Raids by Nausicaan pirates continue to disrupt shipping lines on the edges of Federation space. Angry at what they perceive as a lack of response by Starfleet and the Federation government, the Federation Transport Union recommends that its members refuse any official cargos without adequate protection.
This causes a crisis for the Federation government. With so many Starfleet vessels assigned to Romulan and Cardassian relief efforts, the government has been relying heavily on civilian ships for routine deliveries to Federation worlds and protectorates. But the union's action threatens everything from shipments of replicators to Alpha Centauri to emergency medical supplies destined for Rutia IV.