Outspoken conspiracy theorist Ricardo Bentonio has lent his voice to the debate surrounding reports of mysterious spacecraft. And true to form, he has made some rather implausible claims.
On his programme 'Behind the Curtain', Bentonio said:
"I am in contact with an individual who has irrefutable proof that these ships are Thargoid vessels. And what's more, I have been reliably informed that the Thargoids have been exerting direct influence over human society. Everything that is happening is unfolding according to their plan. Soon, it will be too late!"
Few in the media or the world of politics deigned to respond to Bentonio's claims.
A prisoner convoy has been interdicted and destroyed in the Daibo system while en route to Koontz Asylum. Wreckage found in Daibo has been positively identified as belonging to the Imperial Cutter 'Diadem' and the Imperial Clippers 'Cypripedium', 'Velum', 'Monile' and 'Vestimenta'.
"Completely wiped out," said one pilot, who was one of the first to respond to the distress call. "By the time I arrived there was nothing but floating debris. We even found wreckage from escape pods. Someone wanted to make sure there were absolutely no survivors. Even the black boxes were blasted."
It has been confirmed that the convoy was carrying various political dissidents, convicted murderers and terrorists. Among them was the infamous Kahina Loren, recently found guilty of the attempted assassination of Admiral Denton Patreus.
"Maybe someone wanted to give her a merciful death," said the chief editor of The Imperial Citizen. "Better that than what awaited her at Koontz Asylum, for sure."
Plans to hold a memorial service for Loren in the Prism system have already generated angry responses. Princess Aisling Duval was quoted as saying, "A service for her? She was a murderer and a convicted felon! Her name should be struck from the record and never spoken again."
Eyewitness reports from the Eotienses system indicate that an attack has taken place on Admiral Denton Patreus' flagship, the INV Imperial Freedom. The Majestic-class Interdictor was heavily damaged in the altercation and was ignominiously forced to withdraw from the field of combat.
An organisation known as the Children of Raxxla has claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement, the organisation said it had been '"backed into a corner" after diplomatic entreaties regarding Kahina Loren – whom it referred to as Salomé – had gone unanswered.
The attack appears to have been a response to the 'guilty' verdict passed on Loren last week, and based on the assumption that she was aboard the INV Imperial Freedom. Vessels bearing Children of Raxxla markings were witnessed intercepting escape pods ejected from the beleaguered Interdictor.
The Children of Raxxla spokesperson said the group "harboured no ill will towards Patreus", and that "the guilty parties continue to lurk in the shadows".
Imperial security forces have condemned the attack, saying:
"This group has shown its true colours. Kahina Loren was known for inciting violence, and these terrorists are clearly intent on continuing her legacy."
The damage to the INV Imperial Freedom represents a blow to Admiral Patreus' ambitions to strengthen the Imperial fleet, exposing these battleships' vulnerability to attacks from well-organised independent forces.
In November last year, a mysterious organisation known as Revolution Incorporated placed an open order for explosives in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot – a historic incident dating from Earth's distant past.
The request attracted the attention of security officials who feared it might presage a terrorist attack, but ultimately no such attack took place. It is now believed that if the group did have nefarious intent, its plans were foiled.
But despite this apparent setback, the organisation itself has endured, having issued the following message to media outlets and social networks throughout the galaxy:
"Last time, they stopped us. This time, they will not. The powers-that-be must accept their fate, and pay the price for their misdeeds."
"They will be taught a lesson in power – the power of the people."
"If you are a true believer, be at the following location at 16.05 UTC on the 5th of November 3302."
"Novas A 6, Novas system."
Security forces in the Novas system have urged the public to ignore the message.
Following the discovery of ancient ruins on planet 1 B of Synuefe XR-H d11-102, hundreds of independent pilots have plotted a course to the system. Many scientifically-minded Commanders have begun the painstaking task of deciphering the secrets of the ruins.
Unfortunately, the cataloguing and excavation has been disrupted by piracy, profiteers and general pandemonium.
Jeremy Grant, an archaeologist who has been working at the site for several days, expressed concern at the prevailing conditions:
"It's not safe out here. The ruins have been significantly damaged by SRV racing. Priceless artefacts have been shattered and weapons fire has scarred several obelisks, destroying markings."
"Independent pilots have made a lot of noise about the Empire and Federation cordoning off major research sites, but if this is an indication of how independents treat sites of value, perhaps the superpowers are doing the right thing."
Authorities in Slink's Eye have announced that the operation to clear the system of pirates has received the enthusiastic support of the galactic community. Hundreds of pilots contributed to the operation, taking to their ships to eliminate the agitators operating in the system, and providing local security forces with deliveries of reactive armour.
Jaylon Hart, head of local security, thanked those who supported the initiative.
"There are some damn good pilots in my team, but we just don't have the resources to counter offensives of this scale. By providing us with combat support and much-needed supplies, the galactic community played an essential role in protecting the people of Slink's Eye. We're hugely grateful to both the public and the Revolutionary Slink's Eye Liberals."
Rewards for those who contributed to the operation can now be collected from Kelleam Ring.