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Tensions between USS Columbia and Dehner Base intensify under pressure of stolen ancient samples

DELTA VEGA I — The USS Columbia and Dehner Base have been attacked by criminal elements native to the distant Sagittarius Reach.

Expected to begin Starfleet’s first exploratory voyage to the edge of our galaxy in over a century, Columbia came under fire by a powerful and unknown vessel as it orbited Dehner Base – the Federation Science Council’s outpost in the region. Boarding parties landed on both Columbia and Delta Vega I with reports of explosives used on the latter. Columbia managed to disable the attacking party and took prisoners, but not before taking damage herself.

Ambassador Kalianna Nicholotti and members of the Columbia’s diplomatic teams made contact with the captain of the attacking vessel – Tairus Kaironn – who claimed that the attack was an error based on faulty intelligence, although these claims were quickly refuted when it became clear the archaeological samples were stolen from Dehner Base. Before the samples could be recovered and Kaironn apprehended, his vessel jumped to warp leaving a damaged Columbia behind.

The situation has also inflamed pre-existing tensions between the crew of the Columbia and Dehner Base’s lead scientist, Professor Olivia Sellards, who has made several statements decrying Starfleet’s participation in her mission to the Sagittarius Reach. Shortly before Columbia was able to give chase to Kaironn, it transpired that Sellards had attempted to suppress the true nature of the samples stolen from Dehner Base, believing that Starfleet would turn them into weapons of mass destruction. How exactly this would happen has not been made clear.

“The lack of faith that Professor Sellards has displayed towards the hardworking and outstanding crew of the Columbia is regrettable and unexpected,” said Lieutenant T’Pral, the Starfleet liaison to the Press Corps at Starfleet Command. “While Starfleet and the Federation Science Council is not prepared to release details of the samples discovered by Dehner Base due to operational security considerations, they have every faith in Captain Whittaker, Commander Thoran and the entire crew of the Columbia in retrieving them and bringing the criminals responsible for their theft to justice.”

Despite the lack of details, nameless sources connected to Dehner Base have claimed that the samples may relate to a highly advanced civilisation that may have died out over half a billion years ago.

“Look, I don’t know much of the details but I know that there’s a damned good reason why Starfleet won’t talk,” claimed the source, who spoke to the FNS on condition of anonymity. “Whatever they found has spooked those that know and everyone in the loop won’t talk.”

Written by Theo Whittaker

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