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The Cygnus Reach is a large expanse of space in the Alpha Quadrant beyond Deneb, described in 2364 as "the great unexplored mass of the galaxy." At that time, Starfleet had plans to explore the area, spearheaded at Farpoint Station on Deneb IV. However, when Farpoint was discovered to be an imprisoned lifeform, the native Bandi were never able to rebuild the station and the Federation's exploration of the Cygnus Reach was canceled. (Star Trek: The Lost Era novel: The Buried Age; Star Trek: Titan novel: Orion's Hounds)

By 2384, at least in the Pendragon timeline, plans were underway to restart the Cygnus exploration initiative. By late 2385, an expeditionary group had been formed, which included at least one Allegiance-class starship, and two Highlander-class vessels. Captain Mary Barranco of the USS Pendragon hoped for an assignment to the expedition following the vessel's refit. (Star Trek: Pendragon: "Odyssey, Parts I & II", "Land of My Sojourn", "The Light of Distant Shores")

The name "Cygnus Reach" was coined by The Buried Age author Christopher L. Bennett, based on the nomenclature established with the Taurus Reach in the Star Trek: Vanguard series. He likewise christened the similiarly-named Scorpius Reach.

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