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Ghorusda Disaster

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The Ghorusda Disaster was an incident that took place in the 24th century between the Federation, represented by Captain Darson of the USS Adelphi, and the Ghorusdans. On a First Contact mission with Ghorusda, a cultural misunderstanding between the crew of the Adelphi and the Ghorusdans resulted in the deaths of 47 crew members, including Captain Darson. A Starfleet board of inquiry assigned blame for the incident to Darson for "carelessness about of Ghorusdan cultural taboos." However, privately many (including Commander William T. Riker, who lost two friends from his class at Starfleet Academy) blamed first contact specialist Tam Elbrun for failing to warn Darson of the danger. On the other hand, Elbrun maintained that Darson was at fault for not heeding his advice, though he also admitted that he might have become too enmeshed in the Ghorusdan mindset and did not warn Darson as forcefully as he could have. (TNG: "Tin Man")

The exact cause of the disaster was never made clear in the episode, nor was it made clear if it was the actions (or inactions) of Elbrun or Darson (or perhaps both) that resulted in the deaths. The date of the disaster was not made clear either, but for contemporaries of Riker's to have been involved in such a mission, the incident likely took place between 2357 (when Riker graduated from the Academy) and 2366.

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