Operational Readiness Protocols: All I Ask for is a Tall Ship…

Description

Beckett’s eyes narrowed at the holographic projector. ‘Run it again.’

Dathan hesitated. ‘Sir, this remains the most likely outcome within the scenario parameters -’

‘I understand probability and prediction, Lieutenant.’ Beckett tapped the console before him, the beating heart and pulsing brain of Fourth Fleet Intelligence’s Strategic Analysis Centre. ‘And everyone prepares for the most likely. But we’re talking about how these ships, how these task forces, respond to unprecedented crises. I want to see how the outliers play out.’

‘Those are often dependent on factors we can’t control for. Crew composition -’

‘Again. I understand. We can assemble the best crews in the fleet, Lieutenant, but what they can do will still be influenced by the ship beneath their feet.’ Beckett nodded at the projected tactical map, bold with markers of Starfleet and enemy vessels. ‘I want to see the limits of our starships.’

She tried to not glare at her controls, and let out a slow breath. ‘Very good, sir. Re-running Simulation Delta-Six: Task Force 86 engagement with D’Ghor starships in Azure Nebula…’


When a Bravo Fleet member reaches the rank of Lieutenant Commander, they can request their own starship. No, that’s not the same thing as a sim. It’s not requiring you to write a vast fiction. That starship is just yours. And it’s these starships – commanded by your primary characters – that make up the Task Forces of Bravo Fleet. They’re the ships boldly going, fulfilling the Task Force mission, on duties of exploration or protection or diplomacy.

That ship can be the beating heart of a story you write, or just one you imagine. Or it can be like your medals and ribbons – just there as a sign of the hard work you’ve put into the fleet.

Star Trek loves to show off its ships. The introduction of the USS Enterprise in The Motion Picture is infamous as the longest, slowest beauty shot of the new model. Every commander will remember the first time they looked at their ship and thought, “That’s mine.”

This competition is to write a flash fiction about that moment, that first time. Perhaps your primary character has just beamed aboard the first time. Perhaps they’re approaching by shuttle. Maybe it’s just a picture when they receive their orders. Or you can get inventive; perhaps they felt nothing about bulkheads and deck plating, and only really felt connected with their ship, really felt that captain’s sense of belonging, at some later moment.

If you have an avatar ship assigned to you, you should write about that ship. If you’re a junior officer, look at the ship classes list at the bottom here and pick one from the Lieutenant Commander list – even pick one from the registry if you like! – and imagine that moment in your character’s future when they get or truly connect with their ship. This is just for fun, not carved in stone!

  • Entries must be a maximum of 300 words. Submission directly into the competition box is preferred, but a link to a Google Doc or other web document is acceptable. Invalid links or Google Doc links that cannot be accessed will not be judged.
  • Entries must be about the first time your primary character saw the starship they command, or really felt like that starship was ‘theirs.’
  • If you have an avatar ship assigned on BFMS, you must write about that ship.
  • Entries should be evocative of the character’s feelings or the visuals of the moment.
  • Entries will be judged on creativity, adherence to Star Trek canon, style, and adherence to the prompt. Grammar and spelling will not be important judging criteria but will be used to break ties.

Submissions

Please read through and view each competition submission before making your decisions. As a general rule of thumb, the earliest person who submitted a fully correct entry should earn first place, although this may vary depending on the competition you hosted. Don't forget to compare each entry with your criteria as a rubric for grading! Feel free to contact the Chief of Staff if you have any questions about the judging process.

User ID Content Date Entry
Felrak Vordenna 2187 His Own Eyes Sometimes the best thing to do was to see it with your own eyes. Felrak’s mag boots clonked along the surface of the USS Bharani. The ship drifted, unpowered, far out in orbit of Qualor II. He’d learned a thing or two over the years, and when it came to starships he knew exactly what he was looking for. His last ten years as executive officer had been spent aboard the USS Pleiades; Century Class, state of the art. She had been a fine ship. Still was. But she wasn’t his. He gestured over to Lieutenant Lupulo who carried a portable power unit in a magnetised container that looked not unlike a thick briefcase. Felrak crouched down, having located the airlock umbilical port. He slid back the protective panel and gripped the metal handle that lay underneath. Lupulo unhooked the power coupling from a harness on his back, plugging one end into the power unit. Felrak pulled back on the port handle, popping out the safety cover like a wine cork. Still crouching, Lupulo handed him other end of the coupling. After making sure it was clamped on securely, Felrak stepped back. “Let’s fire her up.” He signalled to Lupulo. As Lupulo initiated the EPS feed, the power unit began to pulsate. For the first time in almost fifty years, a light blinked on above the airlock in front of Felrak. The black hull paint, underscored by two red streaks and the Starfleet arrowhead, read ‘USS Bharani NCC-53891 United Federation of Planets’. Interior lighting stuttered into life, and the airlock door heaved open. Yes, this was his ship. Compact, unassuming and purely scientific, the spaceframe was still sturdy. After refit her designation would be Dumont Class, but under the duranium the heart of an Oberth still beat. 2021-01-16 13:47:12
Joryn Tarvos 2197 User: bri.whyte Entry: The newly-promoted Lieutenant Commander Joryn Tarvos struggled to contain his excitement as he worked his way through the shuttlecraft pre-flight checklist. It was to be his first command and the time had come to inspect the ship and assume command. Fifteen minutes later, he was on approach to docking cradle 6 of the Devron Fleet Yards. There she was. The U.S.S. Gibraltar, Atlantia class. A wide smile broke out across Joryn’s face, but there was something odd about her that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. The view was of her ventral profile and unusually for a Starfleet vessel, she seemed a little intimidating. At that moment, he realized what it was. Her forward section was fan-shaped, just like the blade of a Vulcan Lirpa. She looked like a weapon. Perhaps that was intentional. There weren’t many ships of this class and it was the first time he’d actually seen one. He was familiar with their reputation though, Harbinger-class some officers had joked. They were equipped to handle a crisis that had a mass-casualty potential and that meant that they tended to be deployed where the situation was expected to get worse. The odd niggle in his mind was replaced with general anxiety, tempering Joryn’s excitement. Wherever this ship took him, he knew it was going to be a challenge. From a distance, she had looked fairly small but up close, her true size was now apparent. Flying around her port side, she was bulky. No sleek, sweeping curves typical of Starfleet cruisers, and her hull remained thick with multiple decks even all the way aft, making her perfectly normal nacelles look short and stumpy. It was clear that her internal space had been maximized on every deck. 2021-01-13 23:00:33
Thov th'Zeles 1644 Commander Th’Zeles was not in a good mood. It was very early in the morning, especially compared to his usual schedule. Thov does a lot of work with duty roster assignments. The truth is the 89 year old Andorian often gets tasked out for jobs other commanders really don’t want. He has been in limbo since his last assignment while waiting on a command. Thov rounded the last corner of a very long deck. He was just told by his friend, a younger Andorian commander, that he had to join maintenance training immediately. Thov spent five minutes arguing with his friend about how he wasn’t up for turning spanners and about how he was too old for this. “All of us are doing it”, Commander Th’Lyaan told him. He mentioned names of their mutual friends including a salty old Bolian Lt. Cmdr and a Klingon exchange officer working a temporary assignment. He saw them all and a few others milling about a large open window. “You just made it. Hurry”, said Th’Lyaan. “You’re going to miss it”, huffed the Bolian. “He’s missing it.” “Hold your dolphins Zlek”, Thov replied, teasing him about similar aquatic life on Bolarus IX. The others all seemed to either look out of or point to the window. Thov noticed a ship drop out of warp in a flash. Ambient light from a distant star danced along the compact curves of a Steamrunner. “What?” Thov looked confused. “I always liked that design but-“. “That’s your new ship”, Th’Lyaan told him. “This is why you’ve been spending your days moving crew around. You need to know who to fill your senior staff with.” Thov was speechless. He lifted his arms and embraced his friends with a hug. One single tear of joy ran down his cheek. 2021-01-09 00:29:55
James Preston McCallister 1759 Stardate: 63949.68 Rolling through the void of space, shuttlecraft Burton approached its destination of the San Francisco Shipyard. The type-eleven craft was crammed pack with officers, all of them were what would make up the senior staff for the Federation’s newest ship. Stood between his pilot and operations officers, Captain James Preston McCallister took a breath as the impressive view of his new command was now before them. The latest in starship design, the U-S-S Odyssey NX-80000 was sat comfortably in the same dock she had been since construction had started a year before. Now she was ready for her captain and crew. The prototype for a brand-new class of deep space explorer, she had the most advanced technology that Starfleet had to offer. She looked different to every other ship that was docked nearby. “The dockmaster is asking us to wait.” Spoke Lieutenant Commander Cambil from behind McCallister. “This is no way to start a relationship.” Remarked his first officer, Commander Zack Hawkins. McCallister smirked at the comment and returned his stare back at the ship before him. He had never commanded a ship so large before. His previous command, the Triton, was a baby compared to this giant. For the first time though, James was hopeful that this new assignment brought newer challenges and that entire idea made him giddier than a couple of teenagers on their prom night. He felt like a newly promoted ensign, fresh from the academy about to step on board their first assignment. This new Odyssey appeared as it had been carved carefully. Every edge was softly curved and the bright white hull was almost blinding. Feeling his wife put her hand around his hip, James smiled as their sons joined them. He was home. 2020-12-13 15:29:32
Ezra Gonzalez 2146 Ezra took a deep breath and exhaled as he fingered the four pips on the chest of his uniform tunic. Then he straightened as the turbolift door slid open with a soft rush of air. "Captain on the bridge," a voice announced, and Ezra saw the assembled crew snap to attention as he stepped onto the bridge. "As you were," Ezra said, finding it hard to suppress a beaming smile. As the crew returned to their stations, he walked reverently toward the command chair, where his Andorian First Officer stood at her own chair to his right. She met his smile with a grin of her own, her white teeth contrasting with her blue skin. "Helm," Ezra said, turning toward the viewscreen, "Set a course for Pluto, one-half impulse. A quick cruise around the bend, then we'll come right back here." "Course laid in, sir," came the reply, "On your order." Ezra took another deep breath, then slowly sat down, running his hands along the soft, comfortable leather upholstery. Ezra Gonzalez, captain of the Nova-class Federation starship USS Valiant, sat back in the chair, tugged on his uniform, and exhaled, smiling. This was *his* ship. "Helm...take us out." 2020-12-12 23:03:57
Dr. N’Vea 2199 -- USS Apollo-D -- As a doctor she wanted to be in sickbay, sleeves rolled up, as she helped in dealing with the incoming flow of wounded. Instead, she watched the viewscreen which had been divided up into sections, with one half showing the planet below and the other showing various metrics relating to the evacuation. This was the largest attempted evacuation since Romulus, and the Vulcan hoped that it went better. Her ship, an Atlantia Class that had been taken out of dry-dock after being mothballed, had been one of the first on the scene. N'Vea watched as the numbers tracking the planet's population dropped, and the numbers tracking those that had been evacuated rose. The two numbers were not moving at the same speed, a bit of horrible math that indicated that at least a portion of the planet's population was dying before being rescued. An Ensign at Ops looked up from their console, "Captain our sickbay is full, should I divert further injured to other ships?" She shook her head, "No, start beaming medical beds from planetside hospitals to the ship, put them in corridors, the holodeck, crew quarters, even the bridge. Get supplies as well, then resume bringing in refugees. We will triage shipwide." It was nearly ten hours later that the Lieutenant Commander was able to relax, the ship was full. The bridge lights dimmed to provide a soothing atmosphere for the wounded who were being treated. Her own quarters had a half dozen beds in it, but they'd done what they could and as she looked around her bridge she realized that was what it was. Her bridge, on her own ship. Given to her under terrible circumstances perhaps, but at least for tonight it was hers and had done its part. 2020-12-08 00:21:34
Alexander Kolokotronis 2004 Alexander boarded the shuttlecraft after a long stretch in San Francisco, at CO Training at Starfleet Headquarters. He nodded to the pilot aboard, and the shuttle departed from the hangar. He was to take command of the USS Philadelphia, a Centaur-class cruiser that was sitting in Earth Spacedock, finally ready after her final inspections. Alexander was to take her for a trial run, and would finally get the chance to board and meet his officers. Most new commanding officers got the opportunity to board their new vessel before trials, but the Philadelphia was refitted only a few weeks prior, and Alexander’s CO Training left him no time to explore his new ship. The shuttle approached the Earth Spacedock, and the doors opened to let in the shuttle. Alexander immediately spotted the cruiser across the large hangar, her silhouette sitting proudly amongst a wall of starships in dock. He remained quiet, only smiling as he looked upon his new ship with immense pride, a pride he hadn’t felt since he received his commission. He leaned over the seat of his pilot, and pointed to Philadelphia. “Pilot, take her around the front a few times. I want to get a good look at her.” The ship was bigger than Alexander had expected, the warp nacelles extended far out beyond the saucer. She was a proud looking ship, as she sat mightily among the line of other ships. He was proud of her already, and almost couldn’t fathom that he was about to take full-time command of a starship, and was humbled to have the privilege of commanding a crew of fine officers and explorers. As he looked over her one more time as the shuttlecraft approached, he knew this is what he was born to do. 2020-12-07 12:02:15

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