Subject:The Race Is On!

Ever since Sapak's datapad appeared on the black market, and ever since it was stolen by an unknown party, speculations abound in the Alpha Quadrant as to the nature, location and ramifications of this little device that is rumored to have the power to change space as we know it. Some Ferengi take official bets as to the outcome of this story, allowing all beings to put their money on the location or the nature of the datapad... the money to be collected when the truth is finally revealed.

But most take a more direct approach to this mysterioss development. The public clues are few: the datapad vanished and someone has made a discrete inquiry to verify the locations of the artifacts that are recorded on it. That inquiry has alerted the nations in possession of the artifacts to their very existance or value. Ever since the inquiry, everything went silent again, but only outwardly.

It seems everyone is working on the case, from large empires to small criminal organizations. The mere lure of the power contained on the datapad seems to cloud the discovery of what are trully priceless items. And while nations are working to unravel the mystery and deal with it appropriately, entire wings of intelligence departments are hard at work spying on each other's progress.

The Romulans are very quiet about their investigation, save a rather public announcement in the Empire that everyone's contribution is welcome. The Cardassians remind of a watchful predator that investigates every possibility while keeping claws outstretched. The Federation dedicated a task force to the event, attacking several angles at once. The Klingons seem either unwilling or unable to divert resources to the cause, despite the lure of a superweapon. Perhaps it is not an honorable thing to destroy planets. The Ferengi dominate the information markets, selling and buying leads, making profit on the very idea of the search. The Gorn stay quiet and the Maquis would not have resources for such a job, would they? Only the Dominion can be ruled out - after all the wormhole is collapsed, but if there are any independent parties in the search, they are either too small or too smart to be noticed.

It appears to be a race, although no one seems to be cooperating yet. And among all that... the priceless Hebitian artifacts become only a ladder, much to the sorrow of some Cardassian hearts.