Unearthed ruins jeopardise terraforming project

Unearthed ruins jeopardise terraforming project

STARBASE 118 — The Federation Archaeology Council has convened an emergency session to determine the fate of the Obruli III terraforming project, after a survey team discovered ruins suggesting the uninhabited planet was once home to a civilization.

Obruli III is located in the Borderlands, a region of unclaimed territory where Federation, Klingon, and Romulan space collide. The Borderlands, which are sparsely inhabited and poorly documented, are a shelter for opportunistic traders and privateers who utilise the region’s three enormous nebulae as cover for illegal operations. Because of the Borderlands’ political instability and closeness to worlds like Regulus and Risa, the Federation has recently increased its presence there, most notably with the assignment of the USS Resolution (NCC-78145) to the region in mid-2397.

“Terraforming Obruli III is a win-win for the Federation,” said Federation Security Council Secretary Haros Chenta. “Using the planet to test new terraforming technology serves our scientific objectives. Furthermore, a Federation colony would offer much-needed stability and controlled trade to a very volatile region, as well as increased protection for our member worlds along our space’s boundary.”

In the late 2380s, the Federation Science Council identified Obruli III as a potential terraforming site, but the government of former president Nan Bacco put those plans on hold, first temporarily following the Gateway Crisis of 2390, then indefinitely following the Federation Transport Union strike two years later.

In 2393, Narala, Bacco’s successor, resurrected the Obruli project as part of her campaign promises called the “era of action.”

The Federation Science Council performed preliminary research in 2395, and the following year, with the support of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, built a temporary facility on Obruli III’s moon. The Council had planned for a team of specialists to begin atmospheric seeding later this month, but the discovery of ruins has forced the initiative to be halted once more.

Dr. Marcus Brody, professor of archaeology at Marshall College on Earth, described the find as “far from a scrap of clay pottery or a single tool handle. The survey team discovered a treasure trove of artefacts from a civilization we had no idea existed.”

Brody visited to Obruli III as part of an independent research group last month to follow up on the survey team’s results. When he returned to Starbase 118, he stated that continuing with the terraforming project would be “an irreparable cultural loss for the Federation, indeed, the galaxy.”

Terraforming is a contentious topic in the Federation. Proponents believe that it generates new viable worlds and expands Federation control, while opponents argue that it causes irreversible geological and ecological changes. Terraform Command, the Federation’s governing authority for terraforming initiatives, demands that candidate worlds be lifeless and that no life would spontaneously emerge on the planet without outside involvement.

The discovery of ruins on Obruli III, which Terraform Command had previously reviewed and authorised for development in 2394, raised doubt on the planet-vetting procedure.

“If only every error could happen once,” Brody added. “Who knows how many civilizations’ history have already been lost as a result of terraforming?”

This week, the Archeology Council will convene on Starbase 118 to hear testimony from both sides of the argument. The Obruli III terraforming project is presently on hold pending a decision from the Archaeology Council.

About Nash Blaxland

Nash Blaxland is a human journalist with a career spanning over 20 years. A graduate of the University of Tasmania and the University of Alpha Centauri, Blaxland is a fifth-generation journalist and has been a correspondent for the Federation News Service since 2392, based from both Earth and StarBase 118.