Daring theft in Outer Ring leaves officials baffled.
OUTER RING. Recent ORE-Ishukone trade deals have come to a halt this week, following one of the largest losses of assets in interstellar history. Officials are still trying to determine how several billion ISK worth of minerals carried aboard a Charon-class freighter, owned by Outer Ring Excavations, managed to vanish off the map.
The plan was for an Ishukone Watch escort squad to rendezvous with the freighter at the ORE refineries in 4C-B7X. From there, they would escort the shipment back to Ishukone offices in Empire space. However, about two >hours after the Ishukone team's scheduled arrival, reports came in from the F7C-HO system that they would not make it. The few remaining survivors relayed intelligence and distress calls, detailing how they were overwhelmed by Outbreak forces in the system and had suffered heavy losses. Once word of this reached the ORE officials, both parties quickly realised something had gone terribly wrong.
ORE officials rushed off a confused reply, stating that according to their security logs the freighter had already departed, on schedule and with a full Ishukone Watch escort. Eyewitnesses in Syndicate also confirmed the presence of what appeared to be Ishukone Watch vessels on their way to Outer Ring. More intriguing however were the eyewitness accounts that followed after, stating that the freighter was spotted during a battle between Mercenary Coalition vessels and the same Ishukone Watch escort that was supposed to have been destroyed.
Eden Ramani of Intaki Union soon explained the mysterious second escort in a communication on Galnet. She claimed that Vika Kuvakei, wife of esteemed Intaki spiritual leader Vremaja Idama, was responsible for organising the entire attack. Ramani claimed Vika had approached Intaki Union leadership with a plan involving the impersonation of Ishukone Watch officials, a plan that was refused and made available to the public. Following the allegations made by Ms Ramani, an official investigation was opened by the Federal Intelligence Office to establish whether Kuvakei or possibly her husband, were guilty of orchestrating an inter-Empire incident. Both individuals are wanted for questioning in the Federation to clarify their alleged role in the event.
During preliminary enquiries into the Mercenary Coalitions involvement, it was initially stated that an official representing Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi himself had approached them. The comment was later retracted in a follow-up interview with Ms GoGo Yubari. She did admit however that given the nature of the operation, and the level of inside knowledge her people had, that ruling out an inside job was not out of the question. News outlets were looping a statement made by Ishukone CFO Kinachi Hepikemi last month and re-evaluating his comments about "associated risks" inherent to trading with ORE.
Speaking on the execution of the contract, Ms Yubari commented, "We finally caught up with the freighter in 3KNK-A...dispatching its escort." Whilst she was unable to ascertain their true identities, she did go on to introduce another involved party. "While we had been away members of Omerta Syndicate and their allies had successfully engaged Veritas Immortalis forces inside PF-346. It is my suspicion that they had also been contracted to catch the freighter." Commenting on their presence in the system, a tight-lipped Yuki Li said only, "The MC were taking something from Ishukone...we were more than happy to lend a hand." Ms Yubari concluded by stating that the contract was a success, "we travelled back through PF-346 and onwards to our target system...without resistance."
FIO officials are asking for any information relating to the identity of the Ishukone impostors, as well as anything that may point to who was ultimately behind the heist. It is also believed that Ishukone and ORE have established a joint investigative unit in search of further answers.