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LEGACY OF THE NOURD

   The first complete Nourdik skull was found last month on the homeworld of Polarr. This is the first ever skull to be found of the Nourd, a notoriously ruthless and savage alien species who enslaved the Polarrin several millennia ago. Dr. Kulram of the Witster Archeological University states that the find is most unusual. "The Nourd had a culture of grinding the bones of a warrior after cremation then ritually throwing the dust into the wind. Of course, every Nourd considered themselves a warrior, so there is little evidence of their existence other than a few artifacts and a great deal of oral history."

NOURD SKULL

   The highly advanced Nourd first landed on the Polarrin home world more than 2000 years ago when the native people were still using stone axes for tools. They systematically began to enslave, and in some instances feast on, the population driving them to near extinction. "The atrocities are too numerous to count. The Polarrin were hunted, extorted, experimented with, you name it. It was completely horrible, much less criminal what they did." states Kulram.

   The skull was found in a newly opened cave discovered by some hikers. The skull was perfectly intact complete with both mandible tusks. The curious part of this story is that the cave seems to have been some sort of worship area with religious markings on the wall and a shrine where the skull was found. It is not clear who made this area of worship or why, but scientists speculate that there was more going on at the time than what we know.

   The enormity of the skull itself, measuring over 28cm, gives rise to a perceptibly monstrous fear the Nourd must have instilled. The Nourd devastated the Polarrin for more than a century, practicing terror and genocide while the Polarrin gathered resources for them. For reasons we don't understand they suddenly disappeared back into space taking a small part of the slave populace with them. Although this kind of atrocity has happened before throughout the galaxy, the story of the Nourd ends there. "We do not know where the Nourd came from and there has been no evidence of them in the history of any other known culture." Says Kulram.

   "I hope they're extinct!" says one Polarrin local. "We're an advanced civilization now, so if they ever come back they'll get a fight!"

   "They left with several of our people." a young woman points out. "If they're still alive out there I can't imagine what hell they must be living even today." The skull and other artifacts of the find will be on display at the Witster National Museum.





PIRATES THREATEN CRUISE SHIP INDUSTRY

   The Tikran travel ambassador announced today that greater measures would be taken to ensure the safety of "persons and property" traveling through the Grinyon Belt and other remote areas used by the United Travel Consortium. This comes just days after the Ulypsis tragedy was made known to the public, where 253 Passengers and crew were brutally murdered by a pirate attack while traveling through the Gren-Arbor Expanse. The new measures are to include refitting civilian transports and cargo vessels with deterrent light arms, and to reinforce hulls on existing and future designs. The ambassador went on to say that efforts are being made to find those responsible for the recent acts of cruelty and to encourage other agencies to aid in creating an atmosphere of security for traveling vessels.

THE NECLIPSIS

   Despite the bold statements made by the Tikra, many have criticized the UTC for not acting much sooner to a known threat and for concealing information about the true measure of destruction the pirates have reigned. The announcement will assuredly cast doubt on the competence of the UTC as they have continuously denied any serious pirate threat. This new action was an unwanted last resort for the Tikra. The UTC has been accused of deceiving travelers about known dangers as it strived to protect the Tikran cruise ship and tourist industry whose profits will now surely suffer at the cost of the pirate attacks.

    The Ulypsis will likely go down as the greatest atrocity of civilian life within the travel industry in recent times. Although pirating has always played a part in space travel, its overall decline has been made possible by cooperative policing and surveillance between sentient species and the creation of the League of Civilized Planets and the UTC. Its resurgence may be the result of warring extremist groups within the Nander region. Those responsible for the Ulypsis call themselves the Legion of Horns, a nefarious cult bent on galactic domination, yet whose petty attacks have until recently been nothing more than an annoyance. Although various efforts have been made to secure the travel lanes, the pirate leaders and the ports from which they launch their attacks have remained elusive.

    Until the Tikra and the UTC have been able to implement the new safety precautions, military patrols will be increased in known areas of pirate activity and marshal marines will be placed randomly on vessels in hopes to discourage future attacks. Although further investigation will be made into allegations against the UTC and Tikran neglect, no charges are expected against the powerful entities. They will not be protected, however, against the barrage of lawsuits filed against them. Despite the new efforts to protect future travel against piracy, most clearly see it as “too little, too late.”





TWIN MOONS OF TALIBUL

   In a remote part of the galaxy lies one of the wonders of the universe very few know about. It is the binary moon system called the Twin Moons of Talibul, where two nearly identical moons orbit each other and then in turn orbit a beautiful ringed gas giant. Scientists speculate the moons were once one moon that millions of years ago was struck by a comet and obliterated. The debris over time came together as two separate bodies locked together in a rotating gravitational tug of war.

TWIN MOONS

   The Tali, whose homeworld is also a moon of the same gas giant, have long held the moons in high regard, letting them play major roles in the religious and social development of their culture. The first moon Hachi, it is explained, is the hunter who chases Jindar who never can be caught. In the past to see them appear meant it was time to harvest as well as hunt migrating game. Even today the culture associates the moons with life and prosperity.

   The moons may yet live up to their name. Recently a study group found something remarkable on the moon of Jindar—protozoa. Professor Fillem of Krey University and head of the Twin Moons study group says that the discovery was completely unanticipated. Too many factors, he says, would lead to the conclusion that life would never evolve on the moons, most of which are their dry nature and constant bombardment of radiation due to a thin atmosphere. The moons do have a permafrost layer of methane and water that evaporates into a patchy cloud layer in the day, but many have argued that the lack of organic compounds in the soil make it impossible for life to form.

   Professor Fillem may have a different theory. The moons are routinely surveyed and studied every 20 years. Fillem finds it suspicious for life to have formed so quickly and without notice. Also the two moons are nearly identical in every way. What happens on one seems likely to happen on the other. A more likely explanation, he says, is that some very robust bacteria hitched a ride on a meteor from another system, but this theory is also debatable. At any rate, studying the beginnings of life on Jindar may help explain the origin of life on other systems throughout the galaxy. And maybe in a million years or so, the Tali will have some neighbors.