PLACID REGION - Several reports have surfaced that a small ground troop offensive of unknown origin this afternoon took place on the Gallente planet of Evaulon VII. The target appears to have been the planet's lone city, Rilnais, which according to reports is now engulfed in a cloud of noxious vapor. While the extent of the devastation is unconfirmed at this point, there are indications that damage to the environment could be widespread and the loss of life significant, with most reports placing the death toll in the hundreds and growing rapidly.
Evaulon VII, one of the more recently settled planets in the Gallente Federation, is known primarily for harboring a particular kind of plant life known as the Isirus poppy. Discovered only a few years ago, the poppy quickly skyrocketed in demand due to its numerous medical applications as well as its genetic similarity to a now-extinct Matar plant used for centuries by Minmatar shamans for spirit communication. It is the primary export of Rilnais, which holds the fortified storage ground for its multibillion ISK export industry. While the plant is used primarily in its oil form and safe as such, the seeds of the poppy give off fumes that are instantly lethal to human lungs, and according to reports it is this emission which now spreads over large parts of the city, causing the death toll to rise at an alarming rate. Citizens have been advised to stay in their homes with all doors and windows locked, and a state of martial law has been declared in the greater Rilnais area.
Speculation abounds as to the attacking force, though no concrete evidence has been uncovered about their identity or their motives for attacking the city. Though a relatively small force of about fifty, they are uniformly reported to have been geared up for all-out war, with ground and aerial vehicles coordinating in the assault along with an evidently organized and well-equipped force of ground troops. After the assault had gone on for roughly 45 minutes the force withdrew to the south of the city, where environmental signs indicate they may have extracted off-planet.
The Office of the Gallente President issued a statement an hour ago which decried "this deplorable act" and pleaded with the inhabitants of Rilnais to remain calm until help arrived. "Office One is coordinating with local authorities to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. We beg your patience in this trying time," the statement said in part.
Others, meanwhile, are not as optimistic. "Due to the presence of the Isirus vapors in the city's atmosphere," stated respected biochemistry expert Marc Arroche from the University of Caille, "the equipment required to survive down there resides only with a select few groups in the cluster, those on the cutting edge of pharmacological science. It could be anywhere between 20 and 30 hours before anyone who ventures down there can expect to survive. Until such time as that happens, those poor people have no choice but to watch and wait."