ESTAVA — Freedom’s Hope, a mining colony key to the Romulan Republic’s fledgling economy, broke off all communication, prompting an investigation by USS Columbia.
Following a request by the Romulan Republic, USS Columbia was sent to Estava, a planet at the edge of Republic territory. A former holding of the Romulan Empire, this planet and its valuable mineral resources have been disputed by the Empire in recent years to be rightfully theirs. The colony, renamed Freedom’s Hope under Republic control, is unique in its effort to serve as a free and safe workspace for Romulans and Remans alike.
As the closest Federation ship, Columbia rendezvoused at Estava with the Republic ship RRV Mhr’Vaat to begin an investigation. Unexpectedly, they were also met by the Imperial ship IRW Carnifex.
Commander Brek sent an away team led by Lt. Commander Rendal Rennyn to investigate the apparently abandoned colony, while Columbia dealt with the presence of the rival Romulan ships. Soon, Columbia was able to beam aboard a large number of miners and colonists who had gone into hiding in the mines. The ship is housing the Romulans and Remans in temporary quarters designed by Counselor Talia Kaji.
Reports indicate the miners were hiding from the spread of an ailment of unknown cause, which transformed some of the colonists into unrecognizable monsters. It is unclear whether this is some form of contagion, parasite, or the result of secret scientific experimentation, but Dr. Johanna MacLaren and CSO Lt. Commander Kevin Breeman are investigating.
Columbia continues to investigate the nature of this horrifying affliction, even as it has spread to the ship through contact with the rescued colonists. It is not yet clear what assistance, if any, is being offered by Mhr’Vaat or Carnifax.
“If Columbia is caught between ships from the Romulan Republic and the Romulan Empire, it is certain their operations will be hindered by the rivalry of those two factions,” said Fiordiligi Gosk, a Federation political commentator.
While the surface team explores colony facilities that have been overrun by monsters, the ship’s crew faces danger of exposure to this terrifying affliction. Though Romulan disputes seemed to be a threat to Columbia‘s safety, the real danger bears no political affiliation, and threatens to impact all those involved.