Nimbus III is cataloged in the early 23rd century. As a dusty, desert world of limited resources, it draws little interest, except for one thing: It’s near Khitomer, at the convergence of three major Galactic powers. The so-called “Planet of Galactic Peace” is a failed experiment and reminder of the perils of hubris… but also a site bristling with potential, if any Galactic power would see fit to invest in it. Because it’s equally worthless to all of them, Nimbus III became a neutral meeting ground and a (failed) attempt at mutual colonization. By the 24th century, it was clear that Nimbus III was a sham, and that no government has any real interest in perpetuating it. The few remaining colonists are left to fend for themselves with only occasional involvement from outsiders.
Nimbus III orbits the yellow star Nimbus in the Alpha Quadrant, only two light years from Khitomer. Thanks to its strategic location at the nexus of the Federation, Klingon and Romulan empires, it has served alternately as a diplomatic zone and a secret staging ground.
“At least it’s a dry heat,” the typical visitor jokes about Nimbus III. As a desert badland, the world rarely drops below 25 degrees Celsius. Most humanoids find the heat uncomfortable, although Vulcans are right at home.
Nimbus III garners very little in the way of weather or rainfall patterns due to its lack of tidal action. This only exacerbates the difficulty in colonizing the world, especially since nobody is really interested in installing weather controllers or industrial replicators.
While Nimbus III has several mountain ranges across its single, mammoth continent, they are all quite eroded; the planet ceased geological activity thousands of years ago, and it seems to be cooling. Water exists only in small, stagnant ponds. Typically, rainfall is so limited that it’s not even possible to reliably irrigate.
In spite of its utter lack of resources, Nimbus III hosts several advanced civilizations — at least, in small proportion. The major Galactic powers all consider the planet an experiment in “Galactic peace,” a token effort at gathering different species together in harmony. Sadly, due to the planet’s utter lack of redeeming features, there’s little for them to work in harmony with. Most of the residents spend their time bitterly trying to eke out a living from the soil, or drowning their troubles in the seedy night-spots and pubs.
Although the Federation initially had high hopes for Nimbus III, within a decade it assumed the same attitude as the Klingons and Romulans — that Nimbus III is really only useful as a punishment posting.
Nimbus III first found its way onto Federation maps in 2247, characterized as a barren, dusty rock. This wasn’t entirely correct; it was a barren, dusty badland. Nevertheless, that appellation stuck with the world and contributed to its dilemma.
By the mid-23rd century, looking for a way to make progress in diplomacy with the Romulans and the Klingons, the Federation proposed a joint colony venture. As a show of good faith, the Federation would fund the effort, placing support structures and living materials on the planet along with a token staff. Some bureaucrat decided that Nimbus III was the perfect testing ground: A planet so barren and tough that people would have to work together to insure their survival, as the pitch read. It’s said that the Klingon ambassador chortled for a good three minutes after reading the plan, and that he and the Romulan ambassador then proceeded to turn the planet into a dumping ground for misfits, malcontents, and assorted “alien trash.”
While the Federation had the best of intentions, the project was doomed to failure from the start. Without the full backing of the other governments, promised improvements never materialized. The colony was fortunate to have power, much less any sort of water or industrial tools. Eventually the Federation considered the project a write-off and embarrassment, leaving only a token staff and two Starfleet personnel to oversee the world.
Left to its own devices, Nimbus III tried to become a seedy backwater like Dessica II, but lacked any sort of infrastructure or real reason for anyone to bother coming there. No spaceport meant very little trade. No raw materials meant nothing to exploit, aside from people. Its only contribution to Galactic history came when Sybok, half-brother of Captain Spock from the U.S.S. Enterprise-A, managed to capture the alliance outpost with a ragtag army of psionically influenced misfits, and then captured the Enterprise in similar fashion. Of course, Sybok used this opportunity to do what everyone on the planet wanted to do: Get the hell out of there.
The Federation turned a blind eye to Nimbus III by the late 23rd and early 24th century, which turned out to be another mistake. It’s widely suspected that the Romulan ships that attacked Khitomer and wiped out the Klingon colony there did so by using secret bases on Nimbus III as a staging ground. By the late 24th century, the Federation realized that it couldn’t leave a strategic door open, even on such a worthless rock, and finally decided to commit the resources to bring the colony up to passable levels — right as the Dominion War broke out and changed priorities. By the end of the war, the colony was completely abandoned.
Places of Interest
There’s not much to see on Nimbus III, aside from the endless dunes and dried badlands. The average visitor sees the alliance diplomatic station (a ramshackle assortment of prefab materials and local hodgepodge construction) briefly and then spends the rest of an unpleasant stay either fighting with the environment for survival or drinking away all sensation in a bar.
- Burns, Eric, Kenneth A. Hite & Doug Sun. Star Trek Roleplaying Game Book 7: Worlds, Decipher, 2005. ISBN: 1582369097.