Starfleet vessel stolen; Bajoran official's nephew KIA

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BAJOR SECTOR(INW) - During the early morning hours, explosions jolted the citizens of space station Deep Space 9. Initially regarded as a terrorist attack, the explosions now appear to be have been part of an elaborate rouse to distract the attention of Starfleet while the U.S.S. Lafayette, a Defiant-class starship, was stolen from under their very noses.

Following the theft of the starship, several aggressive messages were transmitted to the Cardassian Union. These messages were hostile and claimed to be on behalf of Starfleet; however, other vessels on the scene quickly renounced them. A Cardassian representative allowed the Nebula- class starship Defiant to pursue the Lafayette across the border into Cardassian space. Lafayette reportedly engaged Kopok Nor before fleeing into the Badlands. Defiant pursued Lafayette and reportedly destroyed the ship with a loss of all hands.

Though no specific group has claimed responsibility for the explosions aboard Deep Space 9 or the theft of Lafayette, Deep Space 9 security has indicated that several Bajoran civilians were missing from Deep Space 9 and were presumed to have been aboard Lafayette at the time. The names of these civilians were not released.

Furthermore, sources have indicated that a team of Starfleet officers was aboard U.S.S. Lafayette at the time of her theft and destruction. These officers and crew are presumed dead. Among the dead is Lieutenant Lora Nel, the nephew of the Bajoran Minister of State.

"This tragedy has deeply affected the Minister," a spokesman for the Bajoran Ministry of State said in a statement to INW. The spokesman said to expect a press release in the coming days, however, "the Minister has gone to be with his brother and sister-in-law in Mousilla during this time of loss."

Starfleet authorities in Bajor were unavailable for comment at this time.

Fri Nov 9 16:80:36 2401 Alliance Standard Time

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