Around the same time as the Aquarian Imperial Navy was preparing for an offensive on the EPF home system of Old Bastion's Star, Deep Recon probes operating in the Crimson-North region beyond the Great Crimson Barrier Nebula detected signatures consistent with the wanted criminal warship Nightmare, captained by the infamous Rova Merrivitch; who fled from the UAS, and subsequent Imperial, occupation of the Angel Reach in late A.D. The Nightmare, a converted Old Federal Era Endeavour-class battlecruiser, had disappeared towards the Senlani Sector Rim Federation after fleeing AFN sorties tasked with hunting her down and bringing the infamous pirate ship to justice.
Immediately, a sortie to the Crimson-North region was planned, with elements from the Imperial Navy's Angel Sector Fleet's 1st Expeditionary Force, and the 1EF from the Outer Sector Fleet, mobilised to the remote border star systems of Senvarr's Gap (AC28-A) and Senvarr's Sanctuary (AC28-B); on the edge of ATIS controlled space. Senvarr's Gap already hosted an Imperial Naval Installation established some cycles before as part of the Aquarian superpower's contribution to the Trans-Crimson Superhighway project, which was inherited from the now defunct AFN. The intention of the sortie was to locate the Nightmare, which had been reportedly harassing Senlani civilian shipping in the Crimson-North's border with the Sector Rim Nebula for some time; much to the frustration of the SRF's border defence fleet, which had petitioned humanity to deal with their 'rogue' for some time - but the Imperial Navy refused to mount a sector-wide search operation without system data the Senlani were unwilling to provide through diplomatic means.
Despite the lack of a military deployment during that time period, the Imperial Navy had deployed several dozen Deep Recon probes to the region, without the SRF's knowledge or sanction, to attempt to locate the enigmatic pirate ship and her vicious captain - known throughout the Angel Reach as the 'Merry Bitch'. Indeed, when these probes reported data back to the Imperial Navy's Angel Sector Command, plans to intercept and neutralise the threat and apprehend the pirate captain were immediately set in motion. However, it wasn't a 'goodwill' operation to remove the threat to Senlani shipping; it had been suspected by Imperial Navy Intelligence that the Nightmare's databanks contained sensitive data relating to the CEG's involvement in the Varal system before the UAS military intervention in 4349 A.D, data apparently pertaining to the Shifted Wormhole to Sol, that Merrivitch had ordered scrubbed from the Tiger Sharks' outpost and moved to the Nightmare moments before the UAS fleet arrived in Varal in the final stages of the campaign.
Nightmare then fled the system into the Angel Nebula, knowing that the UAS Fleet wouldn't be able to effectively trace her. She then presumably headed to the Angel Reach, slipping past UAS Navy patrols until she left Aquarian space entirely; arriving at the Crimson-North region and even operating into Senlani-controlled Sector Rim space where she remained to that day, albeit with no precise location. The data contained within her computers was, as such, of critical importance to the Imperial Navy and Red Sector; the latter of which authorised a full Task Force deployment to the Senlani border with Crimson-North; where the Nightmare had been located, in order to bring her in. Not only to secure the data, but also to prevent it falling into the Senlani's hands.
This series will be continued in Part 2.