Task Force 38
Since 2375, Task Force 38 has operated under the flag of the Delta Exploration Initiative, cataloguing systems and stellar phenomena, establishing relations with indigenous species, and protecting the Federation’s interest in Starfleet’s most distant area of operation.
For most of the Initiative’s existence, Task Force 38 was connected to Federation space by a transwarp gate in the Round Table region of the Delta Quadrant. However, in June 2388, tragedy struck. The Borg attacked the Round Table. Fearful the Collective would use the gate to attack the Alpha and Beta quadrants, Starfleet ordered the gate destroyed, stranding Task Force 38 halfway across the Galaxy.
In the aftermath, Task Force 38 struggled to define how to operate autonomously without communication or support from home. Because of the increased Borg threat in the Round Table, the decision was made to relocate their headquarters to the Gradin Belt, a region connected to the Round Table by the Epatha Gateway, an unstable wormhole that connects the two regions once every nine days. In both the Gradin Belt and the Round Table, the ships of Task Force 38 sought out new allies and defended against opportunistic aggressors, all the while searching for a way home.
For the better part of half a year, the Task Force struggled without success to find a connection to home. In November 2388, they finally caught a break. It was discovered that the Epatha Gateway didn’t just connect to the Round Table every nine days. Instead, at other intervals, it connected to other parts of space. One of those termini was the Fourth of July Nebula, a turbulent region of space in the Beta Quadrant. The catch was that this particular connection only lasted for fifteen minutes every three months.
While Task Force 38 now has a connection with home, it’s a fleeting one. Every three months, data, ships and personnel have fifteen minutes to transfer through. The rest of the time, Task Force 38 is on its own to establish a foothold in the Gradin Belt and explore the Round Table and other regions of the Delta Quadrant connected to the Gradin Belt by the Epatha Gateway.