THE STATE OF EMPIRE, 2387 STAR TREK: THE NEW ORDER Peace reigns in the Quadrant. A triumphant Federation has destroyed the mortal enemy of Freedom, the Dominion, and sent it back across the wormhole from where it came, and now stands as the predominant power in the region. Their century-long enemy, the hardfought foe of Cardassia, has been brought to heel and, with an allied - cynics might say puppet - government, they are no longer a thorn on the side of Starfleet. Relations with the Klingon Empire, disregarding the usual border disputes and brazen acts of individual privateers, have never been higher. Even the Romulan Empire, shrouded behind the veil of the Neutral Zone, has been making overtures of peace and reconciliation. Optimistic scholars say that reunification with Vulcan is possible within a generation. And all of this is to the direct benefit of the Federation, which in the wake of the Dominion War has swelled to a size never seen before. In other words, the Federation stands unchallenged in its corner of the Galaxy. It seems that the Eternal Peace, which billions of men and women gave their lives for in dozens of star systems and fleet actions, was a dream that was worth fighting for. It is now not only a dream, but a reality made possible by their sacrifice. Post-War prosperity rings in good times throughout the Federation, as Starfleet returns to its normal mission of exploration after being on war footing for almost ten years. It seems that life, after such chaos and destruction, is finally returning to normal. But it is soon all about to change. Disjointed and oft contradictory reports begin flooding the listening posts along the Neutral Zone, the officers manning the post not used to such activity from the usually secretive and paranoid Empire. Not much is able to be made out of the chaotic transmissions, except visions of an Apocalypse drawing near. As more reports fly in, the picture comes into focus. The worst fears of Starfleet are confirmed when a Romulan Warbird decloaks on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone, asking for asylum for their crew: Romulus has been destroyed, and the Romulan Empire is disintegrating by the minute. The various client states and slave races once kept in check by the military might of the Emperor are unleashed upon the dying Empire. The Remans, not having tasted independence since Man discovered fire on Earth, raise up the standards of their ancient Kingdom. But there are many claimants to the Obsidian Throne, each with their own men to draw upon. The Nausicaans, the Vronnuks, the Troknai, and the thousand other slave races once subject to oppressive Romulan rule too raise their banners in rebellion, but only time will tell if their struggle for independence will succeed. The Romulan Government, having been decapitated by the loss of Romulus, scrambles to find itself in the swirling mess of the Empire. A Provisional Council, set up along Federation ideals of representative democracy - or at least a Romulan conception of it - is formed and quickly finds itself in contact with the Federation, seeking aid in the coming civil strife. Elsewhere, warlords with their squadrons roam the Empire, a headless army without a leader or a mission. They tear through star systems, looking for purpose but finding only loot and bloodshed. Rumors roll throughout the remnants of the Romulan Star Navy that, somewhere deep in Imperial space, the Empire continues on with a relative of the last Emperor on the throne, and is preparing itself for the restoration of the Empire. It is clear to all the powers in the region that the vacuum caused by the destabilization of the Empire can only mean one thing. War is coming. The Klingons mobilize their military forces and begin sending punitive expeditions into the fractured and weakened Imperium, exacting revenge for crimes done onto their people. Squadrons of birds-of-prey and cruisers fly from their bases, bloodlust in their eyes as they descend upon the defenseless Romulan colonies. Frantically, the 12th Fleet - normally kept in reserve for anti-piracy operations - is deployed to the Neutral Zone to deal with the incoming refugee crisis and, ostensibly, to keep the peace. One of these ships, practically rushed out of the drydock, is the USS Vigilance, an aged Ambassador-class cruiser in drydock for extended repairs. The crew is picked from those on temporary duty assignment and those awaiting transfer orders and, with a brief shakedown cruise to the Neutral Zone the only thing to prepare them, are sent out to enforce the Federation's ideals of Freedom, Democracy, and Liberty. Or, at least, that is what they believe. For the dawn of a New Galactic Order is peaking over the Milky Way Horizon, and it can be stopped by no man.