On 12 December 2159, the ships of Task Force 28 were operating about 0.6 light years out from the Gamma Hydra system in the Kratona Expanse. The force had just been engaged in three weeks of heavy fighting against Romulan targets in the region, neutralizing an enemy outpost on the second planet and eliminating several cruisers that were based in-system. There was little warning when a Level-9 ion storm developed on 13 December. Many ships were caught during resupply or refueling and were unable to escape the intense subspace distortions. Three ships were destroyed and many others suffered serious damage. UES Intrepid was lost with all hands when a Minotaur fighter in the hangar bay broke loose from its cradle and an antimatter fuel cell ruptured. UES Gaines and UES Mobile Bay were destroyed when the two ships collided — the Mobile Bay was refueling when the storm hit and was unable to restart its engines in time. Approximately 2,500 officers and men were lost and another 300 injured. Hull breaches developed on four other ships owing to the extreme gravimetric shear of the storm. This storm inflicted more damage than any other in UESN history and was the strongest recorded storm until the Level-10 ion storm encountered by USS Canberra (NCC-1497) in 2241.
Task Force 28 as of December 12, 2159:
- UES Agincourt CHM-59 Tannhäuser class
- UES Thermopylae CHM-65 Tannhäuser class
- UES Devastator CHM-71 Conqueror class
- UES Lexington CVM-6 Yorktown class
- UES Cowpens CVM-13 Yorktown class
- UES Intrepid CVM-18 Yorktown class
- UES Winston Churchill CVM-36 Yorktown class
- UES Tatnall FMM-2 Farragut class
- UES Rickover CEM-10 Torsk class
- UES Hai Lung CEM-14 Torsk class
- UES Nantucket CEM-21 Powhatan class
- UES Vincennes CEM-26 Powhatan class
- UES Memphis CEM-29 Powhatan class
- UES Mobile Bay CEM-36 Powhatan class
- UES Vandalia CEM-41 Powhatan class
- UES Meteor CLM-103 Comet class
- UES Equinox CLM-110 Comet class
- UES Matterhorn APM-40 Olympus Mons class
- UES Mount Cuba APM-47 Olympus Mons class
- UES Gaines AOM-26 Reid Fleming class
For more information on ion storms, you may want to consult these titles:
- James, Jeffrey. Ion Storms: The Other Enemy. Dome 1, Mars. NOLC 978509, 2164.
- Okazaki, Masao. Ion Storms and Interstellar Travel. San Francisco, Earth. SFLC 4782-6411525, 2213.
- Palton, Hoyt. The Fist of God: The Ion Storm of 2159. Navato, Qualor II: Frontier Press, 2161.