Tales of the Arvakur: First Impressions

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by pio1776, Mar 1, 2023.

  1. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    Jupiter Station
    February 2155

    This side of the space station was nondescript and incredibly out of the way.

    ‘You sure we’re in the right deck, boss?’ asked Ibrahim Khan Bhutto.

    ‘Of course, I’m sure, Ibe,’ countered Forrest Dekelley, a wary expression written across his normally scowling face. Finally, he threw his friend a quick grin. ‘Why wouldn’t I be?’

    ‘Oh, I dunno, Rest, I seem to recall that time you had us volunteer out to the Forge.’

    His eyes still roving at the various labels listed on the bulkheads. Dekelley winced at the memory. He had indeed volunteered his security detail to conduct a search-and-rescue simulation out in the Forge, the largest desert on Vulcan. ‘Turned out for the best, didn’t it?’ he countered and spotted what he had been looking for. ‘Ah, there it is! Come on.’

    Bhutto gave the other man a dubious look. ‘I got third-degree burns on my face.’

    ‘So you got a little sunburned, it still turned out for the best.’

    ‘Well, we did make the MACOs look bad,’ replied Bhutto with a slight snigger.

    ‘As I said, Ibe, it turned out for the best,’ replied Dekelley.

    Bhutto grunted, slowed, looked about, and then gradually shrugged.

    Having served with Dekelley for seven years already, Bhutto did not complain. Dekelley was an okay sort, having grown up from the green between-the-ears ensign he once had been. Now recently promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Dekelley was on his way to meet some admiral.

    ‘Do you know who you’re even meeting, Rest?’ he asked.

    ‘Ah, sure!’ Dekelley fished out a portable datapad from his sleeve pocket, activate it with his thumb, and glanced through the contents. ‘Rear Admiral Travis Hammond. Do you know him?’ he asked while handing the datapad over.

    ‘He isn’t Exploration,’ offered Bhutto while grabbing datapad off his friend.

    ‘That’s obvious,’ muttered Dekelley.

    ‘You're still pissed you missed out on the Armory slot aboard Enterprise, aren’t you?’

    ‘I’m sure Malcolm Reed’s fitting in quite well,’ muttered Dekelley.

    ‘One of those days you’ll need to tell me why you and he don’t get along.’

    ‘And one of those days you’ll stop asking,’ countered Dekelley as the two rounded the corner.

    Bhutto snorted. ‘Fat chance, Rest.’

    ‘A man can dream,’ grumbled Dekelley and stalked off ahead.

    Bhutto chuckled. ‘Well, if Hammond’s not Exploration, then what?’

    As he caught up, Dekelley shrugged. Bhutto frowned. He didn’t like not knowing. Too many years as a criminal investigator and tactical specialist made him uneasy. Knowledge was power, and that meant being one step ahead of the bad guy. The Enterprise had shown firsthand when not knowing is the initial response to a certain event. By the same token, the Enterprise had provided Starfleet with valuable intelligence.

    Finally, the corridor widened.

    The two looked about. This part of the starbase was relatively new, and there were signs of work still being done. Bhutto reflected that it seemed like a good comparison to the rest of the fleet, ever-changing and growing. When Bhutto first enlisted, Starfleet just took over from the old United Earth Space Probe Agency. And while the agency still existed as a mere shadow of itself, it was the fleet that now found itself in the forefront of human expansion into the stars.

    ‘Here we are,’ said Dekelley, pointing to a set of doors guarded by a Starfleet rating.

    Bhutto grunted, noting that the rating was armed and wore an anti-phase vest over his jumpsuit.

    Dekelley strode over to the rating. ‘What’s there, Crewman?’

    ‘Restricted area.’

    ‘Ah, I see. Is there an Admiral Hammond there?’

    ‘That depends entirely on who you are and what you want, sir.’

    Dekelley grimaced and glanced a question at Bhutto. ‘Definitely not Exploration.’

    ‘Nopem,’ agreed Bhutto.

    ‘Well, the name’s Dekelley, and the Admiral’s expecting us,’ said Dekelley.

    Bhutto blinked and then glared at his friend. ‘Rest . . .’

    ‘What?’ Dekelley smiled his pearly whites. ‘What can possibly go wrong.’
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  2. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Intriguing opening with some easy flowing dialogue exchanged by a couple of characters who clearly know each other well.

    I like the time period as well. Not much original fic set during the first Enterprise era. Curious to see where this goes.
    Robert Bruce Scott likes this.
  3. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Really smooth introduction to a STE era fic. I'm also liking the easter-egg character name, which puts me on an automatic egg hunt for your following chapters. Good voicing.

    Thanks!! rbs
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  4. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    The sight of fully operational strategic security was the last thing Dekelley expected to see.

    To be fair, he had no idea what he expected as the doors slid behind him and Chief Warrant Officer Ibrahim Khan Bhutto. The last time he had been in a similar setting had been Starfleet Mission Control in the Zefram Cochrane Space Flight Center, a few kilometers away from San Francisco. It was just smaller and more compact.

    ‘Holy shit, Rest, it’s the entire sector,’ breathed Bhutto, elbowing Dekelley.

    The lieutenant commander could only grunt, his attention on the main screen that dominated the far-off bulkhead. Sector was such a broad term, incorporating all of Sol, the Oort Cloud, and nearby Tarsus.

    From here, he could make out iconized representations of known starships and orbital facilities, with the fleet represented by the warp delta.

    ‘And that must be Hammond,’ offered Dekelley, pointing discreetly.

    Bhutto turned to where Dekelley indicated, conceding that his friend may be right. Hammond was the only one not sporting the bluish-purple one-piece jumpsuit. Instead, the two-star admiral wore a white, buttoned-up shirt, bluish-purple tie, and slacks. A uniform jacket rested on a chair’s backrest.

    ‘Guess we go say hi,’ Dekelley said next.

    ‘How about you go say hi and I stay here,’ said Bhutto.

    ‘Chicken.’ Dekelley grinned at him, before moving on.

    ‘Hardly,’ grumbled Bhutto as he followed his friend, trailing as they neared the admiral.

    Not that there was nothing to write about, or so Bhutto thought. Slightly overweight, Hammond had a round, clean-shaven face, a receding hairline, and a sour expression as he regarded something on a computer terminal.

    ‘Inform the Carlskrona to swerve onto the target’s seven o’clock and hang on,’ Hammond was telling a rating, ‘Galatea’s on route to assist. Say fifteen minutes.’

    Dekelley watched the screen, picking up the Carlskrona easily enough. She had been his first ship after graduating from the Academy and Flight School, where he helmed her for two good years. The Carlskrona was coming around, turning towards a Coridian-flagged ore carrier a good astronomical unit from Ceres. Galatea was further out, but the estimated time of intercept was steady at fifteen minutes.

    ‘Not going to warp in?’ asked Dekelley.

    ‘Against regulations,’ Hammond said absently, ‘Even if it weren’t, the Belt’s not the best for a warp run. Too many hazards. Besides, Galatea’s been at three-quarter impulse when we redirected her.’

    ‘What’s so interesting about the Coridian?’

    ‘She hasn’t responded to our hails,’ replied Hammond. ‘Considering what’s been going on between Andor and Tellar lately, we’re not taking any chances. Command wants that carrier intercepted and stopped before she comes anywhere near Earth.’

    Dekelley grunted. He had watched the news and knew that the two star nations have butted heads over their ships using one another as target practice. Why now, considering the Coalition Compact had just been ratified in Paris, was anyone’s guess. He continued watching the chase.

    ‘You must be Commander Dekelley?’ Hammond went on.

    ‘Yes, sir. I believe you sent for me, sir.’

    ‘That I did,’ replied Hammond and patted the rating on the shoulder. ‘Continue with the intercept inform. Captain Manchester that he has the authority to disable the Coridian’s engines, but no more.’

    ‘Understood, Admiral.’

    ‘Good, good.’ Hammond grabbed his jacket and indicate Dekelley and Bhutto follow. ‘Come with me, please. I take it Mr Bhutto’s here for moral support.’

    ‘More like he was bored, sir,’ allowed Dekelley with a smug grin.

    Bhutto just glared at him. ‘Technically off-duty until tomorrow morning, sir.’

    ‘You head the morning shift for Security?’

    ‘Temporarily, sir. We've got a new Assistant Chief starting, and Commander Shelby thought that I ride herd on them until they get comfortable.’

    Hammond smiled. ‘Ah, the thankless task of warrant officers.’

    ‘Some days more than others, yes, sir,’ replied Bhutto, giving Dekelley a pointed look.

    Hammond just chuckled as he led the way to an out-of-the-way office.


    Just never mind that the same said office was spacious, a luxury one normally did not see on orbital facilities such as these.

    Hammond gestured to the two extra chairs in the office, while making his way around behind his desk.

    ‘I am somewhat surprised that Mr Bhutto hasn’t clued you into where we are,’ Hammond stated as the two took their seats tentatively, ‘but I appreciate this very much. The various sector commands are still relatively new and Sol’s been operational for a couple of weeks already, with Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar coming online soon.’

    ‘Sector commands?’

    ‘Think of them as our version of the old unified combatant commands of the previous century,’ offered Hammond helpfully. ‘The idea is much the same as Exploration, but more localized and able to affect interplanetary traffic. Each sector will have a dedicated formation of ships, such as they are until we get more via the new ship-building regimen the Starfleet Corps of Engineers started. Which brings me to you, Commander.’

    Dekelley glanced first to his friend, only to see Bhutto shrug. ‘Sir?’

    ‘As of last week, the ESS Arvakur has been without a captain,’ Hammond was saying while looking through a pile of datapads. ‘Commodore Duvall hasn’t been all that forthcoming into the particulars, but I suspect it may have to do with Commander Bukowski’s sudden resignation.’

    ‘Commander Bukowski, as in Lieutenant Commander Dariaan Bukowski?’

    ‘You know him?’

    Dekelley nodded. ‘Dariaan and I graduated the same year from the Academy, sir.’

    ‘Well, good, perhaps you can ask him why he quit,’ replied Hammond. ‘Presently, Arvakur’s the only dedicated ship to Deneva.’

    ‘Which means that I’ll be answering directly with Commodore Duvall.’
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  5. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Really a deft hand with dialogue, which I appreciate. Also good world building with small details - props, clothing - making it easy to picture the scene. Thanks! rbs
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Appreciate the bite sized chapter approach. Looks like we’re getting a bit of early Starfleet history here, with a perhaps a focus on the home front. Interesting.
    Robert Bruce Scott likes this.
  7. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017

    Doctor Wrangler’s Bar and Grill
    Madison, Deneva

    The bar was well let, with the owner painstakingly going out of his way to ensure natural light came through the windows. It was something Chief Petty Officer Sean Dalton appreciated as he drank his water. The extra light gave off the feeling that the restaurant was bigger.

    On the other hand, Dalton felt like that because he spent too much of his life aboard ships.

    He shrugged, sipped his water, and placed the glass aside before refocusing on his host.

    ‘The crew hasn’t been the same since you quit, skip,’ he told the other man.

    ‘They’ll get over it,’ said Dariaan Bukowski levelly.

    ‘Not with Baram in charge, they won’t,’ cautioned Dalton.

    ‘They’ll get over it,’ Bukowski repeated, frowned, and looked about. ‘Look, Sean, I never meant for this to happen. Ensign Baram -’

    ‘Lieutenant,’ corrected Dalton.

    Bukowski blinked. ‘Duvall jumped him up two grades?’

    ‘One, actually.’ Dalton indicated with one raised finger. ‘Had Baram promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade a couple days after you left.’

    Bukowski sighed. ‘Kid’s barely out of his nappies.’

    ‘That’s one way to look at it, skip,’ agreed Dalton. ‘Baram’s a pretty good engineer, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no command material.’

    ‘I believe you described me as exactly,’ replied Bukowski, allowing a slight smile.

    ‘That’s because you were an arrogant asshole,’ replied Dalton easily, shrugging. ‘This is different though. The Commodore latched onto Baram and thinks that, by promoting the kid and giving him Arvakur., he can get into Senator Baram's good books.’

    ‘That’s too high a position for a freshly minted JG.’

    ‘You’re not getting any argument from me, skip,’ agreed Dalton, remembering his water. ‘Between Chi Mai and myself, we’ve got the lieutenant on the straight and narrow, but the problem is the remaining officers.’

    ‘Crowley, Furry, and Marquette,’ offered Bukowski.

    ‘Okay, maybe not Marquette,’ replied Dalton. ‘Give her the sensors and she’s happy. Ensigns Furry and Crowley are a whole other matter.’

    Bukowski raised an eyebrow. He knew the trio in question. Out of the three, Ensign Ciara Marquette was the most senior by virtue of graduating two years before Ensigns Ambler Furry and Jack Crowley. Hell, until Baram’s promotion, she technically outranked him too.

    ‘If it were not for Duvall kissing ass to Baram’s dad back on Earth, Ciara would’ve been the one in charge,’ he said slowly as if testing out his thoughts. ‘You know damn well that I said that to the Commodore.’

    ‘Which made you quit,’ reminded Dalton.

    ‘Resign,’ corrected Bukowski, wincing slightly. ‘Quiting’s not in my disposition, Sean. you of all people ought to know that.’

    ‘Still looked like quitting to the rest of the crew, skip.’

    ‘They’ll get over it,’ intoned Bukowski. ‘They’re a good crew. I objected to Duvall promoting Baram, and not because the kid’s dad was a senator. Kid’s not ready. Hell, neither is Marquette for that matter, but she had more time in grade. She at least deserves the shot of Acting Captain until Command sends a replacement.’

    ‘And, in the interim?’

    ‘I’ve resigned from Starfleet, remember,’ Bukowski said. ‘Paul’s already offered me a job aboard Horizon. I ship out next week.’

    ‘Wait, what, Paul. as in Paul Mayweather?’ Dalton stared at his former commanding officer. ‘I thought he hated Starfleet with a passion.’

    ‘He does.’

    ‘Yet, he hired you?’ demanded Dalton.

    ‘That he did.’

    Dalton just stared, not believing what he was hearing. Captain Paul Mayweather was a member of the Earth Cargo Service, humanity’s first attempt at reaching out to the stars. He also sat on the advisory board of the current colonial government, much like the Commodore.
  8. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Another sweet callback to STE. I'm liking the pacing - taking your time to introduce characters, give the lay of the land, put pieces in place. It's a kaleidoscopic way of writing.

    Thanks!! rbs
  9. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    ESS Arvakur NC-29
    Docking Berth 5, Aldrin Manned Spaceflight Center
    Madison, Deneva
    Three days later . . .

    Lieutenant Junior Grade Arez Baram stared at the engineering rating, not entirely sure how to respond. The rating, a Crewman Apprentice by the name of Dave Wong, was standing at attention next to Gunner’s Mate Third Class Benjamin Casey. Both men sported bruises across the face, and Wong’s lower lip was still bleeding.

    Just as equally, both were avoiding eye contact with him, instead their attention being somewhere over his left shoulder. Baram didn’t blame them. If he were in the same situation, he too would have avoided eye contact with their commanding officer. Thing was, he had kept his head down while at the Academy, studying hard.

    Back at the Academy, Baram’s record was spotless. He neither partied with the other midshipmen, nor did he befriend any of them. The fact that Furry and Crowley had been in the same classes as he didn’t occur until they found themselves assigned to Arvakur, with Crowley insisting they bond on the flight over from Earth.

    ‘Please tell me that this was all a misunderstanding,’ said Baram, glancing over to where Warrant Officer Chi Mai Giang stood. He also noted that the two ensigns were present. Ambler was leaning against a bulkhead, his arms crossed and looking undecided if he ought to look stern for Casey’s benefit or for Baram.

    Crowley just sat on the stairway, looking amused. All that the ensign had missing was a box of popcorn.

    Baram turned his attention back to the two enlisted. ‘Tell me that Crewman Wong fell and you helped him up.’

    Neither said a word.

    ‘Beats the truth,’ grumbled Ensign Furry.

    Baram winced. Yes, the truth. Baram had read a report filed by Furry. The two men were working on one of the torpedo launchers when Casey started mouthing off, calling Baram a stumbling idiot who succeeded in life because of political connections. Wong, who was one of Baram’s direct subordinates, took offense and a fight broke out.
    Only Giang’s timely intervention stopped it from spilling out onto the rest of the ship.

    Rightly or wrongly, though, Casey had a point. Baram’s appointment to first officer, and later to Acting Captain, had been a blatant attempt by the commodore to seek favor with Baram’s father. It was a move Commander Bukowski threatened to resign over, as he had no desire to see Baram’s inexperience get the ship and crew in trouble.

    It was a view Baram shared with his former captain. Commodore Duvall had no such qualms, stating it was a great career opportunity.

    ‘Ensign Furry, security is your purview,’ Baram turned to the armory officer.

    ‘Technically it’s the Master-at-Arms’ purview,’ voiced Crowley from the stairs.

    Baram ignored the other ensign. Crowley was the helmsman. ‘Suggestions?’ He looked directly at Furry, conscious of both Crowley and Giang regarding him.

    ‘As the Lieutenant said, Ben is just helping Mr Wong out,’ offered Furry with a steady gaze, glaring at the two enlisted men.

    Baram sighed. No ‘sir’, ‘skipper’, or the ‘captain’ honorific. Lieutenant. Respectful and courteous, like a good soldier. Why Furry opted for Starfleet was a mystery to Baram, as the ensign would just as well be comfortable surrounded by MACO personnel. Still, Commander Bukowski liked Furry, and trusted the ensign with Arvakur’s weapons systems.

    ‘If the Lieutenant is agreeable, I’d suggest the two clean the hull,’ offered Furry.

    ‘We’re docked, Ensign Furry,’ Baram reminded him.

    ‘Which is a great opportunity, Lieutenant.’

    ‘Oh, yeah, maybe a fresh coat of paint too!’ offered Crowley, grinning.

    Baram cocked his head, thinking. He wanted the incident to go away. Commodore Duvall was already breathing down his neck, wanting to be best friends. The last thing Baram wanted was for the commodore to catch wind of this incident, as it would not help the careers of the two enlistees. Fortunately for him, Furry understood. Still, an example had to be made.

    ‘If I may, sir,’ Giang interrupted. ‘With Ensign Furry supervising the reload of our weapon systems, may I suggest Ensign Crowley to supervise the washing of the hull.’

    Crowley blinked. ‘Huh?!’

    ‘I think it’s a good opportunity for the ensign, Lieutenant,’ agreed Furry.

    ‘Hey!’ protested Crowley.

    Furry just shrugged, whether it was in apology, Baram wasn’t sure.

    ‘Please see to it, Ensign Crowley,’ said Baram quickly, not giving the helmsman a chance to protest. ‘I’m sure that, between yourself and Ms Giang, you can sort the activity out.’

    Crowley looked like he was about to protest, but one glance at Furry stopped him cold. Instead, the helmsman grunted, pointed at Wong and Casey, and then indicate that they follow him.

    ‘Thank you for that, Ensign Furry,’ said Baram, conscious that neither he nor Furry had moved.

    The armory officer shrugged from where he was leaning on the bulkhead. ‘You’ve got a good man in Wong, Lieutenant. Would hate for him to get caught up in all this.’

    ‘And Casey?’ challenged Baram.

    ‘Ben shouldn’t have provoked the way he had,’ conceded Furry. ‘Don’t worry, he’ll suffer accordingly.’

    The real question here was how would the gunner’s mate suffer. Furry was a regulations man and kept his division on the straight and narrow. When in port, and off-duty, Armory personnel did a lot of running.
  10. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Really liking this scene - the tension between what is apparently a talented officer promoted too quickly against external expectations. Great little character sketch. Thanks!! rbs
  11. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    What does ‘Arvakur’ mean?
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  12. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    It's a cutter in the Icelandic Coast Guard.
    Robert Bruce Scott likes this.
  13. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017

    The theory behind the universal design was that everything was the same, and the thinking behind starbase development was much the same. Oh, differences were creeping in, for sure; especially when upgrades were concerned. Deneva Station was brand new, only two years old.

    ‘You humans definitely like circles, don’t you,’ announced the Andorian female.

    ‘Saucer shaped, actually.’ Dekelley took a sip of the freshly squeezed orange juice. In the three days aboard the Earth Cargo Service vessel Mayflower, he had grown more appreciative of the family-ran ships. Trade was an extension of good diplomatic relations, and all four of the primary signatories of the Coalition Compact knew that.

    Between the ECS and Tellarites, known trade routes were pretty much covered, to the extent that cargo haulers such as Mayflower opened their airlocks to the general public wanting to go off-world. There was talk of establishing actual dedicated transportation services, but that was a long way away in his opinion.

    ‘I don’t think we’ve met,’ said Dekelley as he appraised the Andorian, offering her his hand. ‘The name’s Forrest Dekelley.’

    ‘Lieutenant Vellah Zh'eshrothol, Andorian Imperial Guard.’ Her handshake was firm, warm even.

    ‘Haven’t seen you since we left Jupiter,’ he observed, noting that Vellah was wearing a knee-length dress and jacket that were two shades of light brown.

    ‘I thought it prudent to stay in my cabin.’

    ‘Why, it was my understanding we had free reign of the ship bar for Engineering.’

    Vellah shrugged. ‘Some of your kind still find my kind odd.’

    ‘Well, they ought to know better.’ Dekelley grimaced. Alienphobia amongst humans was evidently a thing, even today. He cleared his throat. ‘So, tell me, what’s an Imperial Guard officer doing in Deneva. Vacation?’

    ‘Officer exchange, actually,’ she offered. ‘Officially, I’ll be assigned to the Medical Department aboard Deneva Station.’

    ‘And unofficially?’

    ‘I understand that it standard practice for Starfleet medical personnel be on detached duty to starships,’ she said. ‘I’m hoping that Commodore Duvall and Doctor Msiska will let me serve aboard a ship.’

    ‘And how they do it in the Imperial Guard?’ asked Dekelley.

    ‘Medical personnel have a preference if they serve on a ship or base.’

    Dekelley smiled. Considering Deneva Sector had only one ship assigned, he just might get to work with her. ‘Well, here’s hoping.’

    The announcement that the Mayflower will be docking with the starbase soon came not longer. Excusing himself, even if a little regrettably, Dekelley made it back to his cabin and started to get changed.
  14. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Here's hoping we get to see some interaction between SF and AIG. Thanks!! rbs
  15. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    Much like the exterior, the station’s interior design was identical to the ones used on Jupiter Station and every other starbase operated by Starfleet. For someone who spent time too much in space, there was very little chance of getting lost.

    At least that was what Dekelley thought as he stepped out of the lift, slowed, and looked about. He was on a balcony overlooking Central Operations. Dekelley grunted, looking about. This was the operational and administrative heart of the space station, with magnificent views of the planet and surrounding space. The former armory officer in him could only imagine the devastation a torpedo could inflict if given a chance. Still, Starfleet wasn’t run by fools. Like its jovian counterpart, Deneva Station had well-placed defenses.

    ‘Let’s hope no one uses them,’ Dekelley muttered as he stepped off the balcony and onto the main deck.

    Central Operations was laid out much like the main bridge of the NX-class, or Enterprise-class as that particular starship had a sistership in the form of the ESS Columbia NX-02. Or was that the other way around? The orbiting facilities have been around for a good three decades already, while the Enterprise and her kin were relatively new.

    Whatever the case, it had the same layout, just bigger and with more computer screens.

    Both the commanding officer and second-in-command sat upon workstations atop the slightly raised platform known as a Quarterdeck, and both seats were occupied by an older man in his late fifties and a woman. Dekelley made his way over, noting their ranks. The man sported a commodore’s rank insignia, while the woman was a captain.

    Both were just as equally busy, talking to a third person.

    ‘And you are?’ A security rating intercepted Dekelley.

    ‘I’m expected.’

    ‘I’m sure you are, sir,’ the rating replied. ‘Can I see your orders please.’

    Unbothered by the security rating’s tone, Dekelley reached for the datapad in his arm pocket and handed it over.

    ‘Wait one, please,’ said the rating as he took the datapad.
  16. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    ‘My apologies for that,’ Commodore Duvall said a few minutes later. ‘The last thing we need around here is some random Boomer to be able to walk on in.’

    Dekelley opted not to respond, preferring neutrality over getting in trouble for shooting his mouth off. Instead, he adapted an at-ease stance and waited.

    ‘So, you’re the guy responsible for making MACO look bad on Vulcan, huh?’ Duvall raised an eyebrow while glancing at the datapad.

    ‘It was a SAR exercise out in the Forge, sir,’ offered Dekelley. ‘I was always of the opinion that Starfleet was better suited to that kind of mission than Military Assault Command Operations. When the Vulcan Defense Forces came with the invitation to join their exercise, I took it.’

    ‘As is the purview of the senior Starfleet officer on site,’ agreed Duvall.

    ‘Yes, sir, as per our standing orders.’

    ‘Why is Starfleet better suited?’ Duvall looked straight at him.

    ‘We’re not as rigid in our thinking like MACO, and definitely more creative,’ offered Dekelley. ‘Sir, a Starfleet detachment is made up of multiple disciplines, scientists, medics to logistics, engineers, and security. A MACO detachment has officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted.’

    ‘So, we have a more creative approach to problem-solving,’ concluded Duvall.

    ‘I think Enterprise has shown that sir,’ replied Dekelley, raising a minute eyebrow as the commodore’s expression hardened for a split second.

    ‘Yes, well, Enterprise has its merits,’ countered Duvall guardedly, clearing his throat. ‘Still, you’re right. Starfleet personnel is better suited for search-and-rescue missions. Which is why you are here.’


    ‘I’m sure Admiral Hammond has already briefed you on the concept of sector commands, am I correct?’ asked Duvall. However, before Dekelley could reply, the commodore pressed on. ‘What he probably didn’t tell you about are the ships that directly work with Sector Operations. Sol has Galantea, Carlskrona as well as Diana and Freja. Together, they form Border Squadron One.’

    Dekelley nodded, recalling that information from the briefing the admiral had downloaded onto the datapad. Each planetary system under the control of the United Earth government was to have a sector commander, with newly forming sectors being co-ran alongside Earth’s Coalition partners. Each sector was to have an attached contingent of ships, known as Border Squadrons.

    ‘Deneva will be host to Border Squadron Three,’ said the female captain.

    ‘Except there is one problem.’ Duvall smiled apologetically.


    ‘As of this moment, BORDRON-Three’s ship consists of Arvakur,’ said Duvall.

    Dekelley just stared at the commodore, not sure how to respond.

    ‘Chief Dalton here,’ Duvall continued, nodding at the chief petty officer, ‘serves as Arvakur’s master-at-arms.’
  17. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017
    In some ways, it felt a little surreal. Twenty-seven years in the service and Sean Dalton could readily admit that this was not the Starfleet he had enlisted into. Back then it was a term coined by some marketing genius, who wanted to give something exotic to the UESPA Astronaut Corps. Because flying to new worlds and seeking out new civilizations wasn’t exotic enough! Thought Dalton as he regarded the lieutenant commander.

    The newcomer looked dumbstruck as he followed Dalton.

    ‘I believe the term is “times are a-changing”, sir,’ he announced as the two stepped into the turbolift, the doors hissing shut and leaving Commodore Duvall and Captain Ivanova. ‘It wasn’t that long ago when Starfleet was a division of UESPA.’

    ‘Yeah, but, one ship for an entire sector?’ Dekelley made a face. ‘What class of ship we’re talking about, anyways, from her name I’d wager it’s a Ganges.’

    ‘She is,’ agreed Dalton, impressed.

    ‘Latest generation I take it?’

    ‘She was launched in ’49,’ said Dalton.

    Dekelley nodded slowly, his expression thoughtful. ‘How many crew does she have?’

    ‘Nineteen, twenty now with you in command,’ said Dalton.

    Here, Dekelley winced. A lone starship with two-thirds of her normal crew complement, which did not sit well for anything long-term mission-wise. ‘They’ll have a hard road ahead if I’m reading Duvall right,’ muttered Dekelley.

    ‘You picked up on that, huh?’

    ‘Chief -’

    ‘Duvall’s got tunnel vision, sir.’

    Dekelley frowned. ‘We shouldn’t be speaking ill of our senior officers, Chief.’

    ‘Just stating what I’ve heard, sir.’

    Dekelley’s frown deepened, noticing the appraising stare the chief was giving him. It was the same Bhutto had given him over the years. Figuring that it would be best to hear Dalton out, he nodded.

    ‘Thank you, sir.’ Dalton straightened. ‘Were you aware that the Commodore had once been in the running to captain the Enterprise, after serving as one of three test pilots on the Warp 5 Engine Project? He missed out. Oh, sure, he was the first human to have flown at Warp Three, but the coveted prize was the captain’s seat aboard Enterprise.’

    ‘Which went to Captain Archer, if I recall,’ offered Dekelley. Just like Armory went to Reed.

    ‘After making Captain in ’51, Starfleet gave him Shenandoah and assigned him here. When Hammond was promoted to Rear Admiral and made Chief of Sector Operations, Duvall took over Deneva as a whole.’

    ‘And Shenandoah?’ asked Dekelley, just as the doors slid open.

    ‘Initially was the flagship of the soon-to-be proposed Border Squadron Three,’ offered Dalton as he stepped out.

    ‘Was to be, that’s past tense, Chief, what happened?’

    ‘Senator Baram happened,’ Dalton said over his shoulder while leading the way. ‘Remember when Enterprise made contact with Terra Nova once more? Well, in its infinite wisdom, Senate approved Baram’s idea to go and help rebuild the colony, and Shenandoah was reassigned. Duvall’s been pissed ever since, and has been a thorn to the senator until recently.’

    ‘Until recently . . .’

    ‘Yes, sir.’

    ‘What happened to change Duvall’s approach to the senator differently?’

    Here, Dalton stopped and grinned. ‘He elevated the Senator’s son to Arvakur’s first officer.’

    Dekelley gawked at the chief petty officer and swore.
  18. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 9, 2017

    ESS Arvakur
    Docking Berth 5, Aldrin Manned Spaceflight Center
    Madison, Deneva
    48 hours later

    ‘Captain’s log, February 18, 2155,’ started Dekelley, twirling a stylus between his fingers while looking about the ready room aboard Arvakur. Adjoining the cockpit-themed main bridge, the office must have started life as a walk-in closet, before someone on the Ganges-class design team realized the captain needed an office. ‘It’s been forty-eight hours since arriving in Deneva and being handed the keys to the Arvakur, as it were.

    ‘Who would have thought, an actual command.’ he paused for dramatic effect. ‘I thought being in command of the Starfleet Embassy Detachment on Vulcan was a big deal! This is a whole new ball game. Intelligence reports, science reports, and acquisition requests are just the tip of the iceberg.’

    Dekelley shifted in his seat and reached for the photo of him and Bhutto, taken on the promenade on Jupiter Station just before he departed on the Mayflower. ‘Apart from Warrant Officer Chi Mai Giang and Chief Sean Dalton, the crew are young and experienced. My officer cadre is young, with Ensigns Furry and Casey only in their grade for the last eleven months, with Ensign Marquette holding seniority over them.

    ‘Don’t even get me started on Lieutenant Baram,’ he went on, sighing. ‘Arez has the potential to be a good command officer, it’s just a pity that he had become a political football for the Commodore to kick about. Add to the fact that Crowley and most of the crew don’t seem to like him, and we may have a problem. Maybe not.’

    He shrugged, thinking of Arez Baram. There was no question that the young first officer was a competent engineer, and the reported incident between Casey and Wong had been handled nicely from the write-up done by Ensign Furry.

    ‘My armory officer is another one I need to watch,’ Dekelley went on. ‘Still, they’re my crew, and Deneva’s going to be home for the foreseeable future -’

    Just then, the comm chimed. Dekelley grimaced, paused the recording, and answered. ‘Go ahead.’

    ‘Captain, you wanted to be notified the moment Aldrin Control cleared us for launch.’

    ‘Be there momentarily, Number One,’ replied Dekelley with a smile. ‘Please ask Ms Giang to relieve Ensign Marquette from CIC, as I want the ensign on the bridge when we launch.’

    ‘Understood,’ replied Baram.

    Dekelley rose and started for the hatch, only to pause. As first impressions went, he did okay.

  19. Robert Bruce Scott

    Robert Bruce Scott Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 18, 2021
    Really liking the blend of politics and logistics as well as the thorough grounding in the STE universe. Thanks!! rbs
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Great look at the early days of Starfleet and the Border Service. This is a very different galaxy than what we seen in then 23rd century and beyond, one where the border is just around the next corner. Both scary and exciting, what kind of adventures may lie in store for this new captain and green crew?
    Robert Bruce Scott likes this.