RATOR III — The Imperial Senate of the Romulan Star Empire declared it was withdrawing all Romulan support immediately from the joint operations of the interstellar station Astrofori One in the Menthar Corridor.
As tensions continue to rise between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire in the fallout of the Romulans’ failed invasion of Duronis II, the Romulans retaliated against sanctions imposed by the Federation Council last week by announcing their sudden withdrawal from Astrofori One.
“The Romulan people are very demanding of where our resources are spent,” said Senator Mavok, who also sits on the powerful Continuing Committee. “We no longer see the expenditure of such resources into this project as a fruitful one.”
As one of the four major powers operating the station, the others being the Federation, Breen Confederacy, and Kubarey Confederation, the loss of Romulan support puts into question the sustainability of the station, both operationally and defensively. In a further blow to what was once hailed as Federation Secretary of the Exterior Lily Ventu’s magnum opus and a major part of former President Nan Bacco’s legacy when it was launched in 2392, the Breen have given the indication that they too will no longer support the massive station once the Romulans leave.
While there was no official comment from Federation President Narala or members of the Federation Council yet, Starfleet officials were quick to downplay the significance of the Romulans’ departure.
“The Starfleet contingent along with our Kubarey partners are prepared to take over all major station operational duties if necessary,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Washington, the commander for Starfleet operations who oversees the Menthar Corridor along with the rest of the Tholian region.
Political insiders, however, expressed severe doubt on the viability of the station and the Federation’s continued presence in the Menthar Corridor without the support of both the Romulans and Breen. Isolated from most other Federation installations, Astrofori One has relied on the combined logistical support of all four powers to keep it running.
“The truth is, the project hasn’t turned into the ‘forum amongst the stars’ that its designers had hoped. That much is obvious by the way things have deteriorated between Earth and Rator,” said a senior official within the Narala administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The President herself has stated from the beginning of her campaign that she wasn’t a fan of the Astrofori One project either. Her stance has always been clear: we need to focus on serving the needs of all Federation members and colonies. I don’t see her shifting away resources she’s promised back to the colonies to prop up what amounts to a vanity project in the middle of nowhere.”
The Federation presence in the Menthar Corridor began originally with a lone Federation starship, the USS Mercury, which was granted access to the area from the Cardassian Detapa Council in late 2388. Starfleet’s exploration of the region grew with larger starships, culminating in the launch of both Astrofori One and the Invicta Expedition, one of four major expeditionary task forces launched in 2392 by President Bacco. The Invicta Expedition comprised five vessels that set out on a three-year mission in the Menthar Corridor from 2392 to 2395. Although initial plans included the possibility of additional multi-year missions, the Narala administration decided not to renew the expeditionary task forces to instead redirect Starfleet forces to other areas deemed more urgent.
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