U.S.S. Scylla NCC 11171

The Ferasan De-Militarisd Zone has been the longest Starfleet operation after the Klingon and Romulan Neutral Zones. Run since 2272, the DMZ has ensured the Ferasans did not send warships into Federation space again, it also affirmed the Ferasan border, stopping hostile forces like the Mirak or Lyrans from crossing into Ferasan space. The latest configuration of starships sent to the DMZ by Starfleet were Apollo and Okinawa class frigates to patrol the zone and Miranda class light cruisers, supported by Antares class AWACS ships to co-ordinate the frigates. Older designs such as the Phobos class were displaced by Apollo.

The expansion of Federation colonies had encroached on the Ferasan Patriarchy. What had once been a nation on the frontier of the fledgling United Federation of Planets was now a bubble nation with the ever-growing colonies of the Federation on their doorstep. This sense of claustrophobia had driven the Ferasans to attack Federation space in 2272. The outcome was never in doubt. Whilst the Ferasans themselves had the physical advantage in terms of their build and claws, Starfleet had battle experience with the Romulans and Klingons. The Starfleet Federation class dreadnoughts with the upgrades to Constitution class and other frigates meant that the Ferasans were soon defeated.

The Federation Council reacted to the latest Ferasan hostility with the Treaty of Sirius; a Treaty that established the De-Militarised Zone around Ferasan space an the disbandment of the Ferasan navy, with the exception of frigates and patrol vessels. Starfleet itself was to act as guardian to the Ferasans, their militant nature being expressed in the five wars between Earth and Ferasa. The Ferasans had historically fought with the Lyrans and Mirak, the removal of the Ferasan navy left them vulnerable to attack. Starfleet therefore acted as protector against these other nations. In 2275 the Mirak went to war with the Federation and that threat removed itself from the equation.

Starfleet established their DMZ fleet, deployed from the Seventh Fleet. Initially in the 2273 deployment a Constitution class heavy cruiser was sent to command the squadron consisting of Saladin class destroyers and Loknar class frigates. U.S.S. Hood, Essex and Potemkin were the first heavy cruisers assigned to DMZ duty, rotating as they finished their five-year missions. By the 2280s this had changed to Phobos class, Miranda class and refit Constitution class heavy cruisers like the Ark Royal and Forrestal. With the Tabula Rasa incident, Taubat, Metar, Romulans and Klingon aggression, the threat classification of the Ferasans was downgraded. A Miranda class light cruiser was assigned to control the patrol frigates, with Phobos and Okinawa class frigates patrolling.

The message from Klingon Ambassador Kage and Prel-ambassador had shaken the Federation Council to its core. In one move Chancellor Kaarg had wrong-footed their superpower neighbour. Vice-Admiral Rachel Winters called up the command ship for the DMZ mission: Miranda class U.S.S. Bellerophon, NCC-1956. The countdown was started for the removal of Starfleet's Ferasan DMZ mission: the monitoring stations, patrol frigates and larger assets. The captan of the Bellerophon was somewhat taken abck that Starfleet was going to hand over responsibility of thi pocket nation to an Empire that did not even share a border. This was allowing the Klingons access deep into Federation teritory and setting free a nation with a track record of five wars with Starfleet.

With developed colonies in the region, Starfleet had to come up with a new plan to be both compliant with the Klingons and yet keep those colonies safe at the same time. For now, the Scylla was to follow the Klingon freighters and observe for any breach of the Treaty of Sirius which was, for now, still in place. The complication of the Klingons using cloaked ships was allowed to pass for now; Starfleet did not want to give away the full capabilities of their Apollo and Antares class ships quite yet. Commander Ramirez was content to continue what was now the final patrol of the Ferasan DMZ, awaiting orders from Starfleet on how to proceed from here.

Bellerophon with Antares class in the Ferasan DMZ.

U.S.S. Bellerophon with her Antares class AWACS cruiser.
Images by my good friend Andrew Brown. Copyright © All Rights Reserved.

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