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< User:Emily Quinn
Federation:Alexander GunningLiarra Von
The first signs of Sojourner activity in the Galactic South was in 2387, indicated by an increase in pirate raids. At the time, Starfleet intelligence did not know the source of the raids, believing that the attacks were led by the Vinarian Syndicate due to the similarities to their established tactics. However, the attacks were far from the normal operating area of the Vinarian Syndicate.
In early 2388, the USS Shiloh was dispatched to the Galactic South Salvage Company starship boneyard. While on patrol, the USS Savannah, a member of Strike Group Shiloh, discovered that a number of ships had gone missing. The missing ships consisted of two Miranda-class, a Constitution-Refit-class, an Excelsior-Refit-class, two Constellation-class, a Curry-class transport, and two Oberth-class vessels. Further investigation revealed that the vessels had been stolen. The strike group planned an ambush, but were not able to determine who was responsible for the thefts. All they knew was that the ships were stolen and moved to another group, and had no leads as to where the ships were sent.
By the end of 2388, a private investigator working on Starbase 332 recovered intelligence on a Ritorian attack on the Thane system. Starfleet dispatched a fleet from Starbase 332, consisting of the USS Antietam, commanded by Captain Alexander Gunning, the USS Jackal, commanded by Commander Liarra Von, and the USS Metis, commanded by Lt. Commander Nilani Prax. When the strike group arrived at Thane, they did not find the Ritorian fleet they been expecting.
The strike group was met by a fleet consisting of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, a Cardassian Galor-class, two Miranda-class starships, and an Excelsior-Refit-class vessel as the flagship. Unlike their standard configurations, all of the vessels had a new blood red paint scheme. The former starfleet vessels matched the configuration of some of the missing vessels investigated by the Shiloh. The lead ship hailed the Antietam and announced that the strike group was in violation of Sojourner space.
As Captain Gunning quickly pointed out, the Thane system was protectorate of the Federation. However, Akurq, the Regent of Thane, had passed tactical and regional control to the Sojourners. Although the official documents had yet to be filed, it was within their rights as a protectorate to open negotiations with the Sojourners. When Captain Gunning insisted on leaving the Jackal in the system until the documents were filed, the leader of the Sojourners, a woman named Vaishaa, ordered her ships to open fire.
Initially, the Federation vessels held their own against the attacking ships. The Jackal and the Antietam's fighter groups were able to destroy the Bird-of-Prey and severely damaging the Miranda class ships. The Antietam engaged the larger vessels, but their focus was not on the strike group's flagship. Instead, the focused on the considerably weaker Nova-class Metis. The Jackal attempted to come to the Metis's aid, but was delayed by the arrival of Sojourner reinforcements. Another Miranda-class ship and another Bird-of-Prey dropped out of warp and engaged the Jackal.
The reinforcements kept the Defiant-class starship busy on the far side of the battlefield. With the fighters busy engaging the Sojourner fighters, and the Antietam tied up with the Galor-class vessel, the Metis was left mostly to fend for herself. The science ship took a beating, suffering many casualties. In the mean time, the Jackal was having better luck with her targets. One of the Miranda-class ships was destroyed, while the newest one was taking steady damage. With the Metis's warp core on the edge of collapse, and the Antietam taking heavy damage, all seemed lost for the strike group. Fortunately, the USS Vesta arrived to aid the fleet. Despite the failure of her quantum slipstream drive, the Vesta's superior speed allowed the ship to intercept the forces at Thane. Despite the help of the Vesta, the Metis was lost. Luckily, the forty-three surviving crew members were beamed aboard the Vesta before the Metis was destroyed. Captain Gunning signaled the retreat, and the remaining ships limped back to Starbase 332.
After their victory at Thane, the Sojourners quickly moved to grow their control in the sector. Using Thane as their capital, the Sojourners spread out and begin skirmishing with the Ritorians along their border. They send their patrols deeper and deeper into Federation territory. Fearing that tensions with the Sojourners could escalate, Starfleet increases their military strength in the Archanis sector by sending a battalion of Federation marines to Starbase 332, and replacing the destroyed Metis with the Excelsior-Refit-class USS Carthage.
The Ritorians, thinking that they could put themselves in a better position against the Federation, decided to negotiate an alliance with the Sojourners. While they felt they could easily roll over the Sojourners, the military action would put them in a difficult position since Thane is technically part of the Federation. The Sojourner-Ritorian alliance was met with diplomatic resistance by the Federation Diplomatic Corps, but several smaller states, notably the Pak'Leth, the Myaz Sovereignty, and the Ferengi at Mira, signed a non-aggression pact with the Ritorians as a result of the alliance.
This now gives the Sojourners free reign to conduct raids against convoys and Federation planets in the sector. Through these means, the Sojourners are able to secure a stretch of territory below the Ritorian Confederacy that allows them to threaten the borders of both the Federation and the Myaz Sovereignty.
In hopes to better combat the Sojourners, Starfleet dispatches Lt. Commander Brian Ratchford to Starbase 332 to lead a series of war games. He will take command of the USS Jackal, tasked with chasing down the USS Carthage, under the command of Commander Liarra Von. The Carthage is tasked with acting as the Sojourners, simulating raids against Federation targets. However, this operation would not go unnoticed by the Sojourners.