"Romulans rarely bluff, and despite how it may seem I believe the Romulans are still in control.'"
- - Lieutenant Sorveck, S01Ep06 The Followers of Nero
The Fringe War was a conflict brought on with Starfleet's exploration of Area 83, a region of space left in the aftermath of the Hobius Star nova that led to the fall of the Romulan Star Empire. The mission of exploration unearthed a small sect of Romulan loyalist who still shared the same viewpoint on the Federation's lack of aiding the Empire when they needed it. They called themselves, the Followers of Nero, after their shared ideology with Captain Nero and the Narada crew. The followers were a force to be reckoned with as their technology was an amalgamation of Romulan and retrofitted Borg Technology, far advanced beyond the capabilities of the Federation. At the end of the conflict, the Followers of Nero were destroyed as well as the Eternity; however the retrofitted Borg Technology had been pocketed by the Council which was their goal in the conflict. Starfleet procured much in the territorial grab, new resources and planets to expand into which alienated them from the Klingon Empire.
"Starfleet tends to think that area to be the highest in potential for danger. We had a subspace relay stationed there a while ago, before the Neutral Zone establishment. Its sensors, all be it not as sophisticated at the time, detected high level of protomatter; though, conclusions cannot be made on if it is unstable'
- - Ambassador Jean Luc Picard, S01Ep01 "Iidius"
Following the destruction of the Romulan Star Empire, the Federation became a sanctuary for the refugees left in the wake. The Neutral Zone agreement dissolved allowing Starfleet to evaluate what was left of the region. Task Force 83 was founded, led by Ambassador Jean Luc Picard who had been the Federation's Liaison to Romulus, and included the Enterprise, the Titan, and the Eternity. The operation which would utilize the expanded capacity of the Titan, called for both the Enterprise and the Eternity to explore and map the region, bouncing their data to the Titan.
Several days passed before the Eternity, commanded by Commander James Maxwell, found an area of space that, as initial reports had indicated, was teaming with protomatter. This matter reacted to the nova of the star, sparking the catalyst that formulated the Iidius System. These new planets newborn, were rich in resources and territory. However, the third planet of the system catered something that was out of place, a transmission beacon. Due to the nature of the system, and the unstable nature of the surrounding area, transporting to the planet was not possible, so, an Away Team formed and a shuttlecraft was taken, leaving Lieutenant Commander Colin Byrne, in command of Eternity.
On the surface, Iidius 3 seemed like a paradise, another Earth ladened with untapped bounty. Locating the beacon, Chief Science Officer [[Sorveck[[ determined the device to be of Romulan origin and retrofitted with some kind of technology that bled similarities to what Starfleet records could only indicate as Borg. The team came under fire at the cusp of their discovery while, simultaneously, another battle waged in the space above between Eternity and two Klingon Birds of Prey that suddenly de-cloaked and opened fire. The capacity held by the Klingon relics were unlike those previous experienced as their weapon's offensive measures were amplified by nano-infused technology. Multi-phasic missiles were launched, passing through the Eternity's shields and breaking upon the hull of the Sovereign, rendering any amount of defense futile.
Eventually, radiation was used to seize onsite infections and stop the approaching missiles, however, it was the appearance of the Enterprise and Titan who had answered the Eternity's distress call that won the battle. The two Birds of Prey were destroyed. There weren't any survivors to question…,
The first shots were fired, beginning the Fringe War in earnest on the backbone of a misunderstanding between Starfleet and the Klingon Empire.
The Followers of Nero Revealed
"The Followers of Nero. That is what they call themselves. Remnants of the fallen Romulan Star Empire that follow the same ideology as Captain Nero…, even paint their grief on their skin."
- - Klingon Chancellor Martok, S01Ep02 "The Klingon Resolve"
The Eternity crew were held responsible for igniting a conflict on the Klingon people, blamed for infringing on the Empire's stance in the new territory despite evidence suggesting that it was a set up. Task Force 83 was broken and rebuilt, adding additional ships and a new Fleet Comander, Julia Passings. The exploration of the Fringe became more militaristic on both fronts.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Picard, who held sway with Klingon Chancellor Martok and General Worf heard vibrations and talk that suggested this conflict was seeded by other means. With help of Commander Deanna Troi, the Eternity was stolen by the ship's crew, escaping to a secret meeting in Klingon Space within the Cha-Dan System. Upon entering the sector, the Eternity was met with the KAS1 (Klingon Assault Squadron) Fleet of six Klingon Negh'Var Class Cruisers.
Beaming to the surface of Xia, Maxwell, Picard and Troi met with Chancellor Martok and General Worf escorted by a contingent of KAS1 warriors. There, Martok explained that Klingon Intelligence had had operatives investigating the Romulan remnant sect , the Followers of Nero (FON), when he learned that some Klingons had defected from the Empire, joining forces with the FON in promise that their vastly superior technology would be the catalyst for rebuilding both their empires to their former greatness. The Followers aimed to soften both sides by inciting a war between both the Federation and the Klingons; the incident with the Eternity, in order to build their numbers for assault on Starfleet. Martok did not take this evidence to Starfleet directly considering he did not know how far the Follower's sleeper cells reached. However, he felt he could trust Picard.
At the conclusion, with the truth now in the open, the Klingon defectors revealed themselves within the meeting, drawing weapons and holding the Chancellor and his guests at gun point. The situation of the conference turned south as Romulan General Trajan was revealed to have been listening to the conversation, ordering three of the six Negh'Vars to open fire on the Eternity and the other Klingons, splitting the KAS1 fleet, battling one another while dampening all signals from the surface.
Cataclysm ignited the space above as Klingon fought Klingon with Commander Byrne and the Eternity stuck within the firefight, the Kahless, the KAS1 Fleet Flagship was destroyed. Meanwhile the situation grows tense as the stalemate between the FON loyalist and the Away Team come to a head concluding with Trajan holding Troi hostage to stave off Maxwell and Picard's advance. The Romulan General takes both in beam out, escaping onboard the Scimitar Class Aehkhifv, though not before Maxwell shot the General through the face, the high intensity beam of the disrupter crossing the pattern buffer of the transporter.
The Aehkhifv left the system, nearly destroying the Eternity in its wake before the Renault and the Enterprise entered the system, hoping to capture the Eternity but finding that the conflict within the Fringe had escalated. With the Followers of Nero brought into the light, and the Klingon Empire in disorder over the murder of Chancellor Martok, the Fringe War began in earnest.
The Federation Fight Back
With the Followers of Nero revealed, the Federation declared war, igniting the biggest battle since their fight with the Dominion. For six months counter terrorist cells waylaid in the Klingon Empire and Starfleet, capturing hundreds of secret FON agents within the top hierarchy of their respected governments. Civil War was declared again in the Klingon Empire for a time before quelled by counter attacks in a joint efforts supported by both the Klingon Empire and Starfleet Intelligence
Through all of this, the Eternity was being refit, it's crew returned for a brief shore leave on Earth while the Sovereign was modified. When the new Eternity was ready to roll out, it became the flagship of the effort in the Iidius System, its commander, James Maxwell, who had been involved in Starfleet intelligence's operations in the Fringe, had been given the field rank of Fleet Commander.
The crew of the ship were introduced back into the war effort arriving at the Federation's foothold Iidius 3, the location of Metar Colony. It was here that intelligence reports suggested a FON base might exist. With help from Metar Colony, the exact location was determined which helped launch the Battle for Iidius 3.
The assault on the FON base was aided by the element of surprise, however the technological prowess of the Followers were grossly under estimated, causing extreme damage to Metar Colony, the young colony barely able to mount a defense to the FON Mech-bots. With the introduction of the Eternity's Military Detachment Reaper Team the tide began to turn, leading Task Force 83's first head on victory since the conflict began. Commander Troi was rescued and the base captured, its officers arrested, and new intelligence was taken that would lead the Task Force into directly assaulting the heart of the Followers, the Vault.
"I am not Federation."
- - Agent James Maxwell, S01Ep05 "The Vault"
With James Maxwell's Starfleet Intelligence background and Sorveck's hand in Section 31, Lieutenant Commander Colin Byrne had always suspected more, using his contacts within Starfleet to try to find more on the two. The lapse of trust came to a conclusion when the three tiered plan to assault the Followers' Vault installation suffered measurable casualties.
The assault on the Vault was carried out in multiple stages. Stage one saw Major Jonathan Harmon and the Reaper Team detachment using a Reman fighter as a means of sneaking in a team in order to sabotaging the Vault's offensive and defensive capabilities. Several hours later a Spear Fleet, comprised of the heavy cruisers of Task Force 83 and commanded by Fleet Commander Julia Passings and the Renault would head into the fray for a frontal assault. This would move attention from Sword Fleet, comprised of the quick assault frigates of Task Force 83 and commanded by Fleet Commander James Maxwell and the Eternity who would take a flanking attack vector.
In some fashion, the Followers of Nero had this intelligence, circumventing the plan by capturing Reaper Team, torturing it's Marine Commander, and leaving Spear Fleet to burn in the wake of vastly superior fire power. The Titan, Captain Riker's ship, was allowed to survive, barely, his crew and himself beamed off just as the ship fell from it's damage. It was enough to give James Maxwell reason for vengeance at the loss of Passings and Spear Fleet, and it gave further reason for Colin Byrne to confront the Fleet Commander about how much Starfleet Intelligence knew of the Vault.
How far did the rabbit hole go.
A secret compartment on Deck 18 of the Eternity revealed a surprising expansive room which held not only consoles supported by their own generators, but also an interrogation room where one of the Follower officers who had thought been taken by Starfleet remained in an obvious state of rough coercion.
Nearly breaking her neck with his boot, vengeance fueling Maxwell's quest to syphon information about the Follower's Scimitar Class Aehkhifv, the Fleet Commander was pulled by his First Officer, a notion of a plan forming at the mention of General Trajan's vengeance for what Jim did to him in the Cha'Dan system. Plan B would use two shuttles, the one that Harmon and his team used and the one that would be piloted by Jim when he gave himself up to Trajan, entering the Aehkhifv. Both shuttles would suffer warp core detonation, triggering two explosions, two distractions which Eternity and the rest of Sword Fleet as leverage for taking on the Vault, rescuing Harmon and his team, and taking out the Scimitar vessel.
The Mino was used, the warp core ready to ignite, as the Eternity's CO entered the Aehkhifv. The explosions went and the plan moved into flounshion, Sword Fleet using their speed and cloaking ability to launch the surprise attack further. The Eternity, commanded by Lieutenant Scott Orlan maintained the heat while Lieutenant Commander Colin Byrne and his team entered the Vault, completing Reaper Teams original mission while saving them and their CO.
The battle waged, finding conclusion with the Vault captured and the Aehkhifv destroyed, General Trajan killed by Maxwell's own hands. It was with his final breath, the the Follower General expressed that there was another ship, the Nero, that had the power and design to destroy the Federation; that this act of assaulting the Vault was merely to buy time.
Promising that he would stop it, the Eternity used the facilities and the capabilities of the Vault and its captured Follower Engineers to modify the ship to the same means that the Followers had modified their fleet. What was birthed was a bastard ship, born of Borg, Federation, and Romulan design. The Eternity was made anew to fight the Nero, Jim Maxwell neurally linked to the starship.
Officially, this is where the war ended. With the Follower's base captured, Starfleet began to pool their operations into recovery. However, Jim and Sorveck's employers, the Council, had other uses for them beyond just destroying the Followers of Nero. They wanted their technology, further, they didn't want Starfleet to be introduced with this tech by the means of war. Under orders, Jim Maxwell killed the Chief Engineer of the Vault during a tour of the new Eternity, Sorveck destroying the Vault and all Followers and Starfleet officers onboard. The technology was stolen, the tech made into the body of not only the Eternity, but also within James, a man with nothing left to lose, his soul already taken by that of the Machine.
End of the War
Jim Maxwell and the new Eternity met the Nero in the backdrop of the destroyed Romulus and Remus. Weapons fire was exchanged, both Captain's neurally linked felt the pain brought on by their assault. The space surrounding morphed and changed with the thunder of their powerful weapons while the Eternity's crew were helpless.
Both ship's evenly matched, began downward spiraling into destruction. Maxwell sensed this, through his link, and ordered the crew to leave. Colin, who had suspected that this Council wanted the tech all along stayed aboard, not wanting Jim and Sorveck to succeed in their actions of giving the Council the Follower's Technology. James agreed, sending the Eternity on an collision course with the Nero. Not only would the Nero be lost, but so too would the Eternity and himself.
Still not believing him, Colin was forcefully removed, transportered into an already escaping pod with the rest of his crew. Far away, he witnessed the Eternity collide with the Nero, the power cores igniting in a cataclysm that obliterated not only the ships in a mass of debris, but also the rest of what was left of the Followers of Nero.
- - Commander Colin Byrne, S01Ep06 "The Followers of Nero"
A series of events transpired following the conclusion of Eternity, the death of James Maxwell, and the final destruction of the last Follower of Nero was merely a catalyst. Much of the crew had crossed their lines of morality. Finding that Starfleet's actions in the Fringe were merely another Trail of Tears, the war an actual practice of eliminating all remaining Romulans from the sector.
A man, named Alan Smithee, began to make some of the more prevalent officers of Eternity disappear, including Rick Barlow and Amelia Moore, both officers that had a hand in the technology gleamed by the Follower's Vault. Sorveck's survival was at the cost of his left eye, but he managed to also secure the technology for the Council. His actions in information misdirecting secured that both his and Maxwell's presence in the war wasn't on record; further, tied all actions of commanding the Eternity towards Colin Byrne who had been CO and, further, ranked as Commander.
Jim Maxwell's body, his mind fused now with the Legacy, was recovered by Council agents while a new Eternity was in the beginning stages of being built.