Star Trek USS Impetuous: The Briefing

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by IreneAdler, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    This piece directly follows Ramifications

    Captain Etaera Lin kept her expression carefully neutral as her eyes slowly scanned the meeting room. Welcome to home of Starfleet’s Most Unwanted, she thought. Before her sat twelve captains from a wide variety of different vessels, races, and backgrounds. There was only one consistent factor— all of them had recently done something to fall into the admiralty’s disfavor. This did nothing to quell Lin’s rising anxiety; however, for she could tell by the sideways glances and hushed whispers of her peers that her’s was the largest transgression. She took a deep breath, and straightened in her chair. She wasn’t about to let any of them know she was self conscious.

    Noticeably absent from the room was Fleet Captain Thomas Burke, whom Lin had been told she would be reporting to. Is he late? Or have they changed their minds? She wondered. In his earlier days, Burke had been reputed to be quite the hothead. Lin had been forced to deal with his discretions when its previous host Khedan was an admiral. Etaera feared Burke’s grudge against Khedan Lin would carry forward to the newest Lin host… her.

    Her eyes flitted briefly the the chronometer in the room. 1215. 1200 was a barbaric enough time to schedule a mandatory meeting, but the late arrival of all the senior officers was even worse. Rather than letting it make her nervous, she took the moment to consider what their mission would be.

    Twelve captains implied that it was a major fleet operation, particularly given that Etaera recognized one captain as commanding a Sovereign-class. That, plus two Galaxy-class captains, and enough smaller vessels to act as combat screens. This wasn’t precisely a peace operation. Frontlines? But they weren’t at war, and there hadn’t been rumor of such in a while.

    Her musing was put to an abrupt stop when the doors to the meeting room parted to reveal Rear Admiral Layna Beron, accompanied by Fleet Captain Burke. The moment of hope Etaera had felt at his previous absence disappeared as he fixed her with a steely glare.

    As one, the captains in the room stood in acknowledgement of the flag officers, and Admiral Beron nodded once before gesturing for everyone to be seated.

    “Captains,” Beron began. “As you may remember, during the Dominion War, technology was discovered which promised the ability to generate man-made, stable wormholes.”

    Lin’s heart began to race. The Sugosa. Her crew had been performing research on such technologies when the Hitomi was destroyed. She glanced over to Burke to find the Fleet Captain studying her carefully. She hoped she’d not given any outwards indication of her thoughts. Keep it together, Lin. Don’t lose control now.

    “Several months ago, a team was dispatched to the Romulan Neutral Zone to collect further data on this research. As many of you know, Captain Zir of the Sugosa turned against the Federation, and took their research to the Romulans.”

    Etaera felt every eye in the room on her, but she betrayed none of the emotion she was feeling. Her eyes didn’t leave Beron as the Admiral continued, “One of the members of the Sugosa’s crew has since escaped from the grasp of the Romulans, and has provided us with enough of their research to perform another test of the wormhole technology.”

    Several captains murmured excitedly, but Etaera maintained her silence.

    It was Burke who spoke next. “Starfleet intends to test this technology in two months, at Deep Space 9. It is believed that the conditions that allow the Gamma Quadrant wormhole to survive would make for an ideal test of a short term wormhole.”

    There was a brief moment of silence, before several captains spoke up at once.

    “Where to?”
    “How will we get back?”
    “Which of us is going?”
    “How short term are you talking?”

    Beron’s raised eyebrow silenced the lot of them. “Over a century ago, several Starfleet vessels were sent on missions ranging from 5 to 30 years in duration. The longest of these journeys were to the edges of the Alpha Quadrant. In the time since, Starfleet has not considered missions into this territory, due to the lack of high technology civilizations within. The wormhole affords us an opportunity to send a task force directly to the edge of the quadrant, thus making the total trip considerably quicker.”

    Etaera did the math quickest. “At maximum warp we’re still looking at a return journey of at least two and a half years, and this assumes that we don’t stop at any of these planets, or suffer any other pitfalls.”

    Burke nodded. “This is why a full task force is being deployed. The vessels in this group will be expected to function autonomously, without input or backup from Starfleet. While we do not have a set time frame for the task force’s return, we expect the journey to last a minimum of three years, with a more realistic estimate at approximately five years.”

    Silence filled the room again, as captains looked around incredulously.

    “We will still have time-delayed communications with Starfleet, and the possibility exists for a second wormhole to be formed if there is need for the task force to return early,” Burke said.

    “All of the potential needs of the fleet have been compensated for,” Beron added. “Crews are being chosen of Starfleet personnel without close familial relations, or who are related to other Starfleet personnel. Medical specialists for the various species involved will be distributed on the larger vessels to account for more specific medical needs.”

    “A member of the Trill Symbiosis Commission will be on hand to attend to the three Joined Trill assigned to these vessels, in addition to several approved but unjoined Trill in the event of an emergency,” Burke said, looking at Etaera. Though it had been a concern of hers, she didn’t particularly appreciate being singled out, and her eyes narrowed slightly.

    “Provisions have been taken for the Vulcan and Andorian crew members as well,” Beron added. “In addition to several other less populous groups. You have received your crew rosters and schedules, in addition to the necessary technical and strategic documentation. Please hold all mission related questions until after you’ve looked over the necessary information. All vessels departing from Utopia Planitia will be heading out in four day’s time, so crew members can get acquainted with one another before the trip through the wormhole. You are dismissed.”

    “But...” said several voices in unison. But Beron exited the room without further word, and the collected captains began to file out of the meeting room as well. Etaera stood up to do the same.

    “One moment, please, Captain Lin,” Burke said, gesturing for her to remain seated. Of course she wasn’t going to get off as easily.

    “Yes, sir?”

    “I wanted to take a moment to discuss a few matters with you. Particularly some hesitations I have regarding your performance as the Hitomi’s Captain,” Burke said,

    “I assure you, sir, anything that you could possibly wish to know is in the records of my court martial,” Etaera said. I wonder if they think any different of me now that they realize I was right all along… She dared not voice such beliefs, however.

    “I need to know that all of my subordinates will follow my directions through the course of this mission, Captain. I know that your past as an admiral has lead to some defiant behavior. The Hitomi’s loss was not the first time that you’ve questioned or ignored a direct order.”

    She took a breath to avoid saying something inappropriate. “While I might have been subordinate, Fleet Captain, I must also remind you that I was right.”

    “The possibility exists for you to be wrong, Captain,” Burke replied, her rank uttered in such a tone as to be insulting. “While the Sugosa’s intel was decidedly important, you nearly caused a war with the Romulans, and you lost a Galaxy-class starship in the process. Our resources at the outer rim are going to be limited. I need to know that you will not handle things in such a potentially wasteful manner.”

    “I assure you, Fleet Captain, that I have learned from the incident,” Lin said. “Is that what you wish to hear from me? If you’re so concerned about my performance as a captain, I am sure that the admiralty can find a position in some other task force.”

    “I am concerned about your performance, Captain; however, I believe that you have the potential to bring considerable benefit to this task force as well. I merely wish to ensure that there aren’t any preventable mishaps.”

    “Duly noted.” Internally, Etaera fumed, but she knew she was already walking the fine line of insubordination; a risky maneuver for one the admiralty already wished to relieve of several pips.

    “You are not Khedan Lin.”

    “I’m glad you realize this, Fleet Captain, as I’d feared for a moment that you were holding him against me.” The longer the conversation continued, the closer Etaera got to saying something ill-advised.

    “Everyone makes mistakes early in their career, Captain. I accepted mine decades ago. I know my limitations. And… despite what you might think, I am eager to see how you handle this mission.” Burke grinned.

    The rare display of genuine emotion surprised Lin given the source, but she didn’t let it throw her off. Instead, she went with the safest possible response. “Thank you, sir.”

  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    That was unexpectedly diplomatic... and fair... of the fleet captain. Maybe Lin will be starting out with a cleaner slate than she'd expected.

    The mission sounds difficult and fraught with dangers, just the thing a captain with a tarnished reputation might need to redeem herself.

    Great stuff, can't wait to see where this goes! :)