“Captain’s log stardate, six-one-eight-nine-seven-point-five-four. It’s still weird to consider myself the captain of the Trinity. Only a few weeks ago I was the operations officer with the responsibility of being second officer, now I’ve been catapulted into the big chair. Being responsible for over five-hundred and fifty souls is not something that I was expecting to be doing so quickly. The ship is currently docked at Deep Space Nineteen undergoing minor repairs. While we are here I need to pick a new first officer, complete the advanced bridge exam and prepare the funerals for Captain Adelaide and Commander Cole. However, before I do any of that, I have been summoned by Fleet Admiral Duncan. The man who made me a captain.”
Walking alone along the long corridors of the Unity-class starbase, Captain James Preston McCallister kept on tugging on the ends of his sleeves and pulling on his collar. His new uniform felt quite tight around him. His friend, and hopeful new first officer, Commander Romen Corbin, had mentioned that James looked a lot better in red and that it made him look fierce. Not knowing how to take that from the Betazoid counsellor, James ignored it as he didn’t feel fierce or intimidating in any shape of form. Since his battlefield promotion to captain, his nerve had resided on the surface and he found himself on more than one occasion having to take several deep breaths to keep his cool and composure. He hoped he didn’t have to do that too much in front of his superior. Nevertheless, walking the corridors of the admiral’s home, he himself felt a bit intimidated by how superior the station imposed itself to its visitors. It’s huge presence both internally and externally showed everyone that it was built to last and would probably need a whole fleet of warships to take it out.
Deep Space 19 had been one of the first batches of its class built by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. Located on the remotest frontiers of Federation space in the Beta Quadrant, it was one of the few bases this far out that supported many deep space assignments. Being almost brand new meant that the station appeared to be glimmering as it orbited above the Federation colony on Kovar Prime. Every corridor smelt brand new too, almost like freshly cut pines with a hint of lavender. Well that’s what James thought as he left the docking ring to take a turbolift up to the station’s command center.
Calling out for “Ops” as he got into the cart, James grasped his hands together as he tried to get rid of his nerves before meeting with Fleet Admiral Luke Duncan. The flag officer was the current commanding officer of the fourth fleet, even though his rank and position was high in the chain of command, James had never once felt that Duncan was a formidable character. Quite the contrary in fact. During the Beta Cartel campaign, which had led to James’ promotion, Duncan had headed Starfleet’s efforts in removing the criminal organisation’s efforts to destabilise relations between the Federation and Klingon Empire. Duncan’s tactical scheming and diplomatic guile was a massive contributing factor to Starfleet’s victory. His use of intelligence gathering and application of local knowledge had assisted too. It was no surprise that Starfleet had given him their rapid response fleet to command, nevertheless he was one of the few approachable and supportive members of the admiralty that James had encountered.
The turbolift came to a halt and the dark silver doors parted allowing for the Trinity’s captain to step out into the command centre of Deep Space 19. It was a busy place. The room itself was huge and every station was being manned if not by one person but at least two or three officers. Walking past some consoles, James looked around and soon saw the admiral standing on the upper deck.
Fleet Admiral Luke Duncan was a tall man with slightly broad shoulders, for a man in his late fifties he looked extremely well. His black hair was combed neatly into a reasonable smart manner. A strong jawline and piercing blue eyes complimented his entire look of a strong leader. The edging of several lines and the dash of some grey hairs showed the man had years of experience. His admiral’s uniform sat comfortable on his frame.
Duncan appeared to be saying goodbye to a much younger man who was wearing a blue teal uniform with the rank of lieutenant. The two of them hugged goodbye and then the science officer in question walked down a small flight of stairs to the level that James was on. His appearance was almost different to the admiral’s. A youthful bob in his stride along with thick brown hair that was styled into an almost brushed back quiff style made him an almost contrast to the flag officer. McCallister exchanged looks with the lieutenant as they passed one another. Keen pale blue eyes rounded off his young handsome look.
Catching the admiral’s eye, Duncan gestured for James to join him where he was. Climbing the staircase, James reached the admiral.Extending his hand out, the friendly flag officer welcomed him.
“It’s good to see you again James.” Duncan said in a solid English accent. James had heard that Duncan’s family had long roots in British military history and that one of the admiral’s ancestors came from nobility. It didn’t surprise James if it was true as Fleet Admiral Duncan came across as the perfect gentleman.
“Thank you sir, likewise.” McCallister returned with a similar cordial grin.
“Sorry about that.” Duncan remarked towards the man he just said goodbye to. “That’s my son, he has just been promoted to lieutenant and made the chief counsellor and chief diplomatic officer on board the USS Charlton, a Galaxy-class ship. They’re about to head out to the Talvath Cluster for a long-term mapping mission.”
“Oh wow, he must be excited.” McCallister replied as he looked down at Duncan’s son. He couldn’t see the connection as the younger man didn’t look a thing like his father. “I did think his pips look extra shiny.”
Chuckling at McCallister’s remarks, Duncan stretched his right arm out towards his office, indicating for McCallister to follow him into his private area. As they entered it there was a woman waiting for them sitting on one of the armchairs. Her back was to the door so when it opened she turned her head to greet both men with a warm smile. McCallister felt like he knew her from somewhere. Wearing a red command uniform with four pips on her collar, McCallister recognised her as someone who was in pictures on the admiral’s desk.
“Captain McCallister, this is my wife: Captain Nicola Duncan.” Admiral Duncan introduced her as.
“It’s certainly a family affair here on Deep Space Nineteen.” McCallsiter stated as he moved to address her.
The admiral just nodded in agreement with his assessment.
Nicola stood up to greet her fellow captain, still smiling as she shook his hand. “A pleasure to meet you, Captain McCallister. Please let me pass on my condolences to you and the crew of the Trinity for your recent losses. Captain Adelaide was a fine officer and was someone I had the pleasure of serving under many years ago.”
Appreciating the gesture, James just shook her hand and thanked her for her kind comments. The admiral then indicated for him to take a seat on the black leather sofa that sat along the left side wall. After sitting down, the admiral took the armchair that was opposite to the one that Nicola was back in.
Looking nervously between the two of them, James felt like he was about to be told off, so he decided to break the silence. “You both must be very proud of your son.”
Nicola smiled in agreement. “We are.”
James looked at her and still couldn’t work out how the man the admiral had just said was his son was related to her either. Deciding he couldn’t bear the further silence anymore he spoke up and realised he should have remained quiet afterwards. “I feel like I’ve been summoned to the principal’s office.” He remarked and winced inwards.
Chuckling slightly at that, Nicola shook her head. “Don’t worry James, you’ve not done anything wrong.”
“Indeed.” confirmed Luke as he pushed his admiral’s belt down a bit to make himself comfortable. “Unfortunately we need to brief you on a matter that you would have been told before taking command and being made a captain.”
“Oh?” James pondered what they were about to say.
“Computer, seal the doors to this room. No entry without my authorisation.” Luke ordered with a firm tone.
The computer beeped in response as it locked the only entrance into the office. The other door led to a small private bathroom for the admiral. The windows that looked over D-S-Nineteen’s command centre that missed up, not allowing anyone to see in either. “Doors are sealed.” The computer said.
Realising that whatever he was about to be briefed on was probably quite serious, James sat up and remained still like a frozen statue.
“James, what we’re about to share with you is one of the Federation’s biggest secrets and is highly classified. Only captains and flag officers within Starfleet are briefed on it.” Luke started off with. “Nicola, used to work with Starfleet Science and has been commanded to lead you on the training that you will undertake shortly.”
James looked at her and then went back to the admiral. “Okay,” He said nervously. “I take it I don’t have a choice in the matter?”
Shaking his head, the admiral declined the question. “I’m afraid not James, wearing those four pips comes with a price and this is one of them.”
“Understood.” James said and took in a breath, ready to be told something he knew may change him.
“Computer, access and display Omega Directive briefing materials. Authorisation Duncan-two-one-alpha-tango.” The admiral ordered.
The holographic emitters in the circular shaped table before them all came to life and a blue symbol appeared. The slowly turning symbol was that of the greek letter omega. James knew of it but had never heard what the Omega Directive was.
“This James is the Omega Directive, it is one of the few clauses that a Starfleet captain can use when having to break the Prime Directive.” Luke shared.
Surprised to hear that, James’ expression changed. His breath almost stopped in its tracks. “I didn’t think there was anything that would supersede the Prime Directive?” He quizzed. His question made him sound like a first year cadet who had just been told that Santa Clause wasn’t real.
Nicola smiled, appreciating the younger man’s naivety over the subject they were sharing with him. “Sadly James, the frontier has some boundaries that Starfleet has to break to keep us all safe.”
Luke continued to explain what the Omega Directive is as the holographic emitters displayed further information. “This is omega.” He said, showing an image of a molecule that James had never seen in any of his science lessons before. “It is the most powerful substance known to the Federation.”
“One molecule has the same amount of power as a warp core.” Nicola added. “But they represent a threat not only to the Federation, but to the entire galaxy.”
“How?” James asked as he studied the diagram further.
Luke tapped a button on a PADD that he had taken off from the table and loaded the next set of images. A research base appeared before him. “Back in the mid-twenty-third century, a team of the finest Federation scientists led by Starfleet physicist Ketteract worked at a top secret station in the Lantaru sector to synthesize a single molecule. They did it but the molecule became unstable and it caused a massive shockwave in subspace. When teams were sent to rescue them they encountered that they couldn’t reach the location of the base at warp.”
Confused now to that last statement, James’ expression changed again. “Are you talking about the natural Lantaru phenomenon that prevents any form of faster than light speed through it?”
“We are but it is no natural phenomenon. That was a cover up.” Nicola answered. “That single molecule was able to rupture subspace for several light years. Eventually the teams did arrive but the station and the research team were gone. They were killed by their own experiment. Starfleet Science examined what had happened and soon realised the huge implications this molecule could have interstellar travel and spacefaring civilisations.”
“It would be the end of the Federation.” James stated as he started to dot the dots on the wider picture. He was impressed that something so powerful had remained a state secret for so long. How could something that had been around since Kirk’s day be kept in the shadows? What other mysteries did the Federation remain silent on? Starting to realise he was now entering the big leagues, James made sure he listened to everything he was now told.
“It would be the end for everyone in the galaxy.” Luke countered back with an even more serious tone. “I’m sure you are shocked to hear all of this, but sometimes space exploration bounces back and it can hit us hard in the face. This is one of those instances where we do not want to go boldly where others have gone before.”
Nicola added more to the briefing, still in a firm and sombre tone. “Federation cosmologists have even theorized that Omega once existed in nature for an infinitesimal period of time at the exact moment of the Big Bang. Others believe that Omega was the main source of energy for the actual Big Bang. Physicists have even stated that a chain of molecules could power an entire civilisation.”
Taking aback by what he had been just told, James exhaled quite a bit. “So why do Starfleet captains need to know about it?” He asked next.
“As I said, the Omega Directive is the most classified Starfleet order restricted to certain high ranking senior officials. Now, I truly hope you never have to encounter it but in case you do then you need to know all of this and know what to do in such a case.” Luke explained. “The Trinity, like every other Starfleet vessel, is equipped with equipment that could detect the omega molecules on long range sensors. Once this happens your ship is brought to a gradual halt by the computer and bridge controls are locked out. Only your authorisation can override this.”
“I take it I can’t share this with anyone on my ship?” James quizzed, feeling he already knew the answer.
“Absolutely not.” Nicola replied. “You would be arrested if you shared any of this and those you told as well.”
“Great.” James sarcastically said.
“The computer will expect you to implement the Omega Directive in a private location without anyone else in the room.” Luke said, resuming the briefing. “You will then need to contact Starfleet Command who will then send a specialist team to destroy what you’ve detected.”
“Is that it?” James asked.
“Almost.” Nicola said, realising they had just dropped the biggest bomb on his lap.
Luke continued, remaining composed as he spoke. “There has only been one case when a Starfleet captain has had to share the knowledge and training she received with her senior staff. That was in the most difficult of situations, but since then Starfleet has improved its training and awareness of Omega so starship captains can destroy Omega without having to break the directive.”
“Can I ask who did that? Or is that classified as well?” James wondered aloud.
“We can’t directly say who, but it was a legendary Starfleet captain that was lost over seventy thousand light years from Earth.” Luke said, hoping that McCallister could infer who he was going on about.
“You need to be aware that the Federation is not sure who else is aware of its existence, especially with our allies. We know the Borg revere it as their holy grail. To them it is utter perfection while others that the Borg have assimilated have looked to Omega with similar religious and mythical beliefs.” Nicola shared. “But whatever others think about it, Omega must be destroyed and cannot be allowed to exist. That’s why the Prime Directive can be ignored in this instance and whatever has to be done must be done to destroy it.”
“Whatever the cost?” James asked.
“Whatever the cost.” Luke confirmed. The admiral took a breath as he allowed that thought to sink into the young captain. “James, I know this is a lot to take on but over the next two weeks Nicola will train you on everything you need to know about Omega, the directive and godforbid how to destroy it in case you are ever in a position you have to deal with the matter by yourself. You’ll undertake the training here on Deep Space Nineteen. If any of your crew ask where you are, then the official stance is you are completing further training to support you in your new role.” Luke said, now in a more firm tone than ever before. “Which in part is true but they won’t know what type of training. That said, I have just issued orders for your crew to undertake R and R on Kovar, so I’m hoping we can avoid you being pestered too much.”
“Understood sir.” James said, realising for the first time since taking command he may have to lie to his crew. What a great start! Deciding he needed to not think about Omega for a second, he changed the topic of conversation. “Will I actually be completing the advanced bridge exam?”
Looking to his wife and back to James, Luke nodded. “Yes and a lot more, but Nicola who once worked at Starfleet Academy is an excellent teacher. She will make sure you are ready.”
Nodding to show he understood everything, James took a moment before he realised something. “I’m meant to be organising Captain Adelaide and Commander Cole’s funerals, will they be delayed?”
“You’ll have to do them after your training.” Luke answered before he assured him that everything will eventually be okay. “I can have my first officer assist you with all of the organisation.”
“Thanks.” James said, sounding somewhat grateful. “Is there anything else I need to know?”
“Not for now.” Nicola stated. “We’ve got quarters prepared for you on the station and someone can retrieve everything you’ll need from the Trinity. We’ll begin your training this afternoon at fifteen hundred hours in holodeck two.”
“Dismissed captain.” Luke ordered, letting James leave the room and process everything that he had just been told.
USS Trinity (NCC-80421)
Kovar System, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 61936.02 (8th December 2384)
“We’ve shed a lot of tears these past few days,” James said as he stood in the crew lounge of the USS Trinity. “And I know there are more to come as we come to accept our losses. Nevertheless both Captain Adelaide and Commander Cole would want us to return to the duty at hand. I will do my best to take you there. I ask this crew to stand with me now unwavering, so we can demonstrate Starfleet’s brilliance. Bless Captain Adelaide and Commander Cole, may their souls rest with the greatest of officers that have come before them. May we keep their memories alive in all that we do.” Pausing for a breath, as he saw many on his crew with a tear in their eye, James finished with a simple “thank you.”
His crew stood up to applaud his remembrance speech, including his new first officer: Commander Romen Corbin. Everyone then went quiet as the honour guard stood to attention and the boatswain whistle was played.
James looked at the torpedo casing that held Captain Adelaide’s body in it. The Federation flag was draped over it. Part of him was heartbroken she was no longer there. She was his mentor, someone he had looked to for guidance, counsel and support. He had always hoped she would have been the one standing by his side as he took command of his first ship. Encouraging him along, sharing how proud she was of him. Alongside that he had always wanted her around so he could ask her for advice from one captain to another. But now he didn’t even have that. He felt somewhat lost.
Part of him was envious of her as she took one of Starfleet’s greatest secrets to the grave with her. Since being told about Omega, he always wondered what she thought about it. He was extremely frustrated now for not knowing her deepest thoughts on such a dark and scary unknown. Training with Captain Duncan had prepared him and he felt more calmer to sit in the middle chair now. Nevertheless wanting to know what other captains had thought about it had bugged him. Going back to his former skipper, he was curious to know had she ever had to implement the directive? What was Adelaide’s reaction when she was told about it? Would she agree with Starfleet’s philosophy of just destroying it or would the scientist within her want to study it?
He would never know and he sincerely hoped he would never have to cross that bridge himself.