Star date: 41176.8 Captain\'s log.

This is my (Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise #NCC-17O1 D) account of the events leading up to and beyond the Federation and Romulan war (2380-2385 AD).

Star date: 32851.2: The Enterprise received a distressed call from a fleeing scout ship.

SOS... I am ... under ... attack!! request ... asylum ... Federation ... Space!!..

The ship was pushing the limits of its engines as it hurtled out of the neutral zone -- the volume of space that serves as a no-ones-land separating the United Federation of Planets and the Romulan Empire. A powerful Romulan warbird was mercilessly firing wave after wave of disrupter blasts at the small defenseless scout ship. Once the scout was in Federation space, the warbird broke off the attack and quickly retreated back to Romulan space.

We hailed the ship and found out from her captain that he was alone. His name was Shaq, captain of the Check Mate. He claimed to be a Romulan captain in search of Federation asylum. I had never heard of such a thing; in Romulan society, loyalty to the Romulan Empire is more sacred than life itself. In any event, I was certain that we would learn a lot more during the next few days.

Star date: 32851.5: Captain Shaq claimed that he was defecting in order to prevent intergalactic war. He told us that the Romulan Empire has plans for an abominable new weapon for use against the Federation and any others who might dare to resist total domination of the Romulans. The weapon, called the Metagenic Device, would be launched from orbit to any planet and release a deadly virus throughout the planet\'s atmosphere. The virus would then quickly infect all forms of life and cause fatal mutations in the DNA of its victims. Within twenty-four hours, all life would cease. Within thirty-six hours, the virus itself would break down becoming inviolable, leaving the planet\'s resources free for plunder.

At this time we did not know if we should trust Captain Shaq, so I decided to send an away team to investigate his ship and its computer record. As I was ordering my number 1 officer, Commander Riker, with the away team over to the Checkmate, Shaq warned me against such action claiming that he had initiated a self-destruct sequence before leaving his vessel. Seconds later, the scout ship exploded. We immediately questioned Captain Shaq as to why he initiated the self-destruct. He replied, that though he wanted to prevent the war, he was no traitor and would not willingly give up the secrets of his people.

Star date: 32854.5: After two days of deliberations, we are heading for Romulus -- the home planet of the Romulan Empire. According to Shaq, the Metagenic weapon was being
created there. We have no choice but to start a war to save the federation. I have convinced captain Shaq that he is a defector and now a prisoner of war as well.

Star date: 32855.5: We are at Wolf System 9 on the border where we joined a Federation battle fleet. We are going to Romulus in hopes of destroying the Metagenic Device. Regrettably history showed us as being the aggressor of this war.

Star date: 32857.5: After a two-day campaign, we where victorious at Romulus. With a loss of only 1 ship out of 6, that\'s not too bad. But we lost over 1,000 lives, the Yorktown, and even with the victory all is not well. We where not able to find the Metagenic Device that Captain Shaq had so desperately wanted us to find and destroy. I had so many lingering questions in my head that only Captain Shaq could answer for me, so I sent for him at the Federation P.O.W. camp on Elpsolon 9. Soon after I sent for Captain Shaq the Federation sent new orders with 5 more ships to add to the fleet.

Star date: 32858.0: With the new orders we now know that the Federation wants us to launch an extended large scale assault against the Romulans. The Federation needs this mission to be a success, because eventually when the time is right they want to establish a starbase deep in Romulan space. That would greatly shift the power in the quadrant, towards