The USS Darwin was part of the original task force sent into the Ithassa Region to establish Starfleet's Presence. Primarily a transport, equipment, and supply vessel.
It was scheduled to rendezvous with the USS Independence and conduct a survey mission of the Igloo Cluster when it ran across and was attached by the Grendellai. All hands were lost. It was set up to use as bait to lure other Federation vessels into the vicinity, on the premise that the starship would be attacked by two Grendallia vessels.
When the Independence arrived, it marked the first engagement between Starfleet and the Grendallia. Once the Independence crew were able to drive off the "dog-men", an away team was sent to ascertain what had happened. On board the Darwin, the team found an unknown Romulan device along with a strange mix of both Federation and Romulan crew. On further investigation, it was determined the ship itself was a hybrid of Romulan and Starfleet technology along with a device attached to the warp core in Engineering, the purpose of which no one was able to ascertain.
On the run, the remaining Romulans began setting off a series of explosives aboard the Darwin until it could no longer sustain itself. A warp core breech prompted the USS Independence to beam off their crew and vacate the area while the Darwin exploded.
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