The M-PH Heist was the culmination of a petty feud between two communities of scholars seeking to unravel the connections between the various M-Ph cultures and species found in the Bottlenose Nebula. A starship carrying uncataloged archaeological evidence that supports the Dominion Theory of M-Ph evolution was boarded and its cargo tampered with by entity or entities unknown, believed to be proponents of the Natural Theory. As a result of this tampering, the artifacts have been discredited in major academic circles.
The Crime and its Victim
Professor Artessis Udai led a dig expedition to the fourth moon of Scarlax II where a number of M-Ph connected artifacts were found. According to Udai's private journal, he believed that after proper radio dating, these would be shown to be far older than any other similar discoveries - clear evidence of an ancient M-Ph progenitor race. The artifacts were stored in quantum-locked shipping drums to be carried safely back to his university funded lab outside of the nebula via commercial hyperlight transport.
Several days after the containers were picked up, just before the transport cleared the Scarlax system's gravity well, the transport suffered a complete navigation failure. The AI pilot signaled Alphaspace Watch for assistance, and received instructions to hold position and wait for the next available repair tender. A ship that appeared to be a Watch repair tender arrived on scene some 16 hours later and docked with the transport. 42 hours and several lengthy reboots later, the navigational systems were restored and the transport went on it's way. The real Alphaspace Watch tender arrived on the scene 133 hours after the request was placed to find that the transport was already gone. Only upon arrival at the lab did anyone realize that all of the quantum seals had been broken, destroying the chain of custody and greatly diminishing the credibility of Udai's research.
Aldraxian Graduate Student Ixpay Ardkay Arrey was flagged early in the investigation due to a sudden transfer of Lucre into their account by an anonymous source. When confronted, Arrey confessed that they had accepted the money in exchange for information about the transport schedule, which Arrey had arranged on Professor Udai's behalf. They did not know anything more about how that information was used. Arrey pleaded guilty to compromising University proprietary information. Their punishment is under seal by order of the Dean of Xenoarchaeology.
One theory states that the mystery ship was in the employ of Archivist 14 and that it's intention was not to discredit the Dominion theory, but simply to obtain detailed scans of the artifacts for itself. Breaking the quantum seals was not malicious, just necessary. This theory has been popularized by Professor Udai, in part because if true, it would restore some credibility to his exciting findings.
Though it is unclear how they would have had the means, many of Professor Udai's peers suspect that one or more researchers from the University's mysterious Verification Department stole the real artifacts and replaced them with fakes in order to further their own agenda.