01 JUL 3302
Over the past week, there has been considerable debate over the presence of Federal battle cruisers in the Merope system. The ships have taken up position near the non-human structures commonly known as barnacles, prompting censure from various sections of the galactic community.
A recent statement from Admiral Maxton Price of the Federal Navy argued that the Federal presence in Merope was "entirely legitimate". In response, Imperial Senator Zemina Torval has released a statement condemning what she says is an attempt to lay claim to the barnacles and, by extension, the meta-alloys.
"Meta-alloys are the only material capable of countering the disruptive effects of the Unknown Artefacts, and are therefore of singular value."
"There is no doubt in my mind that the Federation's decision to deploy warships in Merope represents an attempt to claim possession of the barnacles and the meta-alloys they produce. This is unacceptable."
Senator Torval refused to be drawn on what action, if any, the Empire would take in response to the Federal blockade. But given the recent conflict between the Federation and the Empire in the Daramo system, it seems likely that this development heralds further erosion of the Empire-Federation relationship.