Netsalakka, The Bleak Lands - An official report by the Amarrian Ministry of Assessment yesterday revealed that The Bleak Lands has become the most dangerous sector of settled space in the Amarr Empire, a title previously held by the sparsely-settled region of Aridia. Long known to harbor pockets of Blood Raider loyalists, The Bleak Lands has seen a marked increase in the number of pirate raids in the last several months.
In particular, the number of miners and prospectors in space attacked and destroyed by pirates (a statistic closely tracked by the Ministry of Assessment) has risen sharply. Curiously, many of these attacks lack some of the more gruesome hallmarks (exsanguination, mutilation, etc) that have come to characterize Blood Raider attacks. This has led many to speculate that there is a new group of pirates plying the region. A contrary view points to a potential schism within the Blood Raiders organization, with members letting some of the more esoteric practices of the cult fall by the wayside in favor of simple piracy.
Whatever the case, the rise in hostile encounters with pirates has left many miners, haulers, and Holders in the area nervous. Santivar Khazhad, a prospector who has worked in The Bleak Lands for almost a decade and lucky survivor of a recent raid had this to say: "I've seen plenty o' pirates in my time. You don't harvest ores in unsafe space and not run into your fair share of despicable folk. But the last four expeditions I've been on have been busted up by raids that came in blazingly fast and with no warning. This last time had I not had the good sense to fit stabilizing arrays for my warp-drive, I and my crew would have bought it for sure. As it was we had several compartments on fire by the time we were safely away, and twelve good men lost their lives. Something needs to be done soon, or all legitimate activity in the area is going to come to a screeching halt."
This sentiment is echoed by Holder Lyrvan Kourmos, who holds sizable estates and facilities in the Erkinen system. "In these remote reaches of space, we depend on imported goods for our very livelihood. We are far from self-sufficient, and given the disruption caused to shipping by the increasingly bold activities of these pirates, our situation is becoming dangerously tenuous. The lack of necessary replacement parts for our equipment is becoming particularly dire, and threatens to shut our production down entirely."
Since the publication of the Ministry's report, the office of the Court Chamberlain has so far declined to comment publicly on the issue.