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The Eighth "Horizon" Fleet is based out of the Nor-class Starbase 386 and operates within a patrol zone bordering the Cardassian Empire, Breen Confederacy, Elyshan Empire, and Romulan Empire as well as a vast expanse of unclaimed space stretching toward the Galactic Core.

As the Dominion War drew to a close in the year 2375, Starfleet Command found that Starfleet’s forces were very unevenly distributed throughout the Federation, in large part due to wartime priorities and the heavy combat losses. In an effort to use the remaining Starfleet forces to adequately protect Federation citizens and territories, Starfleet command developed what became known as the Zonal Defense Strategy. Under this plan Federation space was split into zones, varying in size by population density and proximity to potential hostile forces. Each Numbered Fleet was assigned to patrol one of the zones and perform all Starfleet operations within the bounds of that zone. As an added precaution, several of the zones overlapped in areas of space where tensions with non-Federation races or between member worlds were especially high. This gave Starfleet the flexibility to move large forces to high-tension areas quickly without leaving the rest of the Federation vulnerable to attack.

As Starfleet began to rebuild ships, outposts, and infrastructure destroyed or damaged during the Dominion War, the fleets on the outer edges of Federation space found that their tasks were once again beginning to include new exploratory efforts as well as defense. One of these fleets was the Eighth Fleet, located between the Cardassian Union, the Breen Confederacy, and the Typhon Expanse along the Romulan Neutral Zone. It quickly became known by its members as "Horizon Fleet" due to its position on the very edge of Federation space.

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