With the Federal-Imperial relationship currently on unsteady ground, political commentators have been reviewing recent events and offering their analyses of the current situation.
Most agree that the turning point came in March, when the Federation began construction of a new Farragut-class Battlecruiser in the Beta Hydri system. The Empire made no response to the development at first, but an anonymous Imperial source was quoted as saying: “If the Federation embarked on a campaign of military fortification, it’s likely the Empire would respond in kind.” A short time later, the Empire started work on a new Majestic-class Interdictor.
Conflict erupted in June, when Imperial forces attempted to take possession of the Federation-controlled Daramo system. The Federation was able to rebuff the offensive in just three days, however, prompting one high-ranking Federal officer to comment: “Hopefully this episode will remind our enemies that they cannot simply take whatever they want.”
A few weeks later, the Federation deployed a number of Farragut-class Battlecruisers to the Merope system. The ships took up position near the non-human structures commonly known as barnacles, prompting outrage from various sections of the galactic community. The Federation insisted its intention was to protect the sites, but the Empire remained unconvinced, accusing the Federation of trying to take possession of the barnacles. Shortly thereafter, the Empire announced that it too would despatch a deputation to Merope.
Commentators generally agree that the meta-alloys have now become a focus for Federal-Imperial antagonism. While it has been confirmed that the meta-alloys can counter the harmful effects of the Unknown Artefacts, no other applications for the material have been found. But speculation abounds that there may be as-yet undiscovered uses for the remarkable substance. The fact that the Federation has announced plans to construct a number of outposts in the Pleiades sector – one of the primary locations of meta-alloys – is further evidence that it has a keen interest in the material.
As tensions between the two superpowers increase, only one thing can be stated with certainty: in the competition for control of the meta-alloys, the Federation has taken the lead.