31 MAR 3303
Recent reports indicate that the Empire has expanded into the Pleiades star cluster, having established a number of outposts in the HR 1185 system.
Katherine Ryder, a freelance journalist and seasoned war correspondent, commented on the development:
"Things might have been quiet recently, but that doesn't mean the situation with the Empire and the Federation has improved. This is a cold war, after all."
"Regardless of claims to the contrary, this conflict is about one thing: meta-alloys. Both sides want Maia and Merope because of the barnacles they contain, and both sides will keep pushing into those systems."
"Eventually, one of two things will happen: one side will withdraw...or neither side will. In the latter scenario, war seems inevitable."
Politicians on both sides of the divide have urged the superpowers to engage in amicable talks and establish some kind of agreement over the meta-alloys, but such entreaties have so far fallen on deaf ears.