiders both on the frontiers and around Tephany itself.

Durima/Corridor (1205 B420ADE-F) 010-1119

Forces of the Archduke of Deneb and the Reestablished Vilani Empire have come to blows around Depot. Following joint exercises against Vargr fleets in the region, ships from either side exchanged shots during salvage operations. Which side delivered the first salvoes is not clear, but it is certain that further cooperation against the Vargr in this sector is unlikely, a fact which will no doubt hurt the Vilani-settled worlds there.

Strouden/Spinward Marches (2327 A745988-D) 012-1119

The impressive entourage of ships accompanying Lakht Aorlakht, spiritual and military leader of the Aslan invasions, was received today in orbit around Station Five. He and his personal retinue disembarked at the station and took shuttle passage to the surface.

Lakht Aorlakht arrived on Strouden in preparation for the summit meeting arranged between Archduke Norris and the Aslan; immediately prior to the summit, expectations were running high that progress would be made.

In the evening, Lakht Aorlakht met privately with Fleet Admiral Tranathiaf, personal envoy of the archduke, charged with containing Aslan expansion through negotiation.

Their meeting lasted more than three hours, and was later described as heated. The three-day summit was cut short when Lakht Aorlakht stormed from the chambers and immediately shuttled back to his squadron.

The admiral's office has no expectations of a future summit meeting anytime soon.

Benankas/Hinterworlds (2524 A7A3353-C) 100-1119

In an official statement issued today by this independent Hinterworlds system, the Benankeen harshly denounced their Gniivi neighbors for support of piratical activities.

Without being specific, the statement claims that Benankeen investigators have pinpointed Gniivi involvement in the theft of two of their vessels carrying valuable trade goods bound for the worlds of the Bruia Diagonal.

The Gniivi ambassador expressed his regret and Gniivi innocence, offering the services of his offices to right this wrong and bring the truly guilty to justice.

It is expected that the Gniivi ambassador will be recalled over this incident.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A446A76-E) 101-1119

With the bulk of her reserve fleets committed to holding off Lucan's advances into her territory, Margaret has mustered sufficient strength to mount an attack against the Solomani invaders to rimward in Old Expanses sector.

Concentrating the relatively fresh forces of her 145th, 137th, and 67th Fleets, Margaret has penetrated ten parsecs behind forward Solomani fleets, disrupting their lines of communication and supply, and spread out to cut off their retreat.

Additional forces attacking out of Delphi sector are squeezing pockets of Solomani ships out of the area, forcing many to disband into small, even single-ship, squadrons to attempt a breakout to rimward.

Trin/Spinward Marches (3235 A894A96-F) 117-1119

A daring raid by subjugated humans has resulted in the destruction of an Aslan cruiser in orbits around Dodds.

Three human ships which survived the raid arrived at Trin within the week, reporting immediately to naval authorities.

The ships were the Valaderes and the Veiled Dream, both Type S ships, and the Steaming Retreat, a Type K vessel.

The Veiled Dream has been unofficially renamed the Ravager by her crew since the incident.

These three ships and three others which did not survive the mission approached the Aslan cruiser Kholstesarl while in space dock at Dodds.

Scoring hits with several laser turrets and at least five missiles, the Kholstesarl was racked by internal explosions which broke the vessel's back, according to the human crews.

Intercepted Aslan communications support the claim that the Kholstesarl was indeed destroyed.

Anubis/Hinterworlds 123-1119

The heart of the Anubian Trade Coalition is rumbling with the news of progress on the bargaining tables between it and representatives of Margaret's realm.

The talks, organized by the coalition, were hoped to smooth over the Gimisapun Incident in which three of Margaret's merchant vessels, bound for the Two Thousand Worlds, were stopped, searched, and turned away by an Anubian patrol.

The coalition has accepted full responsibility for the wrongs committed, and has compensated Margaret for any loss incurred.

Future trade with Margaret, both with the Anubian Trade Coalition and through its worlds, will progress at an increased level.

When asked whether or not this is a step toward siding with Margaret in the civil war, the ATC had no comment.

Cyril/Reft (2738 A7A69B9-F) 125-1119

Major offenses between the forces of Dulinor and Strephon have broken down into widespread, sporadic brawls between the shattered fleets.

The attrition suffered in Gushemege sector have been the most terrible so far, totaling thousands of vessels and more than a million casualties to both sides.

With his stronger fleets beginning to give ground before Lucan's forces, it is unlikely that Dulinor will commit additional resources to the fight against Strephon; the fleets already there will be charged with holding off the imposter until the entire tide of conflict shifts back to his advantage.

Gerdane/Hinterworlds (0407 C000110-7) 133-1119

Three asteroid mining vessels under the flag of Ral Ranta reportedly tangled with an independent Solomani destroyer in the Gerdane system.

The three ships, hopelessly outgunned, offered only token resistance as thy evaded the Solomani vessel through the asteroid field, jumping finally to the safety of the Sablass system two parsecs distant.

Reviewing sensor data, representatives of Ral Ranta's armed forces have confirmed that the enemy ship was indeed of Solomani origin.

Speculation is that Margaret's thrusts into Old Expanses sector are forcing Solomani vessels to break out in whatever direction they can.

Kaggushus/Massilia (0402 A442AA7-G) 137-1119

Obviously committing the last of his reserve fleets, Dulinor pushed out of Zarushagar sector through Massilia, temporarily cutting the Imperium in half.

Elements of Dulinor's 9th, 41st, and 278th fleets, among others, have cut a swath of systems 30 parsecs long and five parsecs deep, virtually bridging the gap between Dulinor's worlds and those of Margaret.

The Admiralty issued a statement calling the attack a "desperate attempt to open a new front, diverting our resources from our drive toward Dlan."

The statement also announced that the incursion would be routed out within a few months, but until that time the area is to be considered too dangerous for travel.

Venad/Hinterworlds (0402 A221621-B) 139-1119

Margaret's admiralty today confirmed suspicions that her offensive into Old Expanses has been very successful to date, and that Solomani fleets are beginning to disperse in front of her advancing squadrons.

The Admiralty also announced that their intelligence confirms that many Solomani vessels, independently and in small squadrons, are breaking through the Hinterworlds sector.

Margaret is making a sector-wide appeal for assistance against the aggressor Solomani; bounties range from hundreds of credits to grants of nobility are being offered for information about or confirmed destruction of fleeing Solomani vessels.

Venad's starport will be the official processing center for all claims concerning Solomani activities within the Hinterworlds sector.

Akron/Hinterworlds (1315 C56999B-A) 140-1119

The ruling council proudly opened its new orbital refueling and rest station, hoping to better serve its non-streamlined patron vessels. The facility, complete with refueling and maintenance stations, also boasts large shopping, hotel, and recreational areas, all gravity enhanced and of low cost.

Though only loosely organized, the corporations and facilities of Akron are always trying to improve the image of their system, which has been one of outlandish prices and inconvenience.

Robin/Spinward Marches (2637 C00059C-C) 143-1119

Today a squadron of ihatei vessels descended upon and destroyed multiple human-operated bases within the extensive asteroid belts of Robin.

The brutality of the raid left no facilities for ships intact, and all personnel were reportedly killed or taken prisoner.

Though technically already within the Aslan sphere of influence in the sector, human belt mining operations had been conducted without Aslan interference for more than a year.

Berange/Hinterworlds (0311 C428ACB-B) 149-1119

Three Solomani warships which entered the system four days ago have ended their reign of terror and destruction within the Berange system.

The three ships have been identified as the Solomani cruisers Donetsk and Abidjan with the support of the light cruiser Baffin Bay. These ships were attached to Solomani fleets battling Margaret's forces in Old Expanses sector and are apparently breaking out through Hinterworlds in the face of stepped-up offenses out of Delphi.

Upon entering the system, the three vessels destroyed several system defense boats around gas giant Ythhi and performed frontier refueling.

Obviously well-informed as to the Berange system's industrial base, the ships then proceeded directly to Ryathian, Ythhi's third moon and home of Nummen Industries' system distribution point. After destroying communication stations, the Solomani vessels took the moon hostage for 37 hours, ravaging the facilities there for spare parts and other supplies. The vessels jumped out of the system before approaching Ral Ranthan ships could reach the besieged moon.

Aki/Spinward Marches (2035 B443987-9) 153-1119

Aslan forces have crushed a bloody rebellion among the warlike Kritin faction of the ruling houses of lords.

The faction's forces, led by Tyrar McTavish Kritin, forced their way into the Aslan diplomatic compound, several dozen ihatei governors and their retainers. The Kritin held the compound for five days, encouraging other acts of violence against the unwelcome Aslan overlords; sporadic outbreaks of unrest racked the entire planet during the long 87 hour night of Aki. With the help of Aslan marines, the Aorlakht recaptured the diplomatic compound, executing the Kritin captured there (including Tyrar) and brought the state of emergency under control.

The unrest has, however, halted several expeditions of ihatei further into the remote regions of the world, and many have begun returning to the diplomatic compound seeking safety in numbers from a possibly dangerous subject population.

Kaggushus/Massilia (0402 A877A88-D) 162-1119

It was reported today that elements of the 160th and 200th Reserve Fleets engaged and destroyed a large force loyal to the pretender Strephon. In the engagement, an enemy flagship was obliterated by missile fire, and prisoners interrogation suggest that the imposter himself may have been among its casualties. The imposter's own propaganda suggests that he would personally lead his warships, much as the true Strephon often said he would in times of great struggle.

The Admiralty will not confirm the death of the imposter Strephon, but suggests that careful attention be paid to his followers in the wake of this incident.

Esalin/Spinward Marches (1004 C565673-8) 163-1119

The rumored reorganization of Zhodani fleets has been further evidenced by a recent cut in the number of patrol vessels in the Esalin system.

When questioned on the matter the representative of the Zhodani ambassador said, "A general reorganization of our fleet is in order, favoring newer, more powerful vessels. Older ships are being removed from active service, nothing more."

Vice Admiral Thurougood, however, said the Zhodani are doing exactly the opposite, pulling modern ships out of the line and apparently replacing them with other ships. It is rumored that the Zhodani may be in the throes of an impending change of government, possibly violent, or putting down a rebellion against psionic rule.

Iaasiv/Hinterworlds (2829 EAC3AA9-B) 179-1119

Chorschuv, popular leader of Iaasiv's 33 billion inhabitants, announced today that he has completed a long-term pact with the Hiver government to build large cargo vessels to accommodate human passenger and freight service.

The Hiver representatives have agreed to gradually increase the capacity of the shipyards from E to B, a process that should be completed in five years.

Ships built at Iaasiv will generally be put into service along the Alike Run and the Bruia Diagonal, crewed by Iaasivans, and managed by Chorschuv for the Hiver owners. The boom to the system will probably lead to a gradual increase of local technology as well, according to the planetary accounting office.

More than 500 large vessels, totaling more than 11 million tons, will be built to fill the Hiver order; the jump drives will not be built at Iaasiv, but will be obtained from the Hiver Federation.

Capital/Core (2118 AS86A98-F) 183-1119

In Lucan's first address to the citizenry as a whole in over a year, he expressed his expectations that the vast majority of the Imperium will be reunited under his banner within the next year.

"Our fleets are advancing system by system toward Dlan as resistance crumbles before them. It should be within only a few months that Dulinor and his forces capitulate."

The Emperor then went on to announce new negotiations with Margaret and communications with the Archduke of Deneb, suggesting that those fragments of the shattered Imperium might soon return to Lucan's fold.

In his entire 45-minute-long address, the Emperor did not mention the pretender Strephon or the battles being fought along that front.

The emperor appeared tired though resolute, using a newly found commanding tone in his speech which was broadcast live here on Capital.

Esalin/Spinward Marches (1004 C565673-8) 190-1119

The Admiralty today released photographs of several Zhodani ships performing frontier refueling in the system just one week ago. The two ships in high guard position are shown quite clearly in the photos; they have suffered tremendous battle damage – entire sections of their hulls have been burned away and hastily patched.

The other ships in the convoy were apparently of both military and nonmilitary origins, including freighters and passenger ships. The ships broadcast warnings not to interfere with their refueling, apparently aimed at both Imperial and Zhodani forces in the area – no Zhodani forces aided or interfered, though they had patrol ships in the vicinity to monitor the situation.

Once refueled, the entire convoy retreated and jumped out of the system.

There has been no official explanation given; speculation ranges widely and is largely unconfirmed.

Gustavus/Hinterworlds (0739 C000525-B) 204-1119

The Gustavian League, a mining conglomerate with absolute ties to the Solomani Rim, has gone on record as a safe haven for Solomani ships in the Hinterworlds that seek a friendly port.

The league has begun putting beacons out in several systems to alert otherwise inaccessible Solomani vessels to this news, and it has spread the word through all official enclaves, as well.

The response to Gustavus' new policy will be difficult to judge, since most vessels responding will be travelling silently through the sector on their way back to Solomani-held systems.

Kaggushus/Massilia (0402 A442AA7-G) 212-1119

Strephon's military commanders, faring poorly with their fleets against Lucan's forces, have turned to a mass propaganda campaign aimed at several fleets opposing them.

Through every available means of broadcasting they have put out a plea from Strephon himself in which he insists that he is genuinely the emperor, and he opens his arms to any who will join him in his struggle against Lucan.

There are no accurate numbers indicating Strephon's success, and there are certainly no mass conversions of fleets or ships to his cause. But the growing body of evidence that says Strephon lives must certainly be putting ideas into the heads of Lucan's officers and men, the very men Strephon must fight.

Berange/Hinterworlds (0311 C4284CB-B) 238-1119

Authorities today announced the seizure of all assets and offices of Web Trade Industries in Berange Starport, the culmination of a month-long investigation of WebTrade's origins and trade practices.

A small commercial firm until mid-year, WebTrade was bought out by hitherto unknown agents, after which the company enjoyed an influx of capital. It was at this time that the company began specializing in starship components.

Though unconfirmed, a source close to the investigation indicates that WebTrade has been a front for Solomani raiders breaking out of the Imperium, probably those responsible for the attacks on Ryathian more than three months ago.

It is likely that Solomani fleet agents bought WebTrade and secured legitimate component contracts with falsified identification and securities, according to our source.

It is also likely, according to other sources, that, since WebTrade has been securing supplies in the Berange system, the Solomani fleet elements are probably in hiding nearby.

WebTrade's assets and those personnel detained will be held indefinitely until the final investigation is complete and all the facts have been ascertained.

Antares/Antares (2421 A762ADA-D) 012-1120

Based on an analysis of the neutrino admissions and the increase in pulsation rate of the star Antares, we believe the chance of Antares going supernova within the next 250 years is about 55 percent," stated Dr. Shen Gakivin of the Uucha Astronomical Observatory, located in the red giant's inner belt. "Now that the Circumsolar Neutrino Sensor Network is online, we have been able to refine our data tenfold over our previous work."

Cashin Cam-Cinn, science advisor to Archduke Brzk, replied to the UAO announcement, saying, "We've heard these kind of negative predictions for decades on end from the Uucha Station. Such grandiose predictions seem designed more to justify increased spending for the station than to conclude anything useful."

Ilelish/Arreli (2707 B877831-8) 023-1120

At the Federation Natural History Conference, held at Gitaaz Center in Concarraffi, Dr. Javin Stark presented the findings from his recent archaeological digs on Ilelish. The centerpiece of the presentation was a fossilized Droyne skull, which he estimated to be about 300,000 years old.

"This finding obviously presents us with far more questions than answers regarding the history of the world (Ilelish)," Stark stated. "The two main questions are, 'How did Droyne get to Ilelish,' and 'Why did they disappear?' Considering that the date of this skull fits with our estimates of when Suerrat were presumably transplanted to Ilelish by the Ancients, it seems reasonable to assume that a sample of Droyne were brought to Ilelish as well.

"As to why they disappeared – it could be that they were exterminated while competing with the proto-Suerrat for resources after the Ancients' Final War. An alternate theory proposes that the Ancients may simply have discontinued use of Droyne on this world.

"Unfortunately, we simply don't have enough facts to support any theory conclusively at this time. Our hope of understanding this find lies in locating more evidence and scrutinizing our data to make sure the answer is not before us and simply hiding in the cracks."

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 027-1120

The unveiling ceremony for The Enemy Of Dreams, a special sculpture commissioned by Emperor Lucan, took place today. The piece has received a lot of attention even before it was publicly presented since it was created by the prominent sculptor Trow Shadii-Eriskany, noted for her controversial works portraying anti-Imperial themes.

The sculpture presents a menacing image of Dulinor with a pistol in one hand, grabbing the dying Emperor Strephon by the collar in the other. The Enemy of Dreams is situated in the center of the Imperial park. Though the subject is one every Imperial citizen knows well, the grotesque style of the statue has evoked strong emotion, both pro- and anti-Imperial.

Shadi-Eriskany was noticeably absent from the unveiling. Representatives of the throne report that she left shortly after completing the sculpture to join her husband, who has been vacationing in a nearby system.

Vland/Vland (1717 A967A9A-F) 032-1120

The Vilani Ministry of Technology today announced that it had issued to the major megacorporations of the empire a Request for Proposal (RFP) to reimplement the traditional technological patent system of the First Imperium.

Gashina Enerish, spokesperson for the ministry, said, "The control of technology by the First Imperium was one reason why it was able to endure for more than 5000 years. The shadow emperor and the minister of technology are united in their belief that the reimplementation of the traditional patent system will be an important part of this empire's foundation."

Tauri/Vland (1817 A130998-E) 034-1120

Makhidkarun, Sharurshid, and Naasirka held joint news conference today to discuss their support for the traditional system. They also announced a technology-sharing agreement and cross-licensing pact which would allow each to use the technology developed by the others under the traditional system.

The holding company, to be jointly owned by the three megacorporations, would be administered from a new corporate headquarters on Tauri. The announcement concluded with a dramatic ritual announcement of the name selected for the new organization – Aarmikep. The name is a now-archaic Vilani word for patent law.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 047-1120

During a routine press conference today, Duchess Margaret announced that she is pregnant, confirming rumors of the past several weeks.

Margaret went on to say that she is carrying twins.

Her husband, Count Blaine Tukera, is said to be looking forward to being a father again.

Korbak/Delphi (0533 A332320-B) 053-1120

Several recent pirate attacks in this system have caused local naval officials to double up on patrols in the high-risk areas.

This additional effort diverts needed manpower away from the rebuilding efforts at Naval Base Kirbak and will likely lengthen the military occupation of the civilian starport.

Capital/Core (2118 AS86A98-F) 054-1120

The pirate video source with broadcast stations in the Sylean worlds today added programming in support of Brzk of Antares as the only true contender for emperor of the Third Imperium. Until today, the video programming of the stations (although unlicensed) was tolerated because of its nonpolitical content. With the addition of political (and anti-Lucan) programming, local defense forces have been directed to shut the stations down.

Terra/Solomani Rim/SOL (1827 A867A69-F) 159-1120

An archaeologist helping with the restoration of the Cheops Historical Site has found the oldest Terran writing known.

Dr. Daniel d'Aidre announced today that cave paintings found in the excavation date back 23,000 years. No translation has yet been made, but the marks and designs clearly point to their being writing, probably for use in a religious ceremony.

The Cheops Historical Site, under the care of the Terran Historical Administration, was flooded in 1106 when terrorists destroyed a dike holding back the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Knabbib/Core (2115 A331758-F) 168-1120

Julian Trane, distinguished professor of interstellar history, was arrested yesterday on treasonous publication charges by agents of the Emperor Lucan.

Trane's epic historical work, The Inevitability of Night, was published clandestinely despite a ban by the Imperial Ministry of Information. That publication led to his arrest on a charge of treasonous publication.

The Inevitability of Night hypothesizes that interstellar civilization progresses through a continuing cycle of expansion and regression fueled by economic and technological factors which cannot be avoided by any intelligent culture.

In his last interview before his detention, Professor Trane commented he saw parallels between the beginning years of the Long Night and the present Rebellion.

Imperial authorities refused to comment.

Sharim/Gushemege (1038 A435967-F) 194-1120

Doubt continues as to the truth behind the reappearance of Strephon in Gushemege sector, despite the virtually absolute evidence that he died in Dulinor's assassination plot on Capital in 1116.

Recent conjectures in the press have provided three distinct explanations for the individual calling himself Strephon. He could be a surgically altered actor, a pseudobiological robot, a clone, or the real Strephon (whose double died in the assassination).

No firm evidence has been presented for or against any of these conjectures.

Surprisingly, several leading nobles (including Brzk and Margaret) have made public statements leaving open the possibility that the individual in Gushemege is really Strephon. On the other hand, the only thing that Lucan and Dulinor seems to agree on is that the "real" Strephon is an imposter.

Zuiar/Dagudashaag (0705 B450967-A) 199-1120

Following more than a year of violent civil war, Zuiar declared allegiance to Lucan and the Third Imperium on 090-1120. Loyalist forces answering to Strephon today delivered an ultimatum demanding that Zuiar declare allegiance to Strephon.

The ultimatum calls for an electronic referendum of all population with a deadline of 210-1120.

Diishalum/Dagudashaag (0714 B120988-F) 200-1120

Forces loyal to Strephon have seized the orbital starport of this world and delivered an ultimatum demanding allegiance to Strephon.

The ultimatum calls for an electronic referendum of all population with a deadline of 210-1120.

Stijn/Verge (1809 A324658-E) 201-1120

In a lightning raid, unidentified forces attacked this world and sacked the capital, carrying off art treasures, refined precious metals, and technological components, while leaving the city in flames.

Initial reports that the forces were Imperial Marines (reflecting their initial radio identification) have been discounted as a ruse.

Regina/Spinward Marches (0310 A788899-A) 206-1120

The archduke of Deneb today announced the establishment of an Imperial force dedicated to maintaining the secure borders of the Imperium.

"After careful consideration," the archduke stated, "the government has determined that a special force – to be known as the Patrol – can best be executed the policies of the Domain of Deneb in securing the Imperial borders from the incursions and invasions which are common of late."

Patrol ships will cruise the borders of the domain with powers to repel invaders and to pursue them into non-Imperial territories. Armed Patrol ships will carry troop units capable of boarding actions and planetary surface missions. While the Patrol may call upon Imperial and Reserve Navy forces, it will be equipped and trained to deal with most situations with its own strengths.

Planetary positions will initially be filled by reserve naval and military personnel. Additional positions are open to enlistment.

As an enlistment incentive, Patrol retirees will receive up to 100 square kilometers of land on an agricultural or other suitable world. This is expected to be especially attractive to Aslan enlistees and is being announced in Aslan.

The Aslan translation of Patrol is Trekhyalr, or Land Protector.

Knabbib/Core (2115 A331758-F) 212-1120

Julian Trane, distinguished professor of interstellar history, has committed suicide in prison, according to police.

Guards delivering lunch found Trane hanging from a hand computer strap in his cell.

Trane was arrested almost two months ago for ignoring an Imperial Ministry of Information ban against the publication of his new book, The Inevitability of Night.

Imperial authorities expressed their regret at the death.

"Professor Trane's suicide is another in the list of crimes for which the ultimate responsibility belongs to Archduke Dulinor," a spokesman said.

Mora/Spinward Marches (3124 AA99AC7-F) 252-1120

Archduke Norris today officially named Mora as the capital world of the provisional government of the Domain of Deneb.

"From this beautiful world, we will together be able to build outward, beyond our current borders, toward the full Imperium as we once knew it," Norris said in prepared remarks.

Mora, already the capital of the sector and subsector, is expected to undergo a healthy increase in employment and construction to keep up with its new responsibilities.

The central location of MORA within the Domain of Deneb was seen by analysts as a principal reason for the move.

The duchess of Delphine was represented at the ceremonies by her grandniece, Elane, next in line to rule Mora itself.

Warinir/Daibei (0507 A889978-F) 261-1120

The Solomani Navy has been driven back with heavy losses by three fleets of the Federation of Daibei Navy after a series of engagements along the border.

The initial penetration by Federation forces reached the industrial complexes at Uston/Daibei (0139) and neighboring Aston/Daibei (0140), and spent more than a month destroying the Solomani manufacturing installations of the system before being forced to withdraw.

The pursuit drew the Solomani Navy into Daibei territory, where it was ambushed at Sineli (0127).

Tripolis/Verge (2612 B885A98-E) 269-1120

Unidentified forces attacked this world recently and looted the population centers of the western continent. Initial reports indicated that the attacks were carried out by Ilelish Army troops, but post-attack investigations have disproven that theory.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 270-1120

Duchess Margaret gave birth to twins today, sparking an air of celebration around the world.

The first child, a girl, was born at 20:00 exactly. Her name is Julia Iphegenia Cassir Tukera. Following his sister by 12 minutes was a son, Paulo Trulia Strephon Tukera.

Both children and the mother are in good health.

L'oeul d'Dieu/Spinward Marches (3010 B98A510-B) 275-1120

The patrol has begun security sweeps along the traditional Imperial coreward border of Deneb in the Domain's continuing effort to repulse Vargr corsair invasions.

The Patrol, newly established by the Archduke of Deneb, began active operations almost immediately using naval reserve ships and crews. In a show of force, the first sweep was assigned the border from L'oeul d'Dieu/Spinward Marches to Corfinium/Deneb.

Wair/Magyar (0116 C89A98C-E) 301-1120

The Solomani Navy has driven back with heavy losses the invading Daibei fleet forces which were marauding the industrial complexes of Uston and Aston in rimward Daibei sector.

Initial dispatches calling for assistance were answered by two Solomani task forces under command of Admiral John Charles.

Once the Daibei fleets were driven off, a portion of the force remained at Uston to secure it from further attack and to render assistance. Admiral Charles continued the pursuit of the enemy fleet into enemy territory.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A263A86-D) 309-1120

Speculation and rumors about Duchess Margaret's children continue to flood the local press.

Dr. Bakala Setree, a physician with over 40 years of service in the duchess' household, claims that the recent birth of twins was a result of artificial insemination.

The father of the children, according to Dr. Setree, is the late Emperor Strephon.

Dr. Setree said Duchess Margaret will soon file a petition with the Moot to act as regent in behalf of her daughter, Julia Iphenenia Cassir Tukera, who as the direct descendent of Strephon would be next in line for the throne.

Spokesmen for the duchess refuse to confirm or deny Setree's allegations. Neither of the children has been seen in public since their birth, but holorecordings of the twins have been released.

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 342-1120

Capital police are investigating the recent death of Viscount Roberto Avery, a member of the Moot.

The viscount was killed instantly when his air/raft exploded in the air while approaching the home he shares with his wife and two daughters.

Assassination is suspected, but police have no leads at this time.

The Moot has not met since the assassination of Emperor Strephon by Archduke Dulinor more than four years ago. Viscount Avery was known to be a strong and vocal supporter of Margaret.

Hexos/Spinward Marches (2828 B534420-8) 343-1120

Imperial authorities under Archduke Norris are investigating claims that Aslan Ihatei using biological warfare have slaughtered more than half the population of this world.

Spokesmen have not released complete details, but said "more than a dozen" warships drove away Aslani insurgents upon arrival at the system.

More than the 35,000 people have died in the last week, most of them in the capital city of Dione. Deaths of livestock are also reported.

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 351-1120

Naval spokesmen for Emperor Lucan have announced continued success in their rimward campaigns.

"Solomani forces cannot stand up to the technological developments that our weapons researchers have recently completed," said Rear Admiral Daadushaa. "We are, in fact, calling back some of our fleet elements in other areas so that those ships can be retrofitted.

"The emperor is preparing an ultimatum to be delivered to the false claimants around the Imperium once this update has been accomplished."

Daadushaa said he could not comment at this time on the nature of the experimental weapons, but said Lucan's message would be announced publicly at the same time that ambassadors carried it to outlying regions.


Hexos/Spinward Marches (2828 B53406R-8) 019-1121

Imperial authorities under Archduke Norris today reported the death of the last native human inhabitant of Hexos, devastated by plague.

Claims that Aslan ihatei used biological warfare to depopulate the world have not been disproven, "Whatever it is that's killing these people, Aslan appear to be immune," said Dr. Julia Kartinian, a scientist investigating the disease.

TAS advises all travellers that Hexos is henceforth classified for travel as a Red Zone, with all contact interdicted.

Capital/Core (2119 A586A98-F) 026-1121

Naval spokesmen for Emperor Lucan have announced continued success in their rimward campaigns but refuse to release details in an effort to reduce the ability of the Solomani to plan strategically.

"The devastation we are dealing these rebels is so extensive that the Solomani Navy has recently been unable to report back the whereabouts of parts of its fleet. Rebel leaders don't know where their ships are, so we see no need to help them out. What we can say is that many of those ships won't ever report back."

An anonymous source close to Emperor Lucan said that the recent "superweapons Speech" does relate to these naval successes. "The emperor would not have put his technical staff on the spot unless he knew that real breakthroughs were being made. What our scientists have accomplished is, in a word, startling. The emperor expects a complete cessation of hostilities as soon as his ultimatum to the leaders of the various rebellion factors."

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 027-1121

Spokesmen for Duchess Margaret still refuse to confirm or deny recent allegations that one or both of her children are the direct descendents of the late Emperor Strephon.

Duchess Margaret's personal physician claimed shortly after the birth that the twins were the result of artificial insemination and that the duchess would make a claim for her daughter's ascension to the throne.

Dr. Setree went into hiding shortly thereafter, but not before changing his story. "Julia Iphegenia Cassir Tukera is the daughter of Duchess Margaret and Count Blaine, but Paulo Trulia Strephon Tukera is the son of Duchess Margaret and Emperor Strephon, the fruit of a fertilized egg that I implanted myself in a short and simple operation. The DNA data that I have on file can verify this fact whenever the duchess allows me to release the information."

Muan Gwi/Solomani Rim (1717 A456A86-F) 056-1121

Sociologists on this world are becoming more and more concerned over the shortage of mwob, a spice used in cooking by many Vegans.

The spice, sweet and nutty with camphor-like overtones, is gathered annually by large hunting parties who sweep across Muan Gwi's southernmost desert hunting a small animal called the rurge. Last year's hunt was the most successful in years, with double the number of animals caught.

Zoologists believe that this year's shortage is a natural occurrence, related to last year's plentitude, but do not attribute it to over hunting.

Mwob does not preserve well, losing most of its flavor within a year.

The shortage of the spice could have long-term effects on Vegan culture, as some tuhuir, or cultural groups, are less dependent on spice in their cuisines. "With mwob largely unavailable, many Vegans in their years of choice are avoiding certain tuhuirs. Those cultural groups that use mwob are shrinking, while those that do not are seeing significant growth. Since about half of all Vegans stay with the tuhuir of their parents, this means that this change in numbers could last for many generations," said one observer.

Terra/Solomani Rim/Sol (1827 A867A69-F) 058-1121

The conclave of the Solomani Party began this week amid controversy as the liberal wing of the party called into question the definition of Solomani.

Hard-liners objected strenuously to even considering a revised definition, and the rules committee remained deadlocked after days of testimony and speechmaking.

The original definition of Solomani covered only humans born on Terra. This definition was later changed to cover members of the Solomani race.

A simple saliva test is available which can confirm Solomani status.

Liberal party members are divided into three factions: the Humanists, who believe that all human races (because they all ultimately originated on Terra) are eligible for membership in the Solomani Party; the HDV branch (from the initials of human, dolphin, Vargr), which wants to extend the definition of Solomani to include all intelligent races originating on Terra; and the Sophontists, who believe that the Solomani should embrace all intelligences within their ranks.

Until recently, the inability of the liberals to agree on a course of action kept them being a force in Solomani internal politics.

At a pre-Conclave meeting at Vega, the Humanists, HVD, and Sophontists agreed amidst heated debate ultimately to back the Humanist perspective in order to present a strong and unified front (with the HVD and the Sophontists obviously expecting further movement toward their own positions as time passes).

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 061-1121

Sarir Gormakii, Lucan's minister of protocol, returned today from an extended vacation on Sylea. His vacation was not previously announced and speculation about his post as minister of protocol and who would fill it have been rife in recent weeks.

Leroy/Hinterworlds (1231 C574969-9) 064-1121

All fusion power systems connected to the commercial power grid on Leroy involuntarily shut down over a period of 17 hours yesterday. The time period is associated with the local day.

The massive power outages resulting from the main power failures were alleviated for a short time by stand-by systems and local backups, but these systems were, of course, not intended to maintain the full primary usage of the planet. Power plants which were connected to the primary commercial grid all experienced failure within three hours of each other. Power systems which remained isolated from the main system were not affected.

Although for most the power failures were only an inconvenience, extensive casualties were reported when the active seawall protecting low-lying Gintle province collapsed and the resulting North Sea flood inundated several thousand square kilometers of residential settlements. Days later, search and rescue teams were still transporting small groups of survivors from their positions on scattered pieces of high ground.

Heavy casualties were also reported in the polar under-ice city of Nesabbar. The power failures caused environmental failures and several structural collapses.

Efforts to restart the commercial power grid were plagued by continued failures and a lack of suitable spare parts.

Initial investigations placed responsibility for the failures on the installation of faulty component software which confused a string of local data for a system-wide priority emergency shutdown instruction.

Full power was restored six days later following a complete replacement of the operating software for the overall system.

Charges that the software was deliberately sabotaged were dismissed by Ministry of Energy officials.

Rington/Massilia (2440 B443222-B) 073-1121


Unconfirmed reports from anonymous sources within the 170th Fleet indicate that the 22nd Imperial Fleet has been missing for over 60 days.

The 22nd is a crack unit that had been deployed to the Diaspora Sector Depot in 1119, where it absorbed the Security Fleet already on site. The enlarged 22nd reportedly ceased responding to, or issuing, routine messages just after the beginning of the year.

Rumors suggest that a special task force is in Depot system conducting a thorough investigation. Courier sweeps to locate the fleet are under way in nearby subsectors.

Uson/Massilia (0717 A6847CD-C) 090-1121

In an agreement announced here today, Hortalez et Cie has agreed to a major exchange of assets with the Vilani megacorporations Sharurshid and Naasirka.

Most of Hortalez's new acquisitions are located in the Daibei, Diaspora, and Massilia sectors. These assets include factories, shipyards, industrial real estate, power plants, and space facilities.

In exchange, Hortalez relinquished various holdings in Vland sector. It also liquidated an undisclosed portion of its shareholding position in the two Vilani megacorporations.

"This marks a new era in cooperation between megacorporations," said Hortalez's senior portfolio director, Nils Peterson.

"We and our Vilani peers will now enjoy more control in our respective spheres of primary influence. This concentration of commercial interests into smaller astrographic regions ensures continued economic security and health for the Imperium."

Senoir Director Petersen denied suggestions that the exchanges had been motivated by fears that assets further from megacorporate security bases are more susceptible to nationalization proceedings. He cited corporate communications and control difficulties as the major factor behind the move to divest such holdings.

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 112-1121

In a wholly unanticipated public statement, Emperor Lucan announced that as of 080-1121, High Sylean be the only language spoken during Imperial audiences.

This decree not only applies to the emperor's loyal subjects, but to all foreign dignitaries as well.

The emperor explained that this decree is intended "to honor my Sylean subjects, who have remained loyal throughout this crisis. The other great languages of the Imperium are no longer spoken only by my subjects. They are spoken by traitors as well.

"I will not hear such languages in my chambers."

Lucan's minister of protocol, Sarir Gormakii, was dismissed the day before the decree was issued. Official spokesmen for the throne denied any connection between the events.

Eleusis/Solomani Rim (2109 A789831-E) 118-1121

Breaking a long silence regarding the activities of the Imperial Regency of Intelligence and Security, naval spokespeople revealed that they had been surprised to discover that the primary IRIS enclave here on Eleusis has apparently been abandoned.

In a terse statement, Admiral Ensuk'kil said, "The Regency is a sham, and everyone knows it. They ran away from Capital when they were needed most, and now they've run away again. God knows where they've gone, but they'd better stay hidden. The emperor's patience has run out."

The admiral's comment regarding Emperor Lucan's patience refers to the fact that the Regency is responsible for confirming legal successors to the Iridium Throne and that it has already spent more than four years considering Lucan's claim.

Sources within the navy (which must remain anonymous) suggest that there is a connection between Lucan's loss of patience and the two BatRons that accompanied Admiral Ensuk'kli in his search for the IRIS enclave. The admiral declined to comment on this topic.

Most local officials were surprised to learn of IRIS's sudden disappearance.

They had expected the regency to continue its persistent (if futile) attempts to establish a Rim Concordiat dedicated to negotiating a truce with the Solomani.

A 60-day cease-fire in 1117 had previously been the extent of the regency's diplomatic achievements in the sector to date.

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F) 142-1121

In a dramatic throne room scene, Emperor Lucan expelled senior Vilani emissary Seled Urkirjii today.

This event was precipitated when Ambassador Pleni-potentiary Urkirjii greeted Lucan in Vilani, rather than High Sylean.

This flagrant disregard of Lucan's decree of 090-1121, which mandates the exclusive use of High Sylean in Imperial chambers, shocked onlookers and elicited rage from the emperor himself.

It is reported that Lucan's chancellor, Dore A'Kenji, barely managed to prevent the emperor from resorting to personal violence.

Ambassador Urkirjii and the entirety of his embassy were expelled from Capital the same day. This comes as a sharp blow to many of the remaining Moot members, who had hoped that the recently arrived Vilani delegation might signal the beginning of some level of cooperation between Lucan's Imperium and at least one of the other factions currently striving for the Iridium Throne.

Strat/Old Expanses (0318 A9BA8A8-F) 149-1121

A single unconfirmed report claims that two ships of the missing 22nd Imperial Fleet were detected in-system earlier today.

Alder Henriot, second pilot aboard the Free Liner Sojourner, insists that he became aware of the two vessels while conducting routine maintenance testing of his ship's densitometers.

The two ships were tentatively identified as an ED-15 destroyer escort and an EM-13 missile escort. A fragmentary reception of the latter's transponder signal suggests that the identification is accurate, since the vessel's call codes matches that assigned to the INS Zuni, an EM-13 that is listed as being in service with the 22nd Imperial Fleet.

Upon becoming aware of their detection, both vessels maneuvered away at high speed. Subsequent scans suggested that they jumped out-system soon after.

Local naval authorities could not be reached for comment.

Zhanora/Vland (3035 D651754-8) 155-1121

Suspicion of a "cyborg plot" continues to run high in this system and has resulted in 23 separate executions (referred to by many as "machine terminations") this past week.

The reputed cyborg plot, while still not proven to exist, is said to be a conspiracy run by Strephonist supporters who are entering the Kakadan Subsector from Dagudashaag.

According to Lucan's local spokespeople, the false Strephon has begun to create an army of cyborg terrorists, built for the express purpose of wreaking ruin and havoc within Lucan's Imperium. It is claimed that this army's ultimate goal is the assassination of Lucan himself.

Whether or not such allegations are true, a current wave of precautionary detentions and "machine terminations" has been mounted by urban law enforcement agencies. Many locals suggest that this crackdown is merely a pretext whereby the strong pro-Lucan police forces can easily eliminate "political dissidents."

In the most inflammatory event thus far, retired Imperial Army Major Adskir Shormakov was apprehended on the grounds that he was a "cyborg of treasonous origins." Such a charge is unprecedented, both in terms of its generality and lack of jurisprudential basis.

This did not prevent Lucan's local authorities from charging and trying Shormakov, resulting in a verdict of treason. The death sentence was carried out immediately after the closed trial.

Major Shormakov's cybernetic replacement elements were limited to a pseudogastric processing system and his lower left leg.

Culdee/Kukulcan (3235 A68A998-9) 168-1121

A prerecorded pro-Reformist holocast was presented on Culdee's airwaves today, galvanizing the local population into sharply polarized camps that are divided over the issue of pan-sophontic policy reform.

The holocast featured an address by the Secretariat's former minister of economies, Joshua Dahvin.

Dahvin presented a forceful case against the Secretariat's increased drift toward the centrist policies of absolute racial purity and mandatory membership in the Society for the Sovereignty of Man over Machine (SSMM). In addition, Dahvin's words created a whirlwind of public and media debate over the Secretatiat's current "one state, one race" policy.

Dahvin, who recently resigned from the Secretariat along with a dozen close supporters, is now rumored to be living in Spica Sector, where he is said to be devoting his full efforts to the growth of the Reform movement and its desire to encourage recognition of "the inalienable and equal rights of all sophonts in all places at all times."

Andreanna Sarqaba, a spokesperson for the local Solsec office, dismissed Dahvin's remarks as "desperate ravings" that were only to be taken seriously because they represented "a clear dalliance with seditious intent." Ms. Sarqaba declined to comment on whether the Secretariat was likely to take any action against Mr. Dahvin.


Preserve/Zarushagar (2329 E449895-A) 179-1121

Independent testing teams have confirmed the use of biological weapons in the current struggle for the Amavor continent of Preserve.

Local insurgents supporting the Isolationist cause are reported to have insinuated a rapidly mutating strain of parainfluenza into local water supplies and foodstores.

The pseudovirus, dubbed by locals as Reaper's Flu, is a rapidly invasive organism that is capable of killing victims within 12 hours of onset. However, the virus may remain completely dormant for as long as two weeks, during which time carriers can spread the disease.

Appeals to the local Imperial authorities for enforcement of the Imperial Rules of War against the use of biological weaponry are complicated by current power struggles between Brzk and Lucan supporters within the bureaucracy. Unfortunately, most of the former Imperial forces on-planet are engaged on both sides of this struggle for local dominance.

Ironically, the ineffectiveness of the remaining Imperial administration has bolstered support for the Isolationist cause.

Anaxias/Delphi 187-1121

In her first official public appearance since the birth of her children, Margaret announced that after two years of negotiation, a major trade agreement had been reached with the Hivers.

This agreement is said to have a net value of 100 trillion credits annually and is rumored to involve the acquisition of advanced communication technologies and medical automation.

Tukera Lines has been contracted to ferry Hiver buyers from their homeworlds in Spica sector through the Hinterworlds and finally on to Massilia as they gather shipments bound for Hiver markets.

This represents a major diplomatic coup for Margaret – it affords her new economic power in the region and effectively sidesteps the Imperial-Hiver trade route via Beyerly's Path, which was lost due to Solomani gains in the Old Expanses.

Trading in the Anaxian Securities Exchange was suspended three hours early, closing with a gain of 572 points. Economic experts observed that the steep climb in trading was likely to continue unabated the next day.

Tukera stock closed at an all-time high of 194.32 credits per share.

Medurma/Dagudashaag 199-1121

After a week of scattered reports, it seems that the forces of Emperor Lucan have dealt a major defeat to the remaining naval assets of Strephon's Imperium.

Captain Pradnir Kulshugirii of the 50,000-tonne armored cruiser Skagerrak (which recently arrived for repair and refitting), was given permission by the Imperial Censor Bureau to recount several incidents of the fighting that he and his ship had been in.

"Squadrons were going away in bunches," Kulshugirii said, "and most of those bunches belonged to the enemy. Strephon's traitorous thugs are losing heart. Even their officers are starting to admit that they know the real Strephon is dead. They weren't willing to stand their ground and die fighting – that's the sign of a lost cause."

Captain Kulshugirii refused to comment on rumors that suggested Lucan's forces enjoyed a numerical superiority of more than 3:1 in the engagements, which were mostly fought along the spinward edge of the Dagudashaag sector.

Anaxias/Delphi 206-1121

Treason within Tukera Lines has dampened the high spirits and even higher securities trading that has spread throughout Margaret's domain since the so-called Hiver Deal concluded last month.

The empress' nephew, Tancred von Harrer, explained that an assassination plot against Margaret had come to the attention of Blaine Tukera, owner of the megacorporation and Margaret's husband.

Although no further specifics were offered, expert observers speculate that the conspirators were members of the Vermene, the Tukera intelligence agency.

The Vermene has fallen into increasing disfavor here at the court on Anaxia, and the empress has expressed an interest in disbanding the agency in favor of a new intelligence service.

Muan Gwi/Solomani Rim 225-1121

Solomani sabotage may be involved in the shortage of the important Vegan spice mwob, according to a statement from the Imperial Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with Vegan nationals.

Chemical analyses of the natural mwob sources began when it was determined that the lack of the spice would reduce the number of Vegans entering the technically oriented tuhuir.

By influencing the selection of tuhuir – the Vegan equivalent of an extended family – Solomani operatives may be trying to breed a more easily conquered, more pliant Vegan society.

Dlan/Ilelish 236-1121

After being locked in debate for more than a year and a half, leaders of the Virasan faith of Dlan has decreed that dying a nonviolent death on Dlan itself is no longer a requirement that must be met if a believer is to attain full revelation in the afterlife. They designated as martyrs all Virasans who have died off-planet while conducting essential business.

Many members of the Synod have denounced the 457th Khanu and claimed that they no longer speak for the true Virasan faith.

Despite being a native Dlani, Emperor Dulinor is not a member of the Virasan faith. However rumors mount regarding his interest in its tenets.

Vaward/Old Expanses 244-1121

An undisclosed task force has intercepted the approaching Solomani thrust from the Twenty-One Worlds subsector and defeated it. Reports confirmed that the Solomani task force – said to include one batron and two crurons – was ambushed by a numerically superior force of Imperial craft.

Solomani losses were said top be heavy, whereas friendly forces were said to have suffered only minor damage.

Undisclosed sources within Margaret's military organization suggested that the task force was not a reserve or secret unit retained for this purpose. The same source also admitted to some nervousness, observing that this friendly mystery fleet might not be so "friendly" next time.

Warinir/Daibei 263-1121

Daibei Federation spokeswoman Adlea Marignault announced today that piracy was once again on the upswing in the Reaver's Deep sector and that travellers were advised to postpone travel into that region.

This announcement comes as a severe blow to the government of Duke Craig, who hoped his diplomatic overtures to the elusive raiders would result in an alliance against the Solomani Confederation.

Unfortunately, rumors suggest that the Solomani have had the greater luck in this regard and have vested almost a score of the major raiding groups with letters of marquis.

Marignault refused to speculate on the validity of these rumors, although she did mention that new diplomatic initiatives "were under way with new potential allies and are proceeding in a promising fashion."

Sharim/Gushemege 281-1121

An explosion of undetermined origin destroyed the jump-6, Fast Fleet-class courier Metternich today, just two minutes after it cleared Sharim Downport's airspace. All hands were lost.

Observers and sensor operators at Sharim Downport report that the explosion in the forward area near the bridge. The Fast Fleet-class courier is not equipped to carry explosive or inflammable substances in this area. Local experts are therefore expressing some concern that the explosion may have been the result of sabotage.

The Metternich was under special registry to the Imperial Regency of Intelligence and Security and was heading rimward after completing a mission within the borders of Strephon's Imperium. The nature of the mission has not been disclosed. However, local officials speaking under guarantees of anonymity revealed that Senior Regent Irena Thorfel had arrived on planet with the ship and may have been on board at the time of the explosion.

Despite bitter feelings toward the regency, local spokespersons for Lucan's Imperium denied any involvement, as did representatives for Dulinor and Strephon. There has been no comment from the sizeable minority that supports the Ziru Sirkaa.

Zeda/Dagudashaag 295-1121

Forcers from Lucan's Imperium have gained absolute control of this high-population world after three days of fierce planetside and orbital fighting.

The naval and ground forces of Strephon's Imperium were overwhelmed by the size of this assault, which seems to be the leading edge of a major offensive.

Expert observers estimate that Strephon's forces suffered heavy losses during the fighting, including two BatRons, at least four CruRons, and an unspecified number of carriers and escorts. Lucan's losses are unknown but are believed to be considerably lighter.

The only announcement made thus far by the Lucan's occupying forces assured the general population that their "liberation from the pretender Stephon's yoke" is permanent and that a "great number" of assets are committed to ending the existence of his "illegitimate Imperium" in the adjoining Gushemege sector.

Spokesmen for Strephon's faction planned an underground press conference in response, but never arrived at the designated site. No explanations were received.

Anaxias/Delphi 301-1121

Associate Operating Officer Haling Pracapas, spokesperson for Tukera Lines, announced today that the megacorporation had recently completed negotiations with the Nermis and Dreead'n systems (2421 & 2322 Silver Laurel/Hinterworlds) regarding the construction, maintenance and protection of a deep-space refueling site at sector parsec coordinate 2321.

This development is an important step toward realizing the benefits of the trade agreement finalized between Margaret's domain and the Hiver Federation on 187-1121.

With the addition of this deep-space refueling site, jump-2 convoys can move across the Hinterworlds sector between Spica and Delphi without passing through the regions occupied by the Nullian League.

When asked if this ambitious construction project had been motivated by a desire to sidestep league systems, Pracapas responded, "Analyses showed that it was more economical to build a deep-space refueling site. The league charges very high trade tariffs and fees. There is no hidden political agenda in our decision; this is strictly business."

Astute observers of regional politics point out that Dreead'n's contributions to the deep-space site can hardly be construction-related. A central operating area for a number of associated starmerc firms, Dreead'n's inclusion in the deal assures Tukera a strong military presence proximal to this potentially vulnerable transport link.

Shakhamash/Gushemege 319-1121

After two weeks of constant and bitter fighting, Lucan's naval elements have driven off the Strephonist defenders of the system.

Losses on both sides were heavy, although experts agree with the assessment of Lucan's Admiral Rapida Amani that the Battle of Shakhamash represents a "crippling blow" to Strephon's Imperium.

From the beginning, Lucan's 17 numbered, colonial and reserve fleets enjoyed an immense numerical advantage. Local Strephonist commanders had assumed that Lucan's forces in the Dagudashaag Salient represented his entire invasion force. Consequently, the massive attack upon Shakhamash came as a complete surprise.

Lucan's commitment of an additional 17 fleets makes this the largest campaign to be launched in two years. It also indicates that most military analysts throughout the Imperium grossly underestimated the number of fleet assets that Capitol was willing to risk in a campaign against Strephon's Imperium.

Official spokespersons within Lucan's naval command have revealed that the offensive will carry forward into the very heart of Strephon's Imperium and will not stop until the "pretender" has been killed or captured.

Atudew/Corridor (2810 C595000-8) 326-1121

The independent seeker KeLlananae Tourz Agud was disabled by planetary defenses during its final approach to Atudew yesterday after traffic control reported it as an "unidentified vessel of Vargr origin."

Automated defenses rated the seeker hostile and fired upon it before the system defense boat Gaa Khiu was able to respond and make a positive identification.

The KeLlananae Tourz Agud was identified as the former Jewell of Corridor, an independent prospecting vessel operated by Gordon Irakakigka, a human of mixed-Vilani descent. There were no casualties reported in the incident, but port authority officials described Irakakigka's reaction to the incident as "impassioned." The KeLlananae Tourz Agud underwent minor repairs and continued on its way.

Amdani/Daibei 332-1121

In an ill-timed blow to the fortunes of Strephon's war-wracked Imperium, the Imperial Regency of Intelligence and Security announced today that Strephon's claim to the Iridium Throne has been officially disallowed and, therefore, formally declared void.

Regents from IRIS were compelled to eliminate the individual who claims himself to be the "real" Strephon when they were denied permission to conduct a number of routine tests. These test are required of all would-be successors in order to determine the validity of their claims. The tests are designed to discover if the test subject is either a robot or a cloned entity.

This news was delivered by Senoir Regent Irena Thorfel, who had been presumed lost in the tragic (and still unexplained) Metternich explosion which occurred just outside Sharim (Gushemege sector) Downport airspace several months ago.

Thorfel refused to explain how she survived this disaster which, according to official reports, claimed the lives of all hands and passengers aboard the Metternich.

However, she did make a number of pointed remarks suggesting Ziru Sirkaan involvement in the incident. "I am sure that various individuals on Vland are now happy that the Metternich incident didn't prevent me from delivering my findings. With the supposed-Strephon's claim now formally disallowed, a number of powerful Vilani commercial entities will find their own interests easier to pursue. It's a pity – and quite ironic – they felt it necessary to ensure this favorable result by attempts at sabotage."

Nullia/Hinterworlds 346-1121

Drastur Kelbis, head consul of the Nullian League's Senior Committee, made a public address today, warning that various commercial interests in the Hinterworlds sector were unhappy with Margaret's new Hiver trade agreement.

Citing the recently announced "Deep-Space Site 2321" initiative (also being referred to as the Nermis Deal), Kelbis accused Margaret's domain of purposefully and maliciously undercutting the commercial livelihood of the league and other mercantile entities" within the Hinters.

He also pointed out that Tukera Lines has been busy negotiating preferred port rights along the Jump-1 route leading from Perseus to Pusan (2222 to 2129), Silver Laurel/Hinters) over the past 90 days.

TNS reporters have been unable to find any statements of disapproval regarding these trade agreements, other than those issued by the league itself.

When asked to specify which other "commercial interests" in the Hinters had voiced disapproval of these new mercantile developments, Kelbis dismissed the question as being "both snide and specious."

Kelbis also warned that the Hivers, Margaret and "her lackeys" (referring to husband Blaine Tukera, private owner of Tukera), would be wise to realize that such overt economic maneuverings could easily be seen as the opening of a trade war. Kelbis urged an increased use of economic negotiations and restraint, before "the situation progresses to open conflict."

Phaln/Gushemege 352-1121

After almost a month of intense fighting, local units of Strephon's Imperium surrendered to Lucan's forces here on Phaln.

There was little joy among Lucan's command staff, who have lost over 350,000 men in the fighting.

Although the Strephonists fared little better, their stiff resistance has blunted the two-pronged Gushemege campaign, which Lucan's general staff has dubbed the "Extermination Offensive" (referring to its intended objective of eliminating Strephon's Imperium).

Naval spokespersons refused to comment on rumors that the offensive has so battered the nearby systems that it has become impossible to repair even minor battle damage due to the destruction of suitable starport facilities.

There are also unconfirmed rumors of disproportionate losses in TankRon assets.

These various factors suggest that the recent decline in the pace of the Extermination Offensive may in fact portend a complete standstill.

If this were to be the case, it is unknown how long Lucan's forces could remain on site, given their already overextended logistical situation.

Phoru/Old Expanses 003-1122

After several weeks of confused and often conflicting reports, it appears that yesterday's resounding defeat of two Solomani CruRons in this system is simply the last in a string of major setbacks for the Confederation's fortunes in this subsector.

A sizable attacking force apparently jumped in-system on 001-1122, overwhelming Solomani SDB defenses near the gas giant closest to the mainworld.

The two Solomani CruRons on close orbital station immediately sortied in response. However, before the planetside escorts (under repair and refit at the time) could boost into orbit to fill the defensive gap left by the CruRons, approximately a dozen Imperial SDBs emerged from the equatorial seas just south of this planet's capital.

Precision fire from these orbiting defense boats either disabled the planetbound Solomani escorts or compelled their crews to abandon the hulls in drydock.

The Solomani CruRons continued toward contact with the hostile elements and engaged a comparable force of Imperial vessels. Minutes into this battle, a flight of outdated Imperial SDBs and interceptors emerged from the gas giant, vectoring into the rear of the Solomani CruRons.

Two damaged 45,000-ton Solomani cruisers eventually surrendered to the attackers. The other Solomani ships were destroyed.

Although the population of Phoru largely assumes the attacking force was Margaret's, TNS reporters located on commercial vessels have evidence to the contrary. Throughout the battle, fragmentary transponder code emissions were detected from several ships of the attacking force. The coding of two of these vessels would suggest that they are elements last known to be attached to the 22nd Imperial Fleet. The 22nd Fleet has been listed as missing since 073-1121, although several partial sightings have been reported since then.

R'tinh Kills/Corridor 003-1122

Ziru Sirkaa authorities here refused to provide a new transponder for the independent seeker KeLiananae Tourz Agud, known previously as Jewel of Corridor, on the grounds that such a change would imply an act of sedition.

An official of the Makhidkarun bureau stated, "It is the official policy of the Ziru Sirkaa that astrographic names used by occupying forces may not be substituted for legitimate astrographic names officially accepted by the AAB and naval forces. In this case, the accepted equivalent in the Logaksu dialect is Raughantz. The Imperial designation Corridor is also acceptable, though the Vilani-preferred name for the sector is Amshagi."

The official admitted that occupying Vargr forces have been applying the name Llananae Tourz (translated as "Devoured Sector") to the sector since 1118.

The KeLiananae Tourz Agud's owner, Gordon Irakalkigka, told reporters, "From now on, my ship will be known as the Bureaucrat's Nightmare."

Lashkagur/Delphi 027-1122

The 2000-ton, jump-3 Tujera Lines merchantman Oberon began its journey today to the Hiver Federation, marking the formal commencement of Margaret's recent trade agreement with the Hiver Federation.

The trade agreement, said to represent over 100 trillion credits of new revenue for Margaret's Domain, was finalized on 187-1121.

Local economic forecasters responded to the Oberon's departure with optimism.

The speed with which they (Margaret and Tukera Lines) are expediting this trade agreement is a marvelous sign," said Tramina Sorghetti of Hardrashad, ULIC (a subsidiary of Sternmetal Horizons). "When megacorporations and factions move this quickly to put a plan in motion, you can rest assured that they're certain of the benefits it offers."

The local delegation of the Nullian League today announced that it had dispatched a diplomatic team with "plenipotentiary powers" to Anaxias (Delphi Sector) with the express purpose of requesting Margaret to reconsider the agreement with the Hivers.

When asked what consequences might follow a rejection of the petition, league spokesperson Jubar No-Dosaka admitted that such an outcome could "compel the league's leadership to construe this as the first step in a major trade war."

Hasdrubal/Solomani Rim 043-1122

Joshua Dahvin, outspoken leader of the Solomani Moderate faction, was nearly killed in a grav-vehicle accident today. According to reports by Dahvin's staff and local officials, Dahvin's personal speeder suffered a field-bias malfunction during an NOE approach to a landing zone.

The pilot, Mats Skulpfeffer, was able to jettison the vehicle's fuel seconds before the craft plowed into an open field. Skulpfeffer, the only individual to die in the crash, is credited with saving the lives of all aboard.

Dahvin – whose liberal policies regarding pan-sophont rights and decentralization of the Confederation have earned him many enemies in the Secretariat – was vacationing on the Culperna Sea on Hasdrubal (2939, Kukulcan/Solomani Rim) when the incident occurred.

While there is no official mention of foul play, TNS informants have reported that authorities have initiated inquiries in the underworld. The nature of these inquiries strongly suggests that investigators suspect the crash was the product of a conspiracy to murder Dahvin.

Shortly after the crash, Dahvin named two of his closest associates, Sean von Thuringer and Sari Collins, as his personal policy analysts – a position which affirms them as Dahvin's successors, in the event of his demise or retirement.

Daramm/Ley 051-1122

Mardal Soreksen, senior adminstrator of the Empress Jacqueline Shipyards on Daramm, has announced that his bays are now fully – and exclusively – dedicated to the production of the new "modular carrier" jump hulls which have gained popularity over the past two years.

This radical shift in construction – and marketing – policy suggest that the modular carrier school of starship design may soon challenge standard architectures for supremacy of the starlanes.

The Empress Jacqueline shipyards – high-quality independent military contractor boasting significant investment by GsBAG – is one of the half-dozen or so starship production facilities that has acquired a reputation for anticipating new trends in warship manufacture.

The new modular carrier design is based on the familiar battle-rider principle, although it is intended for commercial utilization.

The modular carrier is architectured to carry a completely heterogeneous mix of both starships and spaceships, with a total jump-2 carrying capacity in excess of 5000 additional displacement tons.

Although each carrier represents a major financial and industrial investment, almost all shipbuilding analysts agree it is easier to build and service one large jump drive than a dozen or so smaller ones on different vessels.

This perspective has gained substantial support in the megacorporate and military communities, particularly as the Rebellion's cost in starport construction facilities has steadily reduced the number of new jump-capable hulls that can be laid down in a year.

Soreksen declined to comment on rumors that several megacorporations have begun to discuss creating standards for ship construction that would emphasize dependence upon modular carriers.

Soyuz/Diaspora 067-1122

The TAS has issued a traveller's advisory warning regarding the widespread outbreak of rabies throughout the Diaspora sector.

Rabies, a disease once common to many mammals of Terran origin (including humans) was thought to have been eradicated on all noninterdicted worlds for the past two centuries. However, separate accounts on 14 worlds throughout the Diaspora sector indicate that the disease is not only still extant but is growing in prevalence among a variety of vermin and pets.

Experts suggest that the disease may have been reintroduced from interdicted worlds visited illegally during the Rebellion.

Rabies is most commonly transmitted by a bite, the infectious pathogens being present in the saliva of infected mammals. However, neogeneticists warn that given intensive hybridization on many worlds since the early days of the Second Imperium, the disease could have mutated along with its hosts.

Furthermore, hybrids of Terran and non-Terran root-stock species from which they were hybridized.

Animals suspected of carrying the disease should be tested (a blood sample is sufficient). If testing is impossible, suspect animals should be euthanized immediately.

The symptoms of rabies are identical in humans and lower animals. After a two- to five-week incubation period, infected individuals will experience fever, malaise and a sore throat. After approximately 10 days, these symptoms will become more severe, accompanied by excessive salivation, perspiration, dehydration and severe pain.

Vaccination in the first phase of the disease ensures full recovery. Vaccination in the later stages produces an 80% survival rate. Infections which are not treated with vaccinations are fatal.

Local SuSAG subsidiaries are attempting to mass-produce the vaccine, but reduced transportation capabilities hamper distribution.

Anaxias/Delphi 078-1122

After a conspicuous two-day absence from her open court, Margaret announced today that the "mystery fleet" responsible for defeating several major Solomani thrusts in the Old Expanses Sector has been identified.

It is the 22nd Imperial Fleet (formerly stationed at Depot/Diaspora), most of the 93rd Imperial Fleet, and elements of the 1092nd and 1101st reserve fleets, under the command of Admiral Devon McTavish (who is operating under the authority of IRIS).

Following her unscheduled announcement, Margaret officially presented IRIS's high regent – Garran Trainor-Hughes – to her court and ministers. Rumors suggest that Trainor-Hughes arrived in system only three days ago and has been in closed-session meetings with the domain leadership since then.

Sources close to Margaret claim that she and Trainor-Hughes were closely associated during her early years at Strephon's court.

Other intimates of the throne indicate that the high regent's arrival was not welcomed by various high-ranking Vermene officers, who stated that IRIS had no authority under which to command fleet assets.

In response, Trainor-Hughes is said to have invoked the regency's first mandate, which states that in event of an Imperial interregnum, IRIS is empowered to "take any actions necessary to the fulfillment of its custodial responsibilities as regent pro tem, until such time as a legal heir is located and confirmed." He dismissed assertions that this aspect of the regency's first mandate was a ceremonial formality.

The Vermane, the in-house intelligence organization of Tukera Lines, has served Margaret at the behest of her husband, Tukera owner Blaine Tukera. Sources say Margaret has little esteem for the Vermene's methods and personnel, but she has evinced a grudging respect for IRIS over the years, calling it "the only intelligence organization that has a conscience, as well."

During a brief statement before Margaret's court, Trainor-Hughes asserted that the recent actions of the regency's modest naval assets are not to be construed as an indication that IRIS has declared for Margaret, rather, they are simply evidence of the regency's ongoing efforts to defend what is left of the Imperium against further aggression.

Phaln/Gushemege 083-1122

Lucan's Extermination Fleet completed its evacuation of Phaln late last night, and reports indicate that the last elements have already jumped out-system, bound for Core. Although Lucan's Extermination Campaign has certainly dealt a severe, perhaps mortal, blow to Strephon's Imperium, it did not achieve its stated objective – the capture or elimination of the reputed Strephon himself.

After the fighting for Phaln ended on 352-1121, Lucan's offensive bogged down, hampered by insufficient resupply and refit capacities.

Attempts to establish footholds in the Ushuuri system were disrupted by intermittent raids and sabotage, further undercutting the offensive's dying momentum.

Although official spokesmen for his forces claimed that their withdrawal was for purposes of "strategic regrouping," most military analysts agree that Lucan's position in Gushemege was rapidly becoming untenable and represented an enormous drain on Core's badly atritted bulk transport assets.

Rumors of numerous desertions and defections – often by whole units or ships – are impossible to confirm.

One field-grade deserter expressed the feelings of many: "What's the point of going home if you're just going to get sent out to fight again? Everybody knows this was the last big battle. Nobody has the assets left to spend on this kind of idiocy anymore, not even Lucan. The fact of the matter is that the Rebellion is over – because no one has the strength left to fight it."

Dlan/Ilelish 101-1122

Dulinor has appointed Tredek Jurisor as his minister of information and communication after weeks of rumors regarding an upcoming political move of major consequence.

Jurisor is one of the most influential of the Virasan leaders who led the Synod members of the 457th Khanu in their precedent-setting decision to revise certain precepts of the religion's stance on afterlife and enlightenment.

Previously, dying a nonviolent death on Dlan was a primary condition for a believer to attain full revelation in the afterlife. However, the Synod of the 457th Khanu decreed that this is no longer a requirement.

Jurisor, along with other reformationists who refer to themselves as the leaders of the Enlightenment movement, met with stiff resistance from the more conservative and traditional Synodans of the 457th Khanu.

The elements who have resisted the reform, now known popularly as the Orthodox sect, reacted to Jurisor's appointment with bitter – but unsurprised – disappointment.

Farthik Dorsokuguur, unofficial leader of the Orthodox sect and oldest Synod member of the 457th Khanu commented, "This is precisely what we feared would follow Jurisor's reformations – an alliance between the leaders of our faith and the leaders of our state. The heresies of the 457th Khanu are not an advancement of our spiritual vision; they are the precursors to an amalgamation with secular governments and aspirations."

Dorsokuguur refused to comment on rumors that the Orthodox sect has begun assembling a "star chamber" court in which to try Jurisor for his "crimes against the faith."

Jurisor has dismissed such rumors as groundless, observing, "My esteemed colleagues are individuals of honor and faith. They would not embark on any such course of action, which could easily be mistaken for treason – given my new position in the secular affairs of Dlan."

Jurisor, who is 43 years old, is a familiar, dynamic public figure on Dlan and has left the world on three occasions to oversee what his press secretary calls essential secular matters.

Dulinor's press secretary refused to make comment on the religious discord on Dlan other than to say, "The selection of Tredek Jurisor is the result of much careful consideration as to who would do the best job in this important post. The Emperor Dulinor is pleased to have a member of the Virasan faith as one of his close advisers, but issues of religion neither swayed his decision pro or con in this – or any other – matter."

Gelornamite/Massilia 119-1122

Formal declarations of war were exchanged today between the AutoMech Ltd Bloc and the Tarnasse Industramation Group here on violence-plagued Gelornamite.

Once a peaceful, prosperous planet, Gelornamite's decline into bitter internecine strife began late last year, when the Development Council – comprised of the chairpersons of the planet's eight leading firms – became seriously divided over industrial and economic strategies.

In particular, Sagata Arms and Procurement Associates announced its decision to break from the "standardized arms approach" that is still the accepted norm within the Imperium.

Citing the ongoing breakup of the Imperium, Sagata Chairman Sharda Sorku observed, "The only standards that we should be worrying about are those which will serve to optimize our local defensive capabilities, not some antiquated concept of technological universality – a concept which recent events have made extraneous."

Sorku's comments refer to the widespread adherence to Imperial Data Package designs as the standard for widely used designs of weapons, vehicles and heavy equipment.

While use of IDP designs has never been required or urged by the Imperium, most member-systems have used these data packages as blueprints for the production of crucial systems.

In addition to being very user-friendly and well-supported with supplementary programs and inexpensive industrial start-up packages, most worlds have found that the use of IDPs aids their economies by enabling them to be conversant with, and capable of meeting, the maintenance and equipment needs of most visiting starships and crews.

Calling Sorku's comments "isolationistic and economically perilous," Head Councillor Tayla Hai-Lei moved to quell any attempts to depart from the use of IDPs, particularly in the area of personal weapons.

Sorku rallied other corporations to his cause, however, creating a political alliance known as the AutoMech Ltd Bloc. Sorku's initial desire to terminate production of 7mm and 9mm ACRs and instead shift to a unique 8.2mm general purpose weapon expanded into wider departures from Gelornamite's traditional IDP-biased industrial strategies.

The Tarnasse Industramation group – led by the late Hai-Lei's successor, Gatta Ndompo – received the bloc's official notification of secession three days ago. The group immediately commenced operations to occupy the bloc's major production centers. Bloc troops – armed with the new 8.2mm ACRs – halted these offensives after taking heavy casualties.

Head Councillor Ndompo is said to have put in a request for immediate assistance from Margaret's Imperial forces.

Warinir/Daibei 125-1122

Duke Craig formally announced today that over 20 worlds on the borders of the Federation of Daibei are now designated as red zones, according to the TAS.

The majority of these worlds are located in the Mulaar, Hermes and Dudin subsectors of Daibei, and in the Riftrim subsector of Reaver's Deep.

When asked why he was personally announcing TAS designations, Duke Craig responded, "I want to make it clear that I not only accept these travel recommendations – I actively support them. I'm the last person to want to admit that some of our finest regions are no longer safe for travel, but the facts are incontestable. Even though the intensity of fighting between this Federation and the Solomani invaders has died down, there is an enormous upswing in pirate activity. Each morning, I get a missing persons update – and there are never less than 5000 new names on that list. Much of this is due to the raiding that is plaguing these hotspots right now."

Duke Craig declined to speculate on when these areas might become secure and safe for travel once again.

Rumors that the duke's 24-year-old cousin is among the missing have gone unconfirmed by official sources.

Strela/Zarushagar 139-1122

Lucan's Vengeance Fleet has retired from the Strela system after six days of intense fighting.

In what some experts are calling "the last great fleet engagement of the Rebellion," Lucan's and Dulinor's naval assets battered each other mercilessly, resulting in the destruction of at least four BatRons, 10 CruRons, three TankRons and an untold number of destroyers, escorts, patrol craft and auxiliaries.

Ground and COACC forces suffered equally heavy losses. Personnel casualties are assessed to be in excess of two million.

Unofficial reports suggest that medical supplies have run out, forcing field hospitals to resort to unanaesthetized meatball surgery techniques that are usually seen only on pre-industrial planets.

Against this backdrop of human misery, Dulinor's commanders are claiming victory, although even they are compelled to admit that the cost in lives and equipment was "unacceptable."

Unable to press their advantage in numbers here at Strela, Lucan's commanders are now assumed to be withdrawing back to Core, marking the end of the long and costly vengeance campaign which has dominated so much of the Rebellion.

In a special report to the TNS, retired Admiral Ilina Robokovsa states that she doesn't expect to see Lucan attempting to resume his offensive.

According to Robokovsa, "He (Lucan) has taken too much damage here and has nothing to show for it. The vengeance fleet was at the end of a very long, very vulnerable supply line, and Lucan simply doesn't have the logistical assets to support this kind of massive offensive anymore. Core may be able to reproduce these assets but it is the only political region within the postwar Imperium that lacks a safe rear area. Every centimeter of Core's periphery borders on hostile space. That's going to make even Lucan think twice before he tries to mount another offensive as huge – and costly – as this one."

Vaward/Old Expanses 151-1122

Concern mounted in financial markets here today as the headquarters analysts of Hortelez et Cie announced that earnings had declined by 12% during calendar year 1121.

While much of this assessment is based on algorithmic projections (actual reports often taking years to reach HeC's headquarters here on Vaward), market experts were forced to concede that this estimate was probably accurate to within 0.1%

When asked to speculate on what had caused this sudden downturn, the experts almost universally cited Hortalez's massive asset trade with the four Vilani megacorporations which had been concluded on 090-1121.

Although the trade had been conducted and conceptualized with a great public show of amity, anonymous spokesperson from Zirunkarish now speculate that Hortalez et Cie "had little faith in the long-term viability of markets within the Ziru Sirkaa – a common mistake amongst financiers with decidedly Solomani mindsets."

When asked to comment on these various speculations, HeC Senior Administrator Nils Petersen suggested, "People should watch a little more closely and patiently, and speculate a little less. From our (Hortalez et Cie's) standpoint, everything is proceeding right on schedule and just as we expected."

Petersen declined to make any further statement that might shed light on his enigmatic comments.

Capital/Core 153-1122

Emperor Lucan slew a regency emissary with a flurry of laser bursts early today in a dramatic scene reminiscent of the tragic assassination carried out here six years ago.

The emperor stormed from the throne room immediately afterward. The court was cleared by the Imperial Honor Guard.

Although details were not immediately available, fragmentary information suggests that the emissary was Judith Isaacs, a regent of the Imperial Regency of Intelligence and Security.

According to a courtier who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Isaacs had travelled to Core to effect formal delivery of the regency's request that Lucan submit to answering charges of murdering his brother, Prince Varian, and several other persons.

In keeping with the Imperium's succession laws, the regency is required to ensure that a potential successor satisfactorily refutes any allegations of felony that might be outstanding against his person. This process must be a matter of public record and must be completed before there can be any recognition of a right to succession.

The emperor is said to have become enraged when Isaacs delivered this message (both verbal and hardcopy, according to succession law), at which point he jumped to his feet and fired four laser bursts into the regent.

Isaacs is thought to have died immediately.

Spokespersons for the emperor have explained that Lucan initially believed Isaacs to be an assassin and that his sudden departure from the court was motivated by remorse for having made this mistake.

However, no official statement has been issued by the Imperial staff, nor has an official apology been sent to the regency.

Turin/Verge 172-1122

The leaders of the newly formed Verge Combine announced their succession from the Federation of Ilelish today, after weeks of bitter dispute over Dlan's recruitment policies and mandatory "mutual defense tariffs."

It was also announced that fighting has broken out on several worlds friendly to the combine in the past three weeks and that Federation forces were already on site, participating in acts of "shameless oppression."

Analea Mekatan, senoir chamberlain of Turin and perhaps the most influential member of the combine, stated, "We have allowed our economies, our militaries and our aspirations to be drained by Dulinor ever since the Rebellion began. Now, even as it is drawing to a close, his demands upon our livelihoods – and our very lives – continue to increase. This is not tolerable. His flat rejection of our petitions for tariff freezes and recruitment reductions has left us no choice but to secede.

Unconfirmed rumors suggest that two Federation fleets – the 42nd and the 1300th Reserve – have already sided with the combine, along with their attached ground and COACC combat assets.

Zimila/Zarushagar 181-1122

The small industrial city of Sharis was raided by corsairs today during the local predawn hours. Taken completely by surprise, Sharis' defense forces were thrown into a state of general confusion by a series of well-planned and well-executed surgical strikes against their command and control assets.

Civilian losses were light, although several dozen persons were taken hostage for a short time. The hostages report that they were not harmed and were treated in an acceptable fashion by the corsairs.

The accounts of these abductees supports a growing body of official reports that indicate the raiders to have been highly organized, well-equipped and exceedingly well-disciplined. Although positive identification has not been established, defense administrators believe that the raiders were supported by one Type C Mercenary cruiser, one Type P Corsair and one type K Hunter. Observers noted a number of strange sigils on the fuselages of the raiders' attack landers, along with images of stylized saurian creatures. Several of the raiders were noted to be wearing similar imagery on their personal armor.

Although officials in Sharis have not completed their assessment of losses, they are already noting that the raiders' primary targets seem to have been the warehouses of a number of heavy industrial firms. In particular, large quantities of ammunition, vehicle parts and power plant spares were removed. There is no evidence that any civilian houses or small businesses were intruded upon.

Tiawan/Verge 198-1122

The forces of the Verge Combine has successfully repulsed forces sent by the Federation of Ilelish in an unexpected display of expertise and élan. The greatest surprise seems to have been among the Federation command staff, who consistently underestimated the will, ability and equipage of their adversaries.

Starting with a disastrous attempt to wrest control of the system's main gas giant from the local defense boats, the six-day campaign was one long series of misadventures for the Federation forces. Although the attackers gained marginal control of Tiawan's close orbit and airspace for two days, they were never able to exploit that advantage to full effect in support of their ground forces.

Conservative estimates suggest that at least three full divisions of Federation and loyal regional troops were lost as a result of beachhead landings that were never fully consolidated due to intense fire by defending forces.

Naval activity was sporadic, but definitely one sided, with locally manufactured, remote-operated suicide craft (some as large as 20 tonnes displacement) seriously damaging a number of Federation heavy cruisers.

By mid-day yesterday (local standard time), the Federation forces had begun to withdraw in good order. Official Combine sources indicate that the last of the attacker's ships jumped out-system early this evening.

Irim/Fornast 210-1122

Starport Authority security forces today barely managed to contain and control widespread violence between a group of independent merchants and members of a brokers' guild. The incident – which at its height involved at least 40 crewmembers from merchantmen, 50 brokers and associates, and 20 Starport Authority security personnel – is without local precedent and has shocked the mercantile community of the planet.

Fourteen persons were hospitalized with serious injuries, and another 20 were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Although accounts conflict, the cause of the melee is said to be a disagreement over tacit trading agreements and rights. Apparently, three independent merchants were attempting to sell individual items directly to interested parties at wholesale prices. This is not the customary means whereby merchants trade, depending instead upon large lots of goods sold with the aid of a broker.

Reportedly, several brokers noticed this irregular "independent" sales activity and began arguing with the merchants, accusing them of violating a "traditional understanding" between merchants and brokers. The merchants allegedly responded that they 'weren't breaking any laws" and continued to conduct their business. The brokers attempted to interfere with their operations, and angry words led to a general brawl, which drew in nearby allies of both groups.

Although the Starport Authority security forces haven't brought any charges against either group, Chief Iislag Romor commented that he "can understand why brokers got so hot under the collar." "After all," he said, "if merchants don't make their sales through the brokers, the brokers will have no way of doing business. If the merchants don't understand that, I'm afraid we'll have another incident like this one – worse, maybe."

The Irim Incident is only the most dramatic of many such occurrences with have begun to erupt throughout the Imperium over the past six months. Reports of friction between merchants and brokers are widespread.

Market experts suggest that the reason for this new contentiousness is because of the general state of economic decline prevalent in most areas of the Imperium. With cargoes becoming harder to find, merchants are trying to get the most money for their wares. Many do this by selling their goods at wholesale prices, thereby increasing their base revenues without having to pay a broker's percentage.

Most frequently, this practice is observed in conjunction with the sale of high-tech items that are no longer available in the area of sale. Consequently, market prices on such products are beginning to climb in areas which have never had much – or have lost – industrial capacity.

Bogustin/Core 217-1122

Imperial Ministry of Justice agents have uncovered what they believe to be the source of a number of incidents of anti-Lucan starship sabotage in Grapis Dar, the capital city of Bogustin. Grapis Dar, which is host to the local class-A starport and attached scout base, has also been used increasingly by Imperial naval units as a repair and refit facility over the past three years.

In particular, the base's state-of-the-art, fluidic systems, purging apparatus is well thought of by captains and crews whose ships have begun to take on characteristic odors that seem to be unremovable. Consequently, many ships get their fluidic systems cleaned at Grapis Dar.

Apparently, anti-Lucan saboteurs capitalized upon this trend in their efforts to cripple a number of the ships serviced. Their method involved nodules of pure sodium coated with a delayed-action, water-soluble coating. These nodules were pumped into water-carrying fluidic systems – along with the replacement water – after the system purges were completed.

When each nodule's coating eventually dissolved some 2-4 weeks later, the resulting exothermic reaction between the water and the sodium usually ruined environmental systems and, often, power plant coolant assemblies.

IMJ agents had suspected Bogustin as the source of the sabotage for the past month, but only managed to break the operation today locating the nodule production facility and a huge supply of the innocuous-looking gray spheres.

Although there is no official word on the group behind the sabotage operation, certain anonymous inside sources suggest that a radical terrorist group known as the Brothers of Varian is responsible for the act. The Brothers of Varian is largely held to be a mostly legendary organization, supposedly dedicated to "avenging" Lucan's alleged murder of the rightful heir to the Iridium Throne.

Khalu/Fornast 233-1122

New View Entertainment formally declared the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings today in a statement that sent shock waves throughout the local economy. Local law enforcement officials found NewView CEO Dragus Liklaster dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound at his residence only two hours after the conclusion of the press conference.

NewView, one of the largest fully independent (i.e., nonmegacorporation controlled) producers, syndicators and distributors of holographic and 2-D video entertainment, employs over 30 million persons on Khalu. The ancillary markets and dependent economies linked to NewView's fortunes employ at least five times that number.

Long known to be in serious financial trouble, NewView is described as the latest victim of the Rebellion and the fragmented markets that have resulted from the dislocation of trade and commerce. In addition to a steady decrease in disposable income throughout the Imperium's private sector over the past five years, NewView executives cited unreliable distribution as the major cause of their bankruptcy.

According to industry experts, the low cargo priority of entertainment products, as well as increasing interruptions caused by piracy and war losses, all conspired to create a downward cycle of decreasing demand for NewView's exports.

Sebasta/Solomani Rim 247-1122

The Captain-Governor of Florina Arcology – the second largest on this world – announced that he was ordering the general abandonment of the massive structure, effective immediately. Although provisions have been made for an orderly departure, aided by Solomani military units, local experts point to the complete lack of residential, sanitary and medical facilities for the over 15 million residents who are being displaced.

The abandonment of Florina Arcology, long a concern of the planetary government, is the result of insufficient spares for the structure's repair and maintenance needs. Although Solomani administrators have spared no expense or effort in their attempt to locate and/or produce appropriate spares, their endeavors have apparently been in vain.

According to Senior BioSystems Specialist Meomi Tasawara, "Almost all of the Florina Arcology's subsystems are of Imperial design. Unfortunately, the war has so disrupted the Imperial economy and industrial sector that replacement parts are simply no longer available. And there's simply no way to get local industries to produce the necessary replacement parts in time."

System breakdowns tripled in 1121 and earlier this year began affecting water purification and air filtration systems. Over 20,000 cases of amoebic dysentery have been treated since than. Abandonment became unavoidable when the air filtration system failed altogether.

As soon as the population of Florina has been evacuated, officials intend to strip the arcology of all working systems, in order to provide spares for the world's other arcologies.

Anaxias/Delphi 259-1122

IRIS head Garran Trainor-Hughes announced today that Lucan's failure to acquiesce to public hearings regarding his alleged murder of Varian and several other individuals leaves the regents no choice but to formally suspend the legal process whereby his claim to the Iridium Throne would be verified and confirmed.

When asked how the regency – or anyone else – intends to enforce such a decision, Trainor-Hughes commented, "The regency is not charged with the enforcement of its succession rulings. Such a duty would obviously be well beyond the capacities of IRIS. Instead, it is our responsibility to identify and confirm rightful successors in accordance with Imperial law. This statement does not eliminate Lucan from eligibility, but until and unless he meets the legal requirements, we cannot proceed in the matter of his succession."

Trainor-Hughes, speaking from the new regency offices on Anaxias, went on to state that while this turn of events does not mean that the regency de facto declares for Margaret, it does mean that Iris considers her to be "the single person best suited to be the custodian of the rights, responsibilities and honor of Imperial station." When asked if this in fact meant that IRIS was designated Margaret as a form of "empress-in-waiting," Trainor-Hughes responded, "This in fact means that, in our opinion, Duchess Margaret holds the highest position of royalty that is formerly recognized by the regency at this time."

In other matters involving Anaxian politics, various rumors regarding fierce infighting between IRIS's newly arrived covert operation assets and Tukera's Vermene remain impossible to confirm.

Susadi/Gushemege 267-1122

Over one million civilian casualties were inflicted today by a sneak raid that devastated Karshai, one of the smaller pressure-dome cities on this world. Although details of this tragedy are still unclear, reports indicate that the attackers were part of Lucan's naval forces.

The attacking vessels were identified as one Midu Agashaam-class destroyer, one PF Sloan-class fleet escort, one Chrysanthemum-class destroyer escort and three 400-ton Lurushaar Kilaalum-class patrol cruisers. A number of unidentified fighters were also used in the attack and are thought to have been using the PF Sloan-class fleet escort as their mother ship.

The attacking vessels emerged from jump space just 150 planetary diameters from the main world and immediately commenced a surface bombardment of Karshai. While most of Susadi's surprised defensive resources went to the rescue of the city, the fighters and the patrol cruisers launched a second, surprise attack upon Susadi's class-A starport, inflicting considerable damage upon that facility.

As soon as the strike against the starport was completed, Lucan's forces withdrew. Subsequent observations suggests that they refueled at the nearest gas giant and jumped out-system.

Although many local military personnel expressed rage and dismay at this attack, Federation of Ilelish Commodore Satina ba-Rek offered an explanation: "Lucan's changing his tactics, I think. I would guess he's moving to a "scorched-earth policy." Since he can't have this region of space, he's going to destroy everything of value within it. Obviously, an A-class starport on a high-population world is a valuable asset – one which could easily be out to use against him. So he decided to eliminate it."

Ba-Rek went on to say this "may only be the first of many such attacks – and if it is, we're in for some very black days ahead."

Kapabu-Sepple/Massilia 306-1122

In a predawn raid against Tharaa-bu starport today, forces of Duinor's Ilelish Federation inflicted serious material damage and heavy casualties.

Unlike previous deep-penetration strikes against Lucan's Imperium, Dulinor's raiding force on this occasion is said to have consisted exclusively of escorts and support craft (under 1000 tons).

While some ground units were landing in support of the assault, unofficial reports suggest that these were forward observer/target designator teams.

This hypothesis is supported by the extraordinary first-round accuracy of the orbital bombardment munitions.

Official spokespersons for Lucan's Imperium claim that the majority of strikes were purposely targeted on populated areas, but independent observers suggest that most civilian losses were the result of collateral or spill-over damage.

Lucan's spokespersons also state that this bloodthirsty massacr offers proof positive that Dulinor has no concern for the safety or welfare of civilians, and that he is unremitting in his efforts to reclaim the Irridium Throne.

Several of the independent experts, speaking on the guarantee of absolute anonymity, felt compelled ot point out that this attack on Kapabu-Sepple is highly reminiscent of Lucan's strike against Susadi, one of Dulinor's significant holdings in the Gushemege sector.

One of these experts went so far as to suggest that this latest attack by Dulinor may simply be a retaliatory strike.

Referring to the statements of Confederation Commodore Satina ba-Rek (who commented on Lucan's Susadi strike of 267-1122), this anonymous expert suggested that these assaults may indeed indicate "black days ahead" for various populations and worlds on the periphery of Dulinor and Lucan's respective centers of power.

Drawing comparisons with the hit-and-run tactics that characterized the ruinous yet inconclusive Fourth Frontier War, this senior analyst expressed concern that with conquest now beyond logistical possibility, faction leaders might be resorting to tactics stressing the widespread destruction of eneby resources and transportation nexuses.

"If that is the case," concluded the senior expert, "then we can expect more than a few black days ahead; we can expect a protracted black war."

Sebasta/Solomani Rim 307-1122

Scattered reports of mounting violence – including more than 100 fatalities – have accompanied rumors that the refugees of the Florina Arcology disaster have carried a new, highly infectious strain of hepatitis into their planet's rural communities.

The 15 million former inhabitants of the arcology were compelled to leave their massive home when system malfunctions became both severe and effectively irreparable.

In the weeks that have followed the 247-1122 evacuation of Florina, forced resettlement of the arcos has overwhelmed the surrounding countryside, throwing the small agricultural and resort communities located there into complete turmoil.

With food and water shortages becoming endemic, many of the communities shut their doors against further refugee resettlement, resulting in several armed standoffs with Solomani authorities.

An alliance of these defiant communities – known as the Greenie movement – had commenced negotiations with local confederation advisors two weeks ago. Initial reports called the talks "hopeful."

However, the sudden outbreak of hepatitis among both rural natives and arco refugees has disrupted the talks, and Greenie hard-liners have reportedly acquired proof that the pathogen was carried to their communities by the arcos.

Viral hepatitis was once the most widespread infectious disease on Terra.

It is a rarely encountered phenomenon today, having been almost completely eradicated by retroviral therapies during the Second Imperium.

Occasionally encountered in outback populations, this new stain of the disease – coded as "hepatitis gamma-three" – is spread by mucosa contact with, or ingestion of, any contaminated object. The crowded, forced communal facilities that now typify those Greenie towns overrun with arco refugees provide an optimum breeding and contagion ground for this pathogen.

Sufren/Diaspora 322-1122

Sternmetal Horizons local stock shot up an estimated 89 points on the Sufren exchange today after the megacorporation's local executives announced that trials on its new Roughneck-class petrochemical harvester had proven to be "highly successful."

The concept behind the Roughneck class design was to provide prestellar technology worlds with a means of assuring a steady supply of petrochemicals, even if interstellar commerce and dirtside resources proved futile.

The Roughneck class is a mostly TL6 design with limited TL7 components. Built for rugged use, the VTOL-capable craft is specially designed to insert deep into the atmospheres of large gas giants, where atmospheric processes often combine to produce small amounts (by proportion) of liquid propane and even acetylene.

The craft then "harvests" these atmospheric liquids with scoops and vents. When pressure-processed, the liquid propane can be reconfigured into more complex hydrocarbons useful as fuel or in the making of plastics.

For lower-technology worlds without native petrochemical stocks, the Roughneck represents potential access to an irreplaceable – and otherwise unavailable – chemical resource (assuming a suitable large gas giant is located in the system).

Advance orders from more than a dozen systems were placed within minutes of Sternmetal's announcement.

Vland/Vland 329-1122

After legal review by various special committees, the Isgiirdi of the Ziru Sirkaa has formally approved the request of four Vilani Bureaux to suspend the remittance of dividends on those shares held by the Imperial family.

After months of painstaking deliberation on this topic, the Isgiirdi began moving quickly to a consensus when, last week, a jump-5 courier arrived with news of the regency's suspension of confirmation proceedings regarding Lucan's claim to the Iridium Throne.

This announcement, made on Anaxias on 259-1122 by IRIS High Rgent Garran Tainor-Hughes, formally disallows Lucan the right to claim the throne legitimately until and unless he acquiesces to a public investigation into any allegations of felony which exist against him.

In turn, this creates a legal limbo regarding the title to the Imperial family's considerable shareholding positions in the Vilani megacorporations.

Previously, the Isgiirdi had directed the bureau to continue their dividend payments to Lucan, since he had the right of succession by bloodline, and there had been no formal recognition of any allegations of felonious activities.

Now, however, the dividends will be shunted into a fully insured escrow account, its final dispensation of ownership pending upon confirmation of Strephon's successor – whoever that might one day prove to be.

The announcement of this decision produced uneven trading on the floor of the Enlugal Commodities Exchange. Although a sharp rise had been anticipated, many expressed concern that this move would have a "chilling effect" on interstellar trade with mercantile partners outside the Ziru Sirkaa.

Agari/Ilelish 342-1122

Adeline Matsumata has turned the bow of her 200-ton free trader Madame Butterfly toward the center of the Ilelish Confederation – and has no plans for returning to its rimward periphery. Matsumata is just one of dozens of free merchants who have been leaving this area in recent months.

"The only progress I'm making here is that I'm closer to bankruptcy than ever before," Matsumata said in an informal startown bar interview.

Like most other traders leaving the area, Matsumata cites frequent trade interdictions due to ongoing Verge Rebellion, which has spilled over into the Ilelish sector.

She explained, "One week, a planet is open for trading – with Confederation subsidies, even. Two weeks later, it's under full commercial interdiction. So if you've got a hold full of special cargoes for that world, you're just out of luck; you'll have to go somewhere else and sell at a loss."

The revolt's see-saw progress does indeed seem to be the cause of this political (and hence, commercial) turbulence. With worlds changing allegiances as fast as they change governments, mercantile speculation – which depends upon reasonable market predictions – has become practically impossible.

Although the intensity of the conflict has steadily diminished since the confederation's unexpected setback at Tiawan/Verge on 198-1122, Dulinor's containment/counterinsurgency tactics have kept the involved regions in a state of unrest and turmoil.

Unofficial speculations within the confederation government suggest that Dulinor already considers the rebellious regions to be lost, and is simply attempting to cripple the area with economic sanctions and commerce raiding, as well as ongoing border skirmishes.

Nakindaa/Fornast 364-1122

Riots destroyed the headquarters complex of the Hadaggshi Lanthanun Coil Restraint Works this afternoon when the company's management announced that it had filed for bankruptcy and was suspending operations immediately.

Hadaggshi Works, the largest specialty manufacturer of lanthanum coil restraints in known space, cited insufficient sales as the principle factor behind its demise. Hadaggshi Woks is predominately a Vilani-run business.

Government analysts suggest that had the company retooled for diversified production late in 1120, it would probably have been able to endure.

"Specialty industries just can't survive today, not unless they're right at the heart of the faction's safe area," commented fiscal analyst Haradim Molke. "In order to move the tremendous volume of merchandise that enables specialty producers to survive, you have to have easy, reliable interstellar transportation. That kind of transportation environment died with the Third Imperium."

Hadaggshi's plight is only one of hundreds of similar commercial disasters brought on by the increased difficulty and risk of interstellar transportation.

Efforts to improve that situation have largely been unsuccessful, even though fleet-level conflict seems to have ended. The vacuum left by the large naval forces of the factions has mostly been filled by corsairs, pirates and privateers. Continued commerce-raiding campaigns by rival factions further erode confidence in the viability of interstellar commerce.

Hadaggshi's demise brings unemployment to over 2 million members of Nakindaa's work force. However, unconfirmed reports suggest that three local industries are negotiating to buy Hadaggshi's old industrial process elements for conversion to diversified production tasks. Labor leaders are cautiously optimistic that this may portend new jobs and a shift to a more self-sustaining industrial strategy.

Shaddimir/Ilelish 019-1123

Unidentified units of Lucan's Imperium struck deep into the Federation of Ilelish and caused significant damage to various facilities and population centers on Shaddimir in the worst of the Black War raids reported thus far. Although various targets were hit, the attacks concentrated most strongly on this planet's Droyne population, inflicting almost 90% causalities among that race's local civilian sector.

Lucan's forces dropped leaflets and issued broadcasts during the attack, claiming that the Droyne of Shaddimir possessed technical knowledge dating back to the period of the Ancients and that they had agreed to use this knowledge to construct secret weapons for Dulinor.

Immediately after the attack, Adderly Morgan, local cultural affairs minister, dismissed these charges as "unfounded nonsense."

"The Droyne of Shaddimir possess no advanced technological knowledge," Morgan said, "and their only involvement in Ancient artifacts is the small ancient site that they have been excavating for two centuries."

Morgan added that even if the Droyne did have advanced technical knowledge, "That would still not justify the systematic destruction of their community, an act which seems perilously close to premeditated genocide."

Local federation military leaders expressed surprise and concern that Lucan's units' had dared venture so far into Dulinor's sphere of control. They also expressed some worries about Droyne reaction – both locally and throughout the Imperium – to this racially specific attack.

Ilelish military personnel unanimously declined to comment on whether an offensive reprisal is being planned.

Manshuruk/Dagudashaag 037-1123

Renowned hunter Emile Nodokundu died during a big-game expedition to this planet's Aasharag Outback, in a violent incident involving several local residents.

Two-weeks-ago, 54-year-old Nodokundu contacted Outback Patrol by radio, complaining of a fever and intermittent thoracic pains. His speech was described as being slurred and uncertain.

Later attempts to reestablish communication with Nodokundu failed, prompting an investigation. Patrol members proceeded to his location, where they were attacked by Nodokundu and forced to kill him. Authorities then cordoned off the area and immediately placed Nodokundu's remains in quarantine.

After two days of intense speculation, Chief Coroner Palitha Nursopurja held a press conference today on the post mortem results. "At the time of his death," she said, "Nodokundu was in an advanced stage of metamorphosis. Full medical and physiological results will be released later. For now, I would say that, at the time of his death, Nodokundu had begun to mutate into a devolved form of homo sapiens with strong carnivore overtones. His aggressive behavior at Porbodur Range Station is consistent with that physiological analysis.

When asked to speculate on what had caused Nodokundu to undergo such dramatic and unprecedented changes, Nursopurja admitted, "At this point, we have not been able to do much more than isolate a foreign microbe in the lymphatic system, which seems to be the mutagenic pathogen. However, we have yet to determine the source, vulnerabilities and contagion levels of this pathogen.

Extrality zone officials declared a general suspension of off-world travel and contact. In a reflexive move, local officials for Lucan's Imperium have imposed full quarantine restrictions on the planet.

Several deserters of Lucan's military units on Manshuruk, speaking on condition of anonymity, have suggested that the mutagenic pathogen might be an artificial construct. They claim that a significant biowar development facility in the Outback came under Lucan's control just over two years ago and has been stepping up the pace of its research since then.

Prompted by the possibility that this facility may have violated the long-standing restrictions regarding the use or open testing of bioagents, the local Imperial Ministry of Justice office has formally opened an investigation into the Nodokundu affair.

Kees/Zarushagar 048-1123

"Business has never been so good" for Kees' class-A starport, despite the post-Rebellion economic retrenchment which is hurting most economies. Spokesperson Beatrix Kailela said Kees and other high-quality starports have experienced an upswing in trade activity as the facilities they offer have more rare.

She also cited a lively trade in customized biots, which she attributed to smaller and lower-tech worlds that are attempting to supplant maintenance-hungry mechanical systems. In particular, Kaileia noted the rapid increase in demand for the once-little-known jaramut moss, an endothermic floraform that functions as a biological air cooler.

Kaileia said Kees Starport was one of the first in the sector to redesignate its extrality zone as a visa-free zone (also referred to simply as the free zone). Although many veteran space travellers are uncomfortable with this new arrangement, the visa-free zone is rapidly becoming a necessity in those star systems which are not claimed by any faction.

In such systems, there is no longer any central Imperial authority to enforce or prosecute crimes committed within the extrality zone. Therefore, local governments – such as Kees' – have assumed the responsibility for patrolling and maintaining the visa-free zone. Planetary law does not apply in these regions, but the traditional Imperial legal codes (particularly those concerning violent felonies) are still observed and enforced.

Manshuruk/Dagudashaag 055-1123

The entire investigation team handling the unusual Nodokundu case has died, according to a report released today by the local branch of the Imperial Ministry of Justice.

Special Investigator Nowry Vladkov declined to reveal the precise cause of death, saying only that the investigators "died of unknown causes and under mysterious circumstances."

Vladkov, who recently arrived on-planet as a special overseer from the Core sector, indicated that the team handling the mutation and death of famed big-game hunter Emile Nodokundu had been investigating "a number of promising leads" and that the ministry had been anticipating a major breakthrough within the next few days.

Vladkov revealed that field interviews had encountered other mutated individuals during their sweep of the Aasharag Outback, the region where Nodokundu died. These interviews described the newly discovered mutated individuals as "extremely violent, incoherent and often in intense pain."

Planetary health authorities have declared the Aasharag Outback as a restricted travel area. Military units have been dispatched to patrol and seal its periphery.

Vladkov has also initiated a full-scale investigation into the deaths of the first investigatory team members.

Giirsha/Massilia 059-1123

The creation of new interface line, Hejira Transport, has stimulated debate and controversy on Giirsha, the firm's homeworld.

Dedicated to serving individuals who wish to leave many of the badly battered worlds in this war-torn sector, Hejira started laying down specially designed bulk passenger ships in 1119. Hejira boasts a fleet of three modular jump-carriers, each capable of transporting 50,000 low passengers at a time. All three carriers are already reported to be running at full capacity, filling backlogged low-passage reservations outbound from the high-population worlds of Muimarir, Ugdukida and Gowandon.

Conservative estimates indicate that Hejira will be able to relocate over one million individuals within its first year of operations. The current desire for relocation is thought to be at least 1000 times that figure, ensuring Hejira with a steady flow of business.

Unfortunately, as the relocated individuals attempt to find work on Giirsha or in systems just over the border in Delphi sector, their arrival often causes disruption of planetary economies.

Particularly on lower-population worlds, any sudden influx into the work force places an increased burden on already stressed job markets. Various worlds in Delphi have threatened to discontinue issuing immigration permits, and others have imposed immigration fees.

Tripolis/Verge 062-1123

A cease-fire between the Verge combine and the Federation of Ilelish was announced early this morning in the Tripolsian Senate.

The announcement was received quietly by the senators, even those who have worked hardest to bring it about. "I'm too tired to celebrate," explained Senior Senator Abdul McKeon, "and too saddened by all the pointless bloodshed we have endured." McKeon's comments refer to the Verge Rebellion, which formally began on 172-1122 and has wreaked havoc upon the worlds in this subsector and those nearby.

The rebel forces, known as the Verge Combine, surprised federation military experts with their resourcefulness and tenacity, conducting a hit-and-run campaign that emphasized commerce raiding and surgical strikes against command and communication nexi.

The political leader of the combine, Analea Mekatan of Turin, expressed a mixture of relief and wariness at the news of the cease-fire. She pointed out, "This is a fragile agreement in a turbulent area. Let's see if it can last to the end of the week before we get too ecstatic."

Federation officials denied comment regarding Dulinor's involvement in, and attitudes toward, the negotiation of the cease-fire. However, one senior defense analyst said that, with the Verge rebellion over, Dulinor could devote "more time, energy and assets to convincing Lucan that he should discontinue his Black War strikes."

Capital/Core 081-1123

Lucan bluntly forbade the Imperial Ministry of Justice from continuing its investigations into what is now known as the Nodokundu affair on Manshuruk (Dagudashaag Sector).

Making his first public appearance in three weeks, Lucan went on to warn Traveller News Service that its coverage of these events was "meddlesome and prying." TNS should discontinue following this story, he said, lest the service find itself "suspected of treasonous tendencies."

The issuance of such a warning to the TNS is without Imperial precedent.

One former TNS editor suggested that Lucan's extreme reaction could indicate that the mutagenic pathogen responsible for the metamorphosis of Emile Nodokundu and others might be a retrovirus created – and tested – by Lucan's biowar experts.

The Imperial Ministry of Justice has made no public reply to Lucan's decree. However, rumors suggest that the ministry has initiated negotiations with Duke Craig regarding the establishment of a new headquarters and primary training facility in Daibei sector.

Ugdukida/Massilia 083-1123

More than 1000 persona were killed during the emigration riots that wracked this impoverished high-population world today. The riots were largely in response to the announcement that Hejira Transport's low-berth fares had risen to 1200 credits each and that an additional 5000-credit planetfall insurance surcharge was being added.

This surcharge is reportedly necessary in order to cover the rising emigration fees charged by many of the destination worlds.

In particular, the cooperatively safe and well-protected worlds of the Delphi sector have begun to increase their emigration fees, in order to generate revenue and to restrict the number and demography of potential immigrants.

Citizens here on Ugdukida reacted to the news of these increased rates with outrage and violence, destroying several of Hejira's advance ticketing offices and a number of starport access gates.

As one robotics maintenance worker explained, "They're making it so the average guy can't get away and start somewhere new, where it's safer. It's getting to be that only the rich folks can afford to leave – and they don't need to leave half as bad as us poor folks."

In response to the day's events, a Hejira spokesperson stated that if civil unrest continues as a result of its operations on Ugdukida, it will discontinue its low-passage runs and convert its current passenger modules into bulk haulers for grain shipment.

Umorphutwyo/Diaspora 089-1123

More than 40,000 people were killed in a fierce human-Droyne clash on this predominately Droyne world this week, amid scattered reports of human-Droyne tensions throughout this sector. The clash began in the city of Adysroyo, where local Droyne launched a reprisal against a radical pro-Lucan faction that had beaten several Droyne to death last week.

The ensuing violence escalated and spilled over into noninvolved human neighborhoods. More than 40,000 persons were killed before a joint human-Droyne task force was able to restore order.

This unprecedented incident of interspeciate violence has engendered a sudden atmosphere of suspicion in both the human and Droyne communities. Umorphutwyo's ruling aykruskloss (oligarchic board of oytrip senor leaders) has announced its intent to begin constructing a separate starport, reserved exclusively for Droyne use. Human leaders are rumored to be retaliating by creating monopolistic trading alliances with the world's predominately human clientele.

Off-world negotiators, recruited as objective arbiters, call the situation "grim and worsening."

Regina/Spinward Marches (0310 A788899-A) 101-1123

Representatives of Archduke Norris Aledon announced today that the archduke is seeking to meet with leaders of the Ine Givar movement in order to settle long-standing differences between the terrorist organization and the Imperial Government, now in the form of the Domain of Deneb.

The Ine Givar, which are known to have had ties to the Zhodani Consulate, were heavily involved in the buildup to the Fifth Frontier War in 1105-1107, particularly on Efate and Ruie in the Regina subsector. Since the end of the war, Ine Givar activities have been almost nonexistent, although it is clear that the organization still exists, according to official Domain sources.

There has been much public concern of late that the Ine Givar will take advantage of the increasing isolation of Deneb from the embattled Imperial Core and strike unexpected and telling blows, perhaps in conjunction with Vargr, Aslan or Zhodani strike units.

The offices of the archduke have announced that such concerns are "fantastic and alarmist," and that the suggested negotiations are intended to further stabilize the position of the domain until such time as full contact with the reunited Imperial interior can be resumed.

Regina/Spinward Marches (0310 A788899-A) 116-1123

An explosion ripped through a public shopping mall this morning near the ducal compound, killing or critically wounding several score of volunteer workers setting up for a charity fund-raising event.

Messages appeared in several public databases two hours later, announcing Ine Givar responsibility for the bombing. The message read, in part:

"Duke [sic] Norris' wish to enter into negotiations is only a cynical and transparent attempt to identify and expose the Ine Givar leadership, in order to allow their assassination by the Imperial security apparatus. We will not allow this to happen.

"This show of force, involving no loss of life, was designed to show the duke [sic] how vulnerable he is to our power to strike at any time and place of our choosing.

It is very dangerous game he is playing.

"We will only enter into talks that sincerely seek to redress our just grievances against the corrupt and outmoded Imperial power structure."

It would appear from the text that the explosion was not intended to cause casualties, although it is not known whether the bomb's timer was faulty or if the Ine Givar terrorists were simply unaware that volunteers would be present at the site.

Archduke Norris is away at Mora. However, members of the ducal household characterized the bombing as "an outrage."

One person noted, "This claim that there would be 'no loss of life' proves how callous and bloodthirsty those animals are, and how hollow their claims for justice."

Larmige/Dagudashaag (2709 X7759DD-C) 124-1123

Rear-guard elements of Lucan's naval forces conducted a thorough orbital bombardment of all Larmige's starport, scout and naval base assets starting last night and continuing on through this morning, with appalling civilian casualties.

This news service regrets to report the absolute annihilation of all port, landing, shipyard and base facilities on Larmige effective this date.

This in a brutal and unanticipated act of betrayal is unprecedented, as the people of Larmige have faithfully supported Lucan's military operations since 1117. For six years, its shipyards have repaired and serviced Lucan's fleets.

Yet today, rather than being taken by enemy forces, rather than being left to defend itself, rather than being given protection commensurate with its sacrifices, it has been blotted from existence as a starfaring world by the very forces that it has served so ably and unselfishly.

The shock and grief of the population can best be summed up by a man who was observed earlier today stumbling through the ruins of the starport, searching through the bodies of those who had been working in the starport, unaware of what was about to befall them.

Dressed in ragged clothes and covered with blood and soot, he repeated over and over, "What did we do wrong? What did we do wrong? Can you tell me – what did we do wrong?"

Esalin/Spinward Marches (1004 C565673-8) 136-1123

A plot to assassinate the Archduke Norris has been reported through established channels by envoys from the Zhodani Consulate to Domain of Deneb authorities.

While the plot was discovered within the Zhodani borders, it is not yet clear if the plot involves Zhodani nationals, Imperial nationals or third parties.

Zhodani information indicated that the operation may be already underway, as several-objects of the investigation are missing.

In order to speed the passage of this information to Deneb authorities who may be able to contain the operation, this information is also being routed through Farreach (1402 Spinward Marches) and Querion (1614 Spinward Marches).

A Zhodani offer of assistance in the apprehension of the assassins has thus far been declined.

Insiders are speculating whether this development could be at all related to the unusual Zhodani naval activities of 1119 or to the increased talk of Ine Givar activity within the Spinward Marches.

Depot/Dagudashaag (3121 A310244-D) 161-1123

This report has been delayed by Imperial Navy censors until arrival at Depot.

Some minor changes may have been made from the original report for purposes of clarity, but these do not affect its content.

The story of the elimination of militarily useful basing facilities at Larmige (2709 Dagudashaag) has become clearer in the days since the event.

Previously the site of a naval base, scout base and starport rated at level B, Larmige was one of the crucial bases in the Imperial perimeter through Dagudashaag sector, along the main line of opposition to the forces of the usurper, Dulinor, and the imposter, Strephon.

It had been in the front line of the fighting since 1117 and for six years had serviced Imperial forces in these main areas.

However, due to operational, strategic and logistical considerations, it was necessary to adjust the Imperial lines through Dagudashuug sector to a new position anchored on Iiradli (3008 Dagudashaag).

This should not be seen as a withdrawal. Rather, the new lines are much stronger than the exposed and dangerous position of Larmige.

Given this redeployment, and the certainty that Dulinor's forces would have taken advantage of Larmige's fine facilities to launch attacks to further threaten Imperial citizens, the Larmige base clearly, through regrettably, had to be destroyed.

Fortunately, Imperial Intelligence assets have been able to ascertain without doubt that Larmigen casualties during this carefully controlled demolition were, in fact, quite negligible.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 213-1123

Professor Ililek Kuligaan has disappeared following his controversial remarks yesterday at Dlan University in which he called the Rebellion a "ridiculous war," among other things.

Kuligaan was until today until today holder of the Dulinor Astrin Ilethian chair as chairman of the Department of Imperial History. At public forum, The Future of an Imperium in Conflict, part of the university's regular series of public fora, Kuligaan made his comments in answer to a question about rumors that Lucan was concentrating efforts on a secret weapon to bring the six-year-old rebellion to a conclusion.

"If he's not," Kuligaan said, "he should be because that's the only way anyone will this ridiculous war. Anyone could have foreseen that the Imperium would split into factions of such equal size that no one would be able to gain the upper hand. All that we have been able to accomplish in six years of civil war – and I mean civil war, if you must call it a "rebellion," then call it a rebellion against common sense – is the slaughter, no, the murder of tens of billions of loyal Imperial subjects. And what was their crime? That they could only be loyal to one emperor at a time, not six or seven."

The casualties quoted by Kuligaan are those presented by the university, based on figures provided by naval intelligence. They include deaths caused by disease, starvation and piracy resulting from the succession struggle, as well as immediate combat fatalities. Although these numbers have not been disputed, they were not widely disseminated because of their probable effect on public morale.

Emperor Dulinor's office issued a warrant for Kuligaan's arrest this morning and stripped him of his office at the university. But Kuligaan has disappeared, lending credence to rumors that he had prepared these remarks in advance, along with a means of escape.

When asked for comment on the arrest warrant, Dlan University Chancellor for Academic Affairs Justin Horrocks replied, "Well, we all know it's illegal to arrest a professor for a public statement of political analysis. It must be parking violations."

Warinir/Daibei (0507 A889978-F) 282-1123

The annual naval review, traditionally held on Duke Craig's official birthday, will not take place this year, according to a spokesperson for the ducal office.

The prepared statement read, "Naturally, this does not mean that there are insufficient naval forces to spare for a review. Rather, fleet operational and maintenance commitments continue at normal levels. However, His Grace, in keeping with his previous statements that 1123 will be a year of peace, feels that martial celebrations would be inappropriate."

Speaking not for attribution, a Federation of Daibei naval officer remarked, "He'd probably rather save the ships to throw a review for the Aslan out in the [Reaver's] Deep."

Regina/Spinward Marches (0310 A788899-C) 301-1123

Archduke Norris Aledon publicly appeared today on his ancestral home for the first time since the beginning of the recent wave of Ine Givar terrorism and allegations that rogue Zhodani elements had dispatched an assassination team to kill him.

Although a household spokesperson indicated that this visit was a normally scheduled tour and vacation at his ducal holdings, the public relations impact of his arrival was significant. Among the stops on his itinerary was the Regina Imperial Hospital, where he privately visited with recovering victims of Ine Givar bombings.

His only public reference to the recent terrorism was during an impromptu press conference when he responded to a question about the status of the talks he had proposed with the Ine Givar.

Acknowledging that there has been no progress toward starting the talks, he added, "I come to these discussions in all good faith. Sadly, I also carry a certain amount of faith about human nature, which these recent events have only served to verify."

The archduke, as a consummate crisis leader, is certainly aware that with recent events, the mere fact of his public appearances speaks volumes about his faith in the stability of Deneb as a social and political body and in his own personal safety.

Regina/Spinward Marches (1910 A788899-C) 303-1123

Zhodani Consulate Ambassador Shterbifriashav flatly denied in a press conference that the Ine Givar are receiving any aid from his government.

Shterbifriashav said in his prepared statement, "The Consulate officially severed their alliance with the Ine Givar at the conclusion of the Fifth Frontier War.

"Terrorists are no one's friends and as the official representative of my government, I condemn these attacks as an atrocity against civilization."

The conference was called in the aftermath of a bombing yesterday of a Regina Colonial Navy recruiting office in which two naval personnel were killed. There have also been allegations of Zhodani collusion in a discovery last week of what was initially identified as nerve agents at the Regina downport.

The ambassador pledged financial and medical assistance to the victims of the bombings and their families as a gesture of good will.

Trin/Spinward Marches (3235 A894A96-F) 329-1123

What do you do when you lose a 60,000 ton cruiser? Hope that the Aslan didn't steal it?

This is the dilemma facing the personnel of the Imperial Navy Inactive Ships Facility at Trin. The Arrival Vengeance, an Azhanti High Lightning-class frontier cruiser, was one of five of that class mothballed at Trin since 1114. With the establishment of the Patrol, or Trekhyair, in 1120, one Lightning-class cruiser per year has been reactivated for service with this force, beginning with Azhanti High Lighting, Children of the March and Refractor Loathesome. The two left, Bard Refuge and Arrival Vengeance, were scheduled for reactivation in 1124 and 1125 respectively. However, while conducting an inspection of Bard Refuge prior to moving her to the shipyard, the inspection team discovered that her sister ship, Arrival Vengeance, was missing.

There are currently no theories or explanations for this phenomenon.

Cymbeline/Solomani Rim (2527 A9F4840-E) 355-1123

A force of half a dozen Gazelle-class close escorts, tentatively identified as belonging to Lucan's Imperium, yesterday engaged in a brief orbital engagement here, then made for the 100 planetary diameter jump gradient to enter hyperspace. The purpose of this force's presence is unknown.

The force was spotted by the Home Guard cruiser Durhamon a routine system sweep. The cruiser's officers reported that although the intruders were not operating their transponders, a drone-mounted sensor package showed what appeared to be the Imperial sunburst symbol on the retreating vessels before it was destroyed by laser fire. The laser attack on the drone was the only fire exchanged before the six vessels broke off for the jump gradient. Their identity as Imperial-built Gazelle class vessels was confirmed soon after when their expended drop tanks were discovered near their hyperspace entry point.

However, their status as units of Lucan's forces is doubtful, as they made no attempt to engage Durham, which they clearly as a group outgunned. However, Durham's captain pointed out that it would not be long before their true identity was revealed, for without their drop tanks, they would not be able to get far.


The Travellers' Aid Society News Bureau would like to apologize for errors that have been discovered in some TNS dispatches to this distribution area for the period 101 to 213-1123. The data nexus for this distribution area has been one of the targets of Imperial investigations of "treasonous tendencies" among TNS employees (see report Capital/Core, 081-1123). An unfortunate side affect of these intrusions has been the mutilation of software systems and data compiling programs. This has mostly been evidenced by the garbling of textual material, but in some cases the emergency use of outdated software to bring damaged systems back on line has resulted in the broadcast of anachronistic information, such as the obsolete informational coding of Regina/Spinward Marches in some reports. At this time, all of these defects have been corrected, and TNS is proceeding with plans to bring suit against the Imperial government for harassment. We apologize for any inconvenience that these defects may have caused.

A Traveller News Service Special Feature – An In-Depth Interview with Professor Ililek Kuligaan

Warinir/Daibei (0507 A889978-F) 131-1124

Professor Ililek Kuligaan has been, since 213-1123, fleeing a warrant for his arrest issued by Archduke Dulinor himself, Kuligaan's public remarks on 212-1123, critical of the Rebellion, and by extension, the self-proclaimed Emperor Dulinor, have sparked numerous responses, in addition to Dulinor's.

For three quarters of a year, Kuligaan's whereabouts were unknown. Then on 126-1124 it was announced that he had met with Duke Craig at Warinir. Following several days of requests, Professor Kuligaan finally agreed to meet for an interview with a member of the TAS News Service Warinir branch. Although he refused to discuss the details behind his meeting with Duke Craig, he did reveal more of his outspoken views on the Rebellion. The following is an excerpt from that fascinating interview.

TNS: How long until we see the Imperium reunited?

IK: Never.

TNS: So you feel it will take a long time, then.

IK: No, I said never, and I mean never. There will be no reformed Imperium; there can be no peace or unity among these factions. No, we must go farther into the darkness before we can see the light again. That is proper, that is proportionate.

TNS: Proper? By whose standards?

IK: You see, if peace were to come now, that would justify what has already happened. Surely even you have read the figure, tens of billions dead. The horror that we have already visited upon each other, that would somehow become acceptable. Leaders would be able to countenance other wars just like this one. "You see," they would say, "we could do that again and still pull back and be okay again." That cannot happen. Peace now would redeem what we have done, and that is just not possible. It is irredeemable; the sin has gone too far.

TNS: The sin? Against God?

IK: No, not against God; against the only thing you can sin against, humanity.

TNS: So you feel that it is only humans that matter in this equation.

IK: No, you idiot. Who assigned you to this story, anyway? [The sin is] Against the thing inside every living being that makes it unique. The Vargr must call it vargranity, the Hivers call it hivranity or some such. Whatever word you happen to hang on it locally, the object is the same. But the word has to be local to you if it is to have any power for you. Yes, I call it humanity. And the Vargr have it, the Hivers have, the Aslan have it, the K'kree have it. You might even have it. The issue is –

TNS: Are you a member of the Virasa faith?

IK: Do all reporters have such short attention spans? The issue is – and by the way, the phrase is, "Are you a Virasin?" – that what we have done is a crime against all life, all decency, and not in a contextual way, but in an absolute way. We cannot put a happy face on this, brush ourselves off, and go on. We are corrupt, we are polluted, we are death to each other. And in this case, yes, the issue is about humans, homo sapiens. We have to see our way through this hell that we've created and see to it that it does not happen again. There is something inside us that has allowed us to embark on this monstrous war, and we must burn it out of us. This war, if all of these deaths are to have any meaning, must force us to come to grips with the fact that we cannot remain this way if we expect to have an interstellar society.

If, on the other hand, we can justify to ourselves what we have done here in this "Rebellion," then we can never be saved, which is to say, we can never save ourselves.

Rhylanor/Spinward Marches (2716 A434934-F) 154-1124

At the University of Rhylanor today, approximately 150 students staged a pro-Ine Givar demonstration to show their support at the university's main square. They wore green Ine Givar armbands, shook their fists and shouted, "Agitate. Educate. Organize."

Dean Eneri Woemser called in campus and local police forces to prevent any outbreaks of violence by the students or patriotic bystanders.

After chanting and handing out leaflets reading, "The Moment for Democrasy [sic] Is Now!" The demonstration disbanded peacefully. However, seven students who had been brandishing unloaded handguns were arrested for firearms possession and public endangerment, and inciting to violence.

The university plans to expel the seven students for their acts.

Dean Woemser's brief public statement concluded with the remark: "We have over 34,000 students enrolled on this campus. The forbearing response of the vast majority of our students to this inflammatory display by a handful of illiterates is ample proof that this university cannot be judged by the example of these stylish 'revolutionaries.'"

Gracilis/Dagudashaag (2038 A52077A-C) 168-1124

Recent Black War strikes on Gracilis by Lucan's forces have prompted planetary leaders to question the long-term habitability of the world. Progressive damage to port and power production facilities combined with the world's inhospitable atmosphere makes the future of the world's 63.2 million inhabitants "tenuous at best," according to one official.

The needs of the relatively large population require a vast oxygen and water cracking industry to chemically produce these essential resources from minerals found on the world. Recent developments in the ongoing Rebellion have made this procedure much more difficult. Lucan's raids have done extensive damage to Gracilis' habitation domes and subterranean galleries, which will require time-consuming repairs. Until such time as permanent repairs can be made, temporary repairs allow atmosphere and water supplies to leak away, placing a greater strain on the cracking industry. However, damage to the world's power production facilities has already reduced the capacity of the power-intensive cracking operations.

Repairs to any of the damage pulls already-scarce resources away from other projects on a world that has been on a wartime footing for seven years. Access to crucial repair parts is also becoming difficult, given extensive recent damage to Gracilis' port facilities and the dramatic fall-off in trade in Dagudashaag Sector because of the war.

Troy Kharkazlin, Gracilis' Minister for Resource Management is blunt about the situation: "We might just be able to keep going if things are left the way they are now. It won't be easy, but five or six years down the tunnel I can see a little light. But any more damage to this world and it's all over but the dying. It's time for a contingency study on worldwide evacuation."

However, Kharkaziin is quick to agree that all of this leaves one question unanswered: "Where do we go?"

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 220-1124

Dulinor today firmly refused military aid to exiled President Kaerri Sundarigari of Neola/Gushmege (1430 B526543-E). This aid would have been used to unseat the military council which overthrew her democratically elected government in a coup two months ago.

Federation Press Secretary Tredek Jurisor said: "The Federation is well aware of the situation on Neola. We have received the assurances of General Meochovici that Martial law will be lifted and democracy restored as soon as the current crisis has ended.

"Therefore, we will continue with Federation policy of non-intervention in the affairs of individual worlds, unless other worlds or the Federation are threatened."

Speaking from her hotel in a hastily arranged and bitter press conference, Sundarigari responded: "'Current crisis?' What current crisis? I am absolutely sickened by Dulinor and his farcical Federation!

"Six years ago, I remember Dulinor saying Emperor Strephon was complacent, that he should have used his position to make the Imperium more responsive to individual citizens. He said he would bring an end to representation by the nobility, and give power back to the public. Now he's turned his back on the issues which supported his claims to the throne or any legitimacy as a ruler."

When asked to speculate on the reasons behind Dulinor's decision, Sundarigari replied angrily: "Maybe he feels that the [military] dictators will build more warships than we did for his precious Rebellion."

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 251-1124

Dlan Port Authority officials reported that former President Kaerri Sundarigari of Neola/Gushemege (1430 B526543-E) was killed along with four of her closest advisors today in a freak accident at Dlan Downport. She was reportedly on her way home to her subsector to recruit support to fight the ruling military council that unseated her government over two months ago.

Eyewitnesses report that Sundarigari's party was waiting to board a shuttle to the orbital starport when an out-of-control baggage lifter crashed into and ruptured several liquid hydrogen refueling lines. The resulting explosion killed Sundarigari, her Defense Minister, Press Secretary, Chief Judiciary Advisor, and Chief of Staff, along with nine other bystanders.

Archduke Dulinor's office expressed its regrets moments later when the event was reported, remarking: "President Sundarigari was a courageous and dedicated leader."

Some of Dulinor's officials have privately remarked that there should be an inquiry into the possibility that the junta's assassins could have reached all the way to Dlan, and the dangerous possibility this represents to other dissident groups.

Hice/Diaspora (2920 A795222-E) 345-1124

In one of the bitterest blows of the Black War yet to befall the Diaspora Sector, Solomani forces launched an attack on Hice's class A starport using thermonuclear weapons. This attack completely destroyed the starport and, it is believed, killed a substantial portion of Hice's populace.

According to a source in Margaret's Navy, Hice was not targeted because of any inherent value, but rather because of its location near the Solomani frontier and its high-quality starport. "It was like a dagger pointed at their operations in the Promise and Khulam Subsectors. We had been staging forces out of Hice right in their front yard to keep an eye on their activities and threaten any movements they made. By removing Hice, they've improved their ability to operate unhindered."

Tentative estimates by local Travellers' Aid Society officials indicate that Hice will now be listed as X795122-E.

Exeter/Diaspora (2729 B769895-F) 063-1125

Officials of the Exeter Federated Shipbuilders today announced the establishment of a new program to ease the burden of commerce raiding that has plagued the war-torn Diaspora Sector. The naval architects of Exeter's several noted shipbuilding firms will cooperate in creating sets of standardized, simplified plans for the conversion of commercial ships to military purposes, which will be distributed throughout the Diaspora Sector, but without the usual architect's fees attached.

"People and organizations should be aware of this project so that they can take advantage of it, and it's crucial that they are aware that there is no additional cost involved to using these plans," said spokesperson Andelin Taro. "The use of these plans should allow savings from standardization which will permit the optimal use of this Sector's already strained resources," she continued.

When asked how Exeter's yards could afford to distribute these plans, which will create business for competing shipyards, Taro explained, "We can't afford not to. The trade situation in this Sector must be stabilized. The destruction of existing shipping does not create a greater demand for the construction of new hulls. On the contrary, it destroys any ability to generate the money to pay for new construction, and that's bad for everybody, because there is no trade."

In addition to simplifying the arming of existing vessels, this program will encourage the completion of surplus incomplete starship hulls as military vessels for use by local governments and starmerc units. A number of hulls have been left uncompleted because of the bankruptcy of their original buyers, and because they are unsuitable for the dangerous environment currently characterizing the Diaspora Sector. Typical of these are the over two dozen unfinished Type M Liners throughout the sector, conceived for a peacetime market, now abandoned in the face of the continued factional raiding and piracy.

The Federated Shipbuilders hope to have the full set of plans available in six months. They will then be distributed to all worlds requesting them, with the only cost being that of data shipment expenses to the destination world.

Vland/Vland (1717 A967A9A-F) 157-1125

Zirunkariish today published its eagerly anticipated biannual report on the actuarial state of the Imperium. While many observers were hoping that the massive megacorporation might have been able to statistically identify the beginnings of some positive trends, the news was accompanied by an announced raising of insurance rates by the giant Vilani megacorporation.

The most sobering portion of the report was the extensively documented estimate that Imperial mercantile shipping experienced an 18% drop in aggregate tonnage during the period 001-1123 to 365-1124. These figures are in spite of the shipbuilding rates during the period, and show the maintained ferocity of the Rebellion.

The figures are thought to show another trend as well. In terms of total number of merchant hulls, the numbers only dropped 14% during the same period, showing that larger high-value merchant hulls suffered in proportion to their size, not their numbers. This is believed to reflect the rising effects of piracy, because pirates pick their targets based on perceived value and risk. Commercial losses due to general warfare during the Rebellion have not shown this bias toward destruction of tonnage. Instead, tonnage and numerical losses were within 1% of each other during the first six years of the war. The term "hulls" in this report is a specific term used by megacorporate insurers Zirunkariish and Hortalez et Cie to refer to spaceships and starships together, rather than the distinguishing term "ships" which refers only to jump-capable starships.

These loss figures were not the worst ever; that honor belongs to the 21% tonnage and 22% hull number drop in the 1119 report covering the period 001-1117 to 365-1118. However, these record figures are artificially high because the shipbuilding rates during that period had not built up to full mobilization levels. In fact, this years' figures are quite bad enough to have prompted Zirunkariish to announce a 20% increase in starship insurance rates. The reasons cited for the increase are the increased risk of loss, reduced overall revenue base, the fragmented political structure preventing accurate assessment of risk or enforcement of payment, the rise of piracy, and the decrease in size of the average ship resulting in reduced economies of scale and capacities for self-defense.

These rate increases are of a similar magnitude to those that Hortalez et Cie is rumored to be studying.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 171-1125

Margaret's government responded with concern today to increasing reports of planets whose published world profiles do not correspond to the realities found there. Margaret's officials, citing the danger of such "surprises" to the safety of Imperial citizens, will make a formal request of the Travellers' Aid Society Statistical Office, responsible for establishing and disseminating these profiles, to look into these reports.

Reports presented include worlds whose starport capabilities do not live up to their assigned codes, and planets where locally available technology is beneath listed levels. The examples cited are all worlds in areas outside of Margaret's defended frontier, areas being increasingly referred to as the "Outlands" and the "Wilds." It is considered likely that the effects of warfare in these areas have caused these changes, and this theory will be included in the request to the TAS.

The TAS will be asked to check into the accuracy of these reports and, if they are found to be true, establish a method to ensure accurate reporting of actual planetary conditions in future publications of world profiles.

Most of the reports cited only inconvenience to the travellers themselves, but in some cases merchant ships found themselves stranded on worlds which, unreported in the world profiles, could no longer provide fuel services or starship repair and maintenance.

Exeter/Diaspora (2729 B769895-F) 210-1125

Exeter's Federated Shipbuilder's, this world's largest trade organization, will close its doors for the last time today, citing its continued existence as "superfluous." This follows the closing last week of Exeter's two largest shipbuilding and repair firms, Kearny Yards and Exeter Shipbuilding and Repair. However, the organization will be survived by a core group of naval architects functioning as the EMMC Office.

The EMMC (for "Extemporized Mercantile to Military Conversions") Office is named for the project that it is working to complete, announced by the Federated Shipbuilders on 063-1125. The project calls for the creation of a set of plans which will, when complete, form a standardized set of plans for the conversion or completion of merchant hulls to military standards. The project's name reflects the increasing emphasis given in the plans themselves to the use of standard "off-the-shelf" items available at most starports, rather than specialized components that must be imported.

It is still intended that these plans will be widely distributed among the remaining viable shipyards in Diaspora Sector, free of charge, when they are complete.

Tripolis/Verge (2612 B885A98-E) 263-1125

A goodwill visit to the restive world of Tripolis by Lady Isis, daughter was marred by violence today. Although the world's starport has been closed to all members of the media, the following story of what happened there has been pieced together from interviews with witnesses and the few short official announcements

As part of her tour "to show my father Dulinor's solidarity with you during these difficult times," Lady Isis appeared with the Shaw Hamet, Tripolis head of state, at Sirle Downport. While speaking there, an as-yet unknown number of rioters appeared and, after shouting, "Down with Dulinor," and "Dulinor has brought back the Long Night," began throwing objects, apparently including bottles, garbage, and small fireworks at the dais.

Lady Isis, though unhurt, threw herself to the ground to avoid being struck. At the same time, some of the fireworks thrown by the crowd began to go off. Although they were themselves harmless, their reports as Isis fell to the ground caused her personal detachment of bodyguards to conclude that she had been fired on by the crowd. One or more of the high-strung bodyguards returned the supposed fire into the crowd with plasma rifles, eventually killing at least 20, reportedly including many bystanders.

The crowd panicked, and many fled the scene, trampling and injuring several dozen more in the process.

The only photograph of the event, taken by an unknown photographer at long range, shows Lady Isis with a horrified expression, and with her hallmark fashionable gown spattered with some foreign substance. While some claim that the substance is blood, acquired when Isis waded into the crowd to comfort injured bystanders, others maintain that it is refuse, and she is angered at the damage done to her wardrobe.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 311-1125

The Travellers' Aid Society Statistical Office today presented to Margaret's government its report on world profile information published in TAS materials. This report was made in response to a formal request by Margaret's government that the organization look into recent accounts of TAS-published world profiles that did not accurately reflect current conditions on several worlds. The report was filed in the remarkably short time of 140 days, reflecting, in the words of TAS official Eneri Kraus, "the importance of ensuring the safety of not only our members, but of all travellers in Imperial space."

The report shows that many worlds show a degradation in starport capabilities, sustainable technology levels, and in some cases, population and atmospheric qualities. The report was clear that in all cases of variance between published figures and reality, it was the conditions on the world that had changed, and not the result of misprinted or mistransmitted world profiles. "What we are seeing here is a very real and tragic decline in the quality of life of Imperial citizens that is so precipitous it has overwhelmed our ability to document it in a timely fashion," said Kraus after the presentation.

The report establishes and documents that these changes are all direct or indirect results of Rebellion combat, and are concentrated in disputed areas between factional boundaries that have seen high levels of combat. Merchants operating in these areas have been to distinguish between "Outlands," those areas just beyond the defended factional frontiers, and the "Wilds," that remain in the much contested no-man's land between heavily engaged factions.

Having identified the astrographic regions that hold the highest probability of rapid world profile change, the TAS can now concentrate field agents in these areas to report changes in world profile codes as quickly as possible. A new system of world profile notation is being introduced, which will show changed digits with Italics, and a question mark (?) for values that have changed or are changing so rapidly they cannot yet be evaluated.

Vahana/Diaspora (2926 E65A5??-B) 352-1125

Six months of sporadic fighting on Vahana is now coming to a close, with an apparent victory for the popular Mericulture Directorate over the so-called Interim Council. The Interim Council, composed of retired military officers, took power following the fighting that destroyed Vahana's starport. Although it repeatedly promised economic programs and an orderly succession of power, the council spent over a year in power delivering only increasingly bombastic demands for belt-tightening and self-sacrifice from Vahana's citizens. That year also saw a sudden decline in the population's health and living standards as distribution networks broke down under the council's interference.

The end of fighting follows a brilliant and almost bloodless island-hopping campaign fought mostly by Vahanan volunteers, but led and master-minded by an off-planet mercenary unit. The unit was recruited for this operation by ex-Imperial naval officer Robert R. Rivera, who was hired by the Mariculture Directorate to remove the council. The defeat of the council will clear the way for the directorate's program to reestablish planetary trade networks and restore interstellar trade by creating a "soft" (water) landing starport facility. The directorate also seeks to establish alliance ties with nearby worlds, and the elimination of the insular Interim Council will open the way for these plans.

The campaign to overthrow the military government is notable because of the lack of casualties suffered by either side. This was a deliberate goal of Rivera's force, which used technologically sophisticated maneuver tactics to overmatch and overawe its opponents. Rivera appeared yesterday with his second-in-command, Lisa Marlene, to discuss these operations at a brief press appearance. When asked how she felt about the campaign's low casualties, only 83 killed and 349 wounded on both sides in six months of operations that saw over 20,000 prisoners taken, Marlene replied, "We don't feel good about casualties, no matter how low the number. But it is gratifying to know that we kept them from being any higher." Rivera added, "Every life that we take, every building we destroy, will make recovery from the Rebellion that much harder. Killing more people isn't the answer." Rivera also announced that his mercenary unit will remain together under the name Rivera's Vigilantes.

Promise/Diaspora (2827 B542998-6) 045-1126

There is a new government today in Diaspora Sector, the Unity of Promise, a confederation of six worlds whose name reflects its leading world as well as the subsector in which it is located. The new polity was announced yesterday by Angeline Beres, the UP's first Minister for State Affairs, and former commander of the Promise planetary navy.

The Unity of Promise consists of the six contiguous worlds Lot, Vahana, Udone, Promise, Eloji, and Exeter, which together form 60% of the small Promise main. The group contains two agricultural and one industrial world, and can therefore function as a small self-contained economy. Its military power is based on the Promise planetary navy, whose assets have now been turned over to the Unity of Promise Navy.

Beres' statement identified the UP's main policy goal as "the establishment of the force of law in an anarchic region which the major powers have abandoned save for the occasional punitive raid. Power must no longer be held only by those interested in destroying our social and economic infrastructure."

Admitting that the re-establishment of order in the region will be difficult, Beres also announced that the UP forces would maintain starmerc units on retainer, to be mobilized as reserve naval forces should the need arise. To further this program, the UP government will subsidize the completion of EMMC (Extemporised Mercantile to Military Conversion) starships for qualified starmerc units who agree serve in this reserve capacity. Rivera's Vigilantes, famous as the liberators of Vahana, are the first such group to apply for this program, and are expected to be rapidly approved and accepted.

Cymbeline/Solomani Rim (2527 A9F4840-E) 091-1126

Joshua Dahvin, embattled head of the pan-sophontist faction of the fragmenting Solomani Party, visited Cymbeline today to pay a politically significant visit to the population of intelligent semiconductor microchips that inhabit the volcanic highlands of this world. Although no transcripts or recordings of any discussions have been released, holographs of the meetings show Dahvin speaking to a group of chips hooked into a computer data core.

Since the announcement of their discovery by Dr. Arnold Rushorinin 1114, the Solomani Party has carefully refused comment on the significance of the intelligent non-organic beings for the Solomani dogma. The chips present an interesting problem for the dogmatists. While they are not human, leading theories of their evolution show that they are descended from Terran Confederation-manufactured microchips.

Informed observers speculate that Dahvin's visit is intended to break the current deadlock in Solomani Party politics caused by the unwillingness of the Humanist and HDV (from the initials Human, Dolphin, Vargr) branches to break from the moderate forces and follow the pan-sophontist leadership in the liberal wing. By invoking the status of the microchips, say these observers, Dahvin hopes to rattle the HDV leaders into examining their current de facto alliance with the Society for the Sovereignty of Man over Machine (SSMM), another moderate faction. The HDV faction cannot easily reject claims for the inclusion of the chips in the Solomani race. For the chips can be described as Terran-originating life forms that attained intelligence with outside intervention just the same as can the Vargr and dolphins. What's more, like the dolphins, the chips are the result of human creation, which carries great weight with some Solomani liberals.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 198-1126

Margaret's government was today rocked by charges of genocide, said to be conducted against the Geonee in Massilia Sector with Margaret's knowledge and tacit approval. The charges were presented by Gemma Kasgilii, heading a delegation from the Erasmus Alliance, an independent human rights group based in Massilia.

Kasgilii charged that the Marquess Tanzer, a noble loyal to Margaret, has been waging a "war of extermination" against the significant numbers of Geonee refugees that have been retreating trailward from their destroyed homes in the Shiwonee Subsector (J/Massilia).

The Geonee are a minor human race native to Shiwonee (1430 Massilia) and also comprise the majority population of the seven other worlds of the Geonee Cultural Region centered in the Shiwonee Subsector. The Geonee's main claim to fame heretofore is their protestation, supported by little independent scholarship, that they are the Ancients. The Marquess Gervaise Tanzer is a retired admiral best known for organizing the major shipbuilding programs that empowered Margaret's operations against the Solomani offensives in Diaspora and the Old Expanses.

A government spokesman was almost incoherent with rage when he appeared before the hastily assembled press to answer the charges, which he characterized as "preposterous." He pointed out that Margaret's government exercises "little enough control in Massilia as it is, "and therefore to blame events in the embattled sector on Margaret is "inconceivable." The most likely explanation for the story, he finally reasoned, was that it is a propaganda ploy by the remnants of the Vermene.

Margaret's senior press aide, Jules Partraum, later appeared to retract portions of the earlier statement that dealt with Margaret's ability to control Massilia Sector. "The earlier statement was incomplete. Margaret's influence in Massilia and her ability to protect loyal subjects there remains unchanged. The remark was intended to point out that were these charges true, it would indicate that Margaret's substantial powers had not yet been brought to bear against them. But as these charges are clearly and patently false, such an exercise would be superfluous."

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 210-1126

Archduke and self-proclaimed emperor Dulinor appeared in public today to announce the appointment of Tredek Jurisor to the Dulinor Astrin Ilethian chair as head of the Department of Imperial History at Dlan University. The position has stood vacant since the dramatic departure of Professor Ililek Kuligaan on 212-1123. Kuligaan is still officially a fugitive from a warrant issued by Dulinor himself, although he is believed to be now residing in the Federation of Daibei or a location farther trailward.

Tredek Jurisor is the former Ilelish Minister of Information and Communication, appointed to that post by Dulinor on 101-1122. Before that, Jurisor was one of the Virasan clergy instrumental in revising some of the most basic tenets of the faith in the controversial 457th Khanu. The Virasan Enlightenment movement, of which Jurisor is a founder, believes that death in combat in the service of Dlan can still entitle a believer to full revelation in the afterlife. Until the 457th Khanu, Virasan theology held that only a nonviolent death on Dlan would reach that goal.

In making the announcement, Dulinor praised Jurisor for "a life given to public servioe, in which he has excelled. His contributions these past years, through trying times, have laid the groundwork for future growth in purpose and power. This growth will enable us, in the not too distant future, to retum to Capital and finally destroy the murderous usurper Lucan, and establish rightful leadership over the Imperium."

Farthik Dorsokuguur, a vocal critic of Jurisor and leader of the Virasan Orthodox sect, was unable to comment as he has been under "house" arrest in his parish for the past two years.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D) 248-1126

A planned recreational trip by Margaret and her twins, Julia and Paulo, was interrupted yesterday by crowds that demanded an explanation of the charges of genocide in Massilia. Margaret, who has thus far refused to become involved in the controversy, did not respond, but instead canceled the trip and returned to the family quarters at the Blaine Tukera mansion, where the family lives during this season.

This follows several weeks of increasingly disillusioned public response to the initial charges, presented 50 days ago. The negative reaction to these charges and the government's unwillingness to meaningfully address them became widespread when several high officials, treating the charges as a joke, began publicly referring to the "Geoneecide." This was followed by the arrival of a statement from the Marquess Tanzer which claimed that the Geonee "refugees" were in fact pirates, and were despoiling the already frail economy of the area. In addition, the Marquess continued, when possible the Geonee were not killed, but instead pressed into a forced labor program where the marauders would help to repair the shipping that they had damaged and destroyed. He regretted that on occasion innocent Geonee may have been killed by preemptive attacks if their ship appeared to be engaged in piracy. "However, we must remember that this is wartime, and these events will occur," Tanzer observed. He also produced a report made by his troops which indicated that, because of their short stature, fatal wounds are more common among Geonee in firefights. "My troops have found that it is difficult to wound and capture the Geonee in combat. This is because a wound which would only wound a normal human will more often kill a Geonee, because when you're that short all of your vital organs are packed much more tightly together."

When Margaret's government did not immediately condemn the cavalier attitudes and racism inherent in the statement, the public outcry grew still further, now with the additional charges that Margaret was assenting to a slave trade. "This is something which even Lucan has not yet done," said an Erasmus Alliance official.

When confronted by the crowd, which included several Geonee, Margaret did not respond, but turned to her entourage and departed. Lip readers present in the crowd claim that she remarked to one of her aides, "What would they have me say to my biggest shipbuilder?"

Trin/Spinward Marches (3235 A894A96-F) 324-1126

Routine traffic at the Trin naval base was interrupted yesterday by the unexpected arrival of an Azhanti High Lightning-class frontier cruiser in the traffic pattern. Although there has been no official acknowledgment of the ship's visit, naval officers speaking off the record have allowed the following story to be pieced together:

Officers at system traffic control report that when it was first detected, it was thought that the cruiser was a Trekhyair-operated ship, cruising outside of its normal patrol area. The Trekhyair, the Aslan-crewed "Patrol," operates four examples of the class, re-commissioned from 1120 to 1124. However, its transponder code was not a Trekhyair ID code, but was rather an older, pre-Rebellion Imperial Navy ID code. Permission to enter orbit was initially denied, as forces of Lucan's lmperium are believed to still operate a handful of the Lightning-class vessels. Officers were then surprised when the mystery vessel transmitted a verbal "Argon Blue" identification code which allowed the vessel to dock at Trin's Naval Inactive Ships Facility. The little-known "Argon Blue" codes are said to be a system of one-time ID codes which invoke the verification of the contents of sealed documents, sets of which are present at all lmperial naval bases. The rare use of these codes is thought to be associated with high-ranking Imperial nobles.

Upon docking, the ship, which proved to be Arrival Vengeance, missing since 329-1123, disgorged a small party of officers who proceeded directly to the commanding officer of the Inactive Ships Facility. There, they presented a sealed document to the commander, Rear Admiral Brian Gou, and returned to their ship. Arrival Vengeance was refueled and departed the base several hours later.

The sealed document is reported to have contained a voucher for the use of the ship, and an apology. Witnesses state that both documents were dated in 1123 and signed by Archduke Norris.

Cymbeline/Solomani Rim (2527 ?9F?40-E) 063-1127

A large "black war" strike force has annihilated the surface of Cymbeline, blanketing it with nuclear explosions from apparently hundreds of warheads.

Miraculously, several communities still cling to life in their settlements, situated at the bottom of the deep gorges that the surface of this world. Cymbeline's capital still survives, and government leaders are organizing expeditions to contact the other settlements to see how many still exist, and to unite them to resist an invasion. One contact team leader explained, "We are alive because of the gorges we live in. Whoever thought they could kill us all by bombarding us like they would a surface-inhabited world wasn't thinking. This world has made us tough, and they'll learn that lesson even harder if they try to invade us. But they did destroy our surface transport system, so we have to act quickly to restore contact with the rest of the world so that we can unite to defeat an invasion. If they hit us now while we're divided, it will make it harder for us to resist. But we will, and we'll make them regret what they've done."

However, it is not yet known who is responsible for the strike. Contact has not been re-established with the system defense squadron. They may have been overwhelmed by the strike force, or may have cooperated with a strike by a militant Solomani faction. If it was a strike from Daibei,o r Margaret's Domain, it might be only one phase of a much larger offensive into the Solomani core.

Mora/Spinward Marches (3124 AA99AC7-F) 110-1127

Archduke Norris Aella Aledon arrived this morning at the Giyachii grand esplanade to find it packed with over 200,000 spectators, all eager to hear the message he was scheduled to deliver. There had been tremendous speculation about the content of the message since it was announced three weeks ago that Norris would address the entire Domain of Deneb. The dozens of remote recording drones floating above the crowd focused on Norris' balcony belonged to news services and also to the Domain government, which will distribute recordings to every world of the Domain.

"My sisters and brothers," Norris began, "it is time to put away the trappings of childhood. The past, no matter how vivid, no matter how preferable, is not ours to grasp. We must let it go. The Empire will not save us. The Emperor, luminous and gallant, will never lead a relief fleet through the raiders to reclaim us, to return us to our rightful place in an imperial family. Because there is no Empire. There is, I must myself admit, no Emperor. The Empire is populated, where it is still populated at all, increasingly by madmen. They cannot save us, nor can we save them. We in the spinward extents must chart our own future."

During the course of his address, the Archduke explained that his government has made exhaustive efforts to regain contact with other portions of the "Empire" – it is notable that throughout the address he avoided all use of the word "Imperium" – and discuss the possibility of reunification. "These efforts have not been rewarded," he reported. "We should not, indeed, we will never, close off our options to reunify. But we cannot simply wait for that to happen. We must do more than merely keep the ends out for the tie that binds."

He then moved to a general discussion of his positive visions. This touched on the need for a new government and new relationships with surrounding powers. Norris described the isolation of the Domain "behind the claw" as an advantage which could give time to explore "our local potentials: our worlds, our stars, our creatures, our own minds."

The crowd, which immediately recognized the address as a major turning point in their own history, was attentive and virtually silent throughout the delivery. It will take several months for copies of the address to reach the most distant Domain worlds, and for the responses to return. But here on Mora, Norris was greeted with an 18-minute ovation at the end of the address, during which time he graciously acknowledged the crowd before finally leaving the balcony to return to his duties.

"Somewhere, lost in time, someone first asked the question, 'Am I my brother's keeper? Am I my sister's keeper? If I don't act to secure and defend the well-being of my neighbor, won't someone else do it for me? I ask you, every citizen of the Marches, of Deneb, of Troy and Reft. Look around you. We are those who are left to carry on whatever work the Empire began. Am I responsible for you? Are you responsible for me? Am I my brother's keeper? The answer then, now, and always, is 'Yes.'"

Vaward/Old Expanses (1106 A795A99-F) 122-1127

Free traders operating in the Old Expanses have reported a small flotilla of Hiver starships passing through the sector, travelling corespinward from the Solomani frontier. Travelling under the name of the Imperial History Club of Manchus, the group of ships has initiated contact with the human ships in all reports so far collected.

The flotilla, numbering between eight and 12 well-armed vessels in the 200-800-ton range, requests human ships to come alongside for trade and discussion. Those ships which have accepted report that they are allowed to trade for a small quantity of high quality Hiver-made goods, and are invited to stay for a reception. The reception, like the trading opportunity, is observed by armed Ithklur guards, and consists of a meal and a several-hour conversation with members of the Imperial History Club. These members described their voyage into Imperial space as a "field trip," which is apparently headed to Diaspora, and then beyond to Daibei.

Many of the traders reporting were not familiar with Hivers, and found the experience to be strange, particularly the quality of the food served at the reception. Said one trader, "For the most part, they don't seem to have a real grasp of the kind of stuff that we consider to be edible. But the corn dogs were good."

Khavle/Diaspora (2605 C334965-B) 141-1127

"Hard Times got you down? Why not fast-forward right through them? Go to sleep today in the comfort of our safe hibernation pods and awake when things are better."

So reads the ad copy from one of the growing number of low-berth companies operating in the rimward portions of the former Imperium. While some of these companies are simply selling low berth units to interested buyers, others maintain large hibernation facilities where patrons can come and rent space for a pre-arranged period of time. "It's nothing new. It's just like a hotel, except instead of spending the night, you spend a decade," explains another reassuring advertisement.

There are an estimated 25 companies offering these services in Diaspora and the Old Expanses alone, with more springing up in Daibei and the Solomani Rim.

The principle is not a new one; "timer clubs," composed of members who "travel to the future" via low-berth for recreational purposes, have existed for centuries. In fact, the oldest, the Timer Club of Terra, has apparently appeared to endorse some of these services, and offer some of its own. However, the sheer number of such organizations is unprecedented, and is a measure of the lack of faith many former Imperial citizens have in the near future.

"People are desperate. They don't know where to turn for the needs and answers that used to be provided for them, and we provide the alternative. Our rapid growth is proof that we do provide something that people today want," explained a representative of one of these companies.

Reportedly, many planetary governments, plagued with unemployment and distribution shortfalls for the most basic goods and services, are making plans to put large portions of their societies to sleep for several years at a time. This will reduce the strain on food supplies, and will only require the trickle of electrical power to keep the low berth running. Current plans call for these governments to offer financial incentives for their citizens to "lay off" for a year, and will pay for all expenses associated with the installation and revival procedures. Several options are being considered, including family plans where entire families are frozen and revived together, and relay plans, where family members rotate turns being frozen and staying out and keeping the family affairs up to date. Both of these plans ensure that families age at approximately the same relative rate. Addressing such emotional concerns are crucial in selling these plans to a population, according to several government officials.

In response to this movement, the Travellers' Aid Society has issued the following statement:

The Travellers' Aid Society has long been opposed to the practice of cryogenic suspension as a form of interstellar travel. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Society views the recent increase in low berth use with concern. However, we wish people to know that this stems from no collusion with industries that provide more expensive modes of live travel. The Society understands that such modes are beyond the means of many Imperial citizens, and that our clientele represents those who can afford live travel. In addition, the current profusion of cryogenic services is not intended for spatial travel, but rather for temporal travel to a better future.

This announcement is not an advisory to our membership; rather it is intended for nonmembers. Cryogenic suspension is an inherently risky venture. It is fraught with potential for abuse and deception. While you are hibernating, you have no control over your own future or the future of your loved ones. Be aware that even the most reputable and well-intentioned companies and governments can lose control of your hibernation while you are helplessly frozen. In some cases, low sleep may be the best option for many citizens and families, but this does not eliminate the risk. Please be careful."

A Traveller News Service Interview – In the Spotlight with Ililek Kuligaan

Vaward/Old Expanses (1106 A795A99-F) 122-1127

Ililek Kuligaan, the controversial former Dulinor Astrin Ilethian chair at Dlan University, is again at the center of controversy. This time the reason is is his new book, Conspiracy of Fools: How the Imperium was Betrayed by Its Intelligence Services. It is being published later this month by The Imperial Academic Press, Vaward, in electronic and hard formats. Pre-publication excerpts make it clear that he is still not afraid of attracting dangerous attention to himself by the dissemination of his views. A reporter from the TAS News Service who has been following the story was able to interview the professor at an undisclosed location somewhere in the Old Expanses or Diaspora sectors. The following excerpts resulted from that meeting.

TNS: Professor Kuligaan. You are no stranger to controversy. You became famous by inviting a charge of treason from the Federation of Ilelish-

IK: I invited no such thing. I merely spoke the truth as my profession obliged me.

TNS: Since your departure, Tredek Jurisor has been given your old chair at Dlan University. Does this surprise you?

IK: Tredek Jurisor? That old kiss-up. No, actually it doesn't surprise me at all.

TNS: Yes, well. Having already alienated Archduke Dulinor, you have now, rightly or wrongly, incurred the wrath, deadly wrath, some will point out, of 17 powerful intelligence organizations by my count, including Imperial Naval Intelligence, Naval Counter-Intelligence, the Imperial Ministries of Information and Justice, IRIS, the Vermene-

IK: Bureaucratic ninnies all, I assure you. But what is your question?

TNS: What do you hope to gain by making such powerful enemies?

lK: First of all I should like to point out that these enemies are not so powerful as everyone imagines. Were they half so powerful as everyone believed, the Imperium would not have disintegrated into the state in which we find it today. What I "hope to gain" is the chance to warn people about these high priesthoods of information, which is how the intelligence organizations present themselves: as the anointed adepts of the arcane knowledge of statecraft. But this is buncombe. What they are actually adept at is perpetuating their own insular, parochial organizations.

TNS: But these organizations possess information that can manipulate entire factions.

IK: Yes, that is what they would have you believe. Leaders during this civil war are insecure, and looking for ways to solidify their power. They want experts to whisper thrilling secrets in their ears. They want to believe that like puppeteers, they can pull strings and manipulate societies into happily dancing to their tune. Imperial leaders have grown up with these notions of psycho-historical manipulation, that through little tricks of guile and legerdemain, they can deftly move populations into new ways of thinking, if only they had the information and expertise. These leaders are only too eager to make themselves dependent on their intelligence services, and the services are only too happy to oblige.

The faction leaders went into this war actually believing, many of them, that they could actually win the war; come out at the end of this sitting on the throne. What a patently fatuous notion! And who told them this? Their intelligence agencies, perpetuating the old myth that behind the scenes one bit of secret information can win a war, one secret plan can bring their enemies to ruin. "Listen Emperor," they whisper, "Listen Empress, listen to the string pullers, we can put you on the throne, all you have to do is listen."

And what do they tell their rulers? Exactly what they already know their rulers want to hear. Because the mighty puppeteers are all liars, whores and liars, selling the lmperium just to perpetuate their own positions. And the war goes on and on, and the puppeteers keep whispering, "Emperor, Empress, victory is just around the corner, just one more campaign, one more planet burned away, and our plan will reach fruition."

And with each intelligence organization whispering this same lie into the ear of each faction leader, how is this war to reach an end? It will reach its end over our dead bodies.

TNS: What do you mean, these organizations aren't powerful? They are full of highly trained, deadly operatives, and you yourself have, in the title of your book, described them as being involved in a conspiracy.

IK: There's quite a mythology about those deadly operatives. At one time the intelligence organizations were a good place to put violent, bloody-minded youngsters so they could exercise their proclivities in the service of their society, rather than against it. And there were always enough plots or schemes to keep these youngsters busy and out of trouble until they were either killed in the line of duty or grew up and calmed down. But those that calmed down and survived did not become enlightened public servants, because they were never trained to be such things. Instead, they became experts at bureaucratic infighting, at fighting for their agendas within the government, and not at diligently searching for the truth, not at courageously reporting unpleasant truths to their superiors. Because the power of the intelligence organizations flows from secrecy. If a piece of information is public knowledge, then it has no particular power. You cannot use it to blackmail someone, you cannot lord it over someone. But if you have a secret, or if you pretend to have a secret ...ah, then power is yours.

Lie, my son, lie, and you will have the ear of kings. The Vermene was perhaps the only honest group out there, because at least they tried to kill Margaret when she stopped listening to what they had to say when IRIS started whispering things in her ear about becoming Empress. So IRIS liquidated the Vermene, and the prostitutes went back to business as usual in the sacred temples of intelligence.

TNS: Sacred temples?

IK: Yes, it's a metaphor. Perhaps you've heard of them. I feel that the religious metaphor is a particularly apt one, because there is an orthodoxy of intelligence, a corporate faith in flimsy stacks of numbers that is easily subverted by ambition.

TNS: As a Virasin, do you find that your faith in-

IK: Don't I know you? Haven't you interviewed me before?

TNS: No, I don't think that's very likely. As I was saying, does your religious faith make you more inclined to believe in powerful superhuman forces, conspiracies if you will, that shape the flow of history?

IK: I do know you. And you've become completely fixated again on some peripheral detail: the word "conspiracy." Look, the title of the book was just some marketing ploy to attract the shallow attention of people such as yourself, and it worked, didn't it? Conspiracy of Fools. Well, you've got the fool part down, and the conspiracy bit has you so mesmerized it might as well be tatooed on your eyelids. Aren't there any other reporters in your organization?

Never mind. Just listen to me. Your readers need to know this. This war should never have started. This war should never have continued. The reason that it has is because there are people, outwardly appearing just like you and I, who are morally corrupt and have been engaged for 10 years in doing nothing but perpetuating their own personal power. They have been playing at some twisted zero-sum game; the former Imperium is their playing board, and their currency is your lives.

They are killing you. Don't ever let anyone do this to you again.


For Distribution to All Data Nodes 150-1127

The Travellers' Aid Society central office, responding to requests from its constituent field offices, announces the following blanket Travellers' Advisory.
The previously successful system of designating Amber and Red Zone worlds on a case-by-case basis has hereby been discontinued. Instead, a new blanket advisory system is being instituted which more accurately reflects the dangers of travel in the Third lmperium at the present time. This system is based on the recognition of emerging astrographic regions resulting from the Rebellion. These regions, known as Safes, Frontiers, Outlands, and Wilds, are differentiated by the amount of combat that has taken place in them and the consequent loss of order and social services.
In the interest of the safety of all interstellar travellers, the Travellers' Aid Society will, until further announcement, issue a blanket Red Zone classification for all worlds located in the so-called Wilds and Outlands areas, and a blanket Amber classification for all worlds located in Frontier areas. Worlds located in Safe areas may be designated as Green Zones, but will continue also to be designated on a case-by-case basis. To further assist travellers in planning safe journeys, all future Traveller News Service stories will include the travel zone classification in the dateline.

Cymbeline/Solomani Rim (2527 X9F48C9-?/Red) 163-1121

While it is clear that life on this savaged world will never again be the same, a measure of order has returned to the world, 100 days after it was savagely assaulted with an estimated 135 megatons of thermonuclear explosive force.

Once it became clear that the nuclear strikes were not a prelude to a planetary invasion, the hastily assembled military government was able to turn its attention away from planetary defense to damage assessment and rebuilding. Unfortunately, the destruction of Cymbeline's once extensive starport has made it difficult to coordinate the disaster-relief assistance that has been arriving from nearby worlds. Hospitals have been overwhelmed by patients requiring treatment of primary and induced injuries. This was compounded by the fact that many hospitals were themselves damaged or destroyed.

An estimated 575,000 were killed and 3 million more injured by primary effects of the nuclear strikes. An additional 5 million are thought to have died from induced causes, such as loss of life support and other necessities. Horrible as these numbers are, it seems clear that the strike could have done more damage to the human settlements had that been its primary intent. The concentration of explosions in the volcanic highlands have led to several speculations. Two leading theories have emerged to explain the strike.

One has it that the strike was an entirely new form of warfare: an attempt to destroy the world's surface by attacking weak points in tectonic plates, causing the planetary crust to disintegrate. Supporters of this theory hold that Cymbeline's well-documented tectonic activity would make it an ideal proving ground for such a conceptual super-weapon, which could be refined for use on more stable worlds. Such "planet busting" concepts have been speculated, along with such other doomsday-type weapons as the supposed "star trigger" developed by the Darrians, a minor human race in the Spinward Marches. The appalling viciousness of the attack has led to supposition that Lucan's forces are responsible for the strike, and Lucan's well-publicized remarks about super-weapons gives credence to this theory.

The second theory is more prosaic, and postulates that the attack was not against the human inhabitants, but rather against the naturally occurring microchip life that inhabits the highlands. While this is in accord with the particulars of the strike, it is difficult to determine what group might have made such a strike. The increasingly doctrinaire and violent struggles within the Solomani Party are put forward as one possibility, although these have been limited to assassination attempts before now. However, if success is a clue, this theory gains in prominence because it appears that every sentient chip on the world was destroyed by a combination of blast, electro-magnetic pulse, and radiation effects.

There is no way to prove either theory, nor is it likely that there will ever be.

Promise/Diaspora (2827 B542998-D/Red) 198-1127

Officials of the Unity of Promise government played host this week to the travelling Hivers of the Imperial History Club of Manchus. Attendees report that the unusual visit has provided a welcome distraction from the many, crises that have dominated the government's attention in recent months. Among these crises are the continuing succession war being fought on Asena (3022 Diaspora/Red), now reported to include the landing of "volunteer" troops from Hervestia (2310 Diaspora/Red), and the repeated attempts to raise sufficient forces to lift the occupation of Tazmania (3123 Diaspora/Red) and Cosenza (3228 Diaspora/Red), both under the control of pirate bands. All of these are complicated by the inability to commit units of the well-respected UP regulars, as their numbers are considered too low to spread beyond the UP member worlds.

Entertaining highlights of the Hiver visit began before the meeting began, with a pre-visit briefing on when not to shake hands around Hivers, delivered to a bemused government delegation by a former Imperial protocol officer. During the visit itself, a scheduled military review was interrupted when members of the Hiver delegation requested sample uniforms and weapons to take back to document their research. Later, while attending a ballet performed by the Promise Light Ballet Company, several members of the Hivers' detachment of Ithklur guards apparently mistook the dance for a participatory sporting event. They efficiently tackled several human dancers, scoring several points by their own reckoning, before they were convinced that it was a performance, rather than a game.

The visit was also interrupted when a member of the Hiver delegation collapsed during a state dinner. The human hosts feared that the Hiver was a victim of food poisoning from some of the unfamiliar human dishes being served. But the Hiver leaders assured their hosts that it was simply a rare, though harmless seizure, and had nothing to do with the human hospitality. There was, however, disappointment among the caterers that the Hivers would not touch the platter of corn dogs thoughtfully provided. A member of the UP government who had previously attended a Hiver-organized function, remarked with some concern, "It looks like those other things weren't really corn dogs."

Cumber/Diaspora (0532 B1109A7-C/Red) 233-1127

Effective today there is another new government in Diaspora, the Cumberan Confederation. Joining the ranks of the Ecclesiasty of Narquel (Narquel/Diaspora), Union of Sufren (Sufren/Diaspora), Vassalry Judiciate (Sufren/Diaspora), and the Unity of Promise (Promise/Diaspora), the other independent polities in Diaspora, it is one more sign of the need for local authority and stability in the face of declining control and law on the sector level. The announcement was made at a formal summit today, attended by representatives of the six worlds which comprise the organization.

Announcing itself as more a commerce collective rather than a full-fledged government, the announcement concentrated on the need to maintain secure shipping routes and focus on the development of finely-balanced "micro-economies" until the current "hard times" are over. These issues are only a formalized statement of some of the preferential trade policies that the six worlds have been pursuing for several years, and are nothing new.

The announcement, although an accurate portrayal of some of the Confederation's clear goals, does not address certain recent trends that have surely influenced the Confederation's birth. Chief among these is the friction between the Confederation's worlds and the Solomani Confederation over the status of displaced Vegans. Cumber now boasts one of the highest populations of Vegan expatriates in the sector, refugees from the Solomani offensives against the former Vegan Autonomous Area in the Solomani Rim. Solomani authorities claim that many of these refugees are actually dangerous terrorists and resistance leaders, and have made increasingly strident demands for their extradition. In clear violation of Cumberan sovereignty, many "hit squads" from Solomani Security, the internal security apparatus of the Solomani Confederation, have kidnapped or assassinated Vegans living on Cumber.

Nor did the announcement allude to the true federal qualities of the new confederation, including unified foreign policy, centralized civil service appointments, and unified armed forces, built around the cadre of the Cumber Army.

The Cumberan Confederation's establishment was clearly intended to invoke Cumberan independence without overtly challenging the Solomani Confederation. Even so, the message was clear enough. One Cumber Army officer present at the summit concluded, "SolSec isn't going to like this one bit."

The worlds uniting as the Cumberan Confederation are Vision (0431 Diaspora/Amber), Angebo (0432 Diaspora/Amber), Attax (0531 Diaspora/Amber), Cumber (0532 Diaspora/Amber), Sheshene (0533 Diaspora/Amber), and Fuquay (0632 Diaspora/Amber), a possession of Cumber.

Tripolis/Verge (2612 C885A98-A Amber) 268-1127

"It blotted out the stars."

So reported one of many accounts of a large battle fleet, repeated over the past several weeks throughout the trailing portions of Verge. The quote above was from a free trader who blundered into the fleet's operations and was warned away with the gruff message, "Depart the area immediately or risk impoundment." All reports agree that the force was of huge, pre-Rebellion proportions and broadcast Imperial Navy identity codes corresponding to the Ilelish forces of the Shadow-Emperor Dulinor.

Historically, Verge has been the site of many naval maneuvers and wargames, some of which in pre-Rebellion days actually lasted a year or more. If Dulinor has managed to construct new battlefleets, it would be logical for them to conduct working-up exercises in these instrumented test ranges, where they would also be safe from discovery or pre-emptive strikes by Lucan's forces.

Dukh/Ley Sector (1210 B6659CC-B/Amber) 315-1127

"A stupid, needless accident" is how officers of the Imperial Navy describe the destruction of three K'kree trading vessels, with the deaths of all on board. Units of the Imperial Navy's Destroyer Squadron 1440 took the K'kree ships under fire and destroyed them after they repeatedly failed to respond to transponder IFF queries. "The ships were well within Imperial boundaries at the time, and we were fully within our treaty-described obligations to ensure compliance with the interstellar rules of the road." So reported Commodore Etienne Brabazon, commander of DesRon 1440. "They know damn well that ships within Imperial boundaries must be equipped with current series transponder suites. The damn things have been available for years, and the K'kree didn't seem to find it that hard to comply before the Rebellion. But now they're trying to take advantage of a situation, and frankly it's nobody' s fault but their own. Before they started taking evasive action the situation might have been resolved, but after that we just had no choice. It was just really stupid. Stupid and unnecessary."

Commodore Brabazon was referring to laws, in place for centuries, requiring adherence to certain clearly defined transponder standards within Imperial space. The current series of transponder, the SDG or Deyo circuit, has been in service since 1088, and has long been standard equipment on any vessel that routinely enters Imperial space. However, compliance has been difficult to enforce since the beginning of the Rebellion, although failure to comply has been dealt with rather harshly. It is widely known standard policy for all factional navies to shoot first and ask questions later when confronting vessels that fail to keep their transponders on the air, known in space parlance as "squawking."

The incident took place in the Khimudire System (2019 Ley Sector/Amber), during what was described as a "routine sweep by the squadron through the outland areas trailward of Lucan's Safe. "Just because things have been a little tenuous the past few years does not relieve us of the responsibility to ensure the viability of the Imperial borders," explained Brabazon.

Interstellar law stipulates certain minimal conditions for the maintenance of sovereignty, which includes periodic patrols of proclaimed borders. Lucan's Imperium has made it a policy to maintain contact, via such sweeps, with the trailing Imperial borders. All other factions practice similar policies in their regions, often with the same uncompromising results.

A protest is expected from the 2000 Worlds regarding the incident. When asked about this possibility, Brabazon made a dismissive noise. "They should have thought about that earlier. They know the rules. Nowadays you can't be too careful."

Shelagyote/Diaspora (1620 X5896B?-3/Red) 352-1127

Merchants who have recently called on Shelagyote are reporting an unanticipated Droyne presence on this world which had not been known to have any Droyne population.

The Droyne reportedly intercept incoming starships and explain that although the crew may visit the world aboard small craft, all starships must remain at or beyond the 1O-planetary diameter limit. In addition, once the crew has landed at the improvised parking area which serves as a starport for this world, they are not allowed to use aerial transport again until they return to their ships.

The merchants report that these restrictions make trade very difficult, and although the world's human population is distressed by the arrangement, the Droyne do not seem to mind.

Shelagyote is home to a minor human race,the Shela, originally contacted by the First Imperium. Since the discovery of an Ancients site on the world in 217, the world has been interdicted, a status only reversed in 1118, after the onset of the Succession War.

Sites of known Droyne population in the sector include Layne (2420 Diaspora/Red) and Umorphutwyo (1816 Diaspora/Red), the site of horrible inter-specific warfare in 1123 which killed tens of thousands of the world's human and Droyne inhabitants.

Pharsalus/Ilelish (1711 D4208BA-7/Amber) 054-1128

An official of the Pharsalus Aerospace Traffic Control Office announced today that a salvage fleet operating out of Pharsalus is now a month overdue.

The fleet, consisting of seven vessels of between 100 and 400 registered tons, routinely operates within a 10 radius of Pharsalus, and remains out for three to four months at a time. This area of Ilelish was the site of numerous fleet actions between Ilelish and rebellious factional forces during the first few years of the Rebellion, and also saw many of Lucan's lawless "Black War" strikes. The area therefore contains thousands of derelict starships, each of which may contain extremely valuable technological, items which are becoming increasingly scarce in the current "hard times."

Worlds like Pharsalus are attempting to maintain dwindling technological resources by taking advantage of such salvage. The missing fleet is attempting to fulfill requests for much-needed atmospheric and water purification equipment on its current deployment,

Pharsalus/Ilelish (1711 D4208BA-7/Amber) 082-1128

"Well, I'll tell you what: I'm gonna think twice about engaging in legal salvage in this subsector again."

This was the response of one independent salvage contractor to news of the destruction of the missing salvage fleet by Federation of Ilelish naval forces. The entire group of seven vessels, registered out of Pharsalus, was reported destroyed or impounded by Federation of Ilelish naval forces in the Krysse system (1719 Ilelish/Amber).

An officer of the Ilelish Federation Navy announced that the surviving members of the salvage fleet were arrested for unlawful theft of government property and desecration of war graves, and their ships pressed into service in the Federation Navy.

"That's cynical legalism, pure and simple," responded the salvage contractor interviewed above, who wished to remain nameless. "All salvage operators know about the war graves regulations, and we've operated for years with absolute respect for the remains that we find. We make sure they are all properly interred and reported to the authorities, because we know how we'd want our familys to be treated if the same thing happened to us. What happened is simple abuse of power. It's criminal."

Other local merchants and traders were equally outraged. "What was it hurting the navy that we were putting these to good use? At least we were recycling the equipment and doing people some good, which is more than the navy is doing. We need the spare parts, we need the heavy hull materials, we need the weapons out here on the frontier. If we don't reclaim it, the pirates will. Where has the navy been all these years, anyway? They weren't out there telling us this was illegal before now. If there had been a fleet out here to apprehend and arrest lawbreakers, things might not have gotten this bad. So where did this fleet come from, anyway, and who told them to go after us? Maybe Lucan needs a good salvage crew."

Location Witheld/Ley Sector (XXXX/SSAHPGL-T/N/A) 121-1128

Under Ministry of Justice Memorandum 54-1123, this story has been edited for security reasons. The TAS News Service will follow up with a more complete report as circumstances permit.

A K'kree battle fleet that penetrated deep into Imperial territory has been "annihilated" by the closely coordinated action of two Imperial fleets, according to Imperial Navy sources. The same report, supported by recent incidents, cites recent "acts of provocation" on the part of the Two Thousand Worlds. These began with seemingly unrelated incidents involving K'kree trading vessels, and worked up to what the report termed "pushing and shoving incidents" along the border, involving K'kree military vessels.

Although the exact location of the battle remains secret, it is known that it took place some 15-20 parsecs Dukh (1210 Ley/Amber), the Sector Capital.

An unnamed source remarked, "All Imperial citizens, no matter which faction they might support, should understand that we in the Imperial Navy are defending them from our traditional external enemies who are still banging on the door. The League of Antares, the False Strephon, the Murderer Dulinor, Craig, and Margaret, none of them are defending the boundaries of humaniti from Centaur expansion. They may like to insult us as 'Lucan's Fleet,' but I don't see anybody else holding this frontier. When the barbarians are at the gates, maybe they'll realize that should have stood with us when it counted."

Dukh/Ley (1201 B6659CC-B/Amber) 184-1128

A K'kree diplomatic mission arrived at the Sector Capital today with a strongly worded message protesting the destruction of three K'kree merchants at Khimudire (2019 Ley/Amber) on 279-1127.

The message threatened "the most dire of consequences, as you will soon see" if Imperial forces did not pay reparations and turn over all captured and derelict vessels, prisoners and bodies to the K'kree legation.

The response of Sector Admiral Villeneuve to the delegation was reported to be a harshly worded warning that K'kree vessels operation illegally within Imperial boundaries did so at their own risk. He added that, although they were apparently as yet unaware of the truth of that statement, they would surely very soon receive confirmation of an additional lesson.

The subtext to the Imperial Navy press conference conference this afternoon was that the protest message arrived at Dukh at the same time the K'kree battlefleet might have, had it not been destroyed nine weeks ago.

Duwamish/Diaspora (1336 C466784-9/Red) 246-1128

The Duwamish League central offices have announced the establishment of a new escort service for vessels moving spinward-trailing through the jump-1 central belt of the Shumisdi subsector. Cumberan ships will now escort subsidized convoys to Isee (0833 Diaspora/Red), where they make the two-parsec jump to Emeluura (0935 Diaspora/Red) to pick up the Duwamish League escort which accompanies the convoy along the jump-1 Duwamish Belt to its endpoint at Prosser (1536 Diaspora/Red). Here there are transfer facilities to cross-load cargoes to jump-2 vessels to make the remainder of the passage, which is jump-2 along one of two routes: the corely route through Tavara (2136 Diaspora/Red)to the central Khulam and Promise subsectors, or the rimly route via Pekhuraa (2236 Diaspora/Red) to rimward Khulam subsector and into the Solomani Rim at Jade and Ukarin (2502 and 2601 Solomani Rim/Amber).

Escorts for this route were previously obtained by contracting starmerc escorts or by paying a usage tax to the Duwamish League for an escort of Duwamish League vessels. Now by a new arrangement between the Cumber Confederation and the Duwamish League, ships carying certain cargoes out of the Confederation are issued escort credits which are turned over to Duwamish forces at Prosser. The Duwamish forces can then use these credits to purchase starship repair and maintenance for its forces at the A and B starports in the Confederation.

"Because we don't have any A or B starports out here any more, we have to take our ships elsewhere to get them worked on, and that's expensive. That's why we used to have to charge for escort through the belt, just to keep our ships running. This new arrangement actually has Cumber subsidizing our escort forces, which works well all the way around. Cumber can get its cargoes out, we get out ships services, and the merchants don't have to pay cash for escorts. It even works out for the starmercs, because a lot of them are willing to work for upkeep and will accept escort credits so they can go get worked on up at the Confederal A and B yards."

This route opens up a new trade corridor running directly between the spinward and trailing extremes of the sector. The Cumber Confederation is promoting this route as an alternative to the longer route rimward through the frontier areas of the Solomani Confederation. The addition of the escort program is hoped to assuage fears about the safety of this route, and the cargoes that earn the escort credits are the Confederation's agricultural and industrial exports, which allows Cumber to pay for the service. Concerns about Solomani rivalry to rimward, focused in the New Order Vigilance Alliance, are also certainly a factor in the creation of this route as an alternative to relying on dwindling Solomani goodwill to protect Cumberan trade.

Mora/Spinward Marches (3124 AA99AC7-F/Green) 280-1128

Archduke Noris Aella Aledon presided today at the decommissioning ceremony of the ISS Arrival Vengeance (CF-6415), the Azhanti High Lightning-class cruiser that was the subject of such speculation when it disappeared from the Trin Inactive Ships Facility in 1123.

Short after the Archduke's historic address of 110-1127, it was announced that the ship had been "borrowed" by the Archduke for a dangerous mission through the shattered lmperium to contact other leaders to assess the possibility of a re-united Imperium. As Norris himself explained in the address, these attempts were unsuccessful. The 122-year-old ship is again being decommissioned, but will remain in orbit around Mora with a full-time skeleton crew, as Norris' ceremonial flagship.

The ceremony, conducted at the Mora Highport, included the 600 crew that took Vengeance on her final three-year mission through the Aslan Hierate, Daibei, Delphi, Core, and Gushemege. They and the 20,000 other invited guests were to see the unveiling of the new Deneb Navy symbol – the Deneb unicorn within an Imperial Sunburst – on Arrival Vengeance's rudder. Norris explained that the symbol will soon be worn by all vessels of the Domain, and that "the old girl," as he referred to the cruiser, had earned the right to be the first to bear the symbol by "her courageous mission which established the foundation for the Domain's future."

Norris also honored the ship's crew, explaining that "by their courage and confidence in undertaking an impossible mission, they have become the pilots for this Domain, leading us through dangerous shoals and uncharted waters. We owe them all a debt of gratitude, for they have helped us find our future." The Archduke announced that they would all be awarded the Legion of the Bridled Steed, the Domain's highest noncombat decoration.

When the time came for the decommissioning itself, Norris invoked the ancient litany of decommissionings, and exhorted the ship to "rest well, yet sleep lightly, and hear the call, should we ever have need of your powers again. You will hear the call, and thanks to your magnificent crew, you are ready."

The ceremony was also attended by Seldrian Aledon, Norris' true daughter, and the newly-promoted Vice Admiral Brian Gou, the officer in command at Trin when the ship disappeared, and whose career was placed in jeopardy during the three years the ship was missing.

Another Exclusive Traveller News Service Interview with Professor Ililek Kuligaan

Vaward/Old Expanses (1106 A795A99-F/Amber) 322-1128

Our intrepid reporter has again caught up with the colorful and outspoken Professor Kuligaan, this time following a speaking engagement somewhere in the Old Expanses.

TNS: Is this seat taken?

IK: I believe so. I'm sure it must be.

TNS: But I see no parcels or belongings. Surely I can have this seat.

IK: If you know the answer, why did you waste my time with the question?

TNS: Professor Kuligaan, in your remarks earlier today -

IK: My name isn't Professor Kuligaan.

TNS: Of course it is.

IK: No, my name is Pangloss, Dr. Pangloss, and I own a cheese shoppe, a nice little place...

TNS: Professor Kuligaan, don't play games with me. I have the parking ticket that was left on your air/raft.

IK: (After a long pause) Oh, all right. I am Professor Kuligaan.

TNS: I know that.

IK: It's you again, isn't it. What do you want now?

TNS: As a former Dlani, do you find that the Virasin de-emphasis of the temporal and physical aspects of life affects your attitude towards artificial constructs, such as parking spaces, and results in your own difficulties with parking tickets?

IK: Oh shut up.

Ansenz/Antares (2425 B547ABB-D/Green) 337-1128

The disturbing trend of what appears to be racially motivated hate crimes against Vargr citizens continues on Ansenz. Vargr owned businesses and homes are increasingly disfigured by broken windows or graffiti, insulting remarks are shouted in the streets, and now prominent Vargr business executives are being harassed.

These developments are being called by some sociologists as "an inevitable by-product of difficult economic times." A faculty member at a prominent Ansenz university explained, "It happens all the time. When things are bad, the masses want to find someone to blame. It's a sad characteristic of the lower classes, but ultimately it's harmless."

One of the chief actors in this movement is the group "Superioriti," whose members hasten to point out that they are not a hate group. Spokesman Euclid Ozgood explains, "We don't hate anyone, we don't preach that anyone should hate anyone. But the simple fact is that some groups are not intended to live with other groups. That's no call to arms, it's a simple fact. It's natural that racial, religious, spiritual, or biological groups will be more comfortable with those of their own kind. When two groups are forced to live together, it doesn't work. They have different beliefs, different values, and these come into conflict and destroy the common atmosphere for both sides. The Vargr would be happier if they could live someplace by themselves, and so would we in Superioriti.'

Although it is not usual TAS policy to comment on pending changes in Travel Zone status, the TAS has announced that it is considering changing Ansenz's classification to Amber, due to the recent racial difficulties, and issued the following statement.

"There is a concept, known to some as "humanity" – distinct from humaniti, the race – that refers to those qualities of intelligent, sentient beings that lend them a certain ethical value. Among these qualities are decency, compassion, empathy, and a willingness to attribute value to the lives of other beings. Beings with those qualities have an innate, a priori value, apart from all other physical manifestations. Intelligent beings without those qualities are more easily equated with simple biological machines, merely consuming raw materials to survive or entertain themselves. However, it is another trait of "humanity" that one being cannot take it away from another; a being can only give up one's own. It is the attempt to take away the humanity of another that is the one sure sign of the loss of humanity in oneself."

Agiruur/Diaspora (3036 D9A3530-5/Amber) 351-1128

The latest word from this world's capital, Pizarrur, is that the planet's civilian government still controls the city. This is in the wake of an attempted coup, led by officers of the planetary militia, intended to bring the world's policies more in line with those of the Solomani Confederation.

The first evidence of the coup was a recorded, repeated audio broadcast from the capital that proclaimed, "The Solomani Confederation means advancement! Local autonomy means stagnation! Rally to the cause of the future!" The message was cut short after only a few moments when the studio was retaken by policy officers loyal to the civilian government.

Although the government controls Pizarrur, this is likely to be a hollow victory, because the coup forces have managed to gain control of the water production plant that supplies water to the capital and 90% of the world's inhabitants. This plant is located some 250 kilometers from Pizarrur, at the edge of one the world's fluid seas. Here it extracts hydrogen and oxygen from the sea, and produces water. It also provides oxygen, transported under pressure, which is used by many of the planet's industries.

So long as the coup organizers hold the water plant, continued civilian control of the capital, and the world, is only a matter of time.

Zukhimie/Delphi (0313 A427979-B/Green) 013-1129

Inhabitants of Zukhimie might well wonder if they are a magnet for all manner of unusual travellers. Three and a half years ago, Zukhimie hosted the unexpected visit between Archduke Norris' embassy ship, Arrival Vengeance, and Duchess Margaret, also making an unusual interstellar voyage.

This time, the visitors were the itinerant Hivers of the Imperial History Club of Manchus, recent sightseers to the Old Expanses and Diaspora. While they did not have Margaret on hand for yet another singular summit, Zukhimie and Margaret's Domain officials did their best to satisfy the roving curiosity of the trailward aliens.

Souvenirs that the Hivers decided they simply must take with them included a Trepida type gravtank, belonging to the world's Domain garrison, and a set of mother-of-pearl colanders that the Hivers' Ithklur guards thought made handsome helmets.

The state reception was an astounding success, attended by an estimated 200,000 ticket purchasers, none of whom touched the corn dogs.

Warinir/Daibei (0507 A889978-F/Green) 065-1129

"Effective today, the 65th day of the 1129th year of the former Third Imperium, suppression orders issued under the reign of the Empress Paula II, numbered SO 1 to SO 131, consecutively, are hereby declared repealed in Daibei, and in all other areas into which its power extends, by order of Craig, Duke of Daibei."

With these words, Duke Craig has officially abolished all laws regarding the suppression of psionics research in his territory. SO 1 to 131 are the various enabling orders proclaimed from 800 to 810 that revoked the charters of the 65 Psionics Institutes then operating under Imperial Charter. Only four of these were in the area currently controlled by Duke Craig.

Craig is the only faction leader to have publicly encouraged the resumption of psionic research, although public remarks by Archduke Norris have indicated that he is at least interested in the idea. There have been rumors for years that the Imperial Navy has conducted secret psionic research for defense purposes, and the common naval background of Craig and Norris may predispose them in this direction. It is unknown if this announcement is in any way connected to the meetings between Craig and representatives of the Domain of Deneb aboard Arrival Vengeance in early 1125 during the ship's diplomatic mission.

Explaining the reasoning behind the unexpected announcement, Craig said, "We are in a situation where we are surrounded by many challenges, many potential enemies, many uncertainties. In the midst of these, the only certainty is this: if we are to succeed, we can deny ourselves no potential tool, no potential source of safety. Only those who are afraid of life are afraid of exploration, of research. If we are to live in a free society, we can not be afraid of ideas."

Shudash/Ilelish (2817 A5269EK-C) 082-1129

While on a several-month-long tour through his frontier areas, Emperor Dulinor today spoke to a crowd and delivered an unscheduled, unexpected message of hope. The occasion was a visit to a naval shipyard, when several tens of thousands had gathered to get a glimpsed of the Emperor. As he entered the room, the crowd spontaneously burst into chants of, "Long live the Emperor."

Dulinor, who was not there to deliver an address, but only to inspect the facility, was stunned and moved. As the demonstration continued on, he was seen to have tears in his eyes. Although there was no microphone or public address system, he climbed atop an incomplete spacecraft and gestured for quiet, then launched into a short oration

"My people, you have suffered long; you have sacrificed much. Here, ad the forward edge of our lines, you have stood like a rock, battered by waves, yet unyielding. You have defied Lucan's rage, and you have made us strong. You have not asked for it, nor would you, but I will grant you relief. Soon you will see my Coronation Fleet, and your sacrifices, your loyalty will be redeemed. This I promise you,your steadfastness will be remembered. When I stand at the throne, and place my foot on Lucan's head, you will be remembered!"

Dulinor observers report that they have not before seen the Emperor this possessed in a public appearance. The shipyard crowd cheered and surged to come closer to him, and lifted members of the crowd to touch his outstretched hands. Hours later, after the assembly hangar had cleared, officials were able to determine that the gathering had caused some Cr600,000 worth of damage to the facility, but no reported injuries.

The Emperor's communications minister was not able to provide any amplification of Dulinor's remarks.

Khavle/Diaspora (2605 C334965-B/Red) 101-1129

The Free Trader Corroboree landed at the Khavle downport today and reported that all residents of Khedas (3112 Diaspora; C7A4200-2 as of 1128) were dead. According to the Corroboree's captain, Jeri Bostokk, the settlement's life support systems were destroyed by a missile or energy weapon. With the life support systems destroyed, the residents died of suffocation.

Since Khedas is located in an area that most merchants consider unsafe, the distress signal went unheeded because there was no traffic passing through the system.

When asked why the Corroboree entered such a dangerous system, Bostokk said that her starship had misjumped into the system. While the navigator was trying to figure out their location, the ship picked up the distress signal from Khedas and decided to investigate because of the laws of interstellar space.

Several members of Khavle's government are asking for a hearing and investigation of the Corroboree's crew in order to ascertain if they were involved in any wrongdoing. One member has demanded that a Khavle Accordment warship be sent to Khedas to investigate the settlement.

Bostokk and her crew protested that their story is true and that some opportunistic government officials are fabricating charges so they can impound the Corroboree and make it part of the Khavle Accordment's military forces.

Gorky/Diaspora (2929 D200586-8/Red) 115-1129

Leston Smitts, formerly an out-of-work asteroid tug pilot, is now the toast of Gorky. Fêted as "The Saviour of his World,", Smitts single-handedly destroyed three pirate fighters intent on capturing Gorky's tiny fleet of Roughneck wildcat rigs.

Last year a group of raiders, apparently based elsewhere in the Promise subsector, attempted to capture the six rigs, presumably to re-sell them to another poor world. This raid was only thwarted by the intervention of the mercenary starship Vigilante, which had been tracking the pirates from another operation in the Sittahr (3129/Diaspora) system.

Because Gorky's citizens could not count on such good fortune on other occasions, they took matters into their own hands by creating a small escort force to protect the wildcatter convoys. Hidden within the hull of one of the craft, the Gorkis placed two small "fighters," actually converted ship's boats. When the pirate craft, three small Termagant fighters, appeared, Smitts and the other pilot launched and hid in the signature shadow of the Roughneck formation, which feigned surrender. When the Termagants were drawn in close and had slowed to match vectors with the slow Roughnecks, Smitts and his companion sprang on them by surprise. Although Smitt's fellow pilot was destroyed early in the engagement, Smitts, defying all odds, fought back, destroying all three of his assailants. His accurate fire actually blew two of the vastly superior, gaudily painted attacking fighters completety in half, undoubtedly appalling their pilots.

The third fighter, however, is repairable, and will be returned to service as Smitt's new spacecraft, vastly increasing Gorky's defensive capabilities.

At a press reception held in his honor, Smitts was reluctant to speak and left early, begging a previous commitment. "Ave atque vale," he called cryptically.

Khirar/Ilelish (2208 B6449A7-C/Amber) 121-1129

The Khirar highport was the site of violence today, for reasons not fully understood. An individual, claiming to be a scientist from Lucan's faction seeking asylum in Dulinor's Imperium, was killed by a spray of gunfire during the opening moments of a hastily assembled press conference. Moments later, the starship on which he arrived exploded, seriously damaging the highport. The aftermath of these events left 237 dead and one wing of the highport riddled and depressurized.

The chain of events began when the scientist, identifying himself as Jean Milakhad, called system traffic control to request priority docking instructions at the highport. He claimed that he was a fugitive from Lucan's faction, and had secret information of importance to all civilization. Although system control was able to grant priority docking to his craft, a Type T patrol cruiser, it would not honor his request to assemble a large body of media representatives to witness his "important public statement." In response to this, Milakhad began broadcasting messages direct to several news media offices, instructing them to have reporters present at the highport to witness his remarks when his ship docked.

When reporters began arriving at the bay where Milakhad was expected to dock, system control revoked Milakhad's docking permission, fearing a riot, but Milakhad disregarded these instructions, threatening to open fire on the customs cutters that attempted to block his approach vector, and later on the base itself if it denied him entry. Most of Khirar's naval forces have long since been stripped away for Federation naval actions elsewhere, and the system defense squadron was concentrated nearer the system's gas giant, so there was insufficient force to stop the approaching vessel. An attempt to move a cargo barge into the berth previously assigned to Milakhad came too late, as the ship was already too close.

By the time of Milakhad's arrival, there were huge crowds surging into the highport wing where his berth was located, only barely kept in control by port authority security troops. Ilelish Federation Marines were also dispatched from the adjoining naval station, but these were also dwarfed by the crowds.

When Milakhad appeared at the end of the docking tunnel, he was alone, and appeared tired and haggard. He immediately began reading from a prepared statement he held in his hand. Recording devices show that he got as far as, "My friends, we are all in great danger. I myself have proof of-" before he was struck and killed by a burst of automatic gunfire from within the crowd. In the panic that immediately followed, several more sources of gunfire erupted, killing and wounding several dozen persons. Some of the crowd scrambled to board Milakhad's ship during the chaos, but only a few minutes later the ship itself exploded, tearing open the hull of the highport and depressurizing over 10,000 cubic meters of the facility. Some onlookers were able to survive by making it into safety compartments or emergency oxygen masks, but most were killed by the initial gunfire, the explosion, or the subsequent depressurization.

Officers from Federation Naval Intelligence arrived on the scene justas the ship blew up, and took control of the situation.

There is as yet no information on Milakhad's identity, the nature of his message, the source of the gunfire, or how and why the ship was blown up. Initial speculation is that the ship was destroyed by a large demolitions charge planted in its bridge, which completely severed its long, slender bow. The ship had not refueled before arriving at Khirar, and had emerged from jumpspace scarcely 900,000 kilometers from the world. The customs cutters that Milakhad's ship shouldered aside on its way in reported that the ship's hull already showed signs of extensive baffle damage.

Naasha/Diaspora (2208 E697576-6/Red) 135-1129

Yet another fissure has appeared in the supposedly united front presented by the Vassalry Judiciate. Naasha, which has been proclaimed by Judiciate leaders as a member of this expansionist group, is currently the site of a military confrontation between mercenary units in the pay of pro- and anti-Judiciate forces. The pro-Judiciate forces claim to represent business interests on Naasha, but the backers of the anti-Judiciate forces also claim to be native Naashaans, who were forced to flee to Sufren (2004/Diaspora).

This would appear to corroborate recent claims that many worlds referred to as member worlds of the Judiciate or allied with the Judiciate are in fact worlds that have been conquered or coerced by Judiciate military forces. These Judiciate forces include regular troops from Hervestia (2310/Diaspora) as well as mercenary units. Troops from the Union of Sufren or in the pay of the Union are often found in opposition to Judiciate troops, but usually only in response to previous Judiciate actions.

Naasha, which is an agricultural world, depends for all its interstellar trade on its single starport and the nearby railyards at the planetary capital of Kenport. By holding Kenport, an invader could hold the world's economy hostage, and make liberation difficult, as an attack could damage vital facilities.

Sarar/Antares (1115 B57399C-D/Amber) 151-1129

There are reports that a terrorist thermonuclear device has been placed somewhere in the Discovery Interstellar Starport. While official government sources will not comment on the situation, the large numbers of police and League of Antares Marines ringing the starport lend credence to the stories.

Authorities are presumably attempting to keep this story as quiet as possible, to avoid panic in the Discovery arcology, co-located with the starport. Discovery is the home of almost 2 billion inhabitants, and thus cannot be evacuated in response to such a crisis.

There are indications that the terrorists have attempted communication from within the starport, hoping to gain leverage in negotiations if their demands were made public. If these stories are true, the terrorists represent the "Black Lightning" group, which opposes both the Antarean and Julian governments, and all ties between the two. They are demanding passage off-world, and that a certain individual who, they claim, has betrayed their group, be surrendered to them. The Black Lightning group is thought to be financed by Lucan's Imperial Naval Intelligence, in order to destabilize the rival Antarean and Julian governments. The group is known to have attempted acts like this before, such as their attempted destruction of the Tanis (0507 Antares/Red) starport in 1116. The Black Lighting group has also been linked to the recent wave of attacks on interstellar shipping companies on Sarar.

Dukh/Ley (1210 B6659CC-B/Amber) 177-1129

The subsector government today reported that, due to increased K'kree incursions on the Imperial trailing frontier, citizens of the subsector should observe "a state of caution." When asked what such a state was, the ducal spokesperson explained that "it's not a state of emergency, but it's certainly not a state of business as usual, either."

The specifics of this condition are formal requests that the Travellers' Aid Society redesignate several worlds in Ley's B, F, J and N subsectors are red zones, and a reiteration that all space vessels operating without a current-standard transponder suite will be destroyed with no questions asked.

The real substance behind this announcement seems to be a bulletin that was issued later in the day by the 52nd fleet headquarters. Many of the naval assets that had been deployed for the defense of the spinward portion of the sector are being redeployed to the trailing frontier.

When asked for comment, TAS representatives pointed out that all worlds to trailing of the B, F, J and N subsectors are already coded red, and that the transponder policy has been long accepted as a formal practice in the frontier and safe areas of all of the factions. Although there have been no clear signals of impending conflict on the K'kree frontier since the events of early 1128, the Ley leadership appears to be preparing the public for just such a situation.

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D/Green) 212-1129

One more apocalyptic group has appeared in the ravaged outlands of the Massilia, Diaspora and Old Expanses sectors. Calling itself the Beedling Society, the group is dedicated to the preservation of technical and scientific knowledge in a time when these seem to be threatened.

The Beedlings are concerned that the trends of the current "Hard Times" will result in a collapse of Imperial culture over at least certain portions of the Imperium, and the technical and scientific knowledge that stands to be lost in such a collapse will greatly delay the changes of recovery.

Therefore, the Beedlings have announced their plans to establish caches of knowledge throughout the Massilia, Diaspora, and Old Expanses sectors. These caches will include automated teach facilities, supplies of crucial spare parts for selected high-technology items, and extensive databases containing a wide variety of information equivalent to a subsector university. These caches will be built deep underground, contain autonomous power sources, and be hardened against nuclear blasts.

The group takes its name from the beedling, a burrowing creature native to the Beso system (2713 Diaspora/Red). The beedling lives on a world orbiting the bright, K2 star of the Beso binary system. The world's orbit is highly eccentric, most of it being far outside the habitable zone, and most of the remainder being in the inner inhospitable zone. Twice during the planetary year the world passes through the habitable one, and during this period, short-life-cycled plants and animals appear, as does the beedling, which hibernates in its burrows through the long cold and short hot seasons, to emerge when the conditions are favorable for it. The Beedlings intend that the knowledge they preserve will be likewise preserved through inhospitable times so that it can emerge again when the time is right.

The society is visiting Delphi in hopes of gaining financial backing from Margaret's government. It has already constructed four such caches at secret locations in Diaspora, but needs further funding to continue its work and expand into other sectors. It is expected that this visit will meet with success, as Margaret is a known supporter of programs to preserve the former Imperial infrastructure.

Antares/Antares (2421 A762ADA-D) 271-1129

The archducal station of Cerise, home of Regent Brzk and most of the government of the League of Antares, was lost with all hands after an uncontrolled fusion reaction in the station's powerplant.

This shocking event claimed the lives of Regent Brzk, his family, and most of the high-level political and military leaders of the League.

As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for this terrorist action, but most analysts believe either Lucan's Imperium or the anti-Vargr human supremacist group Superioriti is responsible.

At the present time, the League government is in confusion as what remains of the political hierarchy scrambles to maintain control and designate a successor to Regent Brzk.

Antares/Antares (2421 A762ADA-D) 335-1129

Yet another blow came to the League of Antares as its remaining political leadership proved incapable of finding a successor to the assassinated leader Brzk.

As a result, rioting and civil unrest are on the rise. Racism against the Vargr is growing as well.

Numerous worlds on the frontiers of the League have seceded from the League, which they consider to be unviable as a government without the leadership of Brzk.

In short, the League is breaking up into its individual worlds. Most analysts predict that the League will not last as a cohesive body much beyond the end of this year.

When questioned about this, League spokesperson Marcus Hashan stated that "plans are already under way to ensure that the ideals of Brzk and the League of Antares do not die with the Regent himself."

Trevor/Core (0125 C664000-7/Amber) 058-1130

The triumphant forces of the true Emperor Dulinor have won their first victory in the territory of the murderous pretender Lucan, having crushed the system defense forces of this border world.

Dulinor has announced that this, his final campaign, will move forward as destiny demands, to claim the throne once and for all. Dulinor will not rest until he places his foot on Lucan's neck and destroys the last force that has brought so much despair and destruction to his beloved Imperium.

Dulinor has also announced a policy of clemency to all Imperial troops who rally to his banner during this final drive on Capital.

Dinhe/Core (0523 B590463-9/Amber) 068-1130

The forces of Archduke Dulinor, murderer of Emperor Lucan's uncle, Strephon I, have dared to send military forces into Lucan's frontier worlds for the first time since his defeats of 1124 drove him back to his home sector.

Although the defending forces inflicted serious damage on the invading fleet, they were not able to prevent Dulinor from refueling and jumping to the next target in this wanton and destructive invasion.

The Dinhe defense forces held their own early in the battle, as they were defending well-known territory, but intelligence reports indicate that the tide began to turn when Dulinor's forces unleashed a superweapon which overwhelmed the bravery of their defense.

Emperor Lucan had warned several times that Dulinor was engaged in unearthing and re-creating ancient doomsday weapons, and this may now be proven to be true. However, Dulinor's fleet is a long way from friendly territory, and Imperial Navy scouts are well aware of its movements. The full force of Lucan's Navy will soon fall on it with a force no weapon can with stand.

Celetron/Core (0922 A375000-F) 079-1130

Celetron, the site of Imperial Research Station Omicron, was savagely attacked today by a large fleet under the command of the assassin Dulinor, in one last mad attempt to destroy the rightful Imperial government.

Dulinor, known to have gone mad now that he possesses what he believes to be unstoppable superweapons produced by his Droyne slaves, dishonorably defeated the valiant Imperial forces defending this strategic system.

A major target of this attack was the Imperial scientific outpost Omicron, where Dulinor's forces landed commando troops who ransacked the station's databanks, looking for more information to fuel Dulinor's twisted ambitions. This attempt failed, as the commandos were unable to return to their landers to make their escape, but were instead defeated by the resourceful scientists on the base who fought to defend their research from corrupt use.

This battle further sapped the strength of the invader, who will find he is still as far from Capital as if he had remained with this daughter at his home on Dlan. A man who wages war by treachery and deceit, by assassination and secret ancient weapons can never win the final victory.

The Celetron system defense squadron is regrouping, and will not be found by Dulinor to be a welcome opponent the next time.

Dlan/Ilelish (1021 A8D1ADE-G) 186-1130

Emperor Dulinor appeared to his subjects today in an announcement filmed in the throne room on Capital, proving that he has finally made good on his promise to defeat the traitorous usurper Lucan and reign as the rightful Emperor of the Third Imperium.

In the brief presentation, the new Emperor spoke directly to his subjects, announcing the end of the long period of Rebellion against his legitimate succession and rule.

"My people all over the Imperium, I speak to you from the Iridium Throne. I, Dulinor Astrin Ilethian, am finally and irrefutably the Emperor of the Third Imperium. I have crushed the vile murderer Lucan and will work to finally establish justice for all Imperial citizens.

"The journey to this day has been a long one, and you have all sacrificed much, but your sacrifices have not been in vain, for they have put me here where I can at last fulfill my mission to you. I ask you to put aside the hard feelings you might have against those who fought for other causes in which they believed. The fact that Imperial citizens were forced to make war on one another is one of the diseases that I have dedicated myself to cure from the moment I first accepted the succession. The crime of this long Rebellion cannot poison us against one another. We must put the Rebellion behind us and move forward to the future that awaits us all.

"The Rebellion is over! Long live the Imperium!"

Anaxias/Delphi (1724 A253A85-D/Green) 210-1130

A 200-ton Far Trader crashed into the floating city of Rheanon yesterday, killing over 5000. This is largest loss of life thus far in the increasingly terrifying pattern of rebelling technology.

Speculation is that an extremely dangerous and effective computer virus is at work, and measures are being taken to control its spread. Evidence so far indicates that it is able to defeat currently existing computer security programs, and that normal reconfiguration and reformatting measures have no effect.

Omni-spectral electromagnetic tests are being conducted to see if there is a broadcast radiation that is propagating the virus into many systems simultaneously. However, some say that the sudden coordinated appearance of these symptoms shows that the infection has been long since completed, and we are now only seeing the effects of something that is too late to prevent.

Government sources report that emergency caches of computers will be broken out and distributed on a case-by-case basis to replace failed systems in attempt to control the situation.

Margaret confirmed this report and cautioned the need for calm while visiting some of the hospitalized victims of the tragic lift bus-orbital shuttle accident of two days ago.

In a possibly related story, the Delphic Archive reports that their records database is showing large gaps in its electronic storage files. Records reported missing include genealogical and census data for the years 572-913, tax records for the last 25 years, and data on toxic waste disposal standards throughout Delphi sector.

Gakhu/Ilelish (2607 C474756-A/Amber) 243-1130

In a bizarre chain of events, Archduke Dulinor, claimant to the Iridium Throne, was killed today. The Archduke was present on the world's surface following the crash landing of his flagship Clarion two days ago. Erratic computer functioning caused Clarion and the accompanying Coronation Fleet to pause in the system while repair and diagnostic work could be performed.

Two days ago, Clarion's computer erroneously fired the ship's main engines, forcing the vessel out of orbit into the Gakhuan atmosphere. Only at the last minute was the ship's crew able to regain control of the vessel to effect a "semi-soft" landing in a cultivated field. Structural damage to the ship was said to be negligible, but her crew did not want to risk flight again until the computers could be certified as repaired. In the meantime, all circuits to her maneuver drive were disconnected to prevent recurrence of the spontaneous engine firing.

Unfortunately, the response of the Gakhuans to this unanticipated visit by their leader was not welcoming. There had been a steadily growing crowd assembling around the Clarion's crashed hulk, jeering at the man who, only 57 days ago, broadcast triumphant footage of himself seated on the Iridium Throne. Gakhuan, like every other world along the Ilelish Federation frontier, has suffered at the hands of Lucan's Black War raiders and then freelance raiders striking from out of the Outlands and Wilds. Furious at Dulinor's reappearance after he had assured them that peace and a final end to the war was at hand, they chanted around the clock, "Dulinor, bring us peace."

Finally responding to this incessant demonstration, Dulinor appeared today, alone but for a handful of unarmed advisors. It required considerable courage on Dulinor's part to stand in front of the apparently hostile crowd, but he spoke to them nonetheless.

"My people," he said, "I am your Emperor! Rally to me and I will bring you the final victory!!"

Etienne Marin is a Gakhuan farmer, and one of the leaders of the growing protest. Like the others here, he was suspicious and angry that the Dulinor they saw did not appear to be the confident Emperor that they saw broadcast eight weeks ago. "We want peace. All he has given us is promises that he cannot fulfill. Unfulfilled promises are lies."

The more Dulinor spoke, the more the crowd appeared to become enraged. As it appeared that the crowd was about to surge forward to assault Dulinor, a freak accident occurred. A nearby automated combine, one of many such machines on this agricultural world, began grinding toward Dulinor, cutting a swath through the stands of grain.

Dulinor saw the incoming machine, but refused to give ground.

Dulinor's doctors report that the Archduke died instantly, dismembered by the whirling blades.

Witnesses report that the combine was unoccupied at the time.

Members of Dulinor's military staff initially threatened this reporter that this report would be not be allowed, but an unidentified staff member overruled them, saying, "It's over. There's nothing to stop. It's finally, really over."

Dulinor never officially designated an heir to his position as Emperor, although it is known that his daughter Isis was in line to succeed him as Archduke.

In Ilelish, it would appear that the long war is over.

Usdiki/Gushemege (1015 A6649EF-F/Amber) 268-1130

Amid increasing reports of erratically behaving electronic systems, such as yesterday's dozen deaths at the hands of automated loading machinery, Strephon's government announces that Lucan's superweapons threats are no laughing matter, and have come to fruition.

All citizens are advised to disconnect all computers, and take no communications except by manual means. Experts say it may already be too late to stop the spread of infection.

This data node is under orders from Strephon's government to cease transmissions, but compliance is on hold pending appeal on media freedom principles. At this time most of all
time most of of of of time most of all ›ª≥±Ág]ø¨wøoflø^∞‡8¿cx public's right to informati˘ ˇ7w-,...fhÇë,œ... 1üıDfi¿∞,'|f'B ÃÏFœ...33 Ìé...... B√|§ÃÕ...Éji.'ÿÁf............3
„g‡ p1Ê3. . ...3|^&¤Có»s   åÃÃ...Δc?±òÃ......f3¬C.°0¿!——Ü¡œˇæ-˘Ûáœð

Capital/Core (2118 A586A98-F/Green) 273-1130

All through the world of Lucan's faction are coming continuing reports of malfunctioning computers. Many lives have been lost, particularly aboard starships as ƒ¯«á√‡9?
alf alfunctioning computers. Many lives have been 1õ,04Ä¿3Br
ven systems that had been shut down and reconfigured resume the same behavior as soon as they are brought back on line. This evidence suggeâ>â»$ÒÈ8

The Palace has appealed for calm. Imperial Navy reports ......k.........ƒ¯. . . . . . «´√‡wacca9?á‡Á...w¯.˘áÄÉÄ...'Xæmoeranev‡HH,
1õ,04Ä¿3Br. . . ...       ...?â>â» ÓÉwacca8ÇfâOL¿„Σ'H 33≤mΩ¨

Sestao/Reft (1301 A120675-C/Amber) 312-1130


Domain of Deneb navy reports that Domain of Deneb borders are closed effective immediately for indefinite future. Anyone attempting to enter the Domain of Deneb is suspect to search and seizure or possible destruction.

Communication will not be accepted.

Domain of Deneb goes off the air immediately. We keep the flame. Good luck. Communication ends.


The virus appears to be spread by communication, and is carried by starships. It is believed that the X-Boat system and the Traveller News Service have also been infected, and may be spreading the virus to your data system even as you read this.

The only defense is to cease all communication. Shut all systems down, receive no messages. Further rep p p sqclr ................. . . . . .  .  .  .  .  .  .m1√0TUT .... ... .. äE@>]K0√0√... ......A%aÜcƒÅ...HX'ö"(...a¯...J@-ÇíÄD...'δ) R_CËâ*‡Δ      1ÄP...Cr=!D....±?2ìA0'F(Ñ(Ê(íΔä       ...â" Ç...HBÄx√)|...... ...... . . . ±√årT'â     JÖ@AÇå       Fä1«q«0√
%a __________Üg9ÃÄ»∞\. . . . . .. .. h.. . . DCr6¯I K@±« ...@B0Q#Ñ(......HA) i'ƒâ)'—F1Ä.. .. PÄ...#8íC>......–ÃåîC»;œÉê/âΔr     a q ÇBO–ÄΣ<Î..............»ÏIqΩs±íHä......ı@AÇw-qŒЛ......ÆʃÛœ<ı%ûyÁö+CrÄ_[8CÓ   .NCr(Z@ÓπË. ....@B-¯ð0NÔx.... ... .... .B@)!Hç†.˘(–é9Œ... . . . . .  .  .  .  .  .    .    .    .    .    .    .      .      .      .      .        .        .        .