BREAKING NEWS (#Escalating News Aggregation Bot)
September 27, 10 AF (2114 CE), 1532 LST
The recently completed Heracles-1 Mass Driver platform has completed its first official test firing, launching a specially prepared twelve hundred ton canister slug toward the surface of the Earth, where it was observed to impact in the South Pacific. The Heracles-1 platform was completed as a rush job, and will remain the only mass driver operational in Earth-Lunar space for the next two months, until the remaining mass drivers are completed.
Both Oversight and the Planetary Congress heaped praise on the operation and the companies and individuals responsible for building and operating the device, which finished ahead of schedule if slightly over budget, for both their speedy delivery and their perseverance in the face of obstacles, including several reported sabotage attempts. Companies mostly highly noted for their ongoing effort in construction, protection, supply, and maintenance of these facilities include Cyclops Armaments, Dion Industrial Holding, Starware and Teleport Systems Incorporated.
The existing Lunar Mass Drivers continue to exist in a standby configuration, with their automated systems disconnected, but otherwise intact. Despite furious debate, no consensus exist as to the future of these weapons, especially given the activation of the Hercules array.
A possible first contact situation continues to develop on Pandora. Early rumors that an independent first-in team operating from the Pandora Gate had made contact with alien life first appeared two days ago, and were mostly dismissed as a hoax or joke meme, before independent citizen-journalists began confirming parts of the story, including suddenly and apparently arbitrarily rearranged gate schedules. The rising presence of the meme, coupled with Gatekeeper’s silence on the matter, had many experts convinced that, at the very least “something extremely unusual” was going on at Gatekeeper HQ.
In an official statement twelve hours ago, Gatekeeper confirmed that it was operating under first contact protocols with regards to the situation on Azurite, the exoplanet in question, adding only that they had not directly encountered any xenobiological specimens on that world, and had only received communications of a which “did not rule out the possibility of non-Earth-originating intelligence”. Pandora Gate traffic has been temporarily restricted to essential supply and retrieval missions only, and a new Plurality session has been scheduled to address any issues that arise.
In other Gatecrashing news, Krypton, a popular resort exoplanet, has apparently undergone a revolt. Indentures, staff, and large group of infiltrating Barsoomians – apparently spurred into action by continuing bloody firefights across the outback – seized the colony and took dozens of executives and vacationers hostage. Pathfinder corporation has declined to comment on the incident, but experts predict a military option is on the table.
The Unfettered Geniuses released their first commercial product today, even amongst continued legal and political turmoil directed at their group. The new product is a nootropic nanodrug called Newborn that increases neuroplasticity by building new connections inside the brain, and uses a sophisticated AI system to allow the user to direct parts of their own mental growth. Critics contend that the drug is dangerous and can have serious long-term effects on users, changing not just their morph but their ego as well. The drug is available to any party willing to pay group’s high fees, and a spokesperson for the group, Nabwu Zarkea, indicated that political or legal aid would be considered worth “a steep discount”.