The L'heia Sector is a region of space in the Beta Quadrant, separated from Federation space by the majority of the Romulan Star Empire. Largely unexplored even by the Romulans, who's designation is most commonly used by most Alpha Quadrant authorities, the L'heia Sector is the focus of exploratory efforts to shed some light on just what lies out there...
Despite the distance separating it from Federation space, the L'heia sector can be accessed quite quickly and easily by means of a short-cut discovered by the USS Aurora in 2388 - the Rabbit Hole.
The Rabbit Hole
With one end settled in the L'heia Sector, the the Rabbit hole is a wormhole-like anomaly that allows rapid transit across the vast distance separating that region from the federation. The other end is just on the Federation side of the Romulan Neutral Zone, a fact that has led to some delicate negotiation to allow Starfleet vessels to transit through the anomaly itself without the Star Empire taking exception to such a rise in activity so close to their border.
The nature of the Rabbit Hole itself is still somewhat ambiguous, as it shows signs of both natural and artificial elements in it's structure. It has proven difficult to get accurate readings on the fabric of the wormhole itself, but any vessel traversing it will be hard-pressed not to notice the presence of the "support" rings spaced every so often along it's length. Ancient in construction, these rings are kilometres across, and as a result prove to be no hazard at all to navigation to any ship operating under even the barest minimum of flight control... though this does little to alleviate the sometimes ominous feeling their mere presence has been known to inspire in those that see them.
Current Exploratory Assets
Whilst not a heavily travelled area of space, the L'heia Sector is the operational home to a number of vessels that are engaged in exploring and studying the region.
- USS Avandar - Under the command of Captain Della Vetri, the Luna-class USS Avandar is Starfleet's primary exploration asset in the Sector.
- USS Halo - Commanded by Captain Candice Khaine, the Galaxy-class USS Halo serves a three-fold function in the L'heia Sector: exploration, back-up should it be required by the USS Avandar, and - perhaps most importantly to some - the first line of defence for the Rabbit Hole should a hostile agency attempt to force passage through to Federation space.
Locations of Note
- Mol Ei'krih - An old, Klingon-built D7 battlecruiser, the Mol Ei'krih is the current home of a group of Romulans: the survivors and descendants of the ship's crew who were stranded in the L'heia Sector by a calamity that befell them shortly after the Romulan government took delivery of the ship from it's builders. A notable percentage of the inhabitants chose to return to the Empire after the USS Aurora encountered them when the Rabbit Hole deposited them almost directly on top of the D7 - and also told the Romulans that a way home had lain almost within arm's reach all along...
- "Eden" - Located reasonably close to the L'Heia Sector end of the Rabbit Hole, "Eden" is a dead world, devoid of all life but bearing the signs of a primitive culture that once lived there. It received it's somewhat ironic name courtesy the crew of the USS Avandar, who found themselves experiencing first-hand a replay of the events that led to the planet's end as a Class M world. Given the cause of the event, and the means by which the Avandar's crew discovered it, warning buoys have been placed in the area to discourage any more ships from straying too close.
- The Archive - A cometary body in deep space, The Archive is the nesting ground of an unusual form of cosmozoan, dubbed "Wake Angels" by some of those who first encountered them. The comet itself is also home to another form of entity, one that resides inside the cometary nucleus itself, and acts as custodian for a library of experiences, gathered from across the areas of space that the comet has traversed. The location of the comet has been classified in an attempt to try and minimise the chance of such knowledge being stolen and misused.
- Werent Colony - A mining and industrial outpost, Werent Colony recently underwent a rather drastic change in leadership in the wake of a visit by the USS Avandar. The dictatorial rule of the Colony's ruler, Count Iblie, was brought to an end by his subjects after a full investigation of his practices and the events of the Avandar's visit was conducted by the USS Halo.
- Shalin - An independent world, not belonging to any of the sector's resident power blocs, Shalin serves as a corporate haven and free trading hub. It is a long way from being as lawless as that might suggest, however, and is one of the more peaceful and stable places in the sector. Since the first visit there by the USS Avandar, there has been a certain degree of interest in learning more about the Federation, though any possibility of more a formal connection being forged remains a long way off.
Factions of Note
- Free Trade Alliance - A loose association of worlds and alliances that have adopted trade and political practices to help smooth the way for merchant activity between themselves. Generally seen as benevolent - or at least ambivalent - there are, however, rumours that some of the FTA's policies have a more aggressive undertone than it may first appear.
- The Alr'n - Leading a nomadic existence around the Sector, the Alr'n are regarded by most as a pest at best, and a piratical menace at worst. Whilst there is no denying that the Alr'n's most common means of getting what they need is stealing it, that may well be less due to inclination and more to the simple fact that they are regarded so poorly by those they might otherwise try and trade with.
- The Xomites - Most encounters with the Xomites tend to be when someone crosses paths with one or more of their "freelance law enforcement" agents. Effectively little more than mercenaries, these bounty hunters tend to show little regard for jurisdiction or proper procedure, instead focussed almost entirely on the pay-check and anything else they can manage to get their hands on along the way.
- The 12 Deities of Destruction - Next to nothing is currently known about these entities, save that they were active at approximately the same time as the Iconian Empire. Indeed, what evidence has been unearthed suggests that they were violently antagonistic toward the Iconians, and may well have been responsible for the destruction of a number of worlds that once held an Iconian presence.