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Galactic News: Economic Turmoil Ahead?

12 AUG 3302

According to the Galactic Finance Times, analysis of the largest corporations in the Federation and the Empire reveals evidence of a significant economic downturn in the coming years.

"We're seeing poor revenue forecasts for a wide range of corporations, including big names like Sirius, Gutamaya and Core Dynamics," said a correspondent for the Galactic Finance Times. "They should be concentrating on marketing to leverage new product ranges, but instead they're diverting resources into intensive research and development. They're ignoring the traditional sales cycle, and we don't know why. It's perplexing."

Shareholders have seen poor returns on their investments in recent months, with stock prices dropping across multiple sectors, although this has given others a chance to pick up stock at bargain prices. Several of the pertinent corporations were contacted by the Galactic Finance Times, but none deigned to respond.

Despite the GFT's report, some commentators blame the downturn on the London Treaty, which was signed by the galaxy's three major powers in 3278 following the introduction of the frame shift drive. The treaty enforces strict tonnage limitations for capital ships, and was aimed at preventing an arms race, but in recent years it has come to be perceived as a barrier to economic development.

One option for investors looking for a risky but possibly lucrative venture is a start-up called MetaDrive Inc., a small company based in the Chi Orionis system specialising in hyperdrive research. The company is reported to be seeking investment.

Galactic News: The Thargoids

12 AUG 3302

Continuing our series on significant episodes from human history, noted historian Sima Kalhana discusses the Thargoids.

"Are we alone in the universe? It's a question we've been asking for millennia. Even before we expanded into space, we wondered about the possibility of non-human intelligence."

"Of course, for some, the question has already been answered. We have seen the aliens and we have given them a name: the Thargoids. But accounts of Thargoid encounters are shrouded in so much ambiguity, it is hard to accept them as proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. Furthermore, there have been no credible reports of Thargoid sightings for hundreds of years."

"The first reported Thargoid encounters date from 3125, when accounts surfaced that pilots had been pulled from witch-space and attacked by mysterious octagonal starships. Witnesses asserted that the strange vessels were exceptionally fast and remarkably manoeuvrable. Pilots who survived these experiences were convinced they had encountered extraterrestrials, and named the aliens 'Thargoids'."

"As news of these encounters spread, rumours surfaced that the interdictions might be a response to an earlier human attack. Leaked Federal intelligence indicated that colonists in the Veliaze system had encountered and assaulted an extraterrestrial deputation shortly before the Thargoid interdictions began. Suggestions that the Thargoid attacks were a reaction to this attack carried more than a hint of plausibility."

"Not long after, reports of Thargoid encounters came to an abrupt halt. In the decades that followed, not one credible account of a Thargoid encounter was reported. For some, this was proof that the original reports were groundless – 'the fantasies of lonely pilots, looking for attention', as Arvan Corto of the Imperial Navy said at the time."

"But public opinion shifted in 3250 when reports emerged that the disappearance of the Thargoids might have been a direct consequence of a covert anti-Thargoid operation. An anonymous message, delivered to a number of media outlets, claimed that an organisation known as the Intergalactic Naval Reserve Arm had developed a chemical weapon specifically designed to target Thargoid technology. This chemical – known as the mycoid virus – was designed to attack plastic polymers, which were believed to be present in Thargoid hyperdrive systems. The fact that the virus also appeared to harm the Thargoids led to speculation that the aliens' bodies might contain some kind of polymer-like material. The report was dismissed by many leading political figures as a conspiracy theory, but some asserted that it contained enough plausible detail be believable."

"Since then, very little credible information has emerged. The original accounts from 3125 report that Thargoid ships can execute huge hyperspace jumps, while information purportedly from INRA documents indicates that the Thargoids originate from an ammonia-based world. There are even rumours that the Thargoids have a collective consciousness or 'hive mind'. Some of the less outlandish theories include the suggestion that electronic countermeasure technology was reverse-engineered from captured Thargoid vessels."

"And what of the barnacles, Unknown Artefacts and Unknown Probes? Many believe these objects are of non-human origin, which has led to speculation that they were created by the Thargoids. Unfortunately, however, analysis of these objects has not yielded any concrete information about their origin or purpose."

"Are the Thargoids real? Frankly, I don't know. But if they are, their true nature can only be guessed at."

Galactic News: Weekly Conflict Report

12 AUG 3302

This report presents the latest data on conflict among the galaxy's minor factions.

Here are the latest factions to experience a civil war:

People's Epsilon Indi Progressive Party

CD-24 10619 Democrats

Indrians Interstellar

Baker Nationalists

Party of LTT 617

Ross 193 Network

Earls of Ross 193

League of LP 834-42 Party

Elycoco Purple Mafia

Elycoco Nationals

Civil wars occur when minor factions compete for control of major assets such as starports. When a faction is involved in a civil war, the standard of living, development level and security level in the system it controls are temporarily reduced. Combat activities can bring a civil war to an end.

Here are the latest factions to experience war:

Keries Camorra

El Confederation

Himardisc Bureau

Epsilon Hydri Commodities

Wolves of Jonai

Bagai Crimson Mafia

Guardians of Harmony

Integrated Caelottixa

LTT 18486 Jet Energy Company

Zoryang Gold Mafia

Wars occur when a minor faction invades a star system controlled by another minor faction. For the duration of the war, the standard of living, wealth level and security level in the disputed system are reduced. Combat activity between the two warring factions determines the outcome of the conflict. If neither faction succeeds in dominating the other, the war ends in a ceasefire.