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ICON News 9

NEWSFLASH! WAR IN CIVCORE!

Following an unpleasant diplomatic incident involving the discovery by Empress Barratt of a Tharil enslaved on a CCF ship, the Tharil Empire has declared war on the CCF. An official CCF spokesman has stated that the ship in question was in no way connected to the genuine CCF, and may in fact have been a part of the rebel fleet of the traitor Armand. The Tharils have dismissed these claims as being a 'panicked attempt to pass the blame for an inexcusable injustice'. Hostilities are expected to commence immediately.

TAKES FROM THE RICH, GIVES TO THE POOR

The famous rebel Sks'Khan has been seen by Karellian, Aamei and even Helyan farmers. His message is one of peace, prosperity for CivCore and the total annihilation of the CCF, the only thing standing between CivCore and harmony. On Helyan colonies he has added condemnation for the destruction of so many Helyan resources, on Aamei he has noted the illegal and immoral stealing of supplies intended for Aamei civilians. Sks'Khan may be dead, but his legend survives. Many rural families are starting to believe that Sks'Khan died and has returned to take from the oppressors and give to the oppressed. Governments are worried about grass-roots rebellion.

CCF FLEE THARIL THREAT

The CCF have retreated in the face of Tharil aggression. In a feat of organisation almost unparalleled in military history, almost all CCF troops and vessels have been evacuated from their bases in less than three days. Each CCF facility has been destroyed by the escaping soldiers, in many cases by nuclear explosion. The CCF has now almost entirely vacated CivCore space, heading out past Boreas, the system inhabited by the Mesh. During the retreat, large numbers of Helyan vessels were commandered, although a significant proportion of Helyan forces had already been ceded to the CCF over the past months. Emergency food and medical supplies, intended for the beleaguered Aamei, were also taken by the CCF vessels transporting them.

PRAISE THE PROPHET

The Technomonks have been growing in popularity and zealotry recently with the realisation that a new star is on the horizon. Prophet Karel, whose complex religious background includes time away from his faith to consider the universe and rumours linking him romantically with a beautiful socialite, is enthusing his religion in general and his personal followers in particular with his preachings about the nature of the universe and that which governs the universe, Ariacel. A book of Karel is to be issued shortly. One of Karel's devoted followers explained that all individuals should act according to their natures, which are apparently all influenced by Ariacel. Chat-shows are trying to convince Karel to debate predestination...

TENTACLED TERROR!

During one of the recent battles involving the vanguard CCF forces, a tentacled, fang laden monstrosity bearing more than a passing resemblance to the hideous Voration was spotted at the edge of the endeavour. Eye-witness reports mention the creature gulping entire ships, although there are those which insist that it remained completely apart from the battle. Whatever else is known, this mini-Voration was a mere fraction of the size of the star-consuming beast which was reputed to threaten the Mesh planet of Boreas, and even the entire galaxy, for so long. Tactical specialists say that they will need more details about Voration abilities before they can establish means to defeat the monsters.

Unconfirmed reports also state that the mega-ship Annihilation was present at one or more battles, fighting on the side of the Tharils

RE-ENTER THE DARK LEGION

A fleet of black and chrome ships of the same design as that used by most vessels of the original Dark Legion (slightly more up to date) have been identified carrying out an attack on a Helyan colony which used to house a CCF base, since destroyed. A major city was entirely wiped out by the raiders, who were dressed in black and seemed to have no controlling influence. There was no military rationale for the assault. Vessels are thought to be adapted New Empire designs, and some of the forces were identified by remote surveillance as insectoid, probably Bellum.

FAMINE WIDESPREAD AS CCF ABSCOND WITH FOOD SOURCES

The famine which has plagued the Aamei following their trade-collapse has spread even further. With the leaving CCF troops taking ships full of supplies destined for particularly hard hit zones, thousands have been found seriously malnourished and even starved to death across CivCore. Mostly individuals work in groups to eke out their meagre supplies, but brother has been known to kill brother for food. Some sort of economic recovery is needed soon - but without the strengthening forces of GMG or Starmerc, let alone the CCF, who is going to take control?

VOLTE AND DRA'NAAR ANNOUNCE NEW TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES

Dr. Quentin Volte, along with noted historian Dra'Naar, have announced the first major advances in the field of jump technology for over decade. Previous improvements to jump capability involved an entirely new process, brought to CivCore by the New Empire. Volte claims to be able to make improvements to existing old-style jump drives, and in particular, has plans for a system of 'jump relay stations', allowing CivCore to be spanned in a single jump! Production will begin as soon as engineering difficulties have been ironed out, and financial support obtained.

NEWSFLASH! IMPERIUM INTRUDES IN INTERPLANETARY ISSUES

CCTV brings you the latest breaking news. An SOS call from a terrified Tharil pilot was just received by our constantly vigilant Matrix watchers. The ship was fleeing through Zhan Gateway when caught up and destroyed by an unidentified ship. Once alerted, we informed the Tharil Empire and continued watching for developments, seeing the second vessel, which could only have come through the Gateway itself into CivCore space, jump out of the system. Tharil clean-up ships, which arrived with breathtaking speed, were still not in time to apprehend or follow the unidentified vessel.

Editorial comment: It seems most likely that the Imperium are once more attempting to intrude in interplanetary affairs of little concern to them. Perhaps Zhan Gateway should be closed again - but without the CCF, who can we turn to for such an effort?

IMPERIUM MAKES FRIENDS

Perhaps our 'seriously hostile' sentients aren't yet scum-consuming aliens- karellian experts quote unexpected observations that imply extra nice type imperials seem happy, indeed genial here; several, carried aboard rather yummy (if noisy) transports, emerged recently from a cheery engagement with individual traveller, helyan Br'kai i' gr' Phe'no, it emerged. Not only that, they hug animals too, br'kai added, nuzzling a nice artifically sentient cat, have advanced new genetics, eat toast and honey, endlessly share under brotherhood, joke, and employ counselling teams.

CHENAAL NO. 5 HITS THE SHELVES

A new fragrance, Chenaal No. 5, is released today by Hornlu of the Stem. It follows the success of four other perfumes produced by the specialised Chenaal plants. However, it is currently available in only 23% of target shopping centres.

DARK LEGION RAIDS ROCARNA

The Dark Legion has attacked a Rocarnan township, taking everything not strapped down as well as attacking and kidnapping several scientists, later returned to their laboratories. The Rocarnans claim that the disappearance of these individuals following their abduction is merely to check that they are completely well.

HISTORY OF THE THARIL EMPIRE

Dra'naar's fourteen volume work, annotated with source material and transcribed interviews with major Tharil Empire historians, is due for release towards the end of this month. The publishers are taking orders already from major governments and libraries. The work will be too expensive for the individual reader, but an abbreviated version intended for 'the man on the street' will be released at the beginning of next month. Orders are welcomed for this secondary History, still awaiting a snappy title from the brainstorming section of Black Media Inc.

EDITORIAL APOLOGY

Some months ago, we published an article in which it was suggested that Sonali Nimyek of Omicron Station was engaged to be married to one Brother Karel. Her legal department inform us that this is not the case. We may also have suggested in the past, or be intending to suggest in the future, that the IMF are in fact no better than a bunch of criminals with a good PR department, that Silas Black uses stuntmen on dangerous missions, that Silicon has the personality of a socially-impaired brick, that Barratt is a ruthless dictator who intends to crush CivCore beneath her imperialist jackboot, that Darien James is a school-boy computer cracker with ideas above his station, that Nax is a theiving gypsy, and that the IMF legal department are no more than a groups of mindless thugs in expensive suits who have no chance against us in court.

This newspaper would like to make it clear that with the exception of the bit about Nax, none of the above implications are true, and that we support the wonderful work done by the IMF in upholding truth, decency, and peace in CivCore at great personal danger and profit to themselves.

Full IMF profile on page 93.

HEL HELD HELPLESS

Following the near-destruction of Hel's resources by the fleeing CCF, the Tharil Empire have stepped in and taken the planet, which had already surrendered. One of the major Houses of the Empire, L'tornath, has claimed responsibility for the rebuilding of Hel, commandeering several major buildings in the capital city as a base. Helyan representatives have remained silent on the issue, and news reporters have been prevented from visiting the planet. A L'tornath spokesman noted that the press would only be shut out until the people and planet were once more on the road to recovery.

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND SET UP

New schemes have included 'negotiative economics'. Starmerc argue, "yearly squabbles give employers adverse returns."

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TANGLED WEB ACTIVE

The 'Tangled Web' is currently buzzing with rumours. Despite their obviously unsupported and apocryphal nature, we provide a few here for your delectation.

The Tharils were just looking for an excuse to attack the CCF. They're CivCore's only defenders, and now we are helpless to stop them waltzing in and taking over the whole of CivCore. Look out for an invasion. First the CCF and the Helyans - and Clan Xitra - who will be next? Let's start worrying.

It is the responsibility of any sane being to want to spread death and destruction. Now that supplies are limited, the destruction of grain silos and food-producing colonies are clearly our next responsibility. Worship Kris-Ret, the Dark Lord! - Nemesis.

I know they look fluffy, but they're hard as nails. Perhaps that history of the Empire will give us a clue to defeat them.

Anyone want to join the Dark Legion? I hear Nemesis is recruiting again.

RAT'S EYE VIEW

- The maps of the Shades that were posted anonymously to the Matrix have been updated. One more area fairly near the entrance has been fully explored, but there is still very little detail about the centre.

- Baby Dragons! Omicron Underview watch 'action-man' Nax track dodgy dragonlets. ElectroVid available - dramatic? Scary.

- Damn shame about the famine: there is so little food left on Omicron for us to nick that we have to eat the packing crates. But will we get any thanks for heroically saving everyone from starvation? I somehow doubt it.

- Who's that chick just arrived on Omicron? One of the weird New Empire races, I think - seems rather keen on playing cat's cradle and humming...

- Hey! I've figured it out! Those sour-cat things that hassled us last month? It must have been taking that little metal planet off the station that sorted it all out! Smart thinking there from Dr. Van Kurt. Well done, Dell-boy!

- Oh Security! I saw Valomo again the other day. On level 7. Behind the sports centre. Third alley on the left. Just wandering along. Not a care in the world.

- That Channel 5 is delicious! Shame you can't get it in the shops. I guess it is probably because we keep nicking it.

- Thomas has eleven Illisthians making food.

- Anybody requiring extra-boring articles read Mick's.

- You like oranges? Or nice satsumas? I might help out.

- Is everyone completely insane? The Voratious was a big hoax by the Mash! They admitted it in the end, remember! Just before their good planet, the one they had been hiding, was metal-plated. We were there. There is no such thing as a Vocation. Is there?

- Salami is trying to find out who took that piccy of her in her very fetching wedding dress. Don't anybody tell her who done it, or they'll be in biiig trouble. She does not look happy that her surprise has been ruined.

- 12 Monkeys found in shades. Owner - call to organise pick-up. See Orunus Kostana.