Major Silver Lode Found

                Speculators have been combing the Frontier Mountain range for years wondering when the next big strike would be found.  Hopeful miners, geologists, adventurers, vagabonds, and fools have come to these mountains with dreams of overnight fortune.  Most have come to bad ends.

                Today, however, one industrious lifetime miner, Ned Rains, has struck it rich!

                It is no surprise that another lode was found in these mountains.  Over twenty years ago, the Mercy Lode was found not fifty miles from the site of this new vein.  Before that mine tapped out, it was the most valuable stretch of land in the world. 

                This new load has the potential of being even vaster than the Mercy Load.  Realizing the scope of the find, Ned Rains has decided to auction off the mine to the highest bidder.  The auction will be hosted in Ada-Kar next month.  When asked what he was going to do with his fortune, Mr. Rains replied, “Get drunk!”

                Despite all the hoopla, there could be some very serious issues on the horizon.  The mine is located near the border between the Coalition of American States and the Tribal Nations.  Hostilities between these two nations were high even before the Great War, over two hundred years ago.  The vein is particularly close to Apache lands, and there is some speculation that the lode could actually run into their territory.  If this is the case, then blood is likely on the horizon.

                “No white man will tread on native lands,” Promises Leonard “Running Horse” Peltier, a Newbie spokesman and activist.  “We know the white man’s lies.  We died for them once.  Never again!”

Controversial Book Hits #1!

                When Ivan Davidenkov’s book, Stranded on the Razor Reef, hit the shelves last month there were some reasons to believe that it would be controversial.  Not least among those reasons was the fact that Mr. Davidenkov wrote the book while in prison.  A suspected member in the Russian Mafia, he was convicted of weapons charges, extortion, and racketeering.  While you might think that this would be the heart of the controversy, you would be wrong.

                Stranded on the Razor Reef is being marketed as a work of fiction about a ship that gets too close to the well-known reef in the middle of the Einherjar Ocean.  As often happens with ships that venture too close to those parts, the main character’s ship strikes the reef and sinks.  The remainder of the story is about the survivor’s long and arduous journey back to civilization. 

                Many wild and interesting tales fill the pages, where the main character, a newbie from Soviet Russia, takes center stage.  Throughout the book the character is instrumental in overcoming many obstacles; from Sea Scags to a variety of islands harboring dinosaurs, dystopian tribes, and even the undead.

                The problem isn’t so much that the story is fiction, but that people are coming forward and saying that it is actually true. 

                The accusations started in an unusual corner.  A Gorgonian Alien, by the name of Kuzar Dugachz, raised objections with the publisher.  After that, an American professor of Botany, Dr. Elizabeth Carpenter, and a former sailor, Bert Longsmith, affirmed that the stories were based on fact.

                 When I contacted Mr. Longsmith about the book he claimed that “the only fiction in that book is the part that the Russian played in it.  As I remember he was more interested in looking for lost treasure and trying to get into Dr. Carpenter’s pants than actually helping us.”  As to the strange islands that they found, however, Mr. Longsmith claims that those were “dead on target.”

                According to Dr. Carpenter the survivors told their tale to the INSL when they were eventually rescued, but she doesn’t think their story was believed.  “Someone took notes,” she says, “But the officer in charge didn’t really seem to care.”  A search into the INSL files has turned up no corroborating evidence to back this claim.

                “I don’t care what you think,” Dr. Carpenter insists.  “I don’t even care if Ivan makes a million V-bills off of this.  What I care about is that somebody takes that island of undead seriously!  They weren’t just mindless things out there.  There were skeletons that were plotting and preparing something.  There was something happening on that island.  Something bad!”

INSL Continues Sea Scag Bounty

                For the twenty seventh consecutive year, the INSL has approved the international bounty on Sea Scags.  What started as a one-year attempt to clear the Coastal Shoals of this dangerous carnivorous amphibian has turned into a political tradition.  Once again the first order of business after the INSL high council’s return from recess was to vote for the bounty’s continuance.

                For those who remember when Sea Scags first started appearing, it was a surprisingly desperate time.  At first it was just a few random sightings of monsters from the deep.  It sounded like any other tall tale that you could hear a hundred times at any maritime bar.  Then their bodies were brought back for identification.  As live specimen were brought in, it became clear exactly how hard it really was to kill them.  As time passed their numbers grew and it became clear that their reproduction rate was incredible.  Then the world began to fear them.

                The Merfolk led the charge for the bounty system.  Their coastal lands were being overrun by the Sea Scags and they knew that they had to fight or die.  King Shree Ah, the leader of the Mermen offered his own bounty, thereby setting in motion the events that would lead to the INSL’s continued bounty system.  

                Eventually the INSL saw the light when their fact-finding ship was attacked and overrun by these hideous creatures.  The political mood soon shifted and a 50v-bill bounty was put on every Sea Scag head.  Over a million v-bills were paid out in the first three months alone, but this barely scratched the surface of the vast hoards of the creatures that were rapidly spreading across the globe.

                Now, after twenty-seven years of hunting the creatures, their numbers are under control.  They still attack with some regularity, but the coastal shoals are no longer teeming with the vile creatures.  It is a good thing that the High Council has made a tradition of this bill.  Who knows how quickly these things could return to their previous numbers without regular culling of the herd!

Minotaur Runs Amok in Shopping Mall

               Tragedy struck today at an indoor shopping mall when a Minotaur appeared out of nowhere and started goring shoppers.  It was a busy shopping day at the Spencer Mall, which is located in just outside of Chicago in the American section of the Allied Nations.  Investigators are still working out what happened, but these are the facts so far.

              At around 2:00 PM a Minotaur appeared inside the dinnerware section of the Nickel’s Home Goods superstore.  The creature immediately fell into a rage and started overturning displays.  Panic ensued as shoppers ran for their lives.  The monster turned and charged through the perfume counters, goring two customers and one worker before charging into the mall itself. 

              There it rampaged up and down the hall as shoppers dove for cover.  A quick-thinking employee of a bookstore is being hailed as a hero when she quickly closed and locked the security gate as the creature approached.  Several more shoppers suffered severe injuries as they were trampled by panicking patrons. 

              The assault lasted for about ten minutes before mall security brought firearms to deal with the situation.  Unfortunately the beast obtained a baseball bat from sportswear store and pummeled them to death.

              Fortunately Jeff Rarey, an Army Reservist, witnessed this and managed to retrieve a dropped weapon.  When the Minotaur turned to attack Mr. Rarey, the brave Reservist emptied the magazine at the charging brute, and dropped him with eight rounds.

              I have confirmed that there are seven known dead, two in critical condition and over thirty people who are being treated for puncture wounds and broken bones.  Speculation has it that the creature was a newbie.  Authorities are unwilling to comment, however, stating that the investigation is ongoing.

Gnome Siege Weapon Saves Town

                I have not known too many Gnomes, but I have seen their creations.  Alternating between the ingenious, the bizarre, and the ludicrous, these items are as renowned for their ability to function in Low Tech areas as they are for their rapid deterioration.

               One particular Gnome, Dr. Knaughtous, is being hailed as a hero today for designing a steam-powered automatic Cannon.  The town of Fetlar on the Celtic island of Funzie Girt had been under siege by Viking invaders for years.  Each time they would rebuild, the Vikings would return, bringing death and destruction in their wake.  That all changed with the help of Dr. Knaughtous and his siege machine. 

               “She works on steam power,” Dr. Knaughtous explains in an interview with a VP reporter.  “She can shoot five shots a minute at full speed.   Reloading takes about a minute with a trained crew she can keep this up for almost a half hour.”  Then with a crooked smile he adds, “We smashed two of their boats to splinters before they even got past the surf.  When the rest of them charged the parapet, we changed the ammunition to grape-shot.  It was a slaughter!”

               While the rapid fire ability of the cannon is notable in itself, what makes this weapon so impressive is the fact that it could be fired in a Tech 2 Zone without suffering negative anti-tech effects.  This Gnome-built creation once again shows the ingenious creative powers of this race.  Whether the machine will still be functioning next year is a different question.