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In 2290, the Melak crossed into the Neutral Zone to test an experimental weapon codenamed "Project Shiva". After a Klingon battle cruiser decloaked and demanded the Melak surrender for boarding, the Romulan captain - sardonically commenting "Let's see if they think it's a good day to die" - ordered the firing of Shiva at the waiting test target. The resultant explosion knocked the Klingon vessel out of control and dissipated against the Melak's shields. Just as the captain ordered a course set back to Romulus, the science officer reported that they had been caught in a deep gravity well as planets began appearing from nowhere. Unable to compensate, the Melak crashed on the second planet of a star system that had not been there moments before. The planets in that sector, christened the "Tabula Rasa", became the focus of conflict for more than a year afterwards. (TOS video game: New Worlds)