Operation Open Water is the first non-military joint venture between the Imperial Oferan Empire and the Alliance in which they will send a fleet of starships into the uncharted Bregenna Expanse on a mission of exploration.
Announced in 328AE to launch in 329AE the mission was seen as a huge political victory for President Montcalm Smallsmith as before this the Oferan Empire had shown no aspirations towards joint ventures in anything other than a military capacity. The mission was seen as incredibly important due to the fact that Oferan Messiah Ibudab had agreed to leave the Empire for the first time and personally lead the mission, which was an enormous endorsement and led to millions of Oferan trying to get onto the ships heading out on the mission.
Star Command officers had another thought though, many did not want to go into a new area of space that was considered dangerous and could easily be explored at a fraction of the cost with automated probes. It was also considered career suicide to leave the political maelstrom of the Core Worlds to explore an area of space many thoguht to be worthless.
However, several new ships were being commissioned after a long design process and they were placed on this mission as part of their "shake down cruise" to work out any bugs in their systems. They would be crewed with young up-and-coming officers who needed experience, and troublesome officers whom Command wanted to get out of the main political arena for a few years.
By mid-February 329AE Star Command officials who had opposed the mission were singing its praises. There had been six major archaeological digs, two that had unearthed Si’La technologies not known to have existed before. They had made first contact with two new races, the Malk and the Pirec, and then there had been the massive upheaval when their new Pyntaxian allies had been revealed to be the gods of the Pirec. There had been two dozen military engagements with pirates and other criminal elements. Only three ships had been lost, all ships that had been ear-marked for decommission before being thrown into Operation Open Water to make up the numbers. The results of these battles had seen over one thousand criminals captured and brought to the Alliance or Imperial Oferan Empire for trials, millions of Ajilon’s of stolen hardware recovered and over six thousand people saved who had been kidnapped and would have been sold into illegal slavery. Further to this, piracy in the Frontier Rim and Core Frontier were down by over sixty percent, and organized crime figure throughout those regions were down by thirty percent.
By Rabcyella 329AE experts and the media were calling this "the greatest era of exploration in Alliance history" due to the planets being found in the "New Frontier" and the first contact made with new races such as the Pirec, Sarafid Dowd'i, Tincarma, Malk, Naz'Jil's and Pyntaxian's.