18 JUL 3302
As the Federation and Empire attempt to lay claim to the organic structures known as barnacles, the demand for meta-alloys has skyrocketed. Many starports have begun placing orders for the material as a hedge against potential malfunctions.
Vernon Trask, lead engineer at Bauschinger City, said: "Some stations have been defunct for nearly a year because of those corrosive Artefacts. We can't afford to be out of commission that long."
"Quite a few stations in the Empire have open orders for meta-alloys, including Bauschinger. We're hoping to get ahead of this techno-plague before it bites us."
This 'meta-alloy rush' has alarmed conservationists and researchers concerned about the future of the barnacles.
"We know so little about the barnacles," said Dr Elana Lorax, a noted xenobiologist. "We don't know how they grow, how long they live or how they create meta-alloys. If the exploitation continues at this rate, we may never know."