Delta Quadrant Briefing - Part 3: The Nacene Reach
[Starbase Bravo - Meeting Room A]
[Day 02 - 1030 Hours]
The Starfleet uniform code was relatively strict; no unnecessary jewelry or adornments were permitted. When you were one of the handful of Fleet Captains in the Federation, though, you had a little bit of wiggle room on that. Elizabeth Hayden opted for the bomber jacket available to command-grade officers, with a burgundy sweater under it and a black skirt, though she accessorized it with diamond earrings with a silver frame along with a matching bangle bracelet. She offered the assembled group of officers a bright smile as she ascended to the podium.
"I promise I will attempt to make this brief," Hayden said. "Though, given that there has only been a half-dozen Federation ships in the region this briefing will cover since Voyager returned to Earth and none of them have gone more than a light-year past the wormhole, that's relatively easy," she said, with a melodious laugh.
"My area of concern is the Nacene Reach, the designation that we've given to the area of space beyond the Nekrit Expanse that Voyager first visited in 2371. We're naming it after the Nacene, a race of extra-galactic explorers who spent time there, and who created the array that brought Voyager there in the first place. It is an area with an unusual lack of natural resources; according to the ship's logs, many systems there appear to have been strip-mined and there is lack of liquid water in systems toward the edge of the region."
"Captain Koloth and I have been pouring over the records on this area of space and we have sent a limited number of probes through the wormhole, but this will be truly an adventure into the unknown. The Arcturus and the Stargazer have both been specially-refit to deal with the rigors of this area of space, and we're planning on leaving in a few weeks with fourteen other ships to begin initial surveys."
"The Nekrit Expanse is a natural barrier between this part of the quadrant and the Borg, an area several hundred light-years wide that seems devoid of resources and is home to intense gravimetric and subspace distortions that make navigation difficult. Because of this, technology levels in the Nacene Reach are comparatively low, but the powers there have not been overtaken by the more advanced ones beyond the Expanse. Specifically, the Kazon, Vidiians, and Haakonians are the dominant powers in the region."
"The Kazon are a warrior culture that have a loosely-organized group of clans and control a large amount of space in the region. Individually, their ships are unimpressive, but they can be a threat in large numbers. Our priority with them is to avoid becoming perceived as a threat in a way that might unify them."
"The Haakonians also control a large amount of space, but are significantly more structured. We consider them to be a possible diplomatic contact in the region, though they are noted for being very protective of their borders."
"Finally, the Vidiians are also a powerful race in this region of space, or at least they were in 2371. They are afflicted with a disease known as The Phage which consumes their bodies, requiring them to harvest organs from other beings to survive. Their technology level is greater than the other two powers, but their more limited numbers keep them in check."
"Interestingly, none of the dominant powers in this area of space have personal transporters or replicators; because of this, it is a high priority to keep these technologies from falling into the wrong hands, as it could drastically upset the balance of power."
"Our primary objectives in this region are as follows: establish diplomatic relationships with as many races as possible; discern the status of the Phage; investigate why this region is so resource poor; and begin to lay the groundwork for exploration beyond the Reach towards the galactic North and East, to see what lies beyond the area that Voyager was able to see," she concluded.
"As before, there will be some time for questions."
Juliet had been fascinated by all three presentations so far, but this one somehow drew her in even more. What could have possibly left that part of the Galaxy, an area hundreds of light-years across, in such a sorry state?
She raised her hand, and spoke when given the floor. "Thank you for the presentation, Fleet Captain Hayden. I wanted to ask if any overtures had been made, or are planned, for approaching certain Kazon sects? Perhaps some are more honourable than others, and can be broad on side?"
Her experience with the Klingons showed that in a warrior culture, there were often those whose honour was beyond reproach, and others who could be counted on only to do battle. With Klingons, more often than not it was possible to build bridges and form alliances. Voyager had encountered only hostile Kazon, but perhaps there were exceptional sects out there.
Commodore Juliet St. Clair
Executive Officer, Task Force 93 | Commanding Officer, USS Saturn
Hayden smiled. "We do plan on reaching out to them to negotiate for non-interference in our exploratory aims, but honor seems to be a foreign concept to the Kazon, at least from the logs we have from Voyager. Their society seems to be built around the idea that strength itself is virtue, so for any agreement to actually hold, they will need to perceive us as significantly stronger than they are. As far as we can estimate even assuming _some _technological growth, that should be the case."
Jonah thought about the logistics of sending sixteen ships on what seems to be a multi-year mission and supporting said vessels. "Fleet Captain Hayden, I've got several questions. First, without a fixed base in the Delta Quadrant, how will you handle resupply of the ships? Second, Is there a particular breakdown of the ships either by ship itself or by class that you are taking to the Nacene Reach? Last, how do you balance projecting enough strength without projecting too much strength? I understand if you cannot address these questions in this forum, but I also know that if I don't ask, they won't get answered."
The fleet captain arched an eyebrow as she considered the question. "I'm not going to speak about the specific ships assigned to any particular area of space in this setting, other than saying my own ship, the Arcturus, has been specially built to serve as a mobile base of operations for a long-range task group such as this one. We'll be carrying industrial replicators and spare parts, as well as serving as a shore leave facility for the smaller vessels accompanying us. We know that nothing is a given when it comes to wormhole physics, so we're limiting the types of ships assigned to the task force to those that we feel could satisfactorily make the journey home by conventional means, should that be necessary," she replied, thoughtfully. "As we develop more diplomatic contacts in this area of space, we should also be able to develop supply chains through allied worlds. The more allies we have, the more our strength can be expressed through soft power, rather than by simply adding more and more starships, which should keep the balance of hard power more stable."