Task Force 86
Strategic Operations Headquarters, R-SW Beta Quadrant
Rear Admiral Arjaal Taam, Commanding Officer
Starfleet’s resources have been stretched thin since the end of the Dominion War. A series of cataclysmic events both within the Federation and on its Spinward-Coreward borders forced Starfleet, for a time, to protect itself.
A scant ten years after the worst conflict Starfleet had seen for 120 years, the Federation witnessed the destruction of Mars in 2385 and the Romulan supernova after that. As a result, Starfleet pulled back on all fronts where it could and diverted those resources.
No border went unscathed in these lean times. Starfleet had to compromise, capitulate, and negotiate rather than rely on its commonly held ideals. Much of their focus remained along the former Romulan Neutral Zone and the ongoing assistance of trying to rebuild a better Cardassia. New opportunities in the Delta Quadrant felt like a fresh start. And the Borg threat seemed distant (yet they remain ever the Bogeyman). The Romulans are of little danger, splintered into three factions as often at each other’s throats as any other.
The forced consolidation of borders that saw the most collateral drawback was the Rimward-Spinward frontier of the Federation: the Klingon and Gorn theatre. As allies with a bond strengthened by fighting shoulder to shoulder in the Dominion War, Starfleet didn’t see a potential security issue with the Klingon Empire. And, dutifully, the Klingons have remained staunch allies. Their Chancellor, an aging Martok, supports the Federation-Klingon Alliance, and he has an ambassador that he trusts to make inscrutable Human motives make more sense to him.
But it has not been the placid stability the Federation hoped for when they chose to pull back. And now, as Starfleet understands its presence may be necessary again, they find that the vacuum left has been filled, in part, by others.
AREA OF OPERATIONS
The Coreward Klingon Border remains unstable. The Romulan Republic is wrestling with the post-supernova Romulan situation and bordered by a traditionally hostile power. Romulan Warlords try to exploit various abandoned installations and equipment for their own gain.
The traditionally neutral Raeyan Triangle remains a resource-poor and undeveloped region where no power is supposed to exercise its control. The Azure Nebula has once again become home to displaced Acamarian Gatherers as the political winds on their planet have turned foul. Nimbus III is a failed colony used as a safe port for all manner of gangs, criminals and smugglers.
The Klingon Empire safeguards a thin line of transit for the Federation Starfleet to visit the Reliquary.
The Rimward Klingon Border from Archanis to Cestus III is more stable than the Coreward sectors. Here, Martok’s allies remain secure and for the moment support his presumptive air. But the Klingon Empire is never calm or quiet- these Houses hunger for glory as much as any other. They push Spinward and Rimward, searching for new foes to conquer.
The Empire here is stable and friendly enough to their Federation allies to allow two travel routes to the Klingon frontier. Here, Federation explorers may survey and chart but are under explicit agreement not to colonize or expand here. Before now Starfleet ships had to go the Long Way Around, through the Consortium Corridor between the Metrons and the Hegemony.
The instability along the border here is the Orion Borderlands, a total of fourteen star systems that used to be part of the defunct Orion Empires. The Orion Vaj on Kolar, the last remnant of those empires, has collapsed. The vacuum of power has given the Orion Syndicate the ability to control a puppet government. The Borderlands are separated between Federation, neutral and Klingon control.
Rivals of the Syndicate, the Yridian information theft cartel known as Soal Qonsur (lit: “Ripe Data”) has resurged. These cells steal information of all kinds and what they cannot steal, they forge and manufacture for a price. Need a holographic playback of a meeting that never took place? Evidence of an experimental weapon? Plans for invasion? Soal Qonsur can provide it for a hefty fee.
The latest Nausicaan Kratic has again fallen and anarchy on Nausicaa reigns. Factions are arming, and Nausicaan civil wars never stay confined to their world. Already Starfleet has seen a surge in violence toward civilian shipping.
The Gorn Border is a stable one despite the coup d’etat that eclipsed the Confederacy, replaced by the Hegemony. Trade remains brisk and sparse and small bands of Gorn males travel to star systems to hunt and roam. Starfleet believes it is best to leave them alone.
The Klingon Empire approached Starfleet’s Science Division with an unusual discovery. The Klingon do not explore and they do not investigate dead cultures. There is little honor in scientific pursuits. But one of their vessels, returning from a deep space raid, encountered a strange station-like object. Unable to discern it’s purpose, the High Council has decided to allow a small group of Federation ships to study this installation. If it is a weapon, the Klingons expect it to be shared.
Yet the region is far from safe- the Hunters of D’Ghor are frequent raiders here and the Mo’Kai may have intercepted intelligence. If so, it may have drawn their interest.