Recently the USS Vesta pulled into Starbase 99 to minor repair and resupply, bringing with it startling and shocking news. The Federation, with all its posters across the Subspace Net declaring that it will always be there for those in need, has abandoned a colony. Orbiting Paenope VI, a small moon was once home to Paenope Colony. It was a mining and refinement colony for Helium-3, the colony was presumed lost during the Dominion War. Efforts had been made to evacuate it, but all residents were considered lost during the war when it was attacked mid evacuation. It turns out Starfleet never bothered to actually go check.
The gem of the fleet, the USS Vesta had happened upon the colony, thanks to a civilian freighter who had experienced engine issues after extorting the colony to keep it supplied. Upon their arrival, the Vesta crew did what any good Starfleet crew did, they began to provide aid. Though, it turns out, they took no actions to protect themselves, and through their own poor decisions, ended up with Commodore Yoshi Minawara, and the Chief Diplomat, Isabella Cerin, held captive by a local terrorist group.
While use of Marines from Camp Falkirk has resulted in the successful rescue of the Commodore and his Diplomat, there were further issues that arose from this for the Federation Council. Members of the Sons of Cheron party called into question the disregard for Federation citizens, and the lack of search and rescue efforts, all the while efforts were extended to the Klingons, Romulans and even Cardassians. Further parallels were drawn between the Federation response effort to the Romulan humanitarian crisis, and the lack of dedicated efforts to rebuild Betazed, even though the planet is considered a Core member by many.
Further to these efforts, the Starfleet Civilian Oversight Watchdog has been particularly vocal about the immediate response to the situation. Marine forces from the USS Rutherford have been garrisoned on the planet as part of the initial “relief” but concerns were raised about the use of the Marines themselves. Spokesperson for the organization, Lucinda Zhukovsky was quick to point out that the efforts were “barbaric”, especially when the history of the Marines tends to be one of pure military strength, not relief effort. When probed for response, the Federation News Network was made aware that Major General MacTaryn was also on Starbase 99 and unavailable for comment.
This raises many questions surrounding the future of the Federation and colonies on the outer edges. If they are no longer critical, are they going to just be left by the wayside? If we find ourselves in the outbreak of another war, are the colonies going to be abandoned at the first sign of trouble? What if the so called “unaligned raiders” along the Klingon and Romulan borders begin to not only attack our relief vessels, but our civilian outposts as well? Is the Federation going to roll over and let it happen?
We are glad to hear that Commodore Minawara and Ms. Cerin as recovering and in fact both seem back to active service. We’re glad that no one else was harmed by these extremist actions, and we’re glad that these people can finally get the aid that they deserve. But what is the real cost?
-Teressa Kilkenny, Federation News Network