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The Maroan-Romulan Trap was a brief conflict fought between the Federation and the Maroan Dominion, who were being supported by the Romulan Star Empire, in 2290. The conflict nearly brought an end to the peace treaty between Tabuk 3 and 4.
- "They had an arms race that made the one in the Lavinian system look like a game of tag."
- —Admiral Yawlis, 2290[src]
For two centuries, Tabuk 3 and 4 were at war with each other. During that time, both worlds had an arms race, where they devoted much effort to building more and more powerful weapons. These weapons were capable of frightening mass destruction. Enormous stockpiles were kept on both planets to blow themeselves up a thousand times over.
It was not until 2290 that both worlds realized they had to stop their madness. When that happened, both worlds asked the Federation to mediate an end to their war and joined the Federation. They also agreed to cooperate in disposing of their warheads. The two worlds built a arsenal to store both worlds' warheads stockpiles.(TOS - Tests of Courage comics: "Divide...and Conquer", "Consequences!")
Maroan Dominion-Romulan Empire AllianceEdit
- "We Maroans have little patience for false humility. I've always believed this to be something we have in common with you Romulans."
- —Supreme Leader Brekara, 2290
Due to their position near the Romulan Neutral Zone, the Tabukan system was of strategic importance to the Federation and the Romulans. If Tabuk fell to the Romulans, it would derail Federation expansion in the sector. Following Tabuk 3 and 4's membership in the Federation, the Romulan Empire made a covert alliance with the Maroan Dominion under it's Supreme Leader Brekara. In exchange for the use of their intelligence network, the Romulans gave them antiquated cloaking devices for their ships. They also sent in an adviser, Admiral Jaricus, to oversee their operations and determine if the Maroans would be a worthy ally.
When the Tabukans of both worlds started to dispose of their warheads, the Maroans attacked their freighter convoys, taking the warheads by force. Starfleet was informed of this development, but only knew that there was a possible Romulan connection to these attacks. Thus, Starfleet Admiral Yawlis sent two ships, the USS Enterprise-A under Captain James T. Kirk and the USS Excelsior under Captain Hikaru Sulu, to show that they supported the Tabukans and that they would stand for no interference.
En route to the Tabukan system, the Enterprise picked up a medical distress signal from a colony on Epsilon Kitaj. Thus Captains Kirk and Sulu decided to split up with the Enterprise checking the situation on Epsilon Kitaj while the Excelsior continued to Tabuk. Unbeknowst to them, the colony was gas attacked by the Maroans' cloaked ships as a diversion to keep the two ships apart.(TOS - Tests of Courage comics: "Divide...and Conquer", "Battle Stations!")
- "Let's hope we can get it without getting into a war"
- —Captain Hikaru Sulu, USS Excelsior, 2290[src]
Just as the Excelsior arrived to rendezvous with the Tabukan weapons-disposal convoy, the convoy came under attack from 4 Maroan warships. Capt. Sulu then fired a warning shot at the lead ship. The attacking ships then abandoned their attack and disappeared. Capt. Sulu and his command crew figured out that the attackers were most likely Romulan surrogates who were helping the Romulans derail federation expansion in the sector.
Capt. Sulu then met Tabukan President Dodridj of Tabuk 3 and her Deputy Gefion of Tabuk 4. Pres. Dodridj informed Capt. Sulu that their worlds were in deep trouble. The peace the Federation helped them achieved was at risk and hanging by a fragile thread. They said that if they did not get rid of the warheads as planned, they would use them on each other. Capt. Sulu could see the problem and suggested using the transporter to beam the weapons into deep space for remote detonation. Unfortunately, the warheads' molecular structure contained Trisolium, a volatile element that would start a chain reaction when it was dematerialized. The only way to move them was by freighter. However, Sulu's Chief engineer, Martin Lukas, would try and find a way to use the transporter on the warheads.
Capt. Sulu, betting that the intruders would attack the weapons-disposal convoy again, continued escorting it to try draw them into the open. Sulu also knew that they could find them when they were cloaked. Adm. Jaricus and Surpreme leader Brekara were informed of this movement and ordered Commander Horalt to attack with ten ships. Horalt's task force hit the Excelsior fast and hard. Horalt's forces then regrouped but left the convoy alone. Sulu then fired at the three lead ships, but both the Excelsior and the convoy were forced to return to port. Capt. Sulu then decided to signal the Enterprise for assistance.(TOS - Tests of Courage comics: "Divide...and Conquer", "Battle Stations!", "Prisoners of War?")
Occupation of Epsilon KitajEdit
- "Our task force declares this planet under the occupation of the Maroan Dominion...This world is now ruled by Maroan martial law--and sealed by blockade."
- —Commander Vodrin, Maroan task force commander, 2290
As the Enterprise arrived in orbit of Epsilon Kitaj, it was met by a hospital ship, the SS Salutaris, under the command of Dr. Abigail Wilson. Captain Kirk allowed his CMO, Dr. McCoy and six members of his medical staff to assist Dr. Wilson on Epsilon Kitaj, despite knowing that that the toxic cloud was actually a form of attack from someone. The Enterprise then left orbit to rendezvous with the Excelsior in the Tabuk System. Commander Vodrin informed Brekara of this, in order to warn the battle force at Tabuk. Vodrin was then ordered to return to the Tabukan system. However, he refused to do so.
Vodrin then decided to have his task force to occupy Epsilon Kitaj and claim it for the Maroan Dominion. Vodrin's force attacked the colony, setting up a security net blockading the planet. He then declared martial law. Vodrin was then contacted by Dr. Wilson. Vodrin allowed her and Dr. McCoy to do their jobs, as long as they did not engage in any trouble or resistance, but could not allow them to leave until the occupation stabilized. During the occupation, Vodrin's forces executed anyone who tried to run the blockade. The security net around the planet also destroyed any freighter that tried to leave the system. However Drs. McCoy and Wilson, along with their medical staffs continued to treat affected colonists.
The colony's resistance movement, under Paylok, then bombed Vodrin's headquarters, severely wounding the commander. Despite objections from the colony's resistance forces, Drs. Wilson and McCoy treated Vodrin and other wounded Maroans, despite their pleas of letting them die. The Enterprise then returned, and Vodrin's 2nd in command, Commander Bortser, along with Rethia, decided to remain hidden and not inform Vodrin of the Enterprise's arrival. Capt. Kirk and a security team arrived and arrested commander Vodrin and what was left his forces on the planet. In orbit of the planet, the Enterprise was then attacked by four vessels. However they were disable and forced to surrender. Capt. Kirk and the Enterprise then left the colony under the care of Dr. Wilson.(TOS - Tests of Courage comics: "Battle Stations!", "Prisoners of War?", "Collision Course")
The Final AttackEdit
Capt. Kirk then contacted Capt. Sulu, giving him a proposition. At the arsenal, fires and explosions occurred. Adm. Jaricus and Supreme leader Brekara found out that the arsenal was out of control and that it was being evacuated. The Excelsior was moving off to a distance in case the warheads went off. Thus Jaricus and Brekara decide to take what was left of the arsenal and take the weapons, along with the triggers. Brekara knew that they had to attack swiftly while the Excelsior. Dominion agents also told them that a section of the arsenal was not damaged. Brekara thus decided that she would personally lead the attack and seize the warheads.
Brekara joined Commander Horalt aboard the Maroan flagship of the taskforce. She then received a message from her son Vodrin, informing her that she should launch a two-ship assault on the arsenal. Despite Horalt's objections, she took personal command of the ship's bridge. As they were arriving, Horalt sent in a assault team. Unfortunately, the assault team was stopped by Commanders Rand's security teams. Just as they happened, the Enterprise joined the Excelsior, along with Vodrin's ship which was under the command of Commander Pavel Chekov. Chekov offered them a chance to surrender, by they refused. To ensure Brekara's safety, Horalt ordered the flagship set a collision course with the Excelsior. Fortunately the Excelsior was able to avoid the collision. Jaricus ship then slipped away during the confusion and re-entered the neutral zone to continue observing the two ships.(TOS - Tests of Courage comic: "Showdown!")
- "Romulans...Do not offer second chances."
- —Admiral Jaricus, on the failure of the Maroan-Romulan trap, 2290
Following the attack, the Excelsior and the Enterprise were able to use the transporters to beam the warheads into space and then destroyed them with photon torpedoes. When Adm. Jaricus saw this, he told Brekara that the alliance was over. (TOS - Tests of Courage comic: "Showdown!")