The Star Desert or Stellar Desert is an area of space at the farthest reaches of Federation Exploration in the The Round Table area of the Delta Quadrant. The area is home to only a few stars, and even fewer civilizations in contrast to the Jathlin Arm which it borders on its north. The region was most notably explored by the USS Horlderlin in 2384, and remains a prime area for exploration by Task Force 38.
The Star Desert is at the very edge of the area explored by Task Force 38 has established a limited presence in the Round Table, with a number of small research stations and a few large exploratory missions to date. The nearest border of the region is over 300 light years away from the Solaria Gateway and the base of Starfleet's power in the region, making exploration missions to the region all the more hazardous. Thanatoksia is the closest inhabited world and to the north the region is borders by the Perenalthorias Union. While devoid of stars in comparison to the surrounding region of space, this does not mean no stars exist in the desert or that it is completely empty. Rogue planets and other objects that have broken out of a stable orbit around a star can possibly be found in the region, which can possibly host a variety of unusual lifeforms. Numerous hazards such as difficult to detect dark matter nebulae, black holes, and dangerous spatial anomalies are also possibly found in the region, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for explorers of the region.
The only species of note to have inhabited the Star Desert were the Skareen. Their homeworld, Hakera is only marginally habitable, forcing them to build their cities underground and in the past was at the center of a vast empire the Skareen had built. In spite of the limitations of the region the militaristic species were able to grow to the point of threatening to dominate not just the Star Desert, but the area of the Jathlin Arm as well. But before they could achieve true dominance their empire was shattered by forces unknown causing their civilization to collapse and leading to the presumed extinction of the Skareen. Despite not being heard from in over 200 years the extent and brutality of their Empire has had a great effect on the cultural memories of the other species in the region. Even today there are worlds that fear a return of the Skareen. Their presence can also still be seen through the region in the form of the Arches. These massive military research stations are host to a number of advanced technologies and still quite dangerous. They were recently shut down in 2384 but remain a going concern. It it is especially worried that a species native to the Round Table might be able to salvage technologies from one of the four Arches tipping the balance of power in their favor, and further destabilizing the political situation in the region.
The Star Desert has only been explored by Starfleet a handful of times, due to its remote nature, and the currently more interesting exploration opportunities in the Jathlin Arm.
The first was by the USS Excelsior which took long range scans of the region during her initial exploration of the region, but did not explore the Star Desert in detail.
The second and thus far most extensive was done by the USS Horlderlin which explored the region in 2384 using the Excelsior's sensor readings as a basis. Her mission lead to more detailed information on the Arch, and the Skareen but for the most part the Star Desert remains mostly unexplored.