Earlier this week, automated stellar probes in the HIP 16497 system picked up an unusual heat signature. Local explorers promptly launched an investigation, only to discover that an asteroid had inexplicably disappeared from the system.
"It's most peculiar," said Kate Panamen of the Mars High Astrocartography Institute. "Given the asteroid's orbit, it shouldn't have come into contact with anything in the system for aeons. Nevertheless, the investigators found an expanding cloud of dust in the asteroid's supposed location. We're at a loss to explain how it could have been destroyed."
Both Federal and Imperial sources denied rumours that the destruction of the asteroid was a result of experimental weapon testing.
A carefully orchestrated heist, involving the theft of a large quantity of meta-alloys, has taken place at Darnielle's Progress in the Maia system.
Security personnel at the starport confirmed that an unidentified Cobra-class vessel was involved in the robbery. After the ship docked at the starport, the pilot and four other passengers disembarked before the ship was serviced and refuelled.
Later, the pilot requisitioned the largest available quota of meta-alloys, whereupon the automated units inexplicably loaded it to maximum capacity. The Cobra immediately departed, breaking speed limits and ignoring hails.
Attempts were made to track the ship, but no trace of it was found.
Investigations are ongoing. Pilots are asked to report any sightings of a Cobra with the callsign 'LMC'.
Michael Edward Fossum (born December 19, 1957 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota) is an American astronaut. He flew into space on board the NASA Space Shuttle missions STS-121 and STS-124 and served as a mission specialist of Expedition 28 and commander of Expedition 29 aboard the International Space Station.