From Hidden FrontierSector 441 (known to the Klingons as Klach D'Kel Brakt) containing dangerous space matter including the remains of supernovae, false vacuum fluctuations, metaphasic radiation and a few known habitable planets, one of which is Ba'ku. The Federation's primary presence in the Briar Patch is starbase Deep Space 12. It is also home to the mysterious and powerful Grey Confederacy.
Normally, ships in the vicinity must travel at less than one-third impulse power to avoid overheating the vessels' impulse manifolds. Travel at normal warp speed is impossible. The colloquial "Briar Patch" name used by the Federation was first coined by Arik Soong in the 22nd century, a reference to Br'er Rabbit of the 1880s Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris of Earth. The region is often referred to as "the Patch" for short.
Ships that traverse the Patch face some limitations. Due to the unique nature of the Patch's metreon clouds and metaphasic radiation, normal warp travel is impossible. Only with modified impulse engines can ships travel at full impulse. This sublight limitation has hidden much of the Patch from explorers. However, some have developed various technologies to overcome this limitation. The Grey travel throughout the Patch using their fold drive. Thanks to Commander Tolian Naros and his nemesis, Siroc, the Federation and the Tholians use a naturally occurring phenomenon, subspace currents, that underlie most of the Patch.
The Patch has recently become the focus of intense exploration by a variety of competing and cooperating Alpha Quadrant powers: the Federation, the Tholian Assembly, the Cardassian Union, the Son'a, Tzenkethi and the Breen Confederacy. At first, Ba'ku attracted attention because of the restorative powers of its metaphasic rings. The discovery by the Excelsior of the powerful tetrahedrons has created even more interest in the entire Patch. Tholian aggression in search for more tetrahedrons has brought the entire region to the verge of war.
Starfleet had a policy of establishing colonies and outposts in the region surrounding the Briar Patch to strengthen the Federation's presence there. (HF 2.05 - "Encke") This policy came under fire by members of the Federation Alliance during the Tholian-Breen Conflict. (HF 7.05 - "The Widening Gyre")
In the 22nd century, Klach D'Kel Brakt was located in Klingon territory. Soong suggested the region as a hiding place for himself and a group of human genetic Augments aboard a stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey, but his suggestion was rejected by Malik, the Augments' leader. (ENT: "The Augments")
NOTE: ENT broke with established Insurrection and HF continuity by placing the Briar Patch in the Beta Quadrant. Enterprise continuity conflicts with HF continuity since the Briar Patch map drawn before Enterprise was aired clearly shows the Briar Patch near Alpha Quadrant landmarks like DS9, Bajor, Cardassia and Ferenginar. Its location in the Alpha Quadrant is supported by Insurrection with Sona and the Dominion making alliances, and Worf making a stop off on the Enterprise-E on his way back to DS9. (DS9 and the Dominion's invasion of the Alpha Quadrant are canonically established in DS9 and Insurrection as taking place in the Alpha Quadrant). These events do not make sense if we accept Enterprise as canon and the Briar Patch in the Beta Quadrant near Klingon space.
Therefore it is reasonable to assume there is another phenomenon in the Beta Quadrant (Klach D'Kel Brakt) that we saw in Enterprise. It may or may not have similar properties to the actual Briar Patch, but is probably not related to Siroc's people.
In 2272, the region was the site of the celebrated Battle of Klach D'Kel Brakt, where Dahar Master Kor led the Klingon Empire in a glorious victory over the Romulan Star Empire. Nearly a century later, Kor was still fond of re-playing the battle in holosuites. (DS9: "Blood Oath")
By the 24th century, the region was part of Federation space. In 2375, the Briar Patch was the scene of a battle between the Federation starship U.S.S. Enterprise (NCC-1701-E) and Son'a ships (Star Trek: Insurrection).
Planets in the Patch
This article includes information from Memory Alpha, the free Star Trek reference