In 2867, the disappearances of several traders near Zelada prompted President Smith to send a Federal navy task force to investigate. Ships also disappeared in the Ququve and Aymiay systems that same year, totaling 13 ships lost in three months. In response, the Federation fortified the Laedla system into a major military base of operations to defend against an "alien threat". Although it has never been determined if Thargoid or other alien involvement caused the disappearances and little documentation is available on the Federal battlegroup's activities in the sector during this period, Smith claimed to be "driving away the alien threat" and became popular as a result. Smith's actions led to the enhancement of the Federal Navy and did much to erase the taint of Isaac Gellan's corrupt administration from the reputation of the Presidency.