The Gavarian Frontier is the former Theatre of Operations for Task Force 47 of the 4th Fleet (now disbanded) and the Cardassian 7th Order. The region suffered recently during a costly war between the forces of the Cardassian Union and the Romulan Star Empire. In early 2389, a Gavarian Exploration Agreement was signed, ending the war and allowing exploration to occur once more.
The Gavarian Corridor (also known as the Gavarian Frontier), named after Captain Anticulo Gavarian who commanded the USS Franz Josef, the first Starfleet vessel to have charted the corridor for Federation interests in 2382, is the Theatre Of Operations of Task Force 47. It is an area of space that extends towards the ‘Northern’ sectors of the explored regions of the Alpha Quadrant and Beta Quadrant and is located between and beyond the Cardassian and Romulan Empires. It is an area of space that is, for the most part, mostly uncharted by the Federation.
Leading to the Frontier is a 400 light-year stretch of space known as the Gavarian Corridor. At the mouth of the Corridor sits Deep Space 10, an old, reclaimed Cardassian Mining Station that serves as the Starfleet headquarters for operations in the Corridor. In stark contrast, at the far end of the corridor, 40 light-years from the relative safety of the United Federation of Planets (10 days at warp 9), sits Anticulo IV in the Anticulo System. This planet housed the first established (scientific) base in the region and sits in neutral territory, making it the ideal stopping point for the Task Force before heading into the Frontier itself.
As the Starfleet presence grew larger, so did the amount of information gathered by the vessels exploring the area. Many new systems and areas of importance were discovered as Task Force 47 continued the Starfleet mission of scientific exploration. A journey as long as a month and a half could be required, at Warp 9, to cross the Corridor from one side to the other. Starfleet has therefore took the decision to position at its entrance the operational base for Task Force 47, Deep Space 10. All Starfleet or Federation vessels wishing to enter the Corridor must first stop at Deep Space 10 before being allowed to proceed. Starfleet has also recently regained command of Olympus Base, a planetary facility just less than half way along the Corridor located in the Aquorat system. Of Romulan origin, this facility is the last Starfleet or Federation maintained facility before entering into the vast unknown of the Frontier.
- Deep Space 10 is the first stop for all Federation ships as all vessels must report in at DS-10 before entering the Corridor.
- Comani Rubble is an asteroid field located ‘North’ of Romulan space.
- Tolara Prime can be located one light-year ‘South-West’ of the Gavarian system.
- Haess III is the home of the Hayden'ek species.
- The Eruine System is located at the top left tip of the corridor, inside Cardassian space.
- Belkan's Drift
- Anticulo IV was once home to Kepler Station, believed to have been destroyed by the Order of 12.
- The Il’Trian System can be found approximately halfway along the corridor and is a known location of an abandoned Obsidian Order base. Il'Trian IV is the location of a new Federation colony world.
- The Mauo System, located in the Gavarian Frontier just above Romulan space, was once home to a suspected Tal Shiar operation and an item of strategic, military value; an Iconian Gateway.
- A system under the flag of the Cardassian Union, the Ralius System is the site of a new Cardassian colony and military base being built in orbit.
- The Turlix System inside the Cardassian Union is the suspected locale of a base belonging to the Order of 12.
- Aquorat System, home to Olympus Base - a former Romulan Outpost once under Federation jurisdiction.
By the 2340’s, the Romulan and Cardassian Empires had expanded to such a length that, near and above the Badlands, their borders almost touched. As well, the two empires had stopped expanding at such a point that it left the galactic ‘North’ of the Alpha and Beta quadrants largely uncontested and uncharted by any government. Not until the mid-2350’s did either of those government’s realize the vast strategic importance the unclaimed area of space could have.
In 2357, both Empires tried to take advantage of the Frontier. Though not known as the Gavarian Frontier at the time, it was known as a frontier and an opportunity. The Romulans tried to mount an assault on Cardassian soil, only to be met with a similar Cardassian force attempting to attack the Romulans. This lead to a little-known skirmish (to the Federation, at least) at Tolora Prime, a system just a light-year away from Anticulo IV. Although the skirmish concluded as a draw between then, both Empires realized that it was an invaluable way to indirectly combat each other without the Federation's knowledge.
Over the next ten years, multiple engagements by both military and intelligence factions were fought within either Empire, though none came to any deciding conclusion. However, by the late 2360’s the two Empires knew their constant nagging at each other had to come to a close because the Federation had, once again, expanded farther and faster than they had expected.
However, this only caused severe tensions to arise between the two powers. Just before the war, Federation delegates had to oversee a cease fire agreement between the Cardassian Third Order and the Eighth Imperial Romulan Fleet in what is now known as the Gavarian Corridor by the Federation (the corridor of space that leads to the Frontier). This largely contested area of space has been a hotbed of intelligence activity ever since the Empires ceased their military operations in the Frontier.
During the Dominion War, the Frontier and the Corridor were prime fighting grounds for the Romulan and Dominion forces by the time the Romulans had entered the war. It was a key facet of the allied victory, as it allowed Romulan forces to sweep around and keep the enemy occupied on their flank while, near the end of the war, the Federation Alliance geared up for an assault on Cardassia Prime itself.
Though most thought the end of the war would ease tensions, it did not. The Romulans retreated to their borders once again, and the battered Cardassians, for a time, did as well. All thought that the Cardassians had learned their lesson and that there would be peace for years to come. It was years, but only a few. Once the Cardassians regained most of their former strength, tensions once again shot up.
The early 2380’s saw the return of the Cardassians as a secondary power in galactic politics. As such, heated debate picked up once again between the two powers. Political tension, especially along the Corridor, ran high. Highly contested and valuable systems, some rich with dilithium ore and other ores key to ship production were the most intensely fought over, and at numerous points in the last six years the situation came precarious close to bloodshed.
In 2383, the first Federation outpost was established within the Frontier at the "mouth" of the Gavarian corridor on the planet of Anticulo IV. It was a small, though well-equipped, deep space research base with minimum military capabilities. In other words, it was able to defend itself if need be, though barely. The introduction of this base caused outrage among their neighbours, but nothing more was done about the matter.
With tensions still running high, inter-galactic interest swivelled in the direction of the Frontier. Though in the long run the Federation saw a chance for possible exploration and, in the distant future, expansion, it also saw how high tensions were in the area. In 2386, under direct orders from Starfleet Command, and thus onward Starfleet Strategic Operations, seven ships were dispatched to Anticulo IV, the location of the Federation’s first Federation base in the region. Their standing orders were to referee the Romulans and the Cardassians while charting this new Frontier, and to keep the peace at all costs. A notable player in this new initiative was Captain Nithumen Browsden, who had been refused retirement in order to become a key member of the Starfleet-wide Task Group assigned to the Frontier.
The Frontier is quite the location for debate between the Cardassian and Romulan governments, and now Starfleet with the inclusion of a Federation presence. For just over thirty years, the Frontier has been used as a military staging ground and, in the corridor between the two Empires, has been a hot spot of political debate and aggressive diplomacy. The Romulans and Cardassians have both staked claims to countless systems, especially within the corridor, citing such reasons as, "We were here first," or, "We have cultural ties to this system," etcetera, etcetera.
Initially, the Romulans had the upper hand. After the Dominion War, the Romulan Empire was left in a fairly stable state and much more of a potential threat to the other major powers as the Romulan Empire took only the final brunt of the Dominion assault. This military advantage was the strength behind their claims and efforts to once again expand the Empire. However, it soon became clear that a few of the systems closer to Cardassian space already had Cardassian residents living on them in small, isolated colonies. The Cardassians used this to their own advantage to stake a claim for more territory. It was believed, however, that half of these colonies were made up of refugees wishing to escape the Union for a time, and not wanting to be involved (as a people) in the then militaristic way of Cardassia.
With the introduction of the Federation into the Frontier in mid 2382, the two Empires became increasingly on edge. Both Empires viewed the Federation as untrustworthy and both the Romulans and the Cardassians used the introduction of the Federation as an opportunity to try and undermine the Federation by citing that the Federation desired to surround, in a sense, either Empire. This caused the Federation some turmoil in the early days of their presence in the region as they had to deal with countless accusations and questions regarding their reasons for being in the Frontier, other than to simply referee or to explore. Some parties even believed that the Federation presence in the Corridor was to allow them to directly involve themselves in the internal affairs of either government.
Direct Starfleet involvement in what is now known as the Gavarian Frontier began in 2382. Starfleet saw the need to once again begin the exploration of new frontiers. Though at first hesitant, in late 2382 Starfleet, under direct Federation orders and permission, began the construction of a small research base of a habitable planet. The most suitable planet in the Frontier was located 80 days away from Federation space. However, the base was built and the system was named Anticulo, in honour of the Captain who charted it. The base is located on the fourth planet.
Because of the repercussions of the new Federation base, Starfleet had three ships assigned to the Frontier: the Potemkin, Gloria and the Ren’Tak. The Potemkin and Gloria performed charting expeditions and scientific operations while the Ren’Tak acted as a defense ship of Anticulo IV itself.
However, due to the aggressive nature of the Cardassians in late 2385, the Ren’Tak was re-assigned elsewhere and five other ships (the Merrimack, T’Lana, Venice, Odyssey and Hippocrates were deployed along the Gavarian Frontier in 2386. The USS Ajax was also assigned to the Frontier to conduct Covert Ops missions and gather Intelligence.
The USS Goddard spent a significant amount of time travelling to and from the Talusan system where plans for a new facility, Deep Space 17, were to be confirmed. These plans have since been abandoned in favour of a new planetary based Outpost in the Aquorat System. The USS Ajax conducted several important intelligence investigations into Romulan and Cardassian involvement in the Frontier whilst the USS Venture was all set to travel the length of the Frontier and pick up the former mission of the USS Patriot, establishing an archaeological dig on the Mauo system – home of an abandoned Iconian Gateway. This mission was halted by Starfleet Command at the behest of the Romulan Government.
Tensions with the Cardassian Union were high by the end of 2386 and in early 2387 with the emergence of the Order of 12, a terrorist faction hell bent on removing the Federation from the Corridor.
Romulan Withdrawal and the Gavarian Armistice Agreement
In mid 2387, Cardassia underwent another period of change when the civilian Detapa Council elected a new Head of State that would bring some strength to the government and end military dictatorship over the Union. Iliannah Kattell was elected to office as the new Castellan and she immediately, and ruthlessly, ended the military rule over Cardassia. She installed a number of new Gul's and Legate's to key posts in the military and set about negotiating a new peace for her people, but her efforts were undermined following the Hobus incident in Romulan space.
Whilst tens of thousands of Romulan refugees flocked to the safety of unknown worlds in the Gavarian corridor, the Romulan government, backed by the military, pulled all forces out of the Corridor, abandoned colonies and Outposts and began a new period of isolation behind their borders. This left once thriving trade routes now dormant, left clusters of worlds with no protection.
This left the corridor a tempting target and the Cardassian military tried to persuade the Castellan to step up efforts to claim the corridor in the name of the Union, but Kattell knew that the military wouldn't be able to hold off Starfleet indefinitely and they would soon stake their own claim for the corridor. Instead, she felt that in order to strengthen the Cardassian position, it would be best to negotiate an armistice between the two major powers, ensuring her peoples continued presence in the Gavarian Corridor, whilst also limiting the Federation presence on her own terms. With the backing of the council, Kattell invited the Federation Ambassador for peace talks on Cardassia.
The Federation Council, initially skeptical of the motives behind such a peace process couldn't hide the fact that they were keen to go ahead with it. After holding discussions with Starfleet Command it was decided that Ambassador Eric Rider would travel to Cardassia aboard a ship of Starfleet's choosing and with the ships commanding officer, Rider would negotiate on behalf of the Federation. Starfleet Command gave the mission to Admiral Duncan of Task Force 47 and he dispatched the USS Venture to escort the Ambassador to Cardassia.
As talks began to get underway, it was clear that both sides wanted to limit each other's ability to challenge the other for rights to the region. Demands were put on the table from both sides and after some tense moments, an eventual agreement was signed.
Both parties agreed to undertake joint responsibility for the unaligned worlds in the corridor and would take part in joint scientific and exploratory endeavors in the Frontier. Most notably for the Federation, the signing of the treaty finally meant the Cardassians recognised the Federation's claim to the region and as such, any attempt to oust them would be seen as an act of war.
The agreement restricted the presence of military forces in the corridor. The agreement importantly limited military installations to just one per power, recognising Olympus Base on Aquorat IV in the name of the Federation and a new base under construction in the Ralius System for the Cardassian Union. It was agreed that vessels from either side could make port at their opposite numbers station without prior request. Whilst the agreement limited the military capabilities of both sides, it stated quite the opposite in relation to civilian colonies and actively encouraged the two sides to work together to establish civilian worlds under their respective rule.
The agreement was signed and sealed on Stardate 64364.21 and so the Gavarian Armistice Agreement came into effect immediately. All Starfleet or Cardassian military forces without a specific mandate to be present for specific missions were put on notice that they were to leave the Corridor at the earliest possible convenience. The USS Venture transported Ambassador Rider and several Cardassian delegates to Olympus Base. With the Venture back in the corridor, the Starfleet presence was once again at its maximum, but there were concerns that the Venture and some of the other vessels would be diverted from their tasks when Captain Hunter relayed a special message from the Castellan to the Task Force Executive Officer, Commodore Kate Walsh – the Order of 12 were back and posing a significant threat to the Corridor. Together, in missions of vital importance, the 7th Order and Task Force 47 were to hunt down and apprehend these vicious terrorists once and for all.
With the Armistice in place an uneasy peace descending over the Gavarian Corridor, Starfleet forces began missions penetrating deep into the Corridor, aiming towards finally reaching the vast frontier beyond. But, with Starfleet forces spread quite thin and some of the stations personnel on a mission of importance into Cardassian space, Deep Space 10 became a tempting target for the Order of 12. With the station receiving a colony ship set for work within the Trivas System, the time had come to strike. Sending an operative aboard the station, a bomb was planted aboard the colony ship and was detonated, destroying the ship and much of one of the stations Upper Pylons.
The ensuing investigation found that the operative on the station was actually Commodore Kate Walsh, the original person having been replaced by an operative of the Order. Despite being rescued by the crew of the USS Mikhail Kalashnikov, the real Commodore Kate Walsh died of the injuries sustained.
With a Flag Officer killed at the hands of Cardassian citizens and a Starfleet asset critically damaged, Tensions between Starfleet and the Cardassian Union began to rise, despite the Armistice...
In early 2388, the Task Force operated under the command of Rear Admiral James Ryan, a decorated individual with recent experience of negotiating and working with the Cardassian government. The Admiral's tenure began in promising fashion, with both Cardassian and Romulan delegates arriving at Deep Space 10 to carry out negotiations over an amendment to the Gavarian Armistice Agreement that would have seen the Romulans become signatories as well. The promising peace did not last for long.
The process was undermined all along by the Order of 12 who had acquired a dozen or so Cardassian vessels. Posing as the 7th Order, the ships were dispatched to attack varying Romulan places of interest throughout the Corridor. Their goal was simple – to cause a conflict that would force the Cardassian government to take control of the Corridor and expel the Romulans and the Federation at last.
On Stardate 65089.63 (February 2nd, 2388) the Order launched their last mission and attacked a Romulan convoy leaving the Quillian System.
War had begun… and Starfleet was caught in the middle.
Upon the outbreak of hostilities between the Cardassians and the Romulans, the Romulan government authorized a military blockade of the Aquorat system and ordered Starfleet to evacuate Olympus Base and hand control over to the Romulan vessels blockading the planet. The USS Venture arrived under orders from Rear Admiral James Ryan and proceeded to evacuate all Starfleet personnel from the base before handing over control of the facility to the Romulans. By March of 2388, the Federation presence in the corridor had all but disappeared. The Corridor was a war zone and Starfleet forces had faced ultimatums from both sides. Unable to render any assistance to anyone for fear of being accused of taking sides, Starfleet began to withdraw its forces and towards the end of March.
While the war had started, both parties warned the Federation not to intervene in this situation. If aid was given to any of both parties, then they to would declare upon the Federation. Starfleet removed all assets from the Gavarian Corridor and no ship may pass Deep Space 10.
War raged for nearly a year. Both the Cardassians and Romulans saw heavy casualties, nor could they manage to hold onto a system for longer than a couple of months. In early 2389, thanks to an invitation from the United Federation of Planets, all three parties signed a treaty, the Gavarian Exploration Agreement. This brought an end to hostilities, and also opened the doors for the Federation to return to the Corridor.