As the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria approached the strange sphere the rowers stopped their toiling, and strained to look over the sides. It appeared to be a woman's hand supporting the sphere, but it actually floated a little above the hand. None aboard the ships, could be absolutely certain the hand was carved. There were textures to the skin and even tiny little blonde hairs.
The captains of two of the ships were brothers by the name of Pinzon. Vincente was the captain of the Nina, and Martin the captain of the Pinta. Frank Columbo was the captain of the Santa Maria and the leader of this expedition. There is some dispute over Columbo's first name. Some historians hold that it was Philip, but most accept that it was an inside joke. Fred L. Worth, a historian entered Philip into his reference books, but in letters written to friends he admitted it was fictitious.
Columbo was originally searching for mineral rich planets in the Orient galaxy, but came too close to the gravitational pull of a black hole and was blown totally off course. In breaking the gravitational field of the black hole, they were slung in a sling shot fashion into a previously uncharted section of space. The hand and sphere proved beyond a doubt that there were some sort of humanoid species in this quadrant, but all they could see was an endless desert.
Columbo would end up making four voyages to these desert planets for a spice that ended up being more valuable than the gold and minerals they originally sought. Giant worms protected the spice, but careful collection techniques allowed them to fill the ships with it. A strange side effect of the spice was to turn the white portion of people's eyes blue, if they used it too much. Eventually Columbo was arrested and stripped of all his titles, but the real target was to gain control of the percentages of spice he controlled.