“Cards on the Table”
Rear Admiral Aubrey Seagraves materialized on the Main Bridge of the Arcturus at 1725 hours. She didn’t generally like to be late or early, but she couldn’t resist the chance to have a brief look around the ship. Even in 2399 and with the majority of a decade of them being in the fleet, Odyssey-class ships were among the most impressive vessels in service. When she resumed her full form, she saw a young captain with a serious look on his face.
“Permission to come aboard?”
“Granted. Admiral on the bridge,” he said, with the crisp decorum of someone who didn’t get out much. Seagraves had met a lot of young officers like him at Starfleet Command, the sort who never got their hands dirty but who could quote the rulebook to you from cover to cover. “Welcome aboard the Arcturus, Admiral. I am Captain Michael Lancaster. Rear Admiral Hayden is waiting for you in the ready room.”
“As you were. Quite a ship you’ve got here, Captain,” Seagraves replied, nearly ignoring him as she stepped off of the transporter platform. “The Anthony is a good ship, but I can’t say I’m not a little jealous that Hayden will be keeping her flag here,” she added, referring to her own flagship, the significantly smaller Resolute-class USS Susan B. Anthony.
Lancaster didn’t reply verbally but nodded. Seagraves walked over to the railing that separated the aft area of the bridge from the command area, running her hands along the titanium there. There was a Betazoid at the tactical station, a Klingon at the helm, and sundry other species at other stations. The bridge had a large forward viewscreen beyond the helm console, but past that was an even larger viewport looking out into the space beyond the ship. A Danube-class runabout, she reckoned could fit comfortably between the transporter pad and the forward end of the bridge. Ostentatious, to be sure.
“What about you, Captain. Are you pleased to have Hayden staying aboard? I understand that you served as XO for Smith when he was a Commodore. The universe has a funny way of giving you boring assignments,” she said, turning around to look at the ship’s captain of about three hours she guessed.
Lancaster nodded. “Admiral Hayden is one of the finest officers I have served with, ma’am.”
“But as a flag captain, you won’t exactly be doing too much venturing into the unknown, now will you?” she asked, testing him. Some of the bridge officers turned to observe the exchange, but the majority of them kept their attention to their stations.
“Perhaps not, but a Starfleet officer has to put duty before personal whims, sir. I was content to serve as First Officer, and I am content to serve as Flag Captain,” he replied, with a sharpness that bordered on insubordination; Seagraves liked it when people spoke their minds to her.
“Good. Because I’m about to tell your boss how she’s going to be the one to put a stop to this Breen problem of ours, and she’s not going to have the time to hand-hold you through your first stint in command,” Seagraves replied, poking him in the chest. “I’m guessing the ready room is that way?” she asked, pointing her thumb back over her shoulder to the starboard side of the bridge.
Lancaster pursed his lips and nodded.
Seagraves brushed past the Zakdorn woman sitting at the desk in front of the ready room to chime at Hayden’s door. When she entered, she saw Hayden packing several plants into a transport container from the shelf behind the desk. The ready room on the Arcturus was quite large, with both a conference area and a lounge, as well as an attached secondary cabin; larger than the suites afforded to most admirals on older ships, let alone captains.
“The least I can do is let Michael have the ready room, with such a palatial flag bridge on deck two,” Hayden noted, looking up at Seagraves. There was an eight-year difference in their ages, though Hayden had made the decision to stay in the captain’s chair significantly longer than Seagraves had. It was hard to blame her for that; the higher echelons of rank in Starfleet carried more privileges but also with significantly more paperwork than being the captain of a ship on the frontier.
“It’s totally shocking that Captain Stick-Up-His-Ass doesn’t have the time for roses and orchids,” Seagraves drawled, earning her an eye-roll from her counterpart. “As much as you could have done out there in the Delta Quadrant, a ship like this can do a lot more of that here close to home. It should be enough to give the Breen a reason to think twice at least,” she added, crossing her arms over her chest.
“I don’t suppose it’s worth me mentioning that this ship was meant to be an extreme long-range exploratory platform, not a battleship?” Hayden replied, dryly, as she walked over to the replicator.
“Not really, no, considering all of our long-range exploratory platforms are armed well enough to handle themselves far from help,” Seagraves said.
“Well, either way, I think I could use a drink to get through this briefing. Would you like anything?”
Hayden smirked. “One double bourbon and one double vodka. Both neat,” she ordered. A few moments later, the glasses materialized and the newly-promoted admiral took both of them over to the conference table. “Shall we get down to it?”
Seagraves sat down across from her. “Cheers. Computer, display secure data file Theta-Zero-One-Eight,” she said before taking a long drink from the glass. She was slightly surprised to feel the burn of real alcohol, which was an indication that Hayden at least had good taste. The computer projected an image of the Federation’s trailing, coreward frontier. The Breen Confederacy was a hazy green blob butting up against it on the coreward edge and separated from it by the purple hue of the Ferengi Alliance between it and the blue of the Federation. What was, for now, Starbase 38 was further rimward from there, on the edge of Federation space with the neutral area outside of the Ionite Nebula, which was the only way around Ferengi space.
“It’s a large area for a single task force to keep in check,” Hayden noted.
“160 linear light-years of border space, twelve sector commanders, thirty-one starbases, and seventy-seven outposts, border stations, and scientific research facilities, along with one-hundred and eleven starships, all assigned to different commands with their own priorities,” Seagraves agreed. “The point of Task Force 9 is to offer a unified defensive strategy along the border. You won’t be dealing with the day-to-day patrol routes or other minutiae, but you’ll be responsible for seeing the bigger trends that individual sector commands aren’t focused on. Your sphere will be the mobile assets we’re tasking to this area beyond what are there currently. Hence you keeping the Arcturus.”
“So, not only is it a large swath of territory but I’ll also have to avoid stepping on the toes of a dozen other admirals?” Hayden replied, shaking her head slightly.
“You’ll figure it out, or you’ll just have to step on those toes to get what you need. I’m already going to be pulling a few dozen ships from the local commands for this, anyway. You’re not here to make friends,” Seagraves reminded her.
“Other than with neutral planets along the border, of course,” Hayden said, with an arched eyebrow. “I’d imagine that the Ionite Nebula is our first order of concern: the Breen haven’t shown the ability to navigate through it before. There would be no reason to expect an attack here in the Barzan system, and that’s a big problem.
“Yeah, that was a nasty surprise to say the least. When they come across the border within view we can usually at least ascribe them to a particular thot, but even after analyzing the wreckage here we may never know which Breen faction is responsible for the attack here,” Seagraves agreed, pleased that Hayden was adroit enough to skip ahead in the briefing. “The best countermeasure would be to map the nebula ourselves. If we can take away their element of surprise, maybe they’ll give up on that avenue. God only knows how many ships they’ve lost in there.”
“That’s assuming they didn’t come through Ferengi space. It might be worth having a chat with the Grand Nagus about that.”
“The Federation Diplomatic Corps has been assured that that’s not the case, but it’s not a bad thought. They’re also yours to keep an eye on, not that they’ve been much trouble since Rom took the Nagal staff,” Seagraves replied, before tossing back the rest of her drink. “Broad strokes aside, my main job within the fleet is moving ships around, and I’ve got about forty to run by you now. Let’s start with the Cygnus, the Dvorak, the Hippocrates, and the Spartan…”
I’d like to congratulate Reece on his promotion to Bravo Fleet Internet Officer! That leaves us with an opening for the role of Task Force Excutive Officer. Shelley, who has been doing an excellent job as Task Force Chief of Staff will be advancing into the position vacated by Reece, keeping her current character, Fleet Captain Azras Dex. I’m sure that Shelley will continue to do an exemplary job in this new role.
With that, there is now an opening for a new Task Force Chief of Staff, for Task Force 9. If anyone is interested in this position, please contact me via Discord or at email@example.com.
This month, we’ve opened up three additional new commands within Task Force 9. These “pre-made” games have a niche and general set of missions defined for them, so are available for an enterprising and aspiring game manager to come in and take them over. They are open to anyone in the fleet with the OOC rank of at least Lieutenant, but we’re happy to discuss them with anyone.
The Dvorak is a Springfield-class science vessel. Built in the 2350s, it is a relatively modern, comfortable light cruiser predating the Nebula-class, but sharing the ability to house a mission pod. Were the battle of Wolf 359 never to occur, it’s likely that this design would have become standard for several decades, but their production run was replaced with the more combat-hardened Norway-class. Her primary assignment is to chart the treacherous Ionite Nebula, as well as attending to other scientific and surveillance missions near the Barzan Sector. Her captain will need to be scientifically-minded but also prepared to helm a lightly-armed science vessel quite close to Breen space.
The Spartan is a Saber-class frigate. A hardy design, this class is well-represented across the Federation serving in a defensive role in most areas. The Spartan, like her sister ships, is a patrol vessel. Unlike vessels focused on exploration, this one is meant to keep the Federation’s citizens safe. Assigned to the long Federation-Breen border and based out of the Deneb Sector, this tough little ship has the directive of patroling space lanes, rendering assistance, and keeping the Breen raiders at bay as best as it can. She’s looking for someone who can stand the ebbs and flows of this dangerous border!
The Hippocrates is an Olympic-class cruiser carrying a full hospital on board. Essentially cruise ships, these large vessels lack the defensive and exploratory capabilities of explorer-type vessels, but they are unsurpassed in their humanitarian capabilities. This ship has been assigned to the Deneb sector, where it has been ordered to tend to the colonies in the area, many of which have suffered attacks for years, if not decades. A beacon of hope in the darkness, this roving hospital needs a captain to steer her through dangerous stars.
If you are interested in taking up any of these games for yourself, free to get in contact!