Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?
Well, it is a mission to save Earth and probably the Federation itself. Even if only one ship is being sent, this might be considered extenuating circumstances and warrant the presence of a flag officer. Hell, it might not have been too far out of line for Nogura himself to tag along.
"Internet message boards aren't as funny today as they were ten years ago. I've stopped reading new posts." -The Simpsons 20th anniversary special.