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The Verzhik were an advanced race native to a planet with the same name. They started to use warp drive in the 23rd century and were unaligned with anyone, but were known to be enlightened and artistic.
Ten years before 2279, the stars Minara and Beta Niobe went supernova within six months of each other, sending out harmful radiation towards over a dozen inhabited star systems nearby. The Federation had years to prepare due to the wave fronts only expanding at the speed of light, but they were stretched thin. Some of the worlds were pre-contact, and the Federation had to shield them without any local help.
Verzhik was one of the more advanced planets to be threatened, and the native Verzhik worked jointly with the Federation to shield their planet, but they failed to do enough in time. Although the population successfully retreated underground, their ecosystem was badly damaged, turning the skies smoggy brown and animal life got burned by UV-rays. The Verzhik then requested the Federation's top experts on terraforming and environmental recovery, more specifically Marat Lon. (TOS - Mere Anarchy eBook: The Darkness Drops Again)